Sunday, 19 November 2017

The evening of the 8th Nov saw a drake Shoveller(109) on the lake with some Mallards.
Marsh Tits have been present at the feeders on most visits with a high of three on the 12th.

Chaffinch numbers have increased which has brought in a few Bramblings with three seen yesterday.
One of the Bramblings

The Ring-necked Parakeet was seen a couple more times earlier in the month but not recently. On the 12th two Hawfinches were found in Sprivers in beech trees near the ponds,
Yesterday(17th) the patch held really good numbers of birds with 300+ Black headed Gulls on fields in Swigs with a single Common Gull and a Mediterranean Gull with them.

Med Gull with Black headeds

A walk to the lake in the late afternoon saw 6 Grey wagtails come in to roost and a Chiffchaff  was also seen.

Monday, 6 November 2017

With walks during the week confined to quick visits it starts to get harder to chalk up new species but going to fill the feeders always produces Marsh Tit as well as the four other commoner species.
It seems that two Water rails have taken up winter residency.
The one consolation with going just before dark is that I get to hear owls and recent visits have produced both Tawny and Little Owl calling.
Walking down to the lake on 2nd Nov gave me a Ring necked Parakeet(107) as it flew over noisily before landing in a tree in Gibbet Lane.
It was seen again on 4th when it flew towards Brenchley.
Saturday 4th was full of birds with a fall of thrushes with lots of Blackbirds plus the first decent amount of Fieldfares and Redwings.
Down at the lake and a large flock of Linnets also held 4 Bramblings but the icing on the cake were four HAWFINCH(108) that flew towards Sprivers. I later looked in Sprivers but was unable to locate them!
This evenings walk saw a Coot on the lake and the usual Great crested Grebe was joined by another.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The Osprey was last seen on 22nd October when it briefly circled over the lake before drifting to the north.
Enjoying a small bream

Not much else has changed on the patch with all the usual subjects being seen although seven Swallows were present on the 22nd.
Last weekend we went up to Norfolk to visit younger bruv and do some walking and birding.We visited a few reserves and did a bit of sea watching.
I took a few photos of a cracking Jack Snipe at Strumpshaw Fen:-
Jack Snipe-a little stunner
but always a little hidden!

    On the fen we also had some great views of  a Bittern which repeatedly flew between reed beds plus a Stonechat on one of the pathways,

My first Fieldfare of the autumn were seen this evening when I went down to fill the feeders.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

It was a really good walk on the patch this morning with lots of birds about, in fact a total of 48 species were seen.
Amazingly the Osprey is still present on the lake attracting lots of birders.
                                                    Still on the lake and feeding well.

Redwings have not arrived in any great numbers but a few have been seen.
The feeders are attracting loads of tits including up to three Marsh Tits.A few Siskins have been seen and today four Lesser Redpolls were in the lakeside alders.
Marsh tit at the feeders

Probably my last House Martins of the year went over south on the 10th and two Chiffchaffs were with the tit flocks around the lake.
There seemed to have been a fall of  Song Thrushes with small parties passing overhead this morning.
Apart from the Osprey other raptors included Buzzard and a male Sparrowhawk that looks to have found the feeders!!
During a walk this afternoon was saw five butterfly species including Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and my first Clouded Yellow on the patch this year.
                                                             Todays Clouded Yellow

Monday, 9 October 2017

Another week has gone by and the Osprey remains on the lake, which has meant that plenty of birders are visiting.
At the weekend the feeders attracted lots of tits with three Marsh Tits being the high-lite.
On Saturday flyovers included Skylark, the first Lesser Redpoll and three Snipe.
A dozen House Martin and three Swallows passed through going southeast.
On Sunday a Stonechat was in the rough pasture behind Kirkins Farmhouse.
                                                    Sundays Stonechat- always distant!

At last the sun was shining

and the Osprey fed

Tonight was dull and drizzly but it continues to feed well and I also saw my first Redwings of the autumn.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Amazingly the Osprey has remained on the lake and continues to give great views to myself and visiting birdwatchers.
Perched on its favourite tree

Mandarin remain in varying numbers with 20 on the 28th.
Today there were a few mixed of flocks around the lake containing Blue,Coal,Long-tailed and Great Tits as well as Nuthatch,Chiffchaff and lots of Goldcrest(at least 20) and a Marsh Tit was in the trees by Lake Cottage.
House Martins and Swallows continue to pass through and the Water Rail was calling from Shirrenden side and in the afternoon 2 were calling from opposing sides of the lake.
Overhead Skylark,Meadow Pipit and Siskin were seen.

After all the dull weather I thought it my good to add some butterfly pictures from Corfu:-
                                                             Silver Washed Fritillary?
Long-tailed Blue

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

On the 10th Sept there were 50 Swallows and 150 House Martins on the lake with 10 Sand martins amongst them.There were two Spotted fly Catchers  and yet another Sedge Warbler was in the lakeside reeds.
We were away for the next week so the patch went unattended but I was pleased to hear the first Water Rail of the autumn on the 20th.
The next day there was a mass invasion of House Martins with 500+ over the orchards. It was great to see such a good number. By the 23rd they had mostly passed through.The same day a Lesser Spot was heard and two Siskins  were seen.
The high-lite of the weekend occurred when an Osprey came in form the south and spent the day fishing on the lake.
I was delighted to find it at the lake this evening and managed a few record shots of it although the light was very bad.

                                               Osprey on the lake this evening.

Hoping it will stick around and we have some sunshine.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

August went out with a couple of Spotted Flycatchers on the 30th and a Wheatear the following day which was seen by Wes.
On 2nd Sept there was a good selection of migrants with Willow,Reed and yet another Sedge Warbler seen as well as Chiffchaff and Blackcap.
The lake continues to hold a few Mandarins and a Great crested Grebe returned on 6th.
Martins and Swallows have appeared in good numbers which has been attracting a Hobby. The first Little Owl for a while was in an oak tree on the dam end on 7th.
Today started well with a Whinchat in Kirkins.
                                                                     Todays' Whinchat

The first Meadow Pipit of the autumn flew over as did two Pied wagtails. There were still plenty of Warblers around with two Reed Warblers and a Willow Warbler at the southern end of the lake.
Lots of House Martins and Swallows were over the lake and orchard with a single Sand Martin found among them.
Some of the many Hirundines.

As I walked around on the Shirrenden side I found a Grey Wagtail on the waterfall then had a Yellow Wagtail fly over me as I emerged into the paddock. My good fortune continued when as I was heading for home I heard a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker calling form the wood behind the boat house and as I made my way towards it the bird flew into one of the dead willows by the stile.
I managed a quick photo before it disappeared.
A poor shot of a fabulous little bird.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

The patch has been interesting with the migrant species that have been around.Up to 9 Spotted flycatchers have been around the orchard and have been a mixture of ages.               
                                               Spotted Flycatchers in the orchard.

Yellow Wagtails have been going through with 4 on the 20th and 2 more on the 26th.
Mandarins have been ever present with a high of eighteen.
Another Sedge Warbler was in lakeside reeds on the 22nd.
Last weekend was a good one with the first Tufted Duck(102) of the year on the lake on Saturday.
I only had time for a quick walk on Sunday but a Whinchat(103) was found on the fence line in Furnace Lane and down at the lake a rather smart male Common Redstart(104) was moving along one of the boundary hedges.
Not the bird from Sunday but a first winter from a few years ago

On the 28th a flyover Tree Pipit(105) went over me in Kirkins and down at the lake a Siskin did the same.
Going through some of my old digiscoped images I found some OK images so I am going to add some to the blog from time to time.
                                       One of the Bitterns that used to be regular on the lake.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

A Hobby were seen on 4th August. The following day there were good numbers of hirundines over the lake as heavy rain fell, containing Swallows, House and Sand Martins and the Grey Wagtail pair were on the waterfall with yet more fledglings, remarkably this is their third brood of the year! The third Sedge Warbler of the autumn was also seen as were three Kingfishers.
On the 6th an adult Turtle Dove flew over Kirkins.
Reed Warblers are still fledging around the lake with a couple of broods recently.
Reed Warbler fledgling
A Yellow Wagtail went over south on 13th and a Cormorant was on the lake.
Sundays Cormorant
A walk after work yesterday produced a group of 5 Spotted Flycatchers feeding in the orchard.
One of yesterdays Spotted Flycatchers in the orchard.

This evening two Ravens were calling noisily as they circled high over the lake and it was good to find two Golden ringed Dragonflies in the ditch opposite the pumping station.
                                                             One of the G R Dragonflies   

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

I had an exciting walk on the way to work when I a bird calling in the willows in the ditch at the southern end alerted me to a WOOD WARBLER(100) flitting amongst the top branches. I watched it for a while but had to leave for work so checked around the lake as I made my way back to the car. There were quite a few Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs as well and small flock of Swifts over the trees.
As I got to the dam end I found a pair of Egyptian Geese(101) in the top corner.Brilliant!!
Unfortunately I couldn't locate either this evening but the rain was appalling.

I've attached some photographs from some sunnier days whilst on holiday.
Scarlet Darter
Speckled Wood(southern)
Spotless Starling- a new species for me.

Monday, 31 July 2017

An early walk before work on 26th produced a Spotted Flycatcher at the lake.The following morning a Hobby flew over at 05:50am.
On 28th the rain had bought a flock of hirundines down with lots of Swallows,House and Sand Martins plus a number of Swifts.Two Kingfishers were chasing each other and at the dam end a Marsh Tit was found.Two turtle Doves were once again found in Kirkins.
The weekend was an interesting one with plenty of warblers around with Reed,Garden and Willow Warblers plus Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Blackcap seen. Amazingly, 42 Mistle Thrushes flew from Shirrenden and into the orchard.The highest ever count on the patch. In kirkins one Turtle Dove was seen and the Hobby came charging through the finch flock as I scanned them. Both of these species have been difficult to find on the patch until very recently and amazingly both were seen the following day and the first Siskin of the autumn went over.
Today there appeared to have been a fall of Willow Warblers with at least six seen.
Turtle Dove in Kirkins
On the lake a Cormorant was sitting in a lakeside tree.
Fallow deer in Swigs
Swallows down at the lake

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

June continued with a Spotted flycatcher in Furnace Lane on the 17th and a Raven(97) west over the village on 21st.
Spot Fly in Furnace Lane

On 13th July I saw my first Hobby(98) on the patch which is amazing considering my earliest ever date is 31st March.
Autumn passage seems to have started with a juvenile Willow Warbler seen on 21st.
Sunday 23rd and walking through Kirkins and the first bird seen was a Hobby.The rape field had been harvested and held lots of Wood Pigeons with a few Stock Doves mixed in which took to the air as I walked down the hill and as they did one bird landed in a tree and turned out to be a juvenile Turtle Dove,brilliant.
Juvenile Turtle Dove
The field also held a big flock of Linnets and Goldfinches plus a few Greenfinches.
Down through Swigs and the first Sedge Warbler(99) was found behind the pumping station plus a couple of Whitethroats and two Coal Tits.
Down at the lake the Reed Warblers have done well with plenty of juveniles seen.
In all 52 species were seen during the walk, a fantastic total.
After work on Monday 24th the Turtle dove was still in Kirkins and the lake held plenty of 
hirundines as the drizzle had pushed them down and it was great toe see some Sand Matins amongst them.
This morning the lake held about 30 Swifts on the way to work and in Kirkins this evening the Turtle Dove had been joined by another.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

May went out on a high when no fewer than 44 Mediterranean Gulls went south over the garden on the afternoon of the 27th and two days later 4 Red Kites went north over the lake.
A walk on 3rd of this month produced some god species with Cuckoo,2 Kestrels,Mandarin,Coot,Reed and Garden Warbler plus Blackcap,Whitethroat and Chiffchaff seen.
Cormorant was a flyover as was a Peregrine(96) in the morning.
In the afternoon a Turtle Dove was found behind the pumping station and a single Red Kite went over s/west.
The next day good numbers of Swallow,House Martin and Swift were over the lakeside trees and amazingly another Red Kite was seen.
A quick walk after work on the 5th saw a Red-legged Partridge in one of the fields in the orchard.
As the patch has settled into its summer rhythm I have been photographing insects and flowers on the patch:-

                                                Beautiful Demoiselle
                                                Ovipositing Emperor Dragonfly
An unknown spider. Any Ideas???
I have recently found some interesting plant species on the patch:-
      Twayblade                                                          Southern Marsh Orchid  
Both of these are new species for the patch and I was super excited to find the Southern Marsh Orchid.