Wednesday, 7 May 2008

6th May, Woodland Walk and Garden Sightings

Iffin Woods

A few hours this morning was spent walking around the marvellous Iffin woods, situated on the outskirts of Canterbury. The area of the woods where my efforts were concentrated is predominantly Hazel coppice with some stands of mature pine and deciduous trees, throughout the woodland are clearings of thick bramble ideal for warbler species. Bird species seen during the walk were, Treecreeper, 6 singing Blackcap, 3 Singing Chiffchaff, 1 singing Willow Warbler and a Garden Warbler. Many of the usual woodland species were also recorded including, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird and Greater spotted Woodpecker. A few Butterflies were seen including Green-veined White, Common Blue and the rather smart Speckled Wood shown below.
Speckled Wood

A range of wildflowers were seen within the woodland, in areas where the absence of Bluebells allowed other species to flourish. Species recorded include Bugle, Primrose, Garlic Mustard, Lady's Smock, Lesser Celandine, Wood Anenome, Red Campion, Wood Speedwell, Greater Stitchwort and White dead Nettle. The discovery of some Yellow Archangel was only beaten by finding Common Twayblade, both of these species were the first i have seen this year.

Common Twayblade

Above: Yellow Archangel; Below: Bugle

Garden Sightings

The afternoon was spent revising in the back garden and lots of bits and pieces were flying around. An average of about 20 Swifts were hawking at any one time with counts exceeding 40 occasionally. A pair of Sparrowhawks appeared in the air together and throughout the day various attempts were made by each bird to catch something around the garden. A Peregrine soared over during the later part of the afternoon sending all the local gulls into a frenzy. Blackcap and Chiffchaff were calling continuously and all the other usual suspects were around. The best bits for the Garden today was a Hobby which appeared and chased Hirundines over the house for around 15mins and a Brimstone Butterfly, both had never previously been recorded in the Garden.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Campus Walk 13.00 - 18.00

A view of Keynes Wood behined the Venue.

A fantastic afternoon was spent yesterday (29th) walking around the woods and farmland on UKC campus. Lots of species were around and the song of warblers filled the woods, the numbers recorded would suggest a good breeding population , for example the 16 Blackcaps recorded singing during the visit (a further 5 feamales were also observed). Other warbler species included 27 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 17 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser whitethroat and a single Garden Warbler. Many of the Whitethroats were recorded in the hedge rows on the farmland along with 7 Linnet, 1 male Bullfinch and 2 Yellowhammer, the fields supporting 7 Singing Skylarks and plenty of hawking Swallows. Other bird species recorded on the walk included 2 pairs of Mistle Thrush, 7 Greater spotted Woodpecker, 4 Green Woodpecker, 1 Lesser spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long tailed Tit, Chaffinch, at least 20 Goldfinch, Goldcrest, 2 Little Owl and a species i have not recorded in this area during the last 3 years - Spotted Flycatcher. The farmland and woodland edge was most productive for mammals with 6 Hare and a Fox seen on the fields and 2 Stoat dens? found. One of the Stoats was watched climbing down a tree with a Magpie egg in his mouth! 4 Peacock butterflies were seen on the field and woodland edge along with 2 Orange tips and a Green veined White. The woodlands look really stunning at this time of the year and are carpeted with Bluebells, particularly behined the Venue. Other plant species seen were Red dead Nettle, Greater Stitchwort, Cuckoo Flower, Wood Anenomie, Broom, Red Campion and Field Forgetmenot. It really is an amazing time of year and the University campus is well worth a look!
Cuckoo Flower, A fair few stands at the edge of Brotherhood Wood and the farmland in the marshy area.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Evening Walk

Top:Red Dead-nettle, Bottom:White Dead-nettle

Song Thrush

A nice walk this evening around the fields at the back of Canterbury Bowling Club, failed to turn up any Barn Owls but did produce a surprising variety of other species. At least 16 Song Thrush were seen around the three fields which bodes well for the breeding population within this small area, as does the three singing Skylarks seen. 2 male Linnet sat proudly preening on the wires along the road, male birds certainly do have it hard at this time of year, sing and make themselves look good! 4 Whitethroats supported the large number of this species recorded in Kent so far this year, indicating a successful migration and first year survival from last year. Red and White Dead-nettle were in full colour, along with Cow Parsley, Garlic Mustard, Hawthorn, Field Forgetmenot, Primrose, Greater Stitchwort and Common Vetch.

Greater Stitchwort

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Garden Today

Didn't manage to get out today but a few hours spent in the garden revealed some nice bits. 3 Sparrowhawks and the Peregrines from the Cathedrel were all in the air together at one point this afternoon. Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Blackbird, Robin were all recorded in the garden, whilst the Sycamores at the back of the garden held singing Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. These Sycamores (6 mature trees) are supporting an impressive variety of nesting species, especially in the ivy growing around them, in particular 3 pairs of Wood Pigeon, 2 pairs of Collard Dove, 2 pairs of Blackbird, a pair of Robin and a pair of Jays. The previously mentioned Warbler species are also probably nesting in this area. A male Orange tip butterfly was not only a first for the garden but also the year.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

26th April 2008 - Grove Ferry

An early morning walk at grove was fairly productive in the lovely weather. A singing Lesser Whitethroat on the track to the ramp was a great start, from the ramp 2 Little ringed Plover were occompanied by the usual Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler and Lapwing. From Harrisons Drove hide 3 further Little ringed Plover were recorded. A singing Grasshopper Warbler showed well on the track to the Marsh Hide which was an added bonus to the day. A quick stop off at the ramp on the way back reveled a stunning Greenshank had dropped in, which ended the morning nicely. Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Cettis were also recorded on the rounds along with two singing Cuckoo's. 7 Marsh Harriers, 6 Sparrowhawks and 3 Kestrels showed well overhead. The above picture is of 1 of the 3 Little ringed Plover present from Harrisons Drove hide.