Monday, 24 January 2011



There were some great birds at New Hythe at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, driven in part by the severe weather during this time. But it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking it will just keep on keeping on. But it doesn't, things get back to normal soon enough and today felt a bit like that. Not that i'm complaining, far from it, I saw some great birds, 44 different species in three hours, what's to complain about?

Wrens, sometimes you see one or two, sometimes you hear one or two, today I heard and saw loads, they seemed to be everywhere, celebrating the milder weather I think. It was the same with Bullfinches, I often hear them calling to each other as they travel through the tops of the trees and bushes and don't see them, but today I probably saw a dozen, possibly some were duplicated but all the same, nice to see. On the other hand I didn't find a single Bittern, after dozens of sightings recently. Maybe they don't need to be flying about or venturing out into the open so much to find food now, if that's the case, welcome back to normality!

I'm pleased to say I found the Goosander again on Streamside lake. I'm not so pleased to say I still couldn't get a decent picture of it as you can see from above . As usual it was pretty dark and as usual it saw me coming, even though I tried to sneak up on it. The same applied to the Red-head Smew, who like the Goosander seems to be able to disappear into thin air and managed to give me the slip before I could get anywher near it. Also on Streamside was a superb Kingfisher which streaked silently across the lake, shining bright even in the dull light, to the accompaniment of a Song Thrush which was doing exactly what it says on the tin, from a tall lakeside tree. In the Alder trees at the Bittern end of the lake I found a nice mixed flock of Goldfinches and Siskins, I tried hard to get a Siskin pic but ended up with the usual semi dark 'bum' shot that I always get from these.

I counted about eighteen noisy Herons in the Heronry plus a few more on the river taking advantage of the low tide to fish in the shallows. Apart from them the river was disappointingly empty save for a single Shelduck, the usual gangs of Gadwalls and Teal and eventually a distant Redshank, the first i've seen for a few weeks. A bonus though was a Lesser Black-backed Gull sitting on the exposed bank adjacent to the small wood, this is number 65 for the New Hythe January/year list.

Maybe it wasn't such a normal day after all!


Bob Bushell said...

G C Grebe is great, in his winter clothes. The Goosander has always same colours, but, she is a beauty

Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
Shame about the Bittern, but the trouble is, you have been spoilt recently.
Mind you, you did see and hear some good birds today. Not a bad couny for 3 hours either.

Marc Heath said...

Nice Goosander shot, I wouldn't mind having the chance to photo one at a decent range.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
No wonder I couldn't find anything , they were all in hiding in case you came round again .
I know I got anywhere near your total on my visit .

Paul said...

Hi Phil, you had a good day there today then. Keep your eyes open for 2 Green Sandpipers, because I saw them on Saturday heading your way along the river. I did get a very poor photo of one, which was on the river bank opposite the Snodland Church/train station.

ShySongbird said...

So the Bittern wasn't playing ball with you or Greenie, Phil. As Ken said, you have been spoilt lately though. It still sounded like a very nice visit though!

Warren Baker said...

Yep! Its all back to normal again phil, only your normal is my excellent :-)

Simon said...

Good to hear you had a Kingfisher! I've not seen one in Mote Park since the summer.