Friday, 21 December 2007

Friday 21st December

A foggy morning in the Barming, so dense that even the church wasn't viewable from the main Tonbridge Road. However, it lifted quickly after arriving in East Malling, revealing a fantastic winter wonderland-real Christmas Card weather. The rows of windfall apples were smothered with winter thrushes as I arrived, unfortunately most took flight as I approached to take a photo, although a few brave Blackbirds and Redwings cautiously pecked on.

I finished early and walked back home along the footpath from Kiln Barn Lane, Ditton to North Street, Barming. A Little Owl sat plumped up on a fence post by Kiln Barn Farm,
frowning on a small Exultation of Skylarks (8 in total) that fidgeted back and forth. I caught a glimpse of a Lapwing flying NE, quite high, and then heard one call from the ground just to the south of the farm. Sure enough a Deceit of Lapwings, for they were suprisingly inconspicous, was located, dotted across the cattle field directly north of Gallagher's Quarry. Forty-five in total, but conscious of Warren's success in locating a Golden Plover on his Hadlow patch I carefully scanned the field. No, just Lapwings there, not that I'm not happy with that on my patch! A couple of Stock Dove flew up as the bullocks lolled to their feet. I continued up Gallagher's Gallop and was soon greeted by the soft call of a Bullfinch, a female at first then a smart male, glowing in all it's colourful glory against the hoar-frosted chesnut coppice. Another pair were located further along the path towards the water tower. A quick scan of the alders lining the pea field for Siskin or Redpoll was unsuccessful so I continued on home, a good 30 minutes late!
Now I'm off work for the Christmas period I've stocked up on bird seed and topped up all my feeders - my glances into the back garden over the last few days have revealed a lot of bird activity - Redwings, Fieldfares, Great, Blue & Long-tailed Tits, Green and Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow-all gregariously seeking out food. Despite this I often find my gaze drifting away from the feeders to the Field Maple at the back of next-door-but-one's house-the favoured tree of the Hawfinches of 2 years ago! With more time on my hands to gaze out the kitchen window over the next week or so I'm keeping my finger's crossed!


Warren Baker said...

Any chance of bringing over some of those winfall apples !! (for the birds of course)

Adam said...

If I can fight off the winter thrushes first!

Steve of Kingsdown said...

Lovely photo with coloured stripes across the frosty land. The windfalls are a great food source at this time of the year.

Looks like you'll get a good selection of species in the garden over Christmas, but isn't it frustrating to have a place where a bird 'ought to be' - good luck on that Hawfinch!

Simon said...

Nice photo of the windfall apples, and a good selection of birds in your garden too. The local blackbirds have almost gobbled up all the berries in my garden.

Steve said...

Nice photos and a nice post Adam