30 November 2014
Sevenoaks Wildfowl Reserve
On a rather grey and misty day we didn't venture out until early afternoon. Mac wanted a walk to get some fresh air and we needed to pop into Sevenoaks to get some food for dinner. I suggested Sevenoaks Wildfowl Reserve for a stroll, convenient as not only is there a nice network of paths around the lakes, and a few birds to look at, but there had also been an immature American White Ibis on the reserve for the last week or so. Presumably an escape from a zoo or bird park I had not been to see it, despite the proximity to home, so this seemed like a good excuse.
We bumped into Martin Coath in the car park and stopped for a chat. Guy Bailey joined us and Ray O'Reilly followed us down the path. I was quite surprised by the interest especially when Martin told me Steve Gantlett had been to see it - maybe I should have been more interested after all?
We walked the nature trail and made our way to the area Guy had described, past the gate at the far end of the trail to the north of the east lake. We took the long path and meandered our way there seeing six Egyptian Geese on a small island.
|The American White Ibis roosts on a horizontal branch with a Grey Heron|
|It had a good poke around at the base of the tree|
A Little Egret flew in to the trees over head and called loudly, and a flock of 22 Common Snipe flew overhead. After about half an hour the Ibis took flight and flew to the bank behind its perch where it fed around the fallen trunks, pulling out several large worms.
|The Ibis flies to the bank|
|It fed around the fallen trunks, finding several worms|
We walked back to the car park, having a scan of the lake on the way. A Little Grebe, 3 Great-crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Greylag Geese, Common and Black-headed Gulls and about 40 Lapwing. A couple of Goldcrest and a Treecreeper were seen along the path and a Chiffchaff called from the woods. A nice walk and an interesting bird, regardless of where is came from.
The species is known to wander and has been seen across the US well outside of its normal range. According to Rare Birds of California vagrants that probably originate from the Baja California Sur and central Sinaloa southward populations occur casually in the Southwest. This species also occurs in the Southeast, from Virginia southward, and along the Atlantic coast of Middle America and the West Indies south to northern and western South America. Vagrants presumed to originate from Atlantic slope populations wander very rarely, but somewhat regularly, to the Northeast, southeastern Canada, and the central United States. Especially far-flung records come from southwestern Manitoba, North Dakota, Washington, Oregon, southern Idaho, Utah, and Clipperton Atoll.
However they are also kept in captivity in Britain and Europe and there have been previous records including a Spring adult a few years ago near Sandwich (18 & 19/04/05).