Hothfield Common - cold, dry, cloudy, sw 2 - Together with CP and MH we headed off the Marsh this morning for a change of scene. Its a good few years since I`ve been to this wonderful site; an old valley heath surrounded by ancient woodland, and surely the Jewel-in-the-Crown of the Kent Wildlife Trust. The weather let us down somewhat though as it wasn't a bright sunny day as forecast, but cooler and more overcast. We`d come for Lesser pecker, which has been reported here this year, and although we failed to locate one the number of resident species noted was quite staggering, such is the lure of a proper old wood with mature trees and lots of fallen timber. At least 20 Great Spots were present in the area we covered including much `drumming`, along with plenty of tits, finches, thrushes, Nuthatches, Treecreepers, Goldcrests, Green Woodpecker and Mistle Thrush, plus singing Yellowhammers on the open bog and heath.
Late morning was spent at a watch point on the North Downs where Buzzards were commonplace with nine on the wing at one point, plus a Red Kite and three Kestrels. Was also good to see several Yellowhammers and at least 20 singing Skylarks on and over nearby arable land.