Thursday, 31 December 2009

December 31st (New Hythe)

Cloudy,cold northeast.My last walk around the lakes of 2009 was very quite,which just about sums up the winter period so far.The only thing of note was a flock of 40 Goldfinch in the Brookland car park at the end of my walk.
Phil was on his way around,it will be interesting to see what he finds.

Happy New Year to all readers.

December 31st 1981.not as cold as last few days,some snow about.
Abbey Mead - 550 Pochard,81 Shelduck,3 Mute Swan,1 Scaup (drake) 2 G C Grebes,180 Coot,10 Goosander,1 Wigeon, 1 male and 1 ringtail Hen Harrier in area.

Brookland lake - 1 Red-throated Diver.

Burham marsh - 300 Teal,100 Lapwing,Green Sandpiper,100 Snipe,4 Linnet,1 Lesser Redpoll.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

December 29th (BACK TO LEYSDOWN)

On Christmas day Jeanette and I usually find time for a ride out to Sheppey.This year However Jeanette has had a very bad cold over the holiday and today was the first time she had felt like getting out of the house.Going for a walk was out of the question due to the fact it was raining,so it was back to Leysdown.Only today,unlike yesterday,the whole time was spent in the car.In between finishing off the Christmas snacks,I did however find the time to fire of a few shots.

Although I have been to Leysdown many times over the years,this is the first time I have had such close views of knot on the beach there and they are present in good numbers.

Monday, 28 December 2009

December 28th,(Leysdown/shellness)

When I left home I had intended to bird watch at Elmley,but as I drove out to the farm along the track very few birds were to be seen (the pools were iced over).So I only carried on as far as the farm,saw a group of Wigeon in the field just behind the toilet block,fired off a few shots and headed off for Leysdown and waders,I think I made the right choice.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

December 25th (Garden)

I had my small 20ft net up in the garden for a while during the morning and although I only caught one bird it was well worth the effort.The bird was a female Reed Bunting with a nice history. Ringed (Rookery estate Snodland) 20-02-09
retrapped (New Hythe) 1km SE 31-03-09
retrapped (Rookery estate) 25-12-09

Many Reed Buntings now move into gardens during hard weather in search of food.Being only a short flight this above bird will probably fly back to the marsh to roost.

Halling (Common) December 23rd.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Weather,snow still about,by the afternoon milder,with rain,river on the way to high tide.
I had a walk on Halling Common this afternoon but due to the rain which started just as I arrived the visit was a lot shorter than I had wished.Birds noted - Fieldfare 4,Blackbird 2,Song Thrush 1,Meadow Pipit 15,Snipe 10+,Redshank 15+,Lapwing 24,Little Grebe 1,G C Grebe 1,Canada Goose 49,Grey lag 15 and Curlew 3.A Mistle Thrush was seen just over the first stile,this is I believe a first for me on the Common.

I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and all the Best for the Near Year.

Monday, 21 December 2009

December 21st (Holborough marsh)

I just had time this morning for a very quick walk,so I chose Holborough and I`m very pleased I did.Seeing the Bearded Tits was great,they are not as common in the area now as formerly.

river (low tide)8:am-9:am birds noted - Teal 22,Mallard 11,Cormorant 3,Lapwing 18,Snipe 6,Little Grebe 1,B h Gull 30+,Common Gull 2,Moorhen 6,Heron 2,Redshank 6,Reed Bunting 10+,Meadow Pipit 6,L t Tit 8,Great Tit 2,Blue Tit 4 and Bearded Tit 8.

New Hythe,December 21st,1981..Weather,snow,later thawed.
Birds noted - Pochard 424,Tufted Duck 250,Shelduck 21,Teal 100,Goldfinch 1,Yellowhammer 4.I didn`t count the Pochard at Leybourne.

December 19th.(Garden)

Surprisingly very few birds have been visiting the garden during this cold spell,pehaps its because more people feed them now and they have a much better choice of food.However the first Reed Buntings of the winter turned up on the 19th,a pair and they were both present again on the 21st.

Friday, 18 December 2009

New Hythe December 18th.

The snow which was forecast duly arrived overnight,some four to six inches.I gave the roads time to clear a bit and ventured down to the lakes about mid-day for a quick visit.By that time a thaw had set in but it was very short lasting once a light cloud covering arrived.I parked by the water treatment entrance and made my way across to Abbey Mead lake.Looking over the lakes I past on the way not much had changed.However on arrival at Abbey Mead I was surprised to see 30+ Teal there,I have seen Teal on the lake before but I believe 30 is probably the most I have seen there.Wigeon were also back,2 drakes and 1 duck and Pochard now numbered 25 (18 on the 16th).On my way round the lake I could hear Bullfinch calling,possibly 6+ birds and over the mound at Brookland lake 2 Sparrowhawk circled.The sunken marsh held small numbers of Feldfare,Redwing and 3 Lesser Redpoll.More snow is forecast so it will be interesting to see what turns up over the weekend.

On my visit to Abbey Mead I saw only one set of foot prints and at the time I thought they quite possibly belonged to Phil.I have just looked at his Blog so now I know for sure.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

New Hythe,December,11th,12th,13th,15th,16th.

A visit during the morning in the heavy frost of the 16th,produced nothing new.All I noted was a small increase in the numbers of Pochard,good numbers of Teal on the river (at least 50) and I reconnected with the small Lesser Redpoll flock,which were now feeding in the Alders by the Streamside lake.

When I got back to my car Phil Sharp was starting his walk around the lakes,it will be nice to read his Blog and find out what I missed.

Hopefully the snow which has been forecast will bring in some cold weather wildfowl.

During the morning after I had got back from my walk a pair of Great Tits were seen in my Garden.This is the first sighting in the garden since a pair had a nest in one of our boxes during the summer.This species along with Greenfinch and Song Thrush are all now very scarce visitors.

On the 15th seeing as it was nice and still,I went to see if I could connect with the Bittern on the Streamside lake (1500-1630).Shortly after I arrived a Chiffchaff was seen working its way along the edge of some reeds and the Kingfisher flew across the lake to the far bank.Then not much else of note was seen until two Water Rails started to squeal and then appeared before shortly departing back into the reeds at about 1615.I waited for another ten minutes,by which time it was almost dark and was just about to go when the Bittern flew up from the reeds,flew a short distance and then dropped back down again.Not a very satisfactory view but at least I connected at long last (five visits since November.

Another quick visit on the 13th,saw 10 Lesser Redpoll feeding in the Alders on the north bank of the Little Tesco lake (first record this winter)

A quick visit on the 12th,produced 4 Rooks flying over towards the Burham area where they feed in the fields there.

December 11th (1300-1500) ringing in the east scrub.I would much have preferred to have ringed during the morning but at that time of the day it is becoming more and more difficult due to the big increase in dog walkers.Birds ringed Great Tit 1,Chaffinch 1 and Blackbird 1

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Dungeness,December 10th.

Last weekend my daughter had asked me what I wanted for a Christmas present.As it was a bird book and I had only seen it on sale at Dungeness it was a good excuse to go down,pick up the book and see some good birds.I saw two birds I had missed on my last visit,Raven and Black-necked Grebe.The Ravens were seen twice (2 birds) on the first occasion I was walking to the Denge marsh hide and they both flew over quite close heading towards the reserve centre and the second occasion was when I was walking back to my car from the Hanson hide.If these birds had not called I may well have overlooked them.The Black-necked Grebes were both performing well from the Denge marsh hide,although it would have been nice if they had been a little closer.On the way back to the centre two Stonechats were seen near the Christmas dell hide.I was hoping the Penduline Tits were still around but I think they must have moved on.

The Great White Egret was showing well and at onetime was joined by a Little Egret,it was nice to see the size comparison.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

New Hythe,December 5th.

Weather,mainly clear,calm and milder than of late 8:am-9:30am.
I first looked in on the Streamside lake on the slim chance that the Bittern might be showing,but it was not to be.However I was partly consoled by the only sighting of a Chiffchaff.As I walked through the west scrub a small mixed flock of Feildfare and Redwing flew off and a Kestral hovered overhead.The east scrub which is now very wet underfoot held 20+ Chaffinch,20 Goldfinch and a screaming Green Woodpecker which was being closely pursued by a male Sparrowhawk.Shortly after however the Sparrowhawk reappeared and was being mobbed by a Crow,so I assumed the Woodpecker had got away.Moving on to Abbey mead,Wigeon had reappeared (2 drakes and 3 ducks) after a absence of a few weeks and along the river 30+ Teal,1 Little Egret,1 Redshank and 3 Herons were seen.I also had a count of 9 Little Grebe,2 being on Abbey Mead,5 on Johnson`s lake and 2 on the wader scrape.

Seeing as it was Saturday and there was a good chance the gate to the trout lake would be open,I popped in to see the Goldeneye that has been present there for a while.I would agree that it is a drake going on the amount of white in the wings and along its flanks and is that the makings of a white mark by its bill (see photo).

December 6th,1982.Weather cold,mainly overcast,northeast.
Holborough marsh - trapped 13 Common Snipe and 1 Jack.Six Shelduck,1 Ruddy Shelduck,1 Ringtail harrier and 1 Short-eared Owl at Burham +150 Dunlin along the river.

During the 1970s and 1980s,Dunlin wintered along the river in good numbers (400+) but by the 1990s numbers began to fall.Short-eared Owls were also regular through the 1970s and 1980s,with up to 4 being present during the winter months.