Sunday, 22 April 2018

Yesterdays early morning walk stared well with the first of 4 Whitethroats(86) on the patch that had come in over night.
One of the newly arrived Whitethroats

Down at the lake a Grey Wagtail was in the ditch opposite the pumping station and a Mistle Thrush was in the sheep field.
At the lake a Reed Warbler was singing from the southern end and three Cuckoos were present ( 2 males and a female) and I was delighted to find a Nightingale(87) singing on the Shirrenden side.
A pair of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers were in the alders behind Lake Cottage.
A single Mandarin drake was present.
                                                                     Mandarin drake
This afternoon the Nightingale had moved behind Lake Cottage where I also saw two Marsh Tits.

Yesterday I managed to photograph a pair of Orange Tips.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

The change in weather has got some migrants appearing on the patch with the first Cuckoo(82) calling on an early morning walk.Later that afternoon a Wheatear(83) was found in amongst the rows of apple trees in the orchard next to the lake.
                                                          Yesterdays Wheatear

The good fortune continued this morning with a Lesser Whitethroat(84) in the hedge by the pumping station and down at the lake the first Reed Warbler(85) was singing in reeds in the SW corner.
This evening 2 Lesser Whitethroats were found (1 at the top of Kirkins and 1 in the hedge in Gibbet Lane) and the Cuckoo was calling.
Bee flies have appeared in good numbers and I witnessed two male Orange Tips attending a female in Furnace Lane.
Bee Flies

Orange Tips

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The first Blackcap(77) appeared on the 5th April, thirteen days later than last year! On the 7th it was joined by a second plus one in our garden.A single Fieldfare and a Redwing were down at the lake. An early evening walk on the same day produced the second Willow Warbler of the spring and the first two Swallows(78) over the lake.
The next day there were three Swallows and I was surprised to see three House Martins(79) over the village.Down at the lake a pair of Shovelers(80) landed on the lake,briefly, before flying off to the south.
On the ninth a Fieldfare(probably the last of the spring) was present.
On the 13th a Red Kite(81) flew over the lake and drifted towards the village.
It was great to have some warm sunshine yesterday so I walked down to the lake for butterflies and wasn't disappointed when I saw the first two Orange Tips and three Peacocks plus a couple of Common Lizards.
                                                Orange Tip feeding on Cuckoo Flower
Basking Peacock

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

The twenty first of March saw a Little Egret(74) fly down the lake, a surprisingly uncommon bird on the patch. A Mallard with 12 ducklings was on the lake,
Sadly they didn't last long as a Mink wiped them out.
There were still a few Brambling about towards the end of the month but Fieldfare and Redwing numbers had dropped off .
There were 4 Chiffchaffs around the patch on the 30th and a very early Willow Warbler (75) that sadly didn't stcick around.
The lake held a redhead Goosander(76) this evening plus a Mandarin and a Teal.
Todays Goosander-always distant!
The first Goosander since 2014.

A Reed Buntng has been singing down at the lake,

With a second Bluthroat being found in Dengemarsh gully I went down to try for a few shots.
Bluethroat at Dengemarsh-What a beauty!!!
Very confiding

Sunday, 18 March 2018

March 11th produced my first Greylag Geese(72) when two went over. Friday 16th saw the weather become very springlike and I was delighted to find a Chiffchaff(73) at the edge of Shirrenden wood. A male Reed Bunting was singing from lakeside trees and a Lesser Spot called from the southern end.
With the day being so sunny we went down to Dungeness for a walk and were delighted to see our first Wheatear and lots of Firecrests.

                                                    Firecrest in the lighthouse garden.

Bramblings have really increased in numbers lately with at least 30 in the orchard this morning plus a fine male which has been coming to the garden feeders.
                                                            Barmbling in the garden

With the news that a White-spotted Bluethroat was at Denge Gully we made our way down and despite the bitter wind we managed to see this delightful little bird.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Sunday 4th March began with a Reed Bunting at the top of the farm track.
Reed Bunting

There was a flock of 150 Siskins in the alders plus 20+ Lesser Redpolls and a Mealy Redpoll.
The lake held two Teal drakes and a Mandarin of note and a Woodcock was flushed from the alders.
The first Kingfisher for a while was seen on the stream.
Twenty one Lapwings went over east and acouple of Bramblings were in the orchard.
Two Great Black-backed Gulls(71) were a welcome addition to the year list and it was nice to have three Skylarks over.
The evening of the 6th was marred by the finding of a Tawny Owl hanging high in a tree by fishing line.On inspection with the binos I could see that it was alive. Luckily Wez was with me,so we got a ladder and with the help of two visiting birders I climbed the tree to rescue it.

Unfortunate Tawny Owl
Upon rescue the bird was taken to Folley Wildlife Rescue Centre in Groombridge.


The 10th saw the Coues's Arctic Redpoll in the mixed flock.The following morning I found it early on but I don't think it was seen by visitng birders but the flock was very mobile.
The orchard held plenty of birds with eight Bramblings amongst them and a Greylag Goose(72) went over.
Tuesday evening we got a call from the rescue centre to say we could collect the Tawny Owl for release.It was great to be able to get it back into the wild.
This evening a Brambling was under the feeders and a Grey Wagtail was in the ditch opposite the pumping station.
Brambling under the feeders
Grey Wagtail opposite the pumping station

Saturday, 3 March 2018

The morning was spent down at the lake as I found an interesting Redpoll near the pumping station in Furnace Lane.After watching it for 15 minutes or so the flock moved to alders behind lake cottage.
After a couple of phone calls I was joined by Stephen Message who took a series of photos.
I've attached them for any comments!

Thanks to Stephen for the images