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Sunday 31 March 2013

Dodgy Nuthatches at Hothfield

Hothfield, 09:00 to 10:00, Heathlands KWT
1 Buzzard, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Song Thrush, 50+ Redwing, 4 Nuthatches (2 pairs on territory. 1 bird seen on the ground picking up dog poop before returning to its nest hole and plastering up the entrance with it - pleasant !!!), 1 Treecreeper, 1 Jay, 7 Siskins, 6 Yellowhammers.

Conningbrook GP, 10:00 to 12:00
15 Teal, 3 Shoveler, 2 Little Grebe, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Mediterranean Gulls (flew over calling before heading south), 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Skylarks, 1 Wren, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Mistle Thrush, 4 Chiffchaffs (1 singing), 2 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Goldfinches, 2 Siskins, c30 Linnet, 1 Lesser Redpoll (Male in breeding plumage), 2 Yellowhammers, 7 Reed Buntings.

Saturday 30 March 2013

Little Gull at Seaton GP's

Seaton Gravel Pits, 10:00 to 12:00
2 Greylag Geese, 3 Goldeneyes (incl 1 drake on adjacent fishing lake), 1 Goosander (immature drake), 4 Little Grebes, 4 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Slavonian Grebe (moulting into summer plumage), 1 Little Egret, 2 Grey Herons, 1 Marsh Harrier (male), 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Water Rail (heard), 1 Little Gull (adult in winter plumage), 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Wrens, 1 Song Thrush, 5 Redwings (with 50+ Fieldfare), 2 Cetti's Warblers (calling), 4 Chiffchaffs (incl 2 singing), 1 Goldcrest, 2 Jays.

Godmersham, 13:00
1 Grey Wagtail (along the river Stour).

Friday 29 March 2013

Bluethroat brightens up the day !!!

Friday 29th March

Hothfield, 08:30 to 09:00, Hothfield Heathlands KWT
1 Mediterranean Gull (calling adult flew over heading south with 2 Black-headed Gulls), 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Song Thrush, 30+ Redwing, 2 Coal Tits, 2 Nuthatches (calling), 1 Treecreeper, c20 Siskin, 1 Yellowhammer (singing).

But still no LSW's - will keep trying - sadly the sleet showers didn't help this morning.

Samphire Hoe, 10:00
1 Grey Heron (flew east), 1 Robin, 1 white-spotted Bluethroat (female showing well on and off), 1 Blackbird, 1 Great Tit.

Hamstreet, 12:00, RM Canal
1 Cormorant, 4 Little Egrets, 1 Grey Heron (immature), 1 Common Buzzard (near Brenzett).

Walland Marsh, 12:30 to 13:00
4 Gadwall (2 pairs), 2 Teal, 4 Red-legged Partridges, 1 Pheasant, 1 Hen Harrier (male at Baynham Farm), 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 13 Golden Plovers (Caldecott Lane), 3 Curlews (Caldecott Lane), 1 Song Thrush, 1 Tree Sparrow (Baynham Farm), 1 Yellowhammer (Tickners Lane), 2 Reed Buntings.

Dengemarsh, 13:00 to 14:00
2 Shelducks, 3 Marsh Harriers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers (between Dengemarsh flood and the Gully on muddy pool), 1 Black-tailed Godwit (flew south), 1 Redwing (Galloways Road).

ARC Pits (Dungeness), 14:00
5 Goldeneyes (females), 4 Smew (1 drake and 3 redheads), 2 Dunlins, 1 Redshank, 2 Meadow Pipits, 1 Black Redstart (cracking male at south end), 1 Cetti's Warbler (heard).

Dungeness, 14:30 to 15:00
1 Sandwich Tern (off of the fishing boats), 3 Black Redstarts (1 male & 2 females by 1st cottage near power station), 1 Stonechat, 1 Wheatear. 

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Blog now up to date ... plus a Waxwing Quiz

The previous post on our Norfolk trip is now fully updated, complete with a few of the better photos that I took. The weather as you can imagine was pretty poor - usual excuse.

Since returning the birding has once again been limited by the weather but a few sightings include:

Friday 22nd March

Headcorn, 15:00 - commute home
2 Mediterranean Gulls (flying north near the aerodrome)

Saturday 23rd March

Ashford, 10:00
1 Little Egret (flying over the River Stour, Mace Lane by the flour-mills/nightclub).

Sunday 24th March

Hothfield, 09:00 to 11:00, Heathlands KWT
3 Mandarin Ducks (2 drakes and a duck over the water meadows), 1 Little Egret, 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Snipe, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Song Thrush, 50+ Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrushes, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Coal Tit, 3 Nuthatches, 1 Treecreeper, 3 Siskins.

A nice chat with PK - good to see you again. Thanks for all the info on the Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, still no luck but we will keep trying.

Ashford, 12:00
50+ Waxwings (still along Coulter Road - near Hestia Way).

Monday 25th March

Bethersden, 16:00 - commute home
1 Common Buzzard.

Finally with the Ashford Waxwing flock seemingly to be reducing and fragmenting in recent days, can anyone better my count of 84 (Coulter Rd/Hestia Way area) in this enlarged photo... let me know if you can. Sorry for the quality - it sums up the British weather of late rather well though!

Saturday 23 March 2013

Norfolk Break - An Otter but not hotter !!!

A nice break with Angela and the parents in Norfolk at Heacham.


Friday 15th March 2013:

Dersingham Bog:
Nuthatch, Sparrowhawk, 2 Woodlarks.

Castle Rising & Roydon Area:
4 Common Buzzards, Barn Owl.

Flitcham Abbey Farm:
4+ Egyptian Geese, Treecreeper, 2 Buzzards, 100's of Fieldfare, Bullfinch, 3 Grey Partridges.

Sculthorpe Moor NR:
Egyptian Goose, Oystercatchers 2, lots of Bramblings at the feeding stations, Little Egret, 2 Barn Owls, Marsh Tits, 2 Siskins, heard: Water Rail & Tawny Owl.


Reed Bunting (female/immature) & Chaffinch

Saturday 16th March 2013:

Titchwell RSPB (am):

Siskins & Bramblings on the feeders, Cetti's Warbler calling, Water Rail (spotted by Angela) and Chiffchaff showing well in the ditch by the footpath, several Pintail, a nice flock of Black-tailed Godwits & Avocets, 1 Ruff, 2 Spotted Redshanks, Common Buzzard, 3 Marsh Harriers, Little Egret.

Choseley Drying Barns:
2 Grey Partridges, 3 Corn Buntings with the Yellowhammer flock,

Holkham NNR:
Marsh Harriers, Common Buzzards, Avocets, 3 Pink-footed Geese, several White-fronted Geese, and a bonus in the form of 9 Crossbills chipping away in the trees by Bones Drift before flying off south towards Holkham Park. Still lots of Dark-Bellied Brents at Burnham Overy and Wells Harbour.

Then it was time for the Barn Owl show as the weather improved during the afternoon !!!

Burnham Norton:
Cracking close views of a Barn Owl hunting by the roadside - metal ring clearly viewable on the right leg, 2 Pink-feet and more Brents.

Thornham Harbour:
Barn Owl (no.2)

Holme NWT:
3 Barn Owls (no. 3, 4 & 5) showing together over the grazing marshes, Little Egret, Buzzard & 2 Marsh Harriers - all from the first car park.

Heacham - near the Lavender Farm:
2 more Barn Owls (a total of 7 for our trip back to the caravan) and a pair of Grey Partridge.

Another memorable afternoon on the north Norfolk coast.

 Sunday 17th March 2013:

Heacham - 2 Marsh Harriers past the caravan.

Then a day in the Brecks.

Lynford Arboretum:
Goldcrest, Redwings, Buzzard, a lovely ground feeding flock of Siskin & Lesser Redpoll, Nuthatches, Treecreeper and Marsh Tits.

Santon Downham:
St. Helens car park was holding a huge running/cycling event but the quieter areas along the Little Ouse and at Santon Warren held a Woodlark, Siskins, Nuthatches, Goldcrest, Marsh Tits, a Brambling and Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

Thetford - Castle Street & Three Nuns Bridges:
Drew a blank on the then Black-bellied Dipper (now 2 birds present and seen by the parents later in the week) and Waxwings but lucked in on one of the superb Otters, that might be some of the tamest wild creatures of this species in the UK. 1-2 Kingfishers, Marsh Tit plus the usual Geese, Swans and Gulls noted too.

Otter - my first sighting in England - and almost taking fish out of the hand !!!

Mute Swan
On the way back to Heacham a nice sight of 3 male Reeve's Pheasants in a cattle field between Mundford and Swaffham, plus Green Woodpecker, Jay, Curlew and Red-legged Partridge.

Monday 18th March

Our final morning before a 3 hour eventful drive back to Kent. One of our Heacham Barn Owls was in view from the caravan during breakfast, sitting on a nearby fencepost. Then it was off to...

Ken Hill Wood
11 Egyptian Geese, Jay, Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Green Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit.

Snettisham RSPB
Skylark, 4 Reed Buntings, 2 more Barn Owls, 1 Pink-footed and 2 Barnacle Geese, Marsh Harrier, 2 Common Buzzards, 2 Grey Partridges and a cracking perched Short-eared Owl from the Rotary Hide. Huge numbers of distant waders out on the mud - 12 different species too.

The 3 hour journey home started well as we had only driven a mile down the road when a fellow motorist decided to reverse into me on a busy junction. Oh well not too much damage done and not my fault.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

It is most definately still winter !!!

The original plan for the weekend was to find some Lesser-Spotted Woodpeckers over at Hothfield Heathlands KWT reserve but the weather did not play ball. However some nice sightings both here and at Chilham Lakes on Saturday. Sunday was cold and windy, but despite getting stuck in the middle of the Lydd Half Marathon crisscrossing Walland Marsh, again there were birds to been seen. The Waxwing flock remains on the edge of Ashford too.

Saturday 9th March

Hothfield, Heathlands KWT Reserve - 09:00 to 11:00
2 Pheasants, 1 Green Woodpecker, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, c50 Redwing, 1 Coal Tit, 3 Nuthatches, 6 Treecreepers, 4 Jays, 20+ Siskin, 4 Lesser Redpolls, 4 Yellowhammers, 1 Reed Bunting (male).

Chilham, 11:00 to 13:00, Lakes & Pickelden Lane
2 Gadwall, 4+ Tufted Ducks, 4 Great Crested Grebes, 3+ Cormorants, 2 Little Egrets, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 Kingfishers - pair, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Grey Wagtails - pair, 1 Mistle Thrush, 4 Bullfinches.

Sunday 10th March

Ashford, 09:00
84 Waxwings (Hestia Way/Forum Way area).

Orlestone Forest, 09:30, Faggs Wood
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Nuthatches, 2 Jays.

Walland Marsh, 10:00 to 11:00
35 Bewick's Swans, 1 Whooper Swan, 1 Black Swan with Mutes by Midley Drying Barns, 1 Little Egret (Fairfield), 2 Marsh Harriers, 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 1 Jay (Fairfield), 10 Tree Sparrows (Baynham Farm), 20 Greenfinches (Baynham Farm), 8 Yellowhammers (Tickners Lane).

Dungeness RSPB Reserve, 11:00 to 12:00
23 Barnacle Geese (Dengemarsh Road), 1 Shelduck, 1 Red-crested Pochard (drake on Herons Park Lake viewed from Galloways Road), 3 Goldeneyes (2 drakes and a duck on New Diggings), 2 Smew (redheads on ARC Pit), 1 Little Egret, 1 Great White Egret (New Diggings), 2 Oystercatcher (ARC), 1 White Wagtail with 3 Pied Wagtails at south end of ARC Pit.... Spring is here !!! BBBBRRRRR !!!!

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Driving around in the Automobile

Despite the gloomy weather and cold easterlies of late, various trips out have been made, plus a few interesting sightings on the commute to and from work.

23rd February

Hothfield, 09:00 to 11:00, Hothfield Heathlands KWT
16 Mandarin Ducks, 1 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 2 Lapwings (flew over), 1 Snipe, 1 Stock Dove, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Robin, 1 Redwing, 1 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Treecreeper, 1 Jay, 1 Yellowhammer

Potman's Heath, 12:00 to 13:00
7 Pintails (incl 4 drakes with large numbers of Teal, Wigeon and Mallard), 2 Cormorants, 2 Redwing (one field contained 5 species of Thrush).

Appledore, 13:00 to 14:00
1 Little Egret, 1 Great White Egret (in a ditch by Appledore Turkey Farm), 1 Marsh Harrier (immature), 1 Green Sandpiper (flushed by the Marsh Harrier from the ditches by Fairfield Church).

28th February

Maidstone, 16:00
26 Waxwings (in tree by entrance to Park Wood Trading Estate, Sutton Road).

2nd March

Ashford, 13:10
11 Waxwings (flew over Godinton Park towards Singleton) - cleaning the car does have its birding benefits.

Conningbrook GP, 17:00 to 18:00
4 Mute Swans, c20 Wigeon, 4 Teal, 3 Pintail (incl 1 drake), 2 Shoveler, 15 Pochard, 1 Scaup (female with Tufted Ducks and Pochard - 2nd record for us here - this bird had relocated to Eastwell Lake on the 4th March.), 6 Little Egrets (roosting on middle lake), 1 Grey Heron, 4 Kestrels, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, c60 Fieldfare (roosting), 1 Chiffchaff.

3rd March

Seaton Gravel Pits, 10:00 to 12:00
5 Pintails (incl 3 drakes on main lake), 2 Goldeneyes (a pair on the smaller lake viewed from footpath), 2 Goosanders (a pair on the main lake), 1 Little Grebe, 3 Great Crested Grebes,
1 Slavonian Grebe (on main lake but no sign of Black-necked Grebe), 1 Bittern (flushed along the Little Stour), 2 Marsh Harriers, 5 Common Buzzards, 1 Kestrel (male), 1 Mediterranean Gull (adult in advanced summer plumage moult with Herring, Black-headed and Common Gulls), 1 Ring-necked Parakeet, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers (drumming), 4 Grey Wagtails (2 by the car parking area, 1 along Little Stour between the pits & 1 in Wickhambreux on the bridge by the mill), 2 Long-tailed Tits.

Chilham, 13:00
1 Kingfisher (Pickleden Lane - bridge over the River Stour) - a nice find by Angela.

5th March

Bethersden, 16:00
1 Barn Owl (hunting by Odiam Farm, Bethersden Road) - a pleasant sight on my way home today.