East Kent Birds

We have just returned from a trip to Mid Wales, specifically to try to see Salmon leaping up waterfalls to reach their spawning grounds, which is an early November wildlife spectacle. Sadly, 2019 has been the worst year ever for Salmon in the local rivers and we were unlucky this time. Only 350 Salmon were caught in the region this summer (hopefully they were then put back in alive). In the Salmon heyday, 20,000 were being caught each year. Whilst we were there, we also visited Gigrin Farm Red Kite Feeding Centre.

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500 wild Red Kites fly in at 2pm each day

In the winter, around 500 wild Red Kites descend on this farm at 2pm because food is put out at that time every day (3pm in the summer – Kites don’t understand British Summer Time).

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Red Kite
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A leucistic white Red Kite
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A Red Kite that has lost its tail feathers but seemed to be doing alright
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Some Buzzards also come in  – they are easier to photograph because they land and stay still.
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Two Buzzards

It was lovely to see these birds because here, on the East Kent coast, we have only very, very occasionally seen Red Kites and Buzzards. Red Kites have just not made it to East Kent yet. Buzzards have, however, and you can see them if you go a mere half mile inland. Perhaps they don’t come out to the coast because we don’t have the trees they need.

The Nuthatch is another bird that we don’t get in coastal East Kent and, again, this is probably because of the lack of trees.

The wood is nine miles inland as the Crow flies and, for the first time for a while, we put a camera on the feeder in the wood and were delighted to discover Nuthatches:

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Nuthatch on the feeder in the wood

This is a new species for the wood and is a bird that wasn’t coming to the feeder when we last had a camera on it back in the spring.

Unfortunately the feeder is too close to the camera to be in focus, but here are some of the other visitors:

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Marsh Tit on the right
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Male Great Spotted Woodpecker
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Female Great Spotted Woodpecker
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Always amazed to see the olive green colour on the back of a Chaffinch

 

We have had some wet and wild weather here recently. Here is the banana boat moored very close inshore to wait out the storm before attempting to get into Dover harbour. Dover is an important port for bananas:

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But in a window of calm, this beautiful female Bullfinch was ringed in the meadows last week:

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We were sitting out having a cup of tea in our coats and gloves and we saw a Kestrel being mobbed by a Crow:

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Kestrel on the left, Crow on the right

But then we realised that there were two Kestrels:

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Two Kestrels above the meadows

They then appeared to pass something between them:

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We don’t know what was going on but it was an exciting cup of tea.

We once again have a Heron problem:

Trail camera

Trail camera

It has been coming here a lot. Moreover, it is a full moon at the moment and it takes advantage of that to also fish through the night. Here is is at 1am this morning:

Trail camera

And Frogs are being caught:

Trail camera

Trail camera

It is such a relentless and successful hunter that we are going to have to implement our plans to deter the Heron and save some of our amphibians. Actually, the plans are currently a bit vague but are going to involve making a grid over the pond with string, making it difficult for the Heron to wade around from one area of the pond to another. We will get going with that over the next few days.

There is another large bird that has made the meadows her home for now:

Trail camera

Trail camera

Trail camera

Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 09.51.06

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She has turned up on practically every camera around the meadows. The dog spotted her this morning and ran at her, trapping her in a corner. Thankfully the dog is only interested in chasing things, not killing things, so all ended well and the bird was unharmed. However, Foxes cannot afford to be so forgiving and there are a lot of them around here and so I hope she takes care.

Here are a few other lovely East Kent birds:

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Robin
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Mistle Thrush
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Ringed Blackbird
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Beautiful little Wren

And I finish today with some East Kent Badgers and Foxes:

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Trail camera

Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 13.06.38

Trail camera

Trail camera

 

 

 

 

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