Wednesday 28 November 2007

Just a brief, mid afternoon visit, to the lake today. I had hoped to find a Teal in the waterlogged woods or a Grey Lag Goose on the lake itself, but alas none of them showed up. As I scanned the Smallest area of water however, through the gloom, a brilliant blue blob appeared, as I focused in, it was of course the KINGFISHER. On the way back, 12-15 LONG TAILED TITS fed in a noisey flock, joined by the usual BLUE and GREAT TITS, but also present were NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, a couple at least of GOLDCREST and a confiding MARSH TIT, which I got within 6ft of. This latter bird is more than likely the one that comes to the garden feeders, just a hundred meters away (as the tit flies!)

Tuesday 27 November 2007

A couple of hours watching the garden this afternoon, saw the first SONGTHRUSH of the month come in. The apples I spiked on the trees worked for this species, all we need is some colder weather and the Fieldfares will be next! As the month ends, my records show that 22 species visited the garden, the best November total for the 6 years of recording, the previous best was November '03 and '05 with 21 apiece. The combined total for November is 26, so I may get another visitor this week.

Sunday 25 November 2007

It was alot warmer this morning, and reasonble numbers of birds were about for Novembers final full walk of the area. Two new species for the month were added -COMMON GULL, resting in the horse paddocks with 20 or so BH GULL, and KINGFISHER. The latter was seen during a brief afternoon visit to the lake, the first record since September.

Little Owl

44 Species for the day is a good day total for November, the monthly total looks like ending on 57, but I might just get a Teal, or that elusive Redpoll, on one of my shorter visits during the week, making a new November high.

Saturday 24 November 2007

All Quiet On The Golf Course

Dawn - a View From The Golf Course

It was still and frosty this morning. A 4 hour walk from 7am till 11am revealed 42 species. A pair of GREY HERON once again fed in a recently sown grass field, where a couple of BH GULL flew low and looked to join them, but thought better of it. FIELDFARE and REDWING were feeding along the hedgerow at the golf course. At the lake the heavy earthworks have at last finished, and another Grey Heron fished there, with 14 MALLARD keeping it company. A MARSH TIT called again, in the waterlogged wood - always a good find, but there were no teal yet. It was relatively quiet along the farmland, but a flock of 30-50 SISKIN fed in alders along the river Bourne, still havn't found a Redpoll this year!!

Wednesday 21 November 2007

A day off work today (man flu) enabled me to do a 5hr garden birdwatch. With all the feeders full, I sat down with a mug of tea at 11.00am. The MARSH TIT was a bonus bird, not seen in the garden since the 10th, it was joined by COAL, BLUE, and GREAT TIT. The GOLD, CHAFF, and GREENFINCH, made the most of the sunflower hearts. What they dropped was picked up by up to 21 COLLARED DOVES, a couple of ROBINS and A DUNNOCK. The fat blocks attracted a peak of 4 STARLINGS, a JACKDAW and a MAGPIE. The only BLACKBIRD to come in, used the pond, as did a GOLDCREST. It is a bit concerning that just one HOUSE SPARROW came in, no more the 30 or so that used to arrive. At one point there were 2 female and a male GS WOODPECKER, all on their own feeder. Late on, a NUTHATCH arrived at the sunflower hearts. Two attacks from the sparrowhawk were unproductive, the last at around 2:30. A good number of species for the day, with another 12 flyover, or in the vicinity of the garden. FIELDFARE and REDWING were only yards away in an apple tree, feeding on the fruit. The former of these two has never entered my garden, I think i'll stick some apples in the elder tree and see what happens.

Sunday 18 November 2007

There was a cool, moderate southerly wind this morning, making it difficult to hear any bird calls. It was also meant to be a wet day - it didn't rain until dusk - another crap weather forecast! The total species seen was 40, a reasonable tally for November. Plenty of winter thrush's were in the hedgerows again, and a fortunate encounter with a LT TIT flock gave me several species in one go, BLUE, GREAT and COAL TIT as well as NUTHATCH and GOLDCREST. Overhead BH GULL, Mixed with HERRING GULL continually drifted over in two's and threes. At least 2 KESTRELS hunted over the area, and the now usual SPARROWHAWK did the same. I went out again, for an hour, mid afternoon. The gulls had formed a flock on a seedling grass field - some 75+, mixed Black Headed an Herring. A couple of species not seen in the morning, both flyovers, YELLOWHAMMER and CORMORANT brought the total to 42 for the day.

Saturday 17 November 2007

It was a frosty start to the morning, with none of the forecast sunshine, in fact an hour out it started to rain! The usual common species were around, and a few winter visitors showed up FIELDFARE and REDWING fed in hedgerows in small groups, a small flock of SISKIN fed in alders by the river Bourne and a BRAMBLING flew over calling, as they do, a new species for this month, in fact a new species for November! It was disappointing to see that a section of hedgerow had been removed at cuckoo lane, and an access gate put in its place, I hope this doesn't spell the end for the rough grassland behind it.

Another Patch Of Habitat Gone ?

Later in the morning I went to do my bird atlas TTV at TQ64J. Only 26 species were recorded but, a good find of 70 SKYLARKS and a dozen MEADOW PIPITS fed in some stubbles, this cheered me up a bit, after having to endure a shotgun going off every few minutes, some tosser was pigeon shooting all morning, I passed by his hide, and the field was strewn with corpses, proped up on sticks to entice more pigeons to their doom. One last highlight of the day was another species not seen this month - a LITTLE EGRET flew over the greenhouse complex as I walked back home through my patch. Novembers total is now 55 two behind the high of 2002, and equal to 2003 and 2005. The species count for combined Novembers is 68, so there is scope to reach a new high.
PS. early this year I planted a single teazel in my garden, hoping to get the classic view of a Goldfinch feeding on it. Up to now it has stood on its own, being ignored, the finchs preferring the niger and sunflower hearts. However this pm I saw one sitting on the teazel head..........a small triumph, in my small garden !!

Thursday 15 November 2007

Well, it was back to my patch today. Having lost the morning light now, my sightings are confined to mid afternoon and dusk, with more emphasis on the garden scene. However a visit to the lake and wet woods between 2 and 3:30 was worth it just for the months first LITTLE OWL, Its bright yellow eyes following me as I walked just a few yards from its perch. I knew when I got to the lake it would be piontless to do any birding. The main reason for going, was to talk to the groundsman about the landscaping - and how long it was going on for. A track way was now being built around the lake so the owners could walk round it, time will tell if this creates any new habitat. I did ask the groundsman if he could see his way to planting some Phragmites reeds, he said he would, but we will see!

Wednesday 14 November 2007

Today was a little different - I went to my atlas tetrad, which is adjoined to my patch, just a little to the northwest. The area covers North Frith farm and golden stable wood.I walked through the farm buildings and then onto a track, with woods on either side,where I heard a GOLDCREST calling, as well as a G S WOODPECKER. The track opened out to a field with a hedgerow, a single BULLFINCH called here. A little futher along the track I entered golden stable wood, a mixed woodland with a lake, boggy areas and wide rides. There were some pretty impressive ancient trees, of beech and oak. These were real trees! With a huge girth, their massive limbs spread out above me, some, properly broken off, giving homes to a wide variety of wildlife. On the lake a few CANADA GEESE were resting, and as I watched these, 5 MANDARIN DUCKS came into view. I followed the lake around its perimiter, coming to a boggy spot - 2 more mandarin flew up and 3 TEAL swam away into cover, at the same time a KINGFISHER piped up and sat on a branch giving good views. I walked out into the woods for a small distance and wow! a WOODCOCK silently flew up to my left. A great tit was mimicking what sounded to me like a Willow tit, but I couldn't be totally sure, however amongst a roving tit flock was no less than 3 MARSH TITS all pitchoeing angrily at my presence. I was nothing less than ''blown away'' by this place. I only had a small amount of time and all too soon I had to leave, I stopped at a high point, which over looked ''Migrant alley'' and as I scanned the sky a PEREGRINE flew into golden stable wood - or more accurately- glided in. I was feeling pretty pleased with my 2 hours work, which was capped off by a calling little owl. Great Afternoon !!

Sunday 11 November 2007

Todays 3hr visit was much the same as yesterday. The feeding HERONS had added one to their number, and two species were seen that didn't show yesterday PHEASANT and CANADA GOOSE. The SISKIN flock had moved on, but 4 did fly over. A few B H GULL also few over with LBB GULL and HERRING GULL and 2 CORMORANT fished on the lake - as they did last sunday.

Saturday 10 November 2007

There's A Fieldfare In There Somewhere - Honest!

Blue Tit At One Of My Feeders
A fresh westerly wind blew this morning, but it was quite mild. During the 3 hr walk around the area 43 species were recorded. A group 0f 4 GREY HERON fed in a seedling field, and as I watched, 4 LBB GULL flew over, the first this month. A few FIELDFARE fed on the haws of a hedgerow that runs along the golf course boundary, they were accompanied by REDWING, SONGTHRUSH, and BLACKBIRD. At the lake it was quiet - as expected- but their were 15 MALLARD and another Grey Heron there. Nothing stirred in the now dry woods, so it was on to the farmland area, MEADOW PIPITS ''Tseeped'' and SKYLARKS danced across migrant alley, and a YELLOWHAMMER called as it flew over. Moving on to the college, and following the river, I scanned the Alder trees. feeding in them were approx 80 SISKIN, and a sprinkling of GOLDFINCH, but although I scanned through them I couldn't find the first Redpoll for the year. A male SPARROWHAWK flew beneath the feeding Siskin - carrying what looked like a Blue Tit- and all the birds took of as one, before settling down a bit further on.

Clearance Of a Ditch - And Anything Else That Got In the Way!

A Poor Attempt At Hedge Laying Along The River- By Hadlow College

Thursday 8 November 2007

The walk to work produced the first GREY WAGTAIL of the month, right at the south-western boundary of my patch, where the river bourne disappears under the A26. A usual place for this species. Also a strange ''churring'' call in the hedgerow at ashes lane caught my attention, I scanned for a while and found a GOLDCREST and a WREN, but I didn't think it sounded much like either. I didn't have time to look for longer, so I thought I would look on the way back home - unfortunately the bloody hedgerow had been massacred by a hedge ''trimmer'' and there was little to be seen.

Wednesday 7 November 2007

A sit at the bedroom window from 2pm to 4pm for some garden birdwatching today. The cooler weather brought in a peak of 9 BUE TIT, 4 GREAT TIT and 2 COAL TIT with them were 8 GREENFINCH, and 5 CHAFFINCH, but just a peak of 2 HOUSE SPARROWS. A couple each of ROBIN and DUNNOCK fed on the floor amongst the cover. The recently put out fat blocks attracted 4 STARLINGS, and a GOLDCREST picked at the dropped bits that were falling in the dense honeysuckle - as was a WREN the first of the month, in fact the first since August. A pair of BLACKBIRDS splashed around the pond, an unusual visitor so far this month, then they were joined by the goldcrest, which enjoyed a long bathing session. Another species to take advantage of the water was a WOODPIGEON the first this month. The niger feeder attracted a group of 5 GOLDFINCH, the sunflower feeders attracted, NUTHATCH and G S WOODPECKER, their spillings were collected by up to 12 COLLARED DOVES. Only one attempt from the SPARROWHAWK - a failed one - must be eating somewhere else!

Tuesday 6 November 2007

Not much about generally today, the walk to work was made enjoyable by singing ROBINS, SONGTHRUSH and a distant MISTLE THRUSH, whilst starlings were clicking and whistling on the rooftops. The walk home was punctuated with the odd group of gulls, mainly BH,one looked like a common, but I only got a couple of moments to look at it, I wasn't confident enough to count it. After a quick cuppa, and a snack, I headed off out to the small lake via the tree/shrub nursery and waterlogged woods. A male SPARROWHAWK went gliding past me, alighting in an oak, promptly emptying it of all the WOODPIGEON. A few MEADOW PIPIT flew up in front of me just before I entered the wood. At this time of year I expect to hear or see Teal on the wetter parts of the woods, but there's been so little rain the pools are drying out. At the lake the habitat destruction carries on - more trees felled - more bloody rhodadendrons! (however you spell it!) Only a few MOORHEN were present with around 15 MALLARD. Once the hour hit 3 o'clock, every thing went quiet, so I went home and spent an hour watching the garden feeders. 14 species were noted, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Sunday 4 November 2007

A mild and sunny morning, with just a light northwesterley breeze greeted me today. The four hour walk round produced 43 species - six that weren't seen yesterday, SONG THRUSH, GOLDFINCH, MARSH TIT, GREY HERON, STOCK DOVE and LAPWING. The Marsh Tit was only the fourth sighting away from the garden this year. On the lake two CORMORANT were fishing, until a fox flushed them off. Through the woods a small group of Tits fed, along with 3 TREECREEPER and 2 GOLDCREST. The November list is now on 50, so it will be getting harder to add any new species. The highest November total is 57 achieved in 2002, the lowest was 52 achieved in 2004 - the chase is on!

Saturday 3 November 2007

Collared Dove

A 4hr walk around the patch produced 44 species, athough two of those were only seen in my garden, MARSH TIT and surprisingly GOLDFINCH - not one was seen on the walk, also unseen was the songthrush, the first time this species has evaded me this year. All birds were counted, and as is usually the case WOODPIGEON was most common with 900 approx. This included a continual southerly movement, of which some I wasn't in a position to see. The most surprising species seen was a CHIFFCHAFF, probably the bird seen on 23rd of OCT. as it was in the same vicinity. A small flock of 6 SISKIN fed in alders and a CORMORANT flew over. These represented the best birds of the day. Quite early in the walk I heard what I thought was a blackbird in full song, when I located the source I found it was a STARLING expertly mimicking said turdus. (Apologies for picture quality!!)

Coal Tit


Friday 2 November 2007

Nothing stirred early morning on the way into work, but on the way home a flock of 7 LINNETS flew up in front of me at ''Migrant Alley''. These may well be the last I see this year, as they normally depart in late Autumn, with only an occasional sighting in winter ( 2 winters out of 6) A single SISKIN called loudly as it flew over, and a little way on a weasel scampered just a few feet ahead of me, before darting into cover. Once home I decided to try and get some pics of the garden birds, through my scope............what a disaster! they all came out blurred! I took off the scope and reverted to the camera alone. I took some shots of the habitat surrounding the garden, as well as the garden itself, which is very small. Tommorow will be the first full walk of my patch for the month, and as such, I will be counting all birds seen and heard, not just the species.

My Garden

View Of Habitat to The Front

View Of Habitat To The Rear

Thursday 1 November 2007

Felled Trees At One Of The Lakes

A short afternoon walk today, around the ''not so'' waterlogged woods and the lake area, produced 22 species - a start of sorts for the November list. Most of the usual common species were seen, and were duly entered onto the bird atlas web page. It was disappointing though, to see more trees being felled around the lake area, and thus causing more disturbance. The chance of seeing any passing wildfowl this winter are looking slim. I might have to change my route!
A View Of One Of The Lakes