30 March 2012

Friday 30th March

Red Kite (1 of 10 Today)
Dave and I are currently as high as a kite well literally, what a day. Due to other commitments I couldn't watch the patch until 12:20pm, so Dave started out on his own at 8:30am finally finishing at 3:30pm. The day without doubt belonged to the raptors but in fairness there was a pretty decent selection of migrants. On my arrival I straight away switched on to 4 Common Buzzards heading north/east, but little did I know that just 5 minutes before at 12:15pm, Dave had just recorded 6 of the 10 Red Kites today heading north/east, gutted well a little I must admit, but who cares it's a new cemo record by a long way and good luck to him, but my luck soon changed for the good as we both continued to raptor watch when an Osprey headed north/west at 1:30pm, which is also the first bird here for a few years, and was then followed by another 4 Red Kites including 2 birds east at 1:35pm, 1 east at 1:53pm and 1 east at 2pm, to the shear delight of the local gulls. Of course it wouldn't be the same without the arrival of 16 Common Buzzards with many heading north/east from (11am - 1:35pm). As it was so good sky watching it was fair to say that some places didn't get the same coverage, but even so we did record the first Sand Martin of the year, 2 Swallows, 1 White Wagtail, 5 Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaffs, 3 Siskins north, 53 Redwings, 41 Ring-necked Parakeets, 4 Sparrowhawks, 3 Kestrels, 4 Pied Wagtails, 36 Linnets, 2 Chaffinches, 4 Jays, 11 Jackdaws, 4 Mistle Thrushes and 4 House Sparrows, we now go home extremely happy people especially as there was another Red Kite over my house at 3:10pm, what a month.

Thursday 29th March

I watched the area from 10:45am - 1:30pm, and pretty much on arrival the gulls went mad over Margate Hospital, I quickly scanned the area to find without doubt the best bird of the day a Red Kite which headed north/west over the allotments at 10:55am, I don't record these very often so this was a much welcome bonus, later on I had a text from Phil Milton at 1pm noting 3 more birds were heading north but on this occasion I had no luck. After that excitement I carried on where it felt like another good day was on its way, this did happen when a Crossbill headed north, followed soon after by 2 Lesser Redpolls and 1 Siskin. Other spring migrants included 1 Swallow, 3 Blackcaps, 1 White Wagtail and 2 Chiffchaffs, I then went for a raptor watch which produced 3 Common Buzzards west from 12:10 - 12:25pm, 2 Sparrowhawks and 4 Kestrels. Other bits noted were 1 Redwing, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Green Woodpecker, 7 Jackdaws, 4 Meadow Pipits, 7 Skylarks, 2 Ring-necked Parakeets, 1 Pied Wagtail, 4 House Sparrows, 7 Linnets, 3 Chaffinches and 2 Grey Partridges.     

Wednesday 28th March

Welcome Back (Swallow) 1 of 3 Today
Unable to do the early mornings at present I once again set out around 9:45am and left at 12:45pm, in what turned out to be another hot and sunny day, on arrival it felt good and it certainly started off well with the first of 3 Swallows sitting high up on wires by the paddocks with the other 2 heading west later on. There was also a slight increase in warblers with 4 Blackcaps (all males) and 8 Chiffchaffs, along with 7 White Wagtails  present near the garden of rest. A surprise of the day was a Little Owl seen briefly in the children's section of the cemetery, and of course the day wouldn't go a miss without a raptor watch which this time produced a total of 5 Sparrowhawks north, 3 Kestrels and 5 Common Buzzards north/east between 12:10 - 12:30pm. There was also a little vis mig with a Brambling north, 1 Siskin north, 7 Redwings, 1 Fieldfare, 17 Jackdaws north/west and 1 Snipe west. Other bits included 2 Pied Wagtails, 6 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 4 Meadow Pipits, 7 Skylarks, 4 Ring-necked Parakeets, 10 Linnets, 3 Rooks, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 25 Magpies, 300 Wood Pigeons and 4 Stock Doves.  

Tuesday 27th March

Common Buzzard
It was another glorious day which generally belonged to the raptors but overall it was pretty good all round. Dave and I watched the area from 8:10am - 1:30pm, recording another early spring migrant when a Swallow was feeding around the paddocks followed by 4 White Wagtails. Warblers today included another 3 Blackcaps which were all singing, and 3 Chiffchaffs which spent most of the time around the garden of rest. Once again we couldn't resist another raptor watch and started off at 10:30am, and didn't have to wait to long before the first of 21 Common Buzzards arrived, followed with a further 16 north/east at 12:10pm, and 4 birds west at 1:10pm, other raptors within this time period included 9 Sparrowhawks and 3 Kestrels. Away from this there was also 1 Lesser Redpoll east, 9 Jays, 1 Fieldfare, 4 Redwings, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Green Woodpecker, 4 Meadow Pipits, 7 Skylarks, 2 Pied Wagtails, 7 Linnets, 3 Goldfinches, 7 Jackdaws and 7 Chaffinches.

Monday 26th March

Today was once again back to some glorious weather along with some nice spring migrants, I watched the patch from 8:45am - 12:45pm, and when venturing into the allotments I heard a Willow Warbler singing in the garden of rest, not only the first good bird of the morning, but also my earliest ever record for this species here which was currently (30th March), this set up the rest of the day when there was 6 White Wagtails in the paddocks and my 3rd Blackcap of the spring near the children's area, where I just managed a record shot before it disappeared. I went for a raptor watch at 10:30am and by 12:15pm I had only recorded 3 Sparrowhawks and 3 Kestrels, but drifting slowly over the cemo at 12:20pm was exactly what I was waiting for, but little did I know that just a single bird quickly turned into 35 Common Buzzards which were pretty much tail-gating each other from a northerly direction and which then after 10 minutes headed off slowly back north/east. It was another fantastic sight seeing these birds in such good numbers, and to my surprise on this occasion the local gulls barely blinked an eye, this is now the 104th bird recorded so far this March and no 111 for the year, way above the total set in March 2011. I had to go just after, leaving the question of how many more could there of been. Other bits today included 6 Chiffchaffs, 3 Siskins west, 2 Fieldfares, 6 Redwings, 2 Goldcrests, 12 Jays, 2 Lapwings west, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 25 Linnets, 7 Goldfinches, 10 Chaffinches, 4 Meadow Pipits, 7 Skylarks, 20 Magpies, 4 Pied Wagtails, 6 Ring-necked Parakeets, 10 Jackdaws, 15 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 1 Common Gull, 350 Wood Pigeons, 3 Stock Doves and 4 House Sparrows (the latter a rare treat these days).

Sunday 25th March

Dave covered the patch today in thick mist and poor visibility, not surprising that he recorded just 1 Chiffchaff and 2 Fieldfares

Saturday 24th March

I didn't get out today until 11:30am and had to finish at 1pm, so there was limited time in most areas, best of the birds was 4 White Wagtails in the paddocks and a male Blackcap in the allotments. The cemo produced 40 Meadow Pipits heading west.

Friday 23rd March

It was another day of glorious weather which produced our first Wheatear of the year present in the paddocks followed by 4 White Wagtails, but generally it was pretty quiet with little vis mig going on, but Dave and I didn't mind that much as we still recorded another 11 Common Buzzards north/west from 11am - 2pm, with most of the birds coming through around 1:30pm. Other bits included 4 Sparrowhawks, 2 Fieldfares, 1 Redwing, 1 Siskin, 19 Meadow Pipits, 2 Kestrels, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Long-tailed Tits and 2 Pied Wagtails.

Thursday 22nd March

Today was extremely quiet even with 6 hours of coverage, certainly some of first spring migrants have pushed on and now we await the next batch. Best of all was a Merlin which headed east over the paddocks at 12:50pm, 4 Sparrowhawks north/east and 2 Chiffchaffs in the cemo. Yep that was basically it.  

Wednesday 21st March

Today was another glorious one with hot sunny spells and a light south/easterly wind, but saying that it was a lot quieter than yesterday but it still produced a new year tick and a very nice surprise. Dave and I watched the area from 7:10am - 1pm, with the main highlight being a Little Owl (new year tick) over the paddocks, followed by the surprise of the day a Harris Hawk which was also seen heading west over the paddocks at 10:30am, to the delight of the local gulls. Although classed as an escape this was a stunning bird nevertheless as we watched it slowly disappear after a good 5 minutes, and which is also the 2nd record for the patch. Other bits today included 1 White Wagtail, 7 Chiffchaffs, 1 Crossbill west, 4 Common Buzzards north/west between 9:50 - 10:40am, 4 Sparrowhawks, 1 Siskin, 2 Kestrels, 3 Goldcrests, 2 Redwings, 2 Pied Wagtails, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Green Woodpecker, 7 Chaffinches, 2 Meadow Pipits, 20 Jackdaws south/west, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 4 Goldfinches, 10 Linnets and 20 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.    

Tuesday 20th March

Dave and I arrived on site at 8:10am and left at 1:30pm, which turned out to be a pretty decent day recording a very respectable 47 species, first bird of the morning was a male Blackcap singing in the crem, and once again there was an excellent spring total of 14 Chiffchaffs around the cemo, and a Firecrest near the garden of rest. A wander to the paddocks produced 4 White Wagtails, with 1 Crossbill, 4 Siskins, 1 Brambling, 1 Fieldfare and 2 Redwings overhead. The raptor watch was more difficult today but we did see 7 very high Common Buzzards heading south/east between 11:40am - 12:10pm, 11 Sparrowhawks north/west and a Peregrine north. Other bits noted were 2 Kestrels, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Green Woodpecker, 7 Goldfinches, 7 Pied Wagtails, 10 Chaffinches, 3 Goldcrests, 11 Meadow Pipits north, 10 Skylarks, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Ring-necked Parakeet, 30 Magpies, 13 Stock Doves, 27 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 40 Jackdaws south/west, 30 Starlings, 3 House Sparrows (a slight improvement) and 200 Wood Pigeons.       

Monday 19th March

High Common Buzzards
After a hectic day yesterday it was once again back to some kind of normality, on such a glorious day who could resist another good few hours out and about. After a very good start to the month Dave and I watched the area from 8:30am - 1:30pm, and which started very well with 13 Chiffchaffs scattered around the cemo (a very good spring count), and a Firecrest by the crematorium. It felt good for another raptor day and so it proved recording 19 Common Buzzards with 1 bird south at 11am, and 18 birds south between 12:10-15pm including 8 and 5 birds together respectively. The raptors didn't stop there when a female Peregrine headed west, and a total of 9 Sparrowhawks and 2 Kestrels headed north/east. I'm still awaiting my first Wheatear but at least a White Wagtail remained in the paddocks. There was a little vis mig with 14 Siskins north, 1 Brambling, 17 Redwings, 15 Chaffinches and 30 Jackdaws heading south/west. Other bits included 6 Pied Wagtails, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Goldcrests, 2 Grey Partridges, 3 Meadow Pipits, 10 Skylarks, 2 Ring-necked Parakeets, 3 Rooks, 30 Starlings, 40 Magpies, 300 Wood Pigeons, 2 Goldfinches, 3 Mistle Thrushes and 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.   

Sunday 18th March

As expected today (Mother's Day) the cemo was pretty heaving so I concentrated all of my brief efforts on the paddocks/raptor watching. I only had an hour so I started out at 11:30am, and finished at 12:30pm, recording 1 Marsh Harrier east, which is  also a new year tick, 1 Common Buzzard south, 4 Sparrowhawks north, 4 White Wagtails, 1 Chiffchaff and 6 Lapwings. Talking to the local landowner he recorded 3 Wheatears by the paddocks early this morning.   

Friday 16th March

**NEW BIRD FOR THE RECORDING AREA** Well what a month this is turning out to be, today Dave Gilbert and I watched the patch from 8:15am - 1pm, which weather wise was pretty nippy at the best of times, but who cares when you come across another cemo tick the 2nd in a matter of 4 days. On the 13th March Dave Gilbert finds 7 RUFF, and today when watching the paddocks trying to locate a passing Mediterranean Gull something else got our attention, straight away we both recognised the call, and to our excitement there was a STONE CURLEW calling in fields somewhere behind/adjacent to the paddocks, the bird proceeded to call on several occasions at 10:10am, but as we made our way towards the relevant area/s, and after a long search we was unable to locate it or hear it again, a real shame we would loved to have seen it but perhaps the bird saw us first and decided to ground itself or just go, but nevertheless a great cemo tick, we both hope the rest of the year follows suit. Other highlights included 5 Woodcocks (which was a bit of a surprise), 2 Firecrests, 2 White Wagtails, 7 Chiffchaffs, 22 Fieldfares, 33 Redwings, 1 Peregrine west, 30 Jackdaws, 17 Pied Wagtails, 4 Sparrowhawks, 3 Goldcrests, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 10 Chaffinches, 10 Goldfinches, 7 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 15 Mistle Thrushes, 35 Magpies, 4 Linnets, 4 Ring-necked Parakeets, 60 Starlings, 2 House Sparrows, 700+ Wood Pigeons, 1 Kestrel and 10 Skylarks.     

Thursday 15th March

Common Buzzard
On a glorious day Dave and I watched the area from 8:15am - 1:30pm, and it was certainly a pleasure wandering around seeing a few goodies. We covered the cemo first which produced an adult Mediterranean Gull east, 3 Firecrests and 7 Chiffchaffs (including 5 singing birds), a stroll over to the paddocks produced 1 White Wagtail and a Brambling which headed west. We then started our raptor watch with a total of 13 Common Buzzards between 10:50am - 12:10pm, most of which headed south at some height. Other bits noted were 5 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 4 Redwings, 2 Goldcrests, 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 Kestrels, 15 Jackdaws, 15 Skylarks, 4 Meadow Pipits, 10 Chaffinches, 7 Linnets, 30 Starlings, 2 Ring-necked Parakeets, 1 Rook, 300 Wood Pigeons and 15 Magpies.

Wednesday 14th March

For me it's been all work and no play for the last couple of days, and today the patch wasn't covered by Dave either, but when I passed the paddocks at 2pm there was 2 Common Buzzards heading slowly west.

Tuesday 13th March

**NEW BIRD FOR THE RECORDING AREA** I couldn't get out today so Dave Gilbert watched the patch for a good 5 hours between 8:30am - 1:30pm, and delighted he was when he found 7 RUFF heading west over the garden of rest, I was also chuffed as being a new cemo tick this is another new bird towards the magic mark of (200 species), which although at present is still another 14 short these kinds of birds certainly help. His other records today included 1 Firecrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Common Buzzard north/west at 1:05pm, 10 Sparrowhawks including 7 birds together, 1 Peregrine north/east, 12 Siskins north/east, 6 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 9 Redwings, 6 Jays, 20 Chaffinches, 4 Goldfinches, 12 Greenfinches, 4 Linnets, 4 Long-tailed Tits, 4 Mistle Thrushes and 700 Wood Pigeons.   

Monday 12th March

The start of the morning was fine with glorious sunshine, and then about 9am everything changed with a nasty blanket of thick fog looming over the cemo, and which lingered for pretty much the rest of the day. This was a shame as until that happened both Dave and I was having a pretty good time, most interesting was a singing Blackcap in the crematorium which I believe is my earliest spring bird, and nearby there was a new arrival of 4 Firecrests, and also 6 Chiffchaffs including 3 singing birds. Another good cemo record was of 5 Brent Geese which headed west, and a male Peregrine which was sitting in the horse paddocks. Other bits seen (literally) was 30 Redwings, 2 Bramblings east, 1 Siskin west, 1 Sparrowhawk, 6 Goldcrests, 25 Goldfinches, 8 Great Spotted Woodpeckers (continuing the good run), 5 Green Woodpeckers, 10 Jackdaws, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 50 Starlings, 1 Skylark, 2 Kestrels, 4 Mistle Thrushes, 7 Linnets, 30 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Ring-necked Parakeets, 3 Pied Wagtails and 700+ Wood Pigeons.

Sunday 11th March

Grey Squirrels
Today by far belonged to the Raptor family, on such a glorious day Dave started out at 8:15am, and I joined him a little later just after 11:50am, between us we managed to record 10 Common Buzzards which actually arrived from 11:50am - 2:30pm, and which all headed north/west. But there was also a patch record set today when 4 Peregrines were noted heading west including a bird holding fairly large prey, it looked from a distance like a Coot/Moorhen!! so it would of been interesting to see where this bird might of come from. Other birds of prey included 12 Sparrowhawks north/west and 3 Kestrels with the latter all seen together. On land we couldn't locate any Firecrests but there was 2 singing Chiffchaffs near the garden of rest which also held 60 Redwings. Great Spotted Woodpeckers didn't disappoint with a further 7 around the crem, with 2 Green Woodpeckers near the main entrance. Other bits included 3 Siskins west, 20 Chaffinches, 2 Grey Partridges, 3 Pied Wagtails, 7 Linnets, 3 Jackdaws east, 20 Starlings, 30 Magpies, 3 Goldcrests, 3 Mistle Thrushes, 2 Skylarks and 2 Ring-necked Parakeets. There was also 2 Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies the first of the year. 

Friday 9th March

I couldn't get out today so Dave watched the patch in what turned out to be a fairly quiet day. He didn't watch the paddocks or allotments and there was no vis mig of any kind, but once again he did record a further 9 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, and an increase of 60 Chaffinches. The only raptors of note was 3 Sparrowhawks but that was pretty much it, other bits noted were 4 Goldcrests, 1 Chiffchaff, 5 Goldfinches, 1 Redwing, 4 Mistle Thrushes and 6 Jays.

Thursday 8th March

After a couple of dismal weather days it was once again nice to visit the patch, Dave and I watched the area from 8:15am - 12:45pm, recording our 2nd spring migrant when a White Wagtail was found in fields by the main entrance associated with 4 Pied Wagtails. This certainly set up the rest of the day with 2 Firecrests still present by the crem and 3 Chiffchaffs near the garden of rest. The morning also belonged to another impressive record of 14 Great Spotted Woodpeckers including 11 birds together in the garden of rest, quite an astonishing record of birds coming through here at present. We also carried out a raptor watch for about 2 hours recording 12 Sparrowhawks including 6 birds together which headed off west, but no Buzzards today. Other bits noted was 1 Woodcock flushed from the paddocks, 1,200 Starlings west, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Kestrels, 4 Siskins north, 4 Goldcrests, 30 Chaffinches, 5 Linnets, 10 Jackdaws north/west, 35 Magpies, 1 Meadow Pipit, 2 Skylarks, 1 Redwing, 2 Common Gulls, 50 Black-headed Gulls, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 2 Ring-necked Parakeets, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 700 Wood Pigeons, 1 Goldfinch and 7 Stock Doves. Also recorded was 1 Red Admiral Butterfly.  

Tuesday 6th March

Today I could only watch the patch from 9 - 10:30am, which was pretty good recording 41 species within that time and a nice variety of birds to go with it, more than I can say for the photography with very poor light and showery rain it was certainly difficult at the best of times, however there was a few good grounded birds along with a slight vis mig. On entering the main cemetery there was 3 Firecrests showing well by the crem followed by 4 Chiffchaffs which spent most of the time chasing each other around. A wander over towards the cement works produced 2 Crossbills west, 1 Brambling west, 3 Cormorants north/west and most of the 43 Chaffinches recorded, with the nearby paddocks producing 5 Grey Partridges and 1 Golden Plover. Other bits noted were 2 Goldcrests, 6 Redwings, 2 Fieldfares, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 35 Starlings, 38 Magpies, 6 Mistle Thrushes, 10 Greenfinches, 1 Linnet, 6 Meadow Pipits, 1 Kestrel, 3 Ring-necked Parakeets, 10 Stock Doves, 1 Rook, 1 Common Gull, 60 Black-headed Gulls, 500+ Wood Pigeons, 10 Song Thrushes (the best count for some time), 20 Blackbirds and 1 Skylark.    

Saturday 3rd March

Long-tailed Tit
Today I couldn't get out until 2pm and left just before 4pm, but on arrival I heard the gulls going completely bonkers over the cement works/horse paddocks, straight away I headed off in that direction in the hope of finding something good but by the time I got there the gulls had gone more silent and started to drift away in a westerly direction. I scanned the area for a good 10 minutes but unfortunately could not find anything of interest. After that brief spell I continued on in the cemo to which I recorded 1 Firecrest, 4 Chiffchaffs, 1 Sparrowhawk, 4 Goldcrests, 6 Long-tailed Tits, 10 Chaffinches, 7 Goldfinches, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Kestrel, 30 Starlings, 1 Meadow Pipit and 4 Mistle Thrushes.

Friday 2nd March

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Who turned all the lights off, well that's what it felt like today. This morning and much of the afternoon was blanketed in fog making life a bit difficult on the birding front. Both Dave and I spent about 3 hours wandering around trying to get what we could and in the end it didn't turn out that bad. Best of all was a Firecrest and 3 Chiffchaffs near the crematorium, followed by 8 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 8 Green Woodpeckers in the cemo. The paddocks was a waste of time as we couldn't see anything, as was the allotments so we stayed where we were and finished off with 7 Goldcrests, 160 Starlings, 10 Redwings, 20 Chaffinches, 7 Linnets, 7 Goldfinches, 7 Long-tailed Tits, 7 Jays, 6 Mistle Thrushes but no House Sparrows.

Thursday 1st March

Red Admiral
Well its certainly been a good start to 2012, and today was another good day, Dave and I covered the area from 8:20am - 12:45pm, recording a record breaking 17 Great Spotted Woodpeckers where 15 birds were seen heading off in a westerly direction between 9:10 - 9:50am, and included a group of 7 in the garden of rest. Another good record was shortly before when 3 Peregrines were noted heading south at 9:05am. In total there was 40 species today which also included 6 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Firecrests, 4 Chiffchaffs (including 2 singing birds), 1 Reed Bunting north/west, 7 Redwings, 15 Jackdaws, 15 Chaffinches, 7 Goldcrests, 54 Starlings, 7 Linnets, 13 Skylarks, 3 Meadow Pipits, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Corn Buntings, 1 Kestrel, 7 Goldfinches, 2 Ring-necked Parakeets, 17 Stock Doves, 2 Pied Wagtails, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 30 Magpies, 4 Mistle Thrushes, 2 Rooks, 20 Blackbirds, 700 Wood Pigeons, 200 Black-headed Gulls and 3 Common Gulls. There was also 1 Red Admiral Butterfly.


Alan Pavey said...

Great start to the month Steve.

Steve Tomlinson said...

Thanks Alan the record number of Great Spots was a nice surprise.

The Middle Man said...

I never realised there was such a diversity of wildlife in Margate. Fascinating stuff.


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Warren Baker said...

Soon as I see you start getting the spring stuff through, then I can look a bit more determinedly.........is that a word ? :-)

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