Spotted Flycatchers, Linnets, and Goldfinches

Thursday, August 24th: As I approached the footbridge on the 1066 Path on my return to Sprays Bridge I noticed a bird flying out of the hedgerow, catching an insect then returning to the hedgerow. To my delight it was a Spotted Flycatcher. I was able to get closer to the bird & sometimes I could hear the snap of its bill as it caught an insect.

I then noticed a nondescript little bird sitting on top of a rather leafless Alder tree. At first I did not know what I was looking at. The bird was then joined by a bird with a pink breast so I realised I was looking at a pair of Linnets. All of a sudden these birds were joined by at least a dozen Goldfinches & Linnets. In the next few moments a huge flock of what I guess were a mixed flock of Linnets & Goldfinches flew up from the Knapweed in the field. I counted at least 60 birds.

I was then rewared by the arrival of a small flock of Long-tailed Tits. These delightful little birds are always such fun to watch. To add to my pleasure there were a few Willow Warbler or Chiffchaff in the hedgerow.

I then realised a bird had landed on a dead branch a few feet away from where I was standing. It was the Spotted Flycatcher. I had the most superb view of this bird. Imagine my surprise when it was joined by not one but three other Flycatchers. I was then able to watch the five birds darting out of the hedgerow catching insects. I have not seen Spotted Flycatchers for several years so to see a family was a very special occasion.


2 Little Egrets

27/12/16  I disturbed a pair of small egrets fishing the stream that runs along the 1066 walk at the back of Newcut. They flew up into an oak tree, not at all bothered by my presence.


Thanks Chris, unlike some species it seems Little Egrets are still on the up in our area!

Ralph — Dave


I saw this male Sparrowhawk on Thursday 20th Oct in New Cut. I was cutting a hedge and it perched upon a hedge next to me. It stayed put for about 10 minutes enough time for me to get lots of pictures. Unfortunately I only had my phone camera on me.

Richard summers
(Summers garden services)

I wonder if it could be the same bird that took a Goldfinch in our garden in Church Lane the other day?


Sorry for poor quality photo taken through kitchen window.


Starling stuck!

A starling stuck head first in a fat ball feeder! I managed to get it out o/k and it flew off making a churring noise.

Ron in Greenacres

We’ve never seen that happen before, presumably because the lid’s missing /broken it managed to get in through the top. A warning to others maybe!  Happy ending is nice 🙂

Ralph — Dave

Which woodpecker?

A woodpecker visited our fatball station on Friday 7th 0ctober around 9.30 am. Not sure if greater, lesser or middle spotted although quite large around 7-8 inches in height. It flew off before we could take a photo, sorry.

Cheryl Wright

Thank you Cheryl. This would have been a Great Spotted Woodpecker which regularly visits garden feeders, particularly fatballs, peanuts, and sunflower hearts. Here’s one photographed by Brok Morgan in his Westfield garden back in June this year.


Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers are surprisingly small, as small as sparrows, and have become very scarce everywhere in the UK, and rarely visit gardens. Middle Spotted Woodpeckers are absent from the UK, but can be seen in France and most of Europe.

Ralph — Dave


9/9/16 The photo shows hops growing in the hedgerow near Sprays Bridge.
In the evening my husband & I went for a walk along the Brede River just off the A28. (We believe we were just within Westfield parish boundary). In the beautiful evening sunshine it was very special seeing Swallows & House Martins flying towards Rye, but best of all we saw a Kingfisher. The Kingfisher flew in a straight line over the reeds so we got a wonderful view of this special bird.


Spotted a Wheatear on the fence along our drive this morning near Cottage Lane . Haven’t seen one for ages here. Female I think as brownish plumage but distinctive white rump. Driving so didn’t get it on my phone camera.


Westfield Wildlife does not receive many records of Wheatears in the parish, so this is a notable sighting. Juveniles are also brown like the adult female, including juvenile males.

Early evening walk

I have been going for an early evening walk on the 1066 path from Sprays Bridge towards the A21 in the past week – 15/8 to 18/8. I have noticed how many more birds are in evidence. Some of the highlights have been seeing  Blackcaps feeding on Elderberries,  Blackbirds feeding on Blackberries,  Whitethroat feeding amongst the briars & counting 17  Long-tailed tits fly into a Hawthorn bush.
A juvenile  Bullfinch landed very close to where I was standing. It was joined by two other others. All three remained in a line just looking around. They flew off together. I saw the Bullfinches together on three separate occasions.
Kestrel flew overhead followed by about a dozen Goldfinches The Goldfinches seemed to be harassing the Kestrel.
I have had the occasional glimpse of  Chiffchaff  / Willow Warbler & saw a  Blue Tit chasing one of these birds round & round a dead branch.
There are  House MartinsSwallows around Sprays Bridge. It is such a pleasure to hear their twittering overhead & to see them swooping over the lake.
Finally I had a close encounter with a Fox. It appeared from the undergrowth right in front of me. It made a low growl at me & then made a hissing noise before disappearing.
The photos show a Comma butterfly Silver-Y moth,  a Dark Bush-cricket found on our kitchen floor and a caterpillar of a Cinnabar moth on Ragwort.
20160804_18240620160820_09174220160817_224441 20160806_181616

Out for a walk

Friday June 10th
The Common Spotted Orchids shown in the photos are to the right of the 1066 Path just beyond the first footbridge towards the A21.
There are a number of Broad-leaved Helleborines in the wood beyond the pond on the 1066 Path to Brede. It was while looking at these plants that a brilliant metallic blue Beautiful Demoiselle landed nearby.
 When I arrived home a pair of Painted Lady butterflies were on a Valerian plant.
Saturday June 11th
I wanted to look at the orchids again. Just as I left the footbridge a family of Bullfinches flew low in front of me. There were at least three youngsters.
I noticed two small birds rising into the air apparently having a spat. It was a female Linnet and a Willow Warbler (I think). The Linnet returned to an Alder tree. Through the binoculars I watched the warbler approach the Linnet & then make a lunge at it. They then flew upwards having a tussle. I watched these antics for at least 20 minutes.
A male Reed Bunting was singing sweetly on top of a Hawthorn bush all the time I was watching the Linnet & warbler.
Just as I reached the stile at Sprays Bridge I heard what sounded like the clink of pebbles. I knew this was the alarm call of Blackap. Sure enough there was a male Blackcap in a bush. I waited around & then spotted the female in an Oak tree.

Cuckoo, Willow Warbler etc

3/6/16 At 11.30 this morning, just as I climbed over the stile at Sprays Bridge to walk on the 1066 path towards the A21, I heard a Cuckoo. It sounded as if the bird was calling from the Brede area.

In the sky above Sprays Bridge I was so pleased to see Swifts & Swallows. Sadly I did not see any House Martins. There were also 4 Buzzards. I was aware of a scratchy call behind me & started to watch a pair of Whitethroat. They must have had a nest nearby as they regularly returned with a beak full of winged insects.

I watched a young Magpie being fed on the fence. The young bird looked so different from the adult as the youngster only had a short,stubby tail.

I then got a superb view of a Willow Warbler singing. At long last I can recognise the Willow Warbler’s song.

Just as I reached home there was a noisy squabble going on between a Magpie & Blackbirds. A baby Blackbird, barely able to fly, brushed past me. I could not intervene but I fear the Magpie was raiding the Blackbird’s nest.


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