A Brimstone and White-tailed Bumble Bee were seen over the weekend. Birds recently include singing Chiffchaffs, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Crossbill and Firecrest.
A Lesser-spotted Woodpecker has been drumming away with its larger cousins in the Pinetum recently. Bullfinch and Buzzard also seen.
Two Ravens flew over on the 11th. One Hawfinch was seen, as was Crossbill, Marsh Tit and Siskin (the latter two on the feeders). Thanks to Mike for these sightings.
A Lesser-spotted Woodpecker reported from the forest over the weekend. Back in the Pinetum today, it was nice to see a Siskin on the Visitor Centre feeders.
Highlights over the last couple of weeks has included both Redpoll and Marsh Tits on the feeders, 3-4 Hawfinches, groups of c.20 Crossbills and the resident Buzzards.
Two independant reports of 4 Hawfinches yesterday which is more encouraging - thank you to John and Tony and Brenda for their reports. Crossbill and Siskin were also seen in the area.
We had a fanstastic turn out yesterday for the Bedgebury Birding Group walk, and lovely weather! The birds were fairly quiet yesterday but we did rack up 27 species. Highlights included one Hawfinch, a few Crossbills (that gave us the run around) and several Siskins.
Good news! Our Visitor Centre feeders are now back, full up with feed and attracting finches, tits and woodpeckers once again.
Lesser spotted Woodpeckers can be heard drumming away at Bedgebury most years. The amount of mature, standing dead wood between Bedgebury and Goudhurst is decent habitat for this species. In March 2012, I was fortunate enough to find a male Lesser spotted Woodpecker sorting out a nest hole and a female that would inspect it from time to time. Sadly, as nesting looked imminent, a pair of Great spotted Woodpeckers proceeded to harrass the pair until they vanished. This was heart-breaking but I feel privileged to have witnessed such behaviour from this rare and elusive bird. I hope they had success elsewhere. Here is the female:
One Hawfinch today. I have failed to find more than one, possibly two, Hawfinch this winter which is not a good sign. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have had any higher counts this winter.
One, possibly two, Hawfinch reported from the usual area yesterday. Woodcock can still be seen flying over the entrance at dusk.
One Hawfinch preening itself on top of a dead tree at 15.30 today. Also, several Common Crossbills in the area too.
Please note: Hawfinch numbers here are diminishing so, to limit disturbance, please be respectful and quiet whlist visiting the roost.
Three Woodcock flew over the car park at dusk.
There have been a few Red-legged Partridge around recently and a lot of bird activity around the Hawfinch roost, but no Hawfinch yet. Over the weekend a Brimstone was seen.
A flock of about 40 Pied Wagtails were circling around the visitor lake at dusk, with more joining them all the time. I am guessing that there is a large roost nearby...
Two Woodcock flushed by a member of the tree team this morning and a Barn Owl was seen by the walled garden two days ago.
Bramling, Fieldfare and Redwing heard today and a small group of Crossbills were seen.
Bryan Bullen, of the KWT, compiled this list of Bedgebury's fungi following his excellent guided walk on the 17th October.
Birds of note over the last couple of days have included a Buzzard, Crossbills, Redwing and the day-hooting Tawny Owl. Some Darters and Hawkers are still active.
Parrot and Two-barred Crossbill have been reported at nearby Hempstead Forest. Quite a few Great Grey Shrikes have also been reported across the country. These are species that may visit Bedgebury over the winter so please report anything that you find. Our Fieldfares, Redwings and Bramblings should also be arriving soon!
For those who follow the blog, it has not been updated due to my birding trip to the Scilly Isles. Below is a collection of some of the birds I managed to photograph during my time there. (From top left to bottom right: Wryneck, Bluethroat, Spotted Crake, Lapland Bunting, Buff Breasted Sandpiper, Jack Snipe, Subalpine Warbler, Red Breasted Flycatcher and Whimbrel). Whilst seeing these rare birds was exciting, catching a gilmpse of a Lesser spotted Woodpecker or Hawfinch at Bedgebury is still a more exhilarating experience. I even missed our resident Nuthatches and Treecreepers!
Over the last week, there have been hundreds of House Martins passing through the Pinetum, favouring the visitor centre lake. There has also been a suspicious looking Phylloscopus warbler in the Willow near the lake. Elsewhere, a group of c.30 Crossbills were seen and a Sparrowhawk chasing a small passerine.
A family party of Firecrests were found in the Pinetum late Sunday evening and decent views of a young Buzzard were had. Crossbills were seen and heard. I also had a report of a large bird of prey with jessies attached, seen in the forest. Apparently, this 'escapee' has been seen before.
A Kingfisher graced the Pinetum early morning.
Crossbill sightings are virtually guaranteed in the Pinetum at the moment. I haven't had the binoculars out to check for any Two-barred yet!
A female Black Arches among the usual Lepidopterans today. There was a notable increase in Crossbill activity too.
Two Clouded Yellows on the dam again and reports of Red-eyed Damselfly elsewhere. A group of 8 Crossbills and a lone Redpoll flew over the carpark late morning.
Still at least one Clouded Yellow on the dam outside of the visitor center today.
One, possibly two, Clouded Yellows C. Croceus flitting about the Knapweed by the Visitor Center lake this morning. Several sad-looking Broad-leaved Helleborine Orchids were found, as was an ovipositing Southern Hawker and a few Ruddy Darters. Crossbills were heard.
Yesterday, my good friend, Will Rawles, photographed this Speckled Bush Cricket in the Pinetum (below).
On the afternoon of January 16th 2011, whilst looking for Hawfinch, Will and I came across this Great Grey Shrike (poor record shot below). It was seen again a month later and is probably a returning bird as there have been sporadic records throughout the years. The habitat here does suit this over-wintering species so, hopefully, this wont be the last record...
Interesting news from one of our wildlife rangers who reported a Barn Owl hunting near to the entrance barriers, a Little Owl near the walled garden and a Tawny Owl in some redwoods. I have had sightings of Barn and Little Owls at many sites but never at Bedgebury. As the Pinetum is a very popular attraction for the public, it may well be that these species are a bit more elusive in the area. I also had my first Emerald Damselflies of the year at Leaky lake today.
A nice surprise this morning when a Kingfisher was seen darting about on the visitor centre lake. Yesterday, a magnificent Brown Hawker was seen on reflection lake and a Brilliant Emerald on Marshal's.
Swallows and House Martins continue to display above the visitor centre lake while the Little Grebes are showing well on the water below. Nearby, close to the boardwalk, a Tree Bumble Bee B. Hypnorum nest has been found in a Redwood. I also heard my first Crossbills of the year in the same area.
Along Park Lane, near to the area office, several White Admirals were found by our recreational manager.
A walk to the Glory Hole today revealed this tatty Silver-washed Fritillary, three Golden-winged Dragonflies and several Brilliant Emeralds among the more common species.
Firecrest activity has virtually ceased but we did locate one. Spotted Flycatcher, Bullfinch and Buzzard were all heard, as was a Raven earlier in the week.
A Kestrel and a Buzzard were spotted near to the car park today (they are both regular breeders in the Pinetum) with Redpolls continuing to make a racket in the same area. Interestingly, a Hedgehog was found near the play area.
Two Spotted Flycatchers were found in Dalimore valley, along with one Firecrest and Bullfinch. Elsewhere, Sparrowhawk, Redpoll and Willow Warbler were seen or heard. An Emperor Dragonfly and lots of young Common Toads were also seen.
As you arrive in the car park, you may hear and see both Redpoll and Pied Wagtail as they are nesting close by. Both birds have distinctive calls so it worth becoming familiar with these. You may also be lucky enough to see a family group of Stoats which have been seen scampering through the car park recently and near to the area office.
As you wander through the Pinetum, you'll now see an array of colour in the form of wildflowers. The unimproved grassland supports a large diversity of flora and orchids such as Heath-spotted, Common-spotted and Twayblade are all out at the moment. This rich grassland supports many invertebrates, including a group pertinent to Bedgebury - Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies). Many species have been seen in the past week, such as Black-tailed Skimmer, Broad-boadied Chaser and the nationally important Brilliant Emerald. I even had Downy Emeralds copulating in front of me 2 days ago, something I have never witnessed before.
Bird life is also obvious and vibrant around the Pinetum and the star species is the beautiful Firecrest. Although one of Europe's smallest birds, this time of year it is given away by its song and as it turns out, there are many males holding territory at Bedgebury! Two other rarities that have been heard in the vicinity are Lesser-spotted Woodpecker and Turtle Dove - both species that are in serious decline. Nightjar and Woodcock are now evident in the forest with the latter doing well in terms of numbers. Sadly, no Tree Pipits have been seen in the forest this year and Spotted Flycatchers are proving very difficult to find. Still, despite it not being 'classic south-east countryside', Bedgebury has to be one of the best places in the high Weald to experience wildlife.