Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Common Buzzards

Old Romney - cold, sunny, ne 2 - With a bone hard frost on the ground it was the perfect morning for a wander along the old green lane behind the church. The trees around the farmhouse were alive with thrushes, finches, tits and two each of Great Spotted Woodpecker and Jay, while the pastures further down the lane attracted hundreds of Fieldfares, Common Gulls and Lapwings, plus a few Curlews, Golden Plovers, Green Woodpeckers and 20 Tree Sparrows feeding around a dung heap. A Little Owl had positioned itself in the crack of an old willow soaking up the weak winter sunshine as a couple of Moorhens slithered across a nearby frozen sewer.

                                Old Romney

                                Sunbathing Little Owl

  When we first moved down here eleven years ago a buzzard was a rare sight: infact, there was almost as much chance of a winter bird being a Roughie as a Common. How times have changed. Today a drive around the Marsh lanes will yield a number of these magnificent raptors, which over the past decade have become the most numerous bird of prey in the country, outstripping the Kestrel. This morning was no different as I noted three Common Buzzards here and another two en-route to Lydd, which is probably one of the contributory factors in the disappearance of partridges locally.

                              Common Buzzard and Fieldfare, Old Romney

Scotney - At least nine Bewick`s Swans were in a field behind the sewage works at Pigwell, plus 20 White-fronts nearby along with a 10 Corn Buntings, two Stonechats, a Grey Wagtail and four flushed Snipe. The front fields at Scotney attracted the usual feral Barnacles and Wigeons plus a scattering of Shelducks, Redshanks, Curlews and a Ruff. A group of Sussex birders who`d walked out back reported 120 Corn Buntings and 30 Tree Sparrows along with more White-fronts.
Dungeness - An afternoon walk along the foreshore by the fishing boats resulted in very little of note in the biting east wind.The two Iceland Gulls were again seen at the Patch along with the drake Eider.


  1. How I envy you those Tree Sparrows, a favourite bird of mine. They finally disappeared from Sheppey and Harty in particular, about 25 years ago. Ironically, ever since then the area that they used to frequent has been constantly improved with thickets, game cover strips and wild flower and grasses strips, probably ideal for the birds but there are none anywhere near here now to re-colonise it.

  2. They`re smart little birds and while we`re fortunate enough to have retained a few colonies down here they aren`t exactly thriving. Several have been lost in recent years and the ones that are holding on do so because they are supplied with food and nest boxes. I fear that once lost re-colonisation is unlikely due to the absence of autumn migrants.