Thursday, 27 September 2007

Wednesday 26th September

I paid a quick, or rather rushed, visit to Wouldham at lunchtime to try and catch up with the Pectoral Sandpiper that had been reported earlier in the day. My heart dropped when I saw the river was at high tide, lapping on the grass on the west bank. However a scout around threw a Common Sandpiper up from the bank behind the church, and just as I was about to call it quits I saw 2 birds fly low across the water after being disturbed by a dog walker on the west bank. Another Common Sandpiper, dutifully followed by the juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper. Both flew obligingly close, before settling onto the grass by a green diamond navigational post on the west bank, opposite the church. Both were there when I left at 13:20.

Monday 24th September

2 Swallows flew low across the gardens in South Street, Barming this evening. Possibly the last of the summer?

Monday, 24 September 2007

8th-21st September 2007

A well-deserved 2 week holiday to St. Ives, Cornwall turned up a number of interesting things in between basking on the beach and licking ice-creams.

Atlantic Grey Seal, St. Ives Harbour
The weather for the first was mostly fine and dry with not much in the way of the wind from any direction which was excellent for sitting on the beach and apparently for Basking Sharks (100+ reported in Sennen Cove), but with my usual luck I didn't manage to see one all holiday despite numerous visits to Sennen, Lands End, Porthgwarra, Porthcurno and Pendeen.....I think I was the only person in Cornwall not to see one!!!! The only shark I did manage to see was a dead (mutilated) Blue Shark in St. Ives Harbour, a victim of fishing nets I suspect. Harbour Porpoise, Common and Bottle-nosed Dolphin and an Ocean Sunfish were also seen off Lands End.
Remains of a Blue Shark (Head and fin) in St. Ives Harbour

I managed to catch up with a Wryneck at the bottom of the Naquidno Valley and found a second about 2 miles further on near Cot Valley (as I walked the coast path looking for Basking Sharks!) and managed a poor record shot.

Wryneck nr Cot Valley Sat 15th Sept

Ravens and Choughs were much in evidence with both seen between Sennen Cove and Lands End, Nanquidno and Porthgwarra. Peregrines also appeared everywhere including over St. Ives Harbour! The wind picked up in the 2nd week and with came some interesting seawatching. Tuesday 18th produced 1x Balearic Shearwater, 1x Arctic Skua and 200+ Manx Shearwater in an hour.

Raven and Common Buzzard disputing territories nr Cot Valley

A morning visit to Porthgwarra on Thursday 20th Sept turned up 3x Cory's Shearwaters (although very distant at 2-2.5km), 10x Sooty Shearwaters, 6x Balearic Shearwaters, 2x Manx Shearwaters(very low number!), 3x Storm Petrels, 8x Great Skuas, 2x Arctic Skuas and pairs of Raven, Chough and Peregrine.
Juvenile Peregrine (in heavy rain), Cape Cornwall

Butterflies were few and far between compared to last year. No Clouded Yellows or Hummingbird Hawkmoths, but singles of Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral on most headlands.Porthcurno. Note the large shadow in the water, a rock rather than Basking Shark, unfortunately!

Friday 7th September

An unexpected Ring-necked Parakeet was heard to screech and then was seen on feeding on apples in the deserted orchard on the West Farleigh side of the River Medway between Barming & Teston Bridges this afternoon.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Wednesday 5th September

A warm morning, but still overcast. A Chiffchaff still called from the Oak by the Pea Filed/Water Tower path and I was suprised to see a collection of birds; 2x Green Woodpeckers, 4x Blackbirds, 8x Goldfinches, 3x Wood Pigeon, 1x Dunnock and 1x Wren all sitting on the fence alongside the private track to the north of Gallagher's Quarry. There was obviously something there to attract them (spilt grain?) but I couldn't seen from beyong the gate. It would have made a fantastic photo...if I'd remembered my camera! 2x calling GS Woodpeckers flew across to Oaken Wood and 35+ House Martins and a single Swallow (!) swarmed over the Kiln Barn Lane/Easterfields corner field.

At lunctime 4 x Yellowhammers skulked in the grubbed fruit trees on the bonfire site on research station land and were joined briefly by a family of Goldfinches. 12x Linnets sat on the telegraph wires by the bypass road and a single Skylark was flushed by the Buddleia plot. Woodpigeon were much in evidence with a flock of 50+ feeding in stubble on one plot.

A Barn Owl was reported yesterday evening over Sweets Lane, East Malling.

Monday, 3 September 2007

A fresh northerly swept across my path into work, making me think I'd rather be walking to some watchpoint on the north coast of Kent for a spot of seawatching, but work called! Nothing out of the ordinary, a good number of Collared Doves perched on every available telegraph post, 5x Herring Gulls soaring over Gallagher's Quarry and a couple of Green Woodpeckers yaffling alonfg the track to Kiln Barn Farm.
A visit to Ditton Quarry yielded 2x Small Coppers, 5x Common Blue (1 male), 12x Meadow Brown and 2x Red Admiral. Large numbers of Common Darter were enjoying the sun.