|From Top Spotted Flycatcher Ring Ouzel And Fieldfare|
Well it was certainly a day to be out birding in Kent and this place was no exception, with the weather being an absolute beauty and plenty of good migrants what more could you ask for. Dave and I watched from 8am - 2:30pm, recording an excellent 49 species and we didn't even record some of the easier ones like Great Spotted Woodpecker or Black-headed Gull!!, bothered not the slightest as the day finished where it began. Along with this there was 4 new year ticks but the most surprising of these was my 2nd earliest record for the patch of Spotted Flycatcher with the record being 2 days earlier, this was followed by 2 cracking male Ring Ouzels a little distant at times (hence photo shot), but well watched nevertheless. Their was also an arrival of 4 Lesser Whitethroats and the big new year tick/rarity of the day a male Pheasant (not) present near the allotments. There was certainly bits moving through during the day with other arrivals including another Redstart in the paddocks this time a nice adult male, 1 Garden Warbler, 7 Wheatears, 6 Whitethroats, 8 Blackcaps, 1 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaffs, 5 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Swifts north, 1 House Martin, 20 Swallows, 1 Merlin south/east, 18 Fieldfares including this very obliging bird shown above about 6 feet away, 3 Chaffinches, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Pied Wagtail, 36 Linnets, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Jackdaw, 2 Sparrowhawks, 1 Kestrel, 2 Corn Buntings, and 3 Long-tailed Tits. A lovely day lets hope it continues for a while.
Friday 27th April
I had to spend the day in Maidstone today but before I left I did a quick 2 hours around the patch, the best highlights from 5:30 - 7:30am included the first Cuckoo of the year which was calling in the cemo, also 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackcaps, 1 Swallow, 2 Sparrowhawks and 33 Ring-necked Parakeets.
Thursday 26th April
Although pretty blustery today there was little rain which made a welcome change on the birding front, I spent most of the morning out and managed to record 3 Swifts heading north which were also a new year tick, and was soon followed with another female Merlin heading south. The rest of the migrants were pretty much the same as previous days with 3 Wheatears in the paddocks, 1 Willow Warbler, 6 Blackcaps, 1 Whitethroat, 1 House Martin and 7 Swallows. Local birds included 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 15 Linnets, 4 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Corn Bunting and 18 Goldfinches west.
Tuesday 24th April
Eventually after the heavy rain had eased off I managed to get out for a quick hour before the next lot arrived, certainly the birding and photography was pretty difficult but I managed to get a distant record shot of a Shelduck heading north which is certainly a difficult bird to record here, there was also a Garden Warbler singing near the garden of rest and a Whitethroat in the allotments. The cemo produced 2 Willow Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff and 7 Blackcaps, with 3 Wheatears showing in the paddocks. Other bits included 12 Swallows, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 15 Linnets, 16 Stock Doves, 2 Ring-necked Parakeets and 4 Long-tailed Tits.
Monday 23rd April
Well once again the weather put pay to proceedings with heavy rain in the afternoon it was another early finish, and saying that it was still a little bit slow but not surprising with probably many numbers of spring migrants still staying put in the current poor weather (or is it going to be one of those years). The highlights today included 2 female Merlins which headed north including one bird that was carrying prey, also 2 Willow Warblers, 1 Whitethroat, 11 Blackcaps, 2 Wheatears 7 Swallows, 1 Siskin and 1 late Redwing. Local bits included 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrels, 2 Pied Wagtails, 2 Skylarks, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Green Woodpecker, 7 Linnets, 3 Ring-necked Parakeets, 2 House Sparrows, 7 Stock Doves and 5 Long-tailed Tits.
Sunday 22nd April
There was a few bits around today but in general it was a bit on the quiet side, migrant wise there was a singing Whitethroat in the allotments, with 4 Wheatears in the paddocks. The cemo produced a scattering of 7 Blackcaps, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaffs and 10 Swallows including 6 north/west. Other bits included 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrels, 1 Corn Bunting, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Pied Wagtail, 4 Long-tailed Tits and 15 Linnets.
Friday 20th April
|Fox Cubs How Cute|
Another good break in the weather resulted in us finding some more grounded migrants, Dave and I watched from 8am - 12:30pm, when the heavy showers and lightning finally got the better of us. New birds for the year included a singing Reed Warbler in the garden of rest, and 7 House Martins which headed north/west. Overall it did look as if it could be quite a good day, and there was a few other bits to be seen including 20 Swallows north, 12 Blackcaps, 2 Willow Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff, 4 Wheatears, 1 Lesser Redpoll south and 1 Siskin south, also 10 Sparrowhawks west, 2 Kestrels, 1 Corn Bunting, 25 Linnets, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Chaffinch, 4 Long-tailed Tits, 10 Jackdaws, 6 Rooks, 4 Meadow Pipits and 4 Skylarks. There was also another surprise when 3 Fox Cubs emerged from a nice bit of undergrowth.
Thursday 19th April
That's better a nice bit of decent weather along with another excellent bird. Dave watched the patch from 8am - 12:30pm, but I had to go just before 11am, which was a pity as Dave found an Osprey heading north/west over the cemo at 11:40am, this also being our 2nd record for the year, as mentioned earlier this is certainly a tough bird to record here. We also managed to record our first Yellow Wagtail over the paddocks, and our 2nd Whitethroat of the year in the allotments. Other spring migrants included 3 Wheatears, 4 Blackcaps, 6 Swallows and 1 Chiffchaff. Other bits noted were 30 Linnets, 2 Kestrels, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Green Woodpecker, 7 Meadow Pipits, 4 Pied Wagtails, 1 Corn Bunting, 4 Jays and 2 House Sparrows.
Wednesday 18th April
I don't know why but I went out for a couple of hours this morning in light/heavy rain and blustery winds, yes it was almost impossible to record anything around the bushes but it was worth a go. The main highlights were 4 Swallows, 1 Wheatear, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcaps and 4 Cormorants north.
Monday 16th April
|Black Redstart (Left) And Redstart (Right)|
On a lovely spring day I once again met up with Dave and we watched the patch from 8am - 1:30pm, which turned out to be quite an interesting day. On arrival there was a Garden Warbler singing in the cemo which is another year tick, but it was pretty quiet after that until about 10:30am, when we found a 1st summer male Redstart (also new for the year), which was being chased by 2 Black Redstarts in and around the paddocks, all of which were showing pretty well but just a little to far for a good photo shot, (I think it's about time for a new camera and longer lens). After this it continued to get better migrant wise with 4 Wheatears, 2 White Wagtails , 4 Blackcaps, 7 Chiffchaffs and 7 Swallows. Also noted was 1 Siskin, 6 Sparrowhawks, 2 Kestrels, 6 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Corn Bunting, 3 Meadow Pipits, 13 Linnets, 3 Pied Wagtails, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Ring-necked Parakeet, 5 Jackdaws, 4 Jays, 7 Stock Doves and 4 House Sparrows. Of interest it was also nice to capture both Black Redstart and Redstart in the same tree something you don't get to often.
Sunday 15th April
Highlights today included 3 Wheatears, 1 White Wagtail, 2 Swallows, 3 Blackcaps and 2 Chiffchaffs.
Saturday 14th April
First of all I must congratulate my footie team Liverpool for once again reaching the F.A.Cup Final, but after a terrible defensive mistake handing Everton their goal I was wondering if it was going to be our day, but to be fair on chances created, and another defensive blunder this time by Everton Liverpool were deserved winners and best of all a certain Andy Carroll got the winner, good on him. Liverpool have certainly had a poor year in the Premiership but hopefully another trophy will make up for it we shall see. Now for the birding news, I couldn't get out for the early shift but covered the patch from 9:40 - 11:40am, which turned out to be fairly good. On entering the cemo I heard and then saw 7 Crossbills heading west, which was soon followed by 11 Jays south/west, 5 Lesser Redpolls north/west and a Siskin south. A trip to the paddocks produced 1 Mediterranean Gull west, 4 Swallows west, 1 White Wagtail and 9 Wheatears, there was also a scattering of warblers including 5 Blackcaps and 4 Chiffchaffs. Other bits included 2 Sparrowhawks, 1 Kestrel, 2 Meadow Pipits, 7 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Corn Buntings, 3 Skylarks, 3 Pied Wagtails, 3 Ring-necked Parakeets, 20 Linnets, 4 Long-tailed Tits, 7 House Sparrows (getting better) and 400+ Wood Pigeons.
Friday 13th April
Dave and I met up for another 7 hours of patch watching which at times was pretty slow, but at least it did produce some migrants, but it certainly feels strange that the recent Common Buzzard feast has currently come to a end. Today the cemo was fairly quiet so it was down to the other areas to get the goods. In this case the paddocks produced 10 Wheatears and there was a steady trickle of 22 Swallows including 20 north/west, also included was 2 Willow Warblers in a small area of bramble and 1 of the 5 Blackcaps recorded today. Other bits making the notebook were 2 Siskins west, 1 Chiffchaff, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 15 Linnets, 13 Meadow Pipits, 1 Corn Bunting, 11 Jays, 4 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Kestrels, 18 Stock Doves, 7 House Sparrows, 400+ Wood Pigeons, 3 Pied Wagtails, 2 Rooks and 1 Ring-necked Parakeet.
Thursday 12th April
Between us Dave and I watched from 6:30am - 1:30pm, and there was a few migrants around including the first Whitethroat of the year in the allotments, and another Tree Pipit which headed north/west. The paddocks produced 5 Wheatears, 1 White Wagtail (distant record shot), and 2 Swallows heading west. The cemo held 1 Firecrest which was also singing, 2 Crossbills north, 4 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Redwings, 25 Meadow Pipits north/east and a lone Fieldfare. Other bits included 3 Sparrowhawks, 7 House Sparrows, 3 Corn Buntings, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 3 Goldfinches, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 7 Stock Doves, 15 Magpies, 500+ Wood Pigeons, 9 Ring-necked Parakeets, 30 Linnets, 4 Skylarks, 4 Jays and 1 Kestrel.
Wednesday 11th April
I didn't get out today so Dave watched the area from 8am - 1:30pm, within this time he recorded 10 Wheatears (including 8 males), 7 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, 7 Redwings, 13 Linnets, 5 Sparrowhawks, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Kestrels, 4 Green Woodpeckers and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Tuesday 10th April
At long last it was back to some sunshine and a nice variety of migrants to go with it. I must admit every year I always look forward to hearing the song of the Willow Warbler which to me is really the start of spring. Today I watched the area from 6:30 - 9:30am, and if I had more time I certainly would of stayed a lot longer as it was pretty good with an overnight arrival of 8 Willow Warblers scattered around the cemo, also another difficult year tick when a Whimbrel headed east over the paddocks. An early Marsh Harrier headed east at 7am, and there was 7 Crossbills over the crematorium just after. Other warblers today included 7 Blackcaps and 9 Chiffchaffs and there was 2 male Wheatears near the cement works. Other bits were 36 Redwings north/west, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Siskin west, 2 Corn Buntings, 2 Sparrowhawks, 1 Green Woodpecker, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 7 Jackdaws, 20 Rooks south/east, 7 Meadow Pipits, 3 Chaffinches, 20 Linnets, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 7 Ring-necked Parakeets, 3 Skylarks, 4 Jays, 10 Song Thrushes and 1 Pied Wagtail.
Monday 9th April
I knew I was taking a big risk today as when I left home at 6:30am, it was pouring with rain and generally it looked pretty miserable, but what the hell I took a chance which did pay off (birding wise), even if the rain didn't ease off before I left at 9am. There was a bit of vis mig today including 90 Song Thrushes and 11 Redwings which headed south/west, also 12 Meadow Pipits, 4 Chaffinches and 35 Linnets, there was also a new year tick when a Tree Pipit headed north/east over the paddocks. Other bits noted were 2 Firecrests, 6 Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaffs, 1 male Wheatear, 1 Sparrowhawk north, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Kestrel, 4 Jays, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 6 Ring-necked Parakeets, 4 Chaffinches, 2 Long-tailed Tits and 1 Jackdaw.
Saturday 7th April
Today I spent the day with the family at the Retail Designer Outlet in Ashford, which was pretty good I must admit even if I did come back £300 lighter, but before I left I watched the cemo from 6:30 - 8:30am, and although the weather was a bit miserable it turned out to be a very respectable 2 hours. This time thanks to some overnight rain it did produce some fresh arrivals including 2 Firecrests near the garden of rest, and a Black Redstart in the paddocks (different to yesterday's bird). There was also a slight movement of 67 Redwings north/west, 1 Fieldfare and 2 Peregrines north/east. Other bits included 2 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, 1 Swallow, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 4 Meadow Pipits, 2 Grey Partridges, 11 Ring-necked Parakeets, 2 Goldfinches, 20 Linnets, 4 House Sparrows, 300+ Wood Pigeons, 1 Pied Wagtail, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Green Woodpeckers and 2 Long-tailed Tits.
Friday 6th April
Well today wasn't the best of days but at long last it did produce a bird that for some reason was absent last year. Dave and I watched the area on and off for 6 hours and the long awaited treat was indeed a Black Redstart a 1st Summer bird which showed itself in the paddocks/garden of rest, I was beginning to think that for only the 3rd time in cemo birding history I may for a second year in a row miss this bird again, as autumn records are pretty rare. It certainly made the day but apart from that it was generally hard going although this may not be such a surprise considering it's Easter and the cemo was heaving with people. Other bits around included 2 male Wheatears, 4 Blackcaps, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Sparrowhawks, 1 Kestrel, 1 Ring-necked Parakeet, 20 Linnets, 9 Jays, 400+ Wood Pigeons, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 7 Stock Doves, 1 Pied Wagtail and 4 House Sparrows. Of interest away from the site I recorded a singing Whitethroat in waste ground next to Tesco's Manston.
Thursday 5th April
Today there was only 2 hours of coverage and that was between 6:10 - 8:10am, and it wasn't surprising that very little was seen on what turned out to be a freezing day, along with a blustery north/easterly wind. At best was 2 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, 3 Redwings, 23 Linnets and 10 Ring-necked Parakeets.
Wednesday 4th April
|Rise And Shine|
Well not exactly it wasn't very pleasant first thing this morning with heavy rain, but it soon cleared up to make a fine sunny day. Dave and I covered the patch on and off for just over 6 hours and due to some overnight rain was hoping for some fresh arrivals, but surprisingly it didn't really turn out that way and was a little more quiet than we both expected. But this didn't detract from another good bird when a Woodlark was seen and heard calling over the paddocks at 4:45pm heading west, and which is also another year tick, followed by 3 Wheatears in the paddocks including the first female of the year. Other bits included 1 White Wagtail, 1 Peregrine west, 1 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 4 Corn Buntings, 1 Goldcrest, 5 Redwings, 23 Linnets, 4 Goldfinches, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Sparrowhawks, 1 Kestrel, 7 Skylarks, 1 Meadow Pipit, 700+ Wood Pigeons and 4 House Sparrows.
Tuesday 3rd April
That's more like it a few migrants around, apart from the odd hour or two Dave and I watched the patch from 6:10am - 5:30pm, in fact just over 9 hours which turned out to be a pretty decent day. First of all there was a new year tick with a Stonechat in the allotments followed shortly after by 2 Crossbills which headed west, but most of the migrants came through in the afternoon shortly after a blanket of thick cloud and the odd spot of rain, these included 2 Wheatears and 2 White Wagtails in the paddocks, with 2 Swallows over the garden of rest. The cemo produced 6 Blackcaps (good year for them so far), 4 Chiffchaffs, 16 Redwings, 41 Ring-necked Parakeets and 9 Jays. A raptor watch was also in order with 6 Common Buzzards west from 11:30am - 2pm, 2 female Merlins which were chasing each other around the paddocks before heading south, 9 Sparrowhawks and 3 Kestrels. Other bits included 2 Siskins east, 6 Corn Buntings (somewhat of a scarcity these days), 20 Linnets, 5 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 10 Ring-necked Parakeets, 7 Goldfinches, 1 Chaffinch, 7 Skylarks, 1 Meadow Pipit, 3 Rooks, 700+ Wood Pigeons, 6 Stock Doves and 4 House Sparrows.
Monday 2nd April
How strange birding can be, I couldn't get out today so I left it all up to Dave who watched the area from 8am - 12:30pm. In similar weather to yesterday there was hardly a migrant or raptor in sight, best of the highlights were 5 Blackcaps, 4 Sparrowhawks, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Grey Heron north/west, 16 Linnets, 4 Jays, 5 Green Woodpeckers and 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers.
Sunday 1st April
Well if this month is anything like the last I'm certainly going to look forward to it, today Dave started out at 8am, and I followed sometime after at 11:20am, I also bumped into Barry Hunt which was a nice surprise, a birder friend that I haven't seen in some time so it was nice to catch up. Today Dave watched most of the area so when I arrived we went to do another raptor watch, which once again certainly didn't disappoint with another excellent total of 44 Common Buzzards, with the biggest counts being 10 north/east at 11:30am, and 25 north/east between 12:20 - 12:30pm, a great start to the month and no (200 recorded in just under 5 weeks), other raptors included 3 Sparrowhawks and 3 Kestrels. Other bits included a Firecrest by the crematorium, 3 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, 21 Linnets, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Pied Wagtails.