Friday, 24 February 2017

Med

1100 - 1315 overcast, occasional sunshine NW variable f1-4

Having attained the brownie points that will, hopefully, release me for a visit to somewhere soon, I headed to the pits for  check round....

Coltsfoot has made an appearance...

The most Buzzards ive seen recently is 2...today it was 5 which is excellent news...

Lords and Ladies

Many of the usual birds were around...the Linnet flock has made a re-appearance, around 40 birds or so....they were hanging out near a flock of Reed Buntings, again 40 plus that were accompanied by 2 Yellowhammers...

The Shovelers looked rather splendid in the occasional sunshine, heads glowing green...

A Little Egret, 5 Teal and a Water Rail were also around....2 Mediterranean Gulls were on the west pit, a new species for the site this year (and my year list), though they do drop by now and then...

I found a Chiffchaff about 30 feet away from where one had been singing a few days ago, so likely the same bird....

...and whats this....


...it could have been laying there for ages I suppose, apparently Eveque make sports equipment and this is some sort of sports equipment....

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

All change

0915 - 1130 overcast, occasional light rain, brightening SW f4-6

The planned visit to Cliffe was postponed due to the weather and will now be held in the village hall....er....no it wont...bah!  With a forecast of heavy winds and occasional rain I decided to do some local birding instead....I might have to give up the idea of Bewicks this winter, maybe next then...

So I met up with DH for a walk out at Whetsted...hadn't seen him for a while so always good to catch up with our various adventures and pursuits of birds...

As expected there wasn't too much around, most birds probably hiding in the hedges and reeds to avoid being blown away....

Goldcrest and Sparrowhawk were soon on the list...nice as haven't seen one of these hawks for a while at the pits....Bullfinches seemed to be happy and spotted several times...though only one Reed Bunting seen....

Most of the action was on the pits themselves....4 Pochard, 3 Wigeon, 1 Common Gull, 1 female Goldeneye....50+ Shoveler.....still plenty of Tufted Ducks though the Gadwall number seemed reduced.....


Sunday, 19 February 2017

Chiff-chaff chiff-chaff chiff-chaff

0815 - 1045 overcast, cool but warming with clearer skies


Is this my favourite time of the year...if I could say I had a favourite time...?  I enjoy the winter visitors and I'm happy getting up early on a cold and frosty morning....but....the sensation of the warblers coming is something else for me....signified by the crossover point in Spring....


As I got out the car the field to the south of the road held several Fieldfares..whilst the paddocks held their usual array of Redwings, Song Thrush and Blackbirds.....

Chaffinch, Buzzard, Robin, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove Long Tail Tit, Feral Pigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Blue Tit, Green Woodpecker all followed quickly....

At least three....


.....Yellowhammer...

...were singing...as was one Reed Bunting.....and this....

Linnet

Dunnock, Goldfinch, Wren, Jackdaw, Skylark, Stock Dove, Great Tit, Bullfinch, Jay and a Mistle Thrush were on the tally...

A magnificent Grey Wagtail was at the pools along the track near the west gate....and on my return journey east a Chiffchaff was heard.....chiff-chaff chiff-chaff chiff-chaff.....and then seen....not a migrating bird, there have been at least two over wintering on site so probably one of these birds...though only 15-20 days till the first migrating birds get here...how exciting!!

The pits didn't let the side down either....a new bird for the year and site list....Mandarin Ducks...a male and female...have returned....

Shoveler, Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Little Egret, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, 2 Pochard, 1 Teal, 2 Goldeneye...one male one female seemingly paired up.....Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Mallard, Gadwall, Little Grebe, Black-headed Gull, 1 Common Gull, 2 Herring Gull, 1 Water Rail, 55 Canada Geese


177 Greylag Geese....and over in the small pits at the back some Wigeon were calling...

Thursday, 16 February 2017

This is what you get....

...when you go looking for a bird...

Nothing.  Multplied by three on todays occasion. 

A trip to Dungeness to try for Bewicks Swan on Walland Marsh....gone missing......Long-eared Owl...possibly there but if it was it was so deep in the Willow it couldn't be seen....and Purple Sandpiper out at Hythe....gone missing......

One good thing today was the number of Guillemots out on the sea....lots....and a few Razorbills....a few Red Throated Divers zoomed past.....the number of Gannets was reduced from the last time I was present but it was quite a bit calmer today.....

The Ring-necked Duck was still there...and a Great Egret at the ARC pit along with a Marsh Harrier...Water Rails screamed regularly.....I also got Little Egret and Grey Heron there...

I was told the Arctic Gull was still there but I couldn't find it and the gulls were quite shifty a lot of the time, regularly dreading....so it was quite difficult to keep working through the, at some times, huge flock on the beach.....


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Todays choice was....

...well...mostly wrong....

A visit to Sheppey today so arrived at the raptor viewing point at 0700 as the light was getting light enough to see things....on the way along Harty Ferry Road I had moved a Barn Owl off a fence post....two more were at the viewing point.....

Initially there was a decided lack of Harrier activity....eventually some Marsh Harriers appeared and a Kestrel obliged.  A Buzzard was sitting on a post at some distance....this would constitute my four raptors for the day!  Being repeated several times over.  This reflects back to my last post....at Whetsted this would have been a good raptor day....at Sheppey its not really....!

Whilst there I met the 'Owl Man' who spends many hours, mostly in the dark, looking for Short Eared Owl.  He informed me there was plenty around though just about all but one or two were 'night time birds'.....

I also had my one new bird for the year list....Red-legged Partridge....and I saw quite a number of them here and at the farm near the church.

Plenty of smaller birds were milling around, Chaffinches in good numbers, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtails, Stonechats...a Cettis Warbler sang occasionally.

Eventually I moved on to the reserve where I was told how quiet it had been.  Not really the news you want to hear having just got there....doh!  Never mind. 

I meandered to the sea wall hide...plenty of Reed Buntings, Meadow Pipits and Skylark keeping me company.

It was indeed quiet, with occasional Marsh Harrier activity.....when I reached the hide a few Greylag Geese were present....I waited for a while and was rewarded with the splendid site of about 150 White-fronted Geese coming to land....

I returned to the viewpoint to learn that the SEO had been seen at the Leysdown end....so I drove round but couldn't find it...though it did allow me to add Turnstone to the day list.

A bonus bird on the way home was my 3rd Red Kite of the year....located just north of East Peckham...

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Normal and Interesting

 0750 - 1000 overcast, occasional light rain, cold NE f1-3

What makes a normal day at one site, can make it an interesting day at another....if I was on the coast, North Kent or the Sussex coast, I would probably see hundreds if not thousands of Lapwing and see it as 'normal'....but there was one at Whetsted today....which made it interesting...even though its the same bird...!

Despite the cold weather several birds were determined to take on the mantle of Spring....Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Chaffinch and Dunnock were all actively promoting an interest in getting things moving along.....

Goldfinch, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Redwing, Jay, Blue Tit, Robin, Magpie, Great Tit, Reed Bunting, Yellowammer, Crow, Bullfinch, Green Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Feral Pigeon, Fieldfare and the bird I have been waiting for to add to my list....Linnet....but not just one...oh no....about 50 of them had turned up in the East fields....

February WeBS produced.....

9 Mallard, 17 Pochard, 50 Tufted Duck, 82 Coot, 1 Moorhen, 2 Grey Heron, 59 Gadwall, 15 Shoveler, 6 Great Crested Grebe (including two displaying), 4 Little Grebe, 6 Teal, 8 Cormorant, 1 Little Egret, 25 Greylag Geese, 28 Canada Geese, 1 Lapwing, 4 Herring Gull, 19 Black-headed Gull, 1 Great Black-back Gull, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Snipe, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Water Rail

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Hawfinch Hunt

Eastling via Harrietsham.....

A stop at Harrietsham to collect Andy and to look for Little Owl at the church.....failed.....

However....Siskin was found....new for the list....excellent...

Off to Eastling church....quick look round the churchyard for Little Owl and Hawfinch.....failed....and then off to the 'valley'....a meander round the valley, up the top down the bottom, along the edge...nothing....

Back to the church....nothing....back to Harrietsham.....nothing...doh!!

Well...a new bird for the list....and the decision made to plan a visit to Norfolk so I can stop at Lynford Arboretum on the way back....