THIRD AGE BIRDERS FLOCK TO SEVENOAKS
The first trip of the autumn season was to our local patch. 15 U3A birders descended upon the Sevenoaks Wildfowl Trust Reserve hoping to see birdy signs of life after the relative quiet of July and August. We knew there would be "not much about" and this was certainly true of the woodland species. However, we were rewarded, as we viewed the main lake from the hide by flocks of canada and greylag geese feeding away on the islands. Sharp eyes spotted pochard among the tufted ducks on the far side of the lake, a lone little egret loitering with the geese and then a solitary snipe poking away in the margins. A large goose flew past and proved, as it landed conveniently on the island in front of us, to be an egyptian goose.
The Reserve looked quite fresh and lush after the late summer rains and the buddleai were abundant. We all commented on the lack of butterflies this summer and hardly saw any as we walked around in spite of this plant normally attracting them in droves. We always long to see a kingfisher on any trip. Rather frustratingly, one whistled past whilst most of us were looking the other way. But we can certainly "tick" it.
We heard, rather than saw, a number of woodland birds including chiffchaff and blackcap. Most birds looked pretty untidy after the rigours of courtship and chick rearing and were going through their moults to one degree or another. Also, a large number of immature birds kept us guessing with their neutral colouring. This doesn't help with identification as the sharper breeding plumage colours are missing, so it was an opportunity to recognise species by shape and behaviour.
Birds Spotted: blackbird, coot, cormorant, crow, tufted duck, little egret, gadwall, canada goose, egyptian goose, greylag goose, great crested grebe, black headed gull, immature lesser black backed gull, heron, jay, kingfisher, lapwing, magpie, mallar, nuthatch, wood pigeon, pochard, long tailed tit, robin, rook, snipe, swan, bluetit, great tit, pied wagtail, green woodpecker, wren, and audible, blackcap, chiffchaff, ring necked parakeet.
Not a very long list but a satisfying walk around in lovely warm sunshine followed by a delicious lunch at the Himalayan Gardens on River Hill.
Friday, 19th October- all day trip to Shellness on the Isle of Sheppey.
Some of you will have seen this rich birding area featured on Country File recently. We should see waders and raptors and the marshes are well known for hen harrier and short eared owl. Full details to follow.