RAPTORS STEAL THE SHOW. With the recent poor run of birds I was really looking forward to getting out today, especially when noticing that the weather forecast was going to be sunny with a light north/westerly wind. Great, anything light westerly here whether south or north, and at the right time of year has at time, produced some very good raptor watches, and with the cemo placed on a very high point within Thanet and being able to view easily high up in all 4 directions this was surely a must. But to be honest the day didn't start to well with a blanket of mist which didn't clear until about 10:30am, being the case I decided to cover what ever I could up to 11:45am, before settling down for a 2.5 hour raptor watch. A wander around produced the first Lesser Whitethroat of the year which was rattling away by the allotments, and at long last a fairly decent number of Whitethroats with at least 12 birds in the area, also 7 Blackcaps and a Chiffchaff in the crem. The paddocks held 4 Yellow Wagtails, and a possible Blue-headed Wagtail which headed west. There was also 19 Swallows, 3 House Martins, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 15 Linnets, 3 Chaffinches, 3 Goldfinches, 7 Jackdaws, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Skylarks and 45 Crows. Now for the best a total of 7 different raptor species for the day, and it all started just after mid day when the gulls started to go berserk over Westwood Cross, looking up for 10 minutes I found nothing, not surprising as the bird a lovely Hen Harrier was instead heading fast across the paddocks in a westerly direction, a great bird for the site with not to many records here. But the gulls were still going mad surely there is something else and indeed there was, a rather high/distant but superb Rough-legged Buzzard the 2nd this year which luckily I managed to scope and notice all the relevant features for 3 minutes, before it headed off in an easterly direction at 12:20pm, this is also the latest record for the site. But once again a mere 5 minutes after the Rough leg a Marsh Harrier turned up heading west over the paddocks, and then a scattering of 8 Common Buzzards, 3 Peregrines, 2 Sparrowhawks and 3 Kestrels. Not surprisingly as it does it went quiet after 2ish but wow what a great species raptor day and about time to.
Monday 28th April
Another day of going through the motions, with little in the way of numbers of migrants this was another hard fought day. But at long last there was a few Common Buzzards well 5 in total but it was the best seen for some time, also 1 Hobby was feeding distantly around nearby fields, and 4 Sparrowhawks headed west mid morning. Whitethroats are still in disappointing numbers with a very miserable 4 birds being seen, but at least 7+ Blackcaps were noted mainly in the cemo. Other bits included 1 Yellow Wagtail west, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 House Martins, 10 Swallows, 2 Kestrels, 3 Corn Buntings, 40 Linnets, 4 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Green Woodpeckers and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker. Perhaps the place might wake up a bit next time who knows.
Thursday 24th April
This morning was another difficult one, yes there was a few migrants around but not in any decent numbers. The main interest was 8 Sparrowhawks which headed north/west during the morning, also 2 Peregrines and 3 Kestrels. The other bits were 1 Wheatear, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Yellow Wagtail west, 3 Blackcaps, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 late Fieldfares, 2 House Martins west, 8 Swallows, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 3 Corn Buntings, 60 Linnets, 4 Goldfinches, 2 Chaffinches, 1 Jackdaw and 2 Skylarks.
Wednesday 23rd April
I spent a few hours out today and my word the birding was certainly hard graft, still the best arrived just before I was beginning to give up. I covered pretty much every inch possible and it turned up 3 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Wheatear, 13 Swallows, 6 Blackcaps, 5 Whitethroats, 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 late Fieldfare, 2 Sparrowhawks, 30 Ring-necked Parakeets, 1 Kestrel, 2 Meadow Pipits, 3 Corn Buntings, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Chaffinches, 40 Linnets, 1 Green Woodpecker and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker. And best of all was a cracking male Whinchat which spent most of its time around the oil seed rape fields by the paddocks.
Tuesday 22nd April
My first proper day out since the Easter period, and although it was a beauty weather wise the birds were hard to come by. I have only managed a very disappointing 4 raptor watches this spring including today, which surprisingly only produced 2 Common Buzzards which headed south at 1:15pm, 2 Sparrowhawks and a single Kestrel. New migrants on site included a singing Garden Warbler but it was generally very quiet with the rest of the stuff being 2 Wheatears, 3 Whitethroats, 5 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, 9 Swallows, 60 Linnets, 3 Corn Buntings and 2 Meadow Pipits.
Sunday 20th April
Just half an hour out today at that was from 6pm, best of all was a Hobby first of the year which was hunting over fields by the cement works.
After a frustrating last few days of no birding I eventually managed to get out, well for 2 hours from 6 - 8am, and boy I just wondered what may of been around if it was anything to go on today's performance. As soon as I arrived on site I ventured into the allotments but didn't stay there long after hearing the call, and then seeing 3 male Ring Ouzels heading low west over the crematorium. I then hoped that they may of landed but could not relocate them. But the good news was that it didn't end there as 45 minutes later another 5 males headed high west calling as they went, and then just before leaving another 4 males came in high from the South and landed somewhere around the Garden of Rest, but unfortunately at the time I was heading home and very frustrating that it was I couldn't get no where near them. But without doubt this is a new spring record of 12 Ring Ouzels for the patch and all males, a brilliant sight nevertheless. Could their of been more passing through well that I will never know. Best of the other bits was 1 Whitethroat, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Swallows, 7 Blackcaps, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Brambling and 3 Fieldfares west.
Friday 11th April
Unlike the last couple today started very slowly with very little on show, but after 7:30am, it certainly changed. Best of all was a Firecrest which showed by the crematorium, and is the first bird for quite a while. A wander to the paddocks held 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail and a House Martin which headed north, warblers noted were 14 Blackcaps an excellent spring count here, with many singing males scattered around the cemo, also 1 Willow Warbler and 3 Chiffchaffs, 4 Swallows headed north/west at 8am, and returning winter visitors included a Brambling heading west. Other bits were 1 Lesser Redpoll north, 5 Sparrowhawks north/west, 2 Kestrels, 10 Meadow Pipits, 6 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 10 Linnets, 4 Mistle Thrushes, 40 Ring-necked Parakeets and 3 Corn Buntings.
Thursday 10th April
A day of glorious weather but it was another early finish just after 9am. Still once again there was a few migrants around especially Blackcaps which are starting to come through in nice little numbers, today there was 8 and were also joined by 3 singing Willow Warblers and 6 Chiffchaffs making their voices heard around the cemo. Another 2 Sand Martins headed north/west early on and 2 Swallows were feeding around the paddocks. The other bits were mainly local with 4 Long-tailed Tits, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 5 Sparrowhawks all heading west at 7am, 3 Chaffinches, 2 Corn Buntings, 2 Skylarks, 1 Kestrel, 10 Linnets, 6 Goldfinches, 4 Meadow Pipits, 2 Jackdaws, 4 Rooks, 10 Ring-necked Parakeets and 3 Mistle Thrushes.
Wednesday 9th April
Another nice early visit today from 6 - 9:15am, which produced a nice selection of migrants along with a bit of vis mig. First of all was a female Ring Ouzel which I flushed near the Garden of Rest before heading north/west, and then 3 Sand Martins the first of the year which headed in the same direction. The first Swallow was also seen over the cemo, and a small continuing passage of Meadow Pipits headed south/west up to 9:15am, involving at least 200 birds. A wander in the paddocks held a male Wheatear, 1 White Wagtail and a passing Brambling. Warblers today were 7 Chiffchaffs and 5 Blackcaps with other bits being 10 Jackdaws south/west, 3 Rooks, 3 Chaffinches, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 6 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 Mistle Thrushes, 3 Corn Buntings, 4 Skylarks, 15 Goldfinches, 15 Ring-necked Parakeets, 15 Linnets, 1 Cormorant north and 3 Song Thrushes.
At long last a bit more on site activity, I was out from 6:30 - 9:05am, and recorded the first Whitethroat of the year in the allotments, and was soon followed with 3 Wheatears which were the first since the March arrivals. Another small flock of 8 Common Crossbills headed north/west over the Garden of Rest, and warbler numbers increased with a singing Willow Warbler by the main entrance, 5 Chiffchaffs and 6 Blackcaps. Other smaller bits included 3 Corn Buntings, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Green Woodpeckers and 70 Linnets.
Tuesday 1st - Monday 7th April
Apart from a few early site arrivals there was very little bird wise to choose from between these dates. Highlights during this spell included the first Blackcap on the 1st, with a Yellow Wagtail on the 2nd and most surprising of all and the earliest ever recorded here was a Turtle Dove on the 3rd, which was heard purring away in the cemo before seen heading west. Other bits around were 2 Common Buzzards on the 4th and 5th, and 1 White Wagtail on the 6th.