Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Monday 11 April 2016

Patch birding

I am sure that there are many birders who don't share my passion for "patch watching" - each to their own, as long as we are enjoying the birds we see, there can be no right, or wrong, way of doing so. I find myself in the sixteenth year of watching Newland's Farm and still get excited by species which are, at best, very ordinary. The beauty of my situation is that I actually live within the patch, my boundaries are of my own definition and the requirement for any "official" intervention in my records is non-existent.
I've been out, again, this morning and it came as no surprise that there is very little happening. A Chiffchaff has set up (temporary ?) residence at the end of Vine Close and is advertising it's presence by continuous bouts of song. There are two Song Thrushes doing the same - one over in the main farm complex and another over in the gardens of Park Avenue; things are looking up. Still no sign of a Wheatear, or Swallow, as yet but I did manage a little bit of "patch magic" when, yesterday morning provided a flyover Yellowhammer - the first record since autumn 2007. It is amazing how such a simple experience can elevate a day into something special - I was buzzing!

Linnets are now back around the farm, in decent numbers, and I was able to get a half-decent image, of a male perched in the main hedgerow, whilst it's mate was prospecting for a nest site below. An ordinary farm in the middle of Thanet - I live on the eastern edge and work on the western one, what more could I wish for from a patch?

It was always going to happen! Just as I was feeding my birds, prior to leaving for work, the gulls went up and a Red Kite drifted over the garden. I rushed indoors and grabbed my camera, but the bird was already circling over the fields beyond Vine Close, by the time I  got back outside - probably 300m away? I rattled off a series of shots - more in hope than expectation. This is the best I managed and is a very heavy crop.


  1. The best kind of birdwatching in my opinion Dylan but not exciting enough for many people these days I suppose, where they have instant access to rarity news via pagers, etc. But I've been doing the same patch (The Swale NNR) for thirty years this year and it's still all that I need.

    1. I and many of my peers have spent a period of our birding development, fascinated by rarity and the, undeniable, adrenaline rush of "twitching". Strangely, we all seem to have ended up pottering around local patches - much the happier in ourselves. Gone is the youthful drive to succeed - to build lists. My guess is that's par for the course during the aging process? Thirty years is a long time - I hope I'm able to spend that period watching Newland's - assuming it hasn't been turned into a housing estate before then!

  2. ........or a solar panel farm or wind turbines. We already have two solar panel farms on little old Sheppey and two big turbines and currently there is a planning appeal going ahead for another four turbines.