Best birds seen today were the three raptor species, with a COMMON BUZZARD on a fence post at the Ashes Lane Field, upsetting the dozen MEADOW PIPITS, the KESTREL pair back hunting at the Greenhouse Grounds and a big female SPARROWKAK hunted over the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, where it panicked the 154 BLACK HEADED GULLS, 200+ STARLING and 100+ ROOK/JACKDAW flock.
A pair of BULLFINCH were seen at the Greenhouse Grounds, along with the GREY WAGTAIL, but there was very little in the wooded areas of my patch this morning, just GOLDCREST, JAY and STOCK DOVE were seen of the scarcer woodland species.
A GREY HERON visited the main lake, but alas there were no Duck species seen, apart from the MALLARDS. The Immature MUTE SWAN continues to thrive and the COOT pair look to be overwintering, so as long as the water doesn't freeze, which will make them move on, they should be a good species to add for the new year list :-)
With little to post about today I thought I'd just look back at the years birdy activities.
I checked up on the number of bird species that were proved to have successfully bred on my patch this year, there were 43 in all, with another 4 probably breeding, but no recently fledged young were found for them, they were Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Lesser Whitethroat and Stock Dove. This compares with 40 confirmed breeders in 2013, with 6 more probably breeding, 43 in 2012, with another 5 probably breeding and 44 in 2011, with 5 more probably breeding, so over the four years things remain overall pretty stable, with any breeding species lost being made up by new comers.
The breeders that have been lost are mainly summer migrant species, like Turtle Dove, Nightingale, Cuckoo and Garden Warbler, the Lesser Whitethroat could just be hanging on with one pair. The loss of these species here is due almost entirely to habitat destruction, as all these birds can be found breeding not far off my patch along the river Medway.
Whilst on the subject of Summer Migrants species, here's the arrival dates for the breeders that did turn up this year, with the mean 13 year arrival dates in brackets.
Hobby 26th April (3rd May)
Swift 4th May (29th April)
Swallow 8th April (3rd April)
House Martin 10th April (17th April)
Lesser Whitethroat 16th April (26th April)
Common Whitethroat 20th April (19th April)
Spotted Fylcatcher 12th May (12th May)
Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs have overwintered in some years, making the first date a little problematical, but I go by the first song that is heard :-) their dates are -:
Blackcap 30th March (27th Mar)
Chiffchaff 8th March (15th March)
The other summer migrants that only pass through, are not always seen annually, but here are the dates for the species that have been recorded in at least 6 of the 13 years of recording.
Wheatear 22nd March (5th April)
Yellow Wagtail 15th April (25th April)
Sand Martin 12th May (13th April)
Nightingale Unseen (20th April)
Reed Warbler 13th May (18th May)
Willow Warbler 9th April ( 9th April)
Common Tern Unseen (30th May)
Not very scientific, but of interest I hope!
I'll finish off with the last of my images I have left in the old '' Blog Folder'' :-)
Female Kestrel at the Greenhouse Grounds