Thursday, 25 February 2010

February 25th (New Hythe)

A very short visit this afternoon to see if the Bittern was showing on the streamside lake resulted in no Bittern but I didn`t mind because I was more than compensated by some great action flying by two Sparrowhawks,both over and through the west scrub.I at first took them to be a pair but they appear to be two males (they look the same size) their underparts are bright and both look to have greyish heads.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

February 24th (Cuxton,river and pools)

12.30-13.30 The rain which had been falling for most of the morning stopped about mid-day,so I made a dash for the river and pools at Cuxton.The river which was at low tide held at least 5o Redshank,3 Oystercatchers,2 Shelduck,2 Mallard,100 B h Gulls,4 Common Gulls and 1 Lapwing but still no Dunlin.On the pools which were rather quite bird noted were - 7 Teal,4 Mallard,4 B h Gulls,2 Little Grebe,1 Kinfisher,1 Green Woodpecker and the Greenshank.I look forward to the spring to see what might turn up here.Before I went home I called in at Halling Common.

February 24th (Halling,Common)

1400-15.30 It was quite pleasant walking on the Common this afternoon,the cold winds of late had been replaced by a milder southerly,although it was very wet underfoot from all the rain we have been having.No Pipits were seen today and Redshank numbers were down to around 30 birds.Linnets numbered 15 and Magpie 25.Other birds noted were - good numbers of Common Gull at least 50,3 Canada Geese,1 Greylag,50 Lapwing,7 Mallard,1 drake Teal,2 Coot, and 4 Fieldfare.One of the meadows is holding some nice water flashes and had attracted 3 Shelduck and 1 Little Egret.
Towards the evening I looked in on Allders lake,9 G C Grebes were of note.On the smaller Trout lake nearby the 2 Goldeneye were still present.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

February 20th (New Hythe)

A walk around the lakes produced little of note this morning apart from seeing Steve,he at least had found a good bird for New Hythe a Linnet,which he saw in the small marsh by the Brookland car-park.Other birds seen or heard were 9 Little Grebe on Abbey Mead,at least 2 Redshank along the river,a Sparrowhawk which flew over the sunken marsh and a calling Cetti`s Warbler on the edge of the streamside lake,at least 6 Song Thrush were either seen or heard.

February 20th (Garden)

I have now ringed 22 Reed Buntings in the garden since the beginning of the year,3 were caught on Thursday and 2 this morning,along with 2 Starlings.

Male Starlings have a uniformly dark brown Iris and a bluish-grey base to the lower mandible the latter often develops from February onwards.Females have a dark or medium brown Iris with a narrow white or yellowish inner or outermost circle,base of lower mandible being pinkish-white,often from February.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

February 17th.(New Hythe)

One adult Med Gull was seen along the river with 30+ B h Gulls and 2 adult G B b Gulls during the morning at low tide,looking from the small wood.

Monday, 15 February 2010

February 15th (New Hythe)

It was nice and clear this morning with quite a hard frost,which made a nice change from the weather of late.Along the river Shelduck numbered 4,along with 50+ Teal,2 Lapwing,4 Gadwall,6 Mallard,4 Coot,1 L B B Gull and 1 Snipe.Walking past the Heronry I counted 32 birds perched mainly on the very top branches of the Oaks which made a wonderful sight and this time they all stayed put.Abbey Mead held most of the diving duck (Brookland was all mainly frozen over) Pochard 22,Tufted Duck 51 and 1 brown head Goldeneye.Walking past the east scrub small numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing were feeding on the disturbed ground from yesterday and a Green Woodpecker called.The mill stream path back to the car-park was rather quite although two Great Spots were dashing through the trees,coming quite close at times.Hopefully in a few weeks things will start to change with the first spring Chiffs and possibly a Wheatear in the east scrub area.

February 14th (Garden update)

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Three more Reed Buntings were ringed today now making 17 since the beginning of the New Year.I also had one retrap which was first caught on the 1st Feb (w.t.17.8g) now with a weight of (19.3g.Also had another visit from the Song Thrush,I have noticed quite a few in song in the area so perhaps things are on the up for the species.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

February 11th (New Hythe)

Little of note around the lakes today in the way of birds,I was hoping the cold weather might have brought something new in.
The east scrub was taken a battering today in the name of conservation.Many of the bramble patches have been cleared where last year good numbers of Whitethroat were recorded and worse of all a Nightingale territory which has been used for at least the past eight years by the pylon has been reduced to ground level,I was told this clearing will be every three years,this hardly gives it time to recover.All I can see that this will achieve is to open up the area (like what has happened in the west scrub) and encourage more and more people and dogs to roam all over the area,pushing out wildlife,it makes my blood boil.When the park was first established reports and maps with Nightingale territories and other important areas were handed over,do they not look at this information before work begins,two years ago two Nightingale territories in the west scrub were destroyed when paths were cut through them.Cutting lots of paths through small areas erodes the habitat destroying nesting and feeding areas and encourages more people off of the main footpaths.

If anyone with influence in the park who reads the above and cares for the Parks Nightingales, we need a conservation plan drawn up before their habitat is eroded to such an extent that none remain.

The first thing that I would do as soon as possible (before it becomes another well trodden path) is put up a fence across where the Bramble was cut (on the southeastern edge of the pylon) to allow it and the breeding habitat beyond recover over the next few years (pylon Nightingales)

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Blackcap (recoveries)

My latest Blackcap recovery came from the BTO a few days ago.

T677258 was ringed as a juvenile bird at Leybourne Country Park on 16th June 09 and controlled at Icklesham,Sussex 49km,SW,63 days later on 18th Aug 09.

I have ten more Blackcap recoveries as follows.

V126668 was ringed at Icklesham Sussex as a first year male on 15th Sept 07 and controlled at Leybourne Country Park,49km,NE,4 days later on 19th Sept 07.

A430670 was ringed at Lower Halstow,Kent,as a first year female on 5th Sept 79 and controlled at Eccles (Reed island Site),Kent,17km,SW,as a breeding bird on 21st June 80,290 later.

A683267 was ringed at Hamble,Hampshire as a (2) female, fully grown but year of hatching unknown on 25th Aug 80 and controlled as a breeding female at Eccles (Reed island Site) Kent,132km,NE,on 30th,May 80,278 days later.

C745015 was ringed at Chew valley lake,Avon as a first year male on 6th July 86 and controlled at Minster,Isle Sheppey,Kent,238km,E,on 21st Sept 86,77 days later.

E925716 was ringed at Brandon marsh,Warickshire,as a adult male on 16th,July 88 and controlled at Minster,isles Sheppey,Kent,187km,SE,on 15th Sept,88,61 days later.

HP99895 was ringed at Gillingham,Kent,as a juvenile on 27 July,91 and controlled at Sevenoaks,wildfowl reserve,Kent,31km,SW,on 1st Sept,91,36 days later.

N124308 was ringed at Grain,Power Station,Kent as a 2nd year male on 22nd April 98 and controlled at Leysdown (Coastal Park) Kent,15km,SE,on 23rd April 98,one day later.

C894260 was ringed at Minster,isles Sheppey,Kent as a first year female on 13th Sept 86 and found dead at SDR Hauervig,Hvide,Sand,Jylland,Denmark (road casualty),694km,NE on 06 May 87,235 days later.

B725009 was ringed at Kroonspolders,Vlieland,Netherlands as a first year female on 30th,Sept 88 and controlled at Minster,isles Sheppey,Kent,348km,SW,on 4th Oct,88,4 days later.

C894326 was ringed at Minster,isles Sheppey,Kent as a first year female on 5th Oct 86 and found dead at Chellif,Oran,Algeria,1710km,S on 20th March 87,166 days later.

Ringing has shown that the vast majority of British breeding Blackcaps winter in southern Iberia and northwest Africa.It is possible that small numbers may winter just south of the Sahara in Senegal.Birds that winter in Britain come from a population breeding in western-central Europe.
Ringing has also shown that spring and autumn migrants in Britain and Ireland include birds originating in Scandinavia and west central Europe.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Febuary 9th (Halling Common)

12.30 -1.30pm - river on the way down,overcast to start,later clearing,cold.
birds noted - Curlew 1,Little Egret 1,Snipe 4,Redshank 20+,Lapwing 50,Shelduck 3,Canada goose 3,Mistle Thrush 1 and Bullfinch 4,the latter were seen in the Hawthorns just over the first stile.The Common Seal was also seen making its way down river towards Cuxton.

February 9th (Cuxton,pools and river) birds noted - river - Oystercatcher 1,Redhank 40+,Lapwing 6,Mallard 4 and Black-tailed Godwit 6.

pools, birds noted -Lapwing 100,Greenshank 1,Redshank5,Little Egret 1,Little Grebe 6,Teal 20,Mallard 3,Shelduck 3,Mallard 5,Kingfisher 1,Reed Bunting 4 and Goldfinch 20.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

February 7th (garden)

Twelve Reed Buntings have now been ringed in the garden since the beginning of the year,4 were seen today without rings,that makes at least 16 individuals that have come into the garden so far this year,they are attacted to the Cockatiel mix that I put on the lawn and feeders.

Friday, 5 February 2010

February 5th (New Hythe)

Overcast to start,later quite warm in the sun,southwest.
Two Shelduck were still present along the river with a third bird on Brookland.To see Shelduck on this lake is very unusual.If my memory serves me right the last time I had them on there was over forty years ago when a pair was seen with very small young,the red-head Goldeneye was still present.On walking past the sunken marsh a Cetti`s called,at least 4 Bullfinch were in the Hawthorns and a Kestral was perched on the pylon.The Wigeon on Abbey Mead had increased to 3 birds and at least 6 Little Grebe were present but very little else in the way of wildfowl,apart from a few Tufted.walking along the river path past the Heronry they all got up again,at least 25 birds,this also happened with Phil Sharpe a few days ago. Why they should be so nervous I don`t know unless it was because marsh cowboys had been shooting in the area up until quite recently.I then met Terry Laws,he was all excited because he had seen a New Hythe first for him a `Coal Tit`well they are very hard to come across in the lakes area,the only other recent record I know of,if you can call it recent,was in 1985,when Roger Parker saw 2 at Abbey Mead.Terry found the bird and a few Redpoll at the motorway lake.He had also seen the pair of Goldeneye on the Little lunsford lake and the red-head Smew on Alders.Before I went home I popped around there,I saw the Goldeneye and Redpolls but not the Coal Tit or Smew.Perhaps the Smew was out of view behind one of the islands and as for the Coal Tit it could have been anywhere,there are lots of mature gardens in that area.

They say it might take a while to attract the birds `Nyjer seed`well it took four months.I finally had my first bird on the feeder today a Goldfinch,which was later joined by a second bird.Now they know its there,what next,Siskins.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

February 3rd (New Hythe)

overcast,calm and quite of note - pair of Wigeon on Abbey Mead,2 Shelduck along the river,Little Egret seen along the mill stream,Green Sandpiper on the scrape and small numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing along with 1 Mistle Thrush and 1 Green Woodpecker feeding on the short turf areas of the east scrub which are now very soft.

The mild weather induced a Blackcap to sing this morning in the garden and a Song Thrush made a very fleeting visit.The last of which is now a very scarce visitor.

January 2nd,1985.
Brookland lake - Pochard 180,Tufted Duck 160,Coot 120,Green Sandpiper,one flew over.
Abbey Mead - Coot 35,Tufted Duck 82,G C Grebe 1,Red-necked Grebe 1,Bittern 1,Wigeon 4 (partly iced over).
Railway lake - Coot 50,G C Grebe 2,Little Grebe 2,Tufted Duck 20,Slavonian Grebe 1.
Brook House - Shoveler 11,Gadwall 70,Pintail 3,Mallard 130.
Tesco Lake - Smew 6 (red heads) Pochard 320,Coot 90,Tufted Duck 50.
Millstream - Goldeneye (1 red-head).
Millstream lake - Corkscrew Willows - Short eared Owl seen again (roosting) and 1 Woodcock flushed.

Monday, 1 February 2010

February 1st (Halling Common)

A frosty start to the day,remaining mainly bright but cold my arrival the river was already partly covering the salt marsh and at its peak at 2.30pm was almost level with the top of the wall.Birds of note in the meadows were 72 Lapwing,16 Magpie,42 Linnet,6Fieldfare and 2 Green Woodpeckers.As I made my way along the wall to check on the wader roost which is at the far end of the Common I flushed 4 Snipe,2 Common Sandpiper,8 Redshank,2 Meadow Pipits and 2 Rock Pipits,the last of which I found very hard to get close to unlike the birds I have met with in coastal locations.I arrived at the wader roost just before it was completely covered by water where I found,40+ Redshank,6 Curlew and 6 Shelduck.On my way back a Kestral was seen hovering over the far bank at Wouldham and a lone Greylag flew along the river.

In the garden today the Reed Buntings now numbered 8 and another female Blackcap was seen,now making four individuals that have visited us so far this winter.