Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Duck....no duck....

A trip out....was going to Dungeness.....when a friend locked themselves out of their house...so I spent nearly an hour helping them get back in....so...plan B....

Hemsted Forest....for Crossbill.....missed them...or it...or any of them.....maybe not reliable enough at the moment so will await and see if and when....

On to Bedgebury.....


.....for Hawfinch....and.....missed....though this wasn't as much a surprise really, more elusive...so again will have to wait and see if they become more visible....a Buzzard hunting by the Park Lane entrance allowed good views....


....bit of a duck morning....however...it then became a non duck morning....two new species for the year list whilst at Bedgebury.....Mistle Thrush and Lesser Redpoll....

......so...I thought...take the slightly longer way home via Horsmonden, visit Furnace Lake and get Mandarin....but....as it would suggest....a duck....

Sunday, 15 January 2017

I can show you....

...that when it starts to rain...
...everythings the same..
         Rain - The Beatles (J Lennon)

With all hopes dashed of a trip to Dungeness and along the coast to Rye thanks to the rain.....I noticed three species on the Kent Birding Facebook page over at Haysden Lake.....the washing was in the washing machine, my wife and son had gone to the cinema.....so a quick visit was due...

First mistake....I forgot coins to put in the pay-and-display....so I had to find somewhere to park on the side of the road which isn't easy round there....the other mistake was not taking shopping bags as I had planned to get the shopping done....(I know....I lead an exciting life at times...!!)..

So...having parked the car at 1000....overcast....rainy....bah!....not even cold....kind of luke warm...

I meandered along a few footpaths managing, for the most part, to avoid all the dog walkers and joggers....I arrived at the lake, pulled out the binoculars from under my waterproof....2 Little Egrets....6 Egyptian Geese....I walked another 250m.....11 Common Merganser or Goosanders if you prefer....

Back at the car at 1059....

So....at least three new species on the list...better than a kick up the rain!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Thats (H)Andy....

Having been told that there were at least a dozen Brambling present at a site in Harrietsham I decided to go....with another potential year tick possibly near by too....

When I arrived on site there was Andy (Kent Birding Facebook)....within a few minutes there were good numbers of finches....many Chaffinches....but occasionally one or two Brambling would mingle with them....they were quite fidgety and flighty compared to the Chaffinches that would sit for reasonable periods...we remained there for some time as they would come and go quite regularly and at one point there was a group of 6 Brambling sitting in one of the Beech trees a short distance away....excellent....a nice bird to get on the list...hard to estimate the total number present as they were flighty and came along in small numbers....at least 12 if not 20+....

We meandered to the nearby church and searched the grounds for the Owl of Littleness....but failed...though it was seen later apparently....

Finally, Andy found a couple of Waxwing in the local Medical Centre car park....and quite the opposite to the Brambling...they were happy to sit tight whilst we danced around the tree finding the right camera angle....




Waxwings....

We hadn't been there for more than a couple of minutes when a Red Kite gave spectacular views as it passed overhead very low....what a grand visit to Harrietsham!!

Having spent longer than I was expecting there, no complaints!, I decided to head for Whetsted to do a quick visit....

The melted snow has made 'the puddles'
very much back in to 'the puddles'...

1130 - 1330 Overcast, cold, light rain NW f2-3

Again very few passerines to speak of to be found....so I concentrated mainly on the water and decided to do a count..

66 Greylag Geese, 57 Tufted Duck, 6 Great Crested Grebe, 9 Cormorant, 78 Coot, 61 Shoveler (probably the most I have seen here), 2 Grey Heron, 56 Black-headed Gull, 2 Common Gull, 1 Herring Gull, 93 Gadwall, 27 Pochard (the most I have seen here), 6 Little Grebe, 8 Wigeon, 1 Goldeneye (male), 3 Mute Swan, 1 Snipe, 7 Teal.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Raft

My initial plan of going to find some Brambling was curtailed....not by the snow....by people driving so slowly I reckoned it would take a few days to get to the birds....so....having given up on that I decided a quick visit to Whetsted was needed.  After all, you don't know how warm it is indoors till you spend a little time outdoors...!

Its cold out there....

1015 - 1130 Cloudy, sometimes bright, snow eventually, cold, NW f4-6

....and the wind was rather cold.....hat on, hood up...!

Not much to speak of really...I may have thought it was quiet a few days ago, but today WAS quiet.  Very little movement from any passerines...a couple of Goldcrest called along with a Reed Bunting.  On the way back, down the east end where it was more protected from the NW wind, a Robin and Blackbird fluttered by....

Island pit was just about deserted....

A Crow was happy out in the field marching around and a pair of Magpies flew past.

Snow moving in, looking toward Tonbridge....

On the water was the most interesting sight....on Middle Pit most of the ducks had formed a raft...

Raft...

There are obviously more sociable ducks and less sociable ones....this raft was made up of around 40 Shoveler, the male Goldeneye and some Pochard...around 10 I would guess....

On West Pit were the unsociable ducks....made up of Gadwall, Wigeon and Coot....clearly happy to be scattered across most of the pit....

The snow....much melted today....has increased the water levels quite a lot....the ditches are now full...and the pits are clearly higher as well....


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Quiet....but...

....but....a few Stock Doves were out in the field with 50+ Woodpigeon, so something new for the Whetsted list.....

0915 - 1115 Some cloud, some sun, bright, cool, SW f1-2 increasing 2-4

Most of the usual birds were around...a list will be along on Sunday as its WeBS day.....nice to see the first bird after getting out of the car was 3 Bullfinch.....

Goldeneye....they just wont sit still....dive, dive, dive....

...but this Heron sat happily,,,,

The Chiffchaff was in its usual place yet again....36 Shoveler were on the pits along with 8 Teal, 9 Pochard and around 15 Wigeon....3 Common Gull were amongst the 150+ Black-headed Gulls....

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Man.....I feel like a.....

...TWITCHER.....!!

Road trip....but at least it was in Kent...and not really that far....im hoping this doesn't qualify me as a...eeeek!....twitcher....im trying to look at it that at least one of these species will not occur near me, so travelling it the only thing to do.........honest!

I arrived at Milton Creek at around 10am....Long Tail Duck time....I haven't seen one of these for a few years....so as they have now been there for a few weeks I felt that all twitching efforts would be over and I would be alone....I met one other person on the footpath and a couple of others were the other side of the Creek...but most of the time I was indeed.....alone....

I then popped along the M2 to Strood for the Waxwing...yes, two years running....even if it was just a few weeks apart...but I thought that if I am to actually make an effort with my list this year, well...I had actually better make an effort....(though I'm still apprehensive about this)..to get some birds on the list that probably wont be around for too long and possibly not next winter....


When I was there there were a few other guys around, but they all had cameras and no bins or scopes to be seen....another scourge of modern birding and modern life....living life through the lens and not experiencing it...


I stopped on the way home at Halling and found a Kingfisher and Water Rail....

I wonder when a birder becomes a twitcher.....is it distance travelled?....or how soon you leave home after hearing about a bird?....or if you have paid to be advised a bird is around?....hmmm...

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Could you just shout that one more time....

Rex....Rex.....Rex.....Rex.....Rex.....35 minutes of a dog owner....Rex....Rex...I feel I know Rex personally.....Rex.....Rex......Rex......Rex....in fact....Rex....had my children I know him so well (theres a song in there somewhere)......Rex....Rex.....Rex.....

Good grief...said it before, say it again....if you don't train it (remember those training classes you missed when he was a pup....no....well that's cos you didn't go)...if you don't train it, it wont come back.....Rex....Rex....Rex.....

If you squint you can just make out a 'mistbow' in the middle....Rex....

...and a nice sunrise.....Rex....Rex....

All the usual birds were there, so I wont do....Rex.....Rex..... the list thing....new for the year for me was Great Spotted Woodpecker, tapping out some early....Rex....Rex.....territory maybe....and I refound the Chiffchaff in its usual place, wheres it been....Rex....Rex....a Treecreeper was new too for site and year list....meanwhile Meadow Pipit was new for the site...

Yellowhammers.....Rex...silhouette....Rex....

I will mention 6 Teal calling quite noisily for them....Rex....15+ Wigeon....Rex....12 Pochard and 27 Shoveler....Rex....Rex....a male and female Goldeneye were present...Rex....Rex....Herring Gull was new for the site this year..

Was Rex here...you can play spot Rex if you wish...

Actually....in that picture above is no water...which is good....this path was flooded for a few months last winter, we certainly had a lot more rain and we are going through quite a dry period at the moment....Rex....Rex.....im hopeful the...Rex....Orchids will return to this area....Rex...though I'm unsure if it was....Rex...the amount of water that put them off last year....Rex....

Finally....Rex....to the owner of....Rex.....go Rex yourself....