Wednesday 31st August
Between us Dave and I covered the patch for an extensive 7+ hours, I started off the early morning shift and Dave joined soon after in the hope of finding yesterday's Aquatic Warbler, sadly we had no joy but we did record 5 Common Buzzards over at 1:55pm, also 4 Hobby's 12 Blackcaps, 5 Whitethroats, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Wheatears, 20 Swallows, 1 Swift, 5 House Martins, 1 Sparrowhawk, 60 Linnets, 4 Green Woodpeckers and 45 Ring-necked Parakeets.
Tuesday 30th August
Today I eventually managed to get out at 5:45pm, and I knew to cover most of the areas that time was certainly going to be against me, so I didn't, instead I concentrated all of my time covering ------------, which turned out to be by far the best decision. It was pretty lively from the start recording Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and Whitethtroats, but little did I know what was around the corner well literally. I made my way to a good area of mixed habitat where in the past scarce/rare birds have been found and today there was another, at 6pm, I heard a bird calling giving a series of chack chack noises I was pretty sure I knew what it was but it was low down in some thick vegetation and out of sight until it eventually showed yes yes yes I quietly shouted it was what I thought an AQUATIC WARBLER (no 104) the bird showed on some bramble long enough for me to properly clinch its identity I then grabbed for the camera but although still calling the bird then shot further down in some long grass, and by 6:20pm it was working its way along the hedgerow, I managed another 6 views within this time period but soon after it disappeared and stopped calling. Unfortunately apart from myself and one other it was present in an area with no general public access so I'm sorry I could not release the news (but it is something I am working on if something else good turns up), I did phone Dave Gilbert who also does have permission but he was unavailable at the time, never mind it's another gem for the patch and I returned home in high heaven.
Monday 29th August
Today was fairly hard work in a blustery westerly wind, but it did produce a few bits including 3 Whinchats, 3 Wheatears, 13 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Blackcap, 2 Whitethroats, 60 Swallows, 3 House Martins, 4 Sparrowhawks, 3 Kestrels, 13 Pied Wagtails, 140 Linnets, 15 Grey Partridges, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 4 Goldfinches and 250 Wood Pigeons.
Sunday 28th August
Today I started watching the patch just before midday and finished at 2:40pm spending most of the time birding in some heavy downpours, taking this aside it was pretty good to be out especially at 12:15pm, when I recorded my first Honey Buzzard (no 103) for the year which headed east over the horse paddocks, and turned out to be a fairly interesting day for the raptors with 3 Hobby's, 2 Sparrowhawks and 5 Kestrels also noted, there was also a slight movement of hirundines including 500 Swallows mainly heading south, along with 8 House Martins, 1 Swift and 1 Sand Martin. I spent some time between the allotments/paddocks hoping to find a Wryneck but without any joy but between them it did produce 10 Whitethroats, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Chiffchaffs, 3 Blackcaps, 3 Wheatears, 1 Whinchat, 7 Yellow Wagtails, 20 Pied Wagtails, and 5 Green Woodpeckers, the best I managed in the cemo was a juvenile Cuckoo, with 200 Linnets, 4 Goldfinches, 1 Skylark and 600 Wood Pigeons over the cement works.
Saturday 27th August
With overcast conditions and some overnight rain I was hopeful of a good start to the morning, in fact the only disappointing part was having to leave at 8am, and I couldn't even cover all of the areas, but sometimes that's life and you have to take it on the chin, I started off at 5:50am, and when entering into the cemetery I couldn't believe it when I heard and then saw a Redwing near the crematorium, this is by far my earliest record for the site beating the previous record by some 18 days, in high spirits I moved on and then shortly after at 6:15am, I heard a Serin overhead which I then managed to see heading west, the morning was certainly lively and I was wondering what I may have missed during the rest of the day, when watching the allotments this also was a live wire with at least 5 Whitethroats, 8 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and a juvenile Cuckoo but I believe this total could off been more. Also noted was 2 Mediterranean Gulls over the garden of rest, 4 Crossbills east, 60 Linnets, 4 Swallows, 30 Ring-necked Parakeets, 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Kestrel. There was also Pied and Yellow Wagtails in the paddocks but I didn't have the time to record how many.
Thursday 25th August
Dave covered the area this morning and found another juvenile Cuckoo which is the 5th this autumn, also 4 Wheatears, 7 Whitethroats, 1 Willow Warbler, 17 Yellow Wagtails, 100 Swallows, 3 Swifts, 3 Sparrowhawks, 5 Kestrels, 130 Linnets, 6 Pied Wagtails and 1 Green Woodpecker, we swapped places this afternoon but I couldn't add any additions but was noticeable was 17 Grey Squirrels feeding together by the chapels.
Wednesday 24th August
At the present time for myself it's all work and no play, I eventually arrived on site at 5:15pm and stayed until 7:20pm, I didn't cover any of the cemo but stayed around the allotments/paddocks, birds noted in these areas were 14 Wheatears, 1 Whinchat, 31 Yellow Wagtails, 19 Golden Plovers east, 35 Swallows, 60 Linnets, 2 Kestrels and 6 Pied Wagtails.
Tuesday 23rd August
Dave watched the patch after the heavy rain had eased off, surprisingly it was fairly quiet with just 1 Whinchat, 2 Whitethroats, 18 Yellow Wagtails, 60 Swallows, 39 Pied Wagtails and 120 Linnets.
Sunday 21st August
Well its that time of year again where I enjoy the challenge of trying to find one of my favourites the Red-backed Shrike and Wryneck, certainly it is a good week for the latter with a few records over the years around this time, so hopefully with the right weather behind us and a little bit of lady luck there may be another. As for today I was out a little later at 12:05pm, and stayed until 2:30pm, by this time it was pretty hot and humid so I imagine most of the warblers on site were tucked away, I didn't have time to cover the cemo but I did manage 3 Whinchats first of the autumn, and 5 Wheatears which were present in the paddocks alongside 11 Yellow Wagtails. Other bits noted were 4 Willow Warblers, 10 Whitethroats, 3 Blackcaps, 14 Pied Wagtails, 3 Sparrowhawks, 4 Kestrels, 120 Linnets, 15 Grey Partridges, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 7 Mistle Thrushes and 3 Long-tailed Tits.
Saturday 20th August
I met up with Dave Gilbert early this morning and between us during the day we managed 2 Green Sandpipers west at 7:55am, also 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 12 Whitethroats, 8 Blackcaps, 2 Willow Warblers, 4 Chiffchaffs, 7 Yellow Wagtails, 40 Swallows, 10 Swifts, 2 House Martins, 19 Pied Wagtails, 3 Sparrowhawks, 3 Kestrels, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 150 Linnets, 30 Starlings, 2 Ring-necked Parakeets and 3 Jays.
Friday 19th August
Today Dave Gilbert watched the area for 5 hours which produced a good few bits, probably best of all was 3 Common Buzzards which is now the 302ND bird recorded on the patch so far this year, quite an incredible stat and their is still plenty of time this autumn for this number to increase, perhaps 400, wouldn't that be something else to smile about. Other highlights were 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 22 Whitethroats, 6 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, 1 Wheatear, 5 Sand Martins, 1 House Martin, 60 Swallows, 3 Swifts, 2 Sparrowhawks, 3 Kestrels, 19 Pied Wagtails, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 20 Linnets, 6 House Sparrows and 24 Crows.
Wednesday 17th August
I've got a bit of a busy schedule at present so today I could only watch the patch from 5:30 - 7am, birds recorded within this time included 1 Reed Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 8 Willow Warblers, 9 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, 10 Whitethroats, 40 Swallows, 4 Sparrowhawks, 2 Kestrels, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 73 Ring-necked Parakeets, 40 Linnets, 10 Starlings, 1 Jackdaw, 4 Jays and 20 Magpies.
Tuesday 16th August
I was out and about for 3 hours today in which I recorded a very respectable 43 species, I had a good look around for the Wood Warbler without any joy although the Little Owl was still present near the cement works. Other new autumn arrivals included a Common Redstart by the paddocks and 12 Golden Plovers which headed east. Other highlights were 2 Crossbills west (continuing the good autumn), 2 Hobby's 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 1 Garden Warbler, 12 Whitethroats, 4 Willow Warblers, 4 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, 5 Yellow Wagtails, 30 Swallows, 2 House Martins, 143 Ring-necked Parakeets, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Pied Wagtail, 3 Sparrowhawks, 2 Kestrels, 6 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 65 Linnets and 15 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
Monday 15th August
Wow what a day for the scarcer birds 3 in fact, between us Dave Gilbert and I watched the patch for a good 8 hours at various times of the day, and as soon as I started off at 5:30am, it had a rather good feel to it. I entered the crematorium at 5:40am, and straight away to my surprise there was a Nuthatch calling (101) which is now an incredible 4th record for the site, not surprisingly this is a very difficult bird to find in Thanet, I managed to see it (a fresh juvenile) after about 5 minutes and although it was still present when I left at 7am it was pretty mobile, soon after I recorded a Crossbill heading west and a Grey Wagtail first for the autumn south. At around 9:30am, Dave called to say he had found a Wood Warbler (102) which was once pretty regular here but now the 2nd scarce bird for the site and was seen in the same spot I had one last year which was showing very well, it was a shame I couldn't get back until about 6pm which by that time I had no luck, typical one bird I still need for the camera, even so the last scarce bird was just around the corner when I flushed a Little Owl near the cement works summing up a super day between us. Other bits noted were 8 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 15 Whitethroats, 1 Garden Warbler, 7 Blackcaps, 7 Willow Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs, 105 Swallows, 1 House Martin, 1 Wheatear, 3 Sparrowhawks, 6 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 5 Pied Wagtails, 3 Alba Wagtails, 40 Linnets, 43 Ring-necked Parakeets, 4 Jays, 2 Kestrels and a much better total of 30 House Sparrows.
Sunday 14th August
Today I was out a little late between 5-6pm, but it was pretty good considering the short time scale, best of all was 5 adult Mediterranean Gulls which headed south, also 2 Common Buzzards and a Hobby. Dave also recorded 13 Yellow Wagtails, 13 Alba Wagtails, 30 Swallows, 19 Whitethroats, 2 Willow Warblers and 2 Blackcaps.
Friday 12th August
Between us Dave Gilbert and I watched the patch from 5:20am - 1pm, and it was a good early autumn day, at first it was a bit slow but soon got into full swing when another juvenile Cuckoo the 4th returning bird so far was in the garden of rest, followed soon after with another adult Mediterranean Gull south at 6:30am, and by this time quite a few warblers were making themselves known including a singing Garden Warbler in the allotments, also 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 17 Whitethroats, 8 Willow Warblers, 8 Blackcaps and 2 Chiffchaffs, the paddocks held 2 Yellow and 17 Pied Wagtails with another good total of 8 Green Woodpeckers which were mainly seen in the crematorium. Other bits included 4 Sparrowhawks still causing mayhem, 1 Swift, 38 Swallows, 12 House Martins, 5 Kestrels, 135 Linnets, 3 Grey Partridges, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 25 Ring-necked Parakeets and 12 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
Tuesday 9th August
The last few days have been a little busy especially at the weekend where I was surveying Dormice on the Saturday followed by a trip to Berkshire on the Sunday, today was my first back since Friday and I eventually covered what I could from 6:10 - 8:00pm, which produced 1 Wheatear, 14 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Whitethroats, 3 Willow Warblers, 20 Swallows, 115 Linnets, 300 Starlings, 2 Grey Partridges, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Pied Wagtails and just 1 Ring-necked Parakeet.
Friday 5th August
I don't know what it is but at this time of year the resident Sparrowhawks seem to have a taste for Green Woodpeckers, the same happened last year when a juvenile was caught in the garden of rest, and today a year later it happened again, they must taste delicious as even the Wood Pigeons are getting away with it, certainly this week 3 juvenile Sparrowhawks have picked on these birds basically using them as target practice until they had enough, and today a juv Green Woody eventually lost it's battle in the crematorium, lets hope they leave some left I don't want these birds disappearing. Now for today's news where most surprisingly there was no Willow Warblers, but the first returning Wheatear was in the paddocks and a Sedge Warbler was in the allotments, others noted were 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 11 Blackcaps, 17 Whitethroats, 3 Chiffchaffs, 10 Swallows, 4 Sparrowhawks, 4 Green Woodpeckers (was 5), 28 Linnets, 20 Ring-necked Parakeets and 2 Pied Wagtails. I must admit Warren that a rarity does mean more and a record shot is always good, if only we knew when rarities were going to turn up but that takes the fun out of it I suppose.
Thursday 4th August
I just about got home this morning before the heavy showers arrived, I started off at the same time 5:30am, and it was a little more quiet around the area in the few hours I had. Whilst walking around I was a little bit in dream land just thinking about the wonderful times I have had with the quality of birds seen on the patch, walking all the different areas brings back so many good memories, but on the downside isn't it a big shame that 10/20 years ago photographic equipment even then wasn't all that, some of the photo shots I could of had with birds like Subalpine Warbler, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Crossbills, Great Grey Shrike and so on, having a second rate camera at the time was pretty pointless apart from record shots, even though I have quite a few my ultimate future aim would be to get all species seen on the patch photographed, this time I am in a better position, but in reality some of the above probably no chance, especially G.S.C but who knows what is around the corner some MEGA with a crisp photo would also be the dream. Anyway today's sightings included 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 17 Whitethroats, 7 Blackcaps, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warblers, 15 Swallows, 5 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Sparrowhawks, 53 Ring-necked Parakeets, 20 Linnets, 2 Pied Wagtails, 4 Jays and 1 Jackdaw. The above picture shows a family of Greenfinches which are getting very very tame in the front garden and on occasions seen sitting on the front lounge window ledge. Thanks also to Alan for the comments hopefully this juvenile Cuckoo may hang on a bit i'm pretty sure this is the 3rd bird so far this autumn and the Med Gull numbers were a surprise.
Wednesday 3rd August
Swallows and House Martins
Today brought another unexpected bonus, I watched the area from 5:30 - 7:30am and then returned this evening for another 2 hours. The best highlight was 10 adult Mediterranean Gulls which headed south over the cemetery at 5:35am, which is also a patch record for the largest count, and soon after at 6:10am, 2 Crossbills headed east. Other bits noted included another juvenile Cuckoo, 1 Garden Warbler, 9 Blackcaps, 12 Whitethroats, 3 Willow Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 16 Swallows, 6 Swifts, 2 Sparrowhawks, 20 Ring-necked Parakeets, 5 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 54 Linnets, 1 Pied Wagtail, 4 Jays 18 Greenfinches and 217 Black-headed Gulls. Also another 30 House Martins, 45 Swallows and 30 Sand Martins spent the day around the garden/roof top and sitting on nearby wires with the latter a great garden record followed by a Hobby over at 5:30pm.
Tuesday 2nd August
One of the most frustrating things about birding is when you're having a good day and then you have to leave when its getting even more better, I certainly for one hate it and I'm probably not the only one who feels that way, when leaving the house at 5:15am there was already a singing Willow Warbler in the garden which was joined by 2 Blackcaps, I then proceeded on to the patch where it was quite lively, certainly in the respect off early Swallows and Swifts which were heading south with 29 of each respectively, but the good bird for the cemo arrived at 6am, when I heard and then saw a Green Sandpiper (100th bird on the patch so far this year) heading south, it was then followed by 13 Crossbills also calling and seen heading south at 6:35am, (don't worry Warren I am trying to push them you're way you will get them soon it looks promising for good numbers this autumn), following on from that was 16 Whitethroats, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Blackcaps, 5 Willow Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff, 5 Lapwings, 5 Sparrowhawks, 1 Chaffinch, 5 Green Woodpeckers, 20 Linnets, 1 Kestrel, 20 Ring-necked Parakeets, 2 Rooks, 1 Pied Wagtail, 4 Jays, 10 Magpies, 2 Goldfinches, 1 Long-tailed Tit and 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Then I had to leave at 7am. Of interest there was also lots of Swallows, House Martins and the odd Sand Martin sun bathing on my roof this afternoon and flying around the garden, the above picture is just 1 of 80 House Martins which enjoyed the good weather.
Monday 1st August
With the first day of August under way I certainly cannot wait for the autumn birding to get in full swing, today I covered the patch for a few hours starting off at 5:30am, and it didn't fair that bad with the main highlight being 5 Crossbills which headed west at 7am, other bits included 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Willow Warblers, 7 Blackcaps, 12 Whitethroats, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 16 Swallows, 5 Sparrowhawks, 22 Ring-necked Parakeets, 5 Green Woodpeckers, 10 Linnets, 2 Kestrels, 2 Goldfinches, 1 Pied Wagtail and 15 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.