Sunday, 16 January 2011


I finally managed to get out this morning and after such a wet and gloomy week, what a welcome surprise the sun was when it finally came out too. I don't know why but it seems to be getting darker in the mornings and evenings to me as well lately instead of lighter.

Anyway, there were two Mistle Thrushes standing tall on the piece of grass behind the Brooklands cafe, my first of the year at New Hythe taking my list to 60. Nothing much to report on Brooklands lake, the only new additions being quite a few fishermen who are no doubt pleased to be able to wet a line after the weeks of ice.

The tide was high on the river so I didn't venture into the woods, instead electing to tackle the quagmire round the near deserted sunken marsh. Hardly any berries, hardly any birds, but plenty of mud! A single Redwing, a single Lapwing, a short burst from a Cetti's and some Magpies was all I could muster. Talking of Magpies though, while I was updating my NH list this afternoon I realised I hadn't listed one so far this year, so that makes 61!

Abbey Mead was a different kettle of fish with five Shelduck (62) catching my eye on the lake straight away, the first of the year for me here. Also seen were a total of three Goldeneyes, two of which took flight and are pictured below and a further one found a bit later in the south eastern corner. A single drake Wigeon was also dozing in the middle of the lake and this chap bought my total to an unexpected 63 so far.

I was joined then by John Davies, a fellow birder from Leybourne and while we chatted I spotted a super Goosander on the lake (top picture) and John located the long staying Red-head Smew along the Eastern edge. This was actually his third Red-head Smew of the morning, the first on Alder's lake and the second on Streamside. A fine Sparrowhawk also put in an appearance while we scanned the lake but unfortunately still no sign of a Kingfisher. It's been about four weeks or more since I last saw one at New Hythe and I'm beginning to wonder if the hard weather has taken it's toll.

I called in at Streamside lake on the way back, bumping into Dennis and Doreen on the way and together we located the Smew which John had mentioned earlier on. A good sized flock of Siskins and Goldfinches was seen on the Millstream path but a search for a Water Rail in the swampy area further down failed to turn one up, I always struggle a bit with this one.

Bizarrely, when we reached the car park the two Mistle Thrushes were gone and were replaced by a young girl exercising a pony on the tiny patch of grass beside the Cafe..........nothing surprises me any more!


Chris said...

Cool you could go out today, that was not our case, it was raining today!

John Lambshead said...

We were going bird watching today but the weather put us off.

Warren Baker said...

Nice selection again Phil, 63 species at the halfway point in the month, cant be bad. If it had not been for a late roast dinner, I was going to have a quick look round new hythe today, maybe another time, maybe i'll meet you :-)

Phil said...

Just let me know when and i'll be pleased to walk with you.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Really nice Goldeneye flight shots .
'Two Mistle Thrushes' turn into 'girl with pony' .
Whatever you're on , I'll have some please .

Paul said...

Hi Phil, Great pics there, and the in-flight shots of the Goldeneye are very good.
I cant remember the last time I visited New Hythe, but it seems at least two weeks ago now.

Bob Bushell said...

The female Goosander and 2 pictures of the Goldeneyes, they are well taken.

Marc Heath said...

Some nice shots from today, well done.

Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
Looks like you had a good time down the lakes. Nice photo's of the Goosander and Goldeneye.
I must go down there again soon, see what I can add to my year list.

ShySongbird said...

Hi Phil :) I got half way through commenting here an hour ago and we had a power cut! The second within a month :(

Anyway, it is good to be able to share your walk with you again, it sounds like you had a nice visit and you got some very nice flight photos too.

I do hope the Kingfishers haven't been compromised by the harsh weather, that would be a real shame.