Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Fly-over Crossbills

Flying south and in clear blue skies 21 Crossbills flew directly over the garden this morning. These are my first garden Crossbills record. If only they'd stop for a rest in the garden Larch.. and preferably when I've the camera too!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Raptors - mid summer round-up

From the 1st to the 11th of July a Red Kite was seen by many on private farmland adjacent to Church Lane. Unfortunately I didn't see it, even though observers said it often wandered over countryside south of Hornash Lane (viewable from our back garden). The bird frequented the pheasant pen areas within private woodland, surely making itself unwelcome (to some) and of concern to others. Sad to say, but hopefully it's moved on, and to a more hospitable area.

Elsewhere around the village, our pair of Buzzards are very vocal and feeding often close to the suspected nesting site. Watching the birds yesterday, both adult birds could be seen dive- bombing alongside hedgerows and calling wildly as they did so. It appeared to me that the birds were trying to flush potential prey from cover. Occasionally they both soared and called together, low over woodland canopy, where I believe the nest site maybe. Despite many quick visits to the site area, with stays no longer than an hour, I've yet to see prey taken to the nest site. Non breeding Buzzards in various stages of moult can be seen at anytime soaring over the Shadoxhurst/Woodchurch area.

Hobbies are now seen daily dashing across the village in chase of House Martins or leisurely cruising for Hawker dragonflies.

Sparrowhawks now have young on the wing, I witnessed a young bird over the garden following an adult and begging for food. Interestingly, on the 11th of July I saw 2 adult Sparrowhawks still displaying together.

Perhaps now the rarer of our common birds of prey, the Kestrel, has successfully nested on farmland behind Church lane, reared 3/4 young. Thanks to Richard on Moat Farm, Shadoxhurst, for info on Kite and Kestrels. Richard has also reported that Spotted flycatchers have also successsfully reared young from a traditional nesting site on the farm.

Tawney Owls are ever present in our local woodlands that I have visited this summer. With so much noise and commotion from juvenile birds, I believe Tawney Owls, must have had a good breeding season.

Barn Owls are frequently seen between Shadoxhurst and Woodchurch, but breeding nest sites are unknown to me.

Evening searches for Long Eared Owls were fruitless and just one site in the village proved to have Little Owls breeding successfully so far.

The Peregrine seen earlier in the summer seeing off Buzzards high over the village, is to me the most intriguing sighting of the summer, if only I could find more time and luck to find out more!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Juvenile Redshank

Down at Rye Harbour nature reserve, the breeding season is closing in. Most of the Sandwich Terns have flown out to into the bay with young in tow, and the reseve now has many young Waders, Gulls and Terns to see. On this quick visit, this young Redshank was catching Lug-worms for fun, and was not to be distracted by my camera.

Purple Hairstreak and Dog Rose

Sat out-of-sight, usually sun-bathing at the top of Oak trees in their millions, Purple hairstreaks are easy to over look. In the evenings and and late afternoons they tend to flicker around a bit trying to stay in the sun. This one was in the early morning sun, basking at the top of the Dog Rose. To see and photograph the Purple sheen on top of the wings is a rare thing, this one was to be no exception just the curious little eyes and tufts at the end of the wings.