Thursday, 22 March 2012

A mixed bag!

Alternative activities at the weekend!!
So the weekend came and went with no patch visits but watching Bec as she took part in a 7 mile British Military Fitness course was not to be missed!! I think she enjoyed it too!
I finally managed a short visit Tuesday morning when there where 4 CHIFFCHAFFS singing. I did a longer walk yesterday as well as making an appearance at the moth traps. The highlights at the traps were Shoulder striped, Red Chestnut, Early tooth striped and Yellow Horned as well as over 100 Small Quakers.
Shoulder Stripe

Yellow Horned

Red Chestnut

 On the bird front  there were at least 30 FIELDFARE and 7 REDWINGS hanging around as well 7 singing CHIFFCHAFF, the 4 COOTS are still present and a male REED BUNTING sung from the lake. Four JAYS were also by the lake.
This morning was similar with the addition of a RED LEGGED PARTRIDGE (75) calling from the freshly ploughed field.
Yellow everywhere :-)

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Just a few of photos

There was one real highlight this morning!

 I was really excited to find this Barn Owl this morning a bird that only seems to appear here once a year! It would have been nice to have better light but seeing it was great getting any photos was a bonus for me :-)
Yellowhammer for something different
Dad had 4 COOTS this morning!!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Catching up!!

Apologies, I have been a bit quiet lately, hopefully I will get back into the swing of things soon!!!
I have managed a few short walks over the last few days. Last Thursday an early walk for an hour or so produced good numbers of winter thrushes, they have followed their usual pattern here and are appearing in the fields and not so much in the orchards now. There are now 2 COOTS on the lake after going missing for a couple of days, hopefully they'll hang around and have some success this year. Otherwise on Thursday it was 33 species in just under an hour with nothing out of the ordinary just a good spread of species.

Saturday I walked with Bec in the afternoon and added MEDITERRANEAN GULL (73) to the year list as one flew over calling with a small group of BLACK HEADED GULLS. I was hoping for a butterfly or two, none appeared but the Speedwell and Primroses looked good as the sun shone on them.
Speedwell, no idea which type!

 Sunday morning Steve checked the moths and found a new species for the castle a Tawny Pinion, I will post a picture soon as Steve has kindly sent one to me.
This morning I was out again from 7.15am to 7.55am, a YELLOWHAMMER sung near the car park and it was generally noisy as it has been the last few days. As I stood by the moat a CHIFFCHAFF sang and a pair of CANADA GEESE flew down to the lake, which was shrouded in mist. On the way back to the car 2 KESTRELS called and chased each other across Park Field, the whole thing felt very spring like :-)
A misty lake

Song Thrush


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

March 6th

I met Dad at around 9.25am in the car park and we headed off up towards the new orchard. A couple of GREENFINCHES were singing in the car park and the usual BULLFINCH was heard. Looking south towards Hempsted Forest, a SPARROWHAWK glided across the treetops and good numbers of FIELDFARE and REDWING fed in one of the meadows. Raucous JAYS called as we walked the tree lined bridleway and SKYLARKS sung for the entire visit. We added KESTREL and MEADOW PIPIT (20 no.) before coming across a flock of YELLOWHAMMERS, at first I counted about 15 birds then a swirl of wings from the stubble and probably another 40 or more went to join the birds I had counted!! Among them were maybe 10 REED BUNTINGS and 5 or 6 LINNETS, also here the only SISKIN of the day called from the Alders. As we entered the wood a COMMON BUZZARD was being seen off by a crow and the LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER called three times.
Reed Bunting (female)

Common Buzzard

 GREY HERON was added then a small feeding flock in the wood included MARSH TIT, COAL TIT, LONG TAILED TIT, TREECREEPER and 6 REDPOLLS. The lake was quiet, the Coot had gone for now and just a MOORHEN preened at the lakes edge.
Long Tailed Tit

Blue Tit


Frog Spawn

 Finally at the bottom of Park Field we heard LITTLE OWL and saw a LITTLE EGRET, in all 47 species for the morning was good, we had no fly over gulls today which is unusual and no Goldfinches. As I said goodbye to Dad, 2 Buzzards circled the car park.

Little Egret

Windy Whetsted

Yesterday afternoon I decided to visit Whetsted to see if I could catch up with the Hooded Merganser that I missed a couple of weeks ago. The walk to the pit the Merganser was on was reasonably productive, a COMMON BUZZARD showed well perched halfway up some conifers and a GREEN SANDPIPER was seen, there were at least 30 SHOVELER, 11 TEAL, good numbers of TUFTED DUCK and POCHARD. A few FIELDFARES drifted over and a female GOLDENEYE was still present. The HOODED MERGANSER was at the back of the pit associating with a couple of MALLARD, it disappeared and I found it a couple minutes later the other end of the pit. I did take a few pictures but the light and the distance didn't give me the images I would have liked but I might go back as this patch is a place I did visit on occasions when I worked in Paddock Wood. On the way back to the car I found the male SMEW on the next pit, it to didn't get close but still I had a go at some pics.

Each time the Hooded Merganser dived, it opened it's beak as if a taking a deep breath! wise move :-)

Male Smew

Monday, 5 March 2012

Sunday 4th Feb

Finally back on the patch for a reasonable walk yesterday, I did get out briefly Thursday afternoon and had the pleasure of listening to a REDWING in song, something I haven't heard many times over the years, also a pair of LITTLE OWLS were calling in the field next to the lake and had apparently been noisy most of the day.
Despite the rain yesterday, I felt a bit desperate to get out for a meaningful walk, there were around 50 FIELDFARE  in the car park and reasonable numbers of REDWINGS were with them. BULLFINCHES appeared in a couple of their favoured areas and a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL flew south. I was pleased to see that the pigs have been moved so that you can now see the birds that are being attracted by their rummaging around in the earth, MEADOW PIPITS and CHAFFINCHES were taking advantage yesterday. GREY HERONS were in evidence, as at least 3 birds were seen. Down by the lake I could hear LITTLE OWLS again and a COOT (72) was the first addition to the year list since the beginning of February, as it swam near the edge of the lake. There was a good cast of birds today, MARSH TITS, LONG TAILED TITS, GOLDCREST, SKYLARKS, were 'singin in the rain!'  and the LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER was heard calling again. Great to be out, I didn't get many pics but below are a couple from Thursday and yesterdays Coot.
Obliging Robin as always!!

Some early colour in the Sissinghurst Gardens!

There was sun on Thursday

Yesterdays Coot!