Late on Sunday afternoon (12th) Angela and myself took a walk along the rather frozen RM Canal between Warehorne and Kenardington, where Thrushes were again much in evidence. Redwing and Fieldfare were plentiful with smaller numbers of Blackbird, Song Thrush and Robin. Several Lapwing were spotted along the thawing tops of the Canal banks. A Kestrel sat nearby but the highlights were 3 Yellowhammers (2 males) in the scrub and bushes.
On Monday (13th) with the temperatures slowly rising, the parents took a trip to Dungeness, noting a Common Buzzard near to New Romney at Hammond's Corner. At the ARC Pit they had a Marsh Harrier, 2 Ravens, a Chiffchaff, Kestrel, Green Woodpecker and all of the usual duck species on the free patches of water. On the opposite side of the road, the New Diggings held 11 Smew (2 drakes), 13 Goosander (5 drakes), a Great White Egret, 1 Bittern and 2 Grey Herons - quite a collection there!
They moved on to Scotney where they found 2 more drake Smew, 3 White-fronted Geese, 11 Brent Geese including 1+ pale-bellied bird and a male Stonechat. They ended the trip on Walland Marsh where the Bewick's Swan flock numbered 73, Tree Sparrows were noted on the feeders and 2 more Common Buzzards were seen (Old Cheyne & Woolpack Inn areas).
That evening Angela, myself & GF travelled to Canterbury, where Chris Packham was giving his 'Goes Totally Wild' talk at the Gulbenkian Theatre. Having grown up watching Chris on the Really Wild Show and now Spring/Autumnwatch, it was fantastic to meet the man and listen to his experiences of Antarctica, Wildlife Photography, Conservation, England Football Management and his beloved Poodles - Itchy and Scratchy. Thoroughly recommended.
A text message at work on Tuesday (14th) afternoon resulted in an early finish as a White-tailed (Sea) Eagle had been reported at Boltoph's Bridge near West Hythe. Sadly by the time the birdwatchers had arrived, the bird had moved on but it was nice to catch up with BB, MC, BH, CT, MW plus Mum, Dad and others. Birds noted as it got dark were: Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker, 2 Grey Herons and several Fieldfare over. The best phrase for us all is "better luck next time".
Today (15th) my Dad had a walk around Conningbrook Gravel Pits where he had an excellent set of birds: 4 Grey Herons, 4 Little Egrets, 1 GREAT WHITE EGRET, 1 BITTERN, 5 Snipe, 30+ Lapwing, 100+ Tufted Ducks, 100+ Teal, 40+ Pochard, 50+ Gadwall, 3 drake Shoveler, 11 Wigeon, 7 GOOSANDER (5 drakes - possibly some of the birds noted at Eastwell Lake recently), 3 Great Crested and 2 Little Grebes, Green Woodpecker, Jay, 24 Linnets and a bird of prey with jesses - quite likely a hybrid falconers bird.