Tuesday, 25 February 2014

On January 8th,when I last wrote a post on New Hythe.My bird species count for the area stood at just 51.Since that time I have made a further four visits and added just three more,namely,Sparrowhawk,Pied Wagtail and Chiffchaff.
This low species count is undoubtedly due to the mildness of this winters weather in Britain and on the Continent.Species in past winters that have been relativity easy to find are this year either absent,or present in such low numbers (Siskin,Redpoll), for instance,that they are much more difficult to find.As far as I know,there has been no sightings of Goldeneye,Goosanders,Smew or even Bittern,all New Hythe regulars.As for the Bittern,the clue as to why there has been no sightings,may in some way be connected to this winters very high water table,rather than just its mildness.

Pochard numbers this winter are probably at a all time low.Although it must be said that this species has been declining in the area and elsewhere in Britain since the 1990s.Away from the UK,similar declines have also taken place in the Netherlands.Further east though in Sweden numbers have been increasing.This then suggests that the declines in the UK is due to a distribution change,the so-called `short stopping`phenomenon that is happening increasingly among migrant waterbirds.
However,overall there has been a long-term decline in the North-west European population,although not as large as that found in Britain.Further more in Central Europe,the Black Sea and Mediterranean populations have also declined.


  1. Alan ,
    I would add Brambling to the Siskins and Redpolls . I haven't seen one this Winter , a few Siskin at Sevenoaks and one L.Redpoll there too .
    Bough Beech held 20+ Goosanders earlier , but now too full to know if they are still there .
    Sevenoaks has also been good for Pochard , but they tend to stay right down the end of East Lake , seen distantly from Sutton Hide .
    Top end of Railway Lake used to be my best spot for Smew many years ago , but as you say , no longer .

  2. Hi Greenie,Coot at New Hythe are also in very low numbers this winter.Also unusually I have had no garden records of Blackcap.

  3. Two Bitterns have been seen on Brooklands lake in the last week Alan. They were in the small reed bed in front of the fishermens hut. I haven't seen them myself yet but I've seen the pictures.