Friday, 7 January 2011


Despite the weather I really wanted to get out today. It wasn't just raining when I got to Brookland lake it was so dark and foggy that you couldn't really see the other side, as the picture above shows.

The only birds I could really see were the ones in the margins such as the Great Crested Grebe below and also a Cetti's Warbler which was flitting in and out of the reeds in the northeast corner of the lake.

As I left the lake to go over the bank to the river I glanced back and saw a Weasel shoot across the path and into the undergrowth. I walked back and did my 'Vole in distress' call for a couple of minutes and sure enough out he popped to investigate. They'll usually come very close if you're still but I think this one could see me silhouetted against the skyline and popped back before I could get a better shot. I haven't seen one in a while so this one made my day, despite the weather.


Abbey Mead looked ice free at last but apart from several Herons around the edges, standing like ghostly sentinels in the mist, there wasn't much to see. It was raining harder now so I took shelter under an Oak tree on the southern edge, I don't know why because there were no leaves on it, so it didn't make any difference really, except to make me feel a bit daft.

I went along the fisherman's path between Streamside and Railway lake next in the hope of finding the Goosander. I didn't find it but I found a Bittern which unfortunately saw me first and took off into the gloom. I wish I'd seen it earlier, I could have backed off quietly without disturbing it, I don't think they need that right now. A second Bittern was seen further round Streamside in the edge of the roosting reedbed but luckily I was able to detour and just watch it melt back into the reed stems without any fuss.

As you can see by the picture above, I did eventually find the Goosander in the northern end of Streamside which is also ice free now. It was very distant so I decided to creep around the lake side and make myself scarce in the hope that it would come in closer, which it did eventually. Trouble is the sun decided to come out then, the first time for weeks, this scuppered my chance of any closer pics because it was low in the sky behind it, but never mind, I sat on my haunches and watched it catching fish for about half an hour which was great until I got pins and needles in my legs and had to stand up. This pushed the bird away and I hobbled off down the flooded Millstream which looks like the colour of cold tea after all the rain.

I stopped at the usual Water Rail spot on the way to the car but I didn't see one, just a tiny Goldcrest to finish off a couple of very wet but very nice hours and the bonus of two New Hythe year and month ticks for the Cetti's and the Goosander bringing the total so far to 58.


Warren Baker said...

well done for getting out in that crap weather Phil. Its keeping up the visits that will bring you the rewards, 115 for the year at this rate :-)

Simon said...

Good to hear you saw a couple of Bitterns, and nice Goosander photos. Well done with the Weasel too, you done well to photograph it!!!

Anonymous said...

One ahead of me now for the month/year Phil.

Nice pics considering the fog.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
It's only the first week of the year , and already you are trying to get arrested .
'Vole in distress' indeed , how would you explain that to the Magistrate ?
Did tou modify the 'Rabbit in distress' call of another blogger ?
Great to get the shot though .
Those pins and needles , it's an age thing !

Chris said...

I'll sign for the weasel!! Wow what an encounter... I've only seen it once in my life!! Well done Phil!