Monday, 22 May 2017

The last weekend was a quiet one on the patch but a female Cuckoo turned up on Saturday and seemed to spark the male into life with him calling constantly and on Sunday he was chasing her round the lake.
There have been plenty of Mandarins on the lake with ten on Saturday and they look like they are already coming in to moult.

Three Cormorants over the same day was an unusual record for the patch at this time of year.
Common Terns have visited regularly but don't hang around for long.

The Reed Buntings are still on the lake as are the Coots so I'm hoping both will breed. This evening twenty House Martins came down to the lake before drifting off to the north.
With the sun shining I've been down at the warmest times to try to photograph Dragonflies and Damsels but so far have only seen the latter.I did manage to take some pics of a Broad bodied Chaser elsewhere:-

I was pleased to find a Brown Argus on Saturday
and a a few Banded Demoiselles


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

On the 8th of the month the Coot that has been on the lake was joined by another and the pair remain on the lake.
The following day I was relieved to find a Turtle Dove(92) singing. Sadly this enigmatic little dove is now hard to find on the patch.
On the 11th the first House Martin (93) flew over the house and a Sand Martin (94) was briefly over the lake.
Last weekend  54 species was seen on the patch, a really great total and one which included a flyover Yellow Wagtail (95) and another Med Gull and a Lesser Whitethroat.
On Sunday 14th whilst we were working in the garden four more Med Gulls went over south (It's been a good year for this species).
During a sunny afternoon I went on a foray to look for dragonflies and found a newly emerged Banded Demoiselle and a Large Red Damselfly.
                                                               First Banded Demoiselle
Large Red Damsel

Sunday, 7 May 2017

April passed with two more species added to the year list in the shape of a Nightingale(84) singing at Stonebridge and a Red Kite(85) over the orchards on the following afternoon.
Finally, on the 29th two more Med Gulls were recorded going south over the lake.
Into May and with a cold wind blowing from the north east not much was happening until on the 5th the first Spotted Flycatcher(86) was found at the pumping station on my way to work.As I walked along the farm track two Shelduck(87) passed overhead, going north and amazingly within a minute a GREENSHANK(88) followed them calling loudly as it went.Brilliant!!! To add to this two Swifts(89) were flying over the lake.Possibly the best twenty minutes I have ever had on the patch.
The good fortune continued on Saturday 6th when what I thought was my first Hobby of the year approaching distantly from the south turned out to be a large swift. As it got closer I was stunned to make out the white belly and throat of an ALPINE SWIFT(90) which, unfortunately carried on to the north without stopping.INCREDIBLE!
Then down at the lake two Common Terns(91) circuited before flying off to the south.
I was pleased to have two Cuckoos duelling in the orchards.
Two distant Cuckoos

This afternoon a Red Kite flew over the village as we were in he garden and down at the lake a Buzzard was being mobbed by the male Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk was circling amongst the pair.
In the garden I took this shot of a Robin fledgling:-

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The first Red legged Partridge(79) was calling somewhere behind the pumping station on 20th April and the same day two Reed Warblers(80) were singing at the southern end of the lake.
The lake produced a real rarity the following day in the form of a COOT(81).It's amazing how few appear on the lake!
Furnace pond rarity.

As I left the house on Sunday 23rd I saw two gulls going over the village and was delighted to see that one was an adult Mediterranean Gull(82). It's always good to get this one on the list and was followed by a Cuckoo calling loudly as it went towards the lake where I also added a Garden Warbler(83).With a southerly breeze picking up a few gulls were going over the garden in the afternoon and I was gobsmacked to have eight  Med Gulls over the house, a brilliant garden tick.
Later in the day I looked at Bird guides to find that a Lesser Yellowlegs had turned up at Dungeness so later on we headed down and were delighted to connect with it-a first for me.
We had a walk round the reserve and found Sedge Warblers all over the place.
One of the many Sedge Warblers.


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.