Monday, 24 February 2014

The Weekend

I managed a couple of walks this weekend again BUZZARDS featured highly on Saturday afternoon with possibly up to 7 present. There were 5 BULLFINCH scattered around the site with a group of 3 and 2 singles. A GREENFINCH was in the car park again as well as several REDWING and FIELDFARE. Out in the fields a check of the skies found good numbers of GULLS heading west, mainly COMMON but there were about a dozen BLACK HEADS and at least 3 MEDITERRANEAN GULL (63).
Sunday morning was windier so I concentrated most of my time in the woods, several TREECREEPERS sung and the usual MARSH TITS and NUTHATCHES. Just 3 REDPOLL were found but no Siskin were around today, I spent some time looking for Lesser Spot and the Water Rail without success. 6 BULLFINCH were again present in the car park.
Goldcrest taken at 1600iso

A bit of colour in the garden

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Sun and no wind!!!

What a stunning morning, a light frost and wall to wall sunshine. The car park held 3 FIELDFARE and 12 REDWING, a CHAFFINCH was singing, the first time I've heard one this year, it was joined by DUNNOCKS, ROBINS and SONG THRUSHES which made it feel decidedly spring like. A look from the barn across the valley produced 5 GREY HERON (61) having a look at the damage done to their nests over the winter, a couple have been lost completely, I hope they rebuild successfully. While watching them a CANADA GOOSE (62) called as it flew through the valley. On the lake the WATER RAIL was seen well but not long enough to get any pics.
I spent quite a long time in the woods looking for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker to no avail but there were plenty of TREECREEPERS, NUTHATCHES joined by MARSH TITS and GOLDCRESTS with the odd SISKIN and REDPOLL flying over. Coming out of the wood the first BUZZARD was picked up flying low towards me, later 5 were in the air at once and a SPARROWHAWK also circled over Digdog Lane.
A quick look in the hide found the only YELLOWHAMMERS of the morning with 4 on the ground below the new feeders. Other birds this morning included 3 BULLFINCH, 27 STARLINGS a GREENFINCH and a few STOCK DOVES milling around. I managed a couple pics but hoped for better.

Pied Wagtail

Pied Wagtail





Sunday, 9 February 2014

Group walks at Sissinghurst

Saturday saw a the Maidstone RSPB Group visit Sissinghurst, it was great to be with them with Peter the Ranger who organised the walk with Simon Ginnaw. We started off around the car park with half a dozen REDWING flying out over the new orchard followed by 5 BULLFINCH, 4 male and 1 female which where picking up grit.I caught a glimpse of the WATER RAIL as it disappeared under a fallen tree. It wasn't the busiest morning bird wise but we did add either hearing or seeing MARSH TIT, NUTHATCH and TREECREEPER also a nice little flock of REDPOLL were seen whilst we looked for Lesser Spotted Wood which didn't materialise. A BUZZARD was seen early on then 2 were picked up later over Roundshill Wood. We were lucky with the weather it rained hard around 8am and then not again until around 12 when we were sitting inside with a nice hot coffee.
This morning another great local group joined me in slightly windier conditions but nice bright sunshine at times certainly was appreciated. The highlights were a couple of LESSER REDPOLL and 9 SISKIN feeding together by the lake, which also produced several FIELDFARE and REDWING in the next field. It was hard going but we did find 31 species. A GREEN WOODPECKER showed well in  nice light as a BUZZARD flew behind it. After the group left I spent a short time looking across the valley, this was brightened by a male MERLIN (60) which flew low across the field next to Digdog Lane.
No pics this weekend so this one was from last week :-)

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Dunge and Feeders at Sissinghurst Castle!

Saturday morning I headed Dungeness to catch-up with a few more winter birds, to be honest I found nithing ground breaking but enjoyed a morning out and about remaining relatively dry! A quick sea watch produced a few GANNET, lots of GUILLEMOT and just 1 RAZORBILL as well as KITTIWAKE, RED THROATED DIVERS and loads of more of the common gull species. On the reserve large numbers of wildfowl included half a dozen SMEW, all female and several GOLDENEYE. A BLACK THROATED DIVER was on New Diggings and a couple of GREAT WHITE and LITTLE EGRETS were around the reserve and a KINGFISHER flew passed Hanson Hide a quick look for the Black Necked Grebe proved fruitless although time wasn't on my side. A look at Scotney did produce the LONG TAILED DUCK which is always a nice bird to encounter, lastly a look along Caldicott Lane didn't produce the Bewicks I was hoping for.
This morning a look at the local patch for a couple of hours, again in some nice light and generally pleasant conditions albeit a bit muddy, did produce one new bird for the year a wintering CHIFFCHAFF (59). Other birds today included 9 GREENFINCH, the best count for over a year! 1 COMMON SNIPE, 2 KESTREL, 1 SPARROWHAWK, 3 BUZZARD, 5 BULLFINCH and reasonable count of 15 BLACKBIRDS, there were only 1 each of SISKIN and REDPOLL.
It was nice to go to the hide and sit for a while to see if any birds had found the little feeding station the ranger had put up, after a while a GREAT TIT and 2 BLUE TITS visited the new feeders!
Here are a couple of pics from the last couple of days
Great White Egret



Gadwall and Wigeon



Great Tit on new feeding area from the hide

Feeding Station