30 April 2013

Tuesday 30th April

On another glorious sunny day there was a few good birds around, best of all and only my 3rd ever record for the site was a Jack Snipe which I flushed from under some bramble before the bird headed of north/westerly, there was also 2 female Merlins east and another Turtle Dove west. Other bits included 7 Wheatears, 18 Whitethroats, 4 Chiffchaffs, 6 Blackcaps, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 House Martin, 12 Swallows, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 14 Corn Buntings, 2 Sparrowhawks, 1 Kestrel, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Chaffinches and 10 Linnets

Monday 29th April

Highlights this afternoon included 1 Whinchat, 13 Wheatears, 3 Chiffchaffs, 1 Willow Warbler, 10 Whitethroats, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 5 Blackcaps and 1 Common Buzzard.

Saturday 27th April

Today I started off at 6am and then Dave joined up a bit later and we covered the patch until 1pm, the weather was certainly a little on the nippy side but probably not surprising considering there was a rather cool north/easterly wind. Bird wise it wasn't to bad and included our first Lesser Whitethroat for the year and was then followed shortly after with 7 Crossbills heading north. Not surprisingly I couldn't beat yesterdays Wheatear count but there was still 11 birds present around the paddocks. Others noted were 2 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaffs, 10 Blackcaps, 8 Whitethroats, 9 Swallows, 1 Little Owl, 1 Peregrine, 2 Corn Buntings, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Chaffinches, 1 Long-tailed Tit, 450 Wood Pigeons east, 10 Linnets and now a patch rarity of 2 House Sparrows.

Friday 26th April

Due to other commitments I didn't get out until 1pm and had to leave by 2:30pm, but what a very brief spell it was especially as it coincided with the afternoon sun after the heavy morning rain so there was a good chance of some grounded migrants. Due to the lack of time I didn't get around all of the areas but it still didn't detract from a new patch record of 40 Wheatears which spent most of their time in the paddocks and adjacent fields, these were joined by 2 cracking male Whinchats and 4 Yellow Wagtails. There was another 2 spring arrivals including a much needed Turtle Dove and a Reed Warbler which Dave had late on. There seemed to be birds everywhere and it was a pity that time was against us but others noted were 1 Garden Warbler, 5 Willow Warblers, 8 Whitethroats, 12 Blackcaps, 12 Swallows, 1 male Peregrine, 5 Corn Buntings and a late Redwing.

Thursday 25th April

Ring Ouzel

On a glorious sunny and hot day Dave and I recorded another 3 spring migrants for the year list, best of all was a total of 6 Ring Ouzels including 3 males which spent a little time around the allotments/garden of rest before disappearing into the distance, luckily one of the birds stayed around long enough for a couple of photo shots, superb birds and one species that I have always done well for (especially in the Spring), the other 2 for the year list included 1 Marsh Harrier west and 3 Sand Martins. Other bits noted were 2 Whimbrels north, 5 Wheatears, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Siskin west, 12 Swallows, 2 House Martins, 10 Blackcaps, 6 Whitethroats, 2 Chiffchaffs, 8 Swifts, 8 Common Buzzards west, 1 Peregrine west, 7 Sparrowhawks, 3 Kestrels, 13 Goldfinches and 3 Chaffinches.  

Wednesday 24th April

Today started off very well and within the first half an hour we had already noted 15 Blackcaps, but strangely the longer the day went on the harder it actually became. After a long 6 hours we finally gave up the ghost (no pun intended) and eventually recorded 2 Common Buzzards, 4 Chiffchaffs, 6 Whitethroats, 3 Wheatears, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 9 Swallows, 1 House Martin, 3 Sparrowhawks, 2 Kestrels, 2 Grey Partridges, 1 Pheasant (OK but still a patch scarcity), 1 Little Owl, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Green Woodpecker, 10 Linnets, 3 Goldfinches, 3 Corn Buntings, 5 Skylarks, 3 Meadow Pipits, 7 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 40 Crows.  

Tuesday 23rd April

Common Buzzard (Light Variant)
On a lovely hot and sunny day along with a SW wind there was certainly a few more overnight migrants, 2 Garden Warblers were new for the year but numbers of others were a bit better. Raptors today started to arrive a bit later than expected and were first noted at 12:40pm, with the first of 5 Common Buzzards including a very nice pale phase individual heading west, this was followed with 3 Peregrines, 1 Hobby, 5 Sparrowhawks, 1 Kestrel and another Red Kite which eventually headed off in a south/westerly direction. Other bits included 12 Wheatears, 10 Willow Warblers, 12 Blackcaps, 6 Whitethroats, 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 7 Swifts, 30 Swallows, 1 Little Owl, 1 Corn Bunting, 1 Pheasant, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 1 Green Woodpecker.   

Monday 22nd April

Today produced very little but probably wasn't to surprising considering the wind was in a true westerly direction, but in a way that's the good thing about birding the fact that two days are rarely the same. Unlike yesterday Dave and I didn't expect to much in the way of raptors and that was certainly true with just 2 Sparrowhawks and a Kestrel which was hunting around the paddocks. Due to work Dave started off before me and recorded the bird of the day which was a female Black Redstart (first of the year), and a Wheatear which was in nearby fields. It was a hard slog and We finally left around 2:30pm, with others being 1 Little Owl, 6 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, 5 Jays, 1 Redwing, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 30 Linnets, 8 Jays and 35 Carrion Crows mainly heading west. 

Sunday 21st April

Without a doubt today was all about the raptors, between us Dave and I watched from 8am - 3:30pm, and recorded 19 Common Buzzards with most birds heading east, also 6 Peregrines all heading west, 3 Hobbies, 10 Sparrowhawks and 4 Kestrels there was also a probable Red Kite east late on. Other bits included 2 Yellow Wagtails, 25 Swallows, 30 House Martins, 3 Blackcaps, 2 Whitethroats, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Little Owl, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Green Woodpecker and 1 Brambling.  

Saturday 20th April

Very little to report at best was 1 Wheatear, 2 Willow Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcaps and 2 Common Buzzards

Friday 19th April

After the excitement of yesterday today was somewhat quieter, but saying that there was another excellent patch bird when Dave found 18 Bar-tailed Godwits heading west before I arrived, other bits included 26 Swallows, 1 Swift, 6 Blackcaps, 1 Whitethroat, 4 Chiffchaffs, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Little Owl, 10 Sparrowhawks, 1 Peregrine, 4 Cormorants west, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 10 Linnets, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Corn Bunting and 2 Meadow Pipits.

Thursday 18th April

PUT THE CATTLE ON MATE AND DONT FEEL HARD DUN BY. What a start to the day, I ventured into the paddocks at 10am on an incredibly sunny but windy day, I then started to scan when the first bird I put my bins onto was at first a white blob, which was sitting still at the far end of the paddocks so quite a distance to where I was originally standing, my heart standing to pound as there could only in realistic terms be one species of bird this shape and which would normally be around cattle, but at the time my eyes were filling up with water and the bins swaying from here to tim buck to, but on approach it started to move more into the open and there it was as expected a CATTLE EGRET (non-breeding Juvenile) only my 2nd ever record for the patch with the other only a very quick fly through. I quickly phoned Dave Gilbert who was luckily stationed near by in the cemo, he quickly rushed to the scene and with a beaming smile got onto the bird almost straight away, but photographing it was very very difficult as not only was it beginning to get flighty but the wind and distance made it virtually impossible, I managed to get some photo shots when the bird landed in a field opposite and then in the paddocks where we watched it very well, and then hiding behind some horses, we watched the bird from 10 - 10:30am, when it eventually headed off in a easterly direction, but before doing so put on some nice flight displays, what a bird and the first I have seen on the ground since the individual at Stodmarsh way back in the early 90's so this was rather special and even better as a patch bird.

This actually set up the rest of the day which was good and produced a variety of migrants including 1 male Whinchat, 1 Hobby, 3 Wheatears, 5 Willow Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 1 Swift, 3 Swallows and 1 House Martin, there was also 1 Little Owl, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Goldcrest, 3 Chaffinches, 2 Meadow Pipits and 10 Linnets.   

Wednesday 17th April

Unnecessary habitat ripped out from another old section of the cemetery (old Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Lesser Whitethroat breeding grounds).
Yes they said they can breed and feed in here instead what a joke. (1 of about 10)


Ive bit my lip for long enough well in fact for the last 8+ years or so, Dave and I will not tell the whole story now, as I will put it in a link under the Nightjar picture a bit later but believe me what has happened In Margate Cemetery will make birders/wildlife enthusiasts pretty sick to the bone and has already been mentioned to me by other disgusted outsiders as to why!!, and no thanks to the Friends Of Margate Cemetery Trust and Thanet District Council who between them have turned this place from a wildlife haven with breeding red data birds etc along with rare and scarce migrants, to a complete and utter bomb site with at least 85% of habitat including much needed bramble etc, completely wiped out, and don't worry the remaining I'm sure will follow shortly, between them they have taken down everything in there path without any respect to the wildlife present, hence winter and throughout the breeding season even though I have mentioned its value on many occasions, sick it certainly is especially as it has been destroyed from the older parts of the cemetery dating back to 1856, were I know for a fact watching it for the last 23 years only 2-5% of people visit and lay flowers. Promises, Promises, Promises is what I have heard from the Parks Manager of Thanet District Council who strangely enough has a Environmental Degree, beggars belief, don't worry he says 8 years ago, we will keep most of the habitats as it is such a great site for birds and wildlife, what a laugh that was. I set out a 10 year Wildlife Management Plan which would work for both conservation and people visiting their loved ones including no overgrown areas in the new parts where 95% of people visit, but this although promised from the Parks Manager has been totally ignored, But its worse than that, it will take some time to write up properly and It will be after the spring, but it will make horrible reading and not for the faint hearted especially when dead breeding bird migrants are involved, its a cemetery which could off worked for both the normal everyday person and nature lovers, will I get a Firecrest I doubt it the cemo and patch is nearly bare I along with many other people are disgusted by it, and whats worse the Kent Wildlife Trust gave them an award for it.

Well todays sightings were a litte better, I met up with Dave Gilbert and between us we noted 1 Whimbrel east, 2 Wheatears, 8 Yellow Wagtails, 13 Swallows, 3 Chiffchaffs, 1 Woodcock (late bird perhaps he thinks its still Winter), 2 Common Buzzards west, 3 Siskins, 1 Sparrowhawk, 80 Linnets, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Little Owl, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 5 Corn Buntings, 5 Skylarks, 2 Pied Wagtails, 2 Redwings, 6 Chaffinches and 5 Meadow Pipits. 

Tuesday 16th April

A pretty dam poor day with just 3 Wheatears and 2 Blackcaps.

Monday 15th April

Little Owl

I managed to get out from 12:30 - 2:10pm (no cemo done in this time period), in what turned out to be a glorious afternoon. By the time I turned up the early migrants would have gone through and all I managed to record was 10 Wheatears, 2 Common Buzzards west, 4 Swallows and 1 Little Owl, but at least I had another Red Kite which headed west at 2pm. 

Sunday 14th April

Little to report in 1 hour at best was 16 Swallows, 1 Wheatear, 2 Chiffchaffs and the first Willow Warbler of the year. 

Saturday 13th April

Red Kites
BLACK KITE 1 RED KITE 7 and all within an hour. At long last I managed to get out for a few hours this time from 6:20am - 9:55am, and it certainly did not disappoint. With a very slight southerly wind the conditions looked a great deal better for a few migrants and that's exactly what happened. Strangely on arrival the gulls went a bit on the mad side over Westwood Cross but after a long hard scan I couldn't locate the problem surely not a good raptor at this early hour but perhaps compared to later on this could well off been the case. The best part of the morning happened from 9:05 - 9:55am, when once again the gulls alerted me to a probable raptor and then the first 3 of 7 Red Kites were seen at 9:05am, heading slowly in a northerly direction, and it wasn't long before the next 2 arrived at 9:20am, and then 2 more at 9:25am, all heading north, but although very exciting the best was around the corner when at 9:50am, I found a BLACK KITE high up tail gating 2 of the kites, I contacted Dave Gilbert who was venturing on site and he was pretty sure he got onto the bird soon after drifting towards Margate Football Club but was distant. Typical I still need a proper good photo of this bird as last years record shot was also very poor but I will bide my time. There was also a good movement of 15 Sparrowhawks mostly within this time period and a male Peregrine which was by the rubbish dump. Other bits included 4 Swallows, 2 Wheatears, 3 White Wagtails, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 5 Chiffchaffs, 8 Crossbills north, 2 Blackcaps, 1 Little Owl, a slight westerly movement of 15 Jays, 350 Redwings, 10 Fieldfares, 1 Lesser Redpoll east, 7 Chaffinches, 30 Linnets, 30 Ring-necked Parakeets, 3 Corn Buntings, 7 Skylarks, 3 Jackdaws, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Green Woodpeckers and 3 Cormorants.

Thursday 11th April

Today was my first time out for a few days not by choice, but sometimes other things have to take priority, even today was brief with just an hour spare between 4-5pm, but hopefully soon it will be back to some kind of normality. So what did I get, well it wasn't to bad in the brief hour especially in the paddocks which held an amazing amount of thrushes including 3,000+ Redwings, 700+ Fieldfares and a few Song Thrushes so things were certainly happening, there was also a male Wheatear and a Chiffchaff around the allotments. Other bits included 4 Corn Buntings, 60 Linnets and 700+ Wood Pigeons.       

Sunday 7th April

Gutted, with glorious weather today I was itching to get out especially for a raptor watch, but I was waiting for a call from my Brother-in Law to which the family had to visit today so time indeed turned out to be very limited. I managed to get out at 10am and had to leave by 11am, which was extremely frustrating. At 10:40am 4 Common Buzzards showed above the paddocks before heading west, and was followed by 3 Sparrowhawks and 2 Kestrels, sure there was certainly things about to happen, but I missed pretty much all of it. Other bits included 25 Redwings, 60 Jackdaws (good total here) and lots of Chaffinches which were mostly moving high to the east, I left trying not to think of the worst.  

Saturday 6th April

Red Kite
At long last some pretty decent weather with glorious sunshine but with a nippy easterly wind. I was out and about a little later than expected and did not arrive on the patch until 11:40am, but on arrival I found a cracking male Redstart which was briefly seen in the paddocks before disappearing into the cemo, soon after I had a good look around but without any further joy but at 12:40pm, the gulls went pretty berserk over Westwood Cross the culprits 2 Red Kites (The 10th bird recorded so far this spring) which although pretty high up hung around for a good 10 minutes before heading off in an easterly direction, other raptors seen in the short time that I had were 2 Common Buzzards east, 6 Sparrowhawks and 2 Kestrels. Other bits included 1 Little Owl, 1 singing Chiffchaff, 31 Fieldfares, 23 Redwings, 3,000+ Starlings, 10 Skylarks and 2 Meadow Pipits.   

Tuesday 2nd April

Red Kites
I was working from home today so all I had on the patch was a grand total of 45 minutes which was late this afternoon, but at 1:30pm, the gulls went completely bonkers above my house, straight away I rushed outside and saw 4 Red Kites which were quite happily enjoying the rare bit of Thanet sunshine. The birds stayed around for about 10 minutes to which I eventually (although slightly distant) manage to get all birds in one photo shot. They eventually headed off towards the patch so I quickly got into the car and followed them hoping that they would and indeed they did before heading off north. Fantastic birds and the 8th recorded on the patch so far in this so called Spring. Other bits included 10 Fieldfares and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers

Monday 1st April

There was very little to report in the last couple of days in March and on April Fools day nothing changed. The best I could manage in a brief couple of hours was 1 female Wheatear, 1 Common Buzzard east, 2 Fieldfares and 2 Redwings. 


Warren Baker said...

When those migrants come Steve, they are gonna appear in some numbers I reckon!

Steve Tomlinson said...

Hi Warren,

I certainly hope they do, need to get some lovely hot southerly winds. Look forward to it if it happens.

Warren Baker said...

I normally pick up a Kite in April Steve, hope they appear again for me this spring :-)

Alan Pavey said...

Some great stuff Steve, I was pleased with my 100+ thrushes here yesterday, that's what leaving nearer the coast can do for you :-)

Steve Tomlinson said...

Thanks Alan, the paddocks was certainly full of winter thrushes being held back in this horrid weather, I suppose I am a little lucky being high up I can see all corners of the globe (especially for raptors), your 100+ Song Thrushes was a very good spring total and one to be proud off.

Alan Pavey said...

Black Kite, nice one Steve, I'm very envious of your raptor viewpoints, I was pleased with 7 Buzzards at the weekend and Marsh Harrier.

Steve Tomlinson said...

Thanks Alan, well done on your raptors you deserved them, a good Black Kite photo has eluded me with just a couple of record shots at best, I will bide my time hopefully the next one will come close for a crisp shot.

Warren Baker said...

As you quite rightly say, the habitat destruction is a disgrace, even more so as it is people who claim to know a thing or two about wildlife. I laughed when I saw that ''habitat pile'' what the f*ck are those people about!!

It is happening everywhere at the moment, if you scroll through my last few posts you'll see i have to contend with habitat destruction too - not least by the agricultural college!!

I am half considering moving out of Kent - maybe to wales - but that doesn't solve the problem really does it :-(

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

I feel your pain...and that's what the 'tidy brigade' are; a real pain! We could do without and the wildlife desperately needs them to b*gger off...what kind of environmental degree suggest doing that might be a 'good' thing?

Keep up the fight



Steve Tomlinson said...

Hi Warren,

Reading the posts about your habitat loss was bad, and it seems to be happening on a National Scale, what has happened in the cemo is beyond belief and has been passed over to a group of volunteers who have completely trashed the place for wildlife, destroying breeding nesting sites for both the common and spring migrants without a care in the world, even when they, and the Parks Manager were fully aware from myself what breeds and where, but what makes it worse is that the Parks Manager for Thanet District Council sits on their committee meetings and does nothing to stop it, and he says he loves wildlife!!, every year I have tried to prevent it from happening even more but just completely ignored from all parties, in fact one volunteer had to leave 7 years ago for destroying a Whitethroats nest and eggs, but it still continued and now it is almost lost for good.

Steve Tomlinson said...

Hi DaveyMan

Many Thanks for your comments, my initial suggestion (small part of the Management Plan) to please all parties and which was agreed by all involved was to only take down bramble and vegetation on graves in the older sections when asked to by any families wishing to do so, that cannot be stopped and would be granted at any request, but the Margate Cemetery Trust volunteers and Parks Manager ignored this after a couple of weeks and decided to do as they pleased ie take down vegetation from the next 20++++ or so graves along the same line, and which has continued to the day, even the odd request from families for their graves to be done were surprised to see even more taken down, lets just say you will be hard pressed to find a breeding Song Thrush.

Warren Baker said...

I dont think we need to fit satellite transmitters to our birds to find out why they are declining Steve.

Steve Tomlinson said...

It's no wonder Warren that Garden birds are in such decline when you have people like these who havent got a care in the world, Im just waiting for the concrete mixers and tarmac to turn up, but dont worry they have substituted 85% of bramble with a tatty old bird feeder!!.

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