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....

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

New Year Ringing

...and so it is, instead of spending the day out clocking up a list of species for the new year I decided I would go ringing instead.....and it was well worth it....


Looking back to the 'old' days of ringing at an orchard near Northiam…..it was surrounded by fields and no other orchards....though im guessing if you went back a few years there was probably several orchards around.....

Now im in the heart of orchards....and this is part of the problem of not catching many birds, in the old days they were 'trapped' at the orchard so spent most of their time around.....now, here near Brenchley, they have the roaming of many acres of orchards as far as I can see in any direction....

On top of this...frosts....a complete lack of....so far this winter...2018/2019....we have had 3 frosts...pretty poor....now hopefully some hard frosts and very cold weather will appear....which leads to the next problem.....the ringing is usually better before January round this way....

Anyway...what turned up today...

Ive posted Redwing before....but this one is pretty special and the reason why ringing is done....its hard to come across a bird that was ringed elsewhere....but this one was the bird that proves the point...it was ringed in Holland....

Redwing

Every year I go with the usual feeding station....which is usually pretty poor, though I don't know why....theres plenty of hedgerow for birds to move along, theres plenty of evergreens for roosting, which Fieldfares and Redwings indeed roost in....I would have thought it would provide a great refuge for a colony of Greenfinches....but none are around...and in fact, very few finches ever come to the area, occasional Goldfinch....but other than that....

So I have moved the feeding station...again....to an area that was frequented by caravans to house the apple pickers though the vans have now been moved on....so its a good little area surrounded by a bit of scrub and some buildings....

Today a number of Tits turned up....Blue, Great....and a couple of these smaller species....Coal Tit...

Coal Tit

Its always an event getting a big blobby grey thing in the net...a Woodpigeon....and many a time they lumber themselves out of it and fly away before they can be taken and bagged for ringing...today was a good day...

Woodpigeon

Woodpigeon

A Buzzard called and a couple circled for a short while.....and a Grey Heron flew over the garden....

So the year list will have to wait for improvement till later in the week...

2018 lists

Archive lists for 2018....

Whetsted and my over all Year List....

Total Species 2018


Whetsted = 94

House Sparrow, Crow, Woodpigeon, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Collared Dove, Blackbird, Magpie, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Goldcrest, Kestrel, Feral Pigeon, Wren, Jay, Song Thrush, Bullfinch, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Fieldfare, Starling, Long Tail Tit, Reed Bunting, Buzzard, Green Woodpecker, Moorhen, Mallard, Gadwall, Black-headed Gull, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Shoveler, Herring Gull, Teal, Pochard, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Common Gull, Little Egret, Common Snipe, Goldeneye, Mute Swan, Stock Dove, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Kingfisher, Little Grebe, Lesser Redpoll, Lapwing, Jackdaw, Nuthatch, Rook, Black-necked Grebe, Skylark, Yellowhammer, Chiffchaff, Barn Owl, Water Rail, Short-eared Owl, Smew, Wigeon, Cettis Warbler, Greenfinch, Green Sandpiper, Brambling, Linnet, Sand Martin, Coal Tit, Sparrowhawk, Nuthatch, Blackcap, Treecreeper, Willow Warbler, Swallow, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Nightingale, Little Gull, Cuckoo, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Woodlark, Swift, House Martin, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Turtle Dove, Hobby, Common Sandpiper, Turtle Dove

Year List = 160

House Sparrow, Crow, Woodpigeon, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Collared Dove, Blackbird, Magpie, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Goldcrest, Kestrel, Feral Pigeon, Wren, Jay, Song Thrush, Bullfinch, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Fieldfare, Starling, Long Tail Tit, Reed Bunting, Green Woodpecker, Moorhen, Mallard, Gadwall, Black-headed Gull, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Shoveler, Herring Gull, Teal, Pochard, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Buzzard, Cormorant, Common Gull, Little Egret, Common Snipe, Goldeneye, Mute Swan, Bewick Swan, Mediterranean Gull, Pied Wagtail, Jackdaw, Slavonian Grebe, Dartford Warbler, Cettis Warbler, Little Grebe, Long-tailed Duck, Water Rail, Greater Black-backed Gull, Greenfinch, Goldcrest, Lapwing, Shelduck, Ruff, Wigeon, Golden Plover, Great White Egret, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Marsh Harrier, Rook, Stonechat, Long-eared Owl, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Buzzard, Barn Owl, Hen Harrier, Meadow Pipit, Red-legged Partridge, Corn Bunting, Linnet, Avocet, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Stock Dove, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Coal Tit, Mistle Thrush, Raven, Hawfinch, Kingfisher, Little Grebe, Mandarin Duck, Lesser Redpoll, Dunnock, Nuthatch, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Pintail Duck, Wigeon, Rock Pipit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Snow Bunting, Bar-tailed Godwit, Sanderling, Greenfinch, Red-breasted Merganser, Ringed Plover, Long-billed Dowitcher, Siskin, Black-necked Grebe, White-fronted Geese, Barnacle Geese, Whooper Swan, Yellowhammer, Chiffchaff, Skylark, Tawny Owl, Ring-necked Parakeet, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Short-eared Owl, Smew, Woodlark, Green Sandpiper, Brambling, Sand Martin, Bluethroat, Firecrest, Little Gull, Gannet, Sparrowhawk, Wheatear, Blackcap, Treecreeper, Willow Warbler, Swallow, Egyptian Goose, Grey Wagtail, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Nightingale, Cuckoo, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Swift, House Martin, Turtle Dove, Hobby, Common Sandpiper, White Stork, Melodious Warbler, Common Tern, Spoonbill, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern, Tree Pipit, Nightjar, Common Redstart, Greenshank, Little Owl, Temminks Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Bearded Tit

Arrival Dates - Whetsted GP - 2018 plus highest site count in ( )

Cettis Warbler 08/03/2018 (1), Chiffchaff (over wintering bird - singing) 09/03/2018, Chiffchaff (migrant) 14/03/2018 (33), Sand Martin 17/03/2018, Blackcap 01/04/2018 (23), Willow Warbler 04/04/2018 (5), Swallow 05/04/2018, Whitethroat 09/04/2018 (24), Reed Warbler 11/04/2018, Sedge Warbler 12/04/2018, Nightingale 12/04/2018 (11), Cuckoo 15/04/2018 (2), Lesser Whitethroat 15/04/2018 (5), Garden Warbler 21/04/2018 (10), Swift 25/04/2018, House Martin 25/04/2018

Arrival Dates 2017 plus highest site count in ( )

Chiffchaff (over wintering bird) singing 19/02/2017, Cettis Warbler 01/03/2017 (1), Chiffchaff (migrant) 09/03/2017 (57), Willow Warbler 29/03/2017 (12), Blackcap 29/03/2017 (20), Whitethroat 03/04/2017 (30), Swallow 07/04/2017, Cuckoo 09/04/2017 (1), Nightingale 10/04/2017 (13), Sand Martin 12/04/2017, House Martin 12/04/2017, Lesser Whitethroat 13/04/2017 (6), Sedge Warbler 13/04/2017, Reed Warbler 19/04/2017, Garden Warbler 25/04/2017 (7), Swift 28/04/2017