Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The incredible run of warm sunny days continued today, but I had to get to work this morning before I could enjoy it! I at least had the walk in to look forward to, and that proved enjoyable enough, for whilst I passed the Greenhouse Complex the first LESSER WHITETHROAT (93,74) of the year was heard, giving its hollow, rattle like song, a real delight to hear :-) As well as the Lesser Whitethroat, a TURTLE DOVE was also heard singing from the wooded headland at the Northern end of Migrant Alley, my first Turtle Dove song of the year :-)

The Lesser Whitethroat has arrived on my patch in a traditional breeding area, and has turned up 3 days earlier than the ten year mean arrival date, but two days later than last year. The year list moves onto 93, and with 4 more 'usually' seen migrants to come, Swift, Garden Warbler, Hobby, and Spotted Flycatcher, I should get to 96 by the first week in may, leaving me 3 species to find before the 17 May, which was the date I achieved my fastest 100 species for the year. The months list moves on to 74, just two short of the highest April total set last year, so that might well be broken with a bit of luck :-)

After work I went over to the Scrubby Woods, and boy was the sun warm! Far to warm to be walking around in, and the shade of the woods was very welcome. I checked out the lakes and looked in on the COOTS and CANADA GEESE nests, the Coots nest is now obscured by reed growth, so i'll not know if it's successful until I see the young. In the woods I was listening out for a possible Nightingale, they haven't bred here since 2007, but one was singing here last year, just for a single morning. I was also listening out for a Garden Warbler I had one pair here last year, so I hope i'll get them back. In the end neither were heard, in fact it was so warm that most birds had gone to cover, just a couple of CHIFFCHAFFS, BLACKCAPS, and CHAFFINCH were singing, with the calls of BLUE and GREAT TIT accompanying them, in the background, a NUTHATCH was also calling.

As I left the woods, I sought some shade, and whilst cooling off I looked across into the blue sky I noticed a large raptor, I got my bins onto it and saw it was a RED KITE !! Two sightings in two days, now thats something, and the third this month!

Above and below the Red Kite

Not great pics, that extender would have come in useful here :-) I watched it for some minutes, seeing that it was feeding on something as it floated around effortlessly, then as it rose higher 3 COMMON BUZZARD came to join it, they all interacted together up in the deep blue sky, what a sight it was! Then, another Buzzard came in and joined them, and a few seconds later so did a SPARROWHAWK, what a raptor fest!

I tried to get some photo's but they were too far up really, the specks on the photo below represent 3 of the Buzzards and the Red Kite, up to the right

I wasn't going to better that today, but just in case I did have a quick walk around Migrant Alley, but it was all quiet there today. Probably just too warm for most sensible things :-) I'm back on holiday for the next 5 days, so i'll have plenty of time to have a go at beating some records :-)

ROBIN in the garden, being sensible in the shade :-)


Greenie said...

Warren ,
Well done with the Lesser Whitethroat .
Before long those Red Kites will be nesting on your patch .

Phil said...

Surely a Red Kite will show up for me at New Hythe soon Warren. It's not that far away from Pittswood after all!

Warren Baker said...

I hope so mate, I really do!

You've just had a Hoopoe! So I'll keep the Kite for myself a while longer mate :-)

Anonymous said...

Still ahead of me on both month & year totals, Warren. When you gonna slow down mate ?

Warren Baker said...


Just 3 more species left, then I struggle!!

Derek Faulkner said...

As you know, I don't go in for stats and things but seeing your mention of year totals tonight, I decided to have a quick count of the species I've seen on or around The Swale NNR this year so far. Without divers, skuas, auks and one or two commoner birds I've missed, my total stands at 106 which quite surprised me - it was made better this morning by two drakes and a duck Garganey.

alan woodcock said...

Hi,three Red Kites that`s just greedy.

Ken. said...

Hi Warren.
Well done with the Lesser Whitethroat, as for the raptors, where wil it end? What a great days sightings, especiall the Kite.
Good luck with the counts and possible records over your holiday period.

Kelly said...

Yeah! Five more days of holiday. Have a great time...I expect we will see the bird list grow! :-) Love the silhouette of the robin.

ShySongbird said...

Great news on the Red Kite Warren, we are seeing them here occasionally now too :)

Well done with the Lesser Whitethroat also.