Thursday, 29 January 2009
They most often used the tall trees as perches but occasionally dropped down onto the windbreaks and telegraph wires, looking for all the world like a Mediterranean species rather than Scandinavian.
Unfortunately this was the day that the Sparrowhawk finally got her prey, taking one of the birds out. A smattering of feathers were retrieved from the orchard Thanks to John , The Bearded One of Bald Birder fame).
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
The usual Fieldfares held court, supported by smaller numbers of Redwing. There were also increased numbers of Blackbirds around the orchards, clucky continental-types no doubt, certainly not as confiding as the male Blackbird that pulls worms within a few feet of passers-by near the East Malling Conference Centre.
Monday, 26 January 2009
I checked the church orchard again at lunchtime but apart from a couple of Goldcrests all was quiet. Moving onto Bradbourne House and the area south of Garner Drive, East Malling I was lucky to find 4x Lesser Redpoll (a new site tick for me) feeding in the alders the Siskins had frequented a week ago. They moved quickly through and were soon lost to sight. A couple of Jays glided down from the oaks, but a rather unexpected sight was a Mute Swan on the stream flowing from Bradbourne House (area with no access).
Sunday, 25 January 2009
The rain seemed to ease slightly this afternoon, so I checked out the river at the bottom of the road again - the flood had suprisingly subsided, probably due to yesterday's dry weather, but I'm sure it'll be in flood again tomorrow. Check the pic above against yesterday's! Still too muddy to walk along so took the kids with me an did a drive-by of the East Malling orchard to see if I couldn't see nay Waxwings - no luck but 21x Brambling including some fantastic males. Checking Garner Drive after I managed a flock of Starlings and Barry Wright going semi-rural (eclipsing the Hawfinch for best sighting of the day?!), but no Waxwings - wonder where they've gone?
LATE NEWS: Just seen that 13x Waxwings reported early afternoon in orchard beyond East Malling church before flying east - no doubt to another orchard on the Research site.
Back home I to the river to see what was around down there but was confronted by a flood at Barming Bridge - the river had well and truly broken the banks - no chance of the riverside walk today, although a pair of Mallards seemed to be enjoying it, I just hope the Kingfishers are bearing up as well. So back home and a look over my back garden fence across the Parish Playing Fields in Barming revealed high numbers of Fieldfare feeding - 150+ with a smattering of Redwing, Goldfinches and Starlings to boot. It was comical to watch the thrushes as they deployed their 'run, hesitate, run, hestitate' behaviour, almost synchronised at times like some crazy avian game of 'musical statues'! A flock of 25+ Greenfinches were picking through the leaf litter alongside the Field Maples, I checked carefully just on the off-chance a Hawfinch might be amongst them but no luck. I had hoped to get out at last light for a quick sortie for Waxwings and Bittern at New Hythe but didn't get the chance - if I had it seems I might have met the rest of the local blogging fraternity (Ross(Bald Birder), Steve (New Hythe Blog), Ken (Halling Blog) and Phil Sharp and Terry Laws to boot!) as well as possibly bagging 20+ Waxwings and 3+ Bittern!!!!
Fieldfares loitering around the centre circle
Friday, 23 January 2009
Their favourite apples!
Thursday, 22 January 2009
Another look for Waxwings at 12:30 turned up 5 in the large trees at the eastern perimeter of the churchyard. They appeared to have discovered the large bunches of mistletoe and fed contently for 40 minutes or so.
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
I lost my bins case and returning to the orchardat 10:20 I was met by a group of birders, some of whom had seen some of the Waxwings, some who had not! However within a few minutes at least 5x Waxwings put in an appearance, landing in the trees at the east of the churchyard. 3x Brambling were also reported, and I had 2x Brambling on the roadside with a flock of Chaffinches as I drove back to the main research station labs. Thanks to those birders who retrieved my bins case - much appreciated! Also lots of Green Woodpeckers around, I had 8 today without really looking for them! Sorry but another shot of a Waxwing, this time looking through the shrubbery towards Garner Drive (from a area with no public access unfortunately). Got to make the most of them while they're here!
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
No sign of the Waxwings while I was at the orchard at lunchtime (12:40-13:20), although all 26 had been seen earlier. A couple of Brambling were present. I was later contacted by both Tony Roulinson and then Ross to say the flock was feeding on the Viburnum berries in Garner Drive, East Malling early afternoon (13:30-14:30).
Monday, 19 January 2009
20 of the Waxwings in one tree at 16:00
Camera shake starting to set in as it sinks in I've got 26x Waxwings on my local patch!
More of the same-hopefully better shots if they're around tomorrow
One last shot - we'll be checking for coloured rings tomorrow.
Friday, 16 January 2009
Thursday, 15 January 2009
Venturing to the orchard behind the church at lunchtime I hoped to get another look at the Waxwings. Three birders were there along with a couple of old lags from research station past. Gordon and Ray now spend their time wandering around the Kent countryside, inevitably taking in a pub, ordering a meal and then photographing it. This is recorded with all diligence, accompanied by a selection of interesting photographs of things they happen upon on their wanderings, on the similar sounding blog to mine: http://eastmalling.blogspot.com/ and added as a link under 'Twisden's Rambles', well worth checking out. Anyway after hassling the assembled birders they shuffled off leaving us to search for the Waxwings.
None showed in the 40 minutes or so that I was there with mist lifting and then sinking, although a smattering of Bramblings were still present, including a couple of fine males, along with a volery of Long-tailed Tits and a single female Sparrowhawk that dashed past just as we talked about her. A report later on BirdGuides indicated that a single Waxwing was seen late afternoon. It is interesting to note on my record shot below the more defined fork on the tail of the Brambling (left) compared to female Chaffinch (right).
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Later I had 30+ Lapwings in the field opposite Barnjet Priory, north of the A26 Tonbridge Road between Teston and East Barming.
Monday, 12 January 2009
Sunday, 11 January 2009
Saturday, 10 January 2009
Friday, 9 January 2009
Thursday, 8 January 2009
I took part in the monthly EMR running club race at lunchtime, which yielded a couple of Goldcrest en route, but precluded me from checking out the Bramblings. In my abscence Ross, The Bald Birder (http://baldbirder.blogspot.com/), managed to find eight, and photograph them, within a stones throw of my office! I'll be loitering outside his office tomorrow (although I'll never beat the Hoopoe he got from his office window in 2005)!