Wednesday, 31 March 2010

March 31st (New Hythe)

The Whooper Swan was present for a while this afternoon on Tesco lake until its almost constant calling attracted the attention of one of the resident Mute Swans.It was last seen going down on the streamside lake but not before it had passed right overhead.

All three Egyptian Geese are still present on the lake and on Alders lake 20+ Swallows and 30+ Sand Martin were seen.

Reed Buntings are still coming into the garden,seven are present today,five with rings and two without.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

March 30th (New Hythe)

During the afternoon I thought I would stand on the mound at Brookland lake and do a Skywatch,only thing was I only lasted it out for fifteen minutes,I always get the urge to move on.Anyway if I hadn`t I would not have seen the three Eyptian Geese on Tesco lake.So what did I see during my fifteen minute watch,1 Sparrowhawk,8 Swallows passing through and 2 Common Buzzards the last of which were over the Downs at Burham,not bad,in fact next time I may try it for a little bit longer.

I saw my first Egyptian Geese (2) at New Hythe during 1975,on May 16th and November 1st.

Monday, 29 March 2010

March 29th (New Hythe)

The early morning drizzle had stopped but it remained rather dull and overcast.
I parked at Brookland lake,walked across to the river,which was low,along the path,over the crossing,through the east and west scrub,then back down the millstream path.
As I walked under the bridge I could hear a Reed Bunting singing and a little further on the first of 6 Cetti`s Warblers,all of which were on this side of the railway.A look at the river produced 2 Canada Geese,1 Shelduck,4 Mallard,22 Teal,6 Cormorant,5 Coot,1 ad and 1 imm G B b Gull and 1 flyover Sandwich Tern,the latter of which was picked up by its call.Two Gadwall were seen on Abbey Mead and 6 Chiffchaffs and 1 Blackcap were either seen or heard in the area.The east scrub produced little of note apart from a flock of 6 Magpie and the hoped for song of a Willow Warbler from the west scrub never happened.On the walk back along the millstream 2 Kingfishers were seen,one of which flew along the stream and the other across the millstream lake.No Pochard were seen on this visit.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

March 28th

I was down at Castle lake first thing this morning but there was no sign of the Swift.I later walked around many of the other lakes with Bob Bland looking out for it until about 11am but we had no luck.I went back to Castle lake between 5pm-5.45pm,still no Swift but saw 10+ Swallows,20 Sand Martin and 1 Sparrowhawk.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

March 27th (Alpine Swift)

Steve Nunn had a text from Eddie Denson this afternoon saying that he was watching a Alpine Swift over his house at Castle lake Leybourne.Steve was there in ten minutes,sometime later it rained heavy and the bird moved off,see Steve`s Blog for photos (5.30pm).The bird may be around in the morning.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

March 24th (New Hythe)

A visit to the lakes this morning between 8am-930am was very pleasant in the mild and calm conditions.Birds noted,Chiffchaff 3 (singing),Bullfinch 4 (Hawthorns along river),Blackcap 1 (singing) on the edge of sunken marsh,Water Rail 2 (sunken marsh) Kestral 1,Cetti`s 6 (heard),Fieldfare 1 (east scrub) Redwing 6 (west scrub) and 1 Reed Bunting (west scrub).

March 24th (Holborough marsh)

This afternoon between 1pm-2pm I had a walk around Holborough marsh,most of the bird activity was in the northern meadow where the water levels are quite high.
Birds noted - Little Egret 1,Teal 10,Lapwing 1 and Mallard 4.
A look at the river produced 60+ B h Gulls,4 Common Gulls and 1 adult Med Gull.One Cetti`s Warbler and 2 Chiffchaffs were heard.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

March 23rd (Halling Common)

Weather,mainly overcast,cool,,river,some exposed mud.
Birds noted - Greylag 28,Canada Goose 4,Mallard 6,Shelduck 6,Lapwing 2,Little Egret 1,no Redshank seen,L B b Gull 2,Common Gull 2,B h Gull 45,Greenfinch (flock of 8) Linnet 1 over and 1 singing Chiffchaff.The Common seal was seen again.

This morning I trapped (BTO ringing) 2 Reed Buntings in the garden,now making 35 since the New Year,3 Goldfinch were on the Nyjer seen feeder and a Heron made a short visit.

Monday, 22 March 2010

March 22nd (Cuxton river and pools)

I had a look at the pools and river this afternoon between 1pm-2pm,it was mainly overcast with a strong southwesterly.
river - Shelduck had increased to 24 birds,surprisingly however no Redshank were seen either along the river or on the pools,B h Gull 40,Mallard 6.
pools - Teal 4,Mallard 4,Little Egret 1,L B b Gull 2, B h Gull 30,Shelduck 2,the Greenshank may have gone.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

March 21st

Rather cool and overcast first thing,northwest,milder and brighter during the afternoon.
I popped to Alders lake between and saw my first Sand Martins of the spring (20).Steve Nunn saw 3 on Tesco lake at midday yesterday.

A Buzzard was seen over the garden again during the afternoon (1430) and up to 4 Reed Buntings were in the garden.

Over the past week a few of the Redwing in the east scrub have been heard singing.

March 21st 1969 weather overcast,rather cold.
Brookland lake-birds noted - Shelduck 3,Tufted Duck 12,Goldeneye 8 (1 adult male),Dunlin 12,G C Grebe 2,Pied Wagtail 5,B h Gulls,Herring,L B b Gull (1),G B b Gull.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

March 19th (bits and Pieces)

Roger Parker had 3 Med Gulls on Tesco lake on Monday at about 1630,they came in with the other gulls for a wash and preen.

The female Blackcap was in my garden again today (19th) and the Whooper Swan was seen during the afternoon on the streamside lake (New Hythe),still no Sand Martins.

I retrapped a Blue Tit in the garden on the 16th that was ringed in the garden as an adult bird on the 4-2 08,so its nice to know its still going strong.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

March 17th (New Hythe)

Nice mild day again with the wind more in the sw,
The main interest was again centred on the river and the east scrub area,with 1Oystercatcher,2 Redshank and 7 Shelduck seen along the river and 60+ Fieldfare and 40+ Redwing in the east scrub.Over the past several visits Great Tits,Blue Tits and Long-tailed Tits have been very much in evidence,all three being quite numerous.


Bewick`s Swan 1 was seen on Abbey Mead on the 26th.
WILDFOWL Greylag 3 at Leybourne for most of the month.Shelduck 10 at New Hythe and up to 55 at Burham during the month.Pochard 60 at New Hythe at the beginning of the month,6 by the 28th.Teal 40 at Burham on the 2nd,18 on the 16th.Shoveler 2 at New Hythe on the 4th and 19th.Scaup 2 at New Hythe up until the 24th.Goosander 1 on the 20th.
WADERS Dunlin 100 along the river on the 15th,15 by the 31st.Lapwing 200 at Burham on the 1st,much reduced by the 15th.Ruff 2 at Burham on the 2nd,1 from the 30th-31st.Redshank 20 at Burham on the 8th,small numbers then until the end of the month.Ringed Plover 2 at New Hythe on the 13th,3 on the 18th and 1 on the 24th.Snipe up to 100 at Burham during the month,with 20 at New Hythe on the 31st.
THRUSHES Fieldfare 100 at Burham on the 8th,50 on the 29th.Redwing 100 at Burham on the 15th.
Bearded Tit small numbers at Burham all month.Wheatear 2 at New Hythe on the 30th,with 1 on the 31st.Stock Dove up to 50 at Burham during the month.L S Woodpecker 1 at New Hythe on the 31st.Corn Bunting up to 40 roosting at Burham during the month.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

March 16th (New Hythe)

Another nice day,warm in the sun,less wind,though still westerly
Along the river birds noted were - Common Sandpiper 1,Coot 7,Teal 36,Mallard 7 and Shelduck 2.Two Water Rail were heard,one being in the sunken marsh and the other in the NE corner of Abbey Mead.A count of occupied nests in the heronry totalled 26 (counted from the river bank on the New Hythe side).The east scrub continued to host the mixed thrush flock of which at least 60 were Fieldfare and 20 Redwing and in the west scrub 2 Reed Buntings were present.Duck numbers continue to fall and on my way around I only found 1 Gadwall,4 Shoveler and 20 Pochard.Still waiting for those first Sand Martins to arrive.

Another Buzzard or the same bird as yesterday was seen over the garden at 1130,this time though it was much higher and drifted off towards Paddlesworth.

Monday, 15 March 2010

March 15th (New Hythe)

Nice spring like day,west/northwest.I was hoping to see my first Sand Martins of the spring today but although I visited various lakes both during the morning and afternoon I didn`t have any luck.Instead I had to be content with my first singing Chiffchaff of the spring which was heard this morning within the sunken marsh and a sighting of a second bird in the Hawthorns along the river bank opposite Eccles island.If the wind swings round to the south over the next few days as forecast,who knows what may turn up by the end of the week.
Small numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing continue to be present in the east scrub area.

March 15th (Garden)

I was in the garden at midday photographing my first Comma of the spring,when I happened to glance up and see a Buzzard at no great height circling above me.It then slowly drifted off in a westerly direction pursued by a Herring Gull.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

March 14th (New Hythe)

The only birds of note during a short visit this morning to the river and Abbey Mead were 2 Wigeon on the lake.

Friday, 12 March 2010

March 12th (New Hythe)

Last night at the KOS meeting (birds of Spain) Terry Laws told me he had found a Whooper Swan on Abbey Mead lake during the morning,he had also seen a Peregrine and Little Egret in the area.I couldn`t get out until this afternoon but I quickly located the bird on the streamside lake and managed to get extremely close,so I would presume its the same bird that turned up in the area last year.

Although I didn`t see the Peregrine I did see the Little Egret flying over towards the scrape area and also noted that Coot numbers have fallen a lot over the past week or more along with Tufted Duck and Gadwall.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

March 10th (Cuxton,river and pools)

mainly overcast,bitterly cold northeast - 13-00-1400.river low - birds noted - Oystercatcher 2,Shelduck 12,Redshank 36,B H Gull 60,Common Gull 2 and Cormorant 3.
pools - since my last visit the water level is back to normal and the pools and dykes have regained their muddy edges - birds noted - L B B Gull 2,B H Gull 80,Herring Gull 4,Common Gull 2,Redshank 6,Mallard 6,Teal 4,Little Grebe 1 and the continued presence of the Greenshank.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

March 6th (Great Bustards and Red Kites)

You wish----No not New Hythe,Salisbury Plain,Wiltshire.Four of us,Bob Bland,Derrick Jackson,Simon Ginnaw and myself left Maidstone at for Enford on Salisbury Plain.After a stop for refreshments we arrived at about 10.15 for a two hour trip at 11.30 out to the Bustard release site on the Plain (organised by the Bustard Group).In all five Bustards were seen,one of the males,a three year old was seen displaying on occasions and all five were seen in flight.It was well worth the ten pound fee.We then cut across country to Watlington to see the Red Kites,a Harris Hawk was also seen over the village and in all about 50 Kites were seen along with at least 6 Buzzards and 1 Sparrowhawk, we arrived back in Maidstone at 5.30pm.
To see Great Bustards on Salisbury Plain was just great,I hope and prey the project is successful.

I saw my first ever Great Bustards during a bird watching holiday to Austria (lake Neusiedl) in April 1968 which ran from the 10th-22nd.On the 13th,we boarded a coach which drove us out to the Tadten Plain which runs right up to the Hungarian border.The Bustards,eight in total were first seen from the moving coach flying low across the plain.The coach stopped and we all piled out and watched as they crossed the track a few hundred metres ahead,if I close my eyes I can still see them now.Other notable birds seen that day were Imperial Eagle and a Greater Spotted,the last of which was seen soaring over the woods on the Hungarian side of the border.

The bird below is checking his flight and not about to land.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

March 3rd (Cuxton,pools)

1300-1400 Light overcast,cold easterly,river high,no exposed mud.pools -birds noted - Redshank 18,Little Egret 1,Common Sandpiper 1,Teal 15,Mallard 7, Shelduck 4,Pied Wagtail 2 and Grey Wagtail 1.Due to the recent heavy rain the pools were holding a lot more water than usual.

March 3rd (Garden)

I trapped one more Reed Bunting in the garden this morning,which now makes 30 since the beginning of the New Year.I hear that Sandwich Bay has also had its best winter on record for the number of this species ringed.If any of these birds are recovered it will be interesting to know from where they came from,perhaps more birds than usual came in from northern Europe.Many of my birds though are probably quite local,it will be interesting later when I visit the marshes to see how many have rings.
The Nyjer seed feeder in the garden attracted 5 Goldfinch on February 23rd and on the 25th a male Blackcap was seen.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

March 2nd (New Hythe) another very nice clear and calm day.Birds noted - a Shelduck and 4 Teal were seen on the river. A water Rail and a Cetti`s called from the sunken marsh.The brown-head Goldeneye was present again on Brookland,along with 8 Pochard and 20 Tufted Duck.Four Shoveler, 26 Tufted Duck and 8 Pochard were on Abbey Mead from where a second Cetti`s was heard,a third was calling along the western edge of Brookland.The east scrub held small numbers of both Chaffinch and Fieldfare and more unusually a pair of Mallard,the last of which were on a small water flash.Best of all however was another sighting of a Bittern.The bird appeared as I was climbing the mound at Brookland.It came over from the direction of Burham,flew across the lake and went down in the reeds along the western edge of the lake.I didn`t however have my camera out of its bag and by the time I was ready to shoot it was flying away from me,another good photo opportunity mist.I also forgot to put the camera onto auto tracking,so hence the out of focus shot.

Monday, 1 March 2010

March 1st (New Hythe)

14.00-15.00 a much better day than yesterday,clear and calm.After yesterdays rain and talk of flooding,I wanted to see just how high the Medway was.So I parked in the Brookland car-park and walked out to the river from there.As I neared the sunken marsh I could see a flock of B h Gulls flying around over it,so I guessed the river must have gone over the bank and flooded the marsh (which happens quite frequently) but this time the marsh resembled a lake rather than a marsh,very much higher than I had seen it before but apart from the gulls very little else was to be seen,although one Chiiffchaff was of note.I then walked down the bank in the northeast corner of Abbey Mead which was also higher than usual and just as I reached the bottom I flushed a Woodcock from the waters edge.I then moved a few more steps and had the fright of my life as a Bittern flew up from very close by,luckily I had my camera handy and managed to fire off a few shots as it flew away towards the southern end of the lake.