Thursday, 20 January 2011


I left the car park to the accompaniment of a Cetti's Warbler this morning, it wasn't the full bodied cabernet sauvignon type call that they are famous for, more of a light beaujolais version, but welcome nevertheless.

There was a cold northerly blowing as I made my way round a quiet Brooklands lake, no sign of the Goldeneyes today, I didn't see one at all, but I understand the drake is back on the Alders trout lake. The river was low and the tide was still falling, although there was a lot of water running into the small creek, this is overflow water from Brooklands lake and the sunken marsh. We've had a lot of rain! Just the usual birds on the river, but nice to see three Shelducks, one of which is pictured above, from the woods and a sparrowhawk flying over, I didn't linger long there in the teeth of the breeze but continued round the deserted sunken marsh. Two flocks of Lapwings each amounting to about 25 birds flew downstream in quick succession, a good count all told.

I spotted the bittern, pictured above (just), in the northeast corner of a very flooded Abbey Mead lake. It's up at least a foot I reckon and a lot of the path around it is under water now. This made it difficult to see properly but there didn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary to report, although happily, I did see a Kingfisher along the northern edge, my first at New Hythe since 9th December, which brings my New Hythe January/year list to 64.

Streamside lake is still home to the Red-head Smew (above) it's very nervous and I couldn't get near enough for a better shot. The Goosander was also seen there this morning but I couldn't find it myself. But I did find my second Bittern of the morning in the 'usual' reedbed pictured below. Great shot isn't it? If you can't see it too well try looking at it through binoculars, or alternatively left click it!

I returned along the river past the Heronry where the Herons are doing what they do at this time of year, building nests, noisily. There were twelve to fifteen birds in the trees, on and around their bulky platform.

There was a lot of shouting and arguing going on and as the pictures below show, sometimes the neighbours just got too close for comfort and territories and boundaries were open to dispute.

Note the legs in the top of this picture!


Bob Bushell said...

Good pictures, I love Herons that are building their nest.

Warren Baker said...

There's not a great deal of passerine action about at the moment is there Phil ? Only to be expected though. Another Kingfisher beats the winter :-)

Oh! and I found the second bittern :-)

Greenie said...

Phil ,
No need to ask what colour your favourite wine is then .
Found the first Bittern OK , but failed with the second , which explains why you find them and I don't .
Like the Heron action shots .
3 days volunteering for me , hence no postings .

Paul said...

Hi Phil, some great shots of the Herons there, and good news about the Kingfisher sighting. I went to check a small pond in Wateringbury the other day, because I have seen Kingfisher there back in the Autumn, but I didnt see any on the day.

Marc Heath said...

Nice to see signs of spring are here, nice shots as well.

Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
Nice to see the Herons nest building, great shots.
I eventually found the 2 Bitterns.
I must pop down there soon, haven't been down there this year yet.

ShySongbird said...

I think I found the second Bittern...I think ;)

The Herons always look strange to me in trees and they always make me smile. Very nice photos too.