30 March 2011

Wednesday 30th March

Today had a bit of quality about it including a couple of birds rarely ever seen on the patch. I couldn't do an early vis mig this morning which was a shame as there seemed to be quite a few Redwings passing over the house last night but that wasn't going to detract from a good day. I arrived at 9:00am, and literally straight away I was alerted to the call of a Raven which I then saw heading very low to the south at 9:10am over the paddocks, the bird then briefly landed in nearby fields before heading off strongly south at 9:15am, and is only the 3rd ever record for the site. Also noted was a Yellowhammer which is only the 5th record for the site the bird was seen heading west by the cemo, but the day didn't end there with 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls west, 1 Swallow west and 1 Common Buzzard north at 11:15am. Other bits recorded were 1 Reed Bunting, 3 Alba Wagtails east, 30 Meadow Pipits, 10 Linnets, 15 Chaffinches, 6 Skylarks, 2 Corn Buntings, 2 Grey Partridges, 4 Cormorants east, 4 Sparrowhawks, 4 Kestrels, 2 Redwings, 17 Jackdaws, 6 Goldfinches, and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Tuesday 29th March

Dave covered the area today which was very quiet, best of the highlights was a female Marsh Harrier north/east, 1 Peregrine, 5 Sparrowhawks and 5 Kestrels.

Monday 28th March
Dave Gilbert and I covered the patch from 9:10am - 1:00pm, which produced another spring arrival when 2 Swallows headed west over the paddocks, it was still fairly quiet but there was a few bits today including 1 Common Buzzard north at 9:40am, 2 White Wagtails, 3 Chiffchaffs, 3 Bramblings, 8 Fieldfares, 3 Siskins, 4 Sparrowhawks, 3 Goldcrests, 3 Chaffinches, 1 Pheasant, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Green Woodpecker, 20 Linnets, 3 Corn Buntings, 2 Grey Partridges, 3 Jackdaws, 3 Goldfinches and 3 Ring-necked Parakeets. Of note 2 Wheatears were present in fields behind my house.

Sunday 27th March

The first official day of spring was very quiet for overhead vis mig but at least it did produce 3 Wheatears which were the first for the year, also 1 White Wagtail, 5 Chiffchaffs, 3 Siskins, 9 Goldcrests, 1 Fieldfare, 7 Redwings, 3 Chaffinches, 4 Goldfinches, 3 Ring-necked Parakeets, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Grey Partridges, 2 Corn Buntings, 7 Jackdaws and 30 Linnets but that was pretty much it. There was also a male Wheatear in fields behind my house this afternoon.

Friday 25th March

White Wagtail
Dave Gilbert and I spent another glorious day wandering around the recording area, but for most of the time we were watching the skies hoping for yet another successful day like many of the recent ones we have previously had. Bird of the day was a Red Kite which we saw drifting off slowly north at 10:20am, (which was the same bird Phil Milton had at Pegwell a few minutes earlier thanks for the text), and another 7 Common Buzzards which passed through in a 3 hour raptor watch (in which the latter will already be near the 50 mark before spring has officially started). Other raptors included 2 female Merlins north, 9 Sparrowhawks and 3 Kestrels. There was also an increase in some other spring migrants including 4 White Wagtails and 5 singing Chiffchaffs, with 1 Crossbill west, 3 Bramblings west, 5 Redwings, 4 Goldcrests, 7 Jackdaws, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Grey Partridges, 1 Fieldfare, 2 Cormorants east, 20 Chaffinches, 60 Starlings north, 3 Meadow Pipits, 1 Pied Wagtail, 2 Corn Buntings and 3 Linnets also noted. The day finished of nicely when I found 6 Waxwings at 3:20pm, feeding on the junction of Princess Margaret Avenue Ramsgate, opposite Newington Childrens Centre, let it continue.

Thursday 24th March

Dave Gilbert covered the area today with the main highlight being a Woodcock near the main cemetery entrance.

Wednesday 23rd March


The last few days have been amazing not just has the weather been so nice but with the quality of raptors which have also come through, today once again was no exception. I met up with Dave Gilbert and between us we covered the area for a few hours recording 14 Common Buzzards which were seen together in a 10 minute spell between 11:20 - 11:30am, a group of 8 birds eventually headed east with a further 6 birds drifting of south/west, also noted was 11 Sparrowhawks and a single Kestrel. I also managed to photograph a Siskin a bird which I haven't had much luck with in the past, the above bird a nice male was 1 of 6 recorded by the garden of rest, but in general it was a little bit quiet especially the smaller stuff but bits that were recorded included 1 Brambling west, 4 Goldcrests, 1 Chiffchaff, 30 Jackdaws, 3 Pied Wagtails, 1 Redwing, 1 Rook, 3 Ring-necked Parakeets, 20 Chaffinches, 2 Corn Buntings, 7 Skylarks, 2 Grey Partridges, 60 Starlings, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 7 Meadow Pipits and 7 Linnets.

Tuesday 22nd March

Peacock Butterfly
It was another glorious sunny day in which once again Dave Gilbert and I spent mostly raptor watching, in total we saw 11 Common Buzzards including an early bird heading west at 8:55am, but it wasn't until 11:40am, till we saw the next one then the heavens slightly opened with a further 9 birds in a 50 minute spell, best of all was a group of 6 birds heading west at 12:10pm. Also noted was a female Marsh Harrier west at 12:55pm, 1 male Peregrine north, 4 Kestrels and a very respectable 17 Sparrowhawks. Other bites around included a singing Chiffchaff, 1 White Wagtail, 6 Siskins south, 1 Fieldfare, 3 Redwings, 20 Chaffinches, 2 Grey Partridges, 36 Jackdaws, 15 Corn Buntings, 10 Meadow Pipits, 7 Skylarks, 3 Rooks, 1 Pied Wagtail, 600 Starlings, 1 Alba Wagtail west, 3 Linnets, 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 300 Wood Pigeons. On the Butterfly front was 3 Peacocks with 3 Hares in the paddocks.

Monday 21st March

Common Buzzard

On such a glorious day Dave Gilbert and I decided to spend most of the time between 9:45am - 1:10pm, doing a raptor watch, at times it was pretty frustrating as I think due to the mass gull activity there was a few more birds of prey around than our overall total, but with the weather being so clear and without no cloud cover they were probably going over at some height making life a bit more difficult. Our totals today were 4 Common Buzzards including 3 birds west at 10:55am, followed by a single bird south at 11:35am, 1 Peregrine south, 11 Sparrowhawks and 3 Kestrels, other bits included 4 White Wagtails, 34 Redwings south, 4 Siskins, 1 Reed Bunting, 27 Corn Buntings, 30 Chaffinches plus many many more heard going over at some high altitude, 4 Jackdaws, 7 Linnets, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Grey Partridge, 270 Starlings, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Pied Wagtail, 2 Alba Wagtails, 10 Skylarks, 2 Meadow Pipits, 20 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 150 Black-headed Gulls, 600 Wood Pigeons, 15 Stock Dove and 16 Magpies. Also today was 9 Peacock and 3 Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies and 3 Hares.

Saturday 19th March

Common Buzzard in the mist
I had family down today so I could only watch the patch between 11:00am - 12:15pm, a short time I know but it certainly didn't detract from what turned out to be a very good birding spell. I concentrated all of my efforts on a short raptor watch but surprisingly the best bird of all was a Little Owl a rare bird here which was first heard calling at 11:55am, and then seen heading south over the paddocks, there was also 3 Common Buzzards including 1 west at 11:00am and a further 2 heading south at 11:15am, it was a shame that there was still lingering mist or there might of been a few more seen, but it was interesting that at 11:10am, the gulls went mad over Westwood Cross and I'm pretty sure that I picked out a distant Rough-legged Buzzard but I couldn't confirm it as it drifted off very high to the south. Also recorded today was 1 singing Chiffchaff (heard in the cemo), 1 White Wagtail in the paddocks, 1 female Merlin south, 1 Peregrine south, 5 Sparrowhawks, 1 Kestrel, 1 Snipe west, 1 Reed Bunting, 15 Chaffinches, 3 Meadow Pipits, 3 Corn Buntings, 5 Skylarks, 2 Pied Wagtails, 10 Magpies, 1 Redwing, 2 Grey Partridges, 8 Jackdaws, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Green Woodpecker, 4 Alba Wagtails south, 1 Goldfinch, 185 Starlings, 600 Wood Pigeons, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 30 Black-headed Gulls.

Thursday 17th March

The only decent record today was a Stonechat in the paddocks (new for the year) and 33 Corn Buntings, but outside of the area was 2 White Wagtails which were feeding in fields opposite Westwood Cross.

Tuesday 15th March

Grey Squirrel

With thick fog present today I wondered just why I actually bothered to wander around the patch, well I didn't stay long in fact just a mere 45 minutes, in this time the birds I actually saw were 2-3 Firecrests, 3 Goldcrests, 2 Green Woodpeckers and the locals which was a shame as there were Fieldfares, Redwings, Chaffinches moving through in which seemed like very good numbers but unfortunately they were all out of sight. At home there was a new visitor on the bird feeders and although the Grey Squirrel does visit the garden on most days its the first time its stayed for lunch.

Sunday 13th March

Another quick session today this time for just an hour, birds noted included a singing Chiffchaff, 1 Pheasant, 1 Reed Bunting, 33 Corn Buntings, 2 Grey Partridges, 6 Linnets, an impressive 1000+ Black-headed Gulls, 1 Kestrel, 2 Meadow Pipits, 4 Skylarks and 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Saturday 12th March

I only spent about 30 minutes out this afternoon before going to football, in turn this produced 1 Fieldfare, 2 Grey Partridges, 2 Meadow Pipits and 7 Corn Buntings.

Friday 11th March

Today Dave Gilbert and I spent most of the time raptor watching in return it produced a ring-tail Hen Harrier which was hunting in fields adjacent to the paddocks between (10:45 - 10:50am) before the bird headed off west, this is a good bird here as I don't get many records of this species. Also today a Common Buzzard headed east at (11:35am), with a Peregrine north soon after. Other bits included 1 White Wagtail west, a good total of 70 Jackdaws west, 14 Golden Plovers west, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Pheasant (good record here), 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Grey Partridge, 3 Corn Buntings, 3 Rooks, 20 Starlings, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Siskin west, 11 Linnets, 2 Kestrels, 3 Meadow Pipits, 7 Skylarks, 150 Black-headed Gulls, 1 Pied Wagtail, 16 Magpies, 15 Stock Doves, 500 Wood Pigeons and 5 Alba Wagtails north.

Thursday 10th March

Today was pretty miserable and it was also fairly quiet, bits that were noted included 1 Firecrest in the crematorium, 13 Lapwings, 8 Corn Buntings, 6 Linnets, 4 Goldcrests, 4 Meadow Pipits, 10 Skylarks, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 20 Starlings, 1 Green Woodpecker, 10 Chaffinches, 2 Reed Buntings, 130 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Grey Partridges, 1 Kestrel, 2 Alba Wagtails west, 20 Stock Doves and 700+ Wood Pigeons.

Wednesday 9th March

March has certainly started off well and lets hope it continues, today Dave Gilbert and I covered the area for most of the morning to which it produced 1 Sand Martin heading north at 9:50am, this is the earliest record for any hirundine sp that I have recorded on the patch since I first started in 1991, the previous earliest was of 2 Swallows on the 12th March 1995. Also noted today was 2 Common Buzzards (my first this year), 1 bird headed south at 10:40am with another heading north at 10:50am. Other bits in the area included 1 Firecrest, 26 Golden Plovers heading east, 36 Jackdaws, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Reed Buntings, 7 Corn Buntings, 2 Meadow Pipits, 5 Skylarks, 7 Chaffinches, 5 Linnets, 5 Pied Wagtails, 2 Alba Wagtails east, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Green Woodpecker, 700+ Wood Pigeons, 100+ Black-headed Gulls, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 1 Ring-necked Parakeet. Just after midday I received a call from Phil Milton alerting me of 2 Common Cranes over Richborough which looked as if they may of been slowly drifting my way, unfortunately I didn't see them but they may hang around somewhere tomorrow (hopefully on me patch) but thanks anyway mate.

Monday 7th March
Small Tortoiseshell
Cold but even so a glorious day, today I was back on the patch where I was met by Dave Gilbert I didn't cover any of the cemo but decided to do a morning of raptor watching, the weather looked good but it turned out disappointing with just 3 Sparrowhawks and a local Kestrel, but it wasn't all doom and gloom with the first spring migrant arriving this being 2 White Wagtails by the paddocks, which are also the 2nd earliest record for the site with the earliest being on the 5th March. Other bits noted between us were 2 Reed Buntings, 12 Linnets, 3 Grey Partridges, 7 Skylarks, 3 Meadow Pipits, 1 Fieldfare, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Jackdaw, 500 Wood Pigeons, 4 Chaffinches and 150 Black-headed Gulls. Also 3 mad March Hares were seen.

Sunday 6th March (TESCO'S WHITSTABLE)

Yes I was back there again for a visit to Whitstable this time a day out with the family, but I couldn't resist another trip to Tesco's this time recording 17 Waxwings at 11:55am.

Thursday 3rd March (TESCO'S WHITSTABLE)


Today was my first out in some time and I didn't spend it on the patch, instead Dave Gilbert and I headed off to Tesco's Whitstable hoping to locate the Waxwings which were still hanging around. I have already seen them here but Dave was still hoping for his first sightings since the invasion started a few months ago, it was also another chance to catch up with them for perhaps the last time before they head off back, and to take some more photographs of this truly excellent bird. We arrived at 9:30am and waited till 9:50am for the arrival of 30 birds which were (as they can do) showing extremely well sitting in trees in the car park, and also feeding on the local berries. After watching them for about 30 minutes we ventured off Dave certainly a much happier man.