31 May 2013

Friday 31st May

Another very quiet day but it did produce 4 adult Mediterranean Gulls which headed south over the paddocks late morning.

Wednesday 29th - Thursday 30th May

Once again very little to report.

Tuesday 28th May

Little to report in dismal conditions.

Monday 27th May

The day started off very well but unfortunately went slightly down hill, best of all was a Blue-headed Wagtail which was in the paddocks, and 5 Spotted Flycatchers present around the site, others included 6 Chiffchaffs, 6 Blackcaps, 4 Whitethroats, 45 Swallows, 13 Swifts, 7 House Martins, 1 Peregrine, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Grey Partridges, 1 Sparrowhawk and 80 Linnets.    

Sunday 26th May

Spotted Flycatcher
Best bird/s of the day was 9 Grey Plovers a patch rarity that headed west during the morning, apart from that it was hard work with little on show. Others recorded were 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Hobby, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 30 Swifts, 45 Swallows, 3 House Martins, 2 Sparrowhawks, 1 Kestrel, 2 Corn Buntings, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Green Woodpeckers and 2 Chaffinches.

Saturday 25th May

This day last week was superb for obvious reasons, this Saturday was also pretty good. Between us Dave and I managed to spend 14 hours on the patch from 6am - 8pm, wow, there was a few late migrants recorded today and included a rather smart male Redstart which was briefly seen by the paddocks, I do believe that this is also my latest spring record for the patch but I will have to check. There was also an adult male Wheatear (poss 2nd latest spring record), and a female Merlin which was hunting over nearby fields. In fact it wasn't a bad day for raptors with 2 Common Buzzards, 1 Peregrine, 7 Sparrowhawks and 2 Kestrels also noted. Late on a very late movement of hirundines took place with 174 Swallows mainly heading west, also 2 Sand Martins, 30 Swifts and 7 House Martins. Others today included 2 Yellow Wagtail, 6 Blackcaps, 6 Whitethroats, 6 Chiffchaffs, 5 Corn Buntings, 4 Chaffinches, 80 Linnets, 45 Stock Doves, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and that patch rarity of a male Pheasant.

Friday 24th May

I didn't make it out today so Dave watched the area for a good few hours, best of the bunch was 2 Red Kites that were hunting very low over the padocks for 10 minutes from 10:15 - 10:25am, before heading south/west. Also of note was the singing Reed Warbler still in the garden of rest and a Spotted Flycatcher by the crem, there was also small numbers of the more commoner migrants.

Thursday 23rd May

So far this week (well up to today that is), I have had no chance of any birding, why, well after the Dusky Thrush departed I have spent a rather enjoyable week writing a few articles on the bird and attending a few interviews, its been great I must admit and I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute, and to me personally it was extra special that hundreds of birders managed to see it. I finished another article at 11:30am and went straight out to the patch, luckily Dave has been covering the area so would of let me know if there was anything around. Well today there was in the form of a male Honey Buzzard that Dave found heading north/west at 11:55am, to which I agonisingly missed by 2 minutes, and the worse thing about it was the fact that the bird was really low down over the paddocks, never mind you can not get them all, but  today was pretty good considering the weather, we also recorded 1 Turtle Dove purring away in the allotments and 1 Reed Warbler singing in the garden of rest. Also present was 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Hobby, 2 Peregrines, 3 Sparrowhawks, 4 Blackcaps, 4 Whitethroats, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 50 Swallows, 10 Swifts, 2 House Martins, 100+ Linnets 3 Corn Buntings, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 25 Stock Doves

Sunday 19th May

Once again I must give my up most thanks to the 93 people who have contacted me and expressed their thanks for the news on the FEMALE DUSKY THRUSH, personally its an absolute pleasure, and it was great news that the bird showed very well on the Saturday to the delight of about 2000+++ people (I think), but after a very frustrating 2 days when I first found the bird, Wednesday (1st day) and then Thursday when on both occasions it showed all to brief (once), and the views were so poor that it could of been pretty much anything, I did have a picture of its head and when studying it at home in more detail it just didn't look right for a Redwing as I had previously thought, I was just hoping that Friday would be the day when another chance may come my way, but it kept me in the dark for sometime on a very blustery morning and I thought that the bird had now gone, but that magic moment finally arrived when eventually it landed on a nearby gravestone from nearby trees in the same place as Saturday, and then stayed for a good 20 minutes frequently feeding on the ground, that to me was the clincher and pretty dam certain of its true identity a FEMALE DUSKY THRUSH. I went home in much higher spirits but I have never seen Dusky Thrush anywhere in the world but my experience from many hours of literature reading etc on birds in general may just have clinched it; but I was also pretty nervous as this potentially would be the first for Kent and the first twitch able bird since 1959. Taking this into account I had to be cautious making sure that this is what I think it is, as the last thing I needed was many many unhappy travelling birders, I then sent various photos to certain birders basically for back up and when confirmed my heart just raced and raced, this was going to be a MEGA MEGA bird and twitch for the patch, the next problem location, being in a sensitive place how would this fare with the locals, to be honest it was probably in the best place possible, even if it wasn't I still would have put the news out regardless, a bird of this magnitude deserves to be enjoyed by others but respect must also go with this (after all my necks on the line), and personally after a tricky start it went well. Luckily on Saturday the bird was present and performed to its many admirers but unfortunately was not seen today. I didn't come back on site until 6:30 this evening as without no sleep for 40 hours and a hard 4 days I ran out of energy, I also spent time going out for a special dinner with my wife and Kids, but eventually on arrival I was not surprisingly the only person present, and when walking around where the bird was I still couldn't believe what had just turned up on the patch and a fab 4 days it was, I am still in dreamland and I suppose that will continue for a while, also a little emotional as the many many hours/years watching this site along with at times, watching in the most horrid of weathers a dream MEGA bird has arrived, but I will try my hardest to get back to reality for the start of next weeks birding (how I don't no!!).   

Saturday 18th May


Twitchers enjoying the FEMALE DUSKY THRUSH
First of all many many thanks for the fantastic e-mails, texts etc that I have received from various people/birding companies across the country thanking me for finding this little beauty, no problem I'm glad you have enjoyed it, but to be completely honest I am still very much in shock, finding a MEGA MEGA bird just doesn't sink in and still hasn't, especially as it is the FIRST FOR KENT, something that I have dreamed off after starting watching this patch way back in 1991, yes over the years it has produced some excellent birds and at the time scarce/rare birds but nothing compares to this and it actually means a lot going in to the record books as the first being found in my County. Friday night I had no sleep whatsoever I was still very much hyper and couldn't wait until the morning, but the only downside to this was going to be, will the bird still be present, Wednesday and Thursday were a nightmare as the bird showed very briefly on just 2 occasions including a flight view and a quick 5 second posing shot (WOW), giving the id a near impossibility Redwing I thought well its more realistic isn't it, after all the only thing I really saw was the head etc on one side, Dusky Thrush certainly not well not until Friday that is. This time the bird showed very well for 20 minutes and as described this time I was 99% sure FEMALE DUSKY THRUSH, but in this day and age you have to get it right after all you guys/twitchers are coming from all parts of the country, get it wrong and its mud time, so this was more than important, I sent the pictures off elsewhere for 2nd 3rd and 4th opinions and yes they all came back with the same answer, what a feeling the icing on the cake now just stay until Saturday at least to which it did, I turned up at 5:15am, and was already beaten by about 40 birders (this is going to be a big day), and then by 8am about 3-400, estimated count up to 2-3pm, probably in the region of about 800-1,200 but maybe more as many people were still arriving, the bird itself didn't disappoint and showed very well on and off for its many admirers, and it was also nice to catch up Marc Heath, Chiddy, Martyn Wilson etc, but don't worry I'm going back over in a minute for another go, but you never know it could well be there for its 5th day, these are what birding dreams are made off tonight I will certainly sleep well.  

Friday 17th May


MEGA MEGA MEGA I have noticed this bird on the patch for the last 3 days when I originally found it on Wednesday 15th May, due to the various features on this bird I was at first unsure of its true status, and only really glimpsing it on Wednesday I was sure it was a Redwing although I didn't clearly see the red patch, or many other features to really give its true id away, on Thursday I went to have another look and once again glimpsed it and still unsure, Today Friday it came out in the open for a good 20 minutes, to which I was very lucky to get a few photo shots. I was at this time wetting my self with excitement as FEMALE DUSKY THRUSH sprung to mind, but due to the variation in plumage I was under no circumstances going to stick my neck out, Dave Gilbert also noted it but I/we wanted true confirmation from the powers at be, I sent these photos to a few birding organisations to have a look at who have confirmed that I have indeed found a classy FEMALE DUSKY THRUSH, If present Saturday I will put the news on the relevant birding channels. Other news today included 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Hobby, 2 Crossbills, 2 Shovelers north (new cemo bird), 1 Little Owl, 11 Whitethroats, 6 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, 19 Swifts, 10 Swallows, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 6 Chaffinches, 24 Jackdaws, 2 Grey Partridges, 20 Corn Buntings, 1 Great-Black-backed Gull, 3 Skylarks, 65 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 45 Linnets and 9 Ring-necked Parakeets.     

Thursday 16th May

Not a bad day with a few migrants still moving through, and included 1 Sand Martin, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Wheatear, 1 White Wagtail and 2 Hobbies, others noted were 1 Common Buzzard, 10 Swifts, 36 Swallows, 10 Whitethroats, 3 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, 4 Corn Buntings, 6 Chaffinches, 4 Grey Partridges, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Pied Wagtails, 12 Jackdaws, 10 Ring-necked Parakeets, 1 Peregrine, 1 Sparrowhawk, 30 Linnets, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 1 Pheasant.

Wednesday 15th May

I so nearly didn't go out today, with a strong to gale force south/westerly wind I was pretty sure, and without any real sheltered parts in those conditions it was going to be a waste of time, but hey saying that almost anything can happen and that turned out to be true not so long ago when in April I found a CATTLE EGRET within the paddocks in almost similar conditions, so what the hell I went out just before midday and when entering the cemo I straight away came across the first Spotted Flycatcher of the spring, perhaps not so bad after all,  I left site about 2pm, and then Dave ventured out after I had left and recorded a rather smart male Honey Buzzard heading low west over the paddocks at 4:40pm, which is also the 2nd spring record for the year. Well it goes to show that although not a lot of the common migrants showed in any real numbers, and it may look like a rubbish day you never know what lurks around the corner. The rest of the sightings included 2 Lesser Redpolls, 2 Wheatears, 1 Peregrine, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Whitethroats, 4 House Martins, 10 Swallows, 10 Swifts, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 4 Corn Buntings and 70 Linnets.

Tuesday 14th May

Today produced a nice surprise which was no more than a Mute Swan a patch rarity which Dave found heading west before I arrived, also 2 Turtle Doves the 5th so far this spring and the most recorded for quite sometime, there was also a Garden Warbler which was singing away in the garden of rest, and a Common Buzzard causing havoc amongst the local gulls. Other bits included 3 Chiffchaffs, 4 Blackcaps, 5 Whitethroats, 10 Swallows, 7 House Martins, 12 Swifts, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Wheatears, 1 Little Owl, 1 Grey Partridge, 4 Chaffinches, 30 Linnets, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 7 Corn Buntings, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 4 Ring-necked Parakeets and 3 Pied Wagtails.  

Monday 13th May

I only had an hour spare today from 1-2pm so time was somewhat limited, I also had no chance of watching much of the area so bits that were noted included 3 Wheatears, 4 Swifts, 3 Blackcaps, 15 Swallows, 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 Grey Partridge and 1 Peregrine.

Sunday 12th May

Little to report with just a few Blackcaps, Whitethroats, Swifts, Swallows and House Martins but the 3 Wheatears hanging around was worthy of note.

Saturday 11th May

 Birthday Bonus yet another classy raptor (1of 2) passes over the patch today.
Well it was my Birthday today so with other surprises lined up I only had a few hours on the patch this time from 6-9am, but what a fantastic time it was with 2 superb raptors passing through early on giving a fantastic Birthday treat. With heavy rain at 3am this morning which went on for an hour I was optimistic that just perhaps a nice migrant may have been forced down, but with a true westerly wind it may off been a hard task. On arrival there was certainly a quiet feel to it but then my spirits rose when the first of 3 Wheatears were seen by the paddocks, and then followed by a singing Reed Warbler in the cemo. But then all was to change firstly at 8:20am when the gulls went berserk over the cemo at first I couldn't locate the culprit but after some neck breaking scans I managed to pick out a Honey Buzzard which was moving at some speed in a westerly direction, after a few seconds I completely lost the bird but once again the gulls were interested in something else further behind, I then couldn't believe it as again when scanning the skies not far away was an Osprey heading very high up in the same direction, what a short birding morning this was and I went home with more than a happy smile on my face. I didn't get back today and Dave took over as soon as I left recording 1 Yellow Wagtail, 11 Whitethroats, 3 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, 6 Chaffinches, 12 Swallows, 8 House Martins, 4 Swifts, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 3 Pied Wagtails, 12 Ring-necked Parakeets, 2 Corn Buntings, 1 Pheasant, 49 Crows, 4 Stock Doves, 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and at long last some Hares with at least 7 present in nearby fields. Later on I received a text from Colin Musselwhite who had a Turtle Dove.    

Friday 10th May

Little to report.

Thursday 9th May

Long-tailed Tit
Birding was certainly on the difficult side today with a blustery south/westerly wind, which also made a difference to the number of species seen. There was no sign of yesterdays Male Pied Fly and the other bits were basically the same, both Dave and I did give it a good 5 hour bash but eventually gave up any hope at 2pm. Birds that did reach the notebook were 3 Wheatears, 2 Common Buzzards, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 9 Whitethroats, 1 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcaps, 2 Swifts, 15 Swallows, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Chaffinches, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 5 Corn Buntings, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 3 Pied Wagtails, 5 Linnets, 2 Grey Partridges, 3 Ring-necked Parakeets, 4 Jackdaws, 40 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 1 Long-tailed Tit.  

Wednesday 8th May

Pied Flycatcher
With today's weather changing for the good I was certainly looking forward to getting out, the day started off with heavy drizzle but this was a positive sign along with a light south/westerly wind. Luckily there was a treat in store when I came across a cracking Male Pied Flycatcher which stayed around all day until Dave and I left, certainly this bird has become a more difficult one to find on the patch especially in spring and is my first male recorded for a few years, and also it was Dave's first ever male here. Following on from this was a small arrival of Swallows with about 20 birds heading west, also 3 new Lesser Whitethroats, 1 Hobby and a slight increase of 9 Blackcaps. Other bits included 2 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Chiffchaffs, 9 Whitethroats, 9 Swifts, 9 House Martins, 3 Peregrines west, 40 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 2 Grey Partridges, 8 Corn Buntings, 6 Skylarks, 2 Pied Wagtails, 4 Chaffinches, 1 Kestrel, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 25 Linnets and 2 Ring-necked Parakeets.  

Tuesday 7th May

Little Owl
With a spring day that produced a light north/easterly wind there was very little hope of turning up anything of real interest, the morning started off very slowly but got a little better as the afternoon went on. Between us Dave and I watched from 8am - 1:30pm, and noted 1 Hobby, 2 Peregrines, 1 Common Buzzard, 2 Kestrels, 2 Sparrowhawks, 1 Wheatear, 10 Whitethroats, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcaps, 1 Little Owl, 19 Swifts, 8 House Martins, 35 Swallows, 4 Grey Partridges, 14 Corn Buntings, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Meadow Pipit, 4 Chaffinches, 4 Pied Wagtails and 10 Linnets

Monday 6th May

I didn't make it out today so Dave watched the patch for most of the day, once again it was notably quiet with the best being 2 Common Buzzards, 20 Swifts, 7 Swallows, 1 Wheatear, 6 Blackcaps, 5 Whitethroats, 2 Chiffchaffs and 2 Sparrowhawks.

Sunday 5th May

A lovely day but without many birds, at best was 4 Wheatears in the paddocks also 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Whitethroats, 3 Chiffchaffs, 5 Blackcaps, 1 Swift, 1 House Martin and 10 Swallows.

Friday 3rd May

Black Redstart
Today produced a few migrants in what turned out to be a very hot day, I watched the area from 9:30am through to 2pm, and at first it was pretty quiet but soon livened up when a Black Redstart appeared by the paddocks to which also gave a few nice posing shots, there was also 2 Sand Martins west and 21 Swifts feeding over the cemo. Raptor watching was also pretty good with 12 Common Buzzards including 8 birds together, 1 Peregrine, 5 Kestrels and 3 Sparrowhawks. Other bits noted were 2 House Martins, 15 Swallows, 3 Lesser Redpolls, 10 Whitethroats, 6 Blackcaps, 5 Chiffchaffs, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 5 Chaffinches, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Grey Partridge, 6 Corn Buntings, 5 Skylarks, 3 Pied Wagtails, 1 Pheasant (still hanging around) and 20 Linnets

Wednesday 1st - Thursday 2nd May

Bird wise there was very little difference between these 2 days with the highlights being 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 14-18 Whitethroats, 10-12 Blackcaps, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Wheatear, 3 Chiffchaffs, 12 Swallows, 1 Little Owl and a very good spring total of 18 Corn Buntings.

1 comment:

Alan Pavey said...

Fantastic record Steve, I was lucky enough to get to the cemetery for half an hour between appointments yesterday, great stuff :-)

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