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Monday, 24 December 2012

Monday 24/12

A drive out to St Margarets at Cliff produced many fly by Auks , Gannets , first Fulmar of winter , Great Crested Grebes and Red throated Diver.
Returning back via Dover managed good views of Black Throated Diver in Dover docks but I was not well enough to walk out on the pier to check for others. Life boat came in and was met by ambulances and the police.
Samphire Hoe had the lower walkway closed due to storms little to see but lots of Gannets.  

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Monday 17/12

A drive to Tenterden was done on as many back roads as possible. The lack of winter thrushes was very evident as the largest flock was only 5 birds. Found/came across Orleston forestry commission  and managed to park for 30 minutes at one of the entry gates with a view up one of the paths.
First birds here were the 5 Redwing, this was followed up by fantastic views of a nuthatch on the gate support we were parked alongside( 5 feet at the most ). Downside of modern cars is that the car has to be turned on for the windows to work to enable me to get any photos. As the bird was so close we did not want to spoil experience. Three Treecreepers made an appearance with one coal tit 4 LT Tits , 2 song thrush, robin , blackbird , blue tit, magpie and a jay. When I can get up and walking it must be a place to visit. Returned via Walland marsh hoping for more waxwings without any luck. a park in  a layby gave me tree sparrows, yellow hammer,collared doves and chaffinch.( Still missing my first Brambling of winter 2012)   Many swans at Midley but all adult and juvenile mute's. Kestrel,buzzard and Sparrowhawk were the on;y raptors seen.
Still dont know where to look for the common crane and is it viewable from the car and suprised at the lack of Geese on my rounds. Did not have time to visit Dungeness but drove passed Arc/ new diggings and still no sign of Diver or smew for me but did get a glimplse of a GW Egret.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Monday 10/12 Walland Marsh

Lunch at the Woolpack Inn today. Day started well with 2 Siskin in the garden drive to the pub gave me 3 Red Legged Partridge and a male Hen Harrier flew over the car. Still hundreds of Russian Thrushes about . Return journey allowed good views of Buzzard, Yellowhammer, Tree sparrow and a Sparrowhawk took a redwing alongside the car.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Saturday 8/12 Walland Marsh

A  wonderful sunny but cold day managed to persuade Val to take me out for a drive. A Waxwing was seen at the T junction on New Romney-Brenzet road with Lydd, Far to dangerous to stop and admire so on to Walland Marsh here managed to locate 7 Waxwings and a pair of Red Legged Parttridge. Still huge numbers of Thrushes but today the redwings seem to out number the Fieldfares.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Saturday 2/12 Walland & Romney Marsh

Still unable to walk without pain so birding is very much out of reach. Today a glorious but very cold day and Val offered to drive me around for a few hours, With reports of Waxwings on Walland marsh we started there, managed 2 Whooper and at least 8 Bewick swans, while watching them a Male Hen Harrier quartered the Swan field until it dropped onto prey, waited 15 minutes to see if it would fly any closer to the car but never saw the bird again.
No Waxwings  seen but there were hundreds of Redwing and Fieldfare.
Did manage to find a few "new" back roads at Walland which look promising for future excursions. 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Tuesday 13.11 Dungeness

A couple of hours late afternoon hoping to see the Common Crane which I was unable to trace. Banacle goose and many thousands of Starlings around the wind turbines. Returned via marshroads behind dymchurch large flock of Fieldfares but still unable to find any redwings which were probably amongst the Fieldfare but due to light conditions unable to be sure. No owls / harriers
Still hoping for partridge.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Friday 09.11 Dungeness

Phil Sharp and Alan Roman planned a visit to Dungeness and invited me along. Meeting at the Power Station there was a quick sea watch with one Guillimot and plenty of close up Gannets in the very short time we were there little else was noted. We then made an attempt for the Glaucous and Yellow legged , I saw the Glaucous in Flight but Phil missed it.
There was nothing reported on the visitor center notice board so a quick trip to Midgely for the 2 whoopers also seen was a large flock if Fieldfare and then to Scotney for the Barnacle geese. Returned to Arc for lunch and added nothing of interest. So back to the reserve still no sign of LongTailed Duck although it was reported from Dennis hide. But the notice board now reported a common Crane on Scotney something else we missed.
My first long Bird watch since my back was damaged so retreated home at 2.30 and suffered the rest of the evening.
57 species

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Wednesday 07.11 Dungeness

With 2 hours to kill a visit to the reserve was on the cards.
From Dennis hide 2 Great White Egrets showed well but the advertised Longtailed Duck was not visible.
A very white Buzzard was seen over St Boltophs Bridge on the return home.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Thursday 05.11 Romney Marsh/ Dungeness

Morning drive over the marsh from Dymchurch to Burmash looking for winter thrushes which are missing from my local list.The Hawthorn bushes are alive with berries and looked fantastic in the early morning sunshine. No Thrushes seen but a very close encounter with a Buzzard was entertaining. Afternoon visit to Dungeness dipped on Great White Egret and Long Tailed Duck once again. Stonechats and Marsh Harriers on the reserve.
A drive down to Fishing Boats found a yellow legged Gull lounging on the beach. returning via Scotney showed Barnacle goose and 2 blue phase Snow Geese on Romney Marsh 2 Meadow Pipits but again still no thrushes.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

wednesday 31.10 Walland Marsh

A days visit to Pembury hospital for a Nuclear bone scan gave me the opportunity to return home via Walland Marsh as darkness fell but did manage to add Whopper Swan to my annual List,

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Tuesday 23/10 Dymchurch and Dungeness

An early morning walk from home produced all the usual Jackdaw/Collared Dove/Goldfinch/Sparrow/Wood Pidgeon/BH Gull/Herring Gull / Blue and Great Tit / Greenfinch/ Great and Green Woodpecker/ Blackbird / Oystercatcher and my first Song Thrush since we arrived in July.
Afternoon a walk on ARC up to the water works spooked a Snipe but no sign of any of the migrants that I am missing.
On to the estate where got good views of the Glaucaus Gull while watching that a Short Eared Owl flew in from the sea

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Monday 16.10 Dungeness

Attempted a short walk along Sea Wall this am a very high tide with all the fishermen present but little at sea except Black  Headed Gulls. Landward side produced the usual Jackdaws,Magpies,Collard Doves, Great and Blue Tits with Green and Spotted Woodpeckers but also great views of Kingfisher. Late afternoon drive produced nothing of interest at either RSPB track or Dengemash except Marsh harriers, Stock Doves and Tree Sparrows.  A drive pass Scotney produced the flock of Barnacle Geese odd so early in the year.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


After 5 weeks with a back pain the reason has been diagnosed as a Fractured Vertibrae so anything strenous including walking is off the cards.
Val  offered to do a quick drive to get me out of the house so started at Dengemarsh road, At least 1 Marsh Harrier a couple of Stock doves a charm of Goldfinches the Great White Egret was seen in flight as well as a flock of Widgeon.
Then moved on to the reserve track a Whinchat jumping from bush to bush and further on a stunning male Stonechat a Fox was seen approaching the car so we waited and a young fox walked right up to the car and passed next to the drivers window. Finally a drive on the Dungeness Estate showed 3 Black Redstarts and my first Autumn Brent Goose.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Friday 05.10 Dungeness Hanson Arc

A quick afternoon visit added 2 Black Necked Grebes . New winter visitors included Pintail , Widgeon with still many hirundines passing thru. A Water Rail was just outside the hide but did not show itself.  

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Thursday 04.10 West Hythe

A 9am start for an hours walk in a temp of 11 degrees produced 21 species including 8 Chiffchaff and 5 Blackcap. An interesting observation was a female mallard stretching out of the water to eat approx 15 blackberies an observation I have never seen before. Still plenty migrating hirondines mostly house martins and swallows.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Tuesday 31.07.12 Dymchurch and Hythe Gravel Pits aka Nickoll

Early morning stroll into Dymchurch gave me a pair of Mistle Thrush and a Chiffchaff.
Mid afternoon visit to Hythe Gravel Pit hoping for ducks etc and found nothing except Herring Gulls and 1 Cormorant odd as Dungeness is not far away has everthing.
The dykes on the return journey gave uo 3 mallard and a pair of Moorhen with chicks . an unproductive 2 hours

Sunday29.07.12 Dymchurch-Dungeness

Early morning bike ride along to Fort Redoubt very high tide so no beach a couple of Sandwich Terns , Blackheaded Gulls, herring Gulls and little else.
Late afternoon visit to Dungeness hoping to see the 4 reported Garganey on Arc. No garganey but Hobby/Common Sand/Dunlin/Ringed Plover /black Tailed Godwit and Hundreds of sand Martins this can only meanearly migrationdue to a lack of breeding ?

26.07.12 West Hythe Military Canal

A mid morning stroll with the temperature at 26 decide the shade of the canal would be welcome. Dragonflys/Damselflys were everywhere . At last managed a Great Tit but no sign of Kingfisher.
Returning via the marsh a Marsh Harrier was seen soaring over.

thursday 09.08.12 Dymchurch

An early morning sea watch from home produced my first gannets may of them diving for a shoal of fish just offshore. This was followed by 2 shearwaters flying east-west I assumed were Manx but after checking the Dungeness Web site ther have been daily sightings of Balearic Shearwaters so I bow to their ID and accept a new species to my Kent list

Wednesday 08.08.12 Dungeness

An invite from Phil Sharpe to join him on a visit to Dungeness was a welcome distration from my daily routine so met at the Power Station at 9.30 am on what was supposed to be a glorious sunny day but the sea mist held until lunchtime.
The patch was its usual busy self but did not see the reported Black or Artic terns but a little gull was present and a short visit from an Artic Skua caused a stit amongst the usual occupants.
Porpoises were present in good numbers but I noticed a larger species and a short time later Phil saw what could only be Dolphin jump out of the water.
Moved onto Arc where a Curlew Sandpiper in near summer plumage was present as well as Common Sand ,garganey and Black Tailed Godwit.
A walk round the reserve followed by now the sun which was now getting hotter .Bird numbers were low but a great day for butterflies even a Brown Argus

Monday, 16 July 2012

Sunday 15.07 Dymchurch

Early morning shore walk this time towards Dymchurch the Sea Wall bushes look excellent for migrants. Weather now blue sky and sea dead calm but still chilly.
A small flock of Sandwich terns on the beach.
New garden very small but very crowded with plants so no lawns , Goldfinch Blackbird with a Wren are the regular visitors along with Herring gulls .
Swifts have been regular in front of the rain squalls

Friday 13.07 DYMCHURCH

A new patch as we have moved from Larkfield to Dymchurch so a new list and a new patch to discover.
Previous owner was a keen gardner and has photos of many butterflys and appartently annual visits of Humming Bird Hawk moth.
Weather awfull with strong sw winds and frequent rain squalls .
First walk along shore towards Redoubt Tower
first bird was an oystercatcher on the beach with Herring gulls and a few Black Headed gulls then  a Med Gull swiftly followed close inshore was a Common Scoter. Birds flying in and out of the rocks I hoped for Rock Pipits but was Sparrows.  

Thursday, 5 July 2012

04.07.12 Murder at No 18

A later trip to Sevenoak's gave great views of 5 Kingfishers and added an alien Egyptian Goose to the kent List

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Sunday 01.07.12 NHGP

A quick trip to Holborough hoping for Southern Marsh Orchids but the field is very overgrown and because of the high water level decided not to tramp though. From the Metal hide watched a " buzzard" which appeared to have a White rump far in the distance. Drove to Upper Halling and scanned from there here saw a common Buzzard and a small flock of Med Gulls were in the field.

Friday 29.06.12 Sheppey

A few hours to spare so a pilgrimage to see Little Terns on Sheppey. Although the sun was shining there was a very strong wind. Only 2 Terns were seen both hunkered down either to get out of the wind or sitting on eggs. A far cry from the days when 17 + nests could be found here. Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers also appeared to be on nests. The return journey drove along the Elmley track a couple of Yellow Wagtails and distant views of Marsh harriers.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Sunday 17.06 Rainham Marshes

With both myself and wife incapacitated we thought that our first visit to the above marshes should be on the cards. After collecting passports so we could enter Essex we arrived in bright sunshine to find an excellent reserve with admirable assets board walks / cafe / shops / excellent hides and lots for the younger visitor.
There was nothing on the boards that were not regular at the local patch so no new birds to any list but due to the amount of visitors and being kept to boardwalks birds seemed very approachable . Dabchicks with young were proving very photogenic ( if you could get to the front to photo ) Could only manage a short way round but must visit on a more appropriate day.
One big bird in the sky

 And 2 Sedge in the sedge

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Wednesday 13.06.12 Dungeness

Many thanks to Phill Sharp a days visit to Dungeness today. After days of cold and torrential rain suprisingly today turned out beautifull. Buzzard from the M20 on the way down the back roads to Lydd showed nothing  so straight down to the Patch. Tide was well out but the first obvious sight was the amount of Harbour Porpoises as they appeared to be everywhere. Gannets , Sandwich and Common terns , Great Crested Grebes and Gulls were common. After a tip off we found 3 Roseate Terns sitting on the beach there was supposed to be an Artic as well but did not locate. While watching these a Black Tern flew in for a few minutes before passing on his way. From here a lunch at the Pilot was on the cards and then on to the reserve nothing of note on the notice board except the recently arrived Purple Heron. The reserve was quiet except for the exceptional numbers of Hobbies about. Manged short views of the Purple Heron as it flew about on 2 occasions. The trail  back showed one Bearded Tit and the refugia had 2 grass snakes a Wood Mouse and a Bank Vole.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Saturday 02.06.12 NHGP

Hit the 100th bird species for 2012  today with a Common Tern on Brooklands.
A common Lizard was seen outside the Fishermans Hut. other that the only thing of interest was what I presume is part of the Jubilee fly past

and as yet to identify Dragonfly  BROAD BODIED CHASER

Friday, 1 June 2012

Friday 01.06.12 NHGP

Three hours round the Brooklands area on an overcast but warm morning. Turtle Doves purring on the wires and all the usual birds plus a fly over Peregrine falcon and the first Med Gull at NHGP making 99 birds in 2012.
Youngster everywhere today Cute but not ready for the pot.
With many reports of Red Kite in Kent we were disappointed not to find any.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sunday 27.05.12 NHGP

A Fantastic sunny day so a early start to avoid the heat. The sunken marsh produced the first Turtle Dove of 2012 on the wires and purring away. A Fox was sunning himself on the far bank of the medway and on the return at the causeway path another Fox stepped out of the undergrowth in front of me with a full grown rabbit in his mouth. A few seconds where we both did not move then he scampered off into the undergrowth. On to Holborough where another two Turtle Doves could be heard but not seen. Area was full of Dog walkers all getting out before the sun got too hot. The Holborough stream looked very inviting for a paddle. Did not enter the marsh to check for Orchids but none could be seen from the path.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Monday 21.05.012 NHGP

1pm 3.30pm A Cloudy but reasonably warm day.
From Brooklands the river was very high so no waders Cetti's , Nightingales/Blackcaps , reed Warblers all in song and was happy to hear and see my First Sedge Warbler for NHGP in the sunken marsh.
A walk round Holborough Marsh gave great views of Dabchick with young 

Back via Brookhouse One Water Vole very active and at least 9 slow worms and one Newt 

 Buttercups and Forget me nots every where

Dropped into Lunsford House Lake on the way back hoping for Twayblades in Flower but no luck.
But a Hobby drooped in flew round the lake and out again. 

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Saturday / Sunday 12/13.05.12 NHGP

Has summer arrived at last ???
Started at Castle lake area as was checking for nightingales for the survey with no luck.
Arrived at Brooklands to find Terry L , Martin's C & W so tagged along till midday. Highlight of the day was when Martin C called Yellow Wagtail and we all managed to see the bird fly over the sunken marsh. I believe that may be a first for me at NHGP. Over 50 species were picked up before I left including Buzzard/Hobby/Sparrowhawk/Kestrel/Peregrine. At the dyke at Brookhouse entrance a 3 foot plus Grass snake was seen in the dyke. along with Water Voles.
Sunday again started at Castle Lake again no Nightingales. On to Brookhouse hoping to get decent photos of Water Vole but though they were seen  posing for the camera is not one of their strong points. Afternoon stroll round Holborough but nothing new to the list. 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Tuesday 08 05 12 NHGP

6.30-9.00 Second round of the Nightingale Count with Phil . Arrived with overcast skies and rain so not too optimistic. Managed 15 Nightingales one less than previous count and mainly in the same ares as before. Brookhouse woods produced Garden Warbler first of the year. The mass of swallows  yesterday are now of House Martins.
A visit to Dungeness late pm gave Little Gull and Common Tern as new to Kent list. Amazing how many Hobbies there were around.
                                                                        Wild Garlic

                                                          Marsh marigold - Holborough

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Sunday 06.05.12 NHGP

Bank Holiday Sunday is cold , wet ,cloudy so by 2 pm got stir crazy and ventured out despite of the weather.
Arrived at Brooklands to find hundreds of Swallows with a few House Martins and Swifts and a solitary Sand Martin skimming over the water , to stand on a fishing platform and watch all these flying around is mesmerising. They were joined by a Hobby for a few minutes before he moved to pastures new. Attempted to visit the bucket but found the Medway very high and the path to the bucket was under a few feet of river. Further along the path the river was still flowing into the marsh at the breach point. Here spotted  a Marsh Harrier pick some prey off a stick in the river and land on the far bank to eat his meal only to be harrassed by a Crow who eventually saw him off all down the river before returning with a grin of satisfaction.
Along the train path at Holborough looking into the marsh is a riot of yellow as the Marsh Marigolds are in flower.  Here 2 Cuckoos sat with a Linnet on a bush not calling and looking very bedraggled probably wondering why they did not stay on the Ivory Coast. From the hide 2 Redshanks were disturbed and then a couple of Lapwings followed by a Little Egret what predator did it I could not see. Water Rails were calling from the Reed bed possibly wondering where all the extra water had come from.
Bank holiday weather it may be but a great couple of hours.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Saturday 05.05.12 NHGP

After a week at work getting texts re wheatears/hobbies/whinchat at NHGP I decided an early morning visit in the rain had to be done. Visited only the East Scrub in the rain but found 2 wheatears without any issues, many Hirundines and nightingales singing every where . While watching what could have been a raven being mobbed by a crow a small raptor passed by probably a hobby. Rain stopped play .
House hunting down at Dymchurch today and managed Purple Sandpiper from the groin in front of the Imperial at Hythe and returned via the Dungeness area added a Stunning pair of Whinchat and a Hobby over Arc.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Monday 30.04.12 NHGP

Nightingale survey with Phil S today 6.30 -9.30 . 16 singing Nightingales Brooklands via Mill Stream to country park Brookhouse entrance East and West Scrub return by Railway lake. A call from AW informed us of Ring Ouzel nearby at East Malling but unable to locate in the 10 minutes I was there .

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Sunday 29.04.12 NHGP

After a night of storms and a morning of torrential rain the afternoon brightened up so a 4-5 pm walk.
All the Hirundines were present so the First House Martin and Swift for NHGP.
A quick search for Sedge Warbler proved fruitless. Although Kingfishers are regular seeing 3 today was unusual and a pleasure in such a short time.

Saturday 28.04.12 NHGP

Met Phil at Brooklands car park for the Nightingale survey as it was pouring with rain decided not to do the NHGP sector but decided a quick trip to Halling .A walk along the Halling marsh only produced 2 nightingales and other than a Common Sandpiper little else calling in the gloom.
A quick visit to check out local Spotted Fly and LRP sights showed the pace of change. Spot Fly location has had all Wisteria removed so that will be the end of that. The LRP quarry has now been filled in and is a planted field .

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Sunday 22.04.12 NHGP

6.30AM -9AM . A lovely morning if a bit cold out to try and get Cuckoo and House Martin .
Stopped at Allders for Hirundines and found none but a Cuckoo calling over the noise of the Boot Fair. On to Holborough where I heard and saw another cuckoo,  to Brooklands and a flyover pair of Oystercatchers Making NHGP list 90. A further Cuckoo was heard from the Path round the sunken marsh. The numbers of singing Nightingales need to be heard to be believed. Plenty of Reed Warblers with the Black caps / Chiff Chaff/ Willow Warblers today. For the second day only one hirundine a swallow.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Saturday 21.04.12 NHGP

7.30- 9.30 Started a Allders hoping for first House Martin but no luck unusually no hirondines at all.
Moved to Brookhouse many Nightingales in full song with Blackcap and Chiffchaff a stunning male bull finch made an appearance but unable to get the camera out in time , Over east scrub 2 slow worms but no Whitethroats but further Nightingale's singing.

Cross the railway to Abbey Mead and Brooklands hoping for Cuckoo but no luck. But did manage the first Whitethroat/ Willow Warbler / Reed Warbler and Linnet. Return by Tow Path did not manage to see or hear Sedge Warbler.    

Monday, 9 April 2012

Monday 09.04 NHGP

7.30-8.10 am Easter Monday and raining. Nightingale was reported just before I arrived yesterday at Brookhouse entrance but it eluded me. This am after a late night vigil watching Augusta Golf visited in the very welcome rain, singing Blackcap and Chiffchaff welcomed me to the area but after a few minutes I heard a nightingale the other side of the car park. Stood under a tree for a bit of respite from the rain and suddenly the first nightingale of 2012 was in full song just above my head but out of view. Listened for 10 minutes and retreated home full of the joys of spring.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Wednesday 03.04.12 NHGP

Now it is April thoughts turn to nightingales. So a 7.30 am arrived at Allders hoping to add more hirundines to the list but no luck so moved on to Brookhouse for spring migrants. Lots of Chiffchaff / blackcap/dunnocks/wrens in full song but no nightingales. a short walk round the scrubs also unproductive untill I found my first Water Voles of 2012.


Sunday, 1 April 2012

Sunday 01.04.12 NHGP

A quick 8am -10.20 am 5 Swallows ( first for 2012) were at Allders but no Sand Martins here but 3 singles were seen from  the sunken Marsh. The first Slow worm of the year was found under refugea on the Eastern Scrub. Bullfinches blackcaps and chiffcahff were calling. According to another birder there was a small snatch of Willow Warbler calling on the Causeway by Sunken Marsh. Buzzards over Burham.
Beefly's in our garden

Saturday, 31 March 2012


8am-11.20 am. After a week of unseasonal warm weather my first day out in a week is dull cloudy cold. Allders lake gave up the only  Sand Martins ( 5 ) of the day. Chiffchaff were singing everywhere and the Medway path had 3 singing Blackcaps and a Curlew on the mud ( Both new to NHGP list 2012 ) Male and Female Bullfinchs were a welcome sight. Holborough gave nothing new. A hunting Kestrel was the only raptor. Still no sightings of Water Vole or snakes      

Monday, 19 March 2012

Monday 16.03.12 NHGP

add from yesterday Sunday: prior to a possible thunderstorm 10+ Sand Martins were seen over the motorway an omen as it is approx 2 years since the Alpine swift was over the motorway ( 27.03.10) and the same for the unidentified swift on 20.03.10 possibly Pallid but whatever it is one of the earliest records of swift in Kent.

Another early morning start 7.30 am bright blue skies but 1 degree when I left and 14 when I returned at 9.30.
Again Allders showed 2 sand martins one of which flew out and away after a few low flights. Entrance woods gave no Treecreepers but 2 singing Chiffchaff.
Brookhouse woods gave 2 further Chiffchaff but I was hopefull and checked all the shallower areas for Garganey. A call from David offering a few hours at Dungeness was accepted arrived in glorious weather but did not manage the Blackneck or the Slav grebe but plenty Goldeneye on ARC . Unusually a water Vole popped out in front of the ARC hide. Added nothing to the yearly list. 

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Sunday 18.03.12 NHGP

Attempted a walk yesterday 7.30 am but rain stopped play only enough time to check out Allders with no sign of migrants. Today at 7.30 much more like spring with clear blue skies but a temp of 2 degrees. Allders had 3 Sand Martins first for the year at NHGP a walk in the woods gave great views of 2 Treecreepers. Once again no sign of Bittern have they migrated north ? On to Brookhouse area where I managed to get my first Chiffchaff of 2012 was this an over wintering bird or a new migrant we will never know. A check of the east scrub did not add anything even a very early check for snakes was wistfull thinking. Back via the wooden bridge where Water Vole have been seen lately but again I dipped. Back to Allders and by now the Sand martins had moved on but did find a Buzzard overhead.
Blackthorn in Flower 

Sunday, 11 March 2012

SUNDAY 11.03.12 NHGP

Dropped off at Holborough approx 11am . Holborough marshes look so good for birds but only Heron,Little Egret ,Teal, Mallard, Coot ,Moorhen and  Green Wood. The incoming tide on the Medway with the help of 2 canoeists gave 3 Common Sand 1 Dunlin 1 Redshank plus teal and cormorant. No sign of Bearded Tit . Arrived at sunken marsh to have just missed a Raven but added Peregrine to the NHGP total also seen 3 buzzards a Med Gull was calling but did not ID lots of calling Cetti's but still no Chiffchaff .

Saturday, 10 March 2012


A short walk from 8 am entrance woods had drumming Great Spot and a nice close views of a goldcrest.
Looked more in hope for Sand Martins but no sign . I reported Flowering Blackthorn last weekend this week decided to check my findings and of course I was incorrect as most white flowering bushes round the lakes are Cherry Plum and only a few Blackthorn. I am no botanist so only using the adage that  Blackthorn have thorns and Cherry Plum does not ( not very scientific) . No sign of Bittern and a check round Brookhouse lake area still has not given me a Chiffchaff. Displaying Blue/Great Tits / Dunnocks and Robins everywhere a welcome sign of spring

Saturday, 3 March 2012


After reading all the reports on this rarity I thought it was about time to visit . Parked in Five Oak Green and  walked to Whetsted GP. There was at least 10 birders leaving the site and 5 still there and passed another 8 arriving as I left. The HOODED MERGANSER ( female first year) was present  and showing well enough but never very close in the poor light . A first for me in Kent. Lake also held a Goldeneye, Tufted , Pochard, Shovelor , Little Grebe, M Swan. Coot and Moorhen the adjacent lake held a hansome drake Smew a  fly by Green Sand and 2 Buzzards. The surrounding fields held Linnet , Skylark and a flock of feral geese.
Will this bird ever be accepted as genuine so await to see if still present after April ?


A quick early morning walk 8am till 10. Mist / fog was the order of the morning unable to see the far banks of most of the lakes until the last half hour .Spring has arrived at NHGP with Blackthorn in full bloom.

Started with 3 Redpolls on the feeders on Lunsford Lane Great Spot drumming in the entry woods also a Green Wood present. There was no bittern visible so over the railway to Abbey mead and Brooklands. After the chaos caused by the Water board the path alongside Abbeymead has been leveled and seeded but looks a magnet for the local motor bike yobs. Managed Bullfinch , Cetti and all the usual ducks but none of the visitors have stayed from the cold snap. The return alongside the Millstream caused the heart rate to increase as I spotted an unusual duck with a white stripe across the head but on careful examination it turns out to be a tufted with a plastic beer attachment. The chances of catching a Tufted to remove I believe would be very difficult

Friday, 24 February 2012

Friday 24.02 NHGP

A visit from 7.30 am till 10 in what was beautiful weather produced nothing new to the list except for my first Common Sandpiper on the Medway for 2012. No sign of Bearded Tits at holborough.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sunday 19.02 NHGP

A quick one hour today to see if I could photo RH Smew on Brooklands lake as it was bright and sunny. Unable to find smew and no luck with Bittern but a short cut thru the west scrub I managed to flush my first Woodcock of 2012.
A visit to sheppey later in the day but not for birds but did find a large peregrine falcon sitting on a grass hump south side of the Sheppey bridge.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Monday 13.02 NHGP

A slightly warmer day today so walked from home. Allders still mostly frozen but one Red Head Smew in the patch of open water. Tesco lake mostly frozen but other the the usual at least 6 Little Grebes. On to Water Works Bittern who was "Dancing on Ice"

In the same area in the in alder trees there were Redpoll and Siskins. Over the railway and river/sunken marsh path had over 100 Teal.Brooklands Lake a Goosander was flushed.Little on return route

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Sunday 12.02 NHGP

A quick visit at 2 pm after a text from Jerry W re Med Gull on Abbeymead plus RH Smew.
Arrived at the same time as Phil S a walk along Brooklands gave us 3 RH Smew in the only bit of open water on Brooklands. Followed by a scan of Abbeymead for Med gull with no luck. We then walked round Abbeymead and along the Riverside and Sunken marsh path hoping for Woodcock. Lots of snipe and activity on the heronry and a flyby of two Goldeneye.
The bucket view point was unproductive but on returning to the car park close encounters with several Water Rail and watched a Marsh Harrier on the otherside of the Medway.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Saturday 11.02 NHGP

Left home at 7.30am the car temp read -10 returned at 10am and it read -3. But none the less a clear blue sky and no wind so pleasant if dressed properly.Started a Holborough the path along the railway gave 3 cock pheasants and one snipe. The marsh itself was completly frozen and nothing was seen other than Coots and Moorhens. The Medway was very low and there were plenty Teal with Snipe,Redshank Lapwings. Further round the river defence wall I was suprised and pleased to see 3 Bearded Tits did not manage to get the camera out on time but while waiting for another opportunity managed to get these record shots.

Is this a weasel or a stoat and is that prey or young ?
Further round this path I managed to see another Bearded Tit.
Then round to Brooklands which was completly frozen

A bittern was seen in the SE corner and a trip to view over Abbeymead found the path still blocked and men working again on a new break in the mains water pipe. Abbeymead was nearly all frozen and all birds were congregated in the small bit of open water.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Sunday 05.02 NHGP

As forecast awoke to 4-6 inches of snow and a welcome visitor to the garden a Reed Bunting. A walk down the lakes was on the cards. Lunsford Lane feeders did not produce Redpoll or Siskin and other than Widgeon on Tesco this was quiet probably due to the amount of people and dogs out enjoying the snow. Bittern was not showing and that end of the lake was frozen anyway. Here we joined Phil Sharp and managed to see a sole Brambling in Trees adjacent to Bittern area. Over the Railway and along the "new" path to sunken marsh and the river lots of Teal present.
A visit to the Bucket gave views of a fly over flock of unidentified waders.Brooklands gave up a Goldeneye and Pintail. Mill stream path did not show the goosander.Still no Chiffchaff but total now 71

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Saturday 04.02 NHGP

Another very chilly day ( -2 ) with promise of snow tonight. A call from JW yesterday told of Dunlin on the river from the bucket so today took David to Brooklands car park where we met Phil S who had located the Dunlin but needed the scope to check the ID. He also informed us of a Pintail on Brooklands which was immediatly located and later a Goosander on there as well and then reasonable views of the Dunlin. We then proceeded round Holborough marshes with nothing new but lots of Snipe on the river. The Winter conditions have pepped up the NHGP birds lets hope for some more goodies.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Wednesday 01.02 NHGP

A beautiful sunny day but temperature around zero. A walk from home with David via Holborough marsh /Coffee in Brookland car park . 4 Redpolls on Lunsford lane feeders no sign of Bittern,over Railway and along East side of Abbeymead where we met Terry Laws. Still no sighting of Chiffchaff . Holborough Marsh is very full of water with a good few Teal. The river gave is Lapwing / Redshank as we walked along the sea defence at Holborough a Marsh Harrier was quartering the reed bed and eventually flew up over the Paper Mill being mobbed by Crows and rose high into the sky and disappeared over the direction of Detling Hill. 
On the Mill Stream Path no sign of the Goosander but thanks to Terry did get 8 Widgeon on Tesco lake as we returned Home.  

Monday, 30 January 2012

Monday 30.01 NHGP

With temperatures near freezing and the sky looking like snow decided to walk from home around the lakes.
Skipped Allders as I wanted to go to Brookhouse lake to see if I could Photo yesterdays Widgeon. As my luck runs at the moment there was of course  no widgeon today. Across east scrub was deserted crossed the Railway and again walked the west side of Abbeymead hoping for Chiffchaff. No luck so proceeded round Brooklands to check out the sunken marsh which was very quiet ( no Cetti's singing today ) The Bucket also was negative even though the tide as low not even a Redshank or Teal.Return via the Tow Path gave good views of the Goosander and also the Bittern. Good walk but no additions to the NHGP bird list.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Saturday 28.01 NHGP

A three hour stroll round NHGP started at midday. Allders and Trout lake did not supply a Goldeneye ,
The dipping pond did get great views of Long Tail Tits and dodgy photo's

 East scrub had green/gold/chaffinch. Decided to walk the east side of Abbeymead ever hopefull for Chiffchaff but only got 2 Goldcrest . Work on the damaged pipe at the sunken marsh appears to be finished as machinery not present but there is still a very high level of water. Passing thru Brooklands car park met Martin Coath who was doing his monthly NHGP bird count we continued back via the tow path where we heard but did not see Chiffchaff . Showed Martin the Goosander and an attempt for the Bittern was fruitless but did disturb a Water Rail. Martins count was now 60 . I then left to return home via Brookhouse Lake where there was one Widgeon, not a regular bird for NHGP and a new one for the year.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Tuesday 24.01 Oare

As it is my turn to host a Burns Night Supper and the local Butchers/supermarkets were unable to supply Venison, Val and I had to venture further a field and Brogdale's proximity to Oare seemed a good idea.
After finding said ingredients and taking out a mortgage to pay for it we proceeded to Oare.
From viewing area a Marsh Harrier was quartering the east flood a large flock of Avocet were asleep, making a great photo if I had remembered the camera. All Godwits were blacktailed close views of Pintail/ Snipe and Ringed Plover. A small raptor was located on a post in the reeds but not until it flew did I confirm it was a Merlin.  A short sea watch from the Car ramp offered one Red Throated Diver and 2 Seals and a large buzzard being mobbed by everything over Sheppey was probably the Rough Legged Buzzard . On the return journey happily located a Bar Tailed Godwit . Kent List is now 111.  

Monday, 23 January 2012

Monday 23.01 NHGP

After a few days away at my Mums in Christchurch a welcome return to NHGP this am, Starting at Allders where the fishermen were bringing in Household rubbish ( looked like a wardrobe with drawers ) and adding it to a bonfire which was burning up against a willow tree, in what I presume is an attempt to kill the willow.
No sign of Goldeneye on either lake and no Siskin or Redpolls on feeders in Lunsford Lane. Tesco lake had all the usual and I suppose it is too late now to expect Smew over this winter. Bittern was at watch point at Water Works entrance and a flyby Kingfisher added a bit of colour. Over the railway line to see the mess caused by the heavy machinery of SE Water on the pathway ( hope T & M have a good clean up clause in place) , as path is now closed had to go via Riverside footpath where I ran into Dennis and Doreen. Tits and Bullfinches were in evidence but still no Chiffchaff. The walk round the Sunken Marsh gave views of how much water had been pumped out and the workmen fixing the broken pipes. Return to Larkfield via the Tow path where D & D chose the railway side of Streamside lake while I carried on the Towpath, here I managed to Flush the Goosander which has been present for a few days but once again no good photo's. So nothing added to NHGP list in 2.5 hours.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Monday 16.01 NHGP

Left home at about 9 am and the car registered minus 6 but a beautiful day none the less. Everybody seems to get Chiffchaff at NHGP and it is still missing from my list so that was todays target. Plenty Snipe on the river with redshank a couple of Goldcrests but dipped again on Chiffs.
Two men from SE Water confirmed that work would start tomorrow on the sunken marsh.
Returned home at 11.30 and the car now registered 3 degrees

Late afternoon update . A call from Phil Sharp informed me of a Goosander on streamside made me rush up there at 3.30 and managed to see and add another to NHGP list

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Saturday 14.01 NHGP

Arrived about 10 am at Alders and ran into Martin W and Flossie, Martin found a Goldeneye on Alders then a  quick visit to the feeders on Lunsford lane produced Siskin but no Redpoll today. The scrape which was partially covered in ice offered us a Snipe, Bittern did not show in its usual place so we proceeded to Abbeymead where yesterday Terry Laws found and photographed an unusual Chiffchaff 20 minutes were spent in the area and all we had for our effort was a BlueTit. So Chiffchaff of any description is still missing from my 2012 list.  Onward to the sunken marsh and riverside proved just as fruitless. Here I parted from MW and made my way back via the Mill Stream at Brooklands met Phil Sharp and exchanged pleasantries. Further along the Mill Stream Path I met one of the Country Park Rangers who had not  heard about the water mains leak but confirmed a mains pipe runs along the Mill Stream and across the Park and there is talk of new pipes being laid straight thru the park. Little else of interest on the way back home.  

Friday, 13 January 2012

Friday 13.01 Sheppey

News from yesterday arrived at Brooklands Car Park to find many men from ClancyDowcra I asked the problem and they confirmed they are working for South East Water and a mains water pipe has broken under the sunken marsh ( which would explain the water levels therein ) They were trying to work out an enviro friendly way ( read as cheapest ) to access with heavy machines and repair. Thankfully it is January and not April.
Tide was very high when I arrived at Muswell manor there were no other birders there so I did not know where to look for the reported 50 Lapland Buntings did check all the Brent Geese to see if I could pick out the Light bellied but failed.
Then down the Harty track at least 9 SE Owls and 1 Hen Harrier plus redshank

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Wednesday 11.01 Thanet

Another fantastic day weather wise so Val suggested a day out  so who am I to argue.
Arrived at Reculver Towers with blue skies a very light wind and more like Spring than January.Hoping to see Snow Buntings but these eluded us but walk started great with a Black Redstart on the Footpath, many Great Crested Grebes on the water and at least 2 Red Throated Divers flew past. Expected to see many Brent Geese but other than 4 on the water none others seen.  
After Lunch at Minnis Bay we then moved on to Palm Bay where the tide was very high but managed to get both Fulmar and more sanderling and Tunstones.
Added 6 species to the 2012 Kent List making the total now 102

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Tuesday 10.01 NHGP

A three hour walk starting at 10 am in what can only be described as beautiful weather for January, with all the usual birds but again no sign of Goldeneye or Bittern but was pleased to see on the feeders in Lunsford Lane  3 Redpoll and 1 Siskin. The fallen tree on the upper path by the river has yet to be removed but at least it stops any motorbikes. Nothing on the river but saw 2 shooters departing from the Car Park which could explain the lack of ducks on the river. For the second day a good sized flock of finches etc on the East Scrub but unable to locate anything out of the ordinary.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Monday 09.01 NHGP

A quick 1.5 hours early pm, starting at Lunsford lane to the East Scrub did not produce any Goldeneye / Bittern or any Redpolls on the feeders in Lunsford lane which were regular sightings pre the New Year. East Scrub had a large flock of Finches / Tits and a few Redwing and Fieldfare . Also located was my first Green Woodpecker for 12

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sunday 08.01 BOUGH BEECH

An afternoon trip took us near Bough Beech and it seemed impolite to not drop in for a visit. Water levels were quite low for this time of year and with the amount of cars parked on the causeway I was expecting a rare bird  but only many birders deciding BB was the place to visit.Reservoir produced Mandarin and Goosander and the feeders added Marsh and Coal Tit as well as Nuthatch. Not cold enough in Kent for many Brambling .

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Saturday 07.01 NHGP

A quick visit to NHGP added 4 Buzzards , 1 kestrel , 1 Sparrow hawk and a fly over Shelduck bringing the NHGP 2012 bird list to 60