Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday 20th May

A quick half an hour post work. I added Holly Blue and Green Hairstreak (2) to my year list. Also 2 Banded Demoiselle. A few 'blue' damsels but not as many as i expected.



Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday 16th May 2nd post

My second post of the day. We went to lunch at my Mother-in-Laws in Walderslade this PM. I gave up twitching a long time ago but seeing as the lingering Iberian Chiffchaff was just around the corner I made my excuses for a quick visit. I was the only birder there at about 4.30pm. Bird showed very well and sang it's heart out for my quick visit.

Iberian Chiffchaff

Sunday 16th May

A visit between 8am and 10am today hoping for some Odonata or Butterflies in the warmer conditions. Added a Hairy Dragonfly along the MillStream and this Four Spotted Chaser near the scrape also a Common Blue Damselfly.

Four Spotted Chaser

I searched for Grizzled Skipper and Green HAirstreak but no sign. Just a handful of Orange Tip.

Bird wise 6 singing Nightingale, a Lesser Whitethroat, good numbers of Reed Warbler and 2 Cuckoo. 6 Shelduck were on the Medway.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sunday 9th May second post evening visit

I don't normally get the chance to visit in the evening but managed to wear the kids out enough to get them to sleep at a reasonable hour and after this mornings disappointing visit I thought I would have a stab again for a wader on the Medway. Phil had Common Sand and Greenshank this week and I haven't even had the Green Sandpiper........

When I arrived the river was full. I scanned from the small wood by the outflow but nothing around. I walked through the sunken marsh and then decided to scan down the Medway before returning home in the failing light. Glad I did as I made out a spanking summer plumaged Grey Plover down river. I broke into a jog and fired off loads of shots at ISO 1250 (hence the quality) A New Hythe tick for me (my third for the year after Alpine Swift and Whimbrel)

Grey Plover
A minimum of 300 Swift over and around Brooklands as well and a Cuckoo calling were other records.


Sunday 9th May

Out from 6.45 until about 9am this morning. Cold and very overcast - where has the Spring gone? Ispent most of my time around the sunken marsh and scanning the Medway hoping for some waders, but no luck. A Turtle Dove was on wires on the far bank and Reed Warbler were busy chattering away and like the one below, preparing to nest. Clouds of hirundines again over Brooklands Lake which was great to see....spent some time scanning for a Red Rumped Swallow!!

Reed Warbler

Not much else to note this morning apart from 3 Shelduck on the river.



Sand Martin

Monday, May 03, 2010

Monday 3rd May

Out today between 10.45 and 12.30 with my 8 year old daughter Iris. She was keen to see some butterflies. I didn't hold out much hope as it was cold and blowy and showery. Iris didn't quite get the 'blending into the background' approach to birding!
We started off from Brooklands Lake car park. Clouds of hirundines were over the lake pushed down by the low cloud. A Cettis called near the fisherman's building but remained hidden, also a Reed Warbler here.

We walked around through the sunken marsh but didn't add much out of the ordinary. A Sedge and a few more Reed Warbler in less than ideal conditions. The Swifts were coming very low however and Iris was amazed that such small birds had come all the way from Africa. In a brief spell of sun we did see 2 female Orange Tip - so that made her trip worthwhile, especially as I managed a couple of snaps.

Orange Tip
We walked around Abbey Mead and got close to Nightingale but they remained hidden as usual. Through to the east scrub we found a Slow Worm and a Newt Eft.
Slow Worm
Along the Mill Stream we added a Garden Warbler but not much else.
Just before we went home we scanned Brooklands again and I managed to snap a few Swallow on wires by the fishermans hut. So only new sighting today was Orange Tip but good trip out despite the conditions.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Sunday 2nd May

A visit today between 6.45am and 9am. Heavy cloud at first and then rain, which was eventually torrential from 8.30.

I parked at Brooklands Lake and walked around the lake towards the sunken marsh. Not as much bird-song due to the conditions I guess. What i have noticed this year is a welcome increase in Sedge Warbler numbers. Best sighting today was my first Turtle Dove of the year. I heard it call briefly in the sunken marsh and then saw it fly away from me into deep cover. Still no sign of any Sandpipers on the Medway that have been seen by others.

Good numbers of Nightingale - 14 heard this morning. The picture below is the typical view in dense cover.


I walked back along the Millstream but the rain was heavy now. I did pull my camera out briefly to snap this Garden Warbler (apologies for the quality but i didn't want to get my camera too wet!)

Garden Warbler
As the rain was torrential I drove around to Alders in the hope of a Black Tern or something exciting. A lone Common Tern was here and a huge flock of hirundines of all four species.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Saturday May 1st

Just a brief visit today. Highlights were a Hobby high over the West Scrub (hence heavily cropped picture) which was new for the year and a Common Tern on a buoy on Tescos Lake. 4 Swift and a Swallow over and several Nightingale singing. Added Peacock and Speckled Wood to my New Hythe Butterfly list.

Friday, April 30, 2010

30th April 2010

A quick post work visit from 5.30 to 6.15pm. I parked at the Water Works entrance, next to a burnt out car. Not a great start.

A Blackcap sang close by and the first of 5 Nightingale gave a few notes. I walked through the East Scrub adding Willow Warbler, several Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and another couple of Nightingale. Not much else of note just 5 Swift over. Nice anyway to get out.


Still struggling moving my pictures around which is frustrating.....

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday 25th April

Mute Swan - on eggs plucking breast down

A visit today between 6.30am and 10am. Managed to add seven to my New Hythe year list including a New Hythe 'tick'

Garden Warbler

Fantastic total of 17 Nightingale this morning singing all over the area. My first Garden Warbler singing from the peninsula near Brook House and Whitethroat from what seemed like every bush. 2 Cuckoo around the sunken marsh, 3 Sedge Warbler, good numbers of Reed Warbler - one along the river, a couple around the sunken marsh and the usual good numbers around Brooklands Lake. 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Swift from the Sunken marsh, 9 Swallow, my first of 2 Common Tern and a Little Egret over the sunken marsh along with 4+ Great Black Backed Gull, my first Jackdaw of the year (!) and 3 Linnet.

Common Tern

Best sighting was on the way home. The rain started to fall so I dropped in at Alders Lake hoping for another Tern to drop in. As I got out of the car I heard the unmistakable call of a Whimbrel. Looking up I saw 2 going over...a New Hythe tick! Also, for good measure there was another Common Tern in the pouring rain.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturday 17th April

I can't seem to move my photos around so apologies for the odd format of this post.

Out from 6.30am to aboout 9.45. The mist got thicker and thicker until I couldn't even see the near bank of the Medway let alone the far bank. It didn't clear until around 9am. This hampered my progress somewhat.
Cuckoo Flower
First through the East Scrub where I found the badger footprints in the photos below. Also the first of 3 Nightingale here, but they are still not singing at full throttle. The second and third were near Brook House and in the West Scrub. Good numbers of Whitethroat - at least 6 but probably many more. I added 3 Lesser Whitethroat- one along the Medway, one in the Sunken Marsh and another at the top of Abbeymead. Also a Cuckoo calling briefly from the sunken marsh.
After a tip off from Eddie Denson I also added my first Sedge Warbler of the year, a single bird skulking in reeds outside the fisherman's building on Brooklands Lake. Just before leaving I also added my first Pied Wagtail of the year from Brooklands Lake car-park.

Badger prints

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday 16th April

I had the day off today but was on Dad duty. I took the kids to the small playground by Tescos Lake hoping I might add a flyover to my year list. Pleased to add a pair of circling Common Buzzard and a Small Tortoiseshell. Really pleased with the later - hopefully this signals the start of a resurgence of this species. Also heard one Willow Warbler amongst the many Blackcap and Chiffchaff and a fly through Swallow.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday 11th April

A visit today between 7.30 and 9.15am. First sighting was a new bird for the year - a Peregrine shooting through. A good start to the day! I wandered through the East Scrub, a few Willow Warbler here and a snatch of Whitethroat song. An upsurge in bird calls and a Sparrowhawk shot through the scrub low and across the west scrub.
Over the railway and across to Abbeymead, wall to wall chiffies and Blackcap. Scanning Abbeymead there were hirundines everywhere - mainly Sand Martin and a few Swallow. Along the river a few lingering Teal and a Little Egret. I met Terry Laws in the sunken marsh. He'd just seen a Green Sandpiper but I couldn't relocate it. We did see a few Linnet and my first House Martin of the year, plus at least another 10 Swallow.

Walking back around Abbeymead it was shocking to see that the fishing club is carving a roadway through the scrub, in preparation for Abbeymead being fenced off for fishermen. Really sad and right in the middle of the breeding season.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday 10th April

After a week up in Scotland with wall to wall Gannets, Puffins and assorted seabirds (I will post some pics in the week) I was out at New Hythe from 6.30 -8.30am today. I was hoping to add some migrants and soon had the first of wall to wall Blackcap as I parked the car.
A walk through the East Scrub and I added Willow Warbler. Over the East Scrub and all was quiet before I heard a snatch of Nightingale song. It gave a few short bursts of song from the corner of the east scrub by the pylon but then only a few grunts and wheezes. Obviously tuning up! As I was listening a Whitethroat ratttled it's scratchy song next to me. In the next week or so the place will be alive with them but good to hear my first for the year.
Over the railway I heard the first of six Cettis and then as I was walking along the river a Cuckoo from the direction of the sunken marsh. A few days earlier than my average. I couldn't actually see it as I scanned the marsh which was frustrating. A Linnet over but no sign of any Sedge or Reed Warbler here.

Over to Brooklands a small Gull caught my eye. A Little Gull. I watched it at distance for 20 minutes or so and got a few record shots.

Little Gull- Brooklands Lake

Later in the morning on a drive past after a visit to Tesco I added my first Brimstone and Small White of the year.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday 28th March

Out for an hour or so from about 5pm - none of the excitememt of yesterdays Alpine Swift however....

I parked at Brooklands Lake for a change and had a wander across the sunken marsh, down the river, over the railway, across the east scrub and back down the millstream. At least 10 Chiffies heard, 2 Oystercatcher again on the Medway with 2 Shelduck and a few lingering Teal. I added Stock Dove to my year list here. Not much else of note but good to get out!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday 27th March

A text from Eddie Denson at 4.45 that he was watching at Alpine Swift over his house, Castle Lake, Motorway Lake (Junction 4 of M20) I was there in 10 minutes and had good views as it wheeled overhead. At 5.30 the heavens opened for torrential rain and it disappeared. Hopefully it will be around tomorrow.

Also a Swallow and Sand Martin over.

Apologies for the rubbish pics but great patch bird! Cheers Eddie!