Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Tuesday 17th January 2012

40 species seen on patch today - mostly seen while working in the fields on the East Malling Research site.  Goodies included 12x Reed Bunting, 7x Lesser Redpoll, 12x Skylark, 60+ Linnet, 4x Tufted Duck (on a partially iced Bradbourne Lake, uncommon on patch) and a Little Egret.  The full complement of thrushes was achieved with predominantly numbers of Redwing in Barming on my walk into work, and 500+ Fieldfares in East Malling (but no Redwings!).  I had expected to find Meadow Pipit, Little Grebe, Wren and Pied Wagtail...but they weren't to be found!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Lapland Bunt count

Prompted by Gavin Coultrip's posting on the KOS Forum, I revisited my photos from the RSPB fields, Sheppey on 5th January.  Photo attached with markers over the flock.  There were at least 3 Laplands in this flock, but I couldn't be 100% sure there weren't any Reeds in with them - there seemed to be plenty in the field that day.  I've counted 32 birds in the flock.

Double click to enlarge

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Making the most of the fine weather I spent my lunch hour down at Bradbourne House, East Malling.  All the usual suspects including a glowing white Little Egret, initially seen perched in a London Plane tree, and later strutting its stuff across the sports field.

Looking at Alan Woodcock's excellent pictures from Sheppey today, I'm wondering if was the Pale-bellied Brent I saw last week?  I've attached another photo from the day below,  the bird on the far left is the bird I'm wondering about - any comments?

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sunday 8th January 2011

After visiting some friends in Wateringbury, I opted to walk back to Barming via the river and West Farleigh.  Highlight of the walk was a Whooper Swan on the River at Bow Bridge, Wateringbury along with Mute Swans, Canada Geese and a couple of hybrid geese (a couple of Canada x Domestic Goose hybrids I guess - see photo below, both parents I suspect are there!).  Kev Reynolds had seen the bird late Summer 2011, and Eddie Denson informed me just before Christmas that it was still around, and it wasn't shy in coming forward so darw your own conclusions on its likely origin!  Walking alongside the paddocks to the east of the river I added Meadow Pipit, Common and Herring Gull to the TQ65W of the KOS Winter Atlas, but Grey Heron, Skylark, Sparrowhawk and Kingfisher are all still absent!

Some pellets were found under one of the owl boxes - but with a Kestrel in the vicinity I can't be sure these aren't pellets from this species...any ideas anyone?  Didn't exactly wet my appetite for my Sunday lunch.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

5th January 2012

A quick post from a couple of hours on Sheppey this morning (backdated posts to follow when I have time!).  I arrived at Shellness for high tide; Knot, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover all in attendance, huddled, heads down in the unrelenting wind. 

The large flotilla of Mallard were just off the point along with c 15 Common Scoter.

Common scoter, Shellness

On the way back up the entrance track towards Leysdown I picked out a small wader with 4x Ringed Plovers.  Unfortunately it was keeping tucked down in the wind, and I couldn't hold my bins steady so struggled to ID it.  I managed the shots below (which may or may not held), before car came up behind me, and the group flew off while I moved! Any help appreciated.

Mystery bird in the middle (double-click to enlarge)

Mystery bird on right (yeh I know, but it shows it has a dark bill!)

Plenty of Brent Geese and Curlew in the adjoining field.  I'd heard a report of a Pale-bellied Brent, and it's not my thing to go through massed flocks for such things, but this particular bird flew past that seemed to have a paler-belly.  Having never knowingly seen a pale-bellied Brent before, and at risk of showing my complete ignorance to this subspecies, is the bird on the right hrota (pale-bellied)?! 

I pulled up at the seawall at Leysdown and this fella walked towards me - nice ring, possibly Polish, I need to check.

Next stop was the RSPB fields just west of Muswell Manor.  The clouds looked more threatening, and the wind picked up ahead of the storm clouds (was blown off my feet at one point).  

I didn't fancy my chances with the Laplands in this weather, but arriving at the fields there were a couple of flocks of passerines bouncing around in the wind.  One was a small flock of Skylarks (10-12 birds) and the second was of buntings, consisting of c 30 birds.  They were extremely restless an flew up within seconds on touching down. Luckily the flock passed directly overhead and I could see that at least some of the birds consisted on Lapland Buntings.  Eventually I did get views of three birds on the deck, but the flock also consisted of Reed Buntings so I can't be sure how many Laplands were on show.  Quite a result considering the weather!