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.