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.

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