Monday, 31 December 2012

The last few days of the year didn't throw up anything unusual although the lake had a few Mandarins on it as well as a Coot!(not that common here). There is still a good sized Siskin flock in the alders and there are now 3 Great Crested Grebes.
A walk up to Haymans Hill orchard on the 29th produced just 4 Waxwings and a cracking male Brambling.
Yesterday I had a walk through the alder wood at the southern end of the lake and flushed 3 Woodcocks and found a Marsh Tit.Three Roe Deer ran across the paddock in Shirrenden.
This morning I saw the first Buzzard for little while and the pair of kestrels were around the orchard before it started to rain, yet again.
So the year came to an end with 113 species seen, with one new species (Cetti's Warbler).

Happy New Year and good birding to all!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

A short visit this morning produced a nice variety of birds with the highlight being a Peregrine that was harassing the Fieldfares and Redwings in the orchard next to the lake.
On the lake I found a Water Rail in the S/W corner and a Kingfisher on the edge of the reed bed.
On the water there were 2 Great Crested Grebes, A Tufted Duck, 8 Mallard and 10 Moorhens.
A male Kestrel was sitting on a pole in the new orchard and 3 Mandarin  circled the lake before dropping into the wood at the southern end.The Alders held a flock of 40 Siskins.
 I had arranged to meet Glyn at 09.30 so met him at the dam end and we went to look for the Waxwings in Haymans Hill and soon found a small flock of eighteen feeding on some apples.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Waxwings in Haymans Hill

As the sun decided to shine this morning I went up to Haymans Hill to try to get some pictures of the waxwings.I eventually found 16 of them which posed nicely for me.
Todays images plus a group photo from yesterday

Sunday, 23 December 2012

The walk to Furnace Pond this morning didn't throw up any surprises although I did see both Kestrel and Sparrowhawk hunting around the orchard. The lake itself is very high and coloured after all the rain and held 12 Mallard, 2 Great Crested Grebes and 20 moorhens.
A single Marsh tit was seen behind the boathouse and a Reed Bunting was at the southern end.With so little on offer I decided to see if the Waxwings were still in the orchard in Haymans Hill.
As usual, the light was bad, but I did manage a couple of slightly better shots.

They seem to be enjoying the windfalls

 In the afternoon I decided to go and check them out again. On the track up to the orchard there were 3 Reed buntings and a pair of Bullfinches in the hedgerow. The orchard held a lot of Fieldfares and Redwings and it wasn't long before I found the Waxwings flitting between the apples and the overhead wires.As I was watching them the whole orchard errupted as a Merlin (113) shot low over the trees.FANTASTIC!!!!You never know what's going to turn up.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Despite the state of the weather today I took a walk up to the orchard in Hayman's Hill this afternoon. It was pretty dire, but was soon brightened up by the discovery of no less than 75 Waxwings(112) in the apple trees and beneath them.
As it was raining heavily I hadn't taken my camera, so I raced home to get it, to at least get a record shot of them. I've attached some pictures of them, even though they are not very good, because of the conditions.
Hopefully they will still be around at the weekend and if the weather is better I might get some better shots.
Some of the flock on overhead wires.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Week ending 16/12/12.

Not too much to get excited about on the patch at the moment with the highlight being 2 Kingfishers, a Water Rail, 140+ Siskins, 3 Lesser Redpolls, 12 Canada Geese, 2 Reed Buntings, Woodcocks and 2 Great Crested Grebes on Sunday.
The orchards are still full of Fieldfares and Redwings and I even had a walk around the orchards in Haymans Hill and found a similar amount of winter thrushes there.

On Saturday, a cracking male Redpoll visited the feeders in the garden. I've only had a handful of records of these in the garden and what a beauty he was!!!
The species list has ground to a halt but I'm hopeful that I could add to it before the year is out.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Managed a walk on Saturday before a dreaded shopping trip to Maidstone. Plenty of Fieldfares and Redwings in the orchard and it was great to find 2 redhead Goosander and 8 Teal on the lake which unfortunately took off as soon as they saw me.
This morning we ( Phyllis and myself) took a walk down to the lake and up to Sprivers. The lake held only the usual Mallards, Moorhens and 3 Great crested Grebes. We found the Little Owl hiding in a hole in the big oak on the dam end and as we walked up through Shirrenden we came across a first  winter male Sparrowhawk trying, unsuccessfully, to catch a Long Tailed Tit. As we walked up the footpath I found a second Little Owl sunning itself on the edge of the little conifer plantation.
In Sprivers we found three more Little Owls and heard another, bringing the Little Owl count to six, quite remarkable!!!
We decided to walk back through the orchards on the east side of the Lamberhurst Road where we found hundreds of winter thrushes and lots of Chaffinches but sadly I'm still waiting for my first Waxwing of the year.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

The day started with a heavy frost, just right for a good walk.
The bean stubble in Kirkins still held 30 or so Meadow Pipits and as I walked around the edge I put up a Woodcock.
Down at the lake there wasn't much to be seen from the dam end except the Great Crested Grebes had increased to three. The pair of Gadwall which had been on the lake at 16.00 hours yesterday had disappeared.
The orchards were full of winter thrushes again, which is becoming increasingly frustrating without my scope which is awaiting parts from Japan so that it can be repaired.I spent an hour walking around them trying to get some pictures of them but only managed a few passable shots.

At the southern end of the lake I got a few glimpses of a Water Rail as it skulked in the reeds and found a pair of Mandarins sitting in a lakeside tree. As I walked back down towards the dam I could here the tit flock calling loudly and eventually managed to find a Little Owl hiding in the corner Oak.
On the dam I bumped into John, a local angler who told me he had seen five Goosander land at the far end of the lake earlier on but had not seen them since.