Sunday (8th) dawned overcast but we decided to have a look around some local sites. Starting at Godmersham village I instantly heard a Firecrest upon getting out of the car. Incredibly there were two birds present in small Yew trees on the edge of a garden between the river Stour and some of the College buildings. A fantastic start to the day. The river held a Little Egret and a Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed nearby. A sign of the mild weather.
We then had look at Park Wood between Challock and Chilham. We eventually found a tit flock comprising mainly Great & Blue Tits, but also containing a Wren, 2 Goldcrest, and a pair of Marsh Tits. 2 Common Buzzards and a Jay flew over. Back at the car there was another flock, this containing Treecreeper, Nuthatch, 2 more Marsh Tits, another Goldcrest & 1 Coal Tit.
Next stop was Shalmsford Street with a Little Egret, Mistle Thrush, Green Woodpecker, and a small party of Long-tailed Tits spotted along the river from the bridge. The final site visited was Denge Wood on the top of the North Downs. Incredibly we found another Firecrest!!! - again in Yew with another Tit & Goldcrest flock. Other highlights included 2 separate large flocks of finches, one of about 30 Chaffinch, containing a male Yellowhammer, 2 Greenfinches and a pair of Bullfinch. The other, in larches, contained a mixed group of c200 Goldfinch and Siskin (the latter species being the most numerous). Only 1+ Lesser Redpoll was present though. 9+ Marsh Tit (a great site for this species), Common Buzzard, Great-Spotted Woodpecker and a Jay rounded off a superb visit here.
On the way back home a Kestrel was hunting over farmland near Naccolt, and a Peregrine was seen over Ashford (also spotted on Monday 9th).