Sunday, 20 January 2019

The colour of ringing

Will it ever get cold....the forecast keeps saying it will...so far..I have probably said before....this winter has produced 2 notable frosts and 2 sort of light frosts here in Pembury....very disappointing....ringing in winter needs frosts to drive the birds in to the orchard for feeding on the apples left on the ground....

The highlight of todays ringing was this wonderful male Great-spotted Woodpecker....

Great-spotted Woodpecker

Always a treat in the net and...always very noisy....I have the little blighter in the ringers grip....if you try to pose them like other birds they hammer away on your hands which I can assure you is no fun...they will quite happily draw blood....

Heres a wing photo to show moult patterns....from this it can be aged....

...black coverts contrasting with browner primaries and secondaries…...hatched last year...

….heres another wing contrast....this time Blue Tit...

...contrasting secondary coverts and primary coverts....hatched last year...

And this is the usual ringers view....

...not too bad this time...but they do love their pound of flesh if they can get hold of it...!

Continuing the colour of birds.....heres a bird with a lot to say for itself....

Robin

...and everyone loves a cute little Goldcrest....

Goldcrest....male with yellow and orange crest...

Finally....heres an underrated bird in my opinion....Dunnock...not just a little brown and grey job really....when you get to see them close up.....

Dunnock

….and here are two different Dunnock eye photos....eye colour, bill colour and feather shape will determine the age....

...slightly more amber....note all black bill...

...also look closely at the feathers around the face....above they are darker in colour and the pattern much more striking compared to below....

...slightly more straw brown....bill has a pinkish base and is dull black....



Knole

Off for some lunch.....so we decided that a wander round Knole in Sevenoaks would be nice on the way back for the afternoon......it wasn't too cold and a very pleasant walk was had....plenty of the obvious species seen though the new one for the list this year....

Ringneck Parakeet.....


Friday, 18 January 2019

Birthday trip out

Cold morning......rain on and off most of the day....and cold....but...out we must go....

DH and I decided to stay reasonably local due to the interesting weather....surely would have been frozen to bits down at Rye....so....probably a good choice....

Off to Hemsted Forest to look for Crossbill....when we arrived we were told they had been scattered by a Sparrowhawk….meh....still....worth a look round.....Coal Tit singing away.....found a few other birder hanging around the 'puddles' where they come to drink.....went back a little way toward the car park where the clearing is.....and found them.....feeding the far side of the clearing....nice....got a couple of others on to them.....eventually they dropped down out of sight....

On to Horsmonden, Furnace Pond.....best we could do was Nuthatch....

On to Whetsted for the Red-neck Grebe for DH and two female Goldeneye....nice....

On to Hayesden Lake for the Common Mergansers....or Goosanders....whichever name you prefer......

A nice day out....though it was nice to be back in the warm...!!!

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Warm Ringing

Out and about ringng…..blimey....warm this morning...almost balmy.....will it ever be winter...

The one highlight amongst the very few birds in the net today....

Song Thrush

With the influx of winter thrushes....Fieldfares and Redwings....means an increase in numbers of Blackbirds, scaly looking as per my post a while back....and Song Thrushes too....this, however, is the first I have ringed this winter.....it was painfully slow today and finished very early....too warm, not much in the orchard, they are out and about all over with the ground being soft for them to dig around....

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Isle of Sheppey - 8 raptor species day....

Off we go for a day visit to the north Kent coast and a good days birding....winter on Sheppey is great with lots of potential....

Set off 0640 and arrived at Lower Halstow 0730.....light enough to get on with a meander along the Saxon Shore Way.....having never been to this site before it was all a bit experimental....but it turned out to be really good and some information I had received the day before was bang on....

With high tide predicted for 1120 we....DH and I....headed out for a sea wall walk...and plenty to see.....

Blackbird, Crow, Robin, Woodpigeon, Wigeon, Great Tit, Dunnock, Song Thrush, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Redshank, Curlew, Greenshank, Brent Geese, Fieldfare, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Pintail, Oystercatcher, Feral Pigeon, Lapwing, Dunlin, Mallard, Redwing, Kestrel, Ringed Plover, Herring Gull, Little Egret, Shelduck, Canada Goose, Starling, Jay, Marsh Harrier, Cormorant, Teal, Snipe, Turnstone....bird of the visit...4 Knot sitting on a close island with the tide coming in quickly....Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Collared Dove.....

With high tide approaching we headed for Funton Creek/Chetney Marsh area for the large flock of Knot.....though this was somewhat disappointing...yes, there were several thousand....but very distant....anyway....we added a few species to the day list....

Avocet...a large roosting flock...Grey Heron, Peregrine...that attacked the Knot flock and flew off with its prey....Hen Harrier.....

Finally on to the Isle itself....we stopped at 'the corner' in Harty Ferry Road....

Mute Swan, Meadow Pipit, Buzzard, Red-legged Partridge.....

Raptor Viewpoint

Chaffinch....bird of the day Rough-legged Buzzard.....this has already been questioned...but as some people already know....I don't do three men in a shed miles away that didn't see what I saw because....they weren't there....

At the bottom of the Poplar row at the west end of the reserve we added....

Merlin, Greylag Goose, Reed Bunting and Linnet

We then met up with JK at Elliots Farm for the view across the reserve....which is a much better view than from the Poplars where we could make out some Geese but not 100% for sure...though we had a reasonable idea they were what we were looking for....

White-fronted Goose.....

Elliots Farm also provided the best views of Hen Harrier as well...in fact....2 Hen Harriers hunting across the field and round the edges right in front of us.....excellent....

Ended the day at the Raptor Viewpoint....the action came thick and fast....plenty of Marsh Harriers to be seen....Buzzards....Peregrine, Merlin....loads of Lapwing out in the field put up by various raptors....we added...

Golden Plover, Corn Bunting, Moorhen....and Short-eared Owl....

A great days birding....with the aim of a minimum of 60 species and 5 raptors....we achieved...62 species and 8 raptors....

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Rarity

A visit to Whetsted GP....not often undertaken any more due to the work now being done....and the muddy mess they are creating....in places along the track its a quagmire.....there was no one present today so maybe they have stopped for the winter.....

Anyway....a Red Necked Grebe was reported a couple of days ago by MG and confirmed still present yesterday by PD.....so off I went...heres a couple of poor shots...



….but enough to show it was indeed the bird....I forgot to take my camera and scope....

The over all bird numbers seemed to be down....who knows why, is it the traffic going by that's putting birds off....or just not cold enough to drive them to places like Whetsted….

I did manage to clock up a few other species new for the year despite the speed of visit....

Song Thrush, Dunnock, Starling, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch, Kestrel

…..and on the water....

Shoveler 14, Tufted Duck 33, Pochard 1, Teal 4+, Common Gull 2, Coot, Mute Swan 1, Great Crested Grebe 5, Mallard 5, Gadwall 34, Cormorant 12, Coot 35+, Kingfisher 1

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

An hour

An hour or so's walk round part of Tudeley Woods and across the heath this afternoon.....fairly quiet but managed to add a few birds to the year list...

Jay, Bullfinch, Long Tail Tit, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull...

Earlier in the day I managed to add House Sparrow just round the corner from home here in Pembury....