Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Four Grey Wagtails came in to roost on the16th.The patch wasn't visted on the 17th as we went to Bramblehall Wood in Surrey to see the Hawfinches that have congregated there.
We were not disappointed as we saw over a hundred in the early morning sunshine. An icredible sight!
                                            Distant shot of one of the many Hawfinches

After Bramblehall Wood we went to Staines Resevoir to see the American Horned Lark which has been there for some time.

We also saw two Black-knecked Grebes and a male Scaup.
Back to the patch on Sunday 18th and there was a big flock of Siskins plus Lesser Redpolls and a MEALY REDPOLL amongst them.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

We're halfway through February and the weather has been changeable with some cold spells but not much has changed on the patch although I was delighted to see the first Lesser spotted Woodpecker(66) of the year as it drummed and called. It's always a real treat to find this cracking little bird on the patch.
There has been an increase in Lesser Redpoll numbers with 20 feeding in alders on the 4th and at the weekend one was on the garden feeders.
Redpoll in he garden

The highlite of  last weekend was a Raven(67) which went over west pursued by a pair of local crows.
The orchards are still holding good numbers of Fieldfares and Redwings plus a big flock of  Linnets and on the lake the Coot was joined by another on the 6th but it was gone by the next day.
The garden feeders have also attracted a couple of Siskins and a small flock of Redwings have been attracted to the ivy berries.
                                                             Redwings in the garden
Joined by Song Thrush


Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Getting home from work late in the afternoon has meant that only the lake was visited during last week. However this meant that a Kingfsher (61)was seen on 22nd and a Little Grebe(62) on the 24th.
There have been a few Bramblings around the orchards and on 23rd three Grey Wagtails were present on the lake and at least three Water Rails are being seen under the feeders.
I shot down to Swigs Hole after work on the 26th but little was seen in the way of finches but a flock of 48 Lapwings(63) flew north and a very welcome Yellowhammer(64) went over.
Saturday and Sunday both started down at Swigs Hole but produced no Redpolls but a bonus Skylark(65) was on the bean field. I also tried on Saturday afternoon with two flyover Redpolls seen.
Sunday morning I also walked through the wet alder wood at the southern end of the lake and found a flock of 70+ Siskins and six Lesser Redpolls, so I think this is an area that I might concentrate my efforts on.
                                                   The Snowdrops have really opened now
                                              There was asharp frost and the sun came out!
Stonechats at Rye Harbour

Sunday, 21 January 2018

A walk late on the sixth saw me adding Pheasant(52) ,Canada Goose(53) and I was chuffed to see a Barn Owl(54) at one of the nest boxes.
The next day the first Siskin was seen at the garden feeders. On the 12th a Goldcrest(55) and a Reed Bunting(56) were down at the lake.
The next day a Great crested Grebe(57) had returned to the lake and the Peregrine was still around the patch.
This weekend has been a dismal one weather wise but there have been plenty of birds around.
The ivy in the garden has been attracting thrushes with some more Redwings coming in.

It was nice to see the first Snowdrops appearing down at the lake.

Yesterday,dispite the rain, I decided on a walk in the afternoon up to Haymans Hill to check the orchards.It held plenty of  Fieldfares and Redwings but little else so I  walked over to Swigs Hole with a view to hopefully adding Yellowhammer to the list.On walking up the track I noticed a flock of Goldfinches flying down from the alders along the track and onto the nearby field.
I scanned through them and to my delight found two Mealy Redpolls(58) feeding with them. They flew up into the alders so I approached them and was gobsmacked to find a Coue's Arctic Redpoll(59) in the tree amongst them. They flew down to the ground and I watched them until at 15:15 they flew off.
I made my way down to Swigs this morning and found a group of Kent birders looking for the bird.Unfortunately it didn't appear although a Redpoll with a very buzzy call went over.
I did go down this afternoon and was joined by Adam Whitehouse and we found the flock of Goldfinches with 4 Lesser redpolls and only 1 Mealy Redpoll but sadly no Coue's.Just as yesterday they flew off at 15:15.
I plan to get down if I can during the week but it may have to wait to the weekend.Hopefully someone else may get down to refind it.
Walking through Swigs I found this Scarlet Elf Cap growing on the edge of the wood.

I did add Cormorant(60) over Swigs Hole but no Yellowhammer!!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

The New Year list kicked off on New Years Day with a Robin(1) singing in the garden as I left for my first patch walk of the year,quickly followed by Collared Dove(2), Dunnock(3), Jackdaw(4), House Sparrow(5),Goldfinch(6), Starling(7), Blackbird(8), Wren(9) & Wood Pigeon(10) before I'd got out of the front garden.
As I walked down through Kirkins, Fieldfare(11) Song Thrush(12), Great Tit(13) Bullfinch(14), Magpie(15), Blue Tit(16), Redwing(17), Carrion Crow(18), Long-tailed Tit(19), Jay(20), Great Spotted Woodpecker(21), Rook(22), Rook(23) & Stock Dove(24) were added.
Into Swigs and a Grey Wagtail(25)came off of the stream. Both Black-headed Gull(26)  and Common Gull(27) flew over and a Buzzard(28) came off the field.
Up through the farm track of Hononton Farm and a Mistle Thrush(29) was singing. Then Linnet(30) and Herring Gull(31) went over. In amongst the rows of apple trees Chaffinch(32) and a cracking male Brambling(33) was found. With lots of prey about it was inevitable that a Sparrowhawk(34) would put in an appearance but I was very pleased to see a Peregrine(35) circling overhead.
At the feeders Water Rail(36),Nuthatch(37), Treecreeper(38) and Marsh Tit(39) were seen.
The lake held Moorhen(40), Coot(41), Mallard(42) and Mandarin(43).
On the Shirrenden side and Green Woodpecker(44) was seen and a Woodcock(45) was flushed from behind the old boathouse.
Nothing more was added until early on the 5th when a Tawny Owl(46) was calling as I left for work. The following day Kestrel(47) and Siskin(48) were seen at the lake and a Grey Heron(49) was seen on the stock pond with a flyover Meadow Pipit(50).
In the garden it was great to see a pair of Greenfinches(51) were on the feeders.

Greenfinches in the garden.

The evening of the 6th produced a Pheasant(52), some Canada Geese(53) and a fabulous Barn Owl(54).
A couple of evening visits saw a Goldcrest(55) and Reed Bunting(56) down at the lake as I filled the feeders and it was good to see one of the Great crested Grebes(57) was back this morning.
The Peregrine remains in the area and it was creating havoc amongst the Wood Pigeons this afternoon.
The first Siskin of the winter has been n the garden feeders this weekend.
                                                                  Siskin in the garden

Sunday, 31 December 2017

End of year round-up

With year coming to a close,late December hasn't produced any more for the patch list but a female Teal was seen on the 17th
Teal on lake

The feeders continue to attract good numbers of tits and at least two Water Rails have been mopping up whatever get dropped.
Water Rail under feeders
The orchards around the lake were filled with winter thrushes this morning as well as a large flock of Starlings and 200 plus Linnets.
                                                             One of the many Fieldfares
So to the year itself- which all in all hasn't been a bad one.With two species added to the patch list,namely GREENSHANK and ALPINE SWIFT.
The year started well with Waxwings in the village and then Greenshank and Alpine Swift were seen in May as were Shelduck(only the third patch record).
September saw the arrival of the long staying Osprey which attracted birders and photographers from far and wide.
                                                                 Long staying Osprey

November saw four Hawfinches fly towards Sprivers.
Finally, a Barn Owl was seen in December( the first since 2014).
The patch total ended at 110 which is a great number,though 7 short of my record.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

the winter thrush numbers have increased of late which in turn has meant more Redwings in the garden.
                                                            Redwings in the garden
Enjoying the holly berries
Joined by a Blackbird

The lake continues to disappoint although today there were 14 Mandarins.
Yesterday evening I decided on a walk just before dark and was delighted to see a BARN OWL(110) out hunting. This is the first record of  this beautiful bird since 2014.
On 1st of the month,whilst filling the feeders,a Woodcock flew out of the wood and landed in the orchard and another was seen on the 10th.It seems to be a good year for this species!
I'm going to need a few more birds on the lake to get a really good total on the year list.