Monday, 27 May 2013

Another outing for the hide! and Woodcock survey

A good weather Bank Holiday, a rarity in itself! I managed a few hours out plus a quick visit to Rye Harbour for  TEREK SANDPIPER, great bird!!!
On the patch I managed 57 species over the weekend. There was nothing new for the year but some interesting sightings nonetheless. A couple of pairs of LONG TAILED TITS were busy visiting their respective nests feeding their young, other young in evidence were MOORHEN, MALLARD, MISTLE THRUSH and STARLING.
The youngsters are about


Young Mistle Thrush

There were a few SWIFT, SWALLOW and HOUSE MARTIN moving through but really small numbers, 6 SWIFT being the largest gathering! COMMON BUZZARDS tussled over the fields and over the house and 2 SPARROWHAWK were seen on Saturday with plus 1 KESTREL. Today a HOBBY added to the raptor count. After a 5 SPOT FLYS last week I could only find 1 today. A male REED BUNTING sung from the top lake the first one I've found this spring since the winter birds finally disappeared. Other birds this weekend were, KINGFISHER, LITTLE OWL, GOLDCREST, MARSH TIT, NIGHTINGALE and at least4 pairs of YELLOWHAMMER.
This morning I gave the hide another outing, I found a sunny corner and basically sat and waited. Below are a couple of the results of the 90 mins I spent looking into the bushes :-)
Nightingale above and below

This Great Spot dropped in briefly

Common Whitethroat

Finally Thursday night I joined a couple of friends to check out the Woodcocks locally between us we managed 45 sightings in a couple of hours plus one of us had Nightjar. Several times I had 2 birds together and it stayed dry, I'm looking forward to this weeks session.
A vocal Grey Heron!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

May 8th - 19th + a lifer!!

With visits still at a premium, here is a quick run down of what's been happening, firstly I have been to Portugal and Spain between the 2 dates above, seeing Black Kites, White Storks and Woodchat Shrikes while in Portugal for 2 days then this week a couple of days near Valencia on the southern Spanish coast produced evidence that migration is still in full swing there, from the hotel garden I had, 1000's of Common Swifts coming in off the sea in a constant flow for at least half an hour 20+ Honey Buzzards, 3 Spotted Flycatchers, Common Redstart, Pied Flycatcher as well a couple of small flocks of Swallows and House Martins, so things may still reach us yet!! Also seen were Beeeater, Woodchat Shrike, several Serins and Lesser Kestrel, sometimes work isn't so bad!!!
Back at the patch a guided walk on the 11th produced my first TURTLE DOVE (86) year and later a brief HOBBY (87). Being away meant my next visit was on the 17th when 4 SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS (88) were found which is a promising number. Today I finally caught up with my first HOUSE MARTIN (89) on the patch this year, must be the latest 'first' ever of this bird!
Goldfinch preening


Spotted Flycatcher

Little Owl

There has been one other major event and that was the obviously the DUSKY THRUSH found by Steve Tomlinson, I was out at Dunge and got a text from Stephen but with an appointment booked for 10am there wasn't really enough time to get to Margate and make it back, after a couple of texts, my Wife took the first appointment and I just had to be back for 11am for the next one!! I got to Margate at 9am saw the bird and caught up with a few friendly faces only to set off again at 9.30am, in actual fact, I'm not as interested in twitching as I used to be, and these days find it much less pleasurable but I do love seeing new birds, so a quick visit when it wasn't over run with people was about right for me.
Dusky Thrush record shot, a new bird for me :-)

Monday, 6 May 2013

The last couple of weeks

With only about four outings over the last couple of weeks there hasn't been oads to report but here are a few bits. A GARDEN WARBLER (82) turned up on the 24th April and now there are several singing around the castle grounds, generally competing with the Blackcaps. My next patch visit proper wasn't until May 4th, I walked for 90 minutes from 3pm-4.30pm, which actually proved very productive. Pretty much the first bird I saw was a RED KITE (83), it drifted north, these birds turn up anytime from February to mid May but seldom later in the year. As I watched this a COMMON SWIFT (84) came into view a really good start. I didn't walk far but sat and watched across the valley a few LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS went through and COMMON WHITETHROATS and SKYLARKS could be heard constantly, whilst sitting listening to these a REED WARBLER (85) started singing from rares hedge, Stephen had reported one earlier in the day probably the same bird. May 5th and a full 4 hours or more on patch produced 50 species but nothing  new for the year highlights were PEREGRINE (picked up first by Stephen), LITTLE OWL, NIGHTINGALE, COMMON BUZZARD (5 together at once), 24 SWALLOWS heading north in small groups, REDPOLL, MARSH TIT and SPARROWHAWK. Also at last there were a few more insects about, 3 LARGE RED DAMSELFLIES, 5 PEACOCKS, 2 GREEN VEINED WHITE, 1 SMALL TORTOISESHELL, 8 ORANGE TIP and 1 BRIMSTONE, with a PALMATE NEWT, I think, representing the amphibiians this week it was quite an enjoyable walk. With flowers out through the woods now as well I couldn't resist a few Bluebell pics.
I did also venture off patch on the 28th April with a morning at Dungeness, it wasn't a spectacular morning for this location but I was pleased to catch-up with a few birds I hadn't seen for a while. Highlights here were HOBBY, WHEATEAR (3), WILLOW WARBLER, CUCKOO, WHIMBREL, RAVEN plus hearing booming BITTERN, always good to hear. The pics today are pretty random and probably too many of them but here goes.


Reed Bunting - Dungeness

Large Red Damselfly

Little Owl


Palmate Newt (I think?)

Random Tulip in Garden!

Mute Swans - Dungeness

Oysercatcher - Dungeness