I've been meaning to pay a visit to one of Adam Whitehouse's (www.dittoneastmallingbarming.blogspot.com) haunts at Ditton Quarry and today I managed an hour there between 11am and noon. I didn't cover the whole site but concentrated in the SW section which Adam advised me is the preferred location for the redpolls he's been recording there.
I was greeted by a small flock of fieldfare which flew off over the adjacent East Malling Research Station. I then spent some time scanning the alder trees on the edge of the small wood for the redpoll but to no avail so I walked a fairly small circuit picking up plenty of chaffinch, goldfinch and greenfinch, also green and great spotted woodpeckers. I repeated this process three times more or less, adding jay, sparrowhawk, redwing, wren, dunnock, calling bullfinches and lots of blackbirds, at least one of which treated me to a short song which in the positively balmy conditions, 13 degrees according to my car, made it feel like spring was in the air! I made my way back to the car with 20 species seen, not bad for a very pleasant one hour first visit although I'm sure Adam would have done better. As I was taking my boots off I noticed a small bird perched on a small tree just inside the quarry boundary so out came my bins again and a quick look confirmed a redpoll..................21!