Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Parakeets at Knole

Weekend family stroll at Knole Park to see the deer found 6 Ring-necked Parakeets around their normal nesting area, otherwise it was fairly devoid of birds. Plenty of deer though.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Winter Wonderland

An early morning drive down to Dungeness saw -10C registering on the car thermometer.
First stop was Northpoint GPs where the small patch of unfrozen water was largely occupied by Mute Swans and a few wildfowl but a lone Barnacle Goose was also picked out.

At the Dungeness RSPB Reserve, Burrow's Pit had huge numbers of wildfowl in unfrozen patches with 30+ Pintail and a Goldeneye.

The New Excavations sported a showy Slavonian Grebe which caught a frog and swallowed it whole, 2 female Red-crested Pochards and 4 Little Grebes.

The Christmas Dell Hide turned up Black-necked Grebe and a redhead Smew and the nature trail around to Hooker's Pit yielded a Water Rail swimming in an unfrozen ditch and a superb Woodcock flushed up and did 3 circuits around our heads as the sunshine came out.

New Diggings had 2 areas of unfrozen and amongst the wildfowl were 4 Goosanders, several Smew (incl a drake), several Goldeneye and a lone Ruddy Duck.Other highlights were 3 Stonechats, 3 Marsh Harriers, 2 Foxes (one walking around on the ice) and 20+ Little Grebe from Dengemarsh Hide.

The Swan herd at Lydd revealed one Whooper Swan amongst 40+ Bewick's whilst at Scotney GPs a drake Red-crested Pochard and 6 Scaup were found on the Kent side.

On the way home at Jurys Gap the tide was in, sea was calm and we picked out at least one distant Red-throated Diver.

Leaving the area at 1pm the temperature had crept up to -0.5C which felt positively balmy.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Wierton Waxwings

The six Waxwings were soon located in the small orchard at Wierton Hill feeding on apples amongst the large numbers of Fieldfares, Blackbirds and a couple of Redwings. These Scandanavian winter visitors were my first for 4 years and with patience I got some satisfying pictures in the afternoon sunshine as they fed in the orchard and sat in the trees. When disturbed they would raise their crests before flying with a pleasant trilling call.


Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Year's Day at Bough Beech

Got the year off to a start with a trip to Bough Beech Reservoir and was pleased to connect with the female Bearded Tit which had been present from 5th Nov last year. I managed to get some pictures of this smart individual which represented my 128th species for the reservoir.

Bearded Tit (female)

On the feeders I saw one each of Brambling, Marsh Tit and Coal Tit and on the reservoir itself 6 Goosanders, a Ruddy Duck (only my 2nd ever at this site) and a pair of Mandarins checked in but the reported Great Northern Diver failed to show.


Mallard on Ice