Saturday, 14 April 2012

Another foggy start this morning, but it cleared much sooner than yesterday, and left mainly cloudy skies with a cool NE wind. The 5 hour visit started off quite slowly, with only the very common birds being recorded, but it livened up more as the visit went on. Another passage WILLOW WARBLER was singing at the College Grounds, where once again a CUCKOO was seen flying over, thats two seen and none heard this spring! A SWALLOW was flying around the College Stables, and the now entrenched BLACKCAPS and CHIFFCHAFFS were singing in the College Grounds, the sports pitch had a trio of Gull species on it today, four HERRING, two BLACK HEADED and a  LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL, three more of the latter flew over later in the visit.

Migrant Alley only had a SKYLARK, and MEADOW PIPIT flyover of any note, while the Greenhouse Complex had the usual PIED WAGTAILS and the pair of KESTRELS hunting over. The Tree Nursery was quiet as I passed through on my way over to the lakes, where nothing new was seen, I'd hoped for a Whitethroat, however they are yet to arrive, and so I just ticked of most of the regular resident species, BULLFINCH, LONG TAILED TIT, NUTHATCH, JAY, STOCK DOVE, plus for the third day running a TAWNY OWL which hooted loudly, were the most noteworthy here, Treecreeper, and Coal Tit weren't encountered though. The lakes were only occupied by the feral BARNACLE GOOSE, 8 CANADA GEESE, two GREYLAG GEESE, a few drake MALLARDS, two MOORHEN and the COOT pair.

47 species were on the list as I made my way back over to Migrant Alley and my usual sky watching position, whilst there I added a flyover YELLOWHAMMER, a BUZZARD, a SPARROWHAWK, a LITTLE OWL that called from the Greenhouse Copse, and a single SAND MARTIN that flew eastwards. As I sat and drifted into my own world, looking out onto the sheep pasture where a flock of WOOD PIGEONS fed, one of them suddenly exploded! Well it seemed to! Feathers shot out in every direction, then I saw the reason why, a female PEREGRINE had slammed straight onto it, the Pigeon still managed to get up and evade the Falcon, quite an awesome scene to witness!
Peregrine, empty taloned!
By now my day list had grown to 53! A very healthy total for my patch, if only the Coal tit, Treecreeper and Mistle Thrush had turned ot earlier, I'd have been chasing the magic 60 mark. Encouraged by that thought, I had another hours visit after lunch, in this time I scouted the Tree Nursery, but frustratingly didn't turn up any more species, until, after watching 3 Buzzards, the Kestrels, and another Sparrowhawk all up together, as this seemed to draw in in the biggest surprise of the day, a fantastic RAVEN ( 138,84,63) a patch tick! WOW was I chuffed to bits with that! 54 species for the day and a patch tick, that will do nicely  :-)

Raven!! Patch tick! Only a record shot, but you can just make out the salient ponts of this species. Another clue was the deep croaking ''kronk' call, and the size of it, even bigger than the Buzzards, which it interacted with briefly.
Kestrel up hunting
This WREN posed briefly, as it collected nest material
Very briefly!
Another busy nest builder was this LINNET


Steve Ashton Wildlife Photography said...

Good to get Raven Warren, seen in Kent in increasing numbers of late.

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Congrats on the Raven patch tick , and 54species on the day is some going .
Hope the cold weather forecasted isn't going to affect all the nesting that is going on .

Phil said...

Great stuff Warren. I still haven't managed to see a Raven in Kent!

Pete Woodruff said...

Excellent shot of the 'taking off' Wren, and apparently good news re the raven Warren.

ShySongbird said...

Well done with the Raven, Warren :-)

The WP/Peregrine incident sounded quite something, I bet that woke you up ;-)

Lovely photos of the nest builders. Lots of nesting activity going on now but it's going to be pretty cold here, not the best news for them.

Marc Heath said...

I know I said 'I hope something turns up tomorrow 'but I didn't expect that. Just reward for your efforts. I will wave my magic dust for tomorrow for you!

Anonymous said...

Well done with the Raven, Warren. And i`m not one bit envious. Believe that and you`ll believe anything ;-)

Rohrerbot said...

That shot of the Kestrel is quite something. Love your shots. They tell their own stories while you count off yours. Nice work! That's quite an accomplishment.

Alan Pavey said...

Well done with Raven Warren, always great to get a patch tick. I really have got some catching up to do!! :-)

Millhouse Photography said...

You've got to be good to get a Wren in such lovely light and surroundings.

Unknown said...

Nice one Warren, what a cracking bird for a patch tick. Beats my Partridge!