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Saturday, 29 December 2012

Staying Local

Sorry for the lack of posts this month. Shortly after the Walland blog I came down with a virus which left me bed bound (5 days) and very weak for almost two weeks - always the way when you have some annual leave booked !!! The wet weather has not helped either with the birding and photography. Thankfully I was better for the Christmas period and it was nice to catch up with the family over Christmas and Boxing Day.

The birding highlights have been:

16th December - Denge Wood (pm)
Tried to shift the virus with a brief bout of fresh air - 4 Hawfinches (pre-roost), Jay, Mistle Thrush, Common Buzzard and small numbers of Siskin.

23rd December
Conningbrook Gravel Pits, 09:30 to 11:30
8 Little Egrets, 1 Great White Egret for the third day at least (thank you Heather for the e-mail), 2 Grey Herons, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine Falcon (adult male), 1 Stock Dove, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 50 Fieldfares, 20 Redwings, 2 Lesser Redpolls (with mixed Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Siskin flock near Goose Green), 30+ Yellowhammer (Great Bromley Farm).

Worten Mill & Flood Gap, 14:00 to 15:30
2 Mandarin Ducks (a pair on the large flooded area), 2 Gadwall (a pair), 3 Cormorants, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Wren, 1 Robin, 500 Fieldfare (+), 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Treecreeper, 3 Jay, 2 Bullfinches (near Great Chart Golf Centre).

26th December
Dover Harbour (am)
A nice walk around Dover Harbour with Angela to shake off the Christmas excesses and show her the wintering Black-throated Diver which gave good scope and binocular views near the lifeboat station. Also c50 Great-crested Grebes, Guillemots, 1 Razorbill, 4+ Shags and a Rock Pipit.

Hythe - Imperial Hotel
2 Purple Sandpipers with the Turnstones on the rocks.

Aldington Flood Gap
Little Egret on the edge of the flooded fields.

Today - 29th December
Conningbrook Gravel Pits, 09:00 to 12:00 Wellington Boots required
5 Wigeon (incl 3 drakes)
c50 Gadwall
3 Teal
2 Goosanders (a pair with the raft of Tufted Ducks, Pochards & Coot on main lake)
1 Little Grebe (middle lake)
6 Great Crested Grebe
20+ Cormorant
8 Little Egrets
1 Great White Egret still at south end of pits
2 Grey Herons (Immatures)
1 Common Buzzard (Hinxhill)
1 Kestrel (Julie Rose Stadium)
1 Peregrine Falcon (on usual tree perch)
1 Woodcock
1 Mediterranean Gull (with Common, Herring and Black-headed Gulls)
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
11 Collared Doves
1+ Kingfisher along the river
2 Green Woodpeckers
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
c10 Skylark (in field near Great Bromley Farm)
1 Meadow Pipit
2 Pied Wagtails
3 Wren
1 Robin
1 Stonechat (female around north lake)
3 Blackbirds
c40 Fieldfares
3 Song Thrushes
2 Redwings
1 Mistle Thrush
2 Goldcrests (with Long-tailed and Blue Tits)
c10 Long-tailed Tits
3 Chaffinches
1 Greenfinch
c30 Goldfinches
c20 Siskins (Goose Green area),
1 Lesser Redpoll (flew over)
2 Bullfinches
2 Yellowhammers
3 Reed Buntings

A pretty full list here - not bad for a site on the edge of Ashford. Sadly the Country Park with 300+ houses is still a reality. Can't see this site holding GW Egret and Goosander if that happens.

Finally a big thank you to all of those people who have followed the blog in 2012. The comments have been great and I hope to continue into 2013. I hope that you all had a great Christmas and here's to a fantastic bird/wildlife/photography filled 2013 !!!

Neil. X

Pied Wagtail in the garden on the 22nd December 2012

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