31 March 2014

Monday 31st March

These days, apart from being a good new year tick, there was a rather non obliging female Black Redstart in bushes by the paddocks this afternoon, and that in told was pretty much it. The best of the rest was 1 Common Buzzard north/west, 3 Chiffchaff's and 33 Redwings, there was also a small trickle of Meadow Pipits heading south/east. 

Saturday 29th March

Another nice early visit today at 6am but it was short lived when I had to go at 8am, but even so the quality of birds within this time was pretty good with another 2 spring migrants. First of all was one of my favourite spring songs, the Willow Warbler which was singing its head off in the Garden of Rest. This was soon followed with a cracking male Ring Ouzel which I flushed from the allotments and then a Mediterranean Gull which was seen heading west. Not bad in a very short spell and to finish was 4 Chiffchaff's around the cemo.

Thursday 27th March

Once again it was very very quiet, at best was 4 White Wagtails in the paddocks, 1 Common Buzzard north and a Chiffchaff near the main entrance.

Wednesday 26th March

Very little to report.

Tuesday 25th March

Extremely quiet day apart from one exception, a House Martin which headed west over the paddocks late morning. This in turn is the earliest ever record by 3 days, and only the 2nd ever March record. Others noted were 6 Chiffchaffs and 4 Sparrowhawks.

Monday 24th March

White Wagtail
Common Buzzard
I was out this morning from 6-7am before the school run, and then returned until leaving at 1:45pm. Within these hours I recorded a very respectable 40 species, not a bad total for March, and even though it did actually feel fairly quiet you cannot sniff at 3 spring migrants. The early stroll round produced 7 Chiffchaff's with most of the birds in full song, also 1 Woodcock which I flushed by the main entrance, but it was left until later on to record most of the other bits. The allotments was very quiet with just a few Linnets, but the paddocks was slightly better with 2 White Wagtails feeding around the horses, and 2 male Wheatears which showed in a nearby stubble field. Raptors today included 2 Common Buzzards which eventually turned up heading west just after 1pm, and at some height it must be said, also 3 Sparrowhawks and 3 Kestrels. Other bits were 7 Redwings, 4 Long-tailed Tits, 57 Linnets, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 6 Goldfinches, 6 Chaffinches, 4 Mistle Thrushes, 3 Corn Buntings, 5 Jackdaws south/east, 1 Rook, 2 Pied Wagtails, 2 Meadow Pipits, 1 Goldcrest, 5 Ring-necked Parakeets, 20 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 5 Jays and 5 Skylarks.  

Sunday 23rd March

Common Gull
It was another early visit today from 6:15 - 8:35am, at a very peaceful time in the morning. As soon as I strolled into the cemo there was the sound of singing Chiffchaff's which eventually turned out to be 5 birds, but the best was to come at 6:20am, when once again I heard the lovely sound of Common Crossbills calling overhead, this time involving 20 birds, I soon got onto two flocks which involved 8 and 12 birds respectively, and at first it looked as if they were going to settle around the crematorium area, but after a couple of flight circuits around, including the cemo they never settled and both flocks soon disappeared high to the west. I then carried on in good spirits and a wander into the paddocks produced 2 male Wheatears and the longish staying Red-legged Partridge which was calling somewhere near the allotments. New year tick included a Brambling west, and there was 2 Sparrowhawks including a nice male which collected a good breakfast in the form of a dozy Wood Pigeon. Other bits around were 15 Goldfinches, 1 Goldcrest, 3 Corn Buntings, 10 Chaffinches, 1 Lesser Redpoll south, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 10 Skylarks, 5 Jackdaws north/east, 55 Linnets, 4 Mistle Thrushes, 5 Jays, 7 Meadow Pipits, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 1 Common Gull and 4 Ring-necked Parakeets

Saturday 22nd March

Red Admiral
I was out today from 6-8am, and although time was a bit on the short side the birds were still pretty good. The early morning watch started well with 4 singing Chiffchaff's scattered around the cemo, and was then followed with a new migrant Firecrest which was near the 2 chapels. A wander to the paddocks produced 3 male Wheatears which put on a decent display, and then the lovely call of 4 Common Crossbills which headed north/west over the Garden of Rest. Other bits noted before I left were 6 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Sparrowhawk, 10 Meadow Pipits south/east, 10 Linnets, 1 Rook, 4 Mistle Thrushes, 4 Ring-necked Parakeets, 9 Goldfinches, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Corn Buntings, 10 Chaffinches and 3 Skylarks. On the Butterfly front there was 1 Red Admiral and 3 Small Tortoiseshells.

Friday 21st March

I was out this afternoon from 12:50 - 2:30pm, and recorded the first Wheatear of the spring with 2 males present in the paddocks, a lovely welcome sight of a pretty stunning bird, also of interest was, well I presume yesterday's white Common Buzzard that headed high west, and there was also 4 White Wagtails feeding around the horses. Also present was 1 singing Chiffchaff, 1 male Peregrine east, 2 Fieldfares, 1 Redwing, 10 Corn Buntings, 7 Skylarks, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 4 Linnets, 2 Pied Wagtails, 2 Mistle Thrushes, 1 Common Gull and 700+ Wood Pigeons.   

Thursday 20th March

Another very quiet day, but it did have a moment of interest when a very light variant Common Buzzard headed west at 9:45am. In fact I have never seen such a white bird as this one which was pretty much albino, a very interesting sight to say the least. Other bits around were 3 White Wagtails, 1 Red-legged Partridge, 1 singing Chiffchaff, 1 Kestrel, 3 Corn Buntings, 35 Linnets and 10 Skylarks.  

Wednesday 19th March

Apart from a Red-legged Partridge which was still present by the paddocks on the way home it was an extremely quiet day. Even with just over 6 hours of coverage there was no vis-mig and barely anything on land. Other bits that did make the notebook were 2 Grey Partridges, 55 Linnets, 1 White Wagtail, 3 Kestrels, 1 Peregrine, 7 Goldfinches, 1 Redwing, 2 Meadow Pipits, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1,500 Wood Pigeons and 2 Corn Buntings

Tuesday 18th March

Red Kite
Well today I had a bit of lady luck, I got onto the patch at 10:45am, and as soon as I got out of the car the gulls were going mad almost everywhere in view, but at the time I wasn't in the best position so didn't quite know which direction to look. But after I found a good vantage point, and about 5 minutes of scanning I eventually found the culprits, 3 Red Kites heading high north over St Gregory's School Margate, a superb bird and another classy raptor over the patch this year, this certainly brings back memories of that fantastic day that Dave and I had on the 30th May 2012 as shown above when we were watching these birds pretty much all morning coming over the paddocks, recording at least 32 birds on that day. The raptors didn't quite stop there with 5 Common Buzzards including 4 birds west at 11:20am, and a female Kestrel in the paddocks. I couldn't do the cemo today so the best of the rest was 3 White Wagtails in the paddocks.

Monday 17th March

I was only out from 3:30 - 4:30pm, but recorded 1 Firecrest in the cemo, 1 White Wagtail in the paddocks, and another good site record of Red-legged Partridge which was in a nearby stubble field. Another year tick was a female Pheasant by the cement works. 

Sunday 16th March

A very very quiet day, of note was 1 Firecrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Peregrine, 1 Sparrowhawk, 4 Kestrels, 2 Corn Buntings, 7 Skylarks, 700+ Wood Pigeons and 16 Meadow Pipits.

Saturday 15th March

Ring-necked Parakeet (so called a pest species but a stunning bird nevertheless)
I was out until mid morning only so didn't have any time for a raptor watch, but at least the rest of the patch was properly covered. Bird species wise well it was fairly similar to yesterday with the added addition of 2 Woodcocks which I flushed near the chapels, and after a good search there was still 3 Firecrests and a single Chiffchaff by the crematorium. A wander into the paddocks produced a White Wagtail but that was pretty much it and without a raptor watch and no vis mig there was little recorded overhead. Other bits were 3 Cormorants west, 2 Goldcrests, 6 Redwings, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 10 Chaffinches, 7 Goldfinches, 3 Corn Buntings, 10 Skylarks, 7 Jackdaws west, 7 Linnets, 5 Meadow Pipits, 20 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 5 Stock Doves, 700+ Wood Pigeons, 4 Jays, 3 Mistle Thrushes, 1 Common Gull and 4 Ring-necked Parakeets.   

Friday 14th March

Rough-legged Buzzard
I had a funny feeling that today's fog was going to linger like yesterday's but luckily I was wrong, and at 11:00am, it finally gave way to glorious sunshine and another excellent birding day. The main highlight without any doubt was a superb Rough-legged Buzzard that I found over the paddocks at 12:55pm, and showing for 5 minutes before heading east in the company off about 10 Herring Gulls. I managed a very quick record shot during this time, which was pretty difficult due to the height this bird quickly gained during its short spell. Other raptors that Dave and I had was 6 Common Buzzards mainly heading north/east, 1 Peregrine by the rubbish dump and a Kestrel by the allotments. Also by the paddocks was 4 White Wagtails which gave a rather nice display. The cemo fared pretty well with all 6 Firecrests remaining from yesterday, also 2 Chiffchaffs including 1 singing bird, 1 Lesser Redpoll east, 3 Goldcrests, 32 Redwings, 10 Chaffinches, 7 Goldfinches, 7 Skylarks, 10 Jackdaws, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 40 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 1 Great Black-backed Gull 4 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 4 Mistle Thrushes, 80 Carrion Crows, 10 Stock Doves, 25 Magpies, 1 Pied Wagtail, 7 Linnets, 5 Meadow Pipits, 25 Starlings and 3 Ring-necked Parakeets. On the Butterfly front there was 9 Small Tortoiseshell and the first Red Admiral.      

Thursday 13th March

Firecrest and White Wagtail
At the time of starting out and when leaving the patch at 1:30pm, the whole area was still blanketed in thick fog, yes to say the least it was extremely difficult not being able to watch the skies let alone see them, so most of today's efforts were concentrated around the cemo. This in turn was quite productive especially in the presence of 6 Firecrests which were scattered around, apart from 3 birds which stayed pretty much together I was hoping for a few nice record shots. Well luckily I managed just that as at times they showed very well and even with the conditions not at their best they certainly didn't disappoint. After spending some time with these birds I ventured into the paddocks, which to be honest I could hardly see, but not one for giving up I carried on and for me efforts managed to record 3 White Wagtails and a Golden Plover with the latter heading north. Other bits in the area were 3 Goldcrests, 21 Redwings, 1 Chiffchaff, 15 Goldfinches, 15 Chaffinches, 7 Corn Buntings, 10 Skylarks, 7 Linnets, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Pied Wagtails, 5 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Ring-necked Parakeets, 2 Mistle Thrushes, 15 Starlings and what sounded like good numbers of Jackdaws moving over without being seen.

Wednesday 12th March

Lesser Black-backed Gull
I didn't arrive on site until just after midday, certainly not the best time to start I must admit but one that couldn't be helped, and after the first 30 minutes I began to wonder why I bothered any way. But at 12:45pm, the local gulls went pretty berserk just behind the paddocks, Black-heads, Lesser Black-backs and Herring Gulls were pretty mad at something and at this time of year when the raptors start to come through it just had to be, but after scanning the skies for a good several minutes I couldn't find anything within the heat haze, until eventually very high up and at neck breaking height they emerged, 4 Common Buzzards were causing the problems as they were moving pretty quickly north/westerly. After this it got a little better especially when entering the cemo with a Firecrest near the Garden of Rest, and 3 Chiffchaffs including 2 singing birds. Others around were 25 Linnets, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 2 alba Wagtails north, 1 female Peregrine west, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 7 Corn Buntings, 2 Meadow Pipits west, 10 Skylarks, 7 Goldfinches, 7 Chaffinches, 20 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 50 Black-headed Gulls, 220 Herring Gulls and 25 Magpies.      

Monday 10th March

White Wagtail
The mean time for Wheatear's here is around the 20th March, so I didn't expect any early miracles, but for White Wagtail the story is a little different with my earliest record being 5 birds on the 5th March, so today I was hoping that maybe I may just squeeze one in, well that is exactly what happened, my first spring migrant of 2014 has arrived with 2 White Wagtails in the paddocks for a good hour this morning feeding around the horses, smart males they were and a sure sign that spring may just of arrived. Due to a rather large funeral taking place my time in the cemo was rather limited but in the short half an hour I did manage 3 Firecrests, 2 Siskins and 2 Redwings. The only raptors noted was a female Peregrine heading west and 2 Sparrowhawks north. Other bits in the area were 6 Corn Buntings, 10 Skylarks, 1 Meadow Pipit, 20 Chaffinches, 7 Linnets, 64 Stock Doves, 55 Carrion Crows, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 6 Jackdaws, 7 Goldfinches and an increase of Lesser Black-backed Gulls with at least 25 birds around nearby fields.  

Sunday 9th March

Just a very quick watch today from 7:10 - 8:45am, but short as it was the birds certainly didn't disappoint. Within this time period I recorded 4 new year ticks which included a pretty rare bird for the site a Red-legged Partridge to which I flushed from the stubble field by the horse paddocks, other new year ticks were 1 Common Crossbill north, 1 Siskin north and 1 Lesser Redpoll south. The 2 Firecrests remained by the cemo entrance and 6 Goldcrests were noted mainly in the crematorium. A nice flock of 35 Goldfinches showed by the rubbish dump and small passage of Chaffinches took place with at least 40+ birds heading west. There was also 3 Meadow Pipits, 1 Sparrowhawk, 5 Jackdaws, 2 Rooks, 4 Corn Buntings, 10 Skylarks, 13 Redwings, 1 Fieldfare, 2 Green Woodpeckers and 4 Ring-necked Parakeets

Thursday 6th March

Little to report in a brief half hour with just 2 Peregrines and 2 Sparrowhawks

Wednesday 5th March

Ring-necked Parakeets
Not many birds around today in lovely clear conditions, but I was only out for an hour with Dave covering the rest of the day, but saying that the short walk round was still very enjoyable. Starting off at the main entrance produced a rather elusive Firecrest, and this could also be said for the Chiffchaff which didn't hang around long either, and apart from a very slight movement of 17 Jackdaws that was pretty much it, with 1 Common Buzzard, 2 Peregrines, 9 Redwings, 16 Chaffinches, 1 Great Black-backed Gull, 1 Little Owl, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Corn Buntings, 9 Skylarks, 3 Ring-necked Parakeets, 2 Long-tailed Tits and 4 Mistle Thrushes being the others on show.  

Tuesday 4th March

Today was certainly successful for one reason and that was the above picture, believe it or not this is the best photo of a Wren on the patch that I have ever taken, in fact its probably only the third ever, being as fidgety as they are I have never really had any joy, but today with glorious sunshine and a couple of frisky males marking their territory it gave me a far better opportunity. As mentioned today was great as was the birds with an excellent 43 species recorded not bad for early March, and included a rather smart, near adult Summer Mediterranean Gull which headed east over the Garden of Rest, and was soon followed with a male Stonechat which spent a few minutes in the paddocks. The 2 Firecrests from yesterday remained near the main entrance, and the Chiffchaff was flitting about by the Dusky Thrush area. Others around were 5 Goldcrests, 8 Redwings, 3 Fieldfares, 1 female Peregrine (hunting pigeons around nearby fields), 4 migrant Sparrowhawks west, 3 Kestrels, 1 Grey Partridge, 21 Linnets, 130 Stock Doves, 9 Corn Buntings, 18 Skylarks, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 7 Goldfinches, 5 Jackdaws, 2 Golden Plovers east, 20 Chaffinches and 35 Magpies.       

Monday 3rd March

Common Buzzard
I didn't expect to much afternoon excitement, but even so it was nice to be out and about enjoying the fresh air even if it was slightly a bit miserable. Saying that it started off very well with 2 Firecrests present by the main entrance, and then the good old gulls went pretty mad the culprit, 2 Common Buzzards that drifted off in a south/easterly direction being constantly harassed as they did so, a wander into the paddocks/nearby fields was pretty effective with 155 Stock Doves which I believe is the 2nd highest patch count (but will have to check back on old reccords), followed with 900+ Wood Pigeons, 1 Common Gull, 1 Great Black-backed Gull (still a very good site record), 17 Corn Buntings and 18 Skylarks. A return visit in the cemo produced a non singing Chiffchaff, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Goldcrest, 3 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Rooks, 7 Chaffinches, 3 Goldfinches, 1 Jackdaw west, 36 Starlings, 2 Mistle Thrushes and 2 Song Thrushes (with the latter nearly becoming extinct here).

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