Sunday, 18 November 2012

Nov 12-18th - and Another Patch Tick!!

The first morning out was really the 13th, when it was pretty misty round the castle. There was a small flock which included a few GOLDCREST, BLUE TIT and GREAT TIT, I'm almost certain I caught a glimpse of the back of a Firecrest but after 20 or so minutes couldn't relocate it, one the that got away, still time though to find one though, with luck. There were a few FIELDFARE and REDPOLLS around as well as 4 or 5 SISKINS. A brief visit on the 14th produced a CHIFFCHAFF, a bird that rarely winters here, will this one be just the 2nd to so? With the light quite poor on the morning of 15th a fine male BRAMBLING that sat for several minutes in the top of a tree by the gift shop didn't manage to make it on to the camera, nor did anything else come to that!
After not venturing any where else other than the patch since about June it was nice to spend a couple of hours at Dungeness yesterday (17th). The highlight was without doubt the little asian gem which was a very active PALLAS' WARBLER, after an hour or so watching this I spent an hour alone in Hanson hide on the RSPB reserve, I didn't see loads but I was happy with 3 GOLDENEYE, MARSH HARRIER, WATER RAIL, KINGFISHER, CHIFFCHAFF and an assortment of commoner ducks.
So to this morning, just great to be out on such a bright clear day, 15 FIELDFARE flew into the trees at the top of the car park as I tried to sneak up on them and only managed to disturb a LITTLE OWL and not get any Fieldfare pics.Other birds included KINGFISHER, REDWING, BULLFINCH, GREY HERON, 2 KESTRELS and 1 SISKIN. The highlight though, came when Stephen called to say he had got a quick view of a CORN BUNTING (105) a new bird for me on the patch, (Stephen had 2 briefly last autumn) within 5 or so minutes I had re found the bird sitting on top of rares hedge where it stayed long enough for a photo. Later after I left Stephen actually had 3 together. Corn Buntings used to be common in the Weald many years ago but this is now a real rarity here so I think the management of this bit of land has made a significant difference to what we are seeing here. There were probably over 100 Buntings around this morning ,a couple of years ago I would have been happy with just getting into double figures!!
Corn Bunting



Sunday, 11 November 2012

5th-11th Nov - Patch Tick!!

After last weeks late Swallows and House Martin things slowed down a bit on birds flying through this week, although the 5th saw 4 BRAMBLING flying north and about 12 FIELDFARE. The 7th produced a calling LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER and 30 REDWING. The Lesser Spot called again early on the 9th, when a single CROSSBILL flew east. SISKIN numbers sort of improved as up until now I have managed ones and twos, so a couple of flocks of 10 were an improvement. One of those flocks was this morning (11th), also this morning I managed a KINGFISHER by the moat and 3 GREEN WOODPECKERS were in lake field and as I tried unsuccessfully to stalk them and get a photo, a flock of 6 small geese caught my eye flying north-westish, these, to my surprise, turned out to be EGYPTIAN GEESE (104) a new bird for the patch!! only the second new bird this year after the heard only Golden Oriole in the spring.

Egyptian Geese

With a few days being a little milder we did record some moths, I forgot to mention last week that Steve had a GEM only the 3rd record here from memory. This week we added a couple more moths for the year, DECEMBER MOTH, MOTTLED UMBER and SCARCE UMBER, other moths included BARRED SALLOW, 9 SPRAWLERS on the night of the 8th, when there were also 19 NOVEMBER MOTH.
Below are a few random images from the last week.
Another Yellowhammer

Random Bale!



Another Yellowhammer!!!!!!!


December Moth

Sunday, 4 November 2012

29th Oct - Nov 4th

To be honest there is not a lot to report but I did manage several pleasant walks this week. The first bits to report were on the 31st when 2 SWALLOWS flew south and a BRAMBLING was heard from near the pigs where I had just spent 20mins or so watching 20 or so CHAFFINCHES and the early morning piglets battling for their first feed of the day. A LITTLE OWL also called and at least 50 YELLOWHAMMERS were around the clover field.
Early morning Bullfinch

Reed Bunting

Busy feeding

November 2nd again produced a SWALLOW, several JAYS,a flock of 24 LINNET, KESTREL and GREY HERON. Little Egrets are currently notable only by their absence. More time on the 3rd did inevitably give better results, 9 SWALLOWS south, they just keep coming through, the LINNET flock had shot up to 60 + overnight and a couple of REDPOLLS were feeding in the hedgerows. A prolonged view across the valley helped me pick up a few FIELDFARE, KESTREL, COMMON BUZZARD and a PEREGRINE, as well as a late SMALL TORTOISESHELL butterfly. A brief walk today, (4th) after the heavy rain of the morning continued the late summer visitor theme with  HOUSE MARTIN near the Granary. Otherwise 50 FIELDFARE dropped into the bridleway hedgerow and about 5 or 6 JAYS were noted.

Yellowhammer again, I just can't avoid them at the moment!! Which is great.

Grey Squirrel

Lesser Redpoll

Common Buzzard