Monday, 30 January 2017

It was rather dark when I got home from work but I decided to have a look around the village to see if the Waxwings were still about.
After looking at most of the places I saw them yesterday,with no luck,I ended up at the school were I found they had increased in number to twelve. Brilliant!!
Although it was rather dull and dark I took some more photos so I've attached a few.

Here's hoping for some sunshine.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

As the lake has been frozen all week there hasn't been much around, although with a partial thaw yesterday, nine Mandarins were on the open water that was.
In the morning yesterday, I went up to Little Murston NR to see the Pine Bunting which showed briefly and also saw a fine male Hen Harrier and Merlin whilst waiting for it to come in.
On the long walk back to the car I also saw three Long Tailed Ducks on the creek.
A pretty good mornings birding.
Today I went down to the lake and found little open water but contented myself watching the feeders.
As usual the Marsh Tits showed well and a Grey Wagtail flew over calling.
On the dam end I bumped in to Patrick who said he had seen a Waxwing in Gibbet Lane.I made my way back home but found nothing.
After dropping my daughter in to Tunbridge Wells I decided to walk up to Haymans Hill but only got twenty yards from my door when I found a WAXWING in an oak tree on the edge of the school. I hurriedly took a shot before it flew off. On walking round the corner I found that in fact there were five.I rang Wez to give him the news but he was at work. The birds flew off so I walked round the village to re-locate them.When I did,in Morley Drive, there were seven.
I phoned Wez again and he joined me to try to get some better shots.They were quite mobile but they eventually settled in trees in the school and the final total was eight.
Waxwings in Morley Drive
Six of the eight

Unfortunately it was grey and only got greyer but I'm sure Wez has got some good shots.
Whilst the birds were mobile they attempted to drink from a puddle opposite my house then settled in a tree in the back garden. A brilliant garden tick as we went round the back to get a look.
I'm hoping they will be around when I get home from work as it is meant to be brighter tomorrow.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

This week has been a succession of hard frosts which have totally frozen the lake. This has meant the only thing on the lake is Moorhens.
However, before it did freeze up, a Little Grebe(64) was on the only open water on the afternoon of 17th. Walking back to the car I saw the first Grey Wagtail(65) of the year.
With the evenings drawing out I have been able to get up to the orchard in Haymans Hill but have been unable to locate any Waxwings amongst the ever increasing numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares.
I don't think I have ever seen so many Redwings!!At least 3000!!!
Redwings feeding in the orchard.
Every row of trees held similar numbers.
The birds were joined by a hungry Fox

Whilst I was watching the thrushes I had the good fortune to have 10 Lapwings(66) go over. When I got home I had 11 more Lapwings go over the house.A great garden tick.
This afternoon we had a walk up to Haymans Hill and were delighted to have a Snipe(67) go over.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

After the snow on Thursday night little was seen when I filled the feeders on the way home on Friday.
Saturday at least turned up 2 Common Gulls(60) and a Lesser Black-back Gull(61).
Today was a better day with Marsh Tit, Coal Tit and Water Rail of note down at the feeders.
The lakeside alders held a flock of Goldfinch and Siskin and a Buzzard was being chased by a pair of local Carrion Crows.
On the water seven Mandarins were present but the Great crested grebe had disappeared again.
Despite the rain continuing I decided to have yet another look in the orchard at Haymans Hill and my persistence in visiting it paid off, at last, when a Waxwing(62) was found amongst the many winter thrushes.Brilliant!!!
It got even better when a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker(63) called from the derelict orchard adjacent to Maidstone Road as I left for home.
It has also been great to find that a few Redwings are visiting the garden.
Redwings in the garden

Monday, 9 January 2017

It was a rather dull weekend weather wise but it did supply some new additions to the year list.
A quick visit on the way home on friday 6th produced a skein of geese which held 56 Canada and two Greylags(56). Not a species that is very plentiful on the patch.
Saturdays morning walk didn't provide much except for the usual species but a walk up to Haymans Hill in the afternoon provided a Yellowhammer(57). The orchards were full of Redwings and Fieldfares and there are still lots of apples on the trees so they are likely to hang about,
Sunday down at the lake saw good numbers of finches which included a couple of Lesser Redpolls(58) and cracking male Brambling(59).I was really pleased to find both these species as there haven't been many about this winter.
The feeders produced 2-3 Marsh Tits plus Blue and Great and a couple of Coal tits which included a 'Continental' type which I am hoping to get a picture of if it continues to visit.
The only thing on the lake was two pairs of Mandarins and a pair of Mallard.  

Thursday, 5 January 2017

I dropped into the lake to fill up the feeders and was pleased to find three drake Teal(54) on the ice and a Mandarin(55) drake in a tree at the southern end.
As I topped up the sunflower hearts I was joined by a Marsh tit.
Walking back to the car and a Kingfisher flew from the willows.
Starling in the sunshine

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Monday 2nd was dry and sunny,a lot more pleasant.
As I walked from the house a Pied Wagtail(44) landed in the play park.
I carried on down through Kirkins adding a Meadow Pipit(45) and on through Swigs were a Buzzard(46) was catching earthworms before flying away when a second bird chased it off. Crossing the road into Hononton Farm a Grey Heron(47) flew over me and along the stream.
Along the farm track towards the feeders a Reed Bunting(48) flitted into the willow herb in the ditch.
Reed Bunting in the ditch.
I checked the feeders and made my way round the lake as a Cormorant(49) landed on the water.
Round on the Shirrenden side and both Kestrel(50) and Sparrowhawk(51) were seen.
As I got home 2 Greenfinches(52) were on the garden feeders.
In the afternoon I went back to the lake via the orchard in Haymans Hill where there were hundreds of winter thrushes.
I refilled the feeders and added another and stood and watched for a while and was rewarded with a Water Rail(53) that came out to peck about under them.
                                 Interesting Blackbird I photographed at Bewl Water.

Sunday, 1 January 2017


December passed with a Chiffchaff on the 11th, on the track up to Haymans Hill where there are great numbers of Redwings with at least 1200 on 23rd and 2000 on 31st plus 700 Fieldfares.
The other highlights were a male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in the hedge at paddock in Furnace Lane surpassed by a Marsh Harrier(107) that flew south over the house at 08:00 on 25th.The perfect christmas gift and a welcome addition to the garden and year lists.
This bought the year tally to 107.
The feeders down at the lake have made it easy to see Marsh Tits as they are regular visitors, as is a Water Rail which has been eating the stuff that is dropped from above.
One of the 2-3 Marsh Tits
Water Rail (thanks to Wez for the image)
2017 started on a damp note with  a few of the commoner species not seen, however Marsh Tit, Woodcock and Great Black-backed Gull were the undoubted highlight.
No raptors were seen, which was not a surprise given the weather, so I've attached a shot of a Sparrowhawk I took on a sunnier day.