For a bit of a change today I didn't visit my patch at all, ( I know - it's unheard of!) instead I went the short distance to the Geoffrey Harrison wildlife reserve over at Sevenoaks, where a friend and I spent a pleasant 4 hours, despite the poor weather!
We spent time in all the various hides, as well as walking the trails, and managed to find 56 bird species, nothing majorly exciting amongst them, but at least I got to remind myself what the various Duck species look like :-) I immediately recognised the MALLARDS :-) and on seeing the TUFTED DUCKS, TEAL, WIGEON, GADWALL, SHOVELER, POCHARD, RUDDY DUCK, plus the COOT, GREAT CRESTED GREBE, and LITTLE GREBE, it all came flooding back to me what these species look like :-)
Also on the water were MOORHEN, MUTE SWAN, CANADA, GREYLAG and EGYPTIAN GEESE, with the odd HERON and a LITTLE EGRET thrown in. Watching and listening to the 300 odd LAPWING was treat, as was seeing CORMORANTS that don't fly off as soon as they see you - like they do here!! the Bittern was missed by minutes, and a flyover Buzzard eluded us but was seen by others. A KINGFISHER, a RING NECKED PARAKEET, and plenty of SNIPE kept us interested, and finding the likes of TREECREEPER, BULLFINCH, GOLDCREST, LESSER REDPOLL, SISKIN, REED BUNTING, and LONG TAILED TIT proved a challenge in the blustery and sometimes wet weather.
Although we saw the likes of STOCK DOVE, BLACKBIRD, SONGTHRUSH, CHAFFINCH, DUNNOCK, ROBIN, PIED WAGTAIL, STARLING, PHEASANT, as well as the other common regular resident species like BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, ROBIN,WOOD PIGEON, and WREN, there were still a few common species not seen, namely the Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, and House Sparrow. Winter Thrushes were represented by just one REDWING, Fieldfare's were totally absent! So with the missing 'easy' species a day total of 60+ should of been reached really, we got an over wintering CHIFFCHAFF that was a bonus bird however :-)
Apart from the Gulls, HERRING, COMMON, and BLACK HEADED, plus the corvids CARRION CROW, JACKDAW, MAGPIE and JAY I think I've mentioned all that was seen, oh I forgot the GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS, and how could I have forgotten the SPARROWHAWK!!!! :-)
Back on the patch tomorrow! :-)