Tuesday, 19 April 2011



I'm going to cut straight to the chase today. While standing on the NE corner of the sunken marsh with Terry Laws this morning, at about 11.15 I spotted a HOOPOE flying across the marsh from west to east. It flew past past us at head height and crossed the river. Terry kept it in his sights until it cleared a row of Willows and it then disappeared from view. This is the first one of these I have ever seen and i'm absolutely delighted to have seen it at New Hythe. This super bird brings my New Hythe year species to 91, I never expected to see one of those on the list!

Coming in a good second today was a MARSH HARRIER (92), spotted by Terry at 12.45 as it too crossed the marsh, this time heading roughly south, giving good views at about 12.45 this afternoon. Two cracking birds in the same visit, how good is that!

I promised Terry that I would try not to waffle on too much today, so i'll just give a few brief highlights of some of the other birds we saw from the same spot by the marsh during the rest of the morning.

At least five Buzzards were spotted, three over the North Downs and two over the marsh, one of which seemed long winged, but we settled for Buzzard in the end. Two Cuckoos heard and one seen on the pylon in the marsh. Two or three Shelduck up and down the river. A Skylark hovering in the distance, looking just like a Kestrel in the heat haze. Hirundines were represented by a few Swallows and a few more Sand Martins, all heading southwards along the river. Three Sparrowhawks were seen, two over the Downs and one over the marsh. Two Oystercatchers (Oinks), flying low up the river, probably the same pair seen on and off for some weeks now. A single Lapwing, not seen very often at the moment. LBB Gull, Reed Bunting, Stock Dove, Pied Wagtail, Common Whitethroat and one briefly singing Lesser Whitethroat (not seen) all made the note book, along with others to make a species count of 39.
Oh, I nearly forgot, I saw a pair of Linnets along the mill path on the way back to the car park!


Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
Having seen 2 cracking birds like that on your local patch is going to take some beating....but wo knows?
Another very good days walk on your home turf
Was the Marsh Harrier a male of female?

Mike Attwood said...

Seems like a good day Phil. I wish I new these places you go to.

Phil said...

Hi Ken
Immature male we think.

Marianne said...

Oh my very god, a Hoopoe? How wonderful! Couldn't you have persuaded it to turn west rather than east though? And Marsh Harrier too - what a day!

Mary said...

Very nice. I have a friend with a very small pond in her very small back yard. Last week, she saw a Heron plucking a fish from her pond. She opened the door and yelled at it. The bird actually dropped the fish while in flight. She ran and grabbed up the fish and placed it back in the pond...amusing~

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Ken and I actually saw those two birds yesterday , along with a White-tailed Sea Eagle and a Blue Cheeked Bee-eater , but we didn't want to upset you as you were off patch .
Joking apart , two fantastic sightings for the two of you .
I'm just glad Terry made you make that promise , or that post would have gone on for ever !

Bob Bushell said...

Help, please can you send the Hoopoe to me, I would love to take a picture, Great photo of the Grey Heron.

Warren Baker said...

Cickey Phil, I feel pretty dejected after the day Ive had, now you've made it worse!

Only kidding :-) That was some day though !!!

alan woodcock said...

Hi Phil,right place but wrong time,just my luck.

Mike H said...

Hi Phil,

Makes me even more determined to revisit your patch again soon.

ShySongbird said...

You do have some amazing sightings where you are Phil, I remember Ken saw a Hoopoe last year, Kent is a great place for birds!

We had a Heron standing on the top of our Fir tree once, the neighbours saw it...but I didn't!

Don't know how I missed commenting on your previous post, I definitely read it because I remember the three dead Brimstone mystery and I loved the photo of the Brimstone with the sunlight showing through its wings.

Alan Pavey said...

So that's where it went!! ;-)

Excellent sightings Phil, keep it up!

Simon said...

Phil, A HOOPOE!!!! Wow!!! Its gotta be my turn soon for patch rarity!