Wednesday, 8 March 2023
Monday, 13 February 2023
NEW HYTHE 2023 THE YEAR SO FAR
Sunday, 20 January 2019
NEW HYTHE 14TH & 18TH JANUARY 2019
|SOME SNIPE FROM BUCKET WOOD|
In my last post I mentioned the large influx of Snipe along the river at Bucket Wood. Here's a picture of some of the thirty or so birds that I could see at the time. I subsequently heard a report of somebody else seeing approximately fifty fly from the river at high tide the following day. I do wonder if these might be birds that were heading West away from the heavy snow across much of Europe at the time.
|DRAKE RING-NECKED DUCK|
I managed to locate the long staying Ring-necked Duck on Abbey Mead lake on 14th January. As ever it stayed well out of range for a decent picture so this one will have to suffice for now. This bird has been around since Glenn found it on 19th December, long may it last. I bumped into Alan Roman on the same day and while we watched in vain for the Hen Harrier to reappear we were treated to a fly past from a Marsh Harrier. This was my 66th species at New Hythe this year and was soon followed by a sighting of a Water Rail (67th) in the NW corner of the sunken marsh.
|COMMON SEAL AND FLOUNDER|
New Hythe called once again on 18th January. Once again I found myself at Bucket Wood and once again I failed to find the Hen Harrier. I haven't heard any reports of it now since about 12th January. I hope I get to see it again but if not, well, it was great while it lasted.
My morning wasn't all unproductive though because around midday as the tide was falling, I spotted a huge bow wave travelling fast along the side of the reedbed upstream from the wood. I knew straight away that it was a Common Seal chasing fish. I watched it patrol along the same stretch a few times before surfacing with a decent sized Flounder.
Luckily it decided to eat it there and then and although fairly distant I was able to get a few pictures while hiding behind the reeds. They're easily spooked and if they see you they dive and disappear downstream. Last time I saw this happen I was with Terry Laws when a seal caught a large Mullet just opposite Bucket Wood. I hadn't got my camera with me that day. Terry had. I wasn't happy.
Also on the river that day were three Redshank, two Green Sandpipers, Water Rail and lots of Snipe and Teal.
Saturday, 12 January 2019
NEW HYTHE 2019. SO FAR SO GOOD!
The new year has started well at New Hythe with Hen Harrier, Ring-necked Duck and Goldeneye all making it onto the 2019 day list of 51 species recorded on January 1st. Other nice birds included Kingfisher, Little Grebe, Snipe, Goldcrest, Siskin and Bullfinch. Although not a huge total I don't think this is too bad for a single inland site in the middle of winter.
My list has now reached 65 species, the most notable addition being a female Goosander which has been commuting between Alders big lake and the motorway lake in recent weeks. Treecreeper, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Little Egret and Grey Wagtail have also been added. On January 8th two Peregrine Falcons flew over bucket wood while Terry and I were on duty there. We also recorded at least five Buzzards, Kestrel, Common Sand and c.100 Lapwings, a huge flock by New Hythe standards.
|COOT FROM ALDERS TROUT LAKE|
I visited New Hythe for a couple of hours this morning and to my surprise the Hen Harrier appeared once again. As usual following the river from the south, crossing the Sunken Marsh and flying low over the large reedbed on the east side of the Medway. The other surprise was circa 30 Snipe along the muddy banks of the river exposed by a very low tide. We don't usually see more than half a dozen of these birds at any one visit so this was exceptional. The Harrier appeared twice more giving Glenn and John the chance to add it to their lists.
Wednesday, 2 January 2019
NEW HYTHE YEAR LISTS 2018
|GOLDENEYE AT NEW HYTHE DECEMBER 2018|
At times it was a struggle to motivate myself to visit and when I did there was often nothing new to find, sometimes for weeks and weeks on end. Thank goodness for dragonflies and butterflies during the summer months, although it was a poor year for some butterfly species, courtesy I expect, of said 'Beast'.
I guess this was a good year for dragonflies though, there was certainly lots of activity, with Migrant Hawkers flying well into November. Disappointingly, I was unable to find a Willow Emerald damselfly on the wing at New Hythe in 2018 despite my best efforts. This is only the second year they have been reported at this site, Glenn found the first in 2017, so it was very frustrating not to get it on my NH list this year, especially since Glenn and Terry did!
Having said all that my New Hythe bird list eventually finished on 105 species, compared to only 99 in 2017. I was pleased to see five new site species during 2018, these were; Hawfinch, Curlew, Dunlin, Hen Harrier and Ring-necked Duck. Thanks in part, to a little help from my friends.
|WHOOPER SWAN AT NH|
Tuesday, 17 July 2018
NEWS FROM THE GARDEN
A lot of people have said that house martins seemed to arrive late this year. Ours were right on time and wasted no time in raising their first brood.
They left the nest under the eaves of the gable end of our house and spent a few scary moments hanging on for dear life and still begging for food every time the parent birds flew past.
Having found their wings they moved halfway up the roof where they stopped for a rest..
..before finally reaching the top. Last year we lost one at this point to the local sparrowhawk, but thankfully all went well this time and they were soon fully on the wing flying around the house with the adult birds. As far as I can tell the next brood is well on the way, they might even make three this year.
Nuthatches are great and we're lucky enough to see them in the garden almost every day. A couple of weeks ago there were at least four, a family group I think.
The parents bring the fledglings to the feeders to show them how it's done. Their cousins the great spotted woodpeckers did the same with their red crowned youngsters this year and they are still visiting but look more like adults now.
And finally, on sunday afternoon I had one of the best sightings i've ever had from the garden, when no less than four great white egrets flew over the house heading roughly north. A few years ago, a single great white would have sparked a significant twitch, such was their rarity in England. To have four flying over my house together is astonishing to say the least!
Saturday, 16 June 2018
OLD LODGE RESERVE - ASHDOWN FOREST
|Green tiger beetle|
I was disappointed to find the first two ponds almost devoid of dragons, just a few large red damselflies were willing to defy the coolness of the morning.
Thursday, 31 May 2018
NEW HYTHE AND GARDEN UPDATE
My New Hythe butterfly list is faltering at the moment. Partly due I think to the vagaries of the English weather and partly down to time spent on site (or lack of) for various reasons. At the moment I have seen ten species including; Brimstone, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Red Admiral, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Orange Tip and Small White. Absent from this list is the Green Hairstreak. But I still have a chance to see one if I get my proverbial finger out!
It's that time of the year when the birding goes quiet. Or at least it does at New Hythe. So it's eyes down now instead of up as the search for dragons and damsels begins, providing a fresh challenge and the chance to point the camera at something that sometimes even keeps still for a little while.
|LARGE RED DAMSELFLY|
And finally. We don't usually get Blackcaps in the garden but this female paid a couple of visits this week with the sole intention of pinching our wall basket liner for her nest, presumably nearby. The twitter of tiny Blackcaps would be nice!
Sunday, 8 April 2018
BROWN HARES AT ELMLEY
Anyway, here's a few pictures I took the last time I did take my camera out along the Elmley track on the Isle of Sheppey. Brown hares are not easy to find, most that i've seen were stumbled upon by accident when out walking and usually feature a clean pair of heels as they rocket away into the distance.
I actually saw four hares on this occasion. Three were some distance away. They lay motionless and, to the naked eye were just low mounds of earth in the middle of the field until viewed through binoculars. But this one was much closer and was preoccupied with feeding, scratching and generally lumbering around with that peculiar lanky gait that hares have when not in turbo mode.
It was late March, so I hoped I would see some of the 'boxing' action that these animals are so well known for. This is usually the female fending off the unwanted advances of an amorous male, not a 'may the best man win' battle between rival males that it's sometimes mistaken for. It didn't happen though, but I did enjoy watching this particular hare and not just seeing its heels.
Saturday, 24 March 2018
DUNGENESS BLUETHROAT 21ST MARCH 2018
I'm not an avid twitcher, but I'd never seen one before and sometimes i'll make the effort for a particularly nice bird. This male bluethroat is a particularly nice bird.
I arrived at Dengemarsh gully at about 10am and after negotiating what is laughingly referred to as a road (it's more like collateral damage from the adjacent MOD firing range), I walked along to the assembled crowd of fellow twitchers. For some reason I always feel uncomfortable in this situation, like a gatecrasher at a party. I always think they all know each other and are wondering who invited me. Maybe I should get some counselling.
Anyway, I was told that said bird popped out of the gorse bushes about every ten or fifteen minutes or so. I must say I do like reliable birds who think about their audience. So after about twenty five minutes, during which time I was entertained by more firecrests than i'd ever seen in one place, I was getting nervous (or twitchy) and thinking that maybe the bluethroat would turn into a wild goose.
I needn't have worried though, it soon made an appearance to the accompaniment of what sounded like machine gun fire from the aforementioned military range, but was actually all the cameras clicking in unison.
Despite sometimes being referred to as a skulking species this bird appeared to be very comfortable with all the people (some of whom were getting much too close I think) and the noise of the cameras.
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