Monday, 1 February 2010

New Hythe 1st February

I ended January with 65 species seen at New Hythe throughout the month, not a bad count, but I think it was probably helped by the really cold weather which brought a few of the less common species such as Snipe, Jack Snipe and Woodcock to the area. I don't think i'll be adding many new birds during this month but out of interest I am going to count the species seen for February to see what changes.

I arrived at 09.20 this morning in bright sunshine and headed off towards Brookland lake after logging my first eight species of the morning in the car park, including Starling, Redwing and Goldfinch among others. The lake itself produced the usual wildfowl species including Pochard, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, Coot and a female Goldeneye in the SW quarter of the lake. Also around the lake were good numbers of Song Thrush, Robin, and the ever present flock of Long Tailed Tits moving urgently through the trees and bushes in their never ending search for food, their high pitched contact call confirming their presence as usual before they were seen.

The tide was low on the river and I picked up the first of many Little Grebes here as well as a single Lapwing, some Teal, a Redshank, lots of Grey Herons and best of all two Shelduck at last, which is year tick 66. Further upstream were two Lesser Black-Backed Gulls and a Common Gull standing together in the shallows and the first of several Kestrels made it's way slowly downstream. The sunken marsh was practically deserted today, all I noted was a Dunnock, a couple of Magpies and two Mute Swans flying over low, which I belive landed on Abbey Mead where I also found a single Canada Goose and another seven Little Grebe.

After walking across a seemingly deserted East Scrub I walked up the Brook House track in the hope of finding some Siskin or Redpoll but neither showed so I had to be content with a Gt Spotted Woodpecker and Gt Crested Grebe on Johnson's lake, Shoveler also made the list here.

I added Greenfinch while crossing the West Scrub, and then went to the Bittern area of Streamside more in the hope of a Kingfisher than a Bittern but the lake was frozen and all that I added in this area was a Wren along The Millstream. On the way back past Railway lake I saw another six Little Grebes which bought my tally to 14 of these delightful little birds, one more on Brookland lake on the way back made it 15. The final part of the walk took me along the southern edge of Brooklands and back to the river where I had a quick cup of coffee, during which time I added Cock Pheasant and Sparrowhawk to my list and although a last minute 'rummage' round the edge of the lake produced a fleeting glimpse of a Water Rails rear end disappearing into the reeds, I wouldn't exactly call that a bum note to end on!!

My final list included 44 species and I was very happy with that, but where were the Bullfinches? Not one heard or seen today, likewise Green Woodpecker, just goes to show you can't take anything for granted. Hopefully they and others will turn up in episode two, although that won't be for a little while because I am off to Tobago in the sunny Caribbean sea on thursday morning, well someone's got to do it. I'll be looking forward to catching up with all the latest when I get back.


Greenie said...

Phil , I too was at New Hythe this morning , arriving about the same time near Alders . Met Alan Roman and he told me of the female Goldeneye , then met him again around Brooklands , but no luck . Nor with the Siskins and Redpolls , but got Bullfinch .
Went on to Cliffe mid dayish .
Have a great time in the sun .

Warren Baker said...

Hi Phil,
Its always good to keep monthly lists, as you say, you can monitor the changes on your patch easier, plus I find it helps to have a bit of competition with yourself, trying to set new records.

Reading todays post, I see you list includes many species I will be lucky to find this year... Little grebe for instance - I saw 1, once last year. :-)

Phil said...

Hi Greenie. Saw Alan along the millstream, couldn't re-locate the Goldeneye myself on the way back either. You did better than me with Bullfinch though!Did hear of one Siskin seen today.

Phil said...

Warren, it's like you said before, it's about habitat mostly. Guess the river is a big influence at NH. I would love to get Owls, Yellowhammer, Marsh Tit etc. like yourself........maybe one day.

Adam said...

Hi Phil, saw your post reporting on your trip from Teston to Wateringbury. Did you come back along the south side of the river as that was always seemed to hold more species than the north when I lived there. Got Barn Owl, Little Owl, Water Rail and Yellowhammer as regulars.

If you do the walk from Teston to Barming then worth looking for Yellowhammers before you get to the first gate - usually get them here and I've been having Snipe on almost daily basis, just follow those steams from the river up to the railway line you're bound to flush one out, might even get Grey Way (or Common Sand!). When you get to Barming Bridge check out for Little Grebes (had a pair there yesterday), and usually a good spot for Kingfisher. It might be worth walking up South Street and checking out the orchards off the footpath from the 'Black Barn' or trying your luck with the Redpolls in the South St Silver Birch (usually there early, and on frosty days).

Best of luck,


Phil said...

Hi Adam. I was pushed for time so walked back the way I came, i.e. along the North bank, although I have done the South bank in the past. Will definitely do the Teston to Barming walk when I get back from holiday. Really appreciate the info and will let you know how I get on.
All the best.