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!


Tuesday 30 November 2021

A December "mini" project

The spark for this idea came from my old mate Ric Francis, via the Blogger comments box. He suggested that the, 1959 split cane, Mk IV's might be better used if matched with my ABU Cardinal 66X's. This got me thinking about what I might do to further enhance my enjoyment of the Pike fishing whilst on the banks of the RMC, yet remaining aware that my targets have already been set. December will prove to be quite a testing month due to a medical issue which has no place for discussion in the Blogger domain. That we, as a family unit, will find a way to deal with any problem is a given. It comes of being a "Wraftie" I guess?

I cannot hide the reality of November being a very disappointing month, Pike wise. I feel that, somehow, I took my eye off the ball and ended up simply going through the motions. Talking it through with Sye and Benno, last Saturday, there were quite a few minor adjustments suggested which were felt might aid my cause moving forward. Silly things like bait size and spacing between the hooks were all talked through and it's always good to hear other anglers views on such mundane matters. I took these ideas home with me and have made some minor adjustments to my set ups accordingly. I did have a session on Monday morning but, Storm Arwen had wreaked havoc with the water clarity in the canal. It being a similar colour to "builder's tea" with visibility less than a couple of inches! I should have gone straight back home?

If I can get anywhere close to such a Pike, using the split canes, then the "mini" project 
will be considered a success.

I'm back down on Thursday, when I will get the split cane "mini project" up and running. My kit consists of two 1959 Mk IV's and a mid-1960's Mk IV Avon, which will all host Mitchell 300's as a starting point. Obviously, I do have the ABU Cardinal 66X's as a fall back, should I feel the need and I might even be tempted to use my Allcock's Match Aerial centrepin at some point during the month. As a realistic target, I'd love to land a fish in excess of 15 lbs using these rods, a twenty would be the icing on the cake. Because there is an element of the unknown involved with using these ancient relics for Pike fishing, I will be steering clear of some of the more snaggy sections of the canal until I've a better idea how they perform. Fish welfare has to be the paramount consideration after all and with that at the forefront of my thoughts I am ditching the back-biters for this project. Just for the duration of this split cane challenge, my Nash Siren R3's will provide my audible indication. They are the most sensitive devices I've ever used and I feel that they will provide me with an additional edge whilst using these very soft rods. I will still use drop arm indicators, but they are loaded and will cause a Siren to sound if they so much as move. Monkeys on angled needles remain as effective as ever when using my regular bait presentations.

Because there is so much happening during the month, be that medical, my sixty-sixth birthday, a social gathering of the Kefalonia Gang or a small celebration known as Christmas, I'm unsure how many sessions I'll be able to fit in? Add in the role played by unsettled weather patterns and it becomes even more challenging to make any definitive plans. Obviously, first things first, I need to get a bait in the water which Pike find attractive enough to produce that, long overdue, bite! 

Monday 29 November 2021

November scores on the doors

It has been an exceptional month which started like a tidal surge, yet ended with barely a ripple. I can offer no end of excuses as to why I've struggled for bites since the second week of November but, if I had worked even harder, it might have been different? The erratic weather patterns certainly played a part in the results I achieved, yet I'm convinced that there were Pike to be caught if I could find them - I couldn't! I remain superbly confident in my rigs, baits and presentations as they are the best I can produce. I'm absolutely sure that no-one else is offering these Pike anything similar? To be fair, I've only seen five other anglers on the RMC, all month, which has to be a direct consequence of me not fishing during the weekends. Fourteen sessions, eleven on the canal, during November have resulted in just six Pike on the unhooking mat. Using the same format as the October post, these are my current stats 

Target No 1 - three "twenties" - one landed = 33.3%

Target No 2 - twenty "doubles" - seven landed = 35% 

Target No 3 - one hundred Pike - eighteen landed = 18%

Just to make it clear. The doubles total doesn't include "twenties" thus I'm actually hoping for twenty three Pike in excess of 10 lbs in order to achieve these targets! Just to spice things up a bit I've decided to add the split canes into the mix. I've only one, accidental, double caught on these iconic rods. I'd like to land a Pike in excess of 15 lbs, using these historic artefacts, before the 14th March 2022. I'll finish this offering with a rather sobering fact. On 3rd December 2021, I caught a superb brace of RMC Pike (22 lbs 6 oz & 19 lbs 5 oz) which constituted my seventh & eighth doubles for that season. I was in full time employment and working flat out! It's a day before the month's end, I no longer have to worry about work, yet am no better off, pike wise, than last year. Time to pull my finger out?

Sunday 28 November 2021

Woe is me

Since my last post, it's been a struggle to get any enthusiasm for writing about my angling experiences. Even though our "social" went ahead, on Saturday, the effects of Storm Arwen certainly ensured we had to be content with a single Pike, which fell to Benno's rods, as our reward for the massive effort involved in getting to the venue. As Benno and I drove over Ditchling Beacon, early doors, snow was laying on the road which is incredible for Kent in November. Sye did have an occurrence on a Dyson-rig presentation, but it came to nothing and that about sums up our session. It was the first time that all three of us had fished together since Kilchurn Bay, April 2018, so it was always going to be a good laugh as we reminisced about past sessions and successes. We also had chance to bounce ideas off each other; Sye being one of the best "thinking anglers" I've ever been lucky enough to encounter. 

So now back to the RMC sessions of the previous week. Hard going would be an understatement. Man, I really struggled to locate the Pike in the section of the canal I'd targeted. Thursday morning was to provide the real kick in the guts when I lost a "big ?" Pike after a decent battle. I was using a big bait (6-8 oz) and a heavy (4 oz) lead. The lead choice being a direct result of watching some brilliant Youtube footage posted by Steve Pitts. Talking through my methodology we all agreed that a couple of tweaks might be useful in assisting my efforts moving forward. I remain convinced that the lost fish was a direct result of using an excessively heavy lead. My set up being incapable of setting the hooks whilst attempting to do so via a plugged lead?  I am sure that my hooks are as sharp as it possible to present, thus, fully confident that once set, they'll not let me down. 

This is where it all goes "tits up" as I'm not about to share whatever methodology that will now be used, purely because my angling is not about anything other than my enjoyment. The last thing I want to do is encourage inexperienced Pike anglers to attempt to try something which might be an absolute disaster in reality. As an "old'n" I'd like to think that I've the experience to deal with whatever deep hooked situation I might encounter. Carp faggot/converts won't have the first idea of how to deal with deep hooked pike, so whatever I'm attempting, they'll not have learned anything from my blogging? 

Reading back over that last section, what do I think I'm doing? My current presentation is not designed to deliberately "deep hook" any Pike which pick up my baits. However, if an inexperienced angler, without the bite indication technology I have at my disposal, were to attempt to copy my methods then dead fish would almost certainly be a direct result! If you want to catch Pike then join the PAC - end of!

Whilst the banter was being exchanged, on the banks of this very ordinary reservoir, a guy turned up to investigate where the aroma of "bacon sandwiches" was coming from? It turned out that he was a local "carp faggot" who blamed "Carl & Alex" for his inability to catch the fish which they'd publicised in their "Reservoir Diaries 3"  What the f*ck? It's a piss hole in the snow by comparison to the Scottish Lochs and/or the "barrages" of mainland Europe. I did what was needed to placate this moron and he returned to his own swim without me needing to engage in meaningful conversation - dumb C*NT!!! I am a subscriber to the Carl & Alex Youtube channel and have nothing but admiration for what they're attempting to do. Doesn't mean that I agree with keeping Koi as pets or want to start collecting mushrooms, but am fully supportive of their efforts to promote angling beyond that of the established boundaries.

So back to what's happening today! I'm down to the RMC in the morning with a score to settle? I know exactly where I need to place a bait and have decided to add a bit of spice to the challenge by incorporating a 1959 B James & Son "Dick Walker" Mk IV split cane into the equation. I've only taken one double Pike using these rods, I'd like a "twenty". Is it possible? Only by casting a bait will I ever discover the answer to that question. Split cane and Mitchell 300's - does it get any better? 

Monday 22 November 2021

Small tweaks

A new week and another three sessions on the RMC to go, prior to our Pike fishing social this coming Saturday. Confident that the canal will produce many more Pike, to my rods, before I finish this challenge on 14th March 2022, I need to have a serious think about what I must adapt in order to give myself a chance at the massive still-water venue that we'll be tackling. With this huge reservoir being an obvious deviation from the normal, intimate, venues I now target, there is a requirement for a few rig tweaks, thus bait presentation options. I've ditched the centrepins for this coming week, wanting to concentrate on the use of fixed spool techniques. Bite indication, as always, involves the use of electronic alarms of two designs. Back-biters and front-runner systems, used in conjunction with monkeys on angled needles, are my go to methods. Both have stood me in great stead ever since my decision to only use dead baits, way back in the mid 1980's. Assuming the water levels are favourable, we are hoping to use the bait boat technology that we have at our disposal. None of this silly "hopper" type design, that is perfectly suited to the carp angling requirements and, therefore, priced accordingly. Our boats are hand made, at a fraction of the price, by my brother Sye, specifically for the purpose of getting a rig into position using "Deeper Pro" and GPS technology with whatever bait (type & size) presentation we choose to deploy? Available commercially? Dream on! They are based upon a prototype that we first used up on Loch Awe in 2014. The huge advances in technology have since allowed Sye to refine the feature finding and accurate repeat positioning capabilities, of the later versions, to give us the best chance possible in these "one off" situations. 

One of Sye's very early versions - the fish/feature finder mounted on the 
outside of the hull. Not anymore they ain't!

All I have to do is ensure that whatever bait presentation I use is the very best that my kit is capable of. My baits will be pre-prepared with whatever flavours and colours I feel will ensure I'm offering the Pike something different than they're used to. My buoyancy aids are already assembled, in various guises, thus giving me even more flexibility with my final presentations. I'm sure this all sounds very pretentious to those, non-angling, visitors to my blog. There's only one way of discovering whether, or not, my thought processes are correct and that is by putting my baits into the water and seeing what happens? If my result on the RMC, this morning, is an indicator, then I've a long way to go yet! My fourth blank on the spin, if I ignore the Eels - and I certainly can. Next trip out is Wednesday and I'm off to explore an area which I've not visited since 2019. 

In the mid-80's John Foster was R/O of the Fenland PAC group. We crossed swords on many occasions but became mates because of our shared interest in the Zander which inhabited his part of the UK. Always thinking outside the box, John had some fairly radical ideas about the fish populations that inhabited the Fenland drains. One concept which has stayed with me is that of the "three-sided Fenland lake". John was convinced that any structure, be that a road bridge or sluice, which crossed any waterway was capable of producing the effect of a "bay", thus the three-sided effect. I know it's a long shot, but I'm now using this theory in my own exploration of the RMC. Our past results at Seabrook, Gigger's Green and Iden Lock would certainly do little to discount John's hypothesis. I would like to think that "an open mind" is the best way forward? Oh, and a Pike in the landing net might help!

Saturday 20 November 2021

Slow progress

Twenty days into November and my nine sessions after Pike have yielded just five fish. However, the recent Canterbury & Thanet PAC meeting allowed me to establish that I am doing rather well in comparison to the majority of other members, so I'll cope with that. The RMC has reverted to type and, once again, I am struggling to locate my quarry. Not all doom & gloom as, on Wednesday, I was able to spend a good hour, or so, chatting with Ian Roberts about many aspects of natural history whilst enjoying a cuppa on the banks of the canal. Thursday was to produce my only fish of the week, with a small jack from the flatlands but, once again, it was the chance to chew the fat with Neil Davies which provided the bulk of the enjoyment. I was also able to exchange a few words with another guy, out birding, who came from Deal and that was nice. Whilst out on the flatlands I managed to record my first "ring-tailed" Hen Harrier (an imm male) of the Autumn, plus also added Lesser Redpoll to my list for the season.

The garden moth trap continues to produce the goods, although variety is rather restricted. Silver Y, Angle Shades, Lesser Yellow Underwing and Diamond-backs have been recorded on several nights. Rusty-dot Pearl and Light Brown Apple Moth (20+ some nights) are nightly visitors whilst I've managed a couple more Oak Rustics and, last night, added Cypress Carpet (2) to my garden list, which was a surprise. Palpita vitrealis  (Olive-tree Pearl) is also being seen regularly, although only once have I managed to record a pair!

Not back out with the rods until after the weekend, although the real highlight will be next Saturday (27th) when Benno, Sye, myself and a bunch of our angling mates rendezvous at a large still-water for the annual Pike Fishing Social. Something we weren't able to do last year for obvious reasons.

Sunday 14 November 2021

This is getting silly

 Having written in my previous post that new species, for me, were very unlikely to occur in the garden. I only had two macros in the trap, this morning, and what do you know. Yep! Another "lifer" in the form of a Radford's Flame Shoulder. I'd mis-id'd the other individual as "The Sprawler" but, fortunately spotted my error before posting the news. Once again I am indebted to Ian Roberts (Folkestone Birds) for sorting out the issue with a speedy email exchange. The moth is actually a Blair's Shoulder-knot, a species that I should have been able to id. 

Radford's Flame Shoulder

Micros have been rather restricted with just a couple of Diamond Backs and a smart little Monopis obviella (Yellow-backed Clothes Moth) The forecast remains mild, yet the wind direction is shifting to a more North & Easterly pattern, thus I would expect my little purple patch to come to an abrupt end? However, just to see if lightning might strike twice. I'll never catch a "thirty" from the Royal Military Canal and I'm back down there in the morning!

Yellow-backed Clothes Moth

Saturday 13 November 2021

Not a bad start?

I've now run the 125w MV moth trap for three nights in the back garden. Already things are looking very promising with a few unexpected visitors appearing on the egg boxes. Two macros stand out, thus far. A Delicate was a very pleasant surprise, an Oak Rustic was even more so. It's a new species for me and there aren't too many of those likely to turn up in our Dumpton garden?

I'm very grateful for the input of Ian Roberts (Folkestone Birds)
who confirmed my id.

Another couple of Rusty-dot Pearls and two micros which need further study about sums up the catch report. So long as it remains mild, I will continue to run the light. Happy days - well nights actually!

Thursday 11 November 2021

Let's get the party started

 It's Armistice Day and at 11.00 hrs, on the banks of the RMC, my Poppy proudly on display, I took a minute to reflect upon the heroic acts and sacrifices that others have made to ensure my freedoms. "Lest we forget" - Amen to that! That's the "Wraftie" bit out of the way - what's been happening?

Well, if I'm totally honest, not a lot. I blanked yesterday, not a single bleep from the indicators, although a Noctule Bat was a most unexpected sighting. Back down this morning and another encounter, although this time I had the Magenta 5 detector with me and was treated to a spectacular audio fest as the bat hunted directly above my position for a good five minutes. Fishing was a struggle but, eventually, I did manage to tempt a Pike - No.16 for the season. A clean little jack of 8 lbs took a fancy to a "popped-up" Mackerel, but that was it. It's incredibly mild for the time of year, 16 C yesterday, and not falling below double figures at night. What's a guy supposed to do? Run a moth trap of course! 

I'd switched it off at 04.40 hrs, prior to me departing towards the RMC, and had already potted a Udea ferrugalis (Rusty Dot Pearl) before I left. On my return, some eight hours later, I was delighted to discover two Palpita vitrealis (they used to be "unionalis" when I first started trapping) Olive Tree Pearls, a Setaceous Hebrew Character, an Angleshades, two November Moths and several Light Brown Apple Moths. Funnily enough, I've got it back in action tonight.

Tuesday 9 November 2021

New toys

 It was way back, in late 1993, when I first stumbled across the dark art that is moth trapping! It was at Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory, which is not SBBOT!. Back then it was still a hub of ornithological activity and not the money motivated, pitiful, excuse that it has now become. Andy Johnson, Paul. A.  Brown, Tim Bagworth and, the late, great, Tony Harman were central to the moth recording at the "Obs" during this era. In 1994, Benno needed a project for the school summer break. Because of the impact that the "hands on" moth trapping experience at SBBO  had exerted, we decided to build and run a moth trap in our tiny garden in the village of Ash, just outside of Sandwich. It was one of those pivotal moments? I have to admit that since the passing of my father, August 2016, that I've rather lost interest. I think Gavin Haig refers to it as "phasing" which is exactly what I feel has happened. However, just recently I've gotten hold of two 125w Robinson MV moth traps and am really looking forward to using them. Obviously November isn't the best time to embark upon such an adventure, so I'm happy to wait for Spring. The important thing is that I do have these items available. Retirement and unlimited time? What a combination. Just as I recognise that my bird call recognition has been been "dulled" by the lapse in involvement, so will discover how much my (macro) moth id skills have been impaired by the lay off? Surely it has to better that I look, and don't know, than not look at all?

Monday 8 November 2021

Matt Hayes "Limited Edition" centrepins!

 It must have been way back in 2013 when Dragon Carp had a store in Ramsgate. A temple to cheap, and cheerful, Chinese produced, crap fishing kit? Certainly the Carp Kinetic brand label was akin to "Satanic worship" such was the mentality within carp anglers of the period. The enterprise was part of Mike Ashley's  "Sports Direct" empire and, as such, could wield amazing influence in the market place. Just as Mick Brown had sold his soul to Shimano, Matt Hayes did so with the CK brand label. Yet another demonstration of the power of money over personal ethics.  So this is my starting pitch. Matt Hayes had allowed his name to be scribed on a centrepin reel which, to all intents and purposes, was manufactured by folk who had not the first idea what the finished item was to be used for? In this instance, the engineering wasn't too shabby, it was the assembly of the assorted components which caused the issues. I purchased three of these items, feeling sure I had enough confidence to tweak them into shape, and so it proved. They are actually true centrepins, not some look alike ball bearing type reel, and reminded me, very much, of the old Grice & Young "Big Piker"

There were three major issues with the reels, as they came off the shelf. One; the ratchet system was ridiculously tight. Two, the rotating drum (the spool?) was prone to be warped and three, the central screw, on the drum, hadn't been properly positioned. The ratchet was easy to rectify, simply by bending the sprung metal bar which applied pressure to the "clicker" thus reducing the force on this mechanism. The warped drum could be properly aligned by adjusting some, or all of, the six spokes on the outer face, whilst the fine adjustment of the central screw ensured that all three of my examples are now as free spinning as any Allcock's Match Aerial I'd ever used. 

Having ironed out these problems I admit that I've grown rather fond of these Chinese reels. Under no circumstances do they come close to the build quality of the more traditional versions yet, they've performed admirably for me in many situations. My PB Barbel, that 24 lbs 10 oz Loch Awe Pike and several nice "wild" Carp have been landed using these reels and to be fair, because they are not top notch kit, I tend to rather abuse them. My "Match Aerials", both Allcocks & Fred Crouch versions, are handled with kid gloves by comparison to the treatment these reels are subjected to. So there you have it, my personal assessment of these cheap reels. Obviously, you pay your money and make your choice. That there will be other anglers who disagree with my opinions isn't an issue. I'm happy to use them, so nothing else really matters?

Back out this morning for another session on the RMC and yet another "double" on the centrepin set-up. A fairly non-descript fish, of 14 lbs 12 oz, was landed within an hour of me getting the rods out. It was the only action I experienced, although I'm certainly not complaining. Cracking morning, weather wise, plus I had a nice chat with a couple of the regular dog walkers who visit this section of the canal. 

Finally, I got another addition for the BWKm0 list, on Saturday morning.

BWKm0 - No. 72 - Shelduck - five flew north over the garden, early doors, whilst I was struggling to spot what had sent the local Herring Gulls into meltdown! This is the first garden and patch record of this species, so very much appreciated.

Friday 5 November 2021


I had started to prepare a blog entry about the Matt Hayes "Limited Edition" centrepin but, because of what I've witnessed today, it will have to wait. Bev and I have spent a very lazy day at home, with just a brief excursion to deliver some paperwork to my Pensions Adviser. I was in the garden early doors and it was very clear that there had been an arrival of Blackbirds. There were also a few Redwings about so I took a quick stroll around the Newlands farm land to see what I could find. Zilch would be a great summary until I reached the "Old Rose Garden" and almost trod on a Woodcock! Bloody hell, it made me jump. There were a small number of Redwings feeding on the various berry sources, but they weren't prepared to pose for the camera. I continued on my circuit only to flush a Snipe from the edge of the cauliflower field beside the main footpath. Absolutely crazy as a dog walker had passed the same spot just minutes before.

Common Snipe flushed from the field margin

I got back home and spent the majority of the time in the garden. What I was to witness absolutely blew me away. There was a steady movement of thrushes passing over the Newlands farmland but, the fact that Blackbirds were the main participant certainly isn't something I've seen previously. I spent nearly four hours watching the sky to the North and East of my position (purely because the angle of the sun meant I couldn't look towards the South and West) My totals are as follows:-

Blackbird - 331 mainly west (several groups of 20+ biggest one being 37 strong!)

Redwing - 193 west

Fieldfare - 5 west

Song Thrush - one heard calling, somewhere to the south, but unseen

Starling - 83 west

Sky Lark - 2 west

Common Buzzard - 3 south, 1 north

I've been exceptionally fortunate, over the years, to have witnessed avian migration at many locations. Sometimes the number of individuals involved is mind numbing, however, never before have I seen Blackbirds moving on this scale. To do so from my own back garden made it very special indeed. I had the camera kit to hand, although seeing what modern technology is capable of delivering, I do wonder why I bother sometimes?

A Matt Hayes centrepin review, yes that's what I need to do - sod the inferior camera work!

Thursday 4 November 2021

Highly enjoyable session

My third Pike session of November saw me back down on the RMC, continuing to explore the section where I'd landed the brace of "eighteen pounders" last week. I was on my way just after 04.30 hrs and had all three rods fishing by 06.30 hrs. At 07.00 hrs I dropped a fish, failing to get a tight line, thus concluding it was a small Pike. Still, I wasn't best pleased as it was the first bite of November. I'd leapfrogged all three rods by 07.40 hrs and at 08.00 hrs the alarm on my left hand set up signalled a take. This time around there was no issue with the hook up. I had chosen to use two centrepin set-ups and this fish was now firmly attached to my line, thus, via the sumptuous action of a Duncan Kay carp rod and a Matt Hayes "limited edition No. 54" centrepin I was at enjoyment central. A powerful fish and very dogged fight was experienced, although there were no real issues to deal with as the Pike powered up and down the central channel. I could see it was a good fish, when it swirled on the canal surface. As I drew it over the net chord I knew I'd got something special! The same old fannying about, as I needed to get the weigh sling and retainer well soaked before I lifted the fish from the water. Once on the unhooking mat I was sure I'd got it. The scale revealing my prize to weigh in at 20 lbs 13 oz - jobs a good'n. I rested the fish in my retaining sling, hoping that one of the regular dog walkers would appear. They did and I'm eternally grateful for their assistance in getting my trophy shots.

20 lbs 13 oz of centrepin fun

I'd moved the rods twice more, knowing that I had to be away by 11.00 hrs. It was at 09.55 hrs when my right hand alarm signalled bite number three! Another centrepin battle ensued, but this time I was attached to a fish which wouldn't have been out of place on a Scottish Loch. It went mental and I was a quivering wreck by the time I managed to get it into the landing net. 16 lbs 12 oz of RMC fun. Selfies this time round and it was time for the slow pack down. Back at the van for 11.00 hrs, I drove home feeling like I'd achieved something special. If I hadn't experienced the two previous blanks, I'm sure that my campaign wouldn't be so much of a challenge? Just as in real life, you need to experience the lows to appreciate the highs!

They'll do for selfies - really glad that the "twenty" got better images.

No plans for any further sessions this week, I'll be keeping an eye on the weather in the hope of getting back down there early next week. I've still got about three quarters of a mile to explore before I can say I've given it a fair shot. If things continue as they are, I might have to revise my targets?

Wednesday 3 November 2021

Just looking

We're three days into November and I've already had two sessions in pursuit of Esox lucius, but have added absolutely nothing to my campaign tally. The RMC session, on Monday, was a very sorry affair. I'd decided to visit the Seabrook area, just east of the Hythe Imperial Hotel GC. What a waste of effort? The canal is a sad shadow of its' previous best. I haven't Pike fished here since 2014, but couldn't have believed the complete lack of (fishery) management which I was to be confronted with. A decent morning watching the avian activity (a late Swallow being the highlight) was very helpful, as it softened the disappointment, but I certainly won't be in a hurry to return to this section. A very short session at the syndicate, yesterday, was equally uneventful. 

Always worth a look wherever I see them. This one was beside the RMC

I spent this morning out in the garden prior to getting a few jobs done around the bungalow (successfully I'm happy to say) Vis mig was interesting, although hectic isn't a word that could be used today. I was outside from 07.40  - 10.50 hrs and recorded the following:-

Starling - 1450 all west

Redwing - 130 west

Chaffinch - 100+ in dribs and drabs

Siskin - my first garden record this Autumn

Other bits included a 1st winter Lesser Black-back, an adult Common Gull and a trickle of Black-headed Gulls. All very strange?  So, once again, it is the nocturnal activity around the hedgehog feeding station which has provided the bulk of my wildlife fixes. We've only experienced one, very light, frosty morning thus far here on Thanet and the local hedgehogs are still very active. I'm seeing up to four individuals, at one time, coming to the garden to partake in their nightly banquet. Nothing in the short to medium range forecasts suggests that this activity will cease? 

They will keep me entertained for a good while yet, I'm sure.