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Saturday, 29 December 2012

Staying Local

Sorry for the lack of posts this month. Shortly after the Walland blog I came down with a virus which left me bed bound (5 days) and very weak for almost two weeks - always the way when you have some annual leave booked !!! The wet weather has not helped either with the birding and photography. Thankfully I was better for the Christmas period and it was nice to catch up with the family over Christmas and Boxing Day.

The birding highlights have been:

16th December - Denge Wood (pm)
Tried to shift the virus with a brief bout of fresh air - 4 Hawfinches (pre-roost), Jay, Mistle Thrush, Common Buzzard and small numbers of Siskin.

23rd December
Conningbrook Gravel Pits, 09:30 to 11:30
8 Little Egrets, 1 Great White Egret for the third day at least (thank you Heather for the e-mail), 2 Grey Herons, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine Falcon (adult male), 1 Stock Dove, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 50 Fieldfares, 20 Redwings, 2 Lesser Redpolls (with mixed Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Siskin flock near Goose Green), 30+ Yellowhammer (Great Bromley Farm).

Worten Mill & Flood Gap, 14:00 to 15:30
2 Mandarin Ducks (a pair on the large flooded area), 2 Gadwall (a pair), 3 Cormorants, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Wren, 1 Robin, 500 Fieldfare (+), 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Treecreeper, 3 Jay, 2 Bullfinches (near Great Chart Golf Centre).

26th December
Dover Harbour (am)
A nice walk around Dover Harbour with Angela to shake off the Christmas excesses and show her the wintering Black-throated Diver which gave good scope and binocular views near the lifeboat station. Also c50 Great-crested Grebes, Guillemots, 1 Razorbill, 4+ Shags and a Rock Pipit.

Hythe - Imperial Hotel
2 Purple Sandpipers with the Turnstones on the rocks.

Aldington Flood Gap
Little Egret on the edge of the flooded fields.

Today - 29th December
Conningbrook Gravel Pits, 09:00 to 12:00 Wellington Boots required
5 Wigeon (incl 3 drakes)
c50 Gadwall
3 Teal
2 Goosanders (a pair with the raft of Tufted Ducks, Pochards & Coot on main lake)
1 Little Grebe (middle lake)
6 Great Crested Grebe
20+ Cormorant
8 Little Egrets
1 Great White Egret still at south end of pits
2 Grey Herons (Immatures)
1 Common Buzzard (Hinxhill)
1 Kestrel (Julie Rose Stadium)
1 Peregrine Falcon (on usual tree perch)
1 Woodcock
1 Mediterranean Gull (with Common, Herring and Black-headed Gulls)
1 Lesser Black-backed Gull
11 Collared Doves
1+ Kingfisher along the river
2 Green Woodpeckers
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
c10 Skylark (in field near Great Bromley Farm)
1 Meadow Pipit
2 Pied Wagtails
3 Wren
1 Robin
1 Stonechat (female around north lake)
3 Blackbirds
c40 Fieldfares
3 Song Thrushes
2 Redwings
1 Mistle Thrush
2 Goldcrests (with Long-tailed and Blue Tits)
c10 Long-tailed Tits
3 Chaffinches
1 Greenfinch
c30 Goldfinches
c20 Siskins (Goose Green area),
1 Lesser Redpoll (flew over)
2 Bullfinches
2 Yellowhammers
3 Reed Buntings

A pretty full list here - not bad for a site on the edge of Ashford. Sadly the Country Park with 300+ houses is still a reality. Can't see this site holding GW Egret and Goosander if that happens.

Finally a big thank you to all of those people who have followed the blog in 2012. The comments have been great and I hope to continue into 2013. I hope that you all had a great Christmas and here's to a fantastic bird/wildlife/photography filled 2013 !!!

Neil. X

Pied Wagtail in the garden on the 22nd December 2012

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Wonderful Walland

Hamstreet, 09:00.
6 Cormorants, 1 Little Egret (RM Canal), 1 Sparrowhawk (Arrowhead Lane), 30+ Waxwings (Johnson's Corner), 2 Bullfinches (a pair at Warehorne Bridge).

Lydd Airport and Approach Road, 11:00.
2 Meadow Pipits, 1 Robin, 1 Black Redstart (female by the hangar), 2 Stonechat (a pair), lots of Lapwing and Curlew.

The wintering Black Redstart has returned to Lydd Airport

Dungeness RSPB Reserve, 12:00 to 13:00.
1 Bewick's Swan (adult on ARC), 2 Goldeneyes (both drakes on ARC), 2 Red-legged Partridges (entrance track), 1 Black-throated Diver (Juvenile on New Diggings), 1 Little Egret (ARC), 4 Great White Egrets (New Diggings & ARC), 1 Grey Heron, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Kestrel, 4 Chiffchaffs  (ARC - at southern end including 1 paler bird), 3 Tree Sparrow (Boulderwall Farm).

Walland Marsh, 10:00 to 16:00
Fantastic birding here today...

1 of 8+ Waxwings in the Hawthorn Hedge between Midley Drying Barns and Baynham/Old Cheyne Court Farms

46 Bewick's Swans (near Newland Farm - 18 juveniles), 2 Whooper Swans (near Newland Farm - separate field to the Bewick's), 2 Grey Herons, 10+  Marsh Harriers (reedbed roost), 1 Hen Harrier (male at Old Cheyne Court), 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 Buzzards, 1 Common Crane (adult - nicknamed Andy - into reedbed roost at 14:45), 2 Barn Owls (hunting together at Old Cheyne Court), 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Meadow Pipits, 8+ Waxwings ( in the morning between Midley and Old Cheyne Court), 1 Dunnock, 1 Goldcrest. Still thousands of Winter Thrushes around plus 100's of Golden Plover, Lapwing and Greylag Geese in the Cheyne area. 3 Black Swans still present on the Marsh - 2 with Mutes between Wheelsgate and Swan Farms plus another in Sussex just west of Scotney GP's (again with Mutes).

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

A Waxwing Weekend

Saturday 1st December

Warehorne, 09:00 to 09:30, RM Canal & Arrowhead Lane
1 Little Egret, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Kestrel, Fieldfare (1000's along with smaller numbers of Redwing and Starling), 1 Goldcrest, 1 Bullfinch (Male), 1 Yellowhammer.

Walland Marsh, 10:00 to 12:00
25 Bewick's Swans (11 juveniles), 2 Whooper Swans (Midley), 2 Black Swans (between Wheelsgate and Swan Farms), 1 Grey Heron, 1 Marsh Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin (Old Cheyne Court), 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker,
5 Waxwings (4 Old Cheyne Court, 1 Midley Drying Barns), 2 Greenfinch, 1 Yellowhammer.

Walland Marsh - spot the four Waxwings with the Winter Thrush flock?
Dungeness RSPB Reserve, 12:00 to 14:00
1 Goldeneye (Drake on ARC), 1 Smew (Redhead on Burrowes), 1 Black-throated Diver (Juvenile on New Diggings), 1 Little Egret, 4 Great White Egrets (3 New Diggings, 1 Burrowes), 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Lesser Whitethroat (around car park and visitor centre - latest record for me!!!), 2 Chiffchaff.

Snave, 15:15 to 15:30
2 Waxwings (in trees by the A2070 between Hamstreet and Brenzett).

Sunday 2nd December

Conyer, 09:00 to 13:00
1 Little Egret, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Buzzard, 1 Water Rail (heard), 1 Woodcock (flushed), 1 Turnstone, 5 Long-eared Owls (roosting), 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Jay, 1 Bullfinch (female), 2 Reed Buntings.

Willesborough, Ashford c15:00
38 Waxwings (Canterbury Road, Paper Lane and Orbital Business Park - mobile flock).

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Lesser Whitethroat at Dungeness RSPB

Here are some photos of the Lesser Whitethroat that I found in the main car park bushes by the Dungeness RSPB visitor centre this afternoon (1st Dec). It showed very well from the warmth and comfort of the visitor centre for about 10 minutes.

All photos taken from the warmth of the visitor centre - through glass!
More sightings from Dungeness and Walland Marsh to follow later....