Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Jan 30th and 31st

Two pretty grey days really but there is still a chance something could turn up! The walk yesterday was really very quiet, although I was only out for an hour, the highlights were MARSH TIT, TREECREEPER and several BULLFINCHES.

Another Treecreeper

Today was similar but walking through the Hop Field, a rarity in itself these days, there were good numbers of LINNET (30), MEADOW PIPIT (12), REDPOLL (6-8), GREENFINCHES, CHAFFINCHES and GOLDFINCHES, a really nice start to the walk. The orchard was full of FIELDFARES and REDWINGS. I met Dad in the new orchard, the first good bird we had was a LITTLE OWL sitting out in the open but too far away for the camera. There were 30 BLACK HEADED GULLS and 5 COMMON GULLS over the fields, the area that held the Fieldfares last week was empty, 2 HERRING GULLS flew north west and again the YELLOWHAMMERS were still about with at least 10 REED BUNTINGS, as we left the bunting flock a COMMON BUZZARD flew in front of us and 6 SKYLARK came out of the grass. The last bit of action was a single LAPWING (69) flying high east. As we left one of the gardeners showed us an early bloom, Broad Bean!!
Early variety of Broad Bean!

Monday, 30 January 2012

The weekend

A mixed weekend saw me cycling round Bedgebury, while Bec ran 11miles!! It also included a quick walk round the patch and a Sunday afternoon visit to the Dungeness area.
Bedgebury, whilst cyling without bins still produced a few bits and pieces, 2 Roe Deer ran across in front of us and I heard SISIKINS and CROSSBILLS as well as lots of COAL TITS and GOLDCREST. The walk round the patch didn't bring any new birds for the year but it was nice that the good flock of YELLOWHAMMERS was still around, there were also 30 SISKIN by the stream. Otherwise it was much of the same, MARSH TIT, TREECREEPERS, NUTHATCH, a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL flew south and around 20 BLACK HEADED GULLS were over the fields.
Sunday afternoon I headed to Dungeness to look for Dotterel and Caspian Gull. I had a quick look at Lydd Airport where there were a few GOLDEN PLOVER, LAPWING, RED LEGGED PARTRIDGE and around 100 CURLEWS. Just before reaching the RSPB reserve, there were a few birders looking towards the reserve, I waited with them for a few minutes but while I was there the Dotterel didn't appear but the first of 2 GREAT WHITE EGRETS was sat near Boulderwall Farm. A quick stop to get a better look at the Great White proved fruitless as it disappeared in to a ditch but I did see MARSH HARRIER and had some good views of the well watched TREE SPARROWS at Boulderwall.
Tree Sparrow

Next stop was the southern end of ARC, there were good numbers of SHOVELER, POCHARD and GADWALL, there were a few GOLDENEYE and the second GREAT WHITE EGRET was seen with a couple of LITTLE EGRETS.
Great White and Little Egret

With Caspian Gull being the main target I spent sometime checking the roosting gulls, the GLAUCOUS GULL was found quickly but no luck with Caspian.
Glaucous Gull

The journey back across Walland Marsh found the BEWICK'S SWANS in residence, I counted 54 with just 6 young birds in amongst them.
Bewick's Swans

At the Woolpack there was a COMMON BUZZARD next to the lane as I approached. I waited with Trevor and Margaret Ford on the bank to see what came in to roost. BEARDED TITS called from the reeds and 2 MARSH HARRIERS were seen but didn't hang around, generally it was not half as busy as it sometimes can be. It was a good afternoon despite not finding the birds I had hoped for, as ever it didn't really matter :-)

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Jan 26th

Dad came and picked me up at around 9am this morning, it was raining and we weren't sure how long we would last!! Arriving in the car park, the rain started to ease, a SONG THRUSH was in full song but otherwise it was fairly quiet. As we walked through the new orchard we counted 6 BULLFINCHES and a couple of GREAT TITS, the odd FIELDFARE flew north and a TREECREEPER and NUTHATCH showed well, though the light was very poor for photography. A scan across the fields produced a GREY HERON in the corner of a distant one and one or two SKYLARKS were heard singing. As we entered a path that looks like a tunnel at the moment, there were loads of FIELDFARES darting around in front of us, we thought maybe 50 or so, watching them for sometime they eventually moved on and we realised there were actually 300 or more!! they had been feeding on sloes, I counted a minimum, 180 birds sitting in the tops of trees, the rest had headed off in the opposite direction.
I took this a couple of days ago, today it was full of Fieldfares (also my only 'patch' Long eared Owl was seen here)

The flock of YELLOWHAMMERS is still present and today there were 10 or more REED BUNTING with them, a COMMON BUZZARD flew close by along a hedge and we found 15 SISKIN in the alders along the stream. The wood was fairly quiet until I heard a distant call which gradually got closer, a LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER, gave itself up as it flew over our heads, the first one Dad had seen for many years and I was pleased to get my second sighting of the year. Here we also added MARSH TIT, COAL TIT and GOLDCREST, plus the only REDPOLL of the morning that called as it flew over. Finally we had one last look across the valley, the first bird Dad saw was a MUTE SWAN!! (68) and only the third one recorded here in 14 years!! A great way to end the morning :-)