Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The 14th saw the arrival of the first Lesser Whitethroat(77) of the year,singing at the top of Kirkins which is still there holding territory and the earliest I have recorded it. I had a good walk that morning and eventually saw fifty species. Other spring migrants were Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Swallow.
I also had a flyover Siskin.


On the next three days I recorded Wheatear with a pair,single female and another single.
Wheatear in the weed killed field

On a walk before work today my first Cuckoo(78) of the year put in an appearance. It seems to be getting later each year.
Finally, I found the first two Mistle Thrush fledglings in the sheep field.
Mistle Thrush fledglings



Thursday, 13 April 2017

This week has so far been a bit of a mixed bag with the first Willow Warbler(74) arriving on the lake on Monday 10th and the next day there were two. Sadly they no longer stay to breed on my patch
as all the suitable habitat has been removed.
On most days Swallows have been seen but all appear to have just gone through. On the 11th the G C Grebe pair had been joined by another bird which was duly chased off. A pair of Reed Buntings were at the southern end and two Mandarin drakes flew in.
Both Sand Martin and House Martin were seen by Glyn on the twelfth but sadly I missed both.
The week picked up a bit today when a Whitethroat(75) was found singing at the top of Kirkins and down at the lake two Wheatear(76) were in one of the fields in front of Hononton farm house.
One of the two Wheatears.

This week has been good for butterfly species with Holly Blue,Comma,Small Tortoiseshell,Peacock.Small White,Speckled Wood and Orange Tip seen.In fact I don't recall seeing so many Orange Tips before.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

This evening I saw my first two Swallows(73) of the spring when they flew low over the orchard. Three buzzards were circling overhead and the Grey Wagtail pair were at the dam end.
Grey Wagtails

The only other spring migrants were Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps but there are good numbers of both.
The sunshine has been a real benefit to the butterflies with 5 Orange tips seen today.








Thursday, 30 March 2017

 The first Blackcap(72) arrived on 23rd March when one was singing in the back garden. The earliest date I have recorded the species on my patch.
Today three were recorded with the one still in the back garden and two in Swigs.
On Sunday 26th it was a bit misty and chilly when I went out which cleared relatively quickly although it was still chilly so I was  to find a Grass snake on the bank of the lake. It appeared to be half dead but I guess it was just cold as it moved a little once it warmed in my hands. I put it in a nice sunny position and when I checked later it had gone.

I was able to walk the patch on Tuesday 28th and had a very enjoyable walk in the sunshine.
Skylarks were singing in three areas of the patch and eight singing Chiffchaffs.
A single Blackcap was singing behind the pumping station in Furnace Lane. The lake held 5 Mandarin and the pair of Great crested Grebes of note.Woodpeckers were drumming everywhere and I was delighted to see a pair of LSW which were chasing each other around.
Raptors were also displaying with Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk seen.
Five Lesser Black-backed Gulls went over north.
The sun also brought out the insects with Peacock,Small Tortoiseshell and Green Veined white seen plus the first Bee fly and something I photographed but don't know what it is.
Bee Fly
Interesting-any ideas?


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

March is racing by and the only summer migrants on the patch so far are Chiffchaffs. Sunday 19th produced 11 with 2 in the back garden,1 in Kirkins,2 in Swigs and 6 at the lake.
On the 12th a pair of Greylags were prospecting on the lake.
The Reed Bunting continues to sing and Mandarins are present most visits and the Great crested Grebe pair have returned.
I've been getting about a bit and was excited to find a male Hooded Merganser on Dungeness RSPB but it was short lived when it was later found to be wearing a ring.Never mind,it was still a cracking little bird.

My original idea was a trip to get e photo of the Long eared Owls but as I arrived at the reserve it clouded over. I took some shots of one which was showing really well
The best I could do!

At the entrance the Tree Sparrows were at the feeders.
One of the Tree Sparrows
Thursday 16th my wife and I went to the Ashdown Forest to my young brother who was down from Norfolk with his partner. We had a delightful work at the old airstrip finding a few Dartford Warblers before coming across a Great Grey Shrike.
Always distant
Last weekend I went to the RSPB at Broadwater Warren to look for Woodlarks and was lucky to locate a few.

Walking around the reserve I was reminded what great work they do in habitat creation to attract birds such as these turning a conifer plantation into splendid heath land.
It has been great to get about a bit more but I still relish the challenge of my own patch.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Yesterday morning I checked my phone, only to find that Wez had text me the afternoon previously with news of 10 Waxwings outside his house. I was a bit gutted but it was great for him to get this garden tick.
I took my usual walk with little of note seen except the usuals and decided to check around village but found no Waxwings and went home disappointed.
After lunch I went back out as it occurred to me that a house on Orchard Way had apples on a tree in the front garden. On arrival there was nothing to be seen but unbelievably as I walked up the road 20 Waxwings flew over me and landed in the rear garden of one of the houses. They then landed on an aerial before descending on the apple tree.Fantastic!!!
some of the Waxwings
Enjoying the apples.

They flew off as I phoned Wez but we found them near the school where Wez took this great shot:-
THANKS WEZ.

I had a look for them this afternoon but didn't find any although they were seen by someone in the village.
I made my way down to the lake to refill the feeders and saw two Marsh Tits and the Water Rail put in an appearance.
Water Rail enjoying the sunflower hearts.
In the garden today there were two Siskins on the feeders.


Sunday, 5 March 2017

Sunday 19th February was the last walk for a while due ti illness but it started well with Tawny Owl (70) calling as I lay in bed.
The morning walks highlights  included a flyover Yelowhammer, two Cormorants and a Lesser spot drumming. More surprising was a male Stonechat (71) that was on the middle hedge along Hononton farm track.
Distant shot of Stonechat

This Saturdays walk was a pleasant one that was notable by the reduction in winter thrushes.There was a nice flock of Siskins with a couple of Lesser Redpolls with them.Skylarks were singing over Kirkins and over Hononton.
The local Buzzards were vocal in their displays as was the female Kestrel. On the lake there were 12 Mandarins, the pair of Great crested Grebes and a pair of Canada Geese.Three Marsh Tits were seen with one at the feeders and two in Shirrenden wood.
A Grey Wagtail was on the stream and the first Chiffchaff heard Chiffchaffing was moving through the hedge towards the lake.
Spring is just around the corner and I for one am looking forward to the challenge of working my local patch!