Wednesday, 11 January 2012



I didn't have too much time today so I just explored the river, sunken marsh and brooklands lake. I think the highlight of the day was probably the sunshine, which was warm enough to produce my first butterfly of the year, a Red Admiral I think which flew across the river and into the marsh. Hopefully it will find some sustenance before resuming its hibernation until the real spring arrives.
There were two Reed Buntings (57) in the sunken marsh and just a single Fieldfare remaining to represent the winter thrushes which are now almost non existent across the site. Above the marsh I saw my 58th species of the year when a small flock of Stock Doves headed north east towards the north downs. A single Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest were also seen and quite a few Greenfinches called and wheezed from the tops of the Hawthorns and Sloes. Lower down, and hidden from prying eyes, the Cettis Warblers continued to call and even lower, also unseen, the occasional squeal of a Water Rail could be heard.
I counted eight Gadwall on the river and maybe a couple of dozen Teals dozing on the far bank in the morning sun and with the tide almost out half a dozen Cormorants made the most of the shallow water to hunt for Flounders and Eels. No Kingfishers seen today and just one Redshank was fossicking in the mud further upstream, while overhead about forty or so Lapwings made their way south in dribs and drabs, lazily alternating black and white against the blue sky.
From the brooklands side of the mound I spotted a Bittern sitting quite high up the reeds in the south western part of the lake. I made my way towards the corner in the hope of getting a picture but by the time I arrived it had melted back into the reedbed, just like Bitterns usually do.
I had the pleasure of meeting up with Greenie, aka Greenie In the Wild later and we revisited to try and find it again, we failed but did see a nice Sparrowhawk (59) cruising over the lake. For some really good pictures of a very showy Bittern at Sevenoaks visit his blog, you'll find the link on the sidebar.

Finally, something's afoot in the sunken marsh, there were three water authority vans in the car park when I arrived and there were four men in hi viz jackets peering intently into the marsh all morning, while talking furtively on their mobile phones. I've no idea what they were doing but could the brightly painted stick (above) planted mysteriously in the middle of a flooded area of the marsh have anything to do with it? When I know, so will you!
Just quickly, I had two Little Egrets flying over my garden to roost late this afternoon, so the New Hythe year list edges up to 60 species for the far.


Chris said...

That first shot is gorgeous, the composition the attitude of the bird, all in one! Well done.

Mike H said...

Another great account of NH Phil.

Jason K said...

Mmmm, I wonder what the water authority are up to Phil, and why have they marked that particular area with a blue stick...I'm intrigued to hear what you manage to find out

Alan Pavey said...

Well Done on reaching 60 and seeing the first Red Admiral of the year!! I've had a couple of Bumblebees but that's about it :-)