Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Grasshopper Warbler

Another 'quickie' this evening after having spent all day with the grandsons proved rewarding. I was after Julians gropper that he heard yesterday evening which duly revealed itself just beyond the conifers plus on the way picked up three green sandpipers in the 'muscovy' wet patch and two snipe. At least two cetti's warblers, 1 common whitethroat, the muscovy duck and marsh harriers also put in appearances.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

At Last!

A very short but rewarding visit to the beach by the huts at Seasalter.....a wheatear at last, flitting about on the beach and breakwaters plus 5 swallows. Only a half hour trip just to check and just as well. It was still there today 15th and an evening text from Julian Russell reporting a grasshopper warbler out on the plots by the conifers.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Migrants at Last

10th April:
I ventured back to Wraik Hill hoping for nightingale and soon heard one on the council owned block, half way down the hill plus a willow warbler was in song. Back on the top of the hill I met Mark, the new Kent Trust warden for the Canterbury area who was there to do some fencing work with a couple of volunteers. I didn't walk around the site but continued down to the levels finding two cetti's territories along SS. Lane. At the seafront it was hight tide and a flat calm but nothing on the sea except 19 g.c.grebes, 3 shelduck and 19 turnstones roosting on the dredger moored just off the beach. Very little about, although I did catch sight of a stonechat out on the pasture behind the Sportsman PH perched on one of the bushes ripped out by the farmer so there's no bushes at all, plus the 'dam' he ripped out  in the main dyke is still not reinstated so the reedbed will dry out in time!

Went to Oare marsh seeing two garganey that Geoff Burton found earlier plus c.400 blkwits, a good number of redshank and half a dozen sedge warblers. Met up with Geoff and walked along to Uplees finding two swallows and 2 Med gulls in the channel, 58 grey plovers on the other side plus three buzzards. There was a lot of military aircraft over the area starting with an Apache helicopter, 2 Tornados (thanks to Charlie Vint's ID skills) and a Chinook. Not much for the camera this morning.

Another visit to Wraik Hill finding yellowhammer along Pye Alley Lane, blackcaps, chiffs and the usual hedgerow birds. As always, the friendly blue tit wanted to give my car the once over, checking the mirrors, paintwork and tyres.

No nightingales evident on Wraik Hill but the one on the lower slope was still present and further down on the levels a peregrine was perched on one of the pylons and 2 cetti's on the Mt Pleasant corner and another one further along plus the barn owl was still in town. Finished there today!

Again, another visit to Wraik Hill top this time finding a nightingale at last, I was worried with all the savage inroads to the scrub, plus two or three chiffs and a blackcap. I managed to get a shot of a  orange tip, they rarely land for me, almost got it square on but at the last nano second it flew so I had to be content with a side on shot. Speckled woods were also in flight.

A new meaning to scrub bashing!


 Orange Tip

Speckled Wood
Moving down to the levels I met Geoff Burton again who had heard a nightingale at to another site close by, totalling three in the area. There were no sedge warbler song along the road but a stonechat put in an appearance plus a buzzard, swallow and peregrine. Cetti's were evident here and further along the lane but no whitethroats.  Down at the coast there were no terns  but  a dozen turnstones were roosting on the barge. A walk around the plots revealed the two 'wild' horses were now three as a young foal was close to its mummy and a marsh harrier and kestrel were hunting over the fields. A few mallards were jumping up out of the grass and 4 gadwall flew flew up from the dyke it appeared and two sedge warblers burst into 'song'. The 'best' bird and new record for Whitstable was a muscovy duck sitting in one of the damp patches near the conifers! Very little else except several peacock butterflies plus a red admiral and tortoiseshells.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Compulsory Purchase Order

Yesterday I noticed compulsory notice orders posted on the entrance to the Seasalter plotlands by the Council. If they manage to achieve this I hope the site will see some interesting changes and become a major reserve as it is 'sort' of run by the RSPB at the moment but clearly can't do much with it until they have complete control over the area.   

A short walk up to the wall produced 11 swallows and 2 house martins plus 2 redshanks,  the mudflats were deserted but Horse Sands had c.40 seals hauled out.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

A Walk down a Country lane plus Sedge Warbler at Seasalter.

Yes, I tried something different on the 4th taking a walk along Monkshill Road at Graveney. The route passed by some marsh land and then along general hedgerows, nothing special. Just birding this morning so no photos but surprised me with a pleasing count of 34 species including; blackcap, chiffchaff, grey wagtail, buzzard, little owl, mistle and song thrushes, green and grt spot.etc.. On the way home I called in by the Sportsman, a marsh harrier, stonechat but still no wheatear.

Today, (5th), I went to Broomfield woods, on the way seeing that swallows had returned to Brooklands farm again. The woods were a waste of time, no lessers or treecreeper or nuthatches so I aborted fairly quickly, perhaps I should have given it longer!  Anyway I wanted to check out Wraik Hill for nightingales and of course, found none, just a couple of blackcaps and chiffchaff.  One interesting thing here was a blue tit that was particularly interested in my car, continually checking the paint and chrome work and tyres,  and still there when I returned to leave! Even more interesting was that he was there doing the same thing last week!!

A Speckled Wood was on the 'track' at Wraik vegetation having grown on the mangled clearance areas yet, still strewn with dead wood etc., I hope the nightingales return!  Moved on to the levels finding a stonechat, a peregrine, barn owl and a cetti's warbler plus an orange tip was along the roadside.  Next stop was the Sportsman PH (not literally), I just had a quick listen to the reedbed....... no song but back along the track to the road a sedge warbler started to sing from the large bush. Another look around the huts revealed no wheatear but linnet numbers were up to 14 and a marsh harrier and kestrel were passing overhead. It was good to see lots of tortoiseshells and peacocks today, they seem to have made a good recovery.

Also back at home a red kite flew past, viewed from the garden......see them every year now!