Thursday, 27 November 2008

Thursday 27th November

No lunchtime wanderings today - a meeting at work instead. However it was a pleasure to see a female Sparrowhawk perched on one of the fence posts next to Kiln Barn Road, Ditton as I cycled into work this morning.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Wednesday 26th November

Not much to report from Ditton Quarry today (unless you want to hear about more Bullfinches and Goldcrests!). Eight Herring Gull made themselves known by their loud calls as they flew overhead and landed on the roof on the new Tesco distribution Centre on the Quarrywood estate, Aylesford. A large murmuration of Starlings sat out the dull, cold weather on one of the power lines on the Research Station.

Tuesday 25th November

Off patch today in the hope of seeing the Firecrest in Lunsford lane, Leybourne. Again no luck, although a few Goldcrests kept me entertained and a female Goldeneye showed well on the small lake to the east of Alders lake.

Saturday 22nd November

Quick walk out to St Maragrets churchyard, Barming just to check the Hawfinches of 2 years past weren't around! No sign. However lots of Redwings were darting in out of the yew trees, joined by Greenfinches and Chaffinches.

Friday 21st November

Fieldfare numbers have increased massively over the last week and today io had my first count over 100 on the Research Station site. A few Redwings were peppered amongst the flocks feeding on fallen apples. A quick sortie to Bradbourne looking for Firecrest didn't was unsuccessful, not even a Goldcrest! However the Tawny Owl looked content roosting in it's usual place a couple of Little Grebe dipped around the edge of Bradbourne Lake.

LATE NEWS: One of the glasshouse staff flushed a Woodcock in Scotts Field on the Research Station site this afternoon. An unusual record for site but not as unusual as the one reported in John Cantelo's garden in the centre of Canterbury as well today!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Wednesday 19th November

A lovely crisp day, with a slight northerly breeze. Another short trip over Ditton Quarry this lunchtime. Things still quite after last weeks Hawfinches, Redpolls and Siskins - no of these were seen today. 15 Fieldfares fed on the grassy area in the SW corner and the GS Woodpecker put in another appearance. 8x Bullfinches were seen, and posed briefly (but not long enough) for a least this one's in focus! A dragonfly (Hawker spp?) was on the wing, but no butterflies today. On the walk back into work a male Pheasant strutted through the apple orchard.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Monday 17th November

Plenty of Fieldfare fodder on the East Malling Research site at the moment, and I'm greeted each time I leave the main lab building by 'chack-chack' of the increasing numbers of the Fieldfares that are making the site their winter home. Redwings are still scarce here, although I have seen double figures in Barming at the weekend. Ditton Quarry was very quiet at lunchtime with no Redpoll or Siskin to be seen. As expected the Hawfinch(es) didn't put in an appearance, although I'm reliably informed was one present on Saturday in one of the ash trees at the extreme SW corner of the quarry. The only other interest was a GS Woodpecker in the quarry (as well as one on my garden feeders in Barming this morning). The morning forst was unexpected, especially as the mild temperatures on Friday brought out a Comma butterfly in the quarry.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Thursday 13th November

One Siskin became 10. Another quick sortie over Ditton Quarry at lunchtime saw a vocal and showy trembling of Siskin moving from Alder to Alder. They weren't associating with the Goldfinches, as the single Siskin of the last few days had been, so I can only assume they've only just moved to the site. There was also a noticeable increase in Fieldfares with a flock of +80 flying overhead, a glint of underwing silver catching what few rays of sunshine made it through the increasing cloudcover. A few paused briefly on some of the larger Field Maples. Bullfinches teased me again, but my preoccupation with the Siskins limited any photographic opportunities. Needless to say there was no sign of any Hawfinches and probably because of my limted time I didn't see manage to get any Lesser Redpoll today. This site was alive with birds, so it was rather depressing to have to leave after only 30 minutes. I sure a thorough search would have turned up a few more interesting things!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Wednesday 12th November

The weather had improved considerably since Monday, and the clear, cloudless night had left a light covering of first thing. I ventured out to Ditton Quarry at lunchtime, but again no sign of the Hawfinches despite a lot of branches now being exposed presumably from the leaf cover being blown away in Monday's gales. I quickly located the Siskin that has been associating with the charm of Goldfinches in the alders in the SW corner of the quarry site. 2x Lesser Redpoll flew overhead but couldn't be relocated. Good number of Chaffinches and Bullfinches were seen and heard, but despite my best efforts I still couldn't get a decent shot of one of the Bullfinches (see the best of my blurred efforts below). I will get a decent shot eventually! A flock of Long-tailed Tits was very active and a couple of Goldcrests followed them through the Hawthorns.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Sunday 11th November

I managed a couple of hours at Ditton Quarry this morning, spurred on by a report of at least one Hawfinch still present on Saturday afternoon. A 2 hour search failed to relocate either bird, but good numbers of Goldfinches were present feeding on the Alders in the SW corner of the site. Scanning through them I managed to see 3x Lesser Redpoll (see how one melts into the rose bush in attached photo, almost camouflaged) and 1x Siskin (rather poor photo) , quite a result as I've not had either species anywhere else yet this winter. A flock of Long-tailed Tits flitted through the shrubs in the same area, accompanied by a a couple of Great Tits, a Blue Tit and two Goldcrests, but nothing rarer. Up to 6x Bullfinches were seen, quite a common bird on this site, although often heard lisping rather than being seen.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Friday 7th November

Suprise of the day was 2x Hawfinches sitting a top of an Ash tree in Ditton Quarry (TQ715574). I'd visited the quarry to get some pictures of 'common birds' for a notice board, and having dipped on getting a snap of a Jay, male Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and any number of Bullfinches that were flitting around I was drawn to 2 stocky looking birdshigh up in an Ash tree. Luckily I managed to get a picture of one of the birds before the pair swooped down into some cherry trees bordering East Malling Research station land. I managed to pick one of them out again, but the shrubbery was very dense and I was looking directly into the sun...and then I had to get back to work! It'll be interesting to see if they hang around. A Red Admiral was the only other thing of note.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Thursday 6th November

Another dull day - with dull birds. Only thing of note was 200+ Wood Pigeons feeding on freshly ploughed ground at the Research Station, East Malling. They didn't even hang around for their photo to be taken.

Tuesday 4th November

My first Redwing of the winter in the garden in East Barming this morning, along with a Coal Tit, a rare site in my garden, visiting the feeders. A quick scan across one of the orchards at East Malling Research at lunchtime showed up good numbers of Fieldfares (+50) and large flocks of finches, predominatly Chaffinches with a few Goldfinches thrown in for good measure, definitely an increase in numbers since last week.