Sunday, 6 December 2009

Out for a paddle

When the rain stopped it seemed like a good idea to get out and do some birding. It was also an opportunity to get another TTV done. The 2km square I walked round today was centred on Studdal and goes by the official name of TR34E. I was rather disappointed at the number of birds I found, perhaps they've had enough of the monsoon season and moved! I would have done better to have worn wellies, even our well drained footpaths were beginning to resemble paddy fields in places.

One bird that did show was a Mistle Thrush (three in total) and I realised that this was the first I'd seen in a week of surveying, where have they all gone? In the old Birds of Kent (now over 30 years old) Mistle Thrushes were found in more than three quarters of the tetrads in Kent. Of course that was in the breeding season, when the males sing loudly from a high singing post. Perhaps they are just less easy to find at the moment.

The Common Gull, which winters with us in some numbers seems to like wet field to feed in and today they were particularly partial to horse paddocks, a common habitat in this area.

Rooks were fairly prominent, and there is a rookery in the village of Studdal. They never move far from their colonies and are one of the earliest species to get into the breeding cycle in spring, in fact it won't belong before they start the annual renovation job on their nests. I saw just 33 species today, but of course there is a second count later in the winter and casual records can also be added, so hopefully many of the gaps will be filled in.

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