Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas is coming and a update is due.

On my last blog i got up to the end of November, so now to catch up. On the 3rd I went to my local park to see how things are getting on.

The now finished new bridge, just on the left 
of the pic below is the Wingnut tree. 

This area used to have a children's play area over it.
But there is a good flow of water going through.

This is where the new path will go across the marsh area.

On the 4th a visit to Broadwater again got me 2 Raven plus Jay, Common Gull, G.S.Woodpecker and Woodlark of note.

The 10th was a bit different with a visit to Oare Marshes, was hoping for a Owl or two, but that wasn't to be. 45 species altogether. A massive flock of Black-tailed Godwit with some Ruff, Snipe and Redshank mixed in. Usual species seen, did see a Pale-bellied Brent Goose amongst the Dark-bellied but am not getting into that on a blog.

69 Brent seen on this visit.

The 16th saw a visit to Rye Harbour, Pett Level and Dungeness RSPB. 52 species seen on this trip. Rye Harbour got me a Purple Sandpiper briefly and Spotted Redshank. Tree Sparrow were very active when I got to Dungeness and managed to get the species I wanted. Long-eared Owl behind the dipping pond, it was very well camouflaged but got great views of it's very noticeable white eye brow. Not seen one of these for a few years, and this is my first one for Dungeness. Over the day I saw 5 Geese. Canada, Greylag, Brent and a flock of Barnacle with 2 Snow in with them. A day all round but not amazing weather.

Okay am going to leave it there for the moment, and will do the next catch up very soon. Am now going to look at what courses I am going on next year. Dragonflies I think is a must, and I think I might see if I can get as many butterflies in Kent and Sussex as possible. More of that later.

Will leave you with some photos taken at Rye Harbour.

There were about 13 Little Grebe just in a small area.

These were incredibly close.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Moans, groans and Ravens.

It's been so long since I last updated. Weather and life all seem to be conspiring against me, not that that is a bad thing.
The other day as I was walking round Broadwater and thinking I would call my blog said title, I heard a call and stopped as 2 Ravens croaked and flew off. These aren't even the Ravens I was thinking about, but more of that later.

So back to November, between 14th-20th I went to Broadwater twice. Strong winds and hard rain soon had me giving up with hardly anything seen. One of the moans I have at the moment is the state of the reserve. Every path has at one point a mud bath waiting to be crossed, a lot where vehicles had gone down. Two of the best paths were either closed or had been churned up by heavy plant vehicles that it wasn't even worth trying to go down it. I know they are doing some good work there but my footwear is more important I think.

One of the few birds I did see and that was looking soaked.

The 23rd finally bought a bit of better weather and I got 16 species. Actually saw 4 Pheasants rather than just hearing them, Coal and Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Common Gull and 11 Herring Gulls going over were the highlights and the insects seem to have all gone to ground.
The 26th saw a trip to Bough Beech and 30 species. The best bird being Black-tailed Godwit. With Wigeon, usual flock of Mandarin and Marsh \Tits on the feeders being my other favourites. 



Grey Heron

This is how low the water is now. Picture below shows the 
Tern island no longer floating.

Normally the water is up to this sign. Such is the 
changing faces of a reservoir.

The 27th was when I saw the aforementioned Ravens. Ironically they were 2 minutes from my house. They were on top of the local church as I went to pick up one of my boys. New one for Tunbridge Wells for me.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Latest bits and pieces

Why is it recently that every chance I seem to be able to get out it is horrible weather. Went out yesterday (13th) and had that horrible rain that is hard, cold and darkens the sky. Didn't stay out long as everything seemed to be sheltering somewhere else. There was when I got there (still ok weather) a flock of about 12 Crow, and about 6 Herring Gull flew over during my brief visit. 3 Redwings and 7 Fieldfare didn't even fancy stopping for a feed. A flock of 12 Feral Pigeon, 2 Woodpigeon, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Wren and Magpie were about it. Did see a possible Lesser spot but flying away into the rain.

Have visited my local park (Hilbert and Grosvenor) and got a few more pictures.

This i believe is a Himalayan Honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosa)
Looks really lovely. I think formosa was popular in victorian shrubberies. Attempts 
have been made in recent years to repopularise the species in Britain with new 
cultivated varieties appearing in garden centres.

A local squirrel below. The other pictures are of the area in the park were the marshland is
going to go. There were reeds trees and mud here but they have removed it all to redo it.

Now above. Before below. Looking forward to how it is going to be.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Another for local list

A visit to Broadwater warren bagged me another new bird for the site, making my total now to 65.

The weather was bad, on and off rain, strong winds. That didn't stop a flock of about 78 Fieldfares feeding on the Eastern heath, where apparently a Dartford Warbler was seen 2 days before.

These pictures show what the weather was like, so dark yet not late in the day.

Cormorant, new for me here. Flew over as did a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker flying between the areas of woods. Redwing and Woodlark as well as Crow, Black-headed Gull, Blackbird were among the few I saw. There was a pipit feeding on the ground which I think was Water Pipit, but most of the time it was hidden from view

Not loads of species but a decent day. Going back to my last blog I think the gull I saw over the park was possibly a Caspian Gull. I am not amazing on gulls but this was flying overhead and only in sight for a minute or so.
Will look it up. 

Friday, 6 November 2015

Tree and Moths

In the last week or so I have got a few photos of 2 moths and a tree that is interesting.

Not worked out what this is yet but I will . Anyone else know?

This I know is a Beautiful Plume Moth (Amblyptilia acanthadactyla) 

This I have been told is a Persian Ironwood Tree (Parrotia persica) 
A deciduous tree in the family Hamamelidaceae and the sole species in 
the genus Parrotia. Closely related to the witch hazel genus. Native to Northern Iran.

These leaves off the tree are very distinctive.

Managed to get to my local park too, on the way I saw this.

This must have been some blaze as the other side of that bin has been melted as well.
Didn't see much bird wise. But saw the next stage of the lottery funded park.

This used to be a very rusty looking bridge that regularly flooded, the lottery fund is really making this park a lot better. Next year I think it is going to be amazing.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Best Broadwater day yet

It's been a while since I updated. Been so busy, my wife went away for the weekend and then was working lots of hours in half term, so I have been looking after the boys and trying to ignore the fact that there were 2 British ticks in Kent for a few days.

Going back to the 22nd I took my wife up to Chatham area for a appointment, left early to do a quick Oare marshes visit. It ended up being a very quick visit as the weather was atrocious and took forever to get there. Probably out the car for about 15 minutes, although you can do some from the car. Loads of ducks there and a small group of Rock Pipit which was my only year tick for the day. Was hoping to maybe get a Red Kite over while driving but no way with that weather.

Next day I went over to Broadwater for a long visit. It paid off as I saw the most species in one visit I have had. All the usual suspects - Robin, Kestrel, Woodpigeon, Crow, Blue Tit, Wren, G.S.Woodpecker, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Pheasant, Buzzard, Magpie, Great Tit. Jackdaw and Goldcrest again. There were 2 Mallard flying over as well as my first Geese for the site,12 greylag Geese, Starling and Black-headed Gull also flew over. Still plenty of gorgeous Yellowhammer, another favourite of mine Coal Tit and Jay, Mistle Thrush, Green Woodpecker and Long-tailed Tit. The new site species for me were the best though. 2 Meadow Pipit, feeding on ground, Redwing and Fielfdfare, only 2 Redwing but a good number of Fieldfares. The bird of the day was however in the car park as I was putting everything away. A Raven flew over with its distinctive call and obvious wedge tail. A excellent day all round.

My local park on way to visiting my parents.

Thought I had a couple more photos to put on, but can't seem to find them.
Will put them on the next update along with a couple of Moths and a Persian Ironwood tree.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Dungeness visit. Was it a S.T.T?

Was going to go to Norfolk for potentially 2 new birds and 4-5 rare year ticks. Instead did a fairy quick trip to Dungeness. About 4 and a half hours there. On the way I checked out Scotney GP and had a Curlew as well as a flock of Barnacle Geese with 2 Snow Geese amongst them, not sure about these birds as they always seem to be around in winter months. I then moved onto the ARC, hoping for some waders but the water level was too high. Did see one of my favourite ducks though, Pintail. My 1st Fieldfares for this winter as well as Chiffchaff and lovely Marsh Harriers over.
Next went to the RSPB reserve. There were 2 Black Redstarts on top and around the main centre building and toilets. That was my first year tick for the day, my next one was Ring Ouzel, flying across the access track when leaving the reserve. Added the always appreciated Tree Sparrow by the entrance at Boulderwell farm.
Before I got back to the car a report came through of a Short-toed Treecreeper on the west side of the trapping area, heard only. So thought I would check it out, thought there might be some other birds around as well. Walking along on the west side a bird flew across the path and into a low tree, it was a bit ahead of me but it looked like a Treecreeper and it did a small call when it got into the tree. I saw it move but very very briefly, and that was it didn't see it again. Was it a Short-toed, I had seen one at Dungeness years ago and knew that identifying by sight was nigh on impossible. I had to get home but very thankful that I have seen one before otherwise that would be very frustrating.

the tree it flew into

the path i choose

Trying to get photos of all the birds I have seen including the 
common ones.


area for Great crested Newts - looking really good now compared
to when they first set it up.

59 species for the day, 2 year ticks and a good little visit.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Latest sightings

On the 8th I went to Broadwater Warren again. It was a excellent bird day, with 21 species being seen. No new ones though. Apart from Peacock butterfly (the only photo I got) there are still Common Darter and Brown Hawkers around.
The Bird list though was Robin, Crow, Green Woodpecker, Yellowhammer (inc some young birds), Goldfinch (5 flying over), Tree Pipit (still 2), Herring Gull over, Woodpigeon, a few Jay, Great spotted Woodpecker, a flock of 9 Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Magpie, 2 Mistle Thrush, Greenfinch (inc 2 juvs), 2 Wrens, Blackbird, Buzzard, a gorgeous posing Woodlark, Chaffinch and Jackdaw.
Am hoping to get Crossbill there soon and have a good site for potential Fieldfare and Redwing sightings.

The gorgeous Peacock that just posed nicely.

I suppose I would have to say I twitched a tree. It is in my local park and have seen it before but hadn't even thought what type it was. Have now been told it is a Caucasian Wingnut tree (Pterocarya fraxinifolia) which is apparently not common over here. It loves moist, almost boggy soil were it can get plenty of light. Which is exactly where it is growing.

Wingnut tree

Couldn't help it. In my local park and the red on it's wings
was so nice I just had to take this picture.