Tuesday, 16 December 2014


It was great to get out on the patch for a couple of hours on the 13th and 14th of the month. The week before I had a stinking cold so only managed a short walk on the Sunday.
On Saurday the winter thrushes had reached good numbers with about 500 Fieldfares and 200 Redwings present in the orchards by the lake. Its's always great when they arrive in big numbers although they are never easy to approach and seem to spend their time being chased around the orchards by the local Sparrowhawk.
One of the many Fieldfares

The lake was still very quiet except for two Little Grebes amongst the Mallards and Moorhens.The ditch at the southern and held a couple of Reed Buntings  and a Water Rail was calling from the corner of the lake.
The lakeside alders held 10 Siskins and as I watched them I heard the familiar call of a Chiffchaff. Brilliant!!
This is the first December record of this species on the patch and now means I have recorded it in every month of the year.I watched it flitting around before disappearing into the alder wood.
On Sunday my luck continued as I flushed a Jack Snipe(109)from the small ditch at the southern end of the lake whilst I was taking some shots of the hard frost on some nettles.It flew around the orchard a bit and appeared to land further along the main stream into the lake. A great record for the patch and the third in 18 years.
Frosty Nettles
The sunshine meant that at last I could get the camera out and get some frosty shots.
Redwing in the orchard.
These are the winter days I love with hard frosts and beautiful sunshine!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014


Well November has passed and at last there seems to be an increase in the winter thrush numbers. On the 22nd there were just over 200 Fieldfares in the orchard at the lake which increased to 400 on the 28th.
Fieldfare by the lake.
Redwings seem to be in short supply with the highest number being about 50 on the 28th. 
The lake itself seems to at last be turning up something other than the usual Mallards and Moorhens with a Tufted drake on the 28th and 8(4 pairs) of Wigeon on the 29th which flew off south and a pair on the 30th.
There were a lot of birds in the orchard on the 28th for as well as the winter thrushes there were 100 Starlings,30 Chaffinches and in the alders ,300 Goldfinches plus 10 Siskins.
Pied Wagtail on the roof of Lake Cottage
On the 30th I had one that got away when a large Pipit went over the orchard but I wasn't quick enough to get on it properly and unfortunately it disappeared south east. My gut feeling was a Richards but it didn't call so I'll just have to chalk it up to experience.
This evening I had a drake Gadwall(108)on the lake so I'm hopeful I might reach 110 by the end of the year.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

November is whizzing by and the days are getting disappointingly short so not much chance to walk the patch after work meaning I am mostly getting to bird at the weekends.
That being said I did manage to get out on the 12th November,as I was on call the night before.This turned out to be areal bonus as when I walked though Kirkins and down Furnace Lane I noticed there were lots of Blackbirds around in the hedgerow and as I watched them feeding on Hawthorn berries they were joined briefly by a Ring Ouzel(107) a fantastic bird to have on my patch. Unfortunately I didn't have the camera with me as there were heavy showers during my walk so contented myself with watching it tucking in before flying off to the east.
The next day the only thing of note as I peered down the lake in the gloom was a pair of Teal.
The walk on Sunday 16th was a very pleasant one plenty of birds about. Kirkins held a flock of 24 Skylarks, 8 Pied Wagtails and 4 Meadow Pipits.As I looked though them a flock of 25 Herring Gulls passed overhead.Winter thrushes were still in low numbers but I also saw Song and Mistle Thrush and Blackbird.
Down at the lake there was a good mixed flock which contained 22 Long-tailed Tits,2 Coal Tits,Nuthatch,Treecreeper,Goldcrest,Blue Tit,Great Tit and 2 Chiffchaffs. It's good to get Chiffchaffs in November and it made wonder if they might hang around as I have never had a December record.
On the water it remains very quiet but I was treated to two Kingfishers and three Water Rails were calling from different parts of the reed beds. Two Great crested Grebes were on the water plus another Little Grebe and a real rarity here in the shape of a Coot!!
Today I managed an hour walk before work after being called out in the night. I was gobsmacked to find another Black Redstart on the fenceline in Kirkins. This is unprecedented on the patch and with the two the other week has doubled my tally of this species on my patch since I started watching.It also made me wonder how much is missed as I am the only person watching the patch seriously.
There were about 50 Fieldfares and 15 Redwings seen and a flock of 30 Siskins of note at the lake.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

9TH NOVEMBER-Round-up of the first week.

The first of the month produced the first Fieldfares of the winter with a total of 72 seen(Hooray!!) plus 36 Redwings.A flock of 20 Siskins were in the alders with at least 200 Goldfinches.The field at Kirkins held 14 Skylarks,30 Meadow Pipits.10 Pied Wagtails and a dozen Linnets.
Four species of Gulls were seen (Common,Lesser Black-backed,Herring and Black-headed) but the lake it was very quiet just Moorhen,Mallard and a Great crested Grebe on the water although a female Kingfisher was there and two Grey Wagtails flew down the lake.The total for the day was 46 species.
Yesterdays walk( the 8th) didn't through up any surprises so in the afternoon Phyllis and I went to Reculver to hopefully see the Desert Wheatear which we duly did. Unfortunately it got rather overcast and breezy as we arrived so the photos weren't as good as I'd hoped.
Male Desert Wheatear

As I had to work today I didn't get out till after lunch but I was glad I did when as I walked into Kirkins I noticed a small bird flitting off the fence onto the ground then back again. Before I could get the binos on it properly it flew up onto the roof of one of the new houses. It was as I had thought a Black Redstart(106),a great start to the walk.To be honest not much else of note was seen so I made my way to the lake via the Hononten farm track. As I neared the farm I did what I always do,scan the roofs of the farm buildings and to my amazement found another Black Redstart!!What are the chances? This bird could have been the one I'd seen earlier but the buildings are about a mile away so I feel it must have been a second bird.
One of todays Black Redstarts

On the insect front I was amazed to find this Clouded Yellow butterfly as I walked back home.
The latest Clouded Yellow I've ever seen.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

To end of October

The month passed by with another species for the year tally in the shape of twenty seven Brent Geese(105) which flew over SSE on the 26th.
The previous day had seen a total of forty five species seen with the the only summer species being three Chiffchaffs.
Maybe the last Chiffchaff of the year?
At the lake a Marsh Tit was seen again and two Water Rails were also present.It's always good to actually see them as a lot of the time they call without being seen.A second Little Grebe for the month was also seen.
I had a trip out in the afternoon to see the Red breasted Flycatcher down at Beachy Head.A cracking little bird and one which has eluded me in Kent.
Red breasted flycatcher( A little cracker) though not the best of shots!

On the 26th the first two decent flocks of Redwings were noted totalling one hundred birds.
On the 28th, Glyn had a House Martin through the lake whilst he was fishing and there were three Grey Wagtails and eight mandarin when I popped in.
O the 30th I had a great surprise when I stopped to scan the field at Kirkins as three hundred Brent Geese went over in three Skeins, BRILLIANT!!
By the end of the month still no Fieldfares. 

Monday, 20 October 2014


October is racing by but at least it has yielded two new ticks for the year.Nothing unusual has turned up but on the 9th the Canada Goose numbers peaked at 152 with the single Greylag tagging along.
The 11th produced my first Little Grebe(103) of the year although Glyn had seen one in the spring. The next day Lesser Spotted Woodpecker for some time was seen behind the boat house. Of note there were 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over and two Grey Wagtails on the stream.
The 13th saw forty House Martins going over south(what I thought would be my last) but four were seen the on the 15th with five Swallows.
On the 17th I had the day off work to catch up on some decorating but managed to get a quick walk in before I started, which tuned out to be very enjoyable.
The field at Kirkins held plenty of birds with 60 Linnets, 15 Pied Wagtails,5 Skylarks and rather surprisingly a Wheatear. This is my first October record.Whilst watching it charging around the field I had my first Brambling of the autumn.
Down at the lake things got even better when as I was walking alond the orchard track I heard the humming of wings a was delighted to see a Mute Swan(104) take off from the lake and fly off north.At the southern end of the lake there were two Water Rails and 3 Chiffchaffs and I also had my first Lesser Redpoll calling as it flew over.It's amazing how much pleasure we can get form seeing the commonest of species.

Monday, 6 October 2014

September ended with lots of Canada Geese visiting the lake and nearby stubble with no fewer than 131 on the 29th plus 5 Greylags with them.Earlier in the day Glyn had counted 158 them! That afternoon there were also six Chiffchaffs,3 Swallows and 2 Grey Wagtails when I visited after work.
It is now dark in the morning when I go to work but that hasn't detered me from dropping in on my way.
Doing this has enlightened me to the amount of Tawny Owls around with three heard calling together on thw 3rd October and a Little Owl as well.
In the late afternoon when I popped in I was delighted to find four Wigeon(3 drakes and a duck) on the lake plus six Mandarins, two Kingfishers, eight Chiffchaffs, three Goldcrests and a Mistle Thrush singing.
I stopped at the field at Kirkins on my way up the hill and found two male Stonechats on the fence.
Distant Stonechat
I managed a walk on Saturday morning. There were lots of Chiffchaffs about with at least ten in the derelict orchard behind Tucks Cottages on Maidstone Road and twenty more as I walked around the edge of Kirkins in the hedgerow. I found the two Stonechats in the bottom of the field.
At the lake there were another half dozen Chiffchaffs and nineteen Skylarks over but the water was very quiet with just thirty eight Canadas of note and two Water Rails calling from opposite corners of the lake.
Three Swallows also passed over head. 
Sunday I had to work so didn't manage a walk in the morning but we had a walk in the afternoon. Not much was seen but there were three species of Dragonfly around the lake with Emperor, Migrant Hawker and Common Darter seen.
Common Darter
Four Buzzards and a Swallow were over the house. 

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Thursday 25th I managed a quick walk before work as I was due in a bit later and was pleasantly surprised to find another Whinchat in the field behind Kirkins Cottages. Better was to come when I found not one but a pair of Stonechats(102) flitting alond the fenceline. Whilst I was watching them a Willow Warbler followed them along it.A dozen Swallows passed over head and around fiftyLinnets were also there.
At the lake another female Teal was present plus eleven Mandarins,twenty six Canada Geese withthe Greylag Goose in tow. The first Water Rail of the autumn was heard an d Kingfisher,Grey Heron and a Grey Wagtail were present. In the paddock at Shirrenden there were thirty four Stock Doves and thirty Meadow Pipits.
The walk on Saturday was a very enjoyable one even though no new species were seen. There were still a few summer migrants around with two Blackcaps, eight Chiffchaffs, twenty five Swallows, thirty House Martins and two Yellow Wagtails over. The Whinchat and one Stonechat was still in the weedy field.
There was a good mixed flock of tits which also held a few Goldcrests but alas no Firecrest.
Today started with pretty thick fog which slowly cleared during my walk.
The sun trying to break through the early morning fog 
Once the fog had cleared I found the Whinchat behind Kirkins and with it were two Stonechats. At least one of these birds was new as both were males. Its amazing that the Whinchat has stayed around this long or is it a different bird? The Linnet flock comprised around seventy birds and fifty Meadow Pipits were also present. 
When it was still foggy I could hear geese in a nearby field and as the fog cleared they took off and landed on the lake where I counted one hundred and six Canada Geese and one Greylag Goose.
As it really started to brighten up a few Small Copper butterflies emerged.
Small Copper
I'm hoping that the Whinchat stays around for a few more days as it would make a great October record.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Summer has passed.

The weather conditions had changed considerably a walk on the patch this morning with quite a strong northerly breeze blowing.
Two of the three Whinchats were still present in Kirkins( been here since last Sunday).
Also in the field was a flock of about forty Linnets and seventy Meadow Pipits.
A Yew tree at the top of the field held Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Mistle Thrushes feeding on it's berries but no early winter thrushes, alas!
As expected summer migrants had mostly disappeared but there were still plenty of Chiffchaffs around and Swallows passing overhead in different directions. Two House Martins were also seen.
At the lake the the Buzzard family were being harried by the local crows. there was a large mixed flock containing Blue, Long-tailed, Great, Coal and best of all a Marsh Tit.This is only the second record this year and was very welcome. As well as the Tits there were also four Goldcrests,a Treecreeper and two Nuthatches.
The lake itself held eleven Mandarins,thirty Mallards,a dozen Moorhens and a single Coot.
The two young Great crested Grebes are still doing well but there is only one adult with them.
During a walk this afternoon  a Whitethroat was found in a blackberry patch in Haymans Hill.
With the nights drawing in I have resorted to walking down at the lake on my way to work in the semi darkness,which has produced a few Tawny Owls calling and lots of bats.
On the insect front there were still a few Migrant Hawkers around the lake and last weekend we had a Hummingbird Hawk Moth in the garden.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Mid September update

August passed with the last week being a family holiday to Corfu. We stayed in a lovely little village called Kassiopi, which is situated in the north East of the island. It wasn't exactly the best place form a birding perspective but I did manage to add a few species to my list.
All my birding was done in a little valley just outside the resort which I visited at first light. This produced a few different warblers with Wood Warblers seen every day. New species for me were Icterine Warbler, Orphean Warbler and on the last day a Ruppell's Warbler.
Others seen were the inevitable Sardinian Warblers plus Olive Tree Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Great Reed Warbler and my first Collared Flycatcher. There were always good numbers of Swallow and House Martins and Red Rumped Swallows but the only Swifts seen were Alpine which I found quite surprising. In the evenings a Scops Owl called being joined by a second bird in the middle of the week and eventually I got to see it. My first sighting of this species as I have only ever managed to just hear them.
Butterflies were quite numerous with plenty of Scarce Swallowtails and one common Swallowtail. The only butterflies I managed to photograph were a Southern Comma
Southern Comma
and a Fritillary which I don't know-if anyone could identify it I would be very grateful.
Any ideas anyone!
Back to the patch and and a walk on the sixth produced 50 species with a decent size mixed flock of Tits and Warblers and my first Autumn Meadow Pipit and what will I am sure will be my last Swift of the year.
Dropping in to the lake on my way home from work has produced some good flocks of House Martins with a couple of hundred on the eleventh. That morning, on the way to work there were 26 Canadas and a Greylag on the lake plus 15 Mandarins and two more Teal.
During yesterdays walk I found two Willow Warblers and a Reed Warbler still hanging around the lake with ten Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap. 
This morning I had to go to work but on a walk with Phyl late this afternoon I found three Whinchat(101) in the field behind Kirkins Cottages in Furnace Lane. This was especially pleasing as I didn't record the species last year. With limited time and the nights drawing in I think it is going to be a struggle to move the year total along but you have always got remain optimistic I suppose. 

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Summer catch-up

Well the summer has nearly passed and it has been a struggle to do any amount birding with work and home commitments plus the added pressure of a course at college. Thankfully the two year course has finished so I hope to do more birding and and make more posts on the blog.
The year list has unsurprisingly been a bit of a struggle but had crept up to 100 on 14/08/14.
June went with the addition of 3 Crossbills(97) on the 21st.
During June the Kestrels in Shirrenden and Sprivers fledged with three young from each and three juvenile Grey Wagtails appeared on the stream below the lake.
Into July and on the 9th four Common Sandpipers were on the lake in the evening which is the first record for this month on the patch.The following day saw the first Sand Martin(98) of the year and the day after the first Common Tern(99).On the 27th the two Buzzards fledged and have been a constant feature around the paddock at Shirrenden since with their constant calling.In the afternoon of that day all the local Starlings were put up by what I was expecting to be a Sparrowhawk but turned out to be a Cuckoo going over the house.
August has slipped by with probably my last Swift of the year seen over the house on the 10th.
On the 14th my first 2 Sedge Warblers(100) of the year was seen at the lake with another there on the 17th.
On a walk this morning there were still good numbers of warblers about with Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat and Blackcap seen plus a late brood of Reed Warblers had just fledged from a nest at the southern end of the lake.
Reed Warbler fledgeling
Three Spotted flycatchers were seen plus a rather nice Wheatear in the orchard.
Autumn Wheatear
A strange sighting was that of a Teal on the lake. This is the first summer sighting of this species for me.
Distant juvenile? Teal

Saturday, 7 June 2014

May has passed and the patch list is the lowest for this time of year that I've had since I started recording.
I did have some good news when, on the 23rd, I found a Turtle Dove(95) and not one but two Nightingales(96) singing in suitable habitat whilst out checking the local Barn Owls for activity around the nest box.There seem to be fledglings all over the patch with the first Blackcaps found on the 26th.
Blackcap fledgling
Interestingly I found two Lesser Whitethroats singing in the same area yesterday evening, not a species that often stays around the patch to breed.The local Cuckoos seem to be hanging around the lake a lot so I'm hoping I may get a fledgling to photograph quite soon.
With little chance to take any pictures on the patch I've attached a few more pictures from Rhodes;-
Crested Lark
Lesser Kestrel
Red rumped Swallow

Monday, 19 May 2014

Mid-May update.

Just spent a week in Rhodes at Lindos. My birding time was done during my early morning walk around the resort. Although we had a little bit of rain it was a very relaxing week. I've attached some pictures taken during the week.
Female Blue Rock Thrush busy nest building
Lesser Kestrel
Black Eared Wheatear
The number of Swifts and Swallows around the area was pretty impressive with Common, Pallid and Alpine Swifts seen daily plus Barn and Red Rumped Swallows and Crag, House and a few Sand Martins. Ten raptor species were also seen plus a real bonus in the shape of a Thrush Nightingale I found early on the first morning. This was a first for me and I was well made up!!!
I was amazed by the number of crickets about at this time of year and I'll add some photos of some of these  plus a bit more of the holiday week in the coming posts.
Back to the patch and Friday 16th turned up the first Spotted Flycatcher(93) near lake cottage. Sunday a Common Sandpiper(94) was resting in one of the fishing swims.
Common Sandpiper
The first Damsels and a Downy Emerald dragonfly were also seen at the weekend.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Bank holiday got off to a good start with my first Swift(90)over the house as I left for my walk. The Willow Warbler was still singing at the top of Kirkins and as Iwalked down the track I heard the unmistakable song of a Lesser Whitethroat(91)as it moved through the scrub. A pair of Lapwings were displaying over the field and two skylarks were trying to out do each other.
Down at the lake, yesterdays Garganey had disappeared but there were three Mandarin drakes.
Another Garganey shot.
The afternoon in the garden was very eventfull with a pair of Hobby(92) seen overhead as well as two Buzzards and a Peregrine which flew low over the house before reappearing a short while later with what looked like a young Starling in its talons.Great stuff! Later in the day 5 Swifts were feeding over the house.
Whitethroat singing down by the lake.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

April Update and beyond.

The first Reed Warbler(84) arrived at the lake on 22nd followed the next day by four House Martins(85).
Unfortunately I missed out on a Common Tern on the 25th which Glyn had through in the afternoon.
I managed a good walk around the patch on 27th  adding Garden Warbler(86) and a Yellow Wagtail(87) which headed over north east. I had a great few hours on the patch and was delighted with the two additions plus the total of 51 birds seen and was was well cuffed to find two Mistle Thrush families in the horse paddock behind the pumping station. I did miss out on two Mute Swans that landed on the lake and stayed around for only an hour(seen by Andy) on the 29th.
Into May and a small bird found fliitting around a row of apple trees turned out to be my first Marsh Tit(88) of 2014.
Today turned up another Willow Warbler singing in the top scrub in Kirkins.
Willow Warbler
This afternoon as Phyllis and I were out for a stroll which took us round the lake three ducks flew in and landed on the water. These turned out to be Garganey(89) FANTASTIC!! I could hardly contain myself. They seemed to be very skittish so I contented myself with watching them and photographing them from distance not wanting to spook them.
Garganey(2 drakes and a duck)
A brilliant end to the weekend. 

Monday, 21 April 2014

The week started well with a Red Kite(80) over the lake going west on Monday at 16.30. the first Common Whitethroat(81) was found by the lake on the 17th. The same day a second Willow Warbler was found on an established territory.
The Robins in the back garden had fledged three young on the same day and three fledgling Blackbirds were on grass verge in Maidstone Road.
Blackbird fledgling
By Friday a total of three Whitethroats and three Willow warblers were on territories. It was especially pleasing to find the Willow Warblers as I feared they could be lost as a breeding species after the destruction of most of the decent habitat but they seem to be making the most of the fragments that are left, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Common Whitethroat
On Saturday evening I was overjoyed to find a Barn Owl(82) sitting in one of the local nest boxes we put up a few years ago.
Finally, today I had a Tree Pipit(83) over West to complete the new arrivals to the patch.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

It's been a bit of a mixed week.On Tuesday I had what will undoubtedly be the last Fieldfare of the spring when a single bird flew over the house at 06.10 as I left for work.
That evening at 19.00 I had a quick walk and was made-up to find a cracking male Wheatear(77) in the field opposite Kirkins Cottages in Furnace Lane.
Male Wheatear.
On the 8th I found a Willow Warbler(78) on one of the only patch territories left after last years butchery by local farmers. A real relief!! The first Cuckoo(79) called somewhere on the village green as I left the house at 07.00 yesterday but remained unseen until this morning when it called persistently and gave some really great, if distant, views. There were also 4 Swallows at the lake plus a few going through this morning.
The local pair of Buzzards have been displaying well and Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps seem to be everywhere. There are also now three broods of Mallard ducklings on the lake.
I'm looking forward to the next few weeks and what they might bring.

Friday, 4 April 2014

A quick look at the lake this evening, produced the first two Swallows (76) which were chasing each other over the sheep field near the pumping station.
On the lake itself the first Mallard ducklings,ten of them, were being closely guarded by their mother.
With luck the weekend will produce some goodies!!

Monday, 31 March 2014

End of March update

The last few days of March were pretty good to me with the lake livening up on Friday as a Bittern(73) turned up.Sadly they don't spend the winter here anymore but it was great to add one to the list for another year. I couldn't get anywhere near it as it sat high in a tree after being flushed by something in the reeds.
Bittern in tree (honest!)
A second Blackcap had also turned up and was singing behind Lake Cottage.The lake held a pair of Tufted Ducks,2 pairs of Mandarins, 2 pairs of Canada Geese and 2 pairs of Grey-lag Geese and a pair of Grey Wagtails on the stream.  
On Saturday raptors were in plentiful supply with 3 Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrels and a Peregrine seen during my morning walk and after stroll in the afternoon with my wife, as we entered the back garden we had a Marsh Harrier(74) going over south. FANTASTIC !! 
Nothing was added during Sunday morning but a walk in the afternoon produced 2 Mediteranean Gulls(75)  which were feeding with 50 Herring Gulls and 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on a field being turned by a tractor on Swigs side.
I'm looking forward to April and hope it continues in the same vein.

Monday, 24 March 2014

At least we've had a good bit of sunshine and things are starting to dry out around the patch.
Chiffchaff numbers have risen and today there were at least seven individuals singing on territories. Ther were still some Fieldfares and Redwings about today with a mixed flock of about 40 birds today.
My early morning walk yesterday was really brightened up with a pair of Lapwings(71) on the field behind the pumping station. It was fantastic to see the male calling and displaying.
Distant shot of one of the Lapwings

Ducks are practically non existent with the odd Mallard and a pair of Mandarins.There have been a few pairs of Grey-lags and Canada geese dropping in.
Nesting Mallard

The Kingfishers seem to be hanging around the lake and they have been seen mating on a couple of occasions.This morning three Great-crested grebes were disputing territories.
On the raptor front there was a total of six Buzzards in the air over the orchards this morning and the local Kestrels have been hanging around.A single Sparrowhawk was also seen.
The highlight today was the first Blackcap(72) which was singing from the hedge in Furnace Lane on my way down to the lake.
The sun has certainly brought out the butterflies with plenty of Small Tortoiseshells, Commas and Peacocks.
Small Tortoiseshell

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The numbers of winter thrushes in the patch had all but disappeared this morning when only 7 Fieldfares and 2 Redwings were seen. Earlier in the week I had been treated to a Redwing in full song in one of the lakeside trees.
The sunshine had really got the locals singing and the Mistle Thrush near the pumping station was a delight.
 Singing Mistle Thrush
The Chiffchaff found last week appears to be holding territory behind the pumping station and a second bird was heard in the south east corner of the lake yesterday. The two Reed Buntings were both singing this morning and Lesser Spot was calling from Alders behind the boathouse this morning.
The highlight of the weekend was a drake Wigeon(70) found on Saturday.
Drake Wigeon
No Redpolls were seen but a single Siskin was seen on Saturday. The only raptors seen were Common Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk.
It was great to see butterflies with Small tortoiseshell (3), Comma(1) and Peacock(2) seen.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Week Ending 02/03/14

The week was a mixed one on the weather front but with a couple of days off in the middle I was determined to drag my wife off somewhere for a walk. So on Wednesday we decided on a walk from Reculver along the coast.It was a glorious, sunny day.I took my camera and binos just in case and was glad I had when we stumbled upon a single Snow Bunting 100 yards from the tower.
Snow Bunting
It was a lovely walk for a couple of hours and we even got to have a picnic on the beach before the turned for the worst. On the insect front we saw a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly.
 Anyway, back to the patch and a quick walk earlier on Wednesday and the Redpoll flock was re-found with at least 25 Lesser plus 2 Commons feeding on seeds on the dam end.
On to the weekend and not much had changed around the patch except for two Reed Buntings singing at the southern end of the lake on Saturday.
Singing Reed Bunting
Eventually I saw 44 species so went home very pleased with my efforts.
Sundays walk down through Kirkins and 6 Reed Buntings were in the hedge behind the cottages. As I walked down Furnace Lane the Greylag and Canada pair flew over towards the village.I Also added Water Rail to the list for the weekend but on the way back towards home I was delighted to stumble across the first Chiffchaff (68) of the year as it made its way along the hedge singing as it went. Fantastic!!
In the afternoon after feeling a little restless I went for another walk  finding 5 Yellohammers in the top field and had a Grey wagtail over down by the stream. On the lake and I found a redhead Goosander(69) which must have flown in after I had left in the morning.Unfortunately I couldn't get within 100 yards of it so had to be content with this distant shot as I didn't want to spook it. 

It was a great end to the weekend and in total I saw 51 species.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

What a joy it was to be out walking in the sunshine on Saturday. A good selection of birds was seen during my 2 hour walk. Down through Kirkins and the maize stubble seems to be attracting lots of corvids, about 140 consisting of a pretty even split of Jackdaws and Rooks. The hedgerow held a few House Sparrows and Chaffinches plus a pair of Reed Buntings and five Fieldfare flew from the apple trees in the top corner.
As I neared the pumping station a Mistle Thrush sang from an oak a bit further along the lane. Two Goldrcrests were foraging in the ivy covered willow next to the station.
The orchard next to the lake held a mixed flock of Fieldfares(25), Redwings(14) and Starlings(200). As I neared the southern end I could hear a Reed Bunting singing and soon found him in a lakeside alder.
All three Woodpeckers could be heard drumming but the lake held just Mallard, Moorhen and a lone Great- crested Grebe until a Kingfisher appeared and landed in a tree in the corner.
A pair of Canada Geese flew over accompanied by a Greylag. Interestingly this trio have been on the lake a couple of weeks ago and the Greylag appeared to be pairing with one of the Canadas.
Around the other side of the lake and the highlight of the morning appeared in the shape of a pair of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers. Such delightful little birds. Unfortunately I got just one(iffy) shot of the female before they disappeared into the alder wood.
Female Lesser Spot
In total 43 species were seen with a nice pair of Grey Wagtails bringing up the rear as I left the lake.
In the afternoon I had the good fortune of a Peregrine(67) over the garden when I was repairing the the fence which had blown down during the spell of horrid weather we have just endured. Every cloud has a silver lining!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014


I can't believe it's nearly the middle of February and my patch list has just started to pick up a bit after a rather disappointing January, when only 59 species were seen. At the same time last year the list stood at 72!! This is probably due to my limited walking after the saga of my ankle and the appalling weather.
Still, back to the patch and waiting till 28th December for a Pochard there were 4 records in January with two being seen on the 7th with a Tufted drake.

There seems to be a lot of Redpolls around since last month with a single Common Redpoll(54) with them on the 18th Jan.
Into February and on the 1st of the month there were 2 Common Redpolls with a flock of 45+ lesser Redpolls. The first Woodcock was seen on the same day plus a pair of Greylag Geese.
The 2nd produced a pair of Teal and a Water Rail of note.On Monday 10th, 3 Egyptian Geeese flew S/E over the lake and this morning I had a pair of Grey Wagtails over to bring the years total to 66.
Finally, even though it doesn't seem to want to stop raining, it was great to see some Snowdrops in bloom a week or so ago.
Snowdrops in bloom.