Sunday, 20 January 2013

Brambling - a first

I had work to catch up today so decided to try and do this on the laptop and keep an eye on the birds on the feeders. It ended up watching the birds on the feeders and occasionally on the laptop. Many of the usual birds on the feeders although there seemed to be more then usual, the Greenfinches of which I normally have 2 at a time increased to 5 and stayed all day, plenty of increased numbers in Blue Tits, Great Tits, House Sparrows and Chaffinches. I was hoping for something unusual or new for the year to come to the feeders with all of the snow and cold and I didn't have long to wait with a solitary Redwing dropping in. Shortly after when I went up the garden to check on the chickens a calling Lapwing flew over seemingly lost in the snow. Over the past few years during the winter I am always looking to the bird table and garden hoping to see a Brambling, something I have never had in my garden. At around lunch time I saw some birds fly up into the Oak tree next door and on inspection they were Greenfinches and Chaffinchs. As I was watching them I saw one at the back drop down through the tree's and I had a couple of brief glimpses and thought, that's not a Chaffinch. A few more hops in the tree and then down on to bird table where I had spread some seed and yes, a Male Brambling. Unfortunately it didn't hang around for long but over the next few hours it put in another 3 brief visits. Altogether I had 19 species throughout the day including a unsuccessful attempt at getting lunch by a Sparrowhawk. Noticeable absence today was from Great Spot and Green Woodpecker, Jay's and Magpies which up until this weekend had been daily visitors, maybe they stayed in the woods and don't like the snow.

Saturday, 8 December 2012


Finally managed to get to see the flock of Waxwings in the village, thanks Bernard for the call this morning to tell me they are still there. That's the trouble of going to work in the dark and coming back in the dark, miss all the birds. Managed to get some quick views and a few photo's before shooting off to do the Xmas shopping with the other half. Also plenty of Redwing and Fieldfares.
Also had the Nuthatch back in the garden this morning, first time since February. In an hour I had 22 species of bird on my feeders, their are some hungry birds around.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Ring-Necked Parakeet

Walked up the garden this morning to sort my chickens out heard bird calling flying towards me. As soon as I heard it I thought I knew what it was and then as it flew over my head I was right, a Ring Neck Parakeet, it flew along my road and landed in some trees 10-12 houses down. This is a first siting for me in Kent outside of the Thanet and Sidcup area. Strangely enough I have not seen one this year until this week, and now 2 in 3 days as one flew over my head on Thursday when I was in Feltham. I assume that this is just a single bird but will now be keeping an eye out for any more.

Monday, 21 May 2012

A couple of additions

On Sunday I made a brief visit to Dungeness and driving out of Hamstreet at 5:30 a lovely Barn Owl was flying along the ditch at the side of the road looking for its breakfast. The visit to Dunge proved to be a non event, an hour and halfs seawatching from 05:45 - 07:15 produced Gannets and Common Terns, and that was it. With the wind and overcast weather early on there was very little else around so I went home. Yesterday I had a meeting to attend to which meant I had the novelty of catching the train. Heading up to Hamstreet station via the footpath along side the bridge a Turtle Dove was calling. I spent a few minutes locating it in the tree before then rushing for the train I nearly missed!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Mad 45 minutes at Dung

Day off today and before catching up on all the chores I decided an early start at Dung to kick the day off. Arrived at the point at 5:45 and with Martin and the others off to Holland I had the place to myself. I had only just got my scope up and the birds started flowing and for the next 45 minutes I had the following. 4 Arctic Skuas (east) all close in 21 Little Tern (east) 12 Sanderling (east) 111 Scoter (east) 40 Scoter (west) 2 Swallows in 1 Hobby in 6 Oystercatcher (east) 1 Arctic Tern (east) Many Common Tern, in the hundreds Many Gannets Then at 6:30, nothing, apart from a few scoter (included above, Common Tern and Gannets it all went quiet. I hung around for another hour and a couple of others turned up but we all gave up. Looked around the moat, had a Black Redstart and a few of the now resident Whitethroats but not much else around. About half an hour after I left someone reported a Serin but missed that one. Not a bad morning, much better then I expected.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The migrants start to appear

Started the day off early before work in one of my Tetrads undertaken the 2nd visit of my Nightingale survey. Of the five I found last week only four were in place but I had two new ones so one I assume had moved, but at least I am now at six for that area. This evening after work I had planned to go to Dung for a few hours and this was more anticipated throughout the day with the news of the Melodious Warbler, would I see it. Finally got to Dung and the Melodious hadn't been seen for an hour after the owner had visited his garden. Nice views of a male Redstart and finally, half an hour later the Melodious appeared. I was informed of a couple of Whinchats and a Pied Flycatcher over by the power station so decided for a walk over to there and around the obs. On the way down the road a Spotted Flycatcher but not much else. Around the moat a 4 Wheatears, 2 Whitethroat, a female Blackcap, 2 Whinchat and a nice Garden Warbler. A quick sea watch picked up 1 Black-throated Diver flying east and a Gannet, quite a few Common Terns but not much else. A visit back to the lighthouse garden and good views of a Spotted Flycatcher but did not see the Melodious Warbler again. Not a bad few hours

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Where have all the Nightingales gone

First day of the Nightingale survey and up at the crack of dawn stumbling around my first Tetrad in Hamstreet Woods. The dawn chorus was in full swing with many birds singing.... but no Nightingales. My first area in which I have had Nightingales for the past 5 years was silent, even the one I had last weekend was not singing. I moved out of my first Tetrad into the second and in the distance I heard a Nightingale which was in the direction I had my second one last weekend. Then I had a slight distraction with a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker calling, it was in the tree right over my head but I could not find it so I moved on. This was the first one of the year in these woods. Down through the woods and to the Nightingale I heard singing in the distance and it was in the same area, I thought I heard two but could not locate the second at first but as I went around the track it popped up in front of me singing away. As I moved further around another Lesser Spot and this time I located it, but as for Nightingales that was it, only the 2 and so far this is the lowest count I have had for the past 5 years, hopefully another visit and covering the rest of my tetrad's will uncover some more.