Trip reports

Sevenoaks KWT Reserve (Leaders Sue Carter & Steve Goodrich)

Sevenoaks KWT Reserve (Leaders Sue Carter & Steve Goodrich)
Tufted Duck [Richard Hanman]

Sunday, 15 April 2018

There was finally a touch of Spring in the air as we arrived in the car park to the accompaniment of blackcaps and chiffchaffs in full song. Seven Medway Group members were joined by Ann from Sevenoaks Group and Nigel from Maidstone Group.

From the hide overlooking the West lake Nigel had spotted a pair of grey wagtails near the weir and we all managed brief views of these dapper and restless birds.

We soon learned that four black-necked grebes, resplendent in their breeding plumage, were on the reserve so we set off hot foot to the Sutton hide. Sure enough the four little beauties were diving frequently in the company of some tufted ducks and showing off their colourful finery.

Several Egyptian geese were spotted near an island and the other goose species present were quarrelsome greylags and Canada geese. Shelduck, teal, coot and moorhens loafed around the spit.

We then adjourned to the Tyler hide. On the way we saw a peacock butterfly sunning itself. It took several minutes of searching before we located four little-ringed plovers on the islands, their camouflage was that good! A pair of lapwings appeared to be nesting and were constantly chasing off some marauding crows. A female gadwall was also identified. Suddenly the hide emptied as from outside Nigel shouted "Osprey"! Unfortunately, it had flown over behind the trees before the rest of us made it outside and we had to make do with a great-spotted woodpecker instead.

Lunch beckoned back at the visitor centre and Steve put us on to a peregrine overhead being escorted out of the area by a couple of angry and very noisy herring gulls.

We then walked round the other side of the main lake to the sheep pastures, passing dunnocks, wrens, robins, blue-tits, blackcaps and chiffchaffs. Four lesser black-backed gulls were loafing amongst the sheep and a green woodpecker yaffled and then flew out from a copse as a couple of pheasants paraded around the paddock.

On the stroll back to the car park we stopped off at the heronry where three birds were sitting on their respective nests and two of them were adjusting the untidy mass of sticks.

Just round the corner Steve spotted a female sparrowhawk sitting in an oak tree. She watched us intently for several minutes before flying off to join her much smaller mate in a territorial display.

It was an enjoyable and good-humoured meeting with a total of 47 species seen. Thanks to all who participated.

Sue Carter & Steve Goodrich