Saturday, 30 April 2011

April 30th.

More sun today,although still windy.
During the afternoon in clear conditions 150 Sand Martins were feeding over Brookland lake.

The Cuckoo was seen again in the willows just below the raptor watch point.

The last of this winters Reed Butings was seen in the garden on the 17th,although we still have 2-4 Goldfinch.


CORMORANT 2 adults displaying at Alders lake during the month.WILDFOWL Shelduck 78 at Burham 24th,Mallard 10 at Burham 3rd,Teal 2 at Burham 3rd,Greylag 4 at Burham 3rd WADERS Lapwing 2 at Burham 3rd,Snipe 2 at Burham 24th,L R Plover 2 pairs on (east scrub area) at the beginning of month,Ringed Plover 1 (east scrub area) at the beginning of month (the Plover breeding area was infilled later during the month and nests destroyed) Green Sandpiper 1 was ringed on 18th,CUCKOO 1 New Hythe 23rd HIRUNDINE Sand Martin 100 6th,200 7th House Martin 1 8th,Swallow 2 on 8th,100 30th.SWIFT 1 30th.NUTHATCH 1 Eccles island 22nd. NIGHTINGALE 1 Reed`s Site 15th,15 by 26th.TREE PIPIT 2 New Hythe 3rd (passage) YELLOW WAGTAIL 2 (first) 6th.WARBLERS Common Whitethroat 1 (first) 25th,Willow Warbler 1 singing southern end of Abbey Mead 6th,Sedge Warbler 5 singing around Abbey Mead 25th.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

April 28th (New Hythe)

As to be expected with a cold NE wind and overcast conditions good numbers of hirundine were feeding over the lakes this morning,I saw at least 200 Sand Martin,100 House Martin,100 Swallows and 1 SWIFT.
I also noted 1 Sparrowhawk,1 Kestral,2 Shelduck,1 Grey Wagtail,3 Garden Warblers and 4 Lesser Whitethroats.Thirty Nightingales were counted in song,8 of which were in Brookland/Abbey Mead area,2 at Leybourne (Alders/Trout lake) and 20 in the Country Park.I did note though that 2 birds were missing from the east scrub and 2 from the west.

I went back during the afternoon and walked round the sunken marsh,the river was low.I saw 8 Shelduck and heard 2 Cuckoo,one of which was across the river at Burham.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

April 27th.

There was no sign of the Common Scoter first thing this morning.
Later on during the morning at Brookland a Grey Wagtail was seen carrying food.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

April 26th (Brookland lake)

A drake COMMON SCOTER was found on Brookland Lake this morning by Jerry Warne.I was in Maidstone for most of the day and didn`t find out until 20:15.Luckily I only live a few minutes away from the lake and managed to see it in the fading light,with a bit of luck it will be around in the morning.

Past records are as follows - Singles at New Hythe on November 27th 1969,April 10th 1971,January 4th 1974 and April 27th 1989,with two on March 12th 1982 and March 17th 2001.Most of these birds were found on Abbey Mead.

Monday, 25 April 2011

April 25th.

During my walk around New Hythe this morning I saw three Garden Warblers.One was at Brook House,the second along the millstream just south of the streamside lake and the third behind the cafe in Brookland square.

In afternoon I saw a flock of 15 Linnets on the rough ground at the back of Ham Hill golf course (Snodland).

Phil had a Red Kite at New Hythe this morning,I think it must have flown over as I was walking back to Brookland square along the millstream path.It makes you think just how many Kites must have past through Kent over the past few weeks.

Friday, 22 April 2011

April 22nd

I spent the first forty five minutes of my two hour stay at New Hythe (10.00-12.00) at Hoopoe Corner (northeast corner of the Sunken marsh),although the only birds of note I saw there was a pair of Linnets,which I think were nest building,I did have no less than 8 Common Whitethroats on the walk out there from Brookland square (car park). I then went and stood on the Brookland mound where I was rather surprised to find Terry already engaged in a skywatch.Before I arrived there Terry had seen very little,but shortly after at about 11.30 we saw the first Buzzard come up over the Downs at Burham and then 2 more over the Downs at Birling,but apart from the sighting of 1 Sand Martin that was about it.

Phil I think you may get your wish (northeast east corner of Sunken marsh,now Hoopoe Corner and Brookland Mound now the New Hythe Raptor Watch Point,Terry I think is in agreement.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

April 21st (New Hythe)

I was in Maidstone for the best part of the morning,but when I got home at about 10.30 I had a little spare time on my hands so I thought I would have a quick walk around the Sunken marsh.When I was about halfway around (northeast corner) I bumped into Terry,Phil,Dennis and Doreen,who were doing a skywatch,hoping for a Hobby I believe,but in the case of Phil I think he was wishing for a Red Kite.As it was before I had arrived they hadn`t seen a raptor of any description,but only minutes later Phil picked up a Buzzard flying from west to east over Burham church,it then caught a thermal and spiralled up over Eccles until lost to view.Its always a good idea to keep on a raptor because at times they are joined by others.The only other birds of note I saw during my short stay there was the two now regular Oystercatchers.I then left them to it and on the walk back I managed to take several photo`s of a Cetti`s Warbler and a Cuckoo,the last of which was playing hide and seek in some willows on the banks of Brookland lake.On the only occasion it came out into the open I manage to take some reasonable shots,but as always wished I could have been just that little bit closer.

After I had gone Phil and Terry had another Marsh Harrier

I think we might have to call the northeast corner of the Sunken marsh,The New Hythe Raptor Watch Point.It is a good place to watch from but I think personally I prefer to watch from the Brookland mound,but having said that you do feel a bit obvious stuck on top there.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

April 20th (New Hythe,Holborough and Halling)

Continuing sunny and warm.
I was up early this morning,earlier enough to see the sun come up over the Downs.I wanted to get in a couple of hours ringing before the sun became too strong.As it was I only ringed 2 Song Thrush,1 Reed Warbler and 1 Chiffchaff,I think I should have stayed in bed.Other birds that I noted were 2 Shelduck on the river,a second Lesser Whitethroat and a Cuckoo,I was finished by there I went to look at Holborough marsh.Along the river I saw 4 Shelduck,2 G B B Gulls and 1 L B B Gull.The scrape which is still looking good held 2 Lapwing,2 Mallard,3 Moorhen and 1 cock Pheasant.In the bushes I heard 2 Nightingales,1 Chiffchaff,2 Common Whitethroats and one Cetti`s Warbler.Although by now is was becoming very warm I decided to go and have a quick look at Halling marsh.The only birds of note that I saw were 2 Shelduck on the river,a Snipe and 7 Linnets.The bird that I was hoping to see,Yellow Bunting I had no luck with.I think I may have left it a little late in the day,but I have noticed this year they are not as numerous as in the past on the marsh.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

April 19th (New Hythe)

Remaining warm and sunny
I walked out from Brookland,round the sunken marsh,over the railway and back down the millstream path.I noted 2 Shelduck,6 Mallard,1 Teal,5 Canada Geese,3 Great Black-backed Gulls,20 Black-headed Gulls and 4 Heron along the river,2 Common Whitethroats,2 Chiffchaff,2 Bullfinch,8 Reed Warblers,3 Cetti`s Warblers,2 Reed Buntings,2 Goldfinch,4 Greenfinch and 1 Water Rail in the sunken marsh and my first LESSER WHITETHROAT of the year at the southern end of Abbey Mead.
I had a total of 15 Nightingales and 10 Common Whitethroats,1 Cuckoo was heard.

Phil and Terry visited the sunken marsh later during the morning and saw two good birds,a Marsh Harrier and a Hoopoe.The Hoopoe is the third record for the area,myself and Bob Bland saw one at Abbey Meads on May 19th 1980 and one bird was seen at Leybourne on July 30th-31st 1979.

Friday, 15 April 2011

April 15th

Saw my first Cuckoo and Sedge Warbler of the year at New Hythe this morning.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

April 13th (New Hythe)

I spent the morning ringing at New Hythe-birds ringed 2 Nightingale,2 Great Tits,2 Wren,2 Blue Tits,1 Dunnock,1 Blackbird,2 Blackcap and 1 Chaffinch.
In one small area along the millstream path,three Blackcaps were singing against each other.One bird was so content on keeping hold of his patch he took no notice of me standing only feet away.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

April 12th (New Hythe)

In the rather chilly NW wind this morning 50 Sand Martin,10 House Martins and 30 Swallows were seen feeding over Brookland lake.The east and west scrub areas held one singing Willow Warbler each and I saw three Common Whitethroats,one was in brambles by the west scrub car park and two were along the millstream path.

I had six Wood Pigeons feeding in the garden today.The most we have had in the past is two.From 2-4 Reed Buntings are still coming in to feed and 2-4 Goldfinch.

Monday, 11 April 2011

April 11th (Cliffe pools)

I had a walk around Cliffe pools RSPB reserve this morning in the continuing fine weather with Bob Bland,we saw 125 Shelduck,2 Pintail,Tufted Duck,Mallard,Teal,4 Wigeon, 4 Gadwall,100 Avocets,1 Ringed Plover,1 Golden Plover,Lapwing,5 Greenshank,Redshank,2 Spotted Redshank,200 Black-tailed Godwit (Essex side),2 Kestrals,70 Med Gulls,3 Wheatear,1 Stonechat,2 Little Egrets,10 Nightingales,10 Common Whitethroats,3 Sedge Warblers,4 Blackcaps,3 Chiffchaffs,1 Willow Warbler and 20 Linnets.

On Friday morning at 9.30 Jerry Warne had a BLACK STORK circling over the southern end of Abbey Mead lake,I had gone to Holborough for a change !.

Over the last few days the immature Whooper Swan has been seen again in the New Hythe area,which probably points to it being a feral bird,rather than wild.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

April 7th (New Hythe)

New in this morning,a Reed Warbler at the southern end of the streamside lake and a sixth Nightingale.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

April 6th (New Hythe)

A much better day than yesterday,bright and warm,SW.
My walk this morning took me out to the river passing Brookland,round the sunken marsh,past Abbey Meads,over the railway,through the east scrub and back down the millstream path 8.30-10.
Birds that I noted were 4 Shelduck,4 Gadwall,2 Teal,6 Mallard,2 Heron,1 Green Sandpiper and 1 LR PLOVER along the river,2 Common Terns in the Brookland/Abbey Meads area,4 Bullfinch in the hawthorns along the river,a calling Water Rail in the sunken marsh and totals of 9 Blackcap,5 Chiffchaff and 3 Willow Warblers.
I heard snatches of song from three Nightingales,one of the Abbey Mead birds,the east scrub (pylon)bird and a fifth,which was along the stream just past the northern end of the streamside lake.No hirundines were seen.
My thanks to Alan Roman who put me onto the Terns.

When I got home I sat in the garden for a while and watched the sky,hoping something good would fly over,but it never did.In the end I resorted to taken pics of the Collared Doves.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

April 5th.

Cloudy and colder this morning with occasional rain showers,SW.
I looked at the river and Brookland lake this morning birds that I noted were 6 Teal,8 Mallard,1 Kingfisher and 2 G B B Gulls along the river, a singing Willow Warbler on the edge of the sunken marsh and 20 Swallows,6 Sand and 2 House Martins over the lake.

Monday, 4 April 2011

April 4th.

I had two early Nightingales at New Hythe this morning.One was in the scrub by the water treatment entrance and the other near the pylon in the east scrub,I also heard a Willow Warbler.

I`ve had a Nightingale before on the 4th,but that was way back during the 80s.Now that the wind has turned round to the SW,the last few days have been good,what with the early Common Tern and now the Nightingales,but strangely hirundines are still in short supply,at least in our area,but there again it is still early.

Phil Sharp had two Nightingales at Abbey Mead today,so that makes four in all.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

April 2nd.

A Tern was present on Brookland lake today,which I must admit had me puzzled for a while (Arctic or Common?),I`m going for Common,any comments would be welcome,a nice early record.

During the afternoon I saw 2 Common Buzzards,1 Kestral and my first Orange tip butterfly at Birling.