Sunday, 24 February 2013

A full day in the field

Yesterday (23rd) I picked up Stephen at 7.15am, the wind was raw and we weren't sure how long we'd last around the Dungeness peninsular. Our first stop was to look for Snow Bunting. We found a sheltered spot to watch the beach, there were good numbers of waders that included SANDERLING, DUNLIN, KNOT, CURLEW, OYSTERCATCHER, REDSHANK and 1 BAR TAILED GODWIT.

Stephen spotted this Curlew with a whie underwing in among the numerous Curlews??
  We were joined by Andy A. and eventually a small bird whizzed by in the wind, it was quickly located and we enjoyed close views of a female SNOW BUNTING.
Snow Bunting

Snow Bunting
  Next stop was the sea, from the fishing boats good numbers of Auks and Divers were moving, they were joined by a few GANNET, a FULMAR and lots of KITTIWAKES. On the beach the GLAUCOUS GULL was seen briefly roosting on the beach.
 The reserve was quietish but at Dungeness this meant about 10 SMEW, BITTERN, WATER RAIL and GREAT WHITE EGRET were seen, not too mention MARSH HARRIERS and GOLDENEYES. Dengemarsh and Scotney produced nothing new but a drive across the border into Sussex and Pett Level did. A nice flock of geese not far from the road held 4 PINK FOOTED GEESE, 6 WHITE FRONTS and 10 or so BRENT GEESE, also the number of CURLEW was very impressive and 2 BLACK TAILED GOWIT were seen. A drive back touched on the Rother Valley and a small flooded area, this had a good numbers of dabbling duck, TEAL, GADWALL, SHOVELER a couple of WIGEON and a PINTAIL. After dropping Stephen home I popped into Sissinghurst, the patch was quiet but the flock of Buntings and Finches included 40 YELLOWHAMMER, 30 CHAFFINCH, 3 REED BUNTING and a BRAMBLING. The only other action of note were 1 COMMON BUZZARD, 1 SPARROWHAWK, 45 SKYLARKS that put in a brief appearance before I headed home at around 5pm.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Nice Spot

I managed almost an hour long walk this morning before work which was very welcome. There wasn't lots flying, I could here a few FIELDFARE as I got out of the car and a SONG THRUSH was the only bird actually in song as I headed off towards the fields and lake. PIED WAGTAIL, MISTLE THRUSH and NUTHATCH were added on the way to the lake, where a SPARROWHAWK came out of surrounding trees. At least 3 TREECREEPERS were in song which was nice and a MARSH TIT was heard further into the wood. The lake held 2 MALLARD and 2 MOORHEN, so not as busy as it always looks like it should be. I headed to though the wood and thought I heard a short bit of a familiar call, searching the trees there it was, a LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (64), always a real treat, I managed to watch the bird for a few minutes before it moved out of sight and I realised I only had 10 minutes to get back to the car.
The way back produced the usual YELLOWHAMMERS, SKYLARKS and a few MEADOW PIPITS flying over. I tried a couple shots in the gloom of the LSW but it was a bit dark!!!!!
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Monday, 18 February 2013

Before work

 It was another beautiful morning, a bit cool but very pleasant. There were good numbers of GREENFINCH around the gardens along with yesterdays NUTHATCH. There were more BLACK HEADED GULLS with the COMMONS this morning but a thorough search didn't produce a hoped for Med Gull. On the lake 2 CANADA GEESE 'honked' loudly. Otherwise it was a fairly quiet morning, I did add a KESTREL in Park Field before heading back to the car park.
Sissinghurst Castle

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Quick patch visit



Distant Peregrine
A beautiful morning despite the initial mist, it felt almost spring like with a faint feeling of warmth reaching out from the sun. The first bird was as ever a ROBIN which came to investigate the latest car to arrive in the car park, at the top end of the car park there were good numbers of REDWINGS and FIELDFARES making a good lot of noise. With the view still shrouded in mist I headed to the lake accompanied by the constant calling of a NUTHATCH. The lake was quiet but a small flock of SISKIN were quietly tucking into their breakfast nearby, a couple of LONG TAILED TITS came through. The walk continued with little else to add. I went back out later and added COAL TIT, MARCH TIT, GREY HERON, a nice mixed flock of YELLOWHAMMERS and CHAFFINCHES with 4 REED BUNTINGS. Raptors were represented by a male SPARROWHAWK and a distant PEREGRINE. I'm looking forward to a few mornings this week on the patch, as we have a little more light :-)

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Jack Snipe!

Stephen again was working hard and found a Jack Snipe yesterday (Wednesday), so this morning I decided to have a look. With half an before work I managed to find a COMMON SNIPE in the first piece of suitable habitat. With Jack Snipe liking not to move if they can help it, I wasn't expecting success but a small clearing in the long grass produced two golden lines that stood out brightly, crouched looking at me was a smart JACK SNIPE (63), I even managed a couple of pics before backing away and leaving the bird in peace. A quick look around for the few minutes I had left provided a few of the usual birds including 100 or so FIELDFARE, NUTHATCH, GREY HERON and around a 100 COMMON GULLS in the stubble field with the sheep.
Jack Snipe


Great Tit

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Patch Tick - missed!

The walk on Sunday was later than usual, this proved to be slightly costly as a call from Stephen let me know  he had just seen 8 GOOSANDER fly east! Great record, Stephens morning was pretty successful he added TEAL for the year and had a nice supporting cast of LITTLE EGRET, CORN BUNTING (2), BRAMBLING and 58 YELLOWHAMMERS.
My walk wasn't quite so eventful, 5 GREENFINCH were around the veg garden, where 10+ MEADOW PIPITS flew over as did 2 GREY HERON, 2 SPARROWHAWK and a couple of PIED WAGTAILS. The lake was quiet apart from a calling KINGFISHER. A LITTLE EGRET was moving around in the next field and finally settled in park field. FIELDFARES and REDWINGS were floating around in loose flocks. The only year ticks were a BLACK HEADED GULL (61) which I actually forgot to add from my last visit! the other one was CANADA GOOSE (62), 2 flew south near the end of the walk. SISKINS remain scarce  just 1 bird flew over today, the flock from the other week seems to have moved on for now. The light wasn't great on Sunday but this Little Egret brightened things up :-)
Little Egret

Little Egret

Little Egret
21 Waxwings dropped in last Wednesday just outside my house at around 7.50 - ISO2500 gave this grainy image!