Monday, 10 December 2018

Most of this morning was taken up with WEBs count on the reserve, which was very pleasant though problematic at times looking directly into the low sun. I didn't find anything of particular note though a Kingfisher at Makepiece was nice, less so the 1,328 Cormorants present.
Late morning I joined MH on a trip to Shirley Moor, Appledore, to look for the Great Grey Shrike that has been seen there, needless to say we failed, but I did see quite remarkably my first Yellowhamers of the Year in the UK.
Sunset over Burrowes from Makepiece Hide
This afternoon 3 Cattle Egrets were in a Horse Paddock by the main Dungeness Road, while on Cook's Pool a great White and Little Egret.
The late afternoon Gull roost was a non event, like the last couple of days with less than 150 Gulls coming in before dark.
Yesterday afternoon while staring out to see from the fishing boats I could see 100s of Gannets , Auks and Kittiwakes moving SW several miles out, I thought to myself it would be a good sea watch at Cap Gris-Nez or Le Clipon both sites just across the channel. Below are the sea watch numbers for both sites yesterday, all I can say is WOW!

Friday, 7 December 2018

More Sea Watching!

A thoroughly miserable morning with gales and heavy rain by mid morning.
08.30-10.30 from the fishing boats with DW, AJG, PH, LH.
Red-throated Diver: 1W   1 around
Great-crested Grebe: 3W
Gannet: 784W
Cormorant: c1,500 W
Turnstone: 6 around
Kittiwake: 4W
Guillemot: 282W
Razorbill: 54W
Auk sp: 103W

Early afternoon the weather cleared, at the fishing boats it was more or less a continuation of this morning but much slower except for the Red-throated Divers.
13.00-14.30 from the fishing boats with MH, DW, PH & LH.
Teal: 2W
Red-throated Diver: 109W
Great-crested Grebe: 11 around
Gannet: 388W
Cormorant: present n/c
Oystercatcher: 1E
Great Skua: 1W
Kittiwake: 57W
Guillemot: 33W
Razorbill: 5W
Auk sp: 22W
The details from yesterdays colour ringed Caspian Gull
Late afternoon on the reserve a 2w Caspian Gull, 2 adult and a 3w Yellow-legged Gull came into roost.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Another Entertaining Sea Watch!

1w Caspian Gull
Not quite as exciting as yesterday but still loads of birds and a very enjoyable sea watch.
08.00-12.00 from the fishing boats with DW, RO, DS & OL
Common Scoter: 4W
Red-breasted Merganser: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 273W     9E   3 on sea
Great-crested Grebe: 43 around
Gannet: 772W
Cormorant: 1,500+ around
Dunlin: 1W
Turnstone: 17 around
Great skua: 1E
Mediterranean Gull: 3 around
Kittiwake: 122W
Caspian Gull: 1 (Polish ringed 1w bird)
Guillemot: 718W
Razorbill: 281W
Auk sp: 925W
Harbour Porpoise: 1 around
Grey Seal : 1 around
Common Porpoise: 1 Around
Feeding Gannets just offshore
Adult Mediterranean Gull
Cattle Egret at Boulderwall
This afternoon the Cattle Egret was still by Cooks Pool along with a Great White Egret. At least 2 Bewick Swans were viewable distantly from Cockles Bridge.
Nearby at Lade the Hume's Leaf Warbler and Red-necked grebe were still present today per PT.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Auks Galore!

It is a Puffin!
Around 09.30 the weather was beginning to clear up and I was getting ready to go out when I got a call from Richard telling me a Black Guillemot was just offshore from the fishing boats, I arrived shortly after but it had flown off West. Grrrr! All was not lost, as I set up my scope a superb adult male Long-tailed Duck flew West along with good numbers of Auks, we were soon joined by DW and MH and were treated to one of the most entertaining sea watches I have had at Dungeness including 7 Puffins which was a Dungeness tick for me.
10.0-15.00 from the fishing boats with RW, MH & DW:
Brent Goose: 4E    7W
Gadwall: 2W
Teal: 6W
Wigeon: 4W
Common Scoter: 4E    3W
Velvet Scoter: 2W
Long-tailed Duck: 1W (adult winter plumage male)
Red-breasted Merganser: 3W
Goosander: 8W
Red-throated Diver: 34W    4E    4 around
Black-throated Diver: 1 around
Great Northern Diver: 1 around
Great-crested Grebe: 79 around
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 587W
Cormorant: 1,000+ around
Grey Plover: 1W
Oystercatcher: 2W
Turnstone: 10 on beach
Grey Phalarope: 1W 
Little Gull: 1W (1w bird)
Kittiwake: 346W
Mediterranean Gull: 2 around
Yellow-legged Gull: 2 around (1w + 2w)
Caspian Gull: 2 around (2 x 1w)?
Sandwich Tern: 1W
Puffin: 7W
Black Guillemot: 1W (RW only)
Guillemot: 673W
Razorbill: 168W
Auk sp: 266W
Harbour Porpoise: 1
Common Seal: 1
1w Caspian Gull (may have some Yellow-leg genes in it)
 Velvet Scoters
Late Sandwich Tern

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

An Excellent Day!

As it was such a beautiful bright still winters morning with a touch of frost, instead of going down to the beach I went straight to Scotney GP. As soon as I parked I heard the familiar call of a Green Sandpiper which flew across the main lake to join another on the far bank. While watching them another familiar call of 4 Greater White-fronted Geese as they whiffled down to join a grazing flock of c100 Greylag Geese on the far bank, scanning through these I picked out 2 Pink-footed Geese among them, on the sward the flock of c180 Barnacle Geese were grazing with several 100s each of Lapwing and Golden Plover also 2 Ruff and 6 Curlew among them and I hadn't moved away from the car yet. I scanned the main lake looking for Grebes and Divers and not surprisingly found none and only a few Tufted Duck. It seems to me that ever since Brett's have been pumping water from their new excavations into the Sussex end of the main lake Grebe and Diver numbers have diminished, possibly clouding the lake or worse polluting it, I doubt we'll ever know. On the eastern lake a resting flock of Pochard, a Goldeneye and many Coot.
As I approached Scotney Farm a Pied Wagtail begged me to take its picture, several Tree Sparrows were feeding with Chaffinches on the edge of the road and around the farm machinery, a Black Redstart was fly catching from the fence line and the Little Owl was on the pallets. Interestingly I counted 18 Great-crested and 4 Little Grebes on the back eastern lake with at least 10 Cormorants feeding on it.
 1 of c12 Tree sparrows around the farm
 Black Redstart at the farm
 Common Buzzard eyeing up the Wigeon flock
By the western back lake a large flock of Wigeon were feeding on the lush grass with more Greylag Geese and Egyptian Geese, around the edges dozens of Shoveler with a few Shelduck, the Wigeon were spooked by a low flying Sparrowhawk. In the distance 1,000s of Golden Plover and Lapwing were being spooked by at least 1 Peregrine, 2 Marsh Harriers and another Common Buzzard. At the Sussex end of the back lakes the 2 Whooper Swans were with Mute Swans and another 6 Greater White-fronted Geese flew over towards the main lake.
Late morning I went back to Lade for another view of the Hume's Leaf Warbler which gave me some nice views as it foraged in the Sallows in the company of at least 2 Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests, Blue and Great Tits, but once again I failed dismally to photograph it, though I didn't put to much time and effort into it, the Red-necked Grebe was still present but in the middle of the lake when I saw it.
Grey Heron feeding on worms in a flooded field at Dengemarsh this afternoon
Having a very late lunch at home I managed to pick out 4 Bewick Swans and 2 Barnacle Geese from the garden, also very distant views of the 2 Cattle Egrets.
Late afternoon I joined OL at Galloways, seeing a Stonechat and a couple of Snipe, then we walked out on the ranges to look for Harriers. As the light faded 3 Barn Owls and a Short-eared Owl were seen, then a male Hen Harrier was spotted and presumably roosted, also a Merlin and Common Buzzard were seen. A excellent end to a superb day. 

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Hume's Leaf Warbler!

 Hume's Leaf Warbler just about visible!
A call from Dave Scott alerted me to a probable Hume's Leaf Warbler at Lade, in the short time it took me to get there it was a definite. I only heard it call twice and had reasonable binocular views in the few minutes it was viewable, photographically it was challenging as the above image was the best I managed. The Red-necked Grebe just around the corner from the Warbler was more obliging.  
 Red-necked Grebe Lade North Pit

A late Common Darter at Lade
From reports I have heard it seems that a few more Bewick Swans have arrived in the last couple of days including a family party with 2 young. The 2 Whooper Swans were also reported as still being present, though it looks like Tuesday will be the first time the weather will be calm enough for me to go out the back of Scotney.
Late afternoon on the reserve 4 Caspian Gulls came into the roost, an adult, a 2w and 2 x 1w also at least 1 adult Yellow-legged Gull. 8 Goosander came in 7 female with a drake per Pete Burness.

Yellow colour ring number Y:701 seen at Dungeness on 30th November 2018
BTO ring number GV42671
Species Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
Age when rung BTO code 7
Ringing Site, Harewood Whin, York (53.960 -1.177)
Date of ringing 7th October 2016

Friday, 30 November 2018

A much brighter day but very quiet avian wise.
8.00-09.30 from the fishing boats with DW:
Grey Goose sp: 44S (I thought probably Pink-footed Geese)
Eider: 1W
Common Scoter: 2W
Great Northern Diver: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 37W    5E     2on
Great-crested Grebe: 52 around
Gannet: 56W
Merlin: 1 around
Cormorant: 57W
Oystercatcher: 1W
Mediterranean Gull: 1W   1E
Kittiwake: 1W
Guillemot: 3W.  1E  2on
Auk sp: 8W
Skylark: 1 out
Harbour Porpoise: 1
Grey Seal: 2
Common Seal: 2
After getting some domestic stuff done I went back to the fishing boats early afternoon but very little was seen.
adult and a 2w Caspian Gull 
On the reserve late afternoon with DW et al at least 6 Caspian Gulls came in, 1 x 1w, 3 x 2w, 1 x 3w & a fine looking adult.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Sheltering at the Fishing Boats!

 1w Caspian Gull in roost behind the fishing boats late morning
Another mild day with constant strong SW winds with intermittent drizzle.
08.20-11.00 from the fishing boats with NF & DW
Mallard: 1W
Common Scoter: 38W
Velvet Scoter: 6W seen by NF just before I arrived.
Red-breasted Merganser: 5W
Red-throated Diver: 1E   3W   2 on
Great-crested Grebe: 34W
Fulmar: 5W
Gannet: 287W
Cormorant: 688W
Oystercatcher: 1W
Caspian Gull: 1 x1w flew past the fishing boats. Probably the above bird.
Kittiwake: 521W
Guillemot: 3W
Razorbill: 10W
Auk sp: 8W
Grey Seal: 2
Common Seal: 2
 The Cattle Egret at Boulderwall getting a little colour on its forehead & being very showy today.
 From Cockles Bridge 5 Bewick Swans and 5 Greater White-fronted Geese per NF
3w Caspian Gull behind the fishing boats this afternoon.
14.10-15.10 from the the fishing boats:
Red-breasted Merganser: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 2W
Great-crested Grebe: 16W
Gannet: 26W
Cormorant: 182W
Caspian Gull: 1 x 3w on beach behind boats
Kittiwake: 26W
Guillemot: 1w
Auk sp: 4W
 3w Caspian Gull

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Dull,Damp & Windy!

 Eider past the fishing boats this morning
 09.15-10.15 from the fishing boats:
Eider: 6W     1E
Red-throated Diver: 14W     4 on
Great-crested Grebe:  24 around
Gannet: 138W   17E
Kittiwake: 24W   6 on
Guillemot: 10W   4 on
Razorbill: 4W   1 on
Auk sp: 12W
Grey Seal: 1
 Red-throated divers past the fishing boats this morning
 1w Yellow-legged Gull at the fishing boats this afternoon
13.00-13.30. from the fishing boats:
Red-throated Diver: 2W
Gannet: 21W
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 x1w around
Kittiwake: 61W
Guillemot: 5W
Auk sp: 4W
Pied Wagtail: 2 around
The lone Cattle Egret still at Boulderwall this afternoon
1,000s of Gulls came into roost on Burrowes this afternoon unfortunately not until after 15.30 by which time viewing them was difficult in the Dull conditions. I did manage to find a single 1w Caspian Gull and 2 more Yellow-legged Gulls but must surely have missed a few more in the darkness. Before the Gulls came in a huge Saker or possibly hybrid flew across Burrowes and headed off towards Galloways.


As it was very foggy early morning I tidied up the garden, while doing so a party of 12 Fieldfare flew low north, unseen Redwings were overhead as were the local feral Geese, 11 Goldfinches were on the Sunflower feeder until a Sparrowhawk glided out of the gloom alarming unseen Blackbirds. 
 1 of 4 Bewick Swans on the ARC
As the fog cleared I made my way to the ARC where from Hanson the 4 Bewick Swans were still roosting, 2 Great White Egrets could be seen, a Water rail ran around in front of the hide avoiding all my efforts to photograph it, a Cetti's Warbler gave me eye ball to eye ball views, on the lake a single Goldeneye among the usual wildfowl.
 Great White Egret from Hanson
 Firecrest in the Willow Trail
A walk around the Willow Trail saw at least 3 Firecrests, several Goldcrests, a Chiffchaff and a c10 Long-tailed Tits which seemed to have been quite scarce of late.
In the Boulderwall fields by Cooks Pool a single Cattle Egret and Great White Egret, I then joined MH at the viewing mound where 5 Greater White-fronted Geese and 2 Barnacle Geese were seen with the Greylags, a male Bearded Tit was on the Grit Tray, a Bittern sat out in the open for at least 10 minutes scope views only, 2 more Great White Egrets were seen also a Marsh Harrier and common Buzzard.
At midday I had look from Dennis's Hide where a 1w Caspian Gull sporting a Yellow colour ring was roosting with Great Black-backed Gulls 2 of which were wearing Black Norwegian/Danish rings.
The weather deteriorated rapidly in the afternoon so I sat in Firth Hide where the colour ringed 1w Caspian Gull dropped in briefly allowing a poor image in the the murky conditions, on the Islands out in the lake another 1w & 2w Caspian Gull came to roost, also 2 Yellow-legged Gulls and 3 more Black ringed Great Black-backed Gulls, by 15.30 the light was so bad I gave up. 
1w Caspian Gull XAJK
XAJK ringing details, many thanks to Ronald Klein for his prompt response.