A report of wildlife sightings from the western edge of Maidstone, Kent. I note anything of interest in the vicinity of my home in Barming and from walks into work at the East Malling Research Station along the edge of Barming Woods and down to Ditton. Occasionally, when time allows, I get out to Ditton Quarry, a rich habitat hemmed in by residential and industrial developments on one side, but with open countryside on the other.
Sunday, 28 February 2010
Friday 26th February
A windy but sunny day - a couple of good sightings (for me) on the way into work - five Lesser Black-backed Gull on the field in the field at the back of Kiln Barn Farm, Ditton, an uncommon visitor on the deck on my patch. Better still - 43 (forty-three) Stock Doves, I've struggled to get double figures so this was species, so this was a real result. Viewing them en masse I was struck by how glaucous they're plummage looked.
Down to Bradbourne, East Malling (private site) at lunchtime. The wind was rippling the leaf-strewn surface of the lake, and I was was rewarded with yet another duck tick - a pair of Gadwall - not a new one for site but my first for this year and only my second for site. A couple of Mute Swans which had been noticeable by their abscence had returned. Even better was to come as I struggled against the wind at the end of my lunch break, I stopped off at one of the plots and flushed eighteen (yes, one eight - 18) Skylarks, out of a Miscanthus test plot. They took flight in 3 groups, all flappy, nice white sides to tail feather and a few bits of subsong as they lifted, circled and then dropped down in the adjacent wheat stubble. Five Yellowhammers, inc 2 males, were also present as well seven hen Pheasants. I've often had a small group of five Skylarks near my strawberry plots this winter, but 18 is a new record for me.