Tuesday, 21 December 2010

More snow fell during the night,but by the early morning a thaw had set in,overcast and still 9.am-11.am.
A much better morning,with much of the activity being centred on and around the Medway.Unlike yesterday more wildfowl were seen in the area.However it just goes to show how quickly things can change because when I walked back out to the river a little later with Terry Laws we only saw one redhead Goldeneye and a handful of Gadwall and Mallard.The other birds had either drifted further up the river on the rising tide or flown off.

This morning I walked out to the river passing Brookland lake on the way.Then I went round the Sunken marsh,passed Abbey Mead,over the railway,through the scrub areas and then back to the car park along the Millstream path.

Birds that I saw looking across the river from the small wood were - Great Crested Grebe (1) Little Grebe (8) Cormorant (2) Greylag (8) Gadwall (32) Wigeon (3) Goldeneye (1 drake 2 redheads) Teal (60) Mallard (20) Goosander (1) Tufted Duck (35) Heron (3) Lapwing (4) and Redshank (1).
It was while I was standing there that a flock of Grey Geese suddenly appeared from over Burham marsh,they were flying at no great height.At first I thought they were just Greylags,but then one or two called,I then suspected that they might be white fronted.My hearing is not as good now as it was in the past.Luckily I had my camera at hand at managed to fire off several shots.It wasn`t until I got back home that I realised they were indeed White fronts.It will be interesting to see later if any other birders picked them up as they crossed Kent.They headed off east in the direction of Maidstone,at least (60 birds).In past years when I have seen them passing over New Hythe they have either gone south or southwest.

Other birds I noted this morning were - Fieldfare (10) Redwing (100) Great Tit,Blue Tit,Long tailed Tit,Chaffinch,Goldfinch,Siskin (4) Blackbird,Song Thrush,Dunnock,Wren (6) Carrion Crow,Wood Pigeon (150) Magpie,Jay (3) Shoveler (6) Moorhen,Mute Swan,Canada Goose (19) Common Gull,Herring Gull,Black headed,Bullfinch (8) Chiffchaff (1) Starling10) Water Rail (3) Snipe (3) Great Spot (1) Sparrowhawk (1) Coot,Collared Dove,Mistle Thrush (1) and Reed Bunting (2).

I`ve just heard that on his walk around Terry saw the redhead Smew on a small patch of open water on Abbey Mead,he saw it fly in.

My passed records of White-fronts in the New Hythe area are as follows.Most of the records either refer to birds passing over south or southwest.Eighty on January 15th 1967,five on January 22nd 1970,a small flock at the beginning of 1976,one hundred on December 31st 1978,thirty on January 20th 1979,with eleven on January 8th and fourteen on February 17th 1985.One was present in the New Hythe/Burham area from April 14th-16th 1988 (probably a feral bird) and in mid December 1993,seven were seen in the Wouldham/Burham area.

Later during the morning I had (11) Reed Buntings in the garden.


  1. Great stuff Alan. Well done with the White fronts and good to see a drake Goldeneye for a change. I had a walk round with Terry this afternoon, had Bittern over and into the sunken marsh, and a couple of Goldeneye flying up river but dipped on a Redhead Smew that Terry had earlier. Hope to try again tomorrow.

  2. Hi Phil,pleased Terry got the Smew,do you no where.

  3. Yes, it came down on the small unfrozen piece of water on the east side of Abbey Mead.

  4. Hi Alan, Great photos of the Goldeneye.

  5. Hi Alan.
    Well done with the White Front's. I have never seen a flock of that many so close to home.
    Your daily count was great especially seeing the winter visitors.
    Nice photo's by the way.

  6. Thanks to both Ken and Paul.Have a nice Christmas.