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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