Sunday, 28 April 2013

It was great to have a whole weekend off work and even better with the sun shining.
The highlight being a female Common Redstart(97) which was in the little scrubby area at the top of Kirkins on Saturday.
This was the first spring record I've had of this species, so I was very pleased.
As well as this, the spring migrants were in fine voice with the Cuckoo calling and showing well and the surprise of two Lapwings on the stubble field in Kirkins on Friday evening.
Today I found a total of 7 Common Whitethroats, 4 Willow Warblers as well as 2 Reed Warblers and lots of Chiffchaff and Blackcaps.
I also found a Lon-tailed Tits nest and a pair of Linnets nest building.
It remains to be seen if I can break the 100 barrier before the start of May,but it seems unlikely as the commoner species I am relying on don't usually turn up till the first week of May.
Here's hoping!!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

A walk at the lake before work on Wednesday 24th produced the first Garden Warbler(95)of the year plus a Marsh Tit. In the evening I had a quick stroll around Kirkins and heard a Turtle Dove(96).
This evening 2 Cuckoos were calling from opposite ends of the village.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The highlights of the patch walk on Sunday were a Red-legged Partridge(92)which was in Kirkins on the way to the lake(see photos),which is a very uncommon bird on my patch!

At the lake I witnessed a male Lesser-spotted Woodpecker feeding on the stems of reedmace in south east corner, it spent quite some time drilling and pulling insects from within the stems but unfortunately stayed deep in the reed bed.
The other highlight was a Tree Pipit(93) which flew over going North west.
On Monday morning I heard the first Reed Warbler(94) calling from the reeds at the southern end.
Today I managed a walk in the morning and saw 1 Buzzard, 3 Mandarin drakes, 1 Reed Bunting
, 1 Reed Warbler,5 Blackcaps and 4 Chiffchaffs at the lake and also heard a Water Rail calling.
Elsewhere on the patch I saw 2 Willow Warblers, 6 Whitethroats(including the first female of the year) the Red legged Partridge and a Buzzard.
I also saw a Grass Snake , a Toad and a Peacock Butterfly.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

At last the first Willow Warbler(90) and Common Whitethroat (91) turned up on the 17th.Unfortunately I missed out on a Reed Warbler on the lake which was seen by Andy.
Back to today and although the sun shone later on, it started off with a sharp frost which soon turned into a heavy mist when I left the house at 07.00am.
I was soon in Kirkins and the first thing I heard was the Cuckoo as it called from a tree behind the farmhouse. It didn't take too long for the mist to clear and with the sun shining I was hopeful it might be a half decent walk.
As I skirted the field I eventually managed to get some great views of the Cuckoo atop an Ash tree.
In the hedge I found my first Whitethroat of the day. There had been an increase in Blackcap numbers and I eventually found 2 pairs and 3 more singing males.
Two Willow Warblers were singing from territories which were occupied last year and interestingly both territories also held Whitethroats.
As I walked up the track towards the lake a female Lesser-spotted Woodpecker landed in a tree to my right and as she flew off, calling a male landed a little ahead of me before following her. Fantastic, it's always a joy to see these little beauties.
As it warmed up raptors got up and 5 Buzzards, 2 Sparrowhawks and a Kestrel were seen.

Three butterfly species were seen today, Comma, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell.
On the walk home I saw a group of six Jays.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Although there has been a distinct change in the weather it is still proving difficult to locate any warbler species apart from Chiffchaff and Blackcap.
I have fared a little better with hirundines adding both Sand Martin(88) and House Martin(89) in the last couple of days.
Sunday saw me having probably the last Redwings of the spring.
Hopefully things will change in the next few days.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Wednesday 10th April 2013

At the lake a few of the resident species have started to nest with both pairs of Grebes and a Moorhen sitting tight. Four Mandarins were on the lake, consisting of 3 drakes and a duck(hopefully they are nesting somewhere nearby).
There were still 120 Fieldfares and 20 Redwings feeding in the orchard with a few Chaffinches mixed in amongst them. I'd put on my wellies as I had decided to walk through the alder wood at the southern end.
This produced Blue, Great and Long-tailed tit as well as Treecreeper and Nuthatch. As I neared the edge of the wood I heard a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker so doubled back and eventually got two fleeting glimpses.There was also a little group of a dozen Siskins and as I watched them a Buzzard called somewhere above me. It was nice to here Chiffchaffs calling and in all three were heard around the lake.
As I came into the open on the Shirrenden side a Coal Tit called and a male Kestrel flew from one of the pines.
As I walked up though the paddock a large raptor came into view heading straight for me, this turned out to be my first Red Kite(87)Fantastic!! A few years ago this would have been unheard of on my patch but in recent years I've almost come to expect at least one siting in the year.
Just as I was about to leave a couple of Swallows zipped through going north.
In the garden Siskins continue to come to the sunflower hearts with 11 coming in late in the afternoon. I don't think i've ever had so many in the garden and at such a late date. This certainly has been a strange start to the year!

Monday, 8 April 2013

A quick look at the lake at 06.10 this morning produced two pairs of Teal and a Mandarin drake.
Popped in on my way home and saw a Grey Wagtail and had a flyover Snipe.
At 18.50 a phone call from Andy,fishing down at the lake, had me jumping in the car to get my first Swallow(86) of the year.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sunday 7th April

At last the sun has decided to shine and to brighten up my morning I found my first singing Blackcap(84) of the spring. There were also three singing Chiffchaffs on the patch this morning.Happy days!
The winter thrush numbers had dropped as I found only 12 Fieldfares and 22 Redwings in the paddock at Shirrenden.
There weren't many gulls today but I did find 2 Med Gulls going over with some Black-headeds. This spring has easily been the best for Med Gulls on my patch.
The only raptors I saw today were Buzzard and Kestrel even though it looked very promising.
From the back garden I later saw 2 more Buzzards drifting over east.
In the afternoon I went for a walk with Phyl (my wife) and soon found another Buzzard.In Furnace lane we watched a Chiffchaff as it alternated between singing and grabbing insects.
On the way back up the lane we had a surprise when a Cuckoo(85) called a couple of times but annoyingly we couldn't find it and it didn't call again.
On the animal front, there was a common lizard on the bank in Furnace Lane and earlier I startled a pair of Roe Deer which were in a ditch on Swigs Hole farm.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

April 1st 2013

April started as March had left off with a cold North easterly which started as a light breeze, when I left the house, but slowly picked up as I continued. I was soon counting my lucky stars when, at 07.55 I had a Marsh Harrier(83) going north. Brilliant !! and only the second patch record.
Apart from this, for the most part, the same species as yesterday were seen, although I did add Common Gull and Treecreeper.
In the afternoon I popped out to the patch and added Peregrine and  Lapwing.

Monday, 1 April 2013


I walked the patch for 3 hours on Sunday morning as it was the last day of the month.
With the cold wind I wasn't expecting too much in the way of spring migrants and to be honest there weren't many about.
Plenty of gulls were going through and I saw five species, Great Black-backed, Herring, Black-headed,  Mediterranean and Lesser Black-backed all passed overhead.
The Grey Wagtail was once again on the stream below the waterfall and from the dam end 3 Mandarins could be seen further down the lake.
A walk down the west bank to the far end produced Kingfisher, Canada and Greylag Goose and the usual 2 pairs of Great crested Grebes. At the bottom end of the lake a Reed Bunting was singing and a Water Rail called from the reed bed.
Woodpeckers were drumming in the woods and I added both Green and Great spotted to the tally. It was nice to see a male Goldcrest singing and on the edge of the reeds there were 2 Chiffchaffs(the only summer migrants seen during the visit).
A lone Siskin called as it flew over and a Cormorant circled the lake before drifting off.
There was a flock of 30 Redwings in Shirrenden and as I was about to leave a Lesser spotted Woodpecker drummed then called from the alder wood.
In all 53 species were seen during the walk, most of which I expect to see during the winter months