Wednesday, 27 March 2013


 I should have been exploring my new surroundings at West Farleigh today, but I opted instead for Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, for the simple reason that it has hides to hide in and shelter from the cold. Call me a wimp if you like! But the picture below, which inspired the post title, was the first thing I saw as I made my way down to Tyler hide and illustrates perfectly the fact that Spring has most definitely not arrived. Although why an icicle (or is it a stalactite) should be hanging from a branch half way up a tree is a bit of a mystery really.

 Anyway, the second thing I saw, in the hide, was Greenie, of 'Greenie in the Wild' fame. Who alerted me to the presence of three Little Ringed Plovers which were flitting restlessly between the small windswept islands on the main lake. What they were managing to find to eat out there is beyond me. There were also probably fifteen or more Common Snipe, countless Lapwings, some Teal, a single Shelduck and of course all the other usual suspects including a couple of Egyptian Geese which flew low over the water looking for a landing site and probably wishing they were in Egypt!

 I left Tyler hide and made my way down to the Sutton hide where I managed to locate the pair of Goosanders which Greenie and others had seen earlier. Too distant for a picture, shame really, they're a particular favourite of mine. Pied Wagtail, Goldcrest and numerous Siskins also made the list as did the obliging Robin above, a picture of which is deemed to be almost obligatory at Sevenoaks. Who am I to fly in the face of tradition? 

The walk from Sutton hide to the Long lake warmed my feet at least, but didn't produce the hoped for Kingfisher picture. Here's a Mallard instead, scant consolation but colourful at least. 

On the sheltered path between Long lake and the main lake a few weak rays of sunshine encouraged some tiny flies to take to the air and this in turn attracted a few birds like the Chiffchaff above. One of two who worked their way silently and purposefully along the lake edge, making the most of the meagre rations. Goldcrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, a Treecreeper and a small troupe of Long-tailed Tits also joined in.  

I chose Willow hide to eat my own meagre rations, watched silently and slightly sinisterly by these five Jays lined up together in the bushes across the water. On the water were the usual noisy Greylags, one of which caught my attention when it decided to have a quick wash and brush up.......

Front clean.

Back clean.

Armpits clean.

Spruce as a Goose!

Finally, ever wondered what a Long-tailed Tit would look like without a tail? Well here's your answer.


Marianne said...

Great report and photos :) It's good to hear the LRPs are back, I must go and visit them. Re icicles, I saw lots from the train home today, the rocks on the slopes just next to the tunnel at Tunbridge Wells were festooned with them.

ShySongbird said...

Another interesting read Phil and some lovely photos, you got so close to the LTT! I like LRPs, surprisingly small when you see them in the flesh or in the feather perhaps. This weather is getting silly now, we still have bits of snow around :-(

Warren Baker said...

Hi Phil,
As songbird implies this weather is just getting ridiculous, boy am I fed up with this cold wind!

Chris said...

HI Phil... Love the little feather ball in the last shot and it looks like the goose had nice time ;-) Well done!