From the Hanson hide, the best sighting was the one of Eddie Denson. Eddie turned up unexpectedly, ten minutes after I arrived and together we scanned the waders and ducks on offer on and around the ARC pit.
There was no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but there was a Glossy Ibis. If you shut one eye and squint through the other (make sure the wind doesn't change or you'll stay like it), you can just make it out mid picture. Right clicking it might be an easier alternative.
Before Eddie's arrival I had been lucky enough to get the merest glimpse of a Bittern as it left the reedbed to the side of the hide. The possibly less spectacular, but much more obliging species we noted included Lapwings and Golden Plovers who occasionally spooked themselves it seemed and lifted into the sky en masse, looking terrific in the sunlight. Maybe this is just a bit of avian showing off. There were a couple (at least) of Greenshanks in the mix as well as Gadwalls, Mallards, Wigeon and Teal, Moorhens, Coots, Gt Crested Grebes, Tufties, Cormorants, Shovelers (pictured below) and some superb Pintails. My apologies to those not mentioned.
There had been reports of a Pallas's Warbler along the Willow Trail and a Rough-legged Buzzard over the site, so Eddie and I left the safety of the hide and went for a look. I mention the safety of the hide because as soon as we left it Ed was immediately attacked by a Common Darter. It went straight for his head, landing on it with all its considerable weight. I'm not sure whether it was attracted to grey hair or grey matter but either way it dive bombed poor old Ed repeatedly for about twenty yards or so. I did actually take a couple of pics but they came out all blurred where I was laughing so much. No sign of the Pallas's Warbler or the RLB so we beat a hasty retreat over the road, noting a very late Hobby over the farmhouse, a single Swallow and a Common Buzzard over Burrowes. Despite some very good attempts we couldn't turn it into its more desirable cousin.
Our traverse of the reserve was pretty uneventful apart from a couple of Bearded Tits. The first couple of hides revealed just the usual suspects outside. The only unusual suspects being a brood of recently fledged humans inside, who were intent on practising all the skills they might need in later life i.e. running as fast as possible to escape predators, shouting their contact calls and high pitched alarm calls, constantly begging parents for food, and slamming doors and arguing in preparation for adult relationships. Before you say it, I DO like kids, I just couldn't eat a whole one. Well it is Halloween.
The great White Egret was one of two seen at Makepeace hide I think it's called. Peace there wasn't so we abandoned ship and walked on to Denge marsh hide. Another Buzzard and a Marsh Harrier or two were the main event, supported by small flocks of Greylags and Stock Doves and a couple of Little Grebes in the distance. Kestrel, Green Woodpecker, Dunnocks and the ever present Robins were on and around the return trail.
I parted company with Eddie at the visitor centre, but before I left the reserve I had a sneaky look from Dennis's hide where I saw another four Gt White Egrets hanging out with up to ten Little Egrets and a couple of Grey Herons all in their favourite spot at the eastern end of Burrowes.
There were half a dozen or so Tree Sparrows on the feeders at the farmhouse and a final look around the ARC car park area produced Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff and a Blackcap. Good to see you Ed!
Locally a couple of walks along the river with Carol between Barming, Teston, West Farleigh and Wateringbury produced a few bits of interest. The first was once again a Clouded Yellow along Lower Road not far from home (30th Oct). I'm guessing the fungus above is the Parasol variety but i'll stand corrected. This and others were growing along the Medway at West Farleigh. It was here that I saw two Grey Wagtails fly over and a third was feeding among the reeds a bit further along.
The picture above is the view along the Medway from Teston towards Wateringbury, there were at least three Buzzards circling above the distant woods, while Pied Wagtails, Meadow Pipits, a few Linnets, a Gt Spotted Woodpecker a Kestrel and flyover Skylarks added closer interest. As did two Red Admiral butterflies.
I happened to glance up into a small Oak tree on the return path and was really pleased to spot this fantastic Little Owl sitting motionless in the branches above me. I managed a quick couple of slightly obscured shots before the Owl departed to trees in the corner of the field, prompting a series of alarm calls from the other small birds. Hopefully I might see this bird again in the not too distant future.
|ACROSS THE RIVER FROM WEST FARLEIGH TO TESTON VILLAGE|