Thursday, 31 March 2011

March 31st

I was passing Alders lake in the car this evening at 19:15 when I saw the WHOOPER SWAN.It came flying in from the west and looked as if it was going down on either Alders or Tesco`s lake,it was followed closely behind by a Little Egret.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

March 30th.

A Whooper Swan was seen on the Railway lake this morning and it was keeping its distance, at least while I was there (8.30) (I believe it to be a different bird than the long staying one)


Red-throated Diver 1 at New Hythe 17th-23rd.Black-throated Diver 1 remained at New Hythe until the 18th.WILDFOWL Teal 150 still at Burham 13th.Common Scotor pair at New Hythe 12th.Gadwall 9 at New Hythe during the month.Shoveler 2 at Burham 13th.Shelduck 92 at Burham 13th-27th.Greylag 5 at New Hythe 27th.Cormorant up to 10 at Leybourne during the month.WADERS Ruff 1 at New Hythe 27th.Dunlin 1 at New Hythe 27th.Ringed Plover 1 at New Hythe 27th.Redshank 4 at Burham 13th.Lapwing 100 at Burham 13th.Snipe 150 at Burham still at the beginning of the month.SHORT-EARED OWL 1 in the sunken marsh 22nd.FIELDFARE 300 at Burham 13th.MEADOW PIPIT 60 at New Hythe 29th.CHIFFCHAFF 1 at New Hythe 17th.SAND MARTIN 1 New Hythe 23rd,20 by 29th.LINNET several about at New Hythe by 27th.

Monday, 28 March 2011

March 28th.

Overcast to start,brighter later,little wind which remains in the east.
I looked in on Alders lake this morning and saw 10 Sand Martin and a very obliging Jay.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

March 27th.

I only walked as far as Abbey Mead this morning and then I stood for a while and watched from the Brookland lake mound.Birds that I noted were 3 Chiffchaff,4 Bullfinch.2 Reed Bunting,3 Blackcap,3 Cetti`s Warbler,1 Little Egret,4 G B B Gulls,1 Sand Martin,2 Water Rail and 8 Shoveler.

During the afternoon I saw 3 Common Buzzards over the Downs at Paddlesworth and 30 Stock Doves,60 Jackdaws and 100 Carrion Crows in one of the fields there.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

March 26th.

As the scrape is looking so good on Holborough marsh at the moment,I called in there again first thing.The Lapwing were still present along with at least 4 Snipe,20 Teal,6 Mallard,2 Gadwall,4 Coot,6 Moorhen,4 Pheasant,2 Greylags and 2 Red-legged Partridge,in the scrub I heard 2 Chiffchaff,1 Blackcap and 1 Cetti`s Warbler.I keep going back hoping a Garganey or two will drop in,I last saw Garganey there,in the spring of 1998.
On my way back from the marsh I called in on Brookland lake and as I pulled up in the car park I met Eddie Denson on his way to see four Little Gulls that had been found on the lake earlier by Jerry Warne.Luckily the birds were still there,performing well picking insects from the surface of the water along with the usual flock of Black-headed Gulls.I manage to get a few Photo`s but all were rather distant and as I was running short of time I promised myself I would go back later and try again.
On my second visit about two hours later I saw Terry Laws who had also heard about the birds.While we were there,Terry had a text from Martin Warburton saying he was at Alders Lake and a RED KITE had just flown over heading SW,to say the least we both felt sick.It had probably passed over some where close to us as we had been watching the Gulls.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

March 24th (Dungeness)

I spent the morning at Dungeness with Bob Bland.The weather was better than the forecast,clear and bright,although there was a chill in the air with the NE wind.
First stop was the fishing boats to try for the Glaucous Gull which has been in the area since November.There wasn`t the usual gull roost on the beach where the bird can sometimes be seen,so we headed off to look at the sea and hopefully find the bird there.However when we reached the edge of the beach instead of seeing water we saw sand.In all of our years of visiting Dungeness this was the lowest we had seen the tide,presumably it has something to do with the Moon being nearer to the Earth at the moment.Anyway Bob picked up the bird on the sand with his scope and luckily it then flew,first heading out across the sea before turning back and finally flying over both our heads.

Although it was rather late in the morning we decided next to do a sea watch, but we only stuck it out for thirty minutes,noting just three Common Scoter and a hirundine,which was probably either a Sand Martin or a Swallow.While we had been walking out there we had in fact passed David Walker who is warden of the DBO,on his way back from just doing a sea watch and he had told us that there had only been a light passage and he had seen a small number of Brent Geese,a Whimbrel and two Garganey.

It was then onto the Hanson Hide on the slim chance that the Penduline Tit would be showing,but it wasn`t to be.Instead we had to be contented with three Goldeneye and one Black-necked Grebe,which were nice all the same.

We then went round to the RSPB reserve centre for a bite to eat,but while we were there we heard that two Little Ringed Plover had just been found on the ARC pits where we had been watching the Goldeneye and Grebe.So before heading back home we went to have a look and has luck would have it they were still there along with two Redshank and one Curlew.Bob remarked on the way home that at least now there was no need for him to visit Sevenoaks for his year tick!.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

March 23rd (Holborough marsh)

Instead of walking around New Hythe this morning,I decided to look in on Holborough marsh.I`m pleased that I did because I saw something that I havn`t seen in the area for quite a few years,displaying Lapwing (two pairs).

Up until the mid 1980s,when grazing was the norm on the marsh,Lapwing were regular breeding birds.They nested there again for a few years towards the end of the 1990s,when the KTNC first took over the management of the marsh,but since that time its been a constant battle to maintain the right conditions that wading birds like.This year,so far,its looking good but whether this can be maintained up until the birds actually start to nest is another thing.

Other birds that I noted were 20 Teal,2 Mallard and 1 Snipe in the northern meadow(scrape),2 Oystercatcher and 4 Shelduck along the river,1 calling Cetti`s Warbler and 4 Reed Bunting.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

March 22nd (New Hythe)

Light overcast,calm,warm latter on
Birds I noted this morning were 4 Shelduck,2 Teal,3 Coot,1 Snipe,1 Redshank,6 Mallard,1 G B B Gull and 1 Sparrowhawk along the river.One Snipe,1 Reed Bunting,2 Calling Water Rail and 4 Bullfinch in the sunken marsh.Five calling Cetti`s Warbler,one of which was in the ditch behind the cafe,25 occupied nests in the Heronry and my first singing Blackcap of the spring,which was picked up by Bob Bland on my return to the car park,thanks Bob.
Chiffs were in much the same numbers as yesterday and I could find no Pochard or Shoveler,both of which were in the area just over a week ago.

Monday, 21 March 2011

March 21st

A walk around New Hythe this morning between produced little of note apart from an increase in singing Chiffchaff to at least ten.

I saw my first Comma of the year in the garden this morning and only the third sighting this winter of a Blackcap,our Ivy bushes had a very poor crop.In past winters when the crop has been good up to four birds have been present.

I see more bramble and scrub has been cleared to ground level in the east scrub,this carries on from last year.We will have to wait until next month to see if the Nightingale breeding numbers will be affected.Also a large area of scrub and bramble in the west scrub,where only last year a pair of Nightingale were breeding has also been reduced to ground level.
Perhaps some visitors to the Park have been complaining about the noise the Nightingales make !.

Friday, 18 March 2011

March 18th.

A quick look at Brookland lake this morning produced my first Sand Martin of the year and a singing Chiffchaff.

In the garden the Goldfinch flock reached (14) birds and we still have (4-6) Reed Buntings.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

March 15th (Halling Common)

I had a walk on Halling Common this morning.The only birds of note that I saw were two Egyptian Geese,their next stop could be the lakes,so keep those eyes peeled.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

March 13th.

The Smew is still in the area,I saw it on the streamside lake this morning during a very quick visit.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

March 12th.

Another nice bright morning,walking round the lakes this morning I saw (10) Mallard (25) Teal (1) Oystercatcher and (1) Redshank along the river (30) Redwing and (20) Fieldfare in the east scrub and the Little Egret which was again along the millstream.There was no sign of the Smew and many of the Gadwall appear to have moved out overnight.

During the afternoon Jeanette and I had a walk on the Downs at Cuxton,we saw two Brimstones and two Buzzards.When we got back to the car which was parked on the A228,a Raven flew over.

Friday, 11 March 2011

March 11th (New Hythe)

This morning I walked along the millstream as far as the streamside lake and then back again.I only saw one of the Smew this morning,also a Kingfisher,several Cetti`s Warblers and the Little Egret.

I had a Reed Bunting recovery from the BTO this afternoon.Reed Bunting (female) L529905 was ringed in my garden at Snodland,Kent on the 22 12 2010 and controlled by the Dartford Ringing Group at Shorne,marshes,Gravesend,Kent,14Km NW,7 days later on 29 12 2010.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

March 10th (New Hythe)

During my walk this morning I saw (20) Gadwall and (40) Teal on the river,a Snipe (2) Cetti`s Warbler and (1) Water Rail in the sunken marsh (7) Shoveler and (6) Pochard on Abbey Mead (2) Bullfinch and a Sparrowhawk in the hawthorns along by the river (4) Redwing in the west scrub,two small flocks of Siskin,one of which was in Alders along the millstream and the other in the Alders on the north bank of Brooklands, a Kingfisher,along with (2) REDHEAD SMEW on the streamside lake and (1) Little Egret on the millstream.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Sri Lanka (2011)

Jeanette and I travelled with Saga Holidays to Cinnamon Lodge,Habarana on an all inclusive package.We had an extra week on the coast at the Bentota Beach Hotel,just south of Colombo.

Day (1) February 15th,flew direct to Colombo overnight,arriving their time at the next day.

Day (2) after clearing customs and before boarding the coach,I noted Purple-rumped Sunbird,Yellow-billed Babbler and House Crow in the airport garden.We stayed overnight at the Taj Garden Hotel in Seeduwa arriving at,bird-watched in the grounds from that I saw were Indian Pond Heron,Purple Heron,House Crow,Brown-headed Barbet,Purple-rumped and long-billed Sunbirds,Ring-necked Parakeet,Grey Drongo,Black Bittern (2) White-breasted Waterhen,White-breasted Kingfisher,Common Kingfisher,Barn Swallows,Blue-tailed Bee-eater,Common Myna,White-rumped Munia,Red-vented Bulbul,Greater Coucal,Little Cormorant,Lesser Whistling-duck,yellow-billed Babbler and Indian Cormorant.

Day (3) 17th February,we left the Hotel for Cinnamon Lodge at arriving at 1.30pm,on the way I noted the only Indian Roller of the holiday near to Kurunegala.

17th-24th February Cinnamon Lodge.

24th-3rd March Bentota Beach Hotel.

3rd March colombo-Marle-Heathrow.During our short stop at Marle,I noted the only Lesser Golden Plovers of the holiday on the grassy verges of the runway.

Luckily Jeanette is also interested in birds,though not as keen as myself,she also likes walking.No special trips were made to find Sri lanker endemics,I bird-watched most days,mainly between 6.30am-9.30 and 1600-1800.

Birds seen during the holiday(Cinnamon Lodge) Asian Brown Flycatcher,Asian Koel,Asian Open-billed Stork,Asian Palm Swift,Barn Swallow,Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike,Black-backed Robin,Black-crowned Night Heron,Black-headed Cuckoo Shrike,Black-headed Munia,Scally breated Munia,Black-headed Oriole,Black-winged Stilt,Blue-faced Maloha,Blue-tailed Bee-eater,Brahminy Kite,Bright Green Warbler,Brown Shrike,Brown-capped Babler,Brown-capped Woodpecker,Brown-headed Barbet,Coppersmith,Barbet,Sri Lanker Small Barbet,Cattle Egret,Little Egret,Great White,Intermediate,Changeable Hawk Eagle,Chestnut-headed Bee-eater,Little Green Bee-eater,Common Lora,Common Kingfisher,Stork-billed,White-breated,Common Moorhen,Common Myna,Common Sandpiper,Green Sandpiper,Common Taylorbird,Crested Serpent Eagle,Dark-fronted Babbler,Emerald Dove,Spotted Dove,Golden fronted leafbird,Great Cormorant,Indian Cormorant,Little Cormorant,Grey-breasted Prinia,Grey-headed Fish Eagle,White-bellied Fish Eagle,House Crow,Large billed Crow,Indian Paradise Flycatcher,Indian Peafowl,Indian Pitter,Jerdon`s Leafbird,LittleRinged Plover,Large Cuckooshrike,Little Grebe,Little Swift,Purple-rumped Sunbird,Long-billed,Thick-billed flowerpecker,Indian Swift,Barn Swallow,red-rumped,Malabar Pied Hornbill,Grey Hornbill,Orange-breasted Green Pigeon,Green Imperial Pigeon,Oriental Darter,Oriental Magpie Robin,Oriental White-eye,Paddyfield Pipit,Pheasant-tailed Jacana,Plain Prinia,Plaintive Cuckoo,Purple Heron,Purple Sunbird,Purple Swamphen,Red-backed Woodpecker,Red-vented Bulbul,Red-wattled Lapwing,Rose-ringed Parakeet,Shikra,Small Minivet,Spot-billed Pelican (2) Tickell`s Blue Flycatcher,Whiskered Tern,White-bellied Drongo,Whie-breasted waterhen,White-bellied Sea Eagle,White-browed Bulbul,Blyth`s Reed Warbler,Wooly-necked Stork (2),Crested Serpent Eagle,Changeable Hawk Eagle,Indian Peafowl,Lesser Hill Myna,Painted Stork (1) Sri Lanker Woodshrike,yellow-billed babbler.

The Lodge has a bird list of over 150 species.

Bentota Little Tern,Turnstone,Lesser Sand Plover,Whimbrel.

Reserve just south of Cinnamon Lodge,Black-winged Kite.

Taj Garden Hotel Black Bittern,LesserWhistling-duck.

Indian Roller,near Kurunegala.

Jerdon`s Bushlark,Kaudulla National Park.
Cinnamon Lodge has a secluded setting amid 27-acres of lush forest,on the edge of Habarana tank.Minneriya National Park and Kaudulla Park are within easy reach.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

The bird below was sitting in a tree close to the swimming pool,it had taken a liking to the carp in one of the ponds.
A pair of White-bellied Sea Eagles had a nest in the Lodge grounds.
The farm,which is within the grounds of the lodge,contains areas of scrub and vegetable plots and was a great early morning walk,with lots of good birds to be seen.It is notable for its Indian Pitters and Paradise Flycatchers.