Friday, 17 February 2017

Got out for an hour after work this evening which was very nice.
Down at the lake as I got to the pumping station a Grey Wagtail flew overhead. In the orchards there were plenty of Fieldfares and Redwings.
At the feeders four tit species were seen- Blue, Great, Coal and Marsh and the Water Rail was pecking around underneath.
Water Rail under the feeders

On the water the pair of Great Crested Grebes were displaying and a pair of Mandarins were under the trees at the southern end where two Reed Buntings were in the reed bed.
On the walk back up Furnace Lane a Goldcrest was in the hedge and as I got further up he hill I heard the call of a Chiffchaff(69) ,then found it flitting around in the hedge. A great end to my evening stroll.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

  1. Walks after work didn't produce anything new but it was good to see that the Waxwing was still in Gibbet Lane and was joined by a second bird on Wednesday 8th.


           Waxwing in Gibbet Lane

Saturday was a surprise with snow falling as I left the house.
Down at the lake,I found a Water Rail under the feeders, which I photographed from a distance, through the heavy snow.

The feeders were busy with plenty of tits and goldfinches attending including the usual Marsh Tit. Two Reed Buntings were in the reeds in the south west corner and a Grey Heron was on the stream.
In Kirkins there was flock of Meadow Pipits which numbered around fifty.Inevitably a Waxwing was seen in Gibbet Lane but it appeared to be a different individual.
The feeders in the garden were alive with birds with lots of Goldfinches and six Greenfinches which included five males plus Chaffinches and House Sparrows.The cold weather had also bought in a Pied Wagtail.
Today was cold with a little drizzle and the lake held a Great Crested Grebe,Mandarin,Mallard and Moorhen.A kingfisher was on the Shirrenden side and the Water Rail appeared briefly by the feeders.
A flock of Siskins flew over me on the farm track and four Bullfinches were on the Shirrenden side.
Undoubtedly the highlight was a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker that called and drummed before flying towards Furnace Lane.
The Waxwing was seen on the way home and a Marsh Tit was in Furnace Lane.  

Sunday, 5 February 2017

I managed a quick walk down to the lake on Friday 3rd after work before the rain came.
I checked the feeders and watched the comings and goings of the various Tits which included 2 Marsh Tits.
Unfortunately I flushed a Little Owl(68) that was roosting in a lakeside tree.As usual the lake held few birds with just Mallard, Moorhen and Mandarin.
Saturday produced a pair of Reed Buntings in the ditch at the southern end and a Brambling feeding with Chaffinches under the alders in the bottom corner,
Walking back up Gibbet Lane I was pleased to find 5 Waxwings in the rear garden of one of the houses. It was great to re-find them as I hadn't seen any since Monday afternoon.
During the day they were very mobile but I did get some shots of them in the school grounds.

Today, down at the lake a Yellow hammer was seen along with a good flock of Siskins and a flyover Lesser Redpoll and Grey Wagtail.
The Kestrel pair were very vocal on the Shirrenden side and two Skylarks were singing over the cleared orchard.
Just 4 Waxwings were seen today with three in Gibbt Lane and one in the school as I walked home.
Waxwing in Gibbet Lane

Monday, 30 January 2017

It was rather dark when I got home from work but I decided to have a look around the village to see if the Waxwings were still about.
After looking at most of the places I saw them yesterday,with no luck,I ended up at the school were I found they had increased in number to twelve. Brilliant!!
Although it was rather dull and dark I took some more photos so I've attached a few.

Here's hoping for some sunshine.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

As the lake has been frozen all week there hasn't been much around, although with a partial thaw yesterday, nine Mandarins were on the open water that was.
In the morning yesterday, I went up to Little Murston NR to see the Pine Bunting which showed briefly and also saw a fine male Hen Harrier and Merlin whilst waiting for it to come in.
On the long walk back to the car I also saw three Long Tailed Ducks on the creek.
A pretty good mornings birding.
Today I went down to the lake and found little open water but contented myself watching the feeders.
As usual the Marsh Tits showed well and a Grey Wagtail flew over calling.
On the dam end I bumped in to Patrick who said he had seen a Waxwing in Gibbet Lane.I made my way back home but found nothing.
After dropping my daughter in to Tunbridge Wells I decided to walk up to Haymans Hill but only got twenty yards from my door when I found a WAXWING in an oak tree on the edge of the school. I hurriedly took a shot before it flew off. On walking round the corner I found that in fact there were five.I rang Wez to give him the news but he was at work. The birds flew off so I walked round the village to re-locate them.When I did,in Morley Drive, there were seven.
I phoned Wez again and he joined me to try to get some better shots.They were quite mobile but they eventually settled in trees in the school and the final total was eight.
Waxwings in Morley Drive
Six of the eight

Unfortunately it was grey and only got greyer but I'm sure Wez has got some good shots.
Whilst the birds were mobile they attempted to drink from a puddle opposite my house then settled in a tree in the back garden. A brilliant garden tick as we went round the back to get a look.
I'm hoping they will be around when I get home from work as it is meant to be brighter tomorrow.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

This week has been a succession of hard frosts which have totally frozen the lake. This has meant the only thing on the lake is Moorhens.
However, before it did freeze up, a Little Grebe(64) was on the only open water on the afternoon of 17th. Walking back to the car I saw the first Grey Wagtail(65) of the year.
With the evenings drawing out I have been able to get up to the orchard in Haymans Hill but have been unable to locate any Waxwings amongst the ever increasing numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares.
I don't think I have ever seen so many Redwings!!At least 3000!!!
Redwings feeding in the orchard.
Every row of trees held similar numbers.
The birds were joined by a hungry Fox

Whilst I was watching the thrushes I had the good fortune to have 10 Lapwings(66) go over. When I got home I had 11 more Lapwings go over the house.A great garden tick.
This afternoon we had a walk up to Haymans Hill and were delighted to have a Snipe(67) go over.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

After the snow on Thursday night little was seen when I filled the feeders on the way home on Friday.
Saturday at least turned up 2 Common Gulls(60) and a Lesser Black-back Gull(61).
Today was a better day with Marsh Tit, Coal Tit and Water Rail of note down at the feeders.
The lakeside alders held a flock of Goldfinch and Siskin and a Buzzard was being chased by a pair of local Carrion Crows.
On the water seven Mandarins were present but the Great crested grebe had disappeared again.
Despite the rain continuing I decided to have yet another look in the orchard at Haymans Hill and my persistence in visiting it paid off, at last, when a Waxwing(62) was found amongst the many winter thrushes.Brilliant!!!
It got even better when a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker(63) called from the derelict orchard adjacent to Maidstone Road as I left for home.
It has also been great to find that a few Redwings are visiting the garden.
Redwings in the garden