Under The Wing

Birdwatching isn’t for everyone. It can be slow and fruitless with long periods of standing around in the cold. I thought that Hayley would hate birdwatching forever. Recently, to my delight, she has become quite enthusiastic about bird watching, or wildlifing in general I suppose. Everything changed the moment I gave Hayley my binoculars. Now she spots everything and can identify most of them.

Today we took a walk around Sevenoaks Nature Reserve. Without my keen eyed wife on the binoculars I would have probably missed some great birds.

A heron had made its enormous nest high up in a tree, and was sitting atop what looked like a very large egg.

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I had hoped to show Hayley the Great Crested Grebe egg that I found a couple of weeks ago. We found the nest, but sadly the egg was no longer there. The lake sparkled in the morning sun and the grebes bobbed happily, despite the loss of their single egg.

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We followed the lake around, past robins, blackbirds and blackcaps. The sun came out periodically, casting golden light onto the lakeside trees. Then, it would go away again and we would be left shivering, staring at a hedge. Arctic winds had blown down over the UK causing the air temperature to plummet.

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We came to a field, filled with geese. We saw greylags, canada, and egyptian geese drinking from puddles and plucking the grass. It was certainly spring in this field as two families of geese plodded around. The first was the egyptian geese. We saw a mother, father and five little striped goslings. Then, further across the field we saw a family of greylag geese. The goslings, with their yellow necks, kept in single file as the parents led them to a puddle to drink.

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We had hoped to see a kingfisher, but that wasn’t to be. Instead we found an assortment of other animals. We found lapwings flying from island to island. We watched rabbits shuffling around on the bank of a lake. We even spotted a few broken eggs dotted around the footpaths.

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On the way back from Kent, we took a detour to Knole house to see the deer. Being a fairly popular attraction, and Kent’s only medieval deer park, the deer have become quite tame and relaxed around people. I lay on the ground right in front of an impressive stag without being antlered.

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Another perfect day of wildlifing, made even better by the company.

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Will

 

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