Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Great to be back out in the field again

Having been laid up and out of action for some time, it was great to be able to get back in the field today - after an absence of about ten days. Following a call from Steve Blake, it was Tyttenhanger my first port of call and a nice migrant adult KITTIWAKE.

The weather has continued to do us no favours, today seeing more of the same - bouts of torrential rain broken up by the odd spell of sunshine. Still feeling cold too, with a fresh WNW wind blowing


Helped by Steve Blake's directions, I managed to locate the adult summer KITTIWAKE from the woodyard end of the pit, sheltering from the wind in the secluded Willow-strewn bay at the west end. It was washing and bathing and quite active, eventually flying off out of view at 1230 hours. It was a full breeding-plumaged adult, with an all-white head, all green bill, dark grey back and all black outer wing-tips. The inner primaries were much whiter, contrasting strongly with the black tips, with the secondaries and coverts being differently shaded. The rest of the plumage, including the tail, uppertail coverts and rump, were clean white.

Otherwise, typically quiet, with 2 argenteus Herring Gulls, an adult Lesser Black-backed, pair of Gadwall, Common Redshank, 170 House Martins, Western Reed Warbler and Common Whitethroat.


After Mike Ilett texted me early morning with a pair of Turtle Doves in the east of the county, this was to be my next domain. Although the weather was largely inclement during my two hour visit, I could find no sight nor sign of them - completely blank. The area of suitable farmland and scrubland opposite the Knoll house did yield 2 pairs of GREY PARTRIDGES, a male YELLOW WAGTAIL, a singing male WILLOW WARBLER, numerous Skylarks, 2 pairs of Meadow Pipits and a WEASEL.

I did a tour of suitable peafields in the vicinity but failed to locate any trips of Dotterel - sadly a thing of the past nowadays.


I fared much better with Mike's information in Wallington hamlet where I quickly located the displaying pair of SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS - my first in the county this year. They were frequenting the beautiful garden at the corner of The Street/Kits Lane, in fact George Orwell's former property.


In the vicinity of the pool in the SE corner of the gravel workings, I noted 3 MANDARIN DUCKS (2 drakes), Coots nesting, Stock Dove, 2 COMMON CUCKOOS, several Common Swifts and a male Common Whitethroat but pride of place went to the 8 HOBBIES lingering at the water, most of which were stood forlorn on the fenceposts (it was heavy rain, thunder and lightning for much of the time I was there).

Park in Symondshyde Lane and view west from the perimeter fence.

Good birding always

Lee Evans

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