Monday, 13 May 2019

The new year lit wasn't troubled until 4th April when a Red-legged Partridge(76) was seen in Swigs.
The 7th started brilliantly with a Ring Ouzel(77) in Kirkins which quickly disappeared after landing briefly on the farmhouse roof. Looking for it at the rear of the building produced a Willow Warbler(78) in some brambles.
On the evening of the 10th I was delighted to here a Little Owl(79) calling in Shirrenden.The last Redwing of the spring was seen on the 14th and the following day the Fieldfare that had been hanging around was seen for the last time.The same day 2 Swallows(80) were over the lake.
Sawllow in the orchard

A lot of my time has been spent in our new garden which has produced a few more species for the year with Sand Martin(81) over on the 18th with some Swallows.
The 19th produced a fly over Tree Pipit(82) plus a Whitethroat(83) and Reed Warbler(84) down at the lake.
Common Whitethroat
The same day had a House Martin(85) over the garden.
The following morning a Wheatear(86) was in the field to the right of the farm track and was joined by another in the afternoon.
Female Wheatear
That evening I ventured out to try for Nightingale in the regular place outside the village. The first call I encoutered and then found was a Lesser Whtethroat(87).Great!! Then just as the light was going he Barn Owl popped out of the nest box just as the Nightingale(88) started to sing.
Lesser Whitethroat(taken at Dungeness Reserve).
On the 21st April the first Cuckoo(89) of the year was calling in Shirrenden where a Lesser Spot was seen.

A Swift(90) was over the village on 23rd.Easily the earliest date I have had the species on the patch. Finally,a Garden Warbler was singing down at the lake on the 26th and was joined by another on the 28th.

Monday, 25 March 2019

The first Blackcap(72) was singing intermittently behind the pumping station on the 23rd March, the earliest date on the patch since I started watching.

There was also a Little Grebe(73) on the lake on the same day

My good fortune continued on the afternoon of Sunday 24th with at least a couple of Bramblings(74) in the orchard with Chaffinches.
This afternoon,as we were in the kitchen a Red Kite(75) appeared over the garden before drifting off to the east.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

It was a foggy start to the day on 23rd February but was brightened up by a pair of Lesser Spotted Wodpeckers(69) and singing Chiffchaff.
Foggy Lesser spot
The following day a flyover Lesser Black-backed Gull(70) was added to the year list.Mandarins have been more regular on the lake  and on the 26th Feb a drake Tufted Duck(71) was resting on the lake. Amazingly, I didn't record one at all in 2108!
Three singing Chiffchaffs were on the patch on 9th March and 5 Canada/Greylag hybrids were on the lake with a pair of Canadas.
Canada/greylag hybrids

It shouldn't be too long before the first spring migrants arrive as I think the Chiffchaffs that are on the patch are probably over-wintering birds.
Singing Chiffchaff.

The Grey Wagtails have become a permanent fixture and one posed nicely this morning as I walked up the fram track.

Friday, 22 February 2019

the first two Lesser Redpolls(62) of the year appeared on the 9th February and the same day two Great Black-backed Gulls(63) went over NW (always a good tick for the patch).
Whilst working in the garden in the afternoon of the 9th we were lucky to pick up a Raven(64).
The Chiffchaff remains on the patch and on the 10th a second,very pale individual was seen.The same day a male Reed Bunting(65) was in the ditch at the southern end.
It was great to see and hear a Skylark(66) over Swigs on the16th.The following day the first decent mixed flock of Siskins and Redpolls for a while was in the alders behind the old boathouse and after watching them intently for some while I found a Mealy Redpoll(67) amongst them.
The sunshine in the last couple of days has been a joy and has bought the Lesser Celandines into flower.

Yesterday,a pair of Egyptian Geese(68) were found on the stockpond in Shirrenden and were still there this afternoon.
                                                     Egyptian Geese on the stockpond

It's been great to be seeing Bullfinches regularly on the patch.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Birding has taken a back seat of late and my time o(n the patch has been limited.
Despite that the list has ticked along and the overwintering Chiffchaff(52) was seen on 08/01/19.
The following day a Kingfisher(53) was on the lake.
The 11/01/19 saw a single Meadow Pipit(54) over the orchard.Later that day I ventured out to see if the local Barn Owls(55) were still around and one bird duly obliged.I also added Yellowhammer(56) and a pair of Mandarin(57).
The first Sparrowhawk(58) was over the lake on 17/01/19 and the following day 4 Teal(59) were on Furnace.
A Peregrine(60) was hunting over the orchards on the 31/01/19 and on the 01/02/19 three Gadwall(61) flew from the lake,
It was great to see the Snowdrops coming in to flower near Lake Cottage.

Not much chance for photos but I did get a couple of nice shots of a Grey Partridge in Norfolk.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

A belated HAPPY NEW YEAR to all reading this.

2018 ended with the patch total on 107. A pretty average year but that's the challenge of patch watching.
Back to this year and my walk out on the first began with a Blue Tit (1) as I walked out of the house and proceeded as follows:-
Robin,Collared Dove,House Sparrow,Dunnock,Blackbird,Starling,Fieldfare,Song Thrush,Carrion Crow,Redwing,Stock Dove,Buzzard,Goldfinch,Wood Pidgeon,Magpie,Great Tit,Great Spotted Woodpecker,Wren,Woodcock,Cormorant,Grey Heron,Coal Tit,Nuthatch,Jay,Pied Wagtail,Mistle Thrush,Chaffinch,Black Headed Gull,Jackdaw,Coot,Moorhen,Siskin,Canada Goose,Bullfinch,Herring Gull,Treecreeeper,Marsh Tit,Goldcrest and Rook(41).
The following day Great crested Grebe(42),Mallard(43),Long-tailed Tit(44) and Water Rail(45).
As I left for work on 02/01/19 a Tawny Owl(46) called from trees in the school.
After work the following day Pheasant(47) and Grey Wagtail(48) were added.
Today a Kestrel(49),Greylag Goose(50) and Linnet(51) made it onto the year list. It seems a bit of a struggle at the moment but checking my log books the list was only two ahead last year.
Marsh Tits on the feeders.

News of a SNOW BUNTING on private land near Horsmonden Church reached me on 31/12/18 but sadly I was in Wales attending a funeral and unfortunately it had disappeared on 01/01/19 after being there for three days.
Snow Bunting on private land
Thanks to Robert for the call and the lovely photos of a cracking bird.(Shame I missed it)!

It never ceases to amaze me where good birds can turn up and is probably what keeps me patch watching.

Monday, 17 December 2018

After finding the Chiffchaff at he end of November it is great to find it was still around on Sunday the 16th  December.
Redpoll numbers remain low but there was a flock of 10 on the 8th of the month.
one of the Lesser Redpolls
Mandarins have been scarce but there was a high of fourteen on the 7th. Water Rails have been regular around the feeders but the lake hasn't held much but this evening three Gadwall(107) were present,a welcome addition to the year list.
On Saturday 15th a Woodcock landed twenty yards in front of me before heading off into the woods.
The local Buzzards have taken to sitting on the fence in Furnace Lane and dropping onto the ground to feed on earthworms.
Buzzard in Furnace Lane
Heron in the field oppositethe pumping station