Tuesday, 28 April 2009

New Hythe lakes,April 28th.

Mist first thing cleared by 9.00 am,then sunny and warm until the early afternoon when cloud and rain swept in.My morning was spent mainly counting and photographing the Nightingales.I found 4 singing over the east side of the railway line (1 on the edge of the sunken marsh) with 3 around the banks of Abbey Mead and in the Country Park I found 14 singing birds.

A Sedge Warbler was singing in the (sw corner) of Brookland lake and 4 Swallows were seen over Abbey Mead lake.Still no Turtle Doves,a Cuckoo was in the sunken marsh area.

I had a quick look in at Alders lake at 1630,to see if any Terns were about,I didn`t see any Terns but I did see my first Swifts (two) of the spring.Also one Nightingale was singing on the north bank of the (Little Lunsford lake) making 19 for the day.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Alders lake,Leybourne,April 27th.

Due to the fact it was raining and there was quite a strong southwesterly,I thought I would look in on the lake (no Terns were seen) but feeding over the lake were at least 100 Sand Martin and 50 of each House Martins and Swallows,the most I have recorded so far this spring.

April 26th.

I had one 40ft net up at New Hythe by 6.am(west scrub).Its getting very difficult to put up more nets now due to the increase in dog walkers,who let their dogs run riot all through the scrub areas.If this continues birds like Nightingales and other species that nest close to the ground will be pushed out.

The Country Park now holds the highest density of Nightingales in the area,some 14 pairs.Places such as the Reed Island Site and Eccles Old Factory area (which held some 30-40 odd pairs in the 1980s and 90s are becoming unsuitable (new housing at Eccles and the habitat on the Island Site is now very tall) it needs to be managed).

My one net was up until 9.am and up until that time I had caught no birds.However when I came to take it down I had one ringed Nightingale in the net.Iwas expecting it to be a retrap from previous years but in fact it proved to be a control,a bird that another ringer had ringed.Out of the 240 Nightingales I have handled in the area,this is my first control.It will be nice to know where and when it was ringed.I have sent the information off to the British Trust for Ornithology.

A paper on The Burham,Eccles and New Hythe Nightingales (Woodcock A.) can be found in the 1991 Kent Bird Report.

Its nice to see that a few pairs of Skylark are still holding on in the area.Jeanette and I took a walk past the Robin Hood pub(above Burham) during the afternoon of the 26th and saw and heard two birds in Dandelion filled fields there.Two birds were also singing in the cereal fields at the back of my estate,out towards Birling.

Also saw one Buzzard on the walk above Burham.

I was shocked when I made a short visit to Holborough marsh on the 26th,to see that about 80% of the reed-bed has been burnt.I would have thought it to have been vandalism,I cant see the County Trust taken such drastic measures,its the wrong time of year for a start.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

New Hythe,April 22nd.

Nice clear,warm day.Of note was my first Garden Warbler of the spring.It was seen in the bushes which run along the edge of the water treatment works (Brookland),it flew off in the direction of the sunken marsh.Lesser Whitethroat now number five in the Abbey Mead lakes area.

Hirundines are still in very low numbers.

A short walk during the afternoon in the woods at Upper Halling,produced a calling Tawny Owl and Buzzard.

April 22nd 1971 weather, rain first thing,later calm and sunny.
Brookland lake 50 imm Herring Gulls,100 imm B H Gulls,1 1mm L B B Gull,1 ad Common Gull.

Abbey Mead lake 1 Swallow,1 Swift (first) 10 House Martin,3 pairs Mallard,1 Cuckoo,pair G C Grebes,1 Heron,1 Lapwing,a Sedge Warbler was singing on the railway bank.

Brook House area 4 Yellow Wagtail,1 Blue headed,2 Tufted Duck,linnets abundant.

April 21st,retrapped two more Nightingales (now 3) (all males) in the same bushes that they were trapped in and ringed during 2008.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Ashdown Forest (Old Lodge reserve) April 19th.

The expected warm sunny weather which was forecast earlier in the week never materialized, except pehaps after I had left for home.When I arrived at 8.00 am. it was overcast and cold,with a northerly wind.It did clear about 11.30,but remained windy.All the specialities were seen (bird species) 4 Redstart,4 Woodlark,6 Stonechat,2 Crossbill,2 Tree Pipit and 2 Dartford Warblers,1 migrant Ring Ouzel was also seen.

A Deer was seen,I believe a Roe and only one Butterfly,a Peacock.

Thursday, 16 April 2009


During April of this year Terry Laws and Jerry Warne,had four adult Med Gulls on the river at New Hythe.One of the birds had a white colour ring and amazingly they managed to read it.The bird was ringed in Holland during 2005,seen in France,Belgium and Yorkshire during 2006 and here on the Medway during April 2009.

Both Terry and Jerry will have the full details (dates etc,pulli or adult when ringed)

Terry had a Cuckoo today (April 16th) at New Hythe, over by the river.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

New Hythe lakes,April 15th.


After overnight rain the morning dawned overcast but dry,slowly clearing,with a light northerly,warm.

Birds of note during a morning walk were Lesser Whitethroat 2,one being seen of the north bank of Abbey Meads and the other on the south bank.Two more Nightingale were also new in,both birds were in the Brook House area.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

New Hythe lakes (east scrub) April 14th.

Ringing in east scrub from 7am-10pm,it was overcast and calm,ideal for ringing,I had one 40ft and one 30ft net up.Birds ringed were Chiff 2,Chaffinch 1,Nightingale 1,Song thrush 1,Blackcap 2 (males) and Blue Tit 1.

I also had 2 retrap Blue Tits(ringed on the 20 01 2009) 1 Whitethroat ringed as a juvenile in the east scrub on the 28 08 2008 (photo) note the dull eye,full adults have a bright reddish brown or orange eye and 1 Nightingale(male) trapped in the same bushes that it was ringed in on the 16 o4 2008,the bird was a 1st summer male in 2008 and is now a full adult (note the clean plumage),1st summer birds have rather worn plumage during the spring until their first full moult later in the season.

While I was there 4 singing nightingales were in the east scrub,with 3 in the west scrub.One was also heard on the north bank of the wader scrape area.

Ringing in Great Britain and Northern Ireland is controlled by the British Trust For Ornithology and permits issued under the WILDLIFE AND COUNTRYSIDE ACT 1981 as amended by the ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT 1990 and the WILDLIFE (NORTHERN IRELAND) ORDER 1985.

Ringers have to undergo many years of training before they can ring on their own.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

New Hythe lakes,April 12th.

I was out and about between 8am-930am,the weather was overcast,calm and dry.My usual walk took me from the Brookland car park(where a pair of Linnet were seen just the other side of the bridge) round Abbey Mead (east bank) over the rail,through the east and west scrub and back down the mill stream path.Birds seen or heard were Canada Geese,Greylags, Blackbird 4,Song Thrush 4, Starling 4,Jay 2, Wren 6,Cetti`s 6 east of the rail,with 3 in the country park,Magpie 3,Crow 6,Cormorant 2,Teal 4 (river) Tufted Ducks,Moorhens,Little Grebe 2 (Abbey Mead lake),G C Grebes,Mallard 12,Mute Swans (nest Brookland lake and on the wader scrape) Robins,Dunnocks,Great Tits,Blue Tits,L T Tits,Woodpigeon 10,Green Woodpecker 2, G S Woodpecker 2,Collared Doves,Chaffinches,Bullfinch 2 (river Hawthorns),Chiffs 6,Willow Warblers 4,Greenfinch 8,Pheasant 1,Coots,Herons,B H Gulls,Herring Gulls,L B B Gulls,Grey Wagtail 1 (river area) Swallow 1,Sparrowhawk male and female,Goldfinch 1 (mill stream) Reed Warbler 5,Sedge Warbler 1 (first this spring,edge of sunken marsh) Whitethroat 2 (east and west scrub area) and Nightingales 6 (3 in the west scrub and 3 in the east scrub).

April 14th,1970,calm,clear and mild.

Brookland lake.Birds noted 4 Yellow Wagtail (first this spring) 5 Pied,2 White,2 Meadow Pipit,1 Water Pipit,1 Redshank,1 Green Sandpiper,1 Little Grebe,1 drake Goldeneye,9 Mute Swan,1 Ringed Plover and 9 L R Plover (the most I have seen together).

Abbey Mead lake. 5 G C Grebe,1 drake Goldeneye and 1 Common Sandpiper.

Johnsons lake. 17 Tufted Duck,1 Brit,1 Scan L B B Gull,10 imm Herring Gull and 20 Sand Martin.

Castle lake. Canada Goose (nest) G C Grebe (nest) 2 Treecreeper,2 Bullfinch,12 Lesser Redpoll,4 Chiffs,1 Goldcrest,1 Redwing and 1 drake Teal.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

New Hythe lakes,April 9th.

0800-1000,a very light drizzel was falling during the whole walk.There had clearly been an overnight arrival of migrants.A Reed Warbler was singing in the reeds bordering the Medway and 2 Nightingale were in the Abbey Mead lake area,with 2 more in the east scrub,where 1 Whitethroat was also heard and 2 Meadow Pipits seen. In total 10 Blackcap were heard,7 being in the Abbey Mead area,with the other 3 in the country park,along with 4 Willow Warbler.When I got back to the Brookland car park 1 House Martin flew over.

I popped back during the afternoon and heard another Reed Warbler in the reed bed at the southern end of the Mill stream lake.

Sykes`s Wagtail M f beema (Abbey Mead lake).Single cock birds were seen on April 13th 1979,from the 19th-20th 1982 and again on May 30th.

Upper Halling,April 8th.

During the afternoon I waked along the North Downs Way towards Cuxton,it was sunny and warm.Birds of note were Buzzard 1,G Woodpecker 2,Nuthatch 3,Blackcap 4 and best of all one calling L S Woodpecker,the first I have seen or heard in many years.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Chilterns (Red Kite,country) April 5th.

My now annual trip to the Chilterns to see the Red Kites saw me leaving home at 0645 and arriving at Watlington in the Chilterns at 0800.The weather was fine and sunny at first but by the early afternoon the cloud rolled in and the light for photography became rather poor.

Upward of one hundred Kites were seen,with four Buzzards and one Sparrowhawk.No Kestrals,I`ve a feeling numbers of this species have been falling in recent years,especially in our area.Only one Butterfly was seen a Clouded Yellow and one Swallow.

This trip makes a good day out for all the family,it can be cold so choose a nice clear sunny day if at all possible.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

April 1st-4th.

The only highlight during this period to my knowledge was a Osprey seen by Roger Parker that flew through the lakes area (New Hythe) on the 1st.

Still no Willow Warblers,Portland had a fall of 250 on March 31st.