Wednesday, 29 June 2016

June has just about gone and the patch is in a settled mode.
Pairs of Common Terns were seen off and on until the 20th and probably the last calling Cuckoo was heard on 18th.
The Kestrel chicks are growing fast but look alittle way off fledging.

A lot of birds have been fledging including Treecreeper, Whitethroat and the first Reed Warblers.
The 14th saw 34 Stock Doves feeding in one of the cleared orchards.
A total of 32 Swifts were over the village on the 18th and Mandarin numbers have fluctuated as birds are coming on to the lake to moult.
Another Red Kite went south over the house on the 26th.
Two of the local Buzzard pairs have raised single chicks with one leaving the nest on 27th.
Young Buzzard on the nest
The two Great crested Grebe chicks are doing well down at the lake.
Hitching a ride!
Dragonflies have been few and far but I have managed a few shots
                                                                 Broad bodied Chaser
Downy Emerald
Beautiful Demoiselle

The local Grass Snakes have been seen occasionally and I managed to get ashot of one sunbathing:-
Grass snake enjoying the sunshine

Finally, a walk this evening produced my first Sand Martin(95) of the year amongst a group of hirundines feeding below the dam.

Monday, 6 June 2016

May into early June

After being away for the weekend of  28th/29th May I got out onto the patch in the late afternoon of the 30th.
On the way down Furnace Lane I found both Great and Coal Tit fledglings in the hedgerow and was pleased to find a Marsh Tit there as well.
Coal Tit fledgling
Down at the lake and I noticed that a few Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were heading into the cool N/W wind. As I walked up the orchard a Red kite drifted over heading towards Brenchley Wood. This was followed five minutes later by a second bird. I walked along the farm track watching it float west. As I turned to come back down the field , to my amazement I saw two more birds circling over the wood at the southern end.Incredible!!Four Red Kites in such a short amount of time.
The highlite of a walk on Saturday 4th June was a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at the bottom of Shirrenden.
The day got even better in the afternoon when I nipped out for a quick walk and had a GREAT WHITE EGRET(94) fly over me,going north over Kirkins.Surely this will be my bird of the year.
The local birds doing well and more and more young are being seen.
Blue Tit Fledgling
Young Goldfinch
On the insect front and a Painted Lady was seen sheltering in a hedge in Maidstone Road
Painted Lady

Sunday morning and a Fallow Deer was seen in Shirrenden
Fallow Deer

Friday, 27 May 2016

Late May Update

Early May produced two Common Sandpipers (90) during a walk before work and later that day the first Hobby (91) was seen over the back garden as it hunted over the village.
The next day seven Mallard ducklings had appeared on the lake.
 On my early morning walk on the 6th 3 Cuckoos were heard calling down at the lake and later that day a pair were seen.
Common Terns seem to be seen most days at the lake but are coming and going all the time.
On the patch walk on the 7th no fewer than 56 species were seen and I was especially pleased to see a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Only nine species were summer visitors though!
The next day five more species were added with the fourth Red Kite of the year seen.
I was relieved to see and hear my first two Turtle Doves(92) . It is sickening to see how this species has declined in recent years.
On a brighter note a pair of Spotted Flycatchers(93) were found below the waterfall on the 20th.
One of the Spotted Flycatchers.
On the 21st May a pair of Canada Geese appeared with five goslings.Unfortunately they were stuck behind the rabbit fencing so couldn't get to the lake. This called for drastic measures so I caught them all and dropped them over the fence and left the parents to hop over.
That same morning yet another Red Kite was seen!
I was well chuffed to find a Mandarin with ducklings on the 23rd.
Manarin with ducklings
I don't expect to be adding anymore species to the list for a while so will content myself with watching things unfold on the patch.
Whitethroat in the rape field.
Singing Reed Warbler at the southern end of the lake
Common Terns on the lake 

Monday, 2 May 2016

I returned to the patch on Sunday 1st May, after a few days in Devon, to a pair of Common Terns(87)
on the lake.

One of the Common Terns
On the walk back home I was delighted to see my first Swift(88) of the year wheeling over the village.
Todays walk started with the Lesser Whitethroat still singing at the top of Kirkins and as I walked down Furnace Lane a pair of Marsh Tits made their way up the hedgerow to the feeders in one of the gardens.Also there I saw my first Blackbird fledgling of the spring.
The Willow Warbler is still singing in the usual spot so I'm still hopeful.
As I walked down the farm track I watched a Crow chasing a Cuckoo down the new orchard. It seems that everything dislikes these birds!
The lake held four Mandarin drakes and the Coots appear to be nest building but unfortunately the Great-crested Grebes have lost their eggs.
The southern end held a singing Garden Warbler(89) but the Reed Warbler wasn't heard.Four Swallows and a single House Martin were flying around the lake and the Swift was flying was over the village again.
In total 44 species were seen of which 10 were summer visitors. 

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

With the nights getting shorter I am able to have a quick walk at the lake on my way to work and on 19th I found a Wheatear on the farm track and also a Fieldfare was present.A walk after work produced a Lesser Whitethroat in Kirkins and the Cuckoo was calling loudly.
The lake held a Coot plus the pair of Great-crested Grebes. The Kestrel pair were perched in the old dead oak and one of the local Buzzards circled over Shirrenden wood.
On the 22nd 4 Buzzards were seen plus a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel and the lake now had two Coots on it.
The following day the first Whitethroat(83) of the year was on the Swigs Hole side.
The 23rd was cold when I left home so I wasn't filled with optimism but it turned out to be a good day with another Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroats, 2 Willow Warblers,5 Chiffchaffs,3 Blackcaps, a flyover Tree Pipit(84) 4 Swallows,a Cuckoo and the first Reed Warbler(85) calling loudly from the corner of the lake.
One of the Swallow pairs

The following day one of theWillow Warblers was still singing from suitable habitat, so I am hoping it may stay.
A walk just into dark had me thrilled to find 2 Nightingales(86) singing.Fantastic!
                                                    The Fieldfare was still around today
This evening a single Siskin came to the garden feeders.

Monday, 18 April 2016

It has taken me till 11th of April to get my first Little Owl(76) of the year on the patch.
The following day I was delighted to find two Wheatears (77) in the old currant field in Furnace Lane which was particularly pleasing as I had been checking this field as I had a feeling something could turn up there!
The 15th turned up the first Cuckoo (78) but it remains the only one so far this spring.
The following day and I was greeted by a Willow Warbler (79) singing in the back garden.
Down at the lake I found a second Willow warbler in the lakeside trees.Unfortunately these delightful little birds no longer breed on the patch due to all the suitable habitat being destroyed.
Chiffchaff numers have increased to five singing males and two females.
One of the female Chiffchaffs
Four House Martins (80) added to the years list as they flew straight through.
That evening I decided to go out just before dark to listen for Nightingales just in case one had turned up. None were found but I did have two Snipe (81) going over just as the sun set.
The follwing morning there was a frost as I left the house so I was surprised to find a Lesser Whitethroat (82) singing at the top of Kirkins and even more surprised to have a second down at the lake.
Five summer migrants were seen on Sunday including the Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Swallow, Wllow Warbler and Blackcap.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The last week of March produced a few new species for the year list with a single Greylag Goose(70) and three of Tufted Ducks(71) on the 24th, followed the next day by the first Chiffchaff(72) of spring. The same day in the late afternoon as I went to fill up the feeder,down by the lake my second Red Kite drifted over west.
My good fortune continued on 26th with a Red-legged Partridge(73) in the small orchard on Furnace Lane.
All of a sudden the winter thrushes have cleared out with two Redwings seen on the 31st which will possibly be the last this spring.The same day there were 4 Chiffchaffs around the patch.
The first Blackcap(74) was found singing intermittently behind the pumping station.Chiffchaffs numbered five and a single Fieldfare was at the lake.The lake held a pair of Teal,4 Great-crested Grebes,2 Kingfishers and a pair of Mandarins.
Dropping in to the lake on my way home from work,on 5th, produced two Swallows(75) going west as well as 3 Fieldfares, a Marsh Tit and a flock of about 110 Linnets, the singing Blackcap and 4 Chiffchaffs.
Driving through Castle hill that afternoon I also saw another Red Kite going over.
On a walk after work this afternnoon I saw 6 Buzzards circling over the orchard plus a Kestrel and amazingly my third Red Kite of the year on the patch.
In the garden the Siskins are still coming to the feeders with the occasional Lesser Redpoll.
Siskin in the garden
Singing Linnet