Friday, 16 September 2011

Friday 16th September 2011

The wind had changed overnight to a light easterly and I was hopeful a few migrants might have dropped in.  A scan of Gallagher's Gallop and the Sweets Lane and Paris Farm paddocks in East Malling didn't look hopeful.  However in the last hedgerow before Kiln Barn Road I spotted the flick of a red tail - a female/juvenile Redstart, a long awaited first for me on the patch.  It quickly worked through the hedge and was soon lost to sight - the snatched record shot doesn't really do it justice!

I managed to get back out at lunchtime but the Redstart couldn't be relocated.  A Blackcap and 10+ Chiffchaffs were found in the same hedge, indicating there had been a local 'fall' in the area and this was confirmed with my next sighting, a smart male Stonechat, perched on a sloe bush - an excellent patch record.  Unfortunately I was on the wrong side of the bush, looking directly into the sun, hence the silhouette...but I think you can see what it is?!

I scoured the Paris Farm paddocks sure that there must be something else, getting greedy, but if there was I didn't see it.  Last port of call was Sweets Lane Paddocks - it had been pretty much deserted on my brief morning visit.  Pied Wagtails flitted across the pasture, 35+ birds in total, and there amongst them, as bright as a Canary was a Yellow Wagtail.  Unbelievably this was my first grounded Yellow Wagtail on patch - I was on a roll! 

Unfortunately no new birds on the way back to work, but I did notice a snake skin alongside the path (Grass snake??)

The sunshine persisted into the afternoon and I spent the last part of the afternoon/early evening working through the apple rootstock seedling orchard on the Research Station.  

A female Sparrowhawk skimmed amongst the fruit trees sending flocks of Wood Pigeons,Starling and Linnets in its wake.  A couple of Spitfires and a couple of biplanes headed south (possibly en route to Goodwood?).

Hawker Fury?  (Help me Twisden!)

Spitfire duo

Stampe Vertogen SV-4B G-BRXP (ex-Belgian Airforce trainer?!)


Alan Pavey said...

A nice set of migrants Adam, with a patch tick thrown in, good stuff.

Warren Baker said...

That was an excellent visit Adam! Bet you were well happt with that lot :-)

Greenie said...

Adam ,
Some great species seen on your visit .
Would agree with your slough ID as a Grass Snake .
Sorry , can't help with the planes .

alan woodcock said...

Nice to read about the birds you find around East Malling (Sweets lane)etc,I spent my childhood birdwatching the sane areas,including the research station,I lived at Rocks Road.I remember Skylarks nesting on the bank bordering the quarry,it all looks very different now,except perhaps for Sweets lane,the small pond there held a pair of Moorhens.

Ken Beckett said...

Hi Adam,

I didn't realise we were so close the Christmas!

Ken Beckett