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.    

Monday, 22 May 2017

The last weekend was a quiet one on the patch but a female Cuckoo turned up on Saturday and seemed to spark the male into life with him calling constantly and on Sunday he was chasing her round the lake.
There have been plenty of Mandarins on the lake with ten on Saturday and they look like they are already coming in to moult.

Three Cormorants over the same day was an unusual record for the patch at this time of year.
Common Terns have visited regularly but don't hang around for long.

The Reed Buntings are still on the lake as are the Coots so I'm hoping both will breed. This evening twenty House Martins came down to the lake before drifting off to the north.
With the sun shining I've been down at the warmest times to try to photograph Dragonflies and Damsels but so far have only seen the latter.I did manage to take some pics of a Broad bodied Chaser elsewhere:-

I was pleased to find a Brown Argus on Saturday
and a a few Banded Demoiselles

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

On the 8th of the month the Coot that has been on the lake was joined by another and the pair remain on the lake.
The following day I was relieved to find a Turtle Dove(92) singing. Sadly this enigmatic little dove is now hard to find on the patch.
On the 11th the first House Martin (93) flew over the house and a Sand Martin (94) was briefly over the lake.
Last weekend  54 species was seen on the patch, a really great total and one which included a flyover Yellow Wagtail (95) and another Med Gull and a Lesser Whitethroat.
On Sunday 14th whilst we were working in the garden four more Med Gulls went over south (It's been a good year for this species).
During a sunny afternoon I went on a foray to look for dragonflies and found a newly emerged Banded Demoiselle and a Large Red Damselfly.
                                                               First Banded Demoiselle
Large Red Damsel

Sunday, 7 May 2017

April passed with two more species added to the year list in the shape of a Nightingale(84) singing at Stonebridge and a Red Kite(85) over the orchards on the following afternoon.
Finally, on the 29th two more Med Gulls were recorded going south over the lake.
Into May and with a cold wind blowing from the north east not much was happening until on the 5th the first Spotted Flycatcher(86) was found at the pumping station on my way to work.As I walked along the farm track two Shelduck(87) passed overhead, going north and amazingly within a minute a GREENSHANK(88) followed them calling loudly as it went.Brilliant!!! To add to this two Swifts(89) were flying over the lake.Possibly the best twenty minutes I have ever had on the patch.
The good fortune continued on Saturday 6th when what I thought was my first Hobby of the year approaching distantly from the south turned out to be a large swift. As it got closer I was stunned to make out the white belly and throat of an ALPINE SWIFT(90) which, unfortunately carried on to the north without stopping.INCREDIBLE!
Then down at the lake two Common Terns(91) circuited before flying off to the south.
I was pleased to have two Cuckoos duelling in the orchards.
Two distant Cuckoos

This afternoon a Red Kite flew over the village as we were in he garden and down at the lake a Buzzard was being mobbed by the male Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk was circling amongst the pair.
In the garden I took this shot of a Robin fledgling:-

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The first Red legged Partridge(79) was calling somewhere behind the pumping station on 20th April and the same day two Reed Warblers(80) were singing at the southern end of the lake.
The lake produced a real rarity the following day in the form of a COOT(81).It's amazing how few appear on the lake!
Furnace pond rarity.

As I left the house on Sunday 23rd I saw two gulls going over the village and was delighted to see that one was an adult Mediterranean Gull(82). It's always good to get this one on the list and was followed by a Cuckoo calling loudly as it went towards the lake where I also added a Garden Warbler(83).With a southerly breeze picking up a few gulls were going over the garden in the afternoon and I was gobsmacked to have eight  Med Gulls over the house, a brilliant garden tick.
Later in the day I looked at Bird guides to find that a Lesser Yellowlegs had turned up at Dungeness so later on we headed down and were delighted to connect with it-a first for me.
We had a walk round the reserve and found Sedge Warblers all over the place.
One of the many Sedge Warblers.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The 14th saw the arrival of the first Lesser Whitethroat(77) of the year,singing at the top of Kirkins which is still there holding territory and the earliest I have recorded it. I had a good walk that morning and eventually saw fifty species. Other spring migrants were Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Swallow.
I also had a flyover Siskin.

On the next three days I recorded Wheatear with a pair,single female and another single.
Wheatear in the weed killed field

On a walk before work today my first Cuckoo(78) of the year put in an appearance. It seems to be getting later each year.
Finally, I found the first two Mistle Thrush fledglings in the sheep field.
Mistle Thrush fledglings

Thursday, 13 April 2017

This week has so far been a bit of a mixed bag with the first Willow Warbler(74) arriving on the lake on Monday 10th and the next day there were two. Sadly they no longer stay to breed on my patch
as all the suitable habitat has been removed.
On most days Swallows have been seen but all appear to have just gone through. On the 11th the G C Grebe pair had been joined by another bird which was duly chased off. A pair of Reed Buntings were at the southern end and two Mandarin drakes flew in.
Both Sand Martin and House Martin were seen by Glyn on the twelfth but sadly I missed both.
The week picked up a bit today when a Whitethroat(75) was found singing at the top of Kirkins and down at the lake two Wheatear(76) were in one of the fields in front of Hononton farm house.
One of the two Wheatears.

This week has been good for butterfly species with Holly Blue,Comma,Small Tortoiseshell,Peacock.Small White,Speckled Wood and Orange Tip seen.In fact I don't recall seeing so many Orange Tips before.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

This evening I saw my first two Swallows(73) of the spring when they flew low over the orchard. Three buzzards were circling overhead and the Grey Wagtail pair were at the dam end.
Grey Wagtails

The only other spring migrants were Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps but there are good numbers of both.
The sunshine has been a real benefit to the butterflies with 5 Orange tips seen today.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

 The first Blackcap(72) arrived on 23rd March when one was singing in the back garden. The earliest date I have recorded the species on my patch.
Today three were recorded with the one still in the back garden and two in Swigs.
On Sunday 26th it was a bit misty and chilly when I went out which cleared relatively quickly although it was still chilly so I was  to find a Grass snake on the bank of the lake. It appeared to be half dead but I guess it was just cold as it moved a little once it warmed in my hands. I put it in a nice sunny position and when I checked later it had gone.

I was able to walk the patch on Tuesday 28th and had a very enjoyable walk in the sunshine.
Skylarks were singing in three areas of the patch and eight singing Chiffchaffs.
A single Blackcap was singing behind the pumping station in Furnace Lane. The lake held 5 Mandarin and the pair of Great crested Grebes of note.Woodpeckers were drumming everywhere and I was delighted to see a pair of LSW which were chasing each other around.
Raptors were also displaying with Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk seen.
Five Lesser Black-backed Gulls went over north.
The sun also brought out the insects with Peacock,Small Tortoiseshell and Green Veined white seen plus the first Bee fly and something I photographed but don't know what it is.
Bee Fly
Interesting-any ideas?