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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

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Wonderful Walland

Hamstreet, 09:00.
6 Cormorants, 1 Little Egret (RM Canal), 1 Sparrowhawk (Arrowhead Lane), 30+ Waxwings (Johnson's Corner), 2 Bullfinches (a pair at Warehorne Bridge).

Lydd Airport and Approach Road, 11:00.
2 Meadow Pipits, 1 Robin, 1 Black Redstart (female by the hangar), 2 Stonechat (a pair), lots of Lapwing and Curlew.

The wintering Black Redstart has returned to Lydd Airport

Dungeness RSPB Reserve, 12:00 to 13:00.
1 Bewick's Swan (adult on ARC), 2 Goldeneyes (both drakes on ARC), 2 Red-legged Partridges (entrance track), 1 Black-throated Diver (Juvenile on New Diggings), 1 Little Egret (ARC), 4 Great White Egrets (New Diggings & ARC), 1 Grey Heron, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Kestrel, 4 Chiffchaffs  (ARC - at southern end including 1 paler bird), 3 Tree Sparrow (Boulderwall Farm).

Walland Marsh, 10:00 to 16:00
Fantastic birding here today...

1 of 8+ Waxwings in the Hawthorn Hedge between Midley Drying Barns and Baynham/Old Cheyne Court Farms

46 Bewick's Swans (near Newland Farm - 18 juveniles), 2 Whooper Swans (near Newland Farm - separate field to the Bewick's), 2 Grey Herons, 10+  Marsh Harriers (reedbed roost), 1 Hen Harrier (male at Old Cheyne Court), 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 Buzzards, 1 Common Crane (adult - nicknamed Andy - into reedbed roost at 14:45), 2 Barn Owls (hunting together at Old Cheyne Court), 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Meadow Pipits, 8+ Waxwings ( in the morning between Midley and Old Cheyne Court), 1 Dunnock, 1 Goldcrest. Still thousands of Winter Thrushes around plus 100's of Golden Plover, Lapwing and Greylag Geese in the Cheyne area. 3 Black Swans still present on the Marsh - 2 with Mutes between Wheelsgate and Swan Farms plus another in Sussex just west of Scotney GP's (again with Mutes).

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A Waxwing Weekend

Saturday 1st December

Warehorne, 09:00 to 09:30, RM Canal & Arrowhead Lane
1 Little Egret, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Kestrel, Fieldfare (1000's along with smaller numbers of Redwing and Starling), 1 Goldcrest, 1 Bullfinch (Male), 1 Yellowhammer.

Walland Marsh, 10:00 to 12:00
25 Bewick's Swans (11 juveniles), 2 Whooper Swans (Midley), 2 Black Swans (between Wheelsgate and Swan Farms), 1 Grey Heron, 1 Marsh Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin (Old Cheyne Court), 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker,
5 Waxwings (4 Old Cheyne Court, 1 Midley Drying Barns), 2 Greenfinch, 1 Yellowhammer.

Walland Marsh - spot the four Waxwings with the Winter Thrush flock?
Dungeness RSPB Reserve, 12:00 to 14:00
1 Goldeneye (Drake on ARC), 1 Smew (Redhead on Burrowes), 1 Black-throated Diver (Juvenile on New Diggings), 1 Little Egret, 4 Great White Egrets (3 New Diggings, 1 Burrowes), 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Lesser Whitethroat (around car park and visitor centre - latest record for me!!!), 2 Chiffchaff.

Snave, 15:15 to 15:30
2 Waxwings (in trees by the A2070 between Hamstreet and Brenzett).

Sunday 2nd December

Conyer, 09:00 to 13:00
1 Little Egret, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Buzzard, 1 Water Rail (heard), 1 Woodcock (flushed), 1 Turnstone, 5 Long-eared Owls (roosting), 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Jay, 1 Bullfinch (female), 2 Reed Buntings.

Willesborough, Ashford c15:00
38 Waxwings (Canterbury Road, Paper Lane and Orbital Business Park - mobile flock).

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Lesser Whitethroat at Dungeness RSPB

Here are some photos of the Lesser Whitethroat that I found in the main car park bushes by the Dungeness RSPB visitor centre this afternoon (1st Dec). It showed very well from the warmth and comfort of the visitor centre for about 10 minutes.

All photos taken from the warmth of the visitor centre - through glass!
More sightings from Dungeness and Walland Marsh to follow later....

Monday, 19 November 2012

Red-throated Diver @ Conningbrook GP's

A couple of record shots of the Red-throated Diver that Angela and myself found yesterday (18th) at Conningbrook Lakes.

Red-throated Diver @ Conningbrook Lakes (GC Grebe & Coot behind)
A new species for us at this site. Ashford does attract Divers - both Red and Black-throated Divers have been found on Singleton Lake in the past.

Conningbrook GP, 12:00 to 15:00
2 Gadwall (1 pair), 1 Red-throated Diver (1st site record), 2 Little Grebe (on the River Stour), 10 Cormorant, 2 Little Egret, 1 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 1 Water Rail (along the Stour), 1 Kingfisher (Middle Lake), 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 7 Fieldfare (flew over), 1 Goldcrest (with Long-tailed Tits), 1 Jay, 1 Lesser Redpoll (flew over).

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Sunny Sunday

A very pleasant trip out on Sunday with Angela taking in Dungeness, the RSPB Reserve, Scotney GP's and Walland Marsh. Nice to see plenty of birders about too - Hello to you all.

Dungeness, 11:00 to 12:00
1 Yellow-legged Gull (Adult), 1 Glaucous Gull (3w still by the fishing boats).

The semi-resident 3rd-winter Glaucous Gull near the Dungeness fishing boats.

Getting ready to move.

Dungeness RSPB Reserve, 12:00 to 13:00
1 Little Egret, 4 Great White Egrets (all on Burrowes Pit - 2 Dennis's Hide, 2 Makepeace Hide), 2 Stonechats.

Scotney Gravel Pits, 13:00 to 15:00
1 Pintail (Drake), 2 Marsh Harriers (Male and Juvenile), 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 1 Common Crane (at west end - Sussex).

Scotney GP's scene - spot the Common Crane !!!

Walland Marsh, 15:00 to 16:00
2 Whooper Swans (Still with Mutes), 1 Hen Harrier (Male), 1 Buzzard.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Whoopers on Walland

Sunday 28th October:
Walland Marsh, 08:30 to 09:30
2 Whooper Swan (with Mutes near Midley drying barns), 2 Wigeon (a pair with small flock of Gadwall - Woolpack Inn), 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Buzzard, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Mistle Thrush, 3 Tree Sparrow (Wheelsgate Farm)
2 adult Whooper Swans in oil-seed rape field with Mutes.
This is the same field that the Bewick's favoured last winter on Walland Marsh
- between Old Cheyne Court Farm and Midley Drying Barns.
 Lydd, 09:30 to 10:30
1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose (in sheep field along Lydd Airport entrance road), 2 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, c100 Curlew (Caldecot Lane), 1 Green Woodpecker

A lone Dark-bellied Brent Goose (adult)
in the sheep pastures along the entrance road to Lydd Airport.

ARC Pits RSPB, 10:00 to 11:30
4 Pintail, 5 Shoveler, 1 Common Scoter (female/imm), 3 Goldeneye (females/imms), 1 Little Egret, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 1 Water Rail (heard), 2 Snipe, 1 Redshank, 1 Cetti's Warbler (heard)

Dungeness, 12:00
1 Yellow-legged Gull (adult - fishing boats)

Dungeness RSPB Reserve, 12:30 to 13:00
2 Pintail (drakes), 2 Goldeneye (females/imms), 4 Little Egret, 3 Great White Egret (all on Burrowes Pit from Dennis's Hide)

Appledore, 14:00
1 Grey Heron, 1 Marsh Harrier, 3 Swallow (flew SW along the RM Canal near Stone Cliff)

Sunday, 21 October 2012

A mixed bag of a weekend

Saturday 20th October:

Dungeness, 10:00 - 16:00
1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 1 Yellow-legged Gull (Adult near fishing boats), 1 Glaucous Gull (3W on beach by fishing boats), 1 Sandwich Tern, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Ring Ouzel (Moat), 3 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush (Old lighthouse garden), 1 Blackcap (Old lighthouse garden), 1 Yellow-browed Warbler (briefly seen in the Trapping area), 1 Brambling (flew over), 16 Lesser Redpoll (flew over).

Yellow-legged Gull keeping a look-out near the fishing boats.
ARC Pits (Dungeness), 11:00 - Hanson Hide.
1 Goldeneye, 3 Little Egret, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Little Stint, 1 Dunlin, 4 Cetti's Warbler (Calling), 6 Long-tailed Tit, 6 Lesser Redpoll (flying over).

Dungeness RSPB Reserve, 12:00
2 Little Egret, 3 Great White Egret (all on Burrowes Pit. 2 Makepeace Hide. 1 Dennis's Hide), 2 Grey Heron, 1 Yellow-legged Gull (adult in gull roost along entrance track.), 4 Bearded Tit (calling and circling over the car park), 1 Tree Sparrow (Boulderwall Farm).

Sunday 21st October - grim weather but the folks finally managed to catch up with the Goose after their trip to Norfolk.

South Swale NR, 12:00
1 Red-breasted Goose with Brents & Wigeon near Castle Coote, 1 Wheatear, Kestrel, calling Bearded Tits. Lots of Golden Plover and Lapwing in the flooded fields.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Twitch to see the RBG

Monday 15th October - South Swale NR.

An after work trip on Monday to see the Red-breasted Goose with the dark-bellied Brent Goose flock. A magnificent bird with a good supporting cast of waders, Little Egrets, pinging Bearded Tits, a calling Cetti's Warbler and 2 Marsh Harriers heading west to roost (male and female).

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Resident Shelduck snapped

A quick look at Eastwell Lake this morning (13th) before rain stopped play.

The Ruddy Shelduck finally gave itself up for a photograph (which failed to upload).

Ruddy Shelduck - unringed and fully winged
Also present: 2 Cormorants, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 6+ Little Grebes, Nuthatch, 11 Siskins and 7 Redpolls over. 2 Wrens singing.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Osprey at long last

Saturday 6th - Eastwell Park, 10:00 to 11:00
The Ruddy Shelduck still present at the far end of the lake, strutting its stuff amongst the many Mallard. 38 Greylag Goose, 1 Teal, 1 Pochard, 5 Little Grebe, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Sand Martin, 2 Swallow, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Jay, 5+ Siskin.

Sunday 7th - Samphire Hoe, 10:50 to 12:50
1 Kestrel, 3 Rock Pipit (Western End), 3 Stonechat, 1 Reed Warbler, 2 Blackcap. No luck with the Yellow-browed Warbler but plenty of Chiffchaffs.

Onwards to Collards Lake & Stodmarsh, 14:15
1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Osprey (Seen hunting over the NNR and river from the minor road overlooking Collards Lake - apparently two seen in the morning). Jay and Green Woodpecker.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Ruddy Shelduck

Sunday 30th September:

A Ruddy Shelduck (of unknown origin) was a bit of a surprise on Eastwell Lake. This is the second time I have seen this species here. Wildfowl numbers are starting to build for the winter.

Conningbrook GP, 14:00 to 16:00 - little of note.
1 Tufted Duck, 4 Cormorant, 2 Sparrowhawk, 3 Buzzard, 9 Lapwing, 1 Chiffchaff, 30 Goldfinch (circa), 2 Bullfinch

Eastwell Park, 16:30 to 17:30, lake area
Ruddy Shelduck amongst the hundreds of Mallard, 10 Greylag Goose, 1 Canada Goose, 6 Shoveler, 1 Pochard, 2 Red-legged Partridge, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Buzzard, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Jay. A Black Swan was also noted on the Saturday (29th) - whatever next?

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Birthday Birding

No luck with a birthday mega this morning but a nice fall of migrants at the Water Tower, ARC Pit.

ARC Pits (Dungeness), 08:00 to 10:00, Water Tower pines
1 Marsh Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrel, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Sand Martin (With Swallows), 1 Robin, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Blackcap, c50 Chiffchaff (with Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits.), 1 Goldcrest, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Chaffinch, 1 Brambling (almost taken by a Sparrowhawk).

Lydd Ranges, 12:00
2 Whinchat (1 Dengemarsh Gully, 1 Galloways), 5 Wheatear (4 Dengemarsh Gully, 1 Galloways).

Spotted Flycatcher (one of two) plus flying Blue Tit

2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers

Pictures from the North East

Angela and myself spent an enjoyable 5 days staying with her parents on Tyneside (9th to 14th Sept). It was nice to catch up with her relatives and see some of the landmarks in the north east - The Angel of the North, Tyne Bridges, Whitley Bay and Marsden Rock.

We also managed to head into Northumberland and visit some of the coastal areas.

St.Mary's Island - Whitley Bay
Bamburgh Castle

Eider - one of 13 in Seahouses Harbour

Lounging around on the slipway

Final Eider shot

Inner Farne viewed from Bamburgh beach.

Spot the Gannet and juvenile Gull

Small Tortoiseshell by Bamburgh cricket pitch.

The Bamburgh Swallows were still feeding recently fledged young

Record shot of 1 of 2 Dippers seen on the River Tyne at Haydon Bridge. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Ringing @ Sandwich Bay

On Saturday morning (15th), Angela and myself headed down to Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory for the public ringing demonstration weekend, part of the '60 years of ringing at Sandwich Bay' celebrations. An interesting and enjoyable visit - especially for Angela who had not seen bird ringing before. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers for their information and help.

We saw JayGreen Woodpecker, male and female BlackcapsReed and Sedge WarblersChiffchaffsWillow Warblers and House Martins. While sitting outside having lunch, I spotted a Hobby catching insects overhead.

Male Blackcap

Juvenile House Martin

Reed Warbler

Sedge Warbler

Willow Warbler

Monday, 20 August 2012

Butterflies & Moths

With the Kent birding scene quiet of late, I have started taking photos of smaller creatures with wings !!!

Red Admiral on the garden Buddleia - 9th August 2012.

I believe that this is a Jersey Tiger moth ? Taken at the Dungeness RSPB ARC site along the footpath between the car park and Hanson Hide - Saturday 18th August 2012.

Monday, 13 August 2012

July Jaunts

Cotswold Water Park - 6th to 9th July: Red-crested Pochards, Green Sandpiper, Kingfisher, 2 Oystercatchers, Buzzards, Green Woodpecker, 2 Ravens, Sedge Warbler, Sand Martins, Hobby, Bullfinch, Little Egret. M4: 2 Red Kites M25: Sparrowhawk and RN Parakeet.

High Flyer at Headcorn Aerodrome

I spent 4 hours at the Combined Ops 2012 event at Headcorn Aerodrome on Saturday (11th), hoping to see some interesting aircraft and military vehicles in action. The weather was fantastic and as a bit of a bonus, I managed to get a heavily cropped record shot of this high flying Peregrine Falcon that got in on the act during a bi-plane formation flying display.

Peregrine Falcon record shot.

Monday, 6 August 2012

A Weekend of Waders, Gulls, Terns & Olympics

Waders at Oare Marshes KWT (5th August) - 2 Wood Sandpipers amongst the Golden Plovers.

No luck with the adult Sabine's Gull at Dungeness point but this juvenile Kittiwake gave terrific views by the fishing boats.

The Kittiwake was quite vocal too, as it fed close inshore.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Owl still on guard.

The Eagle Owl was still roosting on the Charter Building this evening. The Carrion Crows were keeping a watchful eye on it too.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Denge Wood .... and an Eagle Owl !!!

A few photos from the weekend so far...

Marbled White at Denge Wood (21st July)

Pyramidal Orchid.

Cinnabar Moth at Denge Wood

Eagle Owl (of unknown origin) on the Charter Building, Ashford (20th & 21st July). Apparently this bird has been around for a month!!!