Monday, 21 November 2011


Last time I went to the lakes I came away feeling disappointed and a bit bored. I must have been having a funny five minutes because today I couldn't wait to get back. Despite the fog and general gloom I saw some good birds, 49 species in all and these are some of the highlights.
The numbers of ducks seem to be building gradually on Brooklands lake, still mostly Tufties and Coots though but there was also a couple of Shovelers today. A single Little Grebe was also seen in the SW corner and one of the fishermen's swims was occupied by a Grey Wagtail, one of several seen today.

It's probably not looking like a particularly good Waxwing year, but it could change and if it does, the apple tree above might be worth keeping an eye on. That's if they can put up with the halitosis laden breath of the paper mill just alongside it.
Although the tide was quite high I still paid a visit to the small wood by the river, where Cormorants fished, Teal preened and a pair of Redshanks zigzagged upstream, their noisy calls shattering the quiet, misty morning. There's a creek to the side of the wood where a stream empties from the sunken marsh. I crept quietly through the wood to it in the hope of seeing some Little Grebes, there were six in there recently when I looked. There weren't any today, but there was a Water Rail, hoo(bloody)ray, species number 105 for the NH year list, it only took me eleven and a half months! While I watched it a Kingfisher zipped past and two Mallards

crashed out of the reeds in front of me frightening the life out of me and the Water Rail.

Highlight of the sunken marsh was a small flock of Long-tailed Tits who leap frogged from tree to tree in their usual fashion accompanied by a Chiffchaff, one of two seen today and a Goldcrest, one of at least eight seen, with others heard as well. Also in the marsh were Redwings, Fieldfares, Cetti's Warblers, Green Woodpeckers, Bullfinches and two Reed Buntings, the first i've seen for some time here.

Like Brooklands, Abbey Mead is gradually getting busier, about twenty Pochard had joined the Tufties, Coots and Gt Crested Grebes but there's still plenty of room for more. I ventured over the railway line and down to Streamside lake where I was really pleased to find the Bittern (below) sitting in the reeds just a little bit to the right of where I saw it last week, as usual the light was poor but you can just about make it out.

It was here that I saw my second Ciffchaff of the day and one of a few small flocks of noisy Siskins which landed in the Alders at the edge of the water. Another Kingfisher also flashed past here and so did another Water Rail, which flew across the lake, feet almost in the water, from the far end of the Bittern reedbed. Typical, you wait for eleven and a half months..............!

Despite it being mid November there are still some splashes of colour lingering on. I found the flower above in a small piece of woodland near the railway line, I think it's Red Campion, but i'm not sure as usual. The final bird added to the list this morning was a Sparrowhawk who circled above Brooklands car park and was also my 68th New Hythe species so far this month, there's some way still to go to equal last month's total of 74.


Warren Baker said...

Bitterns, Water Rails, Pochards, blimey i'd be ecstatic with any of them Phil :-) I get very excited about Coots too !

68 species for the month is equal to my best ever November tally, well done!

Phil said...

Thanks Warren, a few more to get for the month yet, hopefully!

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Nothing like a few extra birds to lift the tempo of the post .
Well done with the Water Rail(s) , well worth waiting for .
Yes , your plant is Red Campion .
Why is the Bittern never there when I am there ?

Jason K said...

Haha...I'm with Warren on that one...Bittern, Water Rail & Cetti's as well...very nice indeed!

Phil said...

Blimey I got a plant right! Am I a botanist now?

Sometimes we don't appreciate what's on our doorstep!

Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
Well done with the Water Rails, well worth the wait and your patience paid off.
You are getting a nice variety of species down there, especially the winter Thrush's.
Nice one.

alan woodcock said...

Hi Phil,looks as if the Bittern was in the same patch of reed where I saw it.

Bob Bushell said...

A nice place to go, by what you say.

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Phil, that sounds like a pretty full visit, with some great birds, 2 Water Rails a definite bonus, though Bittern would be my prize bird!

Paul said...

Hi Phil, nice to see that the Bittern has returned mate, this year i will make the effort to see one of those bitterns of yours ;-) cheers Paul.

Wilma said...

great bittern shot! that is exactly how they look every time I have seen them.

Phil said...

Sometimes I take it for granted but 49 species in 3 hours can't be bad!

I think that's probably it's favourite spot.

You're right and it's very close by.

The Bitterns are definitely the icing on the cake at this time of year. It never fails to amaze me that they keep coming back to such a busy area.

Now's the time, it seems pretty showy at the moment.

Nice to hear from you, thanks for your comment. Do you get them where you are? said...

Nice to see the bittern and also taken the picture....I went to a place for 4 hours to see it and no luck!