Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Burham marsh,24th February.

1330-1530,weather cloudy but mild with very little wind.Went over to Burham to look at the marsh.A few days before I had looked across the river from Holborough and seen sheep in the marsh there (big meadow),where before there had always been cattle.I thought the marsh must have become dryer than when I had known it in the 1980s and 90s.I`m pleased to report it looked much the same with all the water flashes in much the same areas and just as big.Only thing was there were fewer birds about for this time of the year:Shelduck 12,Teal 50,Mallard 2,Gadwall 5,Moorhen 10,Heron 2,Crow 12,Jackdaw 6 and Magpie 4.I had also gone to see if I could find any Bearded Tits but sorry to say none were seen or heard but this has become the norm over the past ten years or more.I did however hear 2 Water rail,1 Wren and 1 Cetti`s calling from deep in the reed-bed.I was pleased to see at least 10 Reed Buntings a bird which is now very scarce in the lakes area.Other birds recorded were:lapwing 35,1 Redshank,1 Cormorant,2 Jays,Great and Blue Tits,Goldfinch 6 ,Chaffinch 10,Greenfinch15,Blackbird 2,Robin 1,Woodpigeon 250,Starling 6,Herring Gulls,1 adult Med Gulls,which flew over towards Holborough with a flock of B H Gulls and 2 Linnet a bird which is hard to find now.

February 23rd,1986,snow fell during the morning.In the afternoon I went to Burham to put up new KTNC signs around the reserve.Seeing there was a good number of birds present,both in the marsh and of the river, I made a count after I had finnished with the signs:Teal 1050 in the marsh (big meadow) with a further 450 on the river,Shelduck 84 in the marsh,along with 3 drake Wigeon,35 Mallard,25 Moorhen,12 Redshank,60 Snipe and 4 Heron.On the river:Pochard 350,Tufted Duck 260,1 drake R C Pochard,1 drake and 2 red-head Smew,1 drake Ruddy duck,1 Goosander and 30 coot.Seeing this many wildfowl on the river is unusual but it also accurred in the winter of 1982,all the lakes in the area had frozen over.The Teal count was a all time high.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Holborough marsh,22nd February

Walked around Holborough marsh from 0830-10.It was a rather cloudy morning and the sun never quite managed to break through.Walking under the bridge and down the central path a Green Woodpecker called and a Great spot drummed.Birds seen along this section were: Wren,Chaffinch,Robin,Dunnock,Great tits,Blue tits and Magpie.Out in the northern meadow,which is holding quite a bit of surface water,I could see,2 Gadwall,2 Mallard,30 Teal,1 Snipe,4 female Pheasant and 10 Woodpigeon.Along the river 4 Redshank,4 Shelduck and 2 Mallard were feeding and a Cormorant flew down.Two Cetti`s Warbler called from the Hawthorns along the dyke and as I neared the main reed-bed I could hear two Reed Buntings singing way out in the middle,15 Greylags flew over toward Burham and 30 Lapwing passed NE.In the large area of Hawthorn scrub Icould see a few Redwing along with 2 Blackbirds.In the southern meadow which is holding less visible surface water a few Moorhen and 1 Meadow pipit were present.Standing on the concrete 2nd world war bunker and looking out towards Burham marsh, I was surprised to see sheep grazzing in the large meadow there,in all the years I have known the meadow it has always held cattle. It must have dried out a fair bit in the last few years.Other bird species seen on the walk were:Herring gulls,B h gulls,Crow 8 (Jackdaw 4,Burham) Starling 10,Collared dove 6 and 1 calling Water rail.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Sheppey,February 18th.

Wednesday 18th,up to Sheppey for a bit of photography but as I went over Boxley hill through the low cloud and mist,I must amit I felt like turning back.However as I neared the bridge the light was improving.Out along the Elmley track birds were rather distant and out of reach,but I did find a very close and obliging Little egret and managed to fire off a few shots before the light went again.I stayed arround for a while one female Marsh Harrier was seen in the distance with clouds of Wigeon.Then on to Capel fleet,on the way just past the prison turn off I glimpsed a Green Woodpecker on the bank at the side of the road.A quick U turn,and I pulled up alongside and managed a few shots.By the time I reached Capel fleet the light had gone and as very few birds were to be seen I headed home.At home had one net up all afternoon and trapped one bird,but it was a nice male Reed bunting.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Milder today but mainly cloudy.0830-1100,NewHythe.One 40ft net up,only birds ringed,1 Great tit,1 Dunnock and 1 Goldcrest.Walked over to the Bittern lake and found one bird again preening (photo) but I still cant work out how to publish them,so I think no photo.Two Cetti`s were heard and in the west scrub 2 Song thrush were in song and 1 Redwing was seen.

Garden,Male female Reed buntings again and 1 Woodpigeon along with the usual House sparrows 20+,Starlings,1 Robin 1 Dunnock and 2+ Blue tits.Still no Greenfinch and Song thrush (very scarce over last five years at least).Nice male Sparrowhawk seen on the roof of the house opposite.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Milder today with quite a bit of sun.A Buzzard came high over the garden at 1130,it was being mobbed by a B H Gull,it made its way east.Male and female Reed Buntings in the garden again.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Sitting in the conservatory with the wife this morning(Jeanette) she pointed out a small bird feeding in a small Yew tree in one of our tubs,it turned out to be a nice male Goldcrest,only one foot away.Other birds in the garden included a male Blackcap (ringed on the 7th) and a nice male Reed Bunting.Called into New Hythe between 0900-1000,saw the Bittern again in the usual place about six feet into the reeds and half way up the stems (preening),also seen on the 8th at 1430 (preening).A Little Egret flew over the west scrub towards Johnson`s lake and three Heron were present along the mill stream.Back again at 1330,no Bittern but 2 Buzzards were watched over the Downs across at Burham (displaying).

February 11th 1968,Johnson`s lake,1400.A bird which I first thought was a Robin feeding on one of the small islands in the lake,turned out to be a 1st winter female Bluethroat.It was last seen in the same area on March 4th (second wintering record for Kent).

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

East Malling and Waxwings.

Nice day,clear and sunny,but below freezing first thing.Between o900-1030 saw me at East Malling (orchard behind the church).One Waxwing seen immediately on the top branch of the tallest tree,4 more located feeding on fallen apples.About ten minutes later a flock of between 15-20 birds flew off in the direction of the railway.I then walked along the path and over the railway in the hope of connecting with them again,but no luck.I did however see a Goldcrest in one of the conifer trees along the path.On my return 2-4 were then present on and off.Other birds present were,1 Green Woodpecker,50+Fieldfare,with smaller numbers of Redwing,Blackbirds and Brambling (one of which was in breeding dress).

I saw my first Waxwings at East Malling (Rocks road) during the winter of 1964/65,up to 12 were present in the area from December 25th,into February.They were seen to feed on Hawthorn berries,Crab apples,Poplar buds and Rose hips.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Nice sunny day,but remaining cold.Male and female (unringed ) Blackcaps in garden,also the female Reed Bunting again.Caught up with a Bittern in the usual place at New Hythe,sitting half way up the reeds preening,Kingfisher,several Goldcrests also seen (1630).Male and female Goldeneye on Teco lake,probably the same birds that were present on the Trout lake last week.

Monday, 2 February 2009

First heavy snow for almost twenty years.Male (unringed) Blackcap was back in the garden,along with the Mistle thrush and Wood pigeon.

February 2nd 1963,morning cold,little wind,afternoon snowed.Lunsford lane stream,1 Water Rail.Holborough (river) 1 Rook over,4 Skylark,2Lapwing,1Water Rail,1 Coot,19 Teal,5 Mallard,6 Shelduck and 20 Dunlin present.

February 2nd 1969,clear, but cold and windy.A Hooded Crow was seen flying over Leybourne towards Birling during the afternoon.