Sunday, 19 May 2019

Whats in the pond

….Back in the garden and the weather brightening very nicely...

A couple of Buzzards were overhead for some time....as was the Spitfire regularly too-ing and throw-ing low.....

The pond needed a bit of duckweed removal.....during which I found these guys...


Fresh water leeches.....haven't seen any in the pond for a while so its really nice to see this lot on the under side of a leaf I had dropped whilst opening up the pond a bit a week ago.....im guessing they are this years young....cant say I know a lot about leeches other than they are the animal that assimilates the highest percentage of its foot....something like 90%...!

Group Visit

0900 - 1200 grey, overcast turning bright, cool but warming quickly

An excellent visit to site today....accompanied by James, Sean, Lene and Mark....good birds on offer for all and good conversation on the way round....

James did the honours of counting and noting the birds along the way....

Top bird was obviously the Hobby at West Pit....though everyone was very pleased to catch up with a Kingfisher that was fishing in the narrow pit just west of there....

A couple of Swift were south of West Pit over the fields feeding....

In other news....There are two pairs of Turtle Doves on site and both areas were full of purring....sadly couldn't actually get a look at any of the birds but time will hopefully prove fruitful....

All the Nightingales have now settled on nesting sites though a final tally still needs to be done....I think we found another one anyway....

….and another definite highlight of the day was finding a juvenile recently fledged Nightingale chick....with dad singing not too far away....brilliant.....and pretty good work by the parents which probably arrived during the second week or so of April.....the female would have produced 2 - 5 eggs, with incubation being 13 days and the fledging taking place 11 days after that....very impressive piece of work....

5 Garden Warblers
2 Lesser Whitethroat
10 Whitethroat
15 Chiffchaff
2 Willow Warbler
11 Reed Warbler
14 Blackcap




Friday, 10 May 2019

West End Birds

0430 - 0700 bright, sunny, cloud gradually moving in, cool....and wet under foot with no wellies...!!

Trying to finalise the number of Nightingales…..today I have settled on 11....and there are now 2 at the western end of the site.  Both right by footpaths as well......and in fact, all the warblers that inhabit the gravel pits can now be heard and seen around the West Pit.....who needs to scour the rest of the site!!

….actually....well...if you want to see and hear Turtle Dove it all gets a bit 'off piste' really....but finally they are on site....excellent news....

Nightingale 11
Whitethroat 10
Blackcap 23
Garden Warbler 8
Willow Warbler 1
Chiffchaff 17
Lesser Whitethroat 4

A Cuckoo was constantly calling but for the most part appeared to be south of the site and on site as I was about to leave....

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Chiffchaff carrying food

0430 - 0715 cool to cold, overcast, brightening with cloud building

The hope today was to locate all the Nightingales as, surely, by now, they have settled in their chosen areas for the season...well...maybe today.....some of them had indeed moved around and some more have arrived on new sites.....im sure they will have a bit of moving around too....!

Sun up....

Numbers today...

Nightingale 13
Whitethroat 21
Lesser Whitethroat 6
Willow Warbler 2
Garden Warbler 8
Blackcap14
Chiffchaff 20

Reed and Sedge Warblers.....plenty.....

Other birds of interest....

8 Stock Dove, Mistle Thrush, Cuckoo....which was calling continually during my visit and busy all along the north and south sides of the pits....a Tawny Owl called for some time.....a Little Egret flew over west to east, Yellowhammer…..


….Geese south of West Pit

….I found a Chiffchaff carrying food....which means it certainly didn't hang around arriving, choosing a site, finding a female, building a nest and getting on with business....!

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Moon and the Sun

0500 - 0720 blustery SW F 3-4 quite cool, bright but clouding over

That's a bit different....coat on....hat on....gloves on....warmed up nicely so put my hat in my pocket and dropped it somewhere....oh well, I will find it next time round.....

The Moon.....

….and the Sun....

Found a Nuthatch by the pit entrance today calling....so hopefully settled there...the two Swallows were up with the light and out and about feeding round the paddocks in the gloom....one more Swallow was found over Middle pit.....

2 Buzzards calling around the site and at least 2 Grey Herons swooping about in the rushing wind...the other birds of note were 2 Stock Doves...

Warblers...

Nightingale 10
Whitethroat 19
Lesser Whitethroat 5
Willow Warbler 1
Garden Warbler 4
Blackcap 20
Chiffchaff 22

….and Reed and Sedge Warblers....

...and an annoyance....as they continue their attempts to close off the site to intruders like me....my north side access is now curtailed which means walking a non-circuit but a lineal route, tedious....but I find it interesting how dim workers....and no doubt management....can be....

….this gate, no barbed wire, falling off its hinges, easy to get over (for a couple of years it wasn't even on its hinges but leant up against the post)….



...is 150 metres from this gate....both on footpaths....but this one is covered in barbed wire....


….guess which one I use....der!...……….but its all a sign...as Bob sang...oh the times they are a changin'....I guess they will begin work big time this Summer, if so access will become more of an issue....luckily the majority of the Nightingales are in a part of the site that shouldn't be affected....

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

East Peckham

1000 - 1130 Bright but clouding to occasional light rain

Having heard of the pits at East Peckham....and driven past several times being able to view a large-ish body of water....I decided to re-investigate....having tried once before....but on a different footpath...if only I had taken this one instead....

So...a bit of meandering around, 2 Buzzards, and I could see the body of water that was viewable through trees from the road.....not particularly exciting I have to admit....

Mallard, Little Grebe, Coot, Lapwing, Greylag Geese.....surely this couldn't be it....so...more wandering....

I meandered across a vast gravel-scape and found a few small ponds but nothing too fruitful....so decided to meander along the footpath again...which crossed the pits slightly nearer where they were working....

Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Whitethroat.....

I could also hear Nightingale in the distance....though no surprise here as I had wandered in the direction of the pits from the Beltring side over the past few years on several occasions and found them around....

Then a small gap in the trees and there was a small scrape....2 Little Ringed Plovers, 1 Green Sandpiper....

I meandered on to the woods....and had to cross the railway....at a crossing that clearly hadn't been used for a few years....


£2 for not shutting the gate!!

...looking down the track the other way...now overgrown...

...one careful owner....

I found 3 Nightingales in the near woods......at which point it decided to rain....so I made a retreat...

Earlier

Whetsted 0515 - 0730

Trying to pin down the Nightingales as usual this time of year....now up to 9 and some of them are moving around, moving on...and still time for more to arrive...…

Chiffchaff 20
Willow Warbler 1...………….!!
Blackcap 17
Lesser Whitethroat 6...………..could be the best year!!
Whitethroat 15
Garden Warbler 1
Reed and Sedge Warblers in numbers...

Also....Buzzard 1, Stock Dove 3....

And....

Cuckoo....hmmm....not the best image....

….and when I got back to the car a large bird flapped over head and landed on the Oast here another bird was already sitting.....

2 Egyptian Geese