Thursday, 21 January 2016

With the heaviest frost of the year this morning in east Kent, I called into Nethergong for 20 minutes on my way to work to see if I could find the elusive Woodcock that I hoped would be present somewhere on the site. On arrival it was indeed very frosty and I walked up the northern boundary to the gate where half way up a Snipe species flew up from the stream a few metres ahead of me. It didn’t call as it flew away as I would have suspected a Common Snipe to do but the view was not that good and I watched as for c20 seconds it flew over the fields and then landed in a field. It could well have been a Jack Snipe but on the views I had, this one escaped a confident identification. A quick look at the gate only produced 1 Stonechat and the odd Fieldfare flying over and the frozen lake only held 8 Mute Swan and 2 Mallard. I decided to walk back through and wooded area I could and it wasn’t long until I met the owner Jed who informed me that he had seen a Woodcock earlier as he walked the dogs. This was encouraging so I continued on back through the wooded areas. I soon heard ahead of me the rushing of wings as a Woodcock (71) flew up from cover and landed pretty much straight again. I was able to get some nice views as it sat on the floor staring back at me. As I made my way slowly towards it, it flew off only to disturb another Woodcock nearby. A great result and another bonus bird for the year and the first time I have seen a Woodcock at this site. Hopefully they may hang around as there is some good habitat here but with the weather turning more mild in the next few days, they may move out. A brief stop by after work at 4.30pm looking from the bridge produced 1 Barn Owl, 1 Yellowhammer, 1 Snipe, 4 Fieldfare and 1 ring tail Hen Harrier flew low over the fields towards Grove Ferry. I’m hoping for a visit over the weekend where I may get lucky with a flyover Goose or duck and whoever knows what else may appear!


  1. My 15 hours patch watching a day is obviously not enough Marc, no woodcock for me!

    1. This cold weather obviously delivered a few birds today here. More cold weather could deliver a Bittern or Goosander. Almost a shame that its going to warm up again.