Saturday, 3 December 2016

November has passed and two more species were added to the year total with a Woodcock(105) flushed from the alder wood on the 12th.
On the 19th of the month a Little Egret(106) flew SW over Kirkins.
Prior to this another high-lite was a pair of Ravens that flew over north on the 6th of the month,remarkably this is the third record this year,probably a sign of this species increase in the county!
Most early walks at the weekends have seen good numbers of Black-headed Gulls with a few Common Gulls on Swigs Hole side.
A Marsh Tit has been seen regularly around the lake and of some significance was a Chiffchaff in the ditch at the southern end.
During this week the lake has been mostly frozen over this had pushed out the Water Rails with two seen in the only bit of open water on the afternoon of the third.It was great to see them as I normally only hear them.
Today a skein of geese went over which was mostly Canadas but there was also a Greylag and a Canada/Greylag hybrid amongst them.
The morning got even better when I found a Chiffchaff behind the pumping station and better still when three more CHIFFCHAFFS were flitting around the reeds and trees at the southern end of the lake.Fantastic!!Only the second ever December record.
This afternoon, on a walk with my wife I was delighted to find 35 Lapwings in with the Black-headeds on Swigs side.
Lapwings on Swigs

I found some images on my coolpix camera which I had digiscoped on a holiday in Kefalonia so i've 
a few.


Thursday, 3 November 2016

Last weekend started well with the first Greylag since March flying noisily over the lake.
Redwings and Fieldfare have become daily sightings but still not in any great numbers and the same goes for Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.

Maybe the last Chiffchaff of the year was seen on saturday 29th and there appears to be 2 Water Rail at the southern end of the lake.
Sunday was very foggy during my walk with the result that I gave up on seeing much and went home.
However later on I went out again as the sun had come out and was chuffed to find a Black Redstart(103) on the roof of the farmhouse.Brilliant!!

The good fortune continued on 2nd November when 2 Lapwings(104) went over( amazingly the first sighting of this species this year).
I managed a quick walk after work this evening and found four Teal on the lake plus fourteen Mandarin and a Water Rail.
As I watched a Snipe went over and as I left a Tawny Owl called.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

The weekend started well with a Tawny Owl calling as I lay in bed on saturday,
As I walked in to Kirkins a Mistle thrush went over followed shortly after by my first Lesser Redpoll of the autumn.
Winter thrushes were very evident with plenty of Redwings and Fieldfares going over.
Lots of gulls were also moving with Black Headed,Herring and Common landing on the big field in Swigs and later a Great black-backed was also added.
Down through Kirkins a few flocks of Starlings numbering in the hundreds went over.
Skylarks and Meadow Pipit called as they went by.
In all five Chiffchaffs were seen and it was great to have a Reed Bunting over.
Two Kingfishers were on the lake but little else was on the water save for Mallard, Moorhen and a single Mandarin on the water.
On the Shirrenden side and the local blackbirds alerted me to a Little Owl.
The only raptor seen was a Kestrel but in all 49 species was seen.
Today a single Stonechat was found in the ditch at the end of the lake,
Todays Stonechat

Lesser black-backed Gull was added plus five Buzzards were seen this afternoon.
Interestingly a Common Darter was seen down at the lake and two Red Admirals were in the garden.
Red Admiral in the garden.


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The week ending 16th was punctuated with a few more Fieldfare and Redwings arriving and probably the last House martins and Swallows departing.
Friday 14th produced a skein of Brent Geese(102) going over in a southerly direction.
About 160 Fieldfare were seen with just 4 Redwings. Other winter arrivals included 4 Siskins and good numbers of Meadow pipits.
Saturday 15th started on a brilliant note with a GREAT WHITE EGRET over at first light which I watched fly over the valley towards  Castle Hill before it veered south west.
I met up with Wez on the farm track who had found a Stonechat on top of the middle hedge.
Stonechat on the middle hedge.

It was good to have a Reed bunting on the days list and some Skylarks over.
Sunday I found a much awaited Yellowhammer in the hedge in Gibbet lane and heard two Water Rails down at the lake.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

It was a great couple of hours on the patch this morning with lots of birds about.
Summer migrants were still in evidence with at least 10 Chiffchaffs seen and Swallows and House Martins trickling through to the north east.
In contrast winter visitors have began to arrive with the first Fieldfares of the autumn plus a few flocks of Siskins and a large flock of Meadow Pipits.
Ten Skylarks landed on the field in front of the farm cottages and the flock of Linnets was still in the orchard where two Yellowhammers flew over.
It was good to see a Lesser spotted woodpecker which flew down the lake.
Three raptors were seen in the shape of Kestrel, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk.
In the afternoon a walk down to the lake produced a Brambling in the orchard.

Little opportunity to get any photos today but I did see a Migrant Hawker which reminded I took some pictures of dragonflies during the summer so I've attached them.

Migrant Hawker
Brown Hawker
Golden-ringed Dragonfly. (One of four present in August)

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

October started with about 60 House martins and a dozen Swallows seen on the 1st of the month which were going south in the morning.The only other summer migrants were a single Blackcap and around 20 Chiffchaffs.
Also of note were two Siskins.
In the afternoon there was a mass movement of House martins and Swallows which were going west after the rain had passed.
On Sunday 2nd there were plenty of gulls on the large field in Swigs with 30 Black-headed, 22 Herring, 1 Common and a Lesser black-back with 27 Stock Doves there also.
Forty two species were seen and it was great to find a Marsh Tit on the path next to lake cottage.there were still plenty of Chiffchaffs about and Meadow Pipits totalled seventeen.
A walk after work on Monday 3rd produced the goods when a Stonechat (101) was found on the middle hedge at Hononton Farm,then a second appeared then a third and  fourth. Amazingly there were 3 males and a female flitting off the hedge catching insects.
Unfortunately I had no camera with me but a phone call to Wez had him driving down armed with his to take some shots.

Stonechats- Thanks to Wez.

I carried on my walk down to the lake once I had my fill of chats and was pleased to see a Reed Warbler in the lakeside reeds.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

100 UP!

Autumn is well under way but it's still a bit of a slog,due partly,I think to the loss of a lot of the decent habitats being removed by the local farmers.
The first Mediterranean Gull (96) flew over on 13th July with a small movement of Black-headed gulls.This was followed the next day by cracking Wood Warbler (97) which called constantly and was still around the following day.
On the 20th 3 Redpolls were present,an unusual record,for me.
On the 23rd a Yellow Wagtail(98) went over plus a Siskin was seen.
Mistle Thrush numbers increased during the month with 26 in the orchard on 27th as did Linnet with a flock of 300 on 29th.
Into August and it was good to find Willow Warblers around the lake plus a few Spotted Flycatchers in the paddocks in Shirrenden.
On the 21st Mistle thrushes peaked at 33 in the orchard and a flock of 40 Chaffinches was in the rape stubble on Swigs side.
The first Wheatear of the autumn was on Hononten farm track on 24th with another on the 30th
 and two more flyover Yellow Wagtails went over on 28th.

September came in with 2 Hobbies hunting over the orchard on 3rd and the next dat it was great to find a Turtle Dove feeding with 28 Collared Doves in stubble in Kirkins.
On the 6th a much awaited Sedge Warbler (99) was at the lake and on the 11th 2 Tree Pipits and another Yellow Wagtail went over.
A Whinchat (100) was at the top of Kirkins on 12th with another there on 16th.
Wheatears were found on 17th and 24th.
On the 17th two Ravens were circling over the bottom end of the lake before drifting off to the west and the same day,what appeared to be an Abietinus type Chiffchaff was feeding amongst a group of Chiffchaffs in the pine plantation.
House Martins were passing through in numbers on 24th when a Willow Warbler was also present.
Probably the last Reed Warbler of the year was in the southeast corner of the lake the same day.

A Little Grebe was on the lake on the 24th but little else has appeared recently.