Tuesday, 25 February 2014

February 25th (New Hythe)

On January 8th,when I last wrote a post on New Hythe.My bird species count for the area stood at just 51.Since that time I have made a further four visits and added just three more,namely,Sparrowhawk,Pied Wagtail and Chiffchaff.
This low species count is undoubtedly due to the mildness of this winters weather in Britain and on the Continent.Species in past winters that have been relativity easy to find are this year either absent,or present in such low numbers (Siskin,Redpoll), for instance,that they are much more difficult to find.As far as I know,there has been no sightings of Goldeneye,Goosanders,Smew or even Bittern,all New Hythe regulars.As for the Bittern,the clue as to why there has been no sightings,may in some way be connected to this winters very high water table,rather than just its mildness.

Pochard numbers this winter are probably at a all time low.Although it must be said that this species has been declining in the area and elsewhere in Britain since the 1990s.Away from the UK,similar declines have also taken place in the Netherlands.Further east though in Sweden numbers have been increasing.This then suggests that the declines in the UK is due to a distribution change,the so-called `short stopping`phenomenon that is happening increasingly among migrant waterbirds.
However,overall there has been a long-term decline in the North-west European population,although not as large as that found in Britain.Further more in Central Europe,the Black Sea and Mediterranean populations have also declined.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

February 13th The Hythe (Heron) and Dungeness

Bob Bland and I arrived at Hythe (Turnpike Hill) at 7:30am and remained until 8:30am.The Heron (a possible Chinese Pond Heron),was found not long after we arrived.It was sitting high up in some trees above a small play area.We saw it in flight three times,on the third occasion it flew away towards some gardens.At which point we left and made for Dungeness,both well pleased.
All the time that we were there it rained and the light was very poor,hence the terrible photo.

I did however see a photo on a mobile phone which a chap had taken using his scope as a lens (in the rain) and it was fantastic,who needs expensive gear!.

As we were leaving the reserve,two Bitterns exploded from a patch of reeds by the edge of the main track.
Black-throated Diver (2 are still present on the New Diggings)
Smew (2 of 3 seen on Burrowes Pit)

Monday, 3 February 2014

February 3rd (2nd TIME LUCKY)

Glaucous Gull
Sunshine at  long last.I spent a pleasant couple of hours by the fishing boats and then went round to the RSPB reserve.My thanks to the Plodding Birder who put me onto the Gull.

Red-head Smew (Burrowes Pit)

Red-head Smew