Wednesday, 16 February 2011


The Goldcrest pictured above and below was one of the first birds I saw this morning. It might have a quiet call but it's high pitch was enough to cut through the noise of the mill as it searched through the bushes alongside it at Brooklands Lake.

The tide was very high so I decided to go straight round the sunken marsh and come back to the river later. A good flock of 38 Lapwings flew over as I slithered and slipped my way round a deserted muddy marsh but apart from two Cetti's Warblers, one seen and one heard, there was virtually nothing to note. A noisy Gull drew my attention as I walked along the northern edge of Abbey Mead, it was obviously not happy to see the Bittern that it was mobbing over the lake but I was, and I watched it come down, lit nicely by the welcome sun, into the reeds on the eastern edge. I also found two Goldeneye's on Abbey Mead, along with some nice sleeping Pochards pictured below, although clearly one of the females was on guard duty!

I had a quick check on Streamside lake but was unable to locate the Red-head Smew or the Goosander, but there are lots of hiding places so they might have been there somewhere. A Green Woodpecker and a handful of Redwings was the best on offer in the east scrub but as I made my way back across the railway line I glanced up and saw the first of seven Buzzards to be seen this morning as it drifted over Abbey Mead. The path back took me along the eastern edge of Brooklands, where I saw a Kingfisher and a noisy flock of at least 40 Siskins which flew directly over my head, last seen heading west.
And so to the small wood where I was greeted by the Black Pheasant which trotted in front of me into the wood, i'm beginning to wonder if he can fly at all.

The river was absolutely deserted, not even a Gull to be seen, so I located my bucket, dried it off , turned it upside down and sat and waited. I didn't have to wait too long though before I was rewarded with a Kestrel across the river, also being mobbed by Gulls, it must really get on their nerves I should think. The picture above is the view across the river from the bucket. The church is I believe, Burham church and the hills in the background are the north downs, Buzzard country. And sure enough, just a couple of minutes after the picture was taken three Buzzards broke the skyline just to the right of the church, while another one drifted SW over my head. Some time later two more came into view but I can't be sure if they were a couple of the earlier ones. The last picture is the second piece of the panorama from the bucket and is directly to the right of the first shot.
Last birds noted were a pair of Mistle Thrushes which flew up from the raised path alongside the paper mill which gave me 44 species in just over three hours, and the Mistle Thrush brings my February New Hythe total to 68 species.


Paul said...

Hi Phil, nice to hear of the return sightings of your Bitters mate. And some really nice pics of a Goldcrest too. I took a couple of photos of Goldcrest in my garden today, they do seem to be showing well just about everywhere now.

Bob Bushell said...

Wow, that's a Goldcrest isn't it. A rare sight for me, the last time I photographed one, two year ago, and that one didn't count anyway.

Anonymous said...

Typical Pochard pose that Phil. They always appear to be snoozing.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Certainly did well with the Goldcrest shots , can be really frustrating as you well know .
So now we have 'From the Fence Post' and 'From the Bucket' to look foreward to .

Alan Pavey said...

Great Goldcrests Phil.

ShySongbird said...

Great views from that bucket Phil ;) I can see you spending quite some time there on a nice warm sunny day.

Lovely photos of the Goldcrest, such a difficult little bird to capture. The first one in particular shows its golden crest beautifully!

Chris said...

Congrats on the goldcrest, they are not so easy to get pictures of! Well done.... You got again a very nice day..

Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
Great pics of the Goldcrest. I would love to be able to get some shots of one, but it is a tough bird to photograph.

Warren Baker said...

Blimey Phil, your Feb total has already equalled my best ever Feb total ( 10 years)

That bucket will be useful to perch on when the Migrants start to arrive :-)