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.
Friday, 5 March 2010
Friday 5th March
Nice crisp morning and pleased to add Coal Tit to my 'walk in' year list - fliiting around the trees bordering the North Pole allotments, Barming. 3x Great spotted Woodpeckers, chasing each around the treetops by the Water Tower, making a hell of a racket! At lunchtime I added another 2 Coal Tits to the day list, this time by the footpath crossing the railway just east of East Malling railway station. Also a few pairs (not parties) of Long-tailed Tits. Fieldfares are still hanging around, with 25 seen on the orchard floor with a single Redwing.
I headed off to Bradbourne, passing the South Park plot on the Research Station which was being ploughed. A few Black-headed and Common Gulls followed the plough, but a larger flock sat out in the adjacent field, 80-90 Black-headed Gull and....a Mediterranean Gull....yeh hey, at last, about bloody time!
6th gull from the left - OK he's looking away - but nice, darkest black hood, all the way down the neck (compare to Black-headed gull above it, with brown-dull black hood) and nice red legs. No black on wing tips, and if you could see his face, nice big red bill and white eye surrond.
This time 11th from the left, almost in the centre. Nice dark hood again, and if blow pic up can even see a red bill!
I moved closer an old plane growled over sending them all up in the air, ironically I got a better pic of that the gull (come on Twisden, what is it? Harvard? Grumman?). This flock of gulls is viewable from the public footpath that runs north, along the research station road, from East Malling Church to Ditton Church.
I zipped down to the lake to see if the Med had dropped in there, but was met with just 25+ Black-headed Gulls, and another new bird for site for the year - a Mistle Thrush!
Also I've heard from Dave Walker in Barming who was kind enought to send me a photo of one of three Harris Hawks that are frequenting the west Barming area. He's seeing them on an almost daily basis - so if you see a large raptor floating over the A26, it could well be one of these! Thanks Dave.