Sunday, 28 October 2012

Harrier x 2!

After a week of dark and misty mornings which produced a couple of CHIFFCHAFF and another flyover BRAMBLING, I was pleasantly surprised how bright it was this morning, a quick look at the patch was definitely in order.
When I arrived Stephens car was already there not surprisingly as it was probably gone 8.30am, very late for me. I spent sometime in the car park and looking over a field checking a flock of 50+ Gulls. REDWINGS were going over a BRAMBLING called and about 6 BULLFINCH kept away from the camera without too much trouble. I was glad I had text Stephen to let him know I was there as after 20 minutes or so he called to let me know he had just flushed a male HEN HARRIER (103) from the clover field!! Despite still struggling a bit with the back, I think adrenaline helped me down to the field where it had gone to ground in. On the way down I noted a couple of SWALLOWS before finding the bird on the ground in the stubble. We watched the bird briefly before it headed south into an adjoining field giving chase to some of the local finches and bunting, eventually it disappeared towards the lake, while we were watching this, Stephen picked up another bird just above Roundshill Wood, MARSH HARRIER, this headed off over the wood.  Two Harriers pretty much at the same time was great for the local patch, I did get a couple of photos but they are a bit ropey I'm afraid!!

Poor shots but a very pleasing sight!!

After the excitement a WEASEL posed just long enough for a picture and a good supporting cast of birds were noted this included, FIELDFARE (90), REDWING (40), SISKIN (5), REDPOLL (6), COMMON BUZZARD, JAY (4+), plus good numbers of REED BUNTING, YELLOWHAMMER, LINNET and SKYLARK.


While I've struggled to get far on my walks the warden and his team have been busy building a hide to overlook the new pond, with the promise of a feeding station and some planting, it will be very interesting to see what we get.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

15th-20th October

With the mornings getting darker, getting any bird pics has been tricky this week, which is a shame as 2 birds that have eluded the camera so far, actually posed long enough to get shots but in the poor light stay off the blog so far!
The temperature looked good for the night of the 15th so the the moth traps went on, it turned out to be windy and rainy so I was pleased to get 54 moths of 15 species. There was nothing new for the year, 12 CHESTNUTS were the most numerous and 1 DARK CHESTNUT probably the pick of what was on offer.
A short walk after recording the moths did produce 2 BRAMBLING which had landed in the tree next to the Head Gardeners cottage but poor light kept these off the camera. Elsewhere several REDWING, REDPOLL and SISKINS flew over and a CHIFFCHAFF called in the car park.
I do love early morning

I didn't get back out until the 19th when a KINGFISHER sat still for at least 30 seconds to a minute while I again missed an opportunity but as with the Brambling, I enjoyed the sighting, again a CHIFFCHAFF called.
Moths were the highlight again on the morning of the 20th, with 3 new for the year. MERVEILLE DU JOUR waded in with 3 individuals a particular favourite with it's somehow minty appearance, next was a VAPOURER, the caterpillar of which will bring you out in a rash if it touches the skin, I can tell you from experience! Lastly a GREY SHOULDER-KNOT was new too. There was a migrant SILVER Y as well as 9 GREEN BRINDLED CRESCENTS. Totals were 41 moths of 19 species.
Merveille Du Jour

Merveille Du Jour

The Vapourer
The Vapourer

Grey Shoulder Knot
  Another quick walk looking for some of our avian friends had the following highlights - REDWING 15, LINNET 4, REDPOLL 2, SISKIN 1, REED BUNTING 3, YELLOWHAMMER 10, SKYLARK 30+, LITTLE OWL 2, COMMON BUZZARD 1 and a single FIELDFARE which flew east calling.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

6th-14th October - Birds and Moths

After a morning of chores on Saturday (6th), we decided to drive to Sissinghurst Castle in the afternoon, usually it's a walk straight from the house but the back is not quite right yet. We got to the moat and over the field was a SPARROWHAWK being mobbed by about 4 crows, beyond the Sparrowhawk something else caught my eye, 3 COMMON BUZZARDS were circling high above as were many large gulls. Another bird caught my eye lower down, which turned out to be a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, again a bird flew into view just behind the gull, a raptor just gliding south, luckily it turned and flapped once before carrying on it's way showing a yellowish head and shoulders MARSH HARRIER what a great  minute or two!!
Common Buzzard with company

I mananged to get out Sunday morning as well, SISKIN were evident with just small flocks being heard and seen in the one and half hour visit. More noticeable though were CHAFFINCHES flying north-west, maybe only 100 or so birds in total but in amongst them was the buzzing of a BRAMBLING (102) a welcome addition to the year list. Also a few REDPOLLS were heard and seen and s GREY WAGTAIL flew west. In the afternoon a look in the veg garden produced the MIGRANT HAWKERS below.
Migrant Hawker

Monday 8th started with a few moths which included a few year ticks RED LINED QUAKER, GREEN BRINDLED CRESCENT and BEADED CHESTNUT.
Green Brindled Crescent

Another Sunrise

While we did the moths on Tuesday, a small flock of 9 REDWINGS flew over followed by 2 FIELDFARE, it didn't stop there as Steve heard a Hawfinch, unfortunately I missed it, hopefully there will be another but this is a very tricky bird here or anywhere, come t that! On the moth front we had DARK CHESTNUT and the first NOVEMBER MOTH of the year and a couple of PINK BARRED SALLOWS.

Blue Tit

Finally today I was out from 9am to 10.50am, again CHAFFINCHES were steadily flying north-west, the total for this morning was 251 birds in 20 flocks other birds all going the same way were 15 SWALLOW, 8 HOUSE MARTIN, 80 STARLINGS and small numbers of MEADOW PIPITS, SISKIN and REDPOLL. In the car park there was LITTLE OWL surrounded by 3 or 4 MAGPIES deep in the undergrowth, at least 6 JAYS were seen and I finally got some shots but too far away for a decent one! Other birds this morning included 3 BUZZARDS, 10 SKYLARKS, 15+ YELLOWHAMMERS, 2 REED BUNTINGS, 5 REDWING, 6 BULLFINCHES, 1 REDPOLL, 4 COMMON GULLS, 8 BLACK HEADED GULLS over 60 HERRING GULLS, 1 CHIFFCHAFF and a KESTREL. There was just one butterfly today a single RED ADMIRAL, overall a really enjoyable few days.
Distant Jay.... hopefully it can only get better!!



Thursday, 4 October 2012

A couple of short walks

Sunday morning was bright, I spent most of the time around the veg garden,as it appeared quite busy. First up was a flock of 4 SISKIN flying south, a GREEN WOODPECKER flew in and landed close by breifly followed by a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER a couple of minutes later. SWALLOWS and MARTINS also flew steadily south and there were around 6-8 CHIFFCHAFF in the garden. After trying to track the Chiffchaffs I almost trod on a WHEATEAR before it flew up to a treetop and comtinued it's journey. 2 YELLOW WAGTAILS came up from the clover field below the garden and my short walk was racking up a reasonable amount of species. GOLDFINCHES were loving the thistle heads and a BLACKCAP 'tacked' at the top of the garden, while a JAY flew overhead. In the end 40 species just around the veg garden was more than I expected.
Green Woodpecker, on a different post, honestly!

The Stand off


Tuesday morning I ventured slightly further, to the moat, there were more SISKINS going over I probably heard 4 or 5 flocks in the hour I was there. PIED WAGTAILS flew over high on a couple of occasions. A KINGFISHER was again around the moat and a nice feeding flock included around 15 LONG TAILED TITS, 4 CHIFFCHAFFS, several BLUE TITS and a single GREAT TIT. A REDPOLL, the first for a while, flew south as I made my way back to the car.
Tuesday morning sunrise

Long Tailed Tit