A quiet time on the Patch with nothing out of the ordinary on Saturday (12th) except for 18 Redwings (1000’s upon 1000’s elsewhere) 6 Blackcaps, 5 Stonechats and 6 Water Pipits. The later should start to build up nicely over the winter. Sunday was a complete washout with Bernie and I stuck in Feast hide keeping out of the torrential rain. The only bird of note here was what was probably an eclipse drake Green-winged Teal although, never having seen them in eclipse before I wasn’t ready to claim it. It was close in between the island and the raft and was coming out of eclipse and appeared to have the formation of the white vertical bar forming. It swam further left and (by the time I got the camera out) never came within range, it did appear to have a similar faint vertical bar on the other side when it briefly showed it. Hopefully it will hang around and reveal itself!!! On Monday (14th) I met Dave Sutton at the entrance gate and we had a slow stroll around the Grove end of the reserve. Again nothing spectacular until 10.19 when scanning bush tops for wayward Shrikes I noticed a small flock of Lapwings high over the river so began to count, only to realise the ‘odd’ Cormorant at the front was a Glossy Ibis. We watched as it carried on high above the reserve heading towards Stodmarsh where it passed over and was lost to view behind the trees surrounding the Lake Tower hide. I heard my first Ring-necked Parakeet (for the patch) of the year but we could only locate 2 Stonechats. The dozen Bearded Tits still appear to be feeding along Harrison’s Drove as well. We walked back to the cars stopping to check the Paddocks but except for 4 Blackcaps and 4 Song Thrushes there was little else. I drove round the Stodmarsh car park and walked up to the lake in case the Glossy may have dropped in and no sooner had I reached the lake I connected with an Osprey drifting leisurely south west over the lake before turning back and headed down the Valley towards Grove Ferry. Five minutes later I picked up a Glossy Ibis in flight coming towards me from the Grove end and watched as it passed over the lake and climbed high and carried on west over Collard’s before being lost to view. Tuesday 15th was again very quiet although my first Fieldfares’ of the winter flew past the ramp in a flock of 20 plus a single Redwing with them. Wednesday was a short morning with nothing to report and today Thursday 17th I arranged to meet Alan and Chiddy at the Grove Entrance gate where we jumped into Chiddy’s car and took a trip to West Kent to Hempstead Forrest in Cranbrook in the hope of connecting with the smart male Two-barred Crossbill the had been recently found. As luck would have it, after a short rain shower, the Two-barred Crossbill flew in with a dozen Common Crossbills and showed well for a good 15 minutes before leaving again. After the second time of seeing it for a short while and a long wait without it showing we decided to head home and no sooner had we put our coats on and packed up the scopes, in it came and showed very well yet again. During this period, now you’ve gotta love Alan, he calls a flock here, a flock there, couple of birds over there and most often they are just Siskin, or Goldfinch or maybe Redwing but, on this particular time it was another flock of 15 or so Crossbills and sitting boldly at the top of the Pine with the Commons and a couple of Siskins were, 2 stonking Parrot Crossbill both adults and one a cracking male. Thanks Al, meanwhile the Two-barred was still showing well in front of us. Sadly they never got close enough for a photo but both the Two-bar and the Parrots gave excellent scope views.
Some photos from the past week including VERY record shots of Glossy Ibis and Two-barred Crossbill
|the first very distant Glossy Ibis|
|a little closer second sighting Glossy Ibis|
|Sunrise on a foggy Wednesday 16th|
|Two-barred Crossbill 1st/s male plus male Common Crossbill|
|Two-barred and Common Crossbills|