Sunday, 22 November 2015

October left with 26 Mandarins on the 28th of note and 3 Tawny Owls calling on my way to work at 06:15.
On 31st of the month a 'continental'Coal Tit was in a horse chestnut tree in Back lane and at 16:05 a skein of 110 Brent Geese flew S/E over the village.
The first week of November saw an increase in the numbers of Fieldfares and the 8th of the month I had a single Crossbill(103) over.
Yesterdays walk was somewhat shortened by snow on a freezing wind but before it set in I saw 300 Fieldfares and 20 Redwings and the lake held a Coot (somewhat uncommon in these parts) and a drake Wigeon.
Yesterdays drake Wigeon.
This morning there were good numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares around the orchard and a Reed Bunting was a welcome find as was a splendid male Brambling on the track near the farmhouse
The Wigeon had gone as had the Coot but there were a few Mandarins on the lake
Two of the Mandarins on the lake.
As I got round to the Shirrenden side I glanced up to see two Carrion Crows mobbing something and as I got me bins on it I was delighted to see it was a Short eared Owl(104).Fantastic!!I watched it gain height and disappear to the north west.
Unfortunately I got called to work just as it disappeared so had to make my way home before I could finish my walk.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Walks on the patch now consist of mostly popping in on the way home from work but one on the 22nd was interesting for the large mixed flock of finches that are now congregating in the old orchard.This was made up of Linnets,Goldfinches,Chaffinches,Bramblings(3) plus Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits.
There was a flock of Siskins and Lesser Redpolls were feeding on the Greater Willowherb at the southern end.
                                              Lesser Redpoll on willowherb,
That evening there were also six Swallows feeding over the small sheepfield.
On saturday 24th four Bramblings were present and the lake held 2 Kingfishers,4 Mandarins and a
Water rail of note. A Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk were also seen.
On Sunday 25th the highlite was a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker which flew into the alders at the southern end and the finch flock had been joined by some Yellowhammers and a Reed bunting.
This afternoon a Chiffchaff was in the hedge at the edge of the horse paddock in Furnace Lane with a flock of Long tailed tits and also with them was a cracking Firecrest (102).Brilliant!!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sunday 18th Update.

It's been an interesting week on the patch which started on the  14th with a gull fest in Kirkins where the field had been turned over attracting six species:- Black Headed(120),Herring(52),Lesser black backed(2),Common(2),Great black backed(1) and an adult Mediterranean.
The following day a Swallow went through heading north.
Yesterday(Saturday 17th) the first winter thrushes arrived with 249 Redwings seen,mostly in one flock of 200 birds.In contrast just 15 Fieldfares were seen.
Another Swallow was seen going north and a male Blackcap was found in the hedge by the pumping station in Furnace Lane.Goldcrests were numerous with at least a dozen seen.
Down at the lake the field where the large orchard has been grubbed out recently there was a great mixture of birds with Chaffinch,Linnet,Meadow Pipit and a couple of Bramblings feeding on the ground plus a large flock of Goldfinches.
40 Siskins were in the lakeside alders and 5 Lesser Redpolls flew overhead.Three Chiffchaffs were around with one bird feeding on the ground among the mixed flock.
Kirkins held 31 Stock doves and a Mistle thrushes.
Today there were more Redwings arriving with 65 seen and 17 Fieldfares overhead. Small numbers of Skylarks were going over in all directions as were small flocks of Chaffinches and one Brambling called as it went overhead.
Down at the lake a Water Rail called and 4 Egyptian Geese went north.
Most intriguing of all was a movement? of Magpies which consisted of a flock of 8 then a flock of 18 going south, something I have never witnessed before.
Swallows were seen again with 2 south,2 north and 3 west.I imaging theses will be the last I will see this year although I do have two November records so you never know!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

I was away at the end of September so didn't get to walk the patch until a short walk after work on the 6th October which produced the first Lesser Redpolls of the Autumn plus a few House Martins and Chiffchaffs were still around.
On Saturday 12th I managed a full walk of the patch which gave the first Water Rail and a decent flock of Siskins plus a few L/Redpolls. Skylarks were passing over head in small numbers and there was a total of 9 Chiffchaffs.A flock of 30 Meadow Pipits were on Kirkins field and in total 42 species were seen.
On Sunday the the undoubted highlight was a skein of 320 Brent Geese(101) which went over at 08.15am.
On the insect front I found a Hornets nest in the oak tree which usually plays host to the local Little Owl pair.
Hornets nest.
I've attached a photo of the Osprey which stayed around the lake for three days in September.
Unfortunately the light was poor and the Osprey was always distant.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

It rained as soon as I stepped out of the house this morning so I didn't expect much from my walk. There were still a dozen or so Swallows around plus a couple of House Martins down at the lake.One Coot was feeding on the barley bales which have been put in the water to reduce the algae bloom.On the far side of the lake 13 Mandarins were diving to feed on acorns which have dropped into the lake.
A Grey Heron was sitting in an alder and as I watched it 4 Cormorants came in.
The Great crested Grebe chicks are really growing and are practically the same size as the adults. It's great that they eventually managed to raise two youngsters after two failed attempts.
There were a few Siskins being blown about by the blustery wind.About a dozen Chiffchaffs were around the lake.
On the Shirrenden side there were three Blackcaps in the elders and to my delight yesterdays Osprey flew form one of the pines towards the lake and disappeared into the trees at the southern end.
I hadn't taken my camera as it was raining heavily so I was going to try to get down later.
When I got back to the house I found a Swift flying over the village.
This afternoon I did manage to get back to the lake and stood on the orchard side to give me a good position to watch the lake.It wasn't long before I had some great views of a Hobby as it circled over the wood.
The Osprey reappeared and did a few circuits of the lake before gaining height and drifting off to the south west. I did manage some shots of it before it went,
Today's Osprey

Friday, 11 September 2015

The 9th saw yet another Yellow Wagtail over and probably the last Whitethroat in Kirkins.The Hobby continues  to  hunt over the village early in the morning giving some great views over the house.
A Stonechat(99) was a welcome addition to the list as it hopped on and off the fence in Kirkins on the 10th but sadly it didn't hang around. Another single Yellow Wagtail went over and Siskins went over singly or in pairs. It's been an extraordinary autumn for this species on the patch.
This mornings walk saw summer bird numbers greatly reduced with a dozen or so Chiffchaffs and 5 Blackcaps seen but I was very pleased to find a Spotted Flycatcher in the southwest corner of the lake.
Overhead Swallows were going southeast all the time with a few House Martins amongst them.
This afternoon I popped down to the lake to see if anything had turned up and was delighted to see an Osprey(100) which was trying to fish whilst being bothered by the local Black headed Gulls.It appeared to fly into Shirrenden wood and as I couldn't relocate it I decided to return at 5 o'clock.
The first thing I saw when I returned. was a  Sparrowhawk and as I watched it an Osprey appeared from the north and once again disappeared towards the wood.I stuck around for an hour but only managed a Hobby.
I'm hoping it will stick around till tomorrow so I may get a photo.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

September began with the highlights of the 1st being a Swift, a Peregrine and three Buzzards( one adult and two juveniles from the Shirrenden nest.
On the second the only bird of note seen was a Yellow Wagtail going over as well as a good mix of warblers.
Friday the 4th produced my second Redsart of the year with a bird in one of the windbreak hedges at the southern end of the lake which annoyingly kept it's distance so I could only manage a record shot.
Heavily cropped Redstart.
In contrast to this summer migrant 7 Siskins were also seen.
I managed a good patch walk on the 5th seeing 46 species with plenty of Chiffchaffs about plus a Whitethroat,a few Blackcaps, 45 Swallows,4 House martins,3 Reed Warblers but the Willow Warblers seem to have cleared out.
On the 6th another single Swift was seen and in one Elder bush Whitethoat,Chiffchaff,Blackcap and a cracking little Lesser Whitethroat were feeding.
Even better was to come when a single Tree Pipit then two more went over.
On the 7th another Redstart was seen, this time on the sunny side of the hedge in Kirkins.
This morning at 06:50 a Hobby was hunting over the village giving great views over the house and down at the lake 130 House Martins, 20 Swallows and a Sand Martin were on the wires.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Late summer update

The summer has pretty much passed and Autumn is upon us bringing some much awaited birds to the patch.At the start of the month 20 Mistle thrushes had gathered in the lakeside orchard on the 3rd August.
On the 11th the first Teal (97) and on the 13th five Common Sandpipers(98) were seen(although Geoff had seen 6 or 7 earlier).Six Spotted Flycatchers were around the paddock in Shirrenden.
Throughout the month Siskins were seen on most visits to the lake and on 15th the second Yellow Wagtail of the year was seen plus my third Sedge Warbler of the year.
Adult Hobbies  were around regularly with two on the 23rd. On the same day a Tree Pipit went over and three Egyptian Geese were seen.
On the 27th Canada Geese numbers reached 154 and the second Whinchat was in Kirkins on the 30th.
The following day in horrid conditions 160 Swallows were on the lake plus 2 House Martins,a Sand Martin and a different looking Hirundine which at first had me foxed but when it landed on some wires I realised it was a Swallow/House Martin hybrid!
Having not had many opportunities for photography I've attached some pictures from our week in Lesvos,
Black Stork
Western Rock Nuthatch
Woodchat Shrike (juv)
Red Rump Swallow

Sunday, 2 August 2015

July passed with an unusual sighting of a Siskin on the 19th. A Mediterranean Gull(93) went over on the 24th followed the next day by Sand Martin(94) when five were on the lake with 30 House Martins and ten Swallows.
On the 26th there were 80 Swallows and 2 more Sand Martins on the lake in dreary conditions and five more siskins were seen. At last the Great Crested Grebes have hatched 2 chicks.
August started with the first Sedge Warbler(95) of the year seen in the hedge by the pumping station.
                                            Sedge Warbler in the sunshine
It was an interesting morning with a flock of 8 Herons landing on the stock pond and 5 Cormorants over north. There were lots of warblers about with Whitethroat,Reed Warbler,Chiffchaff,Willow Warbler and Blackcap also seen.
The first Lesser Spotted Woodpecker for quite a while called from the wood at the southern end.
It was also good to see a Turtle Dove and a Spotted Flycatcher near the lake.
Today two more Siskins were seen but the undoubted highlite was seeing a large bird being mobbed by three Jackdaws which I initially thought was going to be a raptor but turned out to be a Raven(96).A rather bizarre but brilliant record!!!
On hte dragonfly front it was great to find not one but two Golden Ringed Dragonflies in the ditch opposite the pumping station.
Golden Ringed Dragonfly with wasp.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Not a lot has changed on the patch since my last post except for broods of plenty of species. It seems to have been a good time for the local breeders but the only new species added to the list since 13th May has been a Lapwing(92) which was seen on 17th.
Common Terns have put in an appearance on many occasions with a run of daily sightings from 25th - 29th May. On 28th May a Red Kite flew over the house(my fourth of the year and the second garden sighting).
The only other noteworthy species in May were a pair of Egyptian Geese and a few Hobby sightings.
The Nightingale was still singing down at Stonebridge on 5th June, so I presume it must have found a mate.
On the same evening it was great to see 35 Swifts over the house. House Martins still seem to be a very uncommon sighting worryingly.
The nest of Nuthatches that were in an oak on the dam end fledged on the first of June but I got a shot of an adult at the nest hole.
Nuthatch feeding young

A second brood of Grey Wagtails were seen on 13th June.
Young Grey Wagtail
Turtle Doves have also been hard to find but I was pleased to find two calling birds in Haymans Hill on the 20th.
The following day 2 Cuckoos were calling down by the lake.Could be last I hear this year!
I've added some insect photos which I have taken recently.
Broad Bodied Chaser
Beautiful Demoiselle
Large Red Damselfly with Alder Fly
This interesting micro moth (3mm) was on the lavender in the garden. Has anyone got any ideas what it is?

Friday, 15 May 2015

The first Spotted Flycatcher(89) arrived on 11th with two in the small wood on the dam end and later the same day the first Turtle Dove(90) was caught in flight and then purred from inside the tree it had landed in.
On the 13th I received news of two birds that had been seen in the garden of Hononton farmhouse. The first was a Black Redstart on the 21st March and the second a HOOPOE!! that was in the garden at 16.45pm on 29th April. To say I am gutted is an understatement.
I consoled myself with the sighting of a Whinchat(91) in Kirkins later that evening.
Distant shot of Whinchat
Interestingly this is only my second spring record.
Today I saw my first Painted Lady this spring.
I managed a shot of one of the three  Reed Warblers on the lake.
The two Lesser Whitethroats still seemed to holding territories and two fledgling Grey wagtails have put in an appearance on the stream.Two robin fledglings were also seen today and the brood of mallard ducklings still totals five.There was also another pair of Common Terns on the lake this afternoon.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

The first Swift(86) of the year arrived on Sunday 3rd May over the house as we came back from shopping after which the next arrival was a Yellow Wagtail(87) that flew over Furnace pond at 6am on the 8th on a morning when the wind had died. On the afternoon of the same day two Common Terns(88) were on the lake and as I watched them two more drifted over south.
On Saturday 9th two Lesser Whitethroats were singing-one in Tucks orchard and one in Kirkins.
The Cuckoo continues to call down by the lake giving occasional distant views
Walking down Furnace Lane I stumbled across this Red legged Partridge- a really smart bird!
R-L Partridge
Three Mandarin drakes were on the lake' hopefully the ducks are sitting on eggs somewhere.Two Garden Warblers are still singing at the southern end but the Great crested grebes have lost their nest again.
Whilst talking to one of the anglers on the lake a Lesser Spotted woodpecker flew over us and down the lake.
Today has been an interesting one as a walk this morning didn't produce anything new but there was another pair of Common Terns on the lake and I witnessed the male catch a fish and feed the female.Unfortunately there are no island on the lake so they are not likely to ever stick around.
Female Common Tern at Furnace.
Working in the garden today we had some brilliant views of two Hobbys low over the house which were probably attracted by the hirundines that had gathered overhead. 
This afternoon we had a walk up to Haymans hill to a field that has had its apple trees removed.On entering it I noticed a bird sitting on the ground which when I put my Binos on turned out to be a Fieldfare.What a Fantastic bird for May!!!
Rather late Fieldfare-Not a brilliant shot but I didn't get too close as I didn't want to spook it.
On the walk back to the village a Red Kite went over us going S/E.
This afternoons Red Kite
All in all a very interesting day.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

As April drew to a close four more species were added to the list with a fly over Tree Pipit(82) on the 26th which was an expected bonus on another dismal day.
On the 27th we went to Harry Potter world which gave me the chance of an early walk before we left.
On my walk I encountered 4 Garden Warblers in different parts of the patch as well as two Lesser Whitethroats and on the lake the first Reed Warbler(83) was singing from the south east corner. I popped in to the lake in the evening and found a pair of Tufted Ducks.

Later that evening I decided to have walk out just before dark and was delighted to find a Nightingale (84) singing from an area I found a couple last year.
A walk on  Wednesday evening produced the first Hobby(85) which made a few attempts at the Swallows on the lake before flying off towards Shirrenden wood.
This morning (2nd May) I went out with the hope of the first Swift of the year but sadly didn't encounter any.
All the usual suspects were seen and it was great to find eight fledgling Long Tailed Tits beside the lake.
Long tailed Tits
It was a bit dark under the trees and there were a lot of branches to contend with. 
Whilst I was trying to get some shots of the fledglings a Marsh Tit flitted through.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Saturday 25th April 2015

At last a few summer migrants have started to arrive on the patch.
Saturday 18th saw me starting my walk in the derelict orchard behind Tucks Cottages in the hope of finding a Willow Warbler in the place that they have nested in the last few years.Unfortunately none were found but a Cuckoo was calling as I entered and was answered by another towards the lake.
As I walked around the edge of the trees a bird flitted across and into the hedgerow. I soon caught up with it and was delighted to see it was a Redstart(77) , a brilliant start.
Walking down through Kirkins and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker flew over me and into the wood at the end of the paddock.
I counted 5 Blackcaps and 8 Chiffchaffs on the walk around and finally found a Willow Warbler down at the southern end of the lake.
The lake held two Mandarin Drakes and a Coot and the Great Crested grebe was still sitting.
On the 20th I had a walk just before dark to try to find a Nightingale in the area that I found two last year but was unsuccessful. However I did find a Whitethroat (78) and even better,a Lesser Whitethroat (79) . This is a very early date for me as most have occurred in the first week of May.
21St April produced my first House Martin of the year (80) .
On my way to work on Friday 24th I popped into a very foggy lake and heard a Garden Warbler singing(81).
Today started in drizzle and although no new species were seen there was a great variety. Tucks held two Cuckoos both male and female and I could also hear two other birds calling form opposite directions.Amazing!! A willow Warbler was also there and I found another Lesser Whitethroat at the top of Kirkins. Which is grate news if it hangs around. Another Whitethroat was located by the Pumping station.
At the lake I managed to get some good views of the Garden Warbler where there were also 4 House Martins and a few Swallows.
In total 51 species were seen. A fantastic total in two and a half hours.
Grey Wagtail

Swallow from in the week
When I popped down to the lake this afternoon I found this Mallard with 12 ducklings.

Friday, 17 April 2015


After the first Swallow on the 3rd nothing happened in the way of summer migrants as the cold weather persisted.
Interestingly though,on the 5th of the month a pair of Lesser Redpolls were present with the male singing in its courtship flight.
On the morning of the 10th seven Redwings and thirty four fieldfares arrived in the orchard next to the lake.
In the evening of the same day a Wheatear(73) was in Kirkins field .
Cropped image of Wheatear.
The Wheatear was still present on Saturday 11th and as I walked down thrugh the field a pair of Egyptian Geese flew passed me and over the village.Blackcaps had increased to three and i also had a single Meadow Pipit.
The next day(12th) the first Willow Warbler(74) was in the paddock behind the pumping station and the first Cuckoo(75) was heard on the 13th.
Finally on the 14th I had my first Red Kite(76) of the year at 16.45pm,down at the lake and had the good fortune to see another at 17.45pm as I walked up Gibbet lane.Both birds heading WNW.
Red Kite over WNW.
On the butterfly front I had six species-Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Orange Tip, Brimstone and Speckled Wood.
Small Tortoiseshell.

Friday, 3 April 2015

3rd April 2015

It was a horrible damp start to the day which persisted for most of the rest of it.At least the wind had died a bit but wasn't the light N/Westerly I was expecting.
The walk around kirkins didn't turn up anything new but it was good to find the male Linnet still singing at the top of the field.
The walk around produced 7 Chiffchaffs and a fly over Meadow Pipit which will probably be the last until autumn.A Skylark was singing over the large field at Swigs Hole and as I approached Furnace I was pleasantly surprised by bird song all around. Spring seems to have arrived even if the weather hasn't improved much.
The Yellowhammer was singing from the hedge near the pumping station but there didn't seem to have been any new arrivals.
I continued my walk around the orchard and down to the lake with a Grey heron flying over towards the stock pond. With not a lot to see I chatted to the lone angler at the lake and was delighted to see the first Swallow(72) of the spring fly up it.
A pair of Goldcrests busied themselves building a nest in some lakeside ivy and as I walked towards the Great Crested Grebes nest I was pleased to see 2 eggs.
Grebes nest
It's amazing how strong the urge to nest must be for them to start again within a week of loosing the last clutch.
Just before dark the weather seemed to have changed to what the weather man had predicted so hopefully something might turn up tomorrow.
Footnote:- Whilst driving in to Tonbridge this afternoon no less than 8 Buzzards were circling over the village of Five Oak Green.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Once again the month has whizzed by and the list has crept along.
The 12th saw me adding Red Legged Partridge(66) at six o'clock in the morning as one was on the road outside our house as I pulled off the drive.
The following day I had the first Chiffchaff(67) of the year as one was calling at the southern end of the lake.
First Chiffchaff of the year.
On the 15th a walk at the lake produced one of the Lesser Spots,30 Goldfinchesand 2 Lesser Redpolls and the orchard  held around 70 Fieldfares and 120 Redwings. The walk back up the hill proved very eventful when a Little Egret(68) flew over me heading ENE over the village. This is a great tick for me as it is only the fourth record in nineteen years.
On the 23rd I added a Coot(69) on my way to work and also saw a summer plumaged Little Grebe on the lake.
Popping in on my way home I saw a large raptor coming towards me from the north which I thoght was going to be one of the local buzzards but as it got nearer I could see it was a female Marsh Harrier(70)Brilliant!! The Coot had been joined by another and the Great crested Grebes had one egg on the nest.
The walk on Saturday started in orchard behind Tucks. On entering it I heard the song of the first Blackcap(71) of the spring.I wondered if it was a migrant or a bird which may have overwintered. The Chiffchaff s had increased to a total of six singing birds around the patch.
This morning was a bit of a non entity but the Grebes showed me that they had three eggs. Unfortunately I popped down to the lake this afternoon and the the nest had been destroyed by the strong winds. A sad end but there will be plenty of time to rebuild and raise a family.
This evening at seven o'clock there was a movement of gulls over the house with 13 Lesser black Backed and 23 Herring Gulls heading south.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Week Ending 08/03/15

Saturday began with me making my way down to Kirkins. The back garden yielding Goldfinch,House Sparrow,Collared Dove and Blackbird as I made my way out.
Song Thrushes were in full song as were the local Robins.
The top of Kirkins saw me adding Wood pigeon,Blue tit and a pair of flyover jackdaws.On the field were a few Starlings and three magpies.Two Greenfinches went over in their song flight and Dunnocks were chasing about the brambles.
Behind Tucks Villas I added Jay,Mistle thrush, Bullfinch, Great tit and a single Linnet and Stock Dove.
Into Furnace Lane and a Wren called from the hedgerow.
At the pumping station I found 4 Yellowhammers feeding in the horse paddock with a good number of Fieldfares and Redwings.
At Hononton farm I had 3 Herring Gulls over and a single Common Gull.
The ditch at the southern end of the lake held a singing Reed Bunting.
Male Reed Bunting in full song
I decided to check the cleared field behind the farm house and added Skylark and Meadow Pipit.
The lake held very little save for the usual Great-crested grebes, Mallards, Moorhens, Mandarin and Black headed Gull.
On the Sirrenden side I had all three woodpeckers plus Long tailed tit,Coal tit,Goldcrest , Treecreeper and Nuthatch. On the raptor front I had Kestrel and Buzzard.
Walking back towards Furnace Lane and the pair of Grey Wagtails were below the waterfall.
As I got back to the house two Rooks went over as did a Pied Wagtail.
In total I saw 48 species which I think is a fantastic tally for the day.
On Sunday I added Kingfisher, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pheasant and Sparrowhawk and amazingly I had a Tawny Owl calling at 9 o'clock in the morning!!
In the garden at 11.50 a.m five Buzzards were circling over the house.It's extraordinary how they have multiplied in the last few years.
Male House Sparrow in the garden
So,53 species were seen at the weekend.Brilliant!!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

A quick walk on 21st February produced 7 Tufted Drakes(65) on the lake in the afternoon and a Brambling on the dam end in the morning.
Rather unapproachable Tufted Drakes

The patch walk on the last day of February was a damp one with a mixture of rain and sleet on a chilly wind.
It's still very quiet on the lake with the usual Great Crested Grebes, Mallards, Mandarins and Moorhens on the water and a couple of Canada Geese over.
A walk through the alder wood at the southern end was a bit more productive with a nice flock of Goldfinches plus 5 Lesser Redpolls and a single Siskin( Where have all the Siskins gone?).
I also found a mixed flock which contained Blue Tit, Great Tit,Treecreeper,Long tailed Tit,and Goldcrest.
Somewhere in the wood a Lesser Spot called and I flushed a Woodcock as I struggled through.
The finch flock was spooked by a Sparrowhawk as it shot through the trees.
The orchard contained a few Redwings and Fieldfares and small flock of Chaffinches.
On the Shirrenden side one of the local Buzzards was sitting in it's usual spot.
On the first of March a female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker called and was seen at the southern end.
On the walk back up the hill two Bullfinches were in the hedgerow eating buds.
Male Bullfinch in the hedgerow.

Monday, 16 February 2015


It was mixed weekend on the bird front.
Saturday saw a flock of 80 or so Skylarks in the field at the top of Kirkins plus a small flock of Linnets and a single Yellowhammer.The lake remains pretty quiet with a Little Grebe,a Great crested Grebe and 10 Mandarins of note.
One of the Buzzards was perched in the usual tree in Shirrenden and a Sparrowhawk was terrorising the Redwings and Fieldfares in the orchard.
I decided on a walk through the alder wood at the southern end and was soon glad I had as a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker(64) called. I eventually caught up with it before it flew off into Shirrenden Wood.
It was brilliant to hear that call again.
Siskins remain difficult with just a single seen.
A Grey Wagtail was seen below the waterfall but that was the best bits of the day until some Lesser Redpolls turned up on the garden feeders.It's always a delight to get these in the garden as they are  few  and far between.
One of the L/Redpolls on the feeder. Not a brilliant shot but I had to take it through the kitchen window.
Sunday didn't chuck up any surprises but the Lesser Spot called from the alder wood and the Little Grebe had been joined by another.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


My early morning walk on Saturday 7th Feb. started as usual in Kirkins which produced two rather splendid male Bullfinches on the brambles at the top of the field. At the edge of the new houses there were 7 Yellowhammers,2 Meadow Pipits and 11 Skylarks.
As I walked down past the pumping station a Peregrine went over my head going north.
Down at the lake and two Little Grebes were visible at the bottom end plus 3 pairs of Mandarins and the pair of Great crested Grebes had returned.I  heard Canada Geese calling and they soon came into land accompanied by a Greylag Goose(62).
A single Siskin was seen with a flock of Goldfinches.
In the orchard there were 100 Fieldfares and around 35 Redwings.
Around the lake and Great, Blue,Long tailed and Coal Tit were added as well as a single Goldcrest.
Interestingly I also saw another Great black backed Gull going over with some Herring Gulls.

This Redwing was a great visitor to the garden early on Saturday.
Sunday 8th I decided to check the horse paddock behind the pumping station and was delighted to find 18 Yellowhammers and 120 Redwings feeding on the grass amongst the horses. The lake held a welcome addition to the list in the shape of a Cormorant(63) plus a Kingfisher was seen. Up at the field behind the farm house I found 30 Skylarks and 10 Meadow Pipits. It's great to see this number of Skylarks on my patch!
A quick walk around the Shirrenden side produced a pair of Kestrels and a Buzzard.

One of the Kestrels at Shirrenden.
With the days getting a bit longer I hope I can get some birding in after work instead at just the weekends. Still, Spring will soon be upon us, with all the birds I hope it will bring.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

January passed by with the total species on 59.
February started with the small flock of Skylarks still commuting between Kirkins and Hononton Farm. Fourteen were in the flock on Sunday but there have been as many as forty.
The orchard held about three hundred Redwing but only about thirty Fieldfare with them. There was small movement of Herring Gulls and with them a first winter Great Black-backed Gull(60).As I walked down to the lake a Buzzard was calling and it soon appeared over Shirrenden wood.
It was good to add both Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. The water was surprisingly empty with just Mallard, Moorhen and the pair of Great Crested Grebes but as I walked back up the lake a Kingfisher flew form a bankside willow.
On Tuesday evening I popped in to the lake on my way home and was delighted to find two pairs of Gadwall(61). Not a common species on the patch and probably only one or two records a year,so I was very pleased.
Redwing in the orchard.
Little Owl at Rectory Park.

Monday, 26 January 2015


It's been a while since the last post on my blog so here's an update.
2014 went out with the year list finishing on 110 with a last ditch Common Snipe(110) on 29th December. So the year finished with no new species added but the highlights were Garganey in May and three Black Redstarts in November.
The new year started with a walk that didn't produce an over abundance of species but I was pleased to get Marsh Tit(40) on day one even though a few commoner species were absent. On Highlights on the 2nd were Tawny Owl and Grey Wagtail. On the 10th (50) was reached with Meadow Pipit and Rook made it (51).
On 11th Kingfisher (52),Little Owl (53)and Nuthatch (54) were added and the 12th gave Water Rail
(55) and Treecreeper (56).

A Brambling (57) was a great find in amongst a flock of 70 Chaffinches on the 16th and finally on the 23rd both Egyptian Goose (58) and a Shoveler drake (59).