Trip reports

Kent Wildlife Trust's Bough Beech Reservoir (Leader Giuseppe Raffa)

Kent Wildlife Trust's Bough Beech Reservoir (Leader Giuseppe Raffa)
Egyptian geese with goslings [Karen Snow]

Sunday, 22 July 2018

The Bough Beech nature reserve, which is situated between Tonbridge, Sevenoaks and Edenbridge and run by the Kent Wildlife Trust, is undoubtedly one of most interesting birdwatching spots of our county and it has been part of the group's programme for many years.

The excellent weather must have inspired more than ever our group members (twelve), who - as tradition dictates - gathered this morning on the reserve causeway. Numerous birds were present, and not just the "usual suspects", if I may say so. In fact, shortly after parking, Richard told me that a bar-headed goose had just been sighted. Unfortunately, only those who arrived early were able to spot this unusual and attractive goose, which was certainly an escapee, this being a Central Asian high-altitude species.

During the next hour or so, our bird list grew slowly but steadily. A female mandarin duck was one of the first entries, soon followed by Egyptian goose, house martin, green and common sandpipers. A group of little egrets perched on a bare tree on one side of the reservoir was probably one of the most iconic images of the day, at least as far as I am concerned. The only reason for disappointment was that no great white egret was among them, as happened two years ago or so.

When we were all thinking about setting off for the usual circular walk around the reserve, we were lucky enough to see a peregrine falcon flying roughly two meters above the water level. Having failed to identify a prey, the bird fast disappeared - as peregrines normally do! - to our right.

We then paid a visit to the reserve hide, hoping to spot a kingfisher on one of the bare branches nearby, but to no avail. The rest of the circular walk was not particularly productive bird-wise, except for a couple of buzzards that we had the pleasure of admiring at close quarters and with perfect light conditions. Quite a few butterfly species were recorded by Richard though, the most notable of which was surely the silver washed fritillary.

A very pleasant morning with 39 species (seen and heard). Thanks to all who decided to participate.

Giuseppe Raffa