Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Horned Lark and Snow Buntings.

Paths seem to attract several of our winter visitors. The higher edges collect good numbers of seeds and these are the attraction. The path behind the South Foreland still is playing host to a splendid Shore Lark and a small group of Snow Buntings. The only problem is that this is a popular walk with dog walkers and of course this unintentionally disturbs the feeding birds

 Shore Larks are winter visitors from that breed further north. The name Shore Lark is a British name because of their frequent winter habitat. The universal name of Horned Lark makes much more sense.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Birdie Time

When you are birding,especially if you are doing a list for any reason,a day list, a trip list or even a life list, there is an old saying all "ticks" are equal.

I have to say some are more equal than others and near the top for me is the fabulous Peregrine.
This is an adult, with horizontal bars across the breast, and I think this si the male.

A loud honking about alerted me to a Raven over head, and as it flew over the fields it also alterted a group of Carrion Crows perched in the Empty Wood.

The flew out to challenge their larger relative and continued to escort it away from their presumed property.

They ended up flying up the hill that marks the fairway of the par five hle no 8 on the Kingsdown nnd Walmer Golf course.

It is a long uphill hole, and although I don't play this game, it seems like an expensive way to spoil a good walk, from what I have seem there seem to be very few birdies associated with this hole.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Non appearing Dusky Warbler

Birding can be a frustrating hobby. Today I walked down towards Kingsdown, and ended up in a scrubby field where a Dusky Warbler has been skulking for the last couple of days. A quick call to Brendan confirmed I was in the right place, and a message informed me that it had be recorded today. After half an hour I'd heard what I was pretty sure was the bird just twice, from an area of brambles. A quick glimpse of a bird, the right size and shape promised much but came to nothing as it went quiet and I saw no more movement. I decided it just wasn't my day, when all of a sudden it started calling. I heard it over a period of about two minutes but saw absolutely nothing. By this time I wished I'd driven down there instead of walking, although it was the walk that I needed to try and get back into the habit of exercising my very achy joints. The pictures are not a Dusky Warbler, but at least the Yellowhammer and the Robin had the decency to sit out and show themselves.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Jack the lad.

Jack Snipes are a regular winter visitor the the UK, but they are not that well known as they can be very difficult to see. There were two at the Restharrow Scrape  yesterday and we had some quite good views.

Look carefully and there are two Jack Snipe.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Missing the Rares

There has been an unprecedented influx of Siberian Accentors in Europe in the last week or so. In total there have been more than 120 and seven (unless I've missed some out) have occurred in the UK, The first in Shetland, was a UK first and then at least three on the north East coast of England and two more in Shetland and one in Lothian. None has appeared south of the Humber estuary.  I reckon that the undercliff at Kingsdown would make a perfect place for one to turn up in Kent. In addition a couple of rare gulls ahve appeared in Kent, only to disappear without hanging around for wider recognition. Ever hopeful I had a wander along the Undercliff on Friday afternoon, just as the sun vanished behind the cliffs and some storms started to wander along the channel.

It won't surprise anyone that although I did find a Dunnock, there was nothing exciting around although it is always good to watch the Rock Pipits there.

The fabulous cliffs looking towards Hope Point.

Black-headed Gulls wandered past, but no sign of any American visitors.

Black-headed Gull, adult in winter plumage.

The tide was high, and on it's way, and in any case I don't think I'm now up to the cliff bottom walk to St Margaret's Bay. Thi is a shame, because I alwys feel there is some good potential in places there is some scrub down to the cliff bottom.

One of the black storms wadering along the Channel.

The undercliffe, looking north towards Deal.

In fading light a black Crow flies sinisterly along the cliff top.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Moving Lumps on the ground.

The last week hasn't been good. A bad dose of something very nasty has had me in bed, or at least in doors in the smallest room, for most of the last seven days, I did manage to get to the Kent Wildlife Conference at Kent University, and with the help of heavy dosing and crossed fingers, I got through my talk on Kent's changing birds, over the period I've been birding, with out accident.

A view from the lounge window. Apart of the flock of Goldfinches feeding in the garden. These are under the feeders below the grape vine.

When I counted these I was surprised how many there were on the ground, As this is just one of two feeding areas the total flock in the garden is now approaching 200.

Yesterday I managed an exciting trip to the pharmacist, and took the opportunity for a drive from Deal along the Ancient Highway.

 I noticed some lumps on the ground. While thousands of Red-legged Partridge infest the countryside, waiting for the unspeakable to blast them out of the sky, some native Grey Partridges keep their heads down, on Worth Marshes.

They are one of my favourites and we are lucky to see them regularly here.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The Last Hurrah!

After a very wet night there was some very nice sunshine today and it was great to see a couple of Red Admirals basking in the warmth, possibly their last opportunity this year.

The garden was buzzing with the calls of over 100 Goldfinches with Chaffinches and a few Bramblings and Greenfinches to supplement the seed eaters.

What interested me though were the odd glimpse of small warblers feeding among the leaves on the bigger trees. I reckon there were probably four, and as I got good enough views to identify each one in every case it turned out to be a Chiffchaff

There is no doubt that it is possible to get a rarer phyllosc here, I've seen both Yellow-browed and Pallas's Warblerrs within 300 meteres, but I'm still waiting here..

Monday, 10 October 2016

There's ants in the Lawn.

I have many faults, and one of them is hoarding rubbish. Sometimes it pays off. This old wall television "table" looked like it might have some use, and for about three years it has made a useful bird table, fixed to a large tree. It doesn't get used a lot, but I did notice, a year or so ago, that visiting Bramblings preferred to feed on it than on the ground. I put some seed on it and of course a Chaffinch tried it first. In the end I had four Bramblings feeding there.

It wasn't long before some of the flock Goldfinches found the seeds on the TV bird table, The flock is well over 100 now and as well as being very noisy they also get through a lot of seed.

I think this female Green Woodpecker must have found a good ants nest as it had it's head down most of the time I was watching it (about five minutes). As usual something, probably one of the clumsy Wood Pigeons landing with a thump, disturbed it and it flew to one of the trees.