29 February 2012

Wednesday 29th February

Spring is on it's way
Although at first it was a bit on the cold side, it soon brightened up to feel like a nice spring day. Dave and I watched the area from 8:30am - 12:45pm, recording 3 Firecrests which showed very well near the crematorium and 4 Chiffchaffs (including 2 singing birds). Probably the most interesting today was a westerly movement of 2,000+ Black-headed Gulls which basically started as soon as we arrived, but unfortunately there was no Med Gulls in with them (that we could see) and only 10 Common Gulls. Also of interest was a good count of 8 Green Woodpeckers and 6 Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Other bits noted were 3 Long-tailed Tits, 7 Chaffinches, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Meadow Pipit, 2 Skylarks, 5 Goldcrests, 7 Linnets, 15 Goldfinches, 1 Kestrel, 11 Jackdaws, 2 Rooks, 3 Pied Wagtails, 6 Mistle Thrushes, 13 Stock Doves, 20 Magpies, 30 Starlings, 500 Wood Pigeons and again just 1 House Sparrow.

Tuesday 28th February

I know how he feels!!
Today I was out from 8:30am - 12:30pm, in what turned out to be a fairly good day. I recorded a total of 38 species which was pretty good in February. There was also a little bit more going on with a few small bits moving overhead, and a late flurry of raptors. The morning started of well with 2 Crossbills heading west, followed by 3 Firecrests and 3 Chiffchaffs near the crem. Bits moving through included 35 Redwings west, 1 Siskin west, 15 Chaffinches east, 7 Skylarks and 4 Meadow Pipits. It wasn't until the clouds eventually broke at 11:20am, that I had my first raptor which was a Peregrine, and then a quick 10 minute spell of 1 Common Buzzard north, 3 Sparrowhawks north and 1 Kestrel. Other bits noted were 7 Goldcrests, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 14 Stock Doves, 43 Magpies, 3 Ring-necked Parakeets, 60 Common Gulls, 30 Black-headed Gulls, 20 Starlings, 1 House Sparrow!!, 8 Mistle Thrushes, 3 Pied Wagtails, 3 Goldfinches and 2000+ Wood Pigeons. 

Monday 27th February

Today was a pretty miserable affair, there was no overhead vis mig and the cemo was lively with people (some banqueting taking place), so Dave and I called it a day after about 2 hours. Although this was the case we did record a few bits including 4 Firecrests, 4 Chiffchaffs, 2 Crossbills north/east, 2 Siskins east, 2 Goldcrests, 10 Chaffinches, 1 Grey Heron north/east, 40 Common Gulls, 40 Black-headed Gulls, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Skylark, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 20 Magpies, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 30 Starlings, 6 Jays, 3 Rooks, 3 Linnets and 1 House Sparrow.

Sunday 26th February

I couldn't get out birding today so Dave Gilbert covered the patch, but in truth I wasn't to bothered as it has been a super day, of course I'm a very happy man with Liverpool eventually winning the Carling Cup Final, watching the game later Cardiff certainly gave the reds a very good game and could count themselves a little unlucky, but I suppose Liverpool were going to be favourites for the penalties although at one time it didn't look that way. My daughter also had a brilliant Ballet performance so I went home with a big smile on my face. On the birding side Dave watched the patch for just under 4 hours recording 3 Firecrests, 4 Chiffchaffs, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Sparrowhawk,12 Jackdaws north/east, 2 Jays, 25 Chaffinches, 8 Goldfinches, 8 Greenfinches, 2 House Sparrows, 12 Blackbirds, 8 Robins, 4 Song Thrushes, 3 Mistle Thrushes, 3 Long-tailed Tits,12 Skylarks, 6 Lapwings, 56 Crows, 30 Magpies, 1 Kestrel and 1 Grey Heron

Friday 24th February

Gutted but excited,the latter is the way I'm hopefully going to feel this Sunday. The biggest disappointment was that I managed to get a ticket for the Liverpool v Cardiff Carling Cup Final on Sunday which I have had to give back due to my Daughter's first Ballet Performance on stage (which I dare not miss), but never mind you can't win them all and hopefully I will be a happy man come 6pm, and its about time Liverpool won another trophy so good luck lads, hopefully for me the F.A Cup Final may be another option. Anyway now for today's news, Dave and I watched the patch from 9:30am - 12:30pm, which was pretty quiet, there was no obvious movement of any kind but at least we recorded a Brent Goose (no 62 for the cemo year list which headed north), we also recorded 1 Firecrest and 4 Chiffchaffs including a singing bird by the main entrance (which now I presume may be an early spring migrant). Apart from that there was 17 Chaffinches, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 4 Goldcrests, 1 Kestrel, 13 Mistle Thrushes, 50 Common Gulls, 5 Ring-necked Parakeets, 3 Pied Wagtails, 7 Linnets, 1 Meadow Pipit, 7 Skylarks, 600 Wood Pigeons, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 20 Starlings, 15 Magpies and 30 Black-headed Gulls.

Thursday 23rd February

What a superb day to be out and about with glorious sunshine and warming temperatures Dave and I certainly made the most of it, and it was also pretty good bird wise. Before I got on site Dave found a Mute Swan (a patch rarity) heading north over the paddocks, and which is only the 3rd record for the site and no (61 for the year list). There was also 2 Crossbills west, and a remaining Woodcock which was also by the paddocks. The day also looked good for a possible raptor and in turn did produce 1 Common Buzzard north/east, 6 Sparrowhawks and 3 Kestrels. We couldn't find any Firecrests today but did locate 3 Chiffchaffs by the crematorium. Also noted was 2 Siskins west, 3 Goldcrests, 3 Redwings, 2 Jackdaws, 7 Chaffinches, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 25 Stock Doves, 15 Common Gulls, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Green Woodpecker, 7 Linnets, 3 Goldfinches, 30 Black-headed Gulls, 7 Skylarks, 1 Pied Wagtail, 6 Mistle Thrushes, 400+ Wood Pigeons and 20 Magpies. There was also 1 Peacock and 2 Red Admiral Butterflies, and a Hare in the garden of rest.  

Wednesday 22nd February

Come on you Buzzards, today once again was a fairly quiet affair but Dave and I will certainly swap that for the start of, well hopefully the Buzzard season. We was pretty sure that we missed some yesterday but today we had 5 Common Buzzards which all headed north/west from 9:45 - 10:30am. It was certainly a cold day out there and not surprisingly it took a while to relocate the only Firecrest which was by the crematorium, followed by a singing Chiffchaff near the main entrance (probably the wintering bird). Other bits noted were 4 Goldcrests, 3 Sparrowhawks, 1 Fieldfare, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 6 Mistle Thrushes, 10 Linnets, 6 Chaffinches, 2 Goldfinches, 5 Long-tailed Tits, 30 Common Gulls, 1,200 Wood Pigeons (mostly in the paddocks), 1 Meadow Pipit and 2 Skylarks.  

Tuesday 21st February

Although there was a couple of nice birds today, in general it was a bit on the quiet side. Dave and I watched the patch for about 2 hours recording the ever present 3 Firecrests (still a nightmare to get a proper photo), also 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrests, 1 Redwing, 5 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Kestrel, 800+ Wood Pigeons, 13 Skylarks, 1 Corn Bunting (only the 2nd recorded so far this year), 13 Stock Doves, 4 Long-tailed Tits, 15 Common Gulls, 1 Pied Wagtail, 6 Mistle Thrushes, 6 Jays, 7 Linnets, 10 Chaffinches, 3 Goldfinches and 10 Greenfinches, and for the first time in a little while no Woodcocks. The gulls also got up pretty frantically at 11am, but we didn't see anything, but it isn't far off Common Buzzard season.

Monday 20th February

White Squirrel
I couldn't do any weekend birding due to spending some time in London with the family visiting the excellent Science Museum etc, which to be honest was superb. Today Dave and I met up just after 10am in glorious weather and pretty much straight away 3 Firecrests were located by the crematorium where at times they were showing very very well, there was also 2 Crossbills which headed north/east and at least 4 Woodcocks remained, to which one bird showed briefly in the open. There was no new year ticks and it also looks like the male Bullfinch has finally departed in one way or another. Others recorded were 2 Chiffchaffs, 20 Chaffinches, 6 Long-tailed Tits, 4 Goldcrests, 3 Goldfinches, 5 Linnets, 3 Pied Wagtails, 4 Mistle Thrushes, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 3 Rooks, 1 Jackdaw, 1 Kestrel, 2 Ring-necked Parakeets, 2 House Sparrows, 3 Jays and 10 Common Gulls, there was also 1 Hare and 1 White Squirrel with the latter feeding extremely close to us in the cemo.

Friday 17th February

At long last Iv'e found me nuts!!
Between us Dave and I watched the patch for just over 5 hours, it was certainly enjoyable and considering all of the snow has gone, along with current mild temperatures we were a little surprised to find 7 remaining Woodcocks, but saying that after some recent hard weather some of the birds were becoming more noticeable including 3 Firecrests near the cement works, and 3 Chiffchaffs which were lingering with several Long-tailed Tits. A very good total of 6+ Great Spotted Woodpeckers were present in the cemo along with 2 Green Woodpeckers, but Goldcrest numbers remained a little low with just 3 birds near the garden of rest. Others noted were 1 Sparrowhawk east, 2 Kestrels, 9 Linnets, 1 Goldfinch, 10 Chaffinches, 5 Jackdaws, 2 Rooks, 25 Common Gulls, 13 Stock Doves, 250 Wood Pigeons, 1 Pied Wagtail, 3 Skylarks, 10 Robins, 2 Mistle Thrushes and 2 Jays

Thursday 16th February

Today I had a lovely family day out at the Hop Farm Paddock Wood, so I left the birding to Dave who had quite a nice little day. Still remaining was 2 Woodcocks but there was also a casualty to a Sparrowhawk which was found by the cement works. Also noted was a male Peregrine behind the paddocks and 1 Chiffchaff in the cemo, but a few more common birds seen including 4 Skylarks, 8 Robins, 250 Wood Pigeons, 12 Stock Doves, 1 Kestrel, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Green Woodpecker, 16 Linnets, 8 Redwings, 4 Mistle Thrushes, 12 Chaffinches, 1 Goldfinch, 4 Jays, 38 Magpies, 18 Blackbirds, 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Pied Wagtail. 

Monday 13th February

Dave covered the cemo today for 2 hours which produced another 5 Woodcocks, also 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Green Woodpecker, 6 Fieldfares, 4 Mistle Thrushes, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Sparrowhawks, 16 Chaffinches, 450 Wood Pigeons, 7 Robins, 8 Jays and 1 Lapwing. 

Sunday 12th February

I was unable to get out today so Dave Gilbert kindly covered some of the patch for just under 2 hours, the best highlights recorded in this time was 1 Chiffchaff, 62 Goldfinches, 58 Greenfinches, 60 Linnets (very good February count) and 38 Redwings. 

Saturday 11th February

I just had a very very quick few minutes today so I picked out a couple of good areas which produced 3 Woodcocks, 3 Firecrests, 1 Bullfinch and 1 Chiffchaff.

Friday 10th February

I managed today to get out a little earlier at 8:15am and left just before midday, with the snow gradually clearing away it doesn't seem possible that in the last few days Dave and I in places have been walking through fairly deep snow drifts. But has it been worth it yes it certainly has with a superb count (so far) of 150+ Woodcocks and (weather dependant) we are not even half way through February, today for the third day in a row there was another 11 birds most of which were recorded in the garden of rest, (but I didn't see my mate from yesterday). Today also produced another year tick when a Tree Sparrow was heard and then seen heading west over the paddocks, followed by 2 Crossbills which I eventually tracked down in the cemo before heading north. Shock of the day was yet another Firecrest with now 5 birds present, these birds tend to favour an area of brambles by the crematorium, 3 showed very well with one even feeding on the ground, I didn't see the Chiffchaff but the Bullfinch was in its favoured location. Other bits noted were 13 Fieldfares, 5 Redwings, 4 Goldcrests, 12 Lapwings, 41 Stock Doves, 4 Chaffinches, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 3 Goldfinches, 2 Sparrowhawks, 3 Mistle Thrushes, 4 Jays, 1 Skylark, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 House Sparrow (wow), 6 Starlings, 15 Magpies and 300+ Wood Pigeons.

Thursday 9th February

CHEESE AND HAM SAVES THE DAY (or does it). Today I set out at 9:50am and finished at 12:40pm, and it was hopefully a day to remember but will have to see. I took this picture of a Woodcock at a fair distance away but when getting closer to the bird I saw that it was in some distress, not only that but the bird was completely exhausted and without any energy to fly away. It also looked starving so what could I do well not much I thought but in the good old rucksack was a cheese quiche and ham sandwiches (well it was worth a try), I crumbled up what I could and put it alongside the bird thinking at the time what am I doing, but blow me down he started eating it (with a little difficulty I might add), and then another bit and so on for about 10 minutes, unfortunately I only had coffee for afters so I gave that a miss!!, I then left the bird to its own devices whether it will survive or not I don't know but at least we gave it a go, and it was quite amusing in one respect or another. This bird was 1 of 11 Woodcocks today, there was also 4 Firecrests now present including 3 together by the crem with another calling by the garden of rest. Today also produced the male Bullfinch in its usual place, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Brambling west, 53 Fieldfares, 9 Redwings (with more unseen overhead), 30 Skylarks (west), 10 Lapwings, 41 Stock Doves, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Sparrowhawk, 12 Linnets, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 4 Chaffinches, 6 Starlings, 2 Goldfinches, 5 Rooks, 3 Mistle Thrushes and 5 Jays.      

Wednesday 8th February

Dave Gilbert and I covered the area from 8:45 - 11:40am, and once again it didn't disappoint. So far its certainly been a good year and there was another 3 species today to add to the year list. First of all was 2 Oystercatchers which headed north over the cement works, followed shortly afterwards with a Snipe in the same direction but it didn't stop there when a Blackcap was noted (a rare winter visitor here), near the crematorium. Overnight saw the dispersal of many Woodcocks with just 11 recorded, but at least the 3 Firecrests remained along with the male Bullfinch by the garden of rest. There was a small arrival of 14 Redwings and 4 Fieldfares also 2 Crossbills which headed north/east. Other bits included 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrests, 1 Kestrel, 4 Chaffinches, 11 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 2 Goldfinches

Tuesday 7th February

Woodcock (now that's a good view)
Today yet again was another impressive one, Dave and I set out at 9:30am and finished just after midday with a good bird list, and another bonus as shown above. For the second day running the main headlines belonged to another excellent total of 41 Woodcocks, many of the birds this time were recorded in the crematorium with 19 being noted, along with a further 9 along the cemetery wall by the cement works, others were pretty much scattered around with the other best count being 6 by the garden of rest. When heading towards the allotments Dave and I found a bird sitting tightly by the fence, seeing us it tried to escape but instead of flying off it kept on colliding with it so after a short spell of watching this I decided to help the bird out rather than it trying to injure itself. Dave Gilbert then took the photo of this rather superb bird, in fact it was quite relaxed in my hand for a good 5 minutes without the urge to leave. Seeing it this close up just shows the magnificent camouflaged plumage it has, eventually it left but it was a lovely experience to handle one of my favorite winter birds. Today's other sightings included 3 Firecrests showing together by the crem, and the male Bullfinch in its normal spot, there was also 1 Chiffchaff and 2 Reed Buntings (new for the year list) which headed north over the main entrance, 1 Fieldfare 1 Redwing, 10 Lapwings, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 4 Goldcrests, 3 Ring-necked Parakeets, 3 Chaffinches, 3 Long-tailed Tits and 3 Goldfinches. It was also nice to have a chat to a lovely group of birders down from Ashford and Bexley, I hope you all had a good day.

Monday 6th February

Woodcock (1 of 49 present today)
What a day this was, I couldn't wait to get to the patch this morning to carry out my Woodcock patrol, the cemetery has been pretty much undisturbed these last couple of days and the snow in places was pretty deep (especially around the paddocks), I started off at 9:20am and finished at 1pm, and in that time recording some nice bird species, but to be honest the main interest today was a record total for the patch of 49 Woodcocks, which basically appeared as soon as I entered the cemo, they almost seemed to be anywhere I ventured, apart from the single and 2 birds that I flushed together on several occasions they were also recorded in 4 groups with 11, 9, 8 and 5 birds respectively, with the best areas being along the cemetery wall by the cement works where their was 20 birds alone. I was also joined by Dave Gilbert and then Chris Hurst for about 10 minutes who also enjoyed watching the spectacle. I also found a bird about 1 foot away from me which stayed for about 5 minutes as we stared each other out, and in fact was to close to record a photo shot. But eventually I did with a part bird showing under some bramble, which is only the second best photo I have ever recorded. Away from this Dave and I managed to record 3 Firecrests near the crematorium and 2 Chiffchaffs by the main entrance. The male Bullfinch was also on show with 4 Golden Plovers and 30 Lapwings recorded in the paddocks. Other bits noted were 4 Goldcrests, 10 Redwings, 8 Fieldfares, 2 Meadow Pipits, 4 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Kestrel, 10 Goldfinches, 1 Green Woodpecker, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Grey Heron west, 4 Ring-necked Parakeets, 2 Common Gulls, 30 Stock Doves, 3 Mistle Thrushes, 2 Linnets, 4 Chaffinches, 2 House Sparrows and 10 Starlings.

Sunday 5th February

Waking up this morning to the sight of heavy snow was excellent, but the only problem was that I couldn't cover the patch today due to my daughter's 4 hour ballet rehearsal for her show, followed by a good friend's christening so I phoned up Dave Gilbert to see whether or not he was available instead to hopefully carry out a successful Woodcock hunt, luckily he obliged without hesitation and achieved his task without any problem. Today Dave found 19 Woodcocks in the cemo (and without even venturing in to the allotments or paddocks), where I'm pretty sure a few more would of occurred. Apart from that it was quiet for the smaller birds with just 1 Chiffchaff and 1 Firecrest of note, also singles of Fieldfare and Redwing,  but at least there was 19 Greenfinches, 2 Pied Wagtails and 2 Green Woodpeckers. We are both meeting up tomorrow so I'm hoping for another good response. Of interest my pictures of the Waxwing in November and Yellow-browed Warbler in October 2011 are now on. I have also changed my heading (apologies for this) but the other had to go due to the HTML code problems of the older blog.      

Friday 3rd February

Distant Mediterranean Gull
Today I watched the area pretty late from 12:40 - 2:30pm, but although quiet for the common birds the others fared much different. When I entered the main entrance I was greeted by 2 Firecrests which showed very well in bramble by the crematorium, and was followed by 2 Woodcocks flushed near the cement works, and a Chiffchaff by the garden of rest. The paddocks didn't do to bad either with 27 Golden Plovers and 13 Lapwings, but best of all was a Mediterranean Gull which flew behind and towards Westwood Cross (hence distant record shot). Other goodies included the male Bullfinch in its favourite location. Other bits noted were 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 3 Goldcrests, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Ring-necked Parakeets 1 Kestrel, 1 Grey Heron west, 2 Goldfinches, 5 Chaffinches, 5 Common Gulls, 20 Black-headed Gulls and 1 Redwing.    

Thursday 2nd February
Hell was that a biting northerly wind today but at least there was a few good birds around. First of all there was 2 Peregrines which were hunting pigeons by the paddocks, unfortunately they didn't catch anything well that's what I thought, but on a further investigation there was pigeon feathers scattered everywhere so they had already carried out their business. I didn't stay to long around the paddocks and decided to spend most of the time in the cemo where to my surprise there was once again 2 Firecrests, one of which showed very well but still a little S--- to photograph, there was also 1 Chiffchaff and of course my good old friend the male Bullfinch which was happily feeding near the crematorium. In total I spent about 2 hours out today with the rest of the sightings being 9 Golden Plovers, 13 Lapwings, 1 Woodcock, 1 Redwing and 8 Chaffinches.

Wednesday 1st February

Today was great not only did I record another new species for the cemo but also 4 more for the year list. Being a lot colder than yesterday I went over in the hope of finding Woodcock as so far this year I have failed miserably, in fact the only record was Colin Musselwhite's sole bird in early January. I watched the area from 9:20 - 11:50am, and luckily my predictions were right when I manged to see (or flush is more like it) 8 Woodcocks which included 6 birds in the allotments (all together) and 2 more in the cemo. But to be honest the best record was to come when a Dunlin (new bird for the recording area), was seen feeding in the horse paddocks alongside several Lapwings, an unexpected record by far but what a treat. This was 1 of 4 year ticks today with the others being 1000+ Lapwings mostly in fields adjacent to the paddocks, 66 Golden Plovers and 2 Fieldfares which headed over when I was just leaving. Overwintering migrants didn't disappoint with the lingering Firecrest by the cement works (which then flew over towards the rubbish dump is this the last I see of it), 1 Chiffchaff and the ever so present male Bullfinch near the crematorium. Others noted were 6 Goldcrests, 8 Long-tailed Tits, 15 Chaffinches, 4 Skylarks, 6 Linnets, 7 Goldfinches, 2 Redwings, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 15 Common Gulls, 15 Magpies, 5 Mistle Thrushes, 3 Ring-necked Parakeets, 15 Stock Doves and 1 House Sparrow (my first for a few days).   


Alan Pavey said...

Always good to add a patch tick Steve, nice one. Good Woodcock numbers too.

Warren Baker said...

Dunlin in a paddock! There is hope for one on my patch yet then :-)

Steve Tomlinson said...

Hi Alan, Woodcocks have always done well here in the winter and in fairly good numbers especially in much colder conditions as expected.

Hi Warren, the Dunlin record was a bit mad but probably present due to the colder weather, the last crazy record like this was off 2 Sanderlings in excatly the same place.

Marc Heath said...

Seems the cold weather has pushed these Woodcocks everywhere at last. Who know what else will arrive in the next few days.

Steve Tomlinson said...

It could be good marc, lets hope for some snow in a birding respect,prehaps some Waxwings would be nice.

Alan Pavey said...

I see what you mean about the Woodcocks now :-)

Steve Tomlinson said...

It's gone a bit mad with the Woodcocks Alan, but there was a big clearout today.

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