Friday, 23 March 2012

Guinea Fowl?

Had an eventful journey to work this morning travelling down the country roads. Lots of wildlife around all hell bent on committing suicide on a nice spring morning.

On leaving Hamstreet I had to stop suddenly for a rabbit, going through Ruckinge a party of Mallard ducks waddling across the road, in Bilsington it was the turn of 2 cock Pheasants and then in Bonnington 3 Guinea Fowl.

These Guinea Fowl were splendid looking, they are obviously escapes but are they now living wild. I first saw these (or 3 Guinea Fowl anyway) towards the latter part of last year by the Burnt Oak crossroads, and then again later in the year I saw them again but memory will not let me remember where, and now in Bonnington. Are they the same birds, are the living in the wild, has any one else seen them, if so let me know as I am curious.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

A quiet day

What with it being Mothers Day today I ended up staying at home, having a few spare hours spent some time in the garden. Lots of birds around now starting to nest, I have a Dunnock nesting in one bush and a Blackbird in another, still nothing in the nest boxes although my neighbors have already got a pair of Blue Tits in there's.

Nothing much of interest today apart from a Raven that flew over calling this afternoon and heading up towards Orlestone Forest, so maybe one of the birds seen by Nick last week.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Unexpected find and an enjoyable short trip out

Spent the morning finishing off my new larger wildlife pond at the top of my garden. It was then down to my little old pond to transfer out of as much wildlife as possible to the new pond.

I new I had a number of smooth newts and normally during the summer months can count up to 15 but I was astounded to find 39 in the pond, which are now in there new home. Then, when I reached the bottom of the find I had an unexpected find, a three inch leech, how it go there I do not know but this too has gone into its new home, I just hope it doesn't suck all my newts to death.

In the afternoon I had an enjoyable short trip out with Nick, "The Shadoxhurst Garden". We decided drive down to the Romney Marsh. On finding the road to Rye still closed we took a diversion, sort of got lost and ended up finding a farmers reservoir we didn't know about. A quick look did not find much only a few Coots, but in the surrounding fields a Marsh Harrier was spotted sitting on the ground.

We drove down to the Woolpack for a walk out to the Marsh Harrier watch point and passed another Marsh Harrier, a splendid view of a Grey Heron sitting in the field, a Mistle Thrush and disturbed a scraggy Buzzard at the side of the road, which gave good views as it flew away.

Not much else seen after this from the watch point, a few Greylag Geese, another Marsh Harrier and a Sparrowhawk being the highlight, but an enjoyable few hours in the company of Nick, even if it was raining.

Monday, 12 March 2012

A new bird in Surrey

I had to take my son down to Guildford today for an interview for University, once I had dropped him off I had 7 hours to kill, now what could I do. A trip to Farnham Heath sounded in order to get a Woodlark, a bird I have not yet seen, so off I go, and what a pain to try and find, I am sorry RSPB but you haven't got this one right as there are hardly any signposts telling you where to go, but with help from a local I finally pull up in the car park. Within 5 minutes of walking into the heath I had a Woodlark, and I was quite surprised how easy it was to find. I had been listening to the song over the weekend and straight away I heard one calling and located it quite quickly. In the end I had at least 5-6 different birds along with Chaffinch's, Goldfinches, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers and many Wrens and Robin.

Then I popped down the road to Thursley Common to find Stonechat and the Great Grey Shrike that has been reported there on Surrey Birds. First time I have been there and I was amazed how big it was with heathland stretching for miles. I soon located Stonechat and few other birds but could not find the Shrike, did however have some good views of what I believe was Roe Deer. I had to leave with so much more to see there,I could easily spend a day walking around.

A good day out for me, now just got to wait to see if my son got into Uni, if he does it could be more visits on the agenda.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Spring day at Dungeness

Spent today down at Dungeness, and whilst there was not a lot of new birds around, it was a lovely warm day and so nice to be walking around in sunshine down to a t-shirt. Early start at Hanson Hide around 6:00 hoping to catch an early Bittern, but not today, plenty of birds around though with Goldeneye displaying in front of the hide, Red head Smew, a Bar Tailed Godwit and Marsh Harriers flying around.

Then down to the point, which was really quiet, not just birds but birders as well, with no one there but me. 12 Scoter flying north along with regular groups of Gannets but that was about it. There was a Grebe quite a long way among the Great Crested which was possible a Black Neck but it was to far away for me to say for certain. Walk around the moat brought nothing so off to the reserve.

Walk around the reserve was nice in warm sunshine, there were plenty of Marsh Harriers around and viewing from the mound 2 were displaying and carrying nesting materials down into the reeds, managed to get some nice photo's (remembered my camera again for the 2nd day running) Also some nice Bearded Tit.

On the way home I diverted to Tickers Lane to look at the rubbish pile Ploddingbirder mentioned during the week to see if the Yellowhammer and Corn Buntings where there, and they were, thanks Ploddingbirder.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Crossbills in the woods

Early start before I go out with the family and a trip to Faggs Wood before the dog walkers all come out to play. Overcast morning with poor visibility but a nice morning with the Song Thrushes and Robins singing, Green Woodpecker calling out and the Greater Spotted seemingly drumming everywhere. It was pretty quiet for the first hour with just the normal woodland species and a couple of Woodcocks, I was hoping to see the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Crossbills but not having much luck. As I completed a circuit and came back to the newly coppiced area I heard a Crossbill called and then noticed 7 sitting in a tree about 50 meters away. I managed to get fairly close and got some photo's (for once had the sense to take my camera) but the light was low, the one shown was heavily cropped. When back at the car park I spent some time watching all the birds eating the french stick and donuts that are stuck on the branches by the kind benefactor, picked up Great, Blue and Coal Tit, 4 GS Woodpecker, Chaffinch and Robin's.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Newcomers to the garden

I spent some time in the garden today finishing off my new wildlife pond before the heavy rain comes tomorrow. I took a few minutes breather and noticed movement in the apple tree by the feeders and saw a flash of yellow and black and straight away thought, was that a Siskin. I hoped it was as I had not had Siskin in the garden before, plenty in Hamstreet Woods but not here. I moved back a few yards and sure enough a Siskin came out of the tree and onto the Nyjer seeds. I rushed indoors and grabbed my camera hoping that it was still on the feeder and it was, along with another. I managed to get a few shots before the flew off. Then about 10 minutes later I saw a raptor flying over, grabbing my bins I could see it was a Buzzard, which is a new one for the year across the village, and shortly after that 2 Common Gulls flew over, another new bird for this year in the village, so an interesting half hour, now, where was I with this pond?