Sunday, 31 December 2017

End of year round-up

With year coming to a close,late December hasn't produced any more for the patch list but a female Teal was seen on the 17th
Teal on lake

The feeders continue to attract good numbers of tits and at least two Water Rails have been mopping up whatever get dropped.
Water Rail under feeders
The orchards around the lake were filled with winter thrushes this morning as well as a large flock of Starlings and 200 plus Linnets.
                                                             One of the many Fieldfares
So to the year itself- which all in all hasn't been a bad one.With two species added to the patch list,namely GREENSHANK and ALPINE SWIFT.
The year started well with Waxwings in the village and then Greenshank and Alpine Swift were seen in May as were Shelduck(only the third patch record).
September saw the arrival of the long staying Osprey which attracted birders and photographers from far and wide.
                                                                 Long staying Osprey

November saw four Hawfinches fly towards Sprivers.
Finally, a Barn Owl was seen in December( the first since 2014).
The patch total ended at 110 which is a great number,though 7 short of my record.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

the winter thrush numbers have increased of late which in turn has meant more Redwings in the garden.
                                                            Redwings in the garden
Enjoying the holly berries
Joined by a Blackbird

The lake continues to disappoint although today there were 14 Mandarins.
Yesterday evening I decided on a walk just before dark and was delighted to see a BARN OWL(110) out hunting. This is the first record of  this beautiful bird since 2014.
On 1st of the month,whilst filling the feeders,a Woodcock flew out of the wood and landed in the orchard and another was seen on the 10th.It seems to be a good year for this species!
I'm going to need a few more birds on the lake to get a really good total on the year list.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Saturday was a cold one but there were plenty of birds around the patch. The feeders are attracting lots of tits and finches including a couple of Marsh Tits as well as Nuthatches and a Great spotted Woodpecker.
The lake is still quiet with just Mallard ,Moorhen and Great crested Grebe on the water and the odd Kingfisher sighting.
The new orchard still has a good Linnet flock and just a single Meadow Pipit.
                                                                       Meadow Pipit

A couple of Bramblings were seen near the feeders and there was also one in our garden but unfortunately it didn't stick around for a photo.This is a new one for the garden list, so I was thrilled.
The same day saw the first two Redwings of the winter in the garden.
                                                              Redwing in the garden
A Woodcock was flushed from the field edge in Swigs Hole as I walked towards the lake.

On Sunday the was a big increase in the Fieldfare and Redwing numbers in the orchards which in turn has attracted the local Sparrowhawks.
One of the many Fieldfares
Two Grey wagtails flew down the lake and a single Skylark went over.

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.