Sunday, 17 February 2019

Flyby Glaucous Gull!

 Back end of the Glaucous Gull as it sped past the sea watch hide
 Some of this mornings Gannets
8.00-10.00 from the sea watch hide with RW:
Brent Goose: 219E
Wigeon: 8E
Red-throated Diver:114E    42W
Great-crested Grebe: 2 on sea
Fulmar: 4W     2E
Gannet: 454E     72W
Cormorant: 500+ around
Curlew: 3E
Great Skua: 1E
Kittiwake: 224E
Glaucous Gull: 1 juvenile E
Guillemot: 77E
Razorbill: 435E
Auk sp: c1,450E     c380W
Harbour Porpoise: 1
The 2 Whooper Swans were still in the fields at Cockles Bridge. The 4 Cattle Egrets had moved over towards Dengemarsh per RW.
 Some of this mornings Brent Geese
W4VT Herring Gull at the fishing boats this afternoon
13.30-14.30 from the fishing boats with RW:
Red-throated Diver: 4E   2W
Great-crested Grebe: 205 from RX446
Gannet: c200 off shore
Cormorant: many present n/c
Oystercatcher: 2W
Great Skua: 2E
Guillemot: c100 on sea
Razorbill: c10 on sea
Auk sp: c50W
Mid afternoon on the reserve from Dennis's Hide 3 more Norwegian and Danish ringed Great Black-backed Gulls. Also 14 Ruff came into roost again per DW.
This evening only 2 Marsh Harriers roosted at my allotted reed bed though 7 dropped in but were spooked by something, perhaps a Badger, then flew towards the ranges.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

No Change!

07.00-09.30 with AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Common Scoter: 6E
Red-throated Diver: 67E,    66W
Great-crested Grebe: 6 on
Fulmar: 2E    4W
Gannet: 117E    24W
Cormorant: Many present n/c
Great Skua: 1W
Kittiwake: 3E     32W
Guillemot: 29E
Razorbill: 68E   35W
Auk sp: 398E
I joined AJG in an hours walk around the trapping area and Desert, which proved to be very disappointing with very little avian life seen.
Late morning I could see the 2 Whooper Swans while I had lunch.
This afternoon I joined RW at the fishing boats for a not unexpected disappointing sea watch:
Red-throated Diver: 17E
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: c250 feeding off shore
Cormorant: many present n/c
Guillemot: c150 on sea
Razorbill: c30 on sea
Skylark: 1 behind the boats
Linnet: 3 behind the boats
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Common Seal: 1
Late afternoon on the reserve 2 Great White Egrets and the drake Smew  from the entrance track. Fro Dennis's Hide 2 Norwegian ringed Great Black-backed Gulls and a party of 14 Ruff that flew in to roost.

Friday, 15 February 2019

A Beautiful day!

08.00-09.30 from the sea watch hide with OL and AJG who collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 131E
Wigeon: 22E
Pintail: 2E
Common Scoter: 14E
Red-throated Diver: 61W   96E
Great-crested Grebe: c50 around
Fulmar: 5W   1E
Gannet: 183E
Cormorant: n/c many present
Oystercatcher: 3E
Mediterranean Gull: 1 around
Kittiwake: 36E
Razorbill: 58E     22W
Guillemot: c100 on sea
Auk sp 248 up

At The Patch just an adult Mediterranean Gull of note but very few Gulls present, another 12 Red-throated Divers were seen along with more Guillemots.
 The 2 Whooper Swans snapped from my garden
A very sluggish Bee in the garden late morning
When I went home for a late breakfast the 2 Whooper Swans were fairly close to the garden, 2 Common Buzzards were thermalling high over the fields while a Marsh Harrier hunted the ditches.
A quick look at Walland found only 6 Bewick Swans, I'm presuming the other 28 are on their way back to Russia. There was still a large flock of Fieldfare and Redwing nearby.
This afternoon 13.00-15.30 from the fishing boats with MH and AJG:
Gadwall: 2E
Common Scoter: 11E
Red-throated Diver: 24W   1 on
Great-crested Grebe: c40 around
Gannet: 52W    14E   c50 feeding o/s
Cormorant: minimum of 4,000 flew into Lade Bay
Turnstone: 6 around
Mediterranean Gull: 3E
Kittiwake: 33E   8W
Guillemot: c100 around
Auk sp: 145E
Harbour Porpoise: 1 around
A poor image taken at 6400 ISO in near dark 
Late this afternoon 4 Cattle Egrets, 7 Great White Egrets and 4 Little Egrets flew into the ARC roost.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Sunshine at Last!

Probably a German colour ringed Sanderling at the fishing boats this afternoon
Sanderling at the fishing boats
This week has very much been like the previous few weeks with still 1,000s of Cormorants and Auks, along with 100s of Red-throated Divers, Kittiwakes, Gannets, Great-crested Grebes and small numbers of Brent Geese moving East. Notable today were 5 Shelduck West, 3 Common Scoter East( the first I have seen this month), 28 Sanderling on the beach, 2 Harbour Porpoise, a Grey and Common Seal and a Skylark feeding at the back of the fishing boats. 
Turnstone at the fishing boats
Kittiwake at the fishing boats
Reed Bunting feeding by the power station wall earlier this week
The reserve and lakes have been very quiet with very few winter duck, highlights being up to 6 Goldeneye, a Single drake Smew, 3 Goosander, the 2 Whooper Swans, up to 4 Cattle Egrets, 3 Great White Egrets and usual Marsh Harriers, Common Buzzards and handful of Tree Sparrows, while on Walland the 34 Bewick Swans, a flock of 30+ Corn Buntings, a reasonable mixed flock of Fieldfare and Redwings, all of which with the onset of warmer weather will depart along with the Whoopers.  

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Garden Sparrowhawk!

As the beach was packed with wall to wall fisherman taking part in the World Dab Championship, I only spent a few minutes there. That was enough time to see that there was very little change from the last few days, Cormorants, Auks, Red-throated Divers, Great-crested Grebes, Kittiwakes and Gannets, a single Harbour Porpoise and a Grey Seal.
I joined RW in walk around the reserve which was some what underwhelming, though we did see the drake Smew on Burrowes feeding between Makepiece and Scott Hide. We stopped off at Dennis's hide where we found 3 colour ringed Great Black-backed Gulls, a Norwegian, a Danish and a Normandy rung birds, what made them more unusual was that that there was only 15 Great Black-backed Gulls present.
While having lunch a superb male Sparrowhawk made 3 visits to my garden, even posing for photographs, unfortunately they had to be taken through dirty windows, on its third visit it left me with  Great Tit less to feed. 
 Male Sparrowhawk

This afternoon saw the 2 Whooper Swans still from Cockles Bridge, nearby at least 3 Cattle Egrets, 3 Great White Egrets and a Peregrine eating what looked like a Wigeon at Boulderwall.
From Dengemarsh Road c30 Curlew, 100s of Golden Plover and Lapwing but no sign of the Ruff, 2+ Marsh Harriers, a Common Buzzard, c150 Greylag Geese with only an Egyptian Goose with them.
3 Goosander were on Bretts Marina though difficult to see. The 34 Bewick Swans were still at Horses Bones Farm today per PT.  

Friday, 8 February 2019

No Change!

Some of the 1,000s of Gulls at The Patch the last couple of days
I have spent several hours of the last couple of days at The Patch where 1,000s of Gulls have been on the beach and over the sea. Despite intense scrutiny by myself, DW and OL we found nothing out of the ordinary, although we did read many colour rings. While there c400 Brent Geese flew east, Red-throated Divers, Gannets, Kitiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills and of course Cormorants could be seen constantly tooing and froing off shore, along with the odd Great Skua.
1 of 100s of Guillemots around the fishing boats
Small numbers of Razorbills off the fishing boats
1 of 2 Grey Seals off the fishing boats
The 2 Whooper Swans were still at Cockles bridge this afternoon along with the 3 Cattle Egrets.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

A very Poor Day!

A thoroughly miserable day around the peninsular, with more or less constant drizzle and fog, both images below taken with very high ISO through the mist. 87 Brent Geese flew east this morning during a very dull and disappointing visit to The patch. The 2 Whooper Swans were still at Cockles Bridge and the Cattle Egrets were nearby. A drake Smew was still on the reserve but little else was seen today in the poor conditions. A visit to Scotney saw no Grey Geese again and very little else.
 Black Redstart at the lifeboat station 
1 of 3 Cattle Egrets still present by Cockles Bridge 

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

1,000+ Red-throated Divers!

Another very gloomy day, made interesting by the sheer numbers of birds off shore.
08.15-11.00 & 13.10-15.30 from the fishing boats with DW, MH, OL
Brent Goose: 496E    1W
Shelduck: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 1,018W      4E
Great-crested Grebe: 114 on sea
Fulmar: 9W
Gannet: 306W
Cormorant: the now usual 1,000s present
Turnstone: 8 around
Great Skua: 1W
Black-headed Gull: 1,000+W
Kittiwake: 431W
Guillemot: Many present + minimum of 1,000W
Razorbill: 8+

The 2 Whooper Swans were still present at Cockles Bridge, nearby at Green Hop Farm the 3 Cattle Egrets. Once again no grey Geese at Scotney during my visit. On Walland the Bewick Swans were still present at Horses Bones Farm.
Late afternoon on Burrowes the drake Smew with 3 Goosanders but very few Gulls came into roost.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Owl and Harrier No Show!

A wander around the reserve this morning with CP, saw of note a Chiffchaff by Dengemarsh Hide, 3+ Bearded Tits from the viewing mound, the Smew nearby and 2 Dartford Warblers plus all the other usual species. When we were near the car park I got a call from SO telling me he had found a Tundra Bean Goose, with several Greater White-fronted Geese with the feral Greylags on the Sward at Scotney, a few minutes later we watching them in excellent light conditions.  
 Distant Smew, hopefully better in the next few days like the ones below a few years ago.
Tundra Bean Goose at Scotney
Greater White-fronted Geese at Scotney
This afternoon I stopped at Bretts Marina on my to Galloways for an afternoon Owl and Harrier watch, the usual Little Owl was in its favourite place at Lydd Camp and on the lake 3 Goosander showed distantly. The Owl and Harrier watch at South Brooks was a non event as no Hen Harriers, Short-eared Owls or Barn Owls were seen, a single male Marsh Harrier and 2 Peregrines were some compensation.
Little Owl at Lydd camp
3 distant Goosander on Bretts Marina

Saturday, 2 February 2019

First Smew of the Winter and A Crane!

First thing this morning the 2 Whooper Swans flew into into the Kale field at Cockles Bridge after spending the night on Cooks Pool, they returned to Cooks Pool at Dusk.
A chilly walk along the front of Scotney saw very little of note, the usual 20+ Dunlin, 8 Redshank, 3 Ringed Plovers, 5 Curlew, c50 Golden Plover and c100 Lapwing. With the cold weather I thought there might have been a Woodcock or 2 in the places I have found them before but no luck. At the fishing boats there was no change from the last few days except for fewer Razorbills. 
I went back to the reserve after hearing news of a drake Smew on the reserve, I cant believe I twitched a Smew at Dungeness! Many thanks to Pam for braving the cold walking around the reserve to find it on the New Excavations, hopefully if it stays it will settle down and allow some images. I must admit I didn't think we were going see a Smew this winter on the peninsular.  
1 of the 3 Cattle Egrets still present
Early afternoon one of the three Cattle Egrets was being very showy near Boulderwall. This bird is often on its own as the other 2 seem to chase it away but tolerate a Little Egret hanging around with them. 2 Great White Egrets were nearby at the coral. 

Common Crane at the end of Cooks Pool
Mid afternoon I was in the VC with RW & SM having a warm up while waiting for the Gulls to come into roost, when a visitor came in saying he'd seen a Common Crane from Cockles Bridge and showed us a photograph of it on his phone, needless to say we quickly headed off towards Cockles Bridge, but only had to go as far as Cooks Pool as the bird had already relocated there. I'm sorry I only know the finders name as @naturebotherer on twitter, so thank you for sharing so promptly.
The Crane was quite flighty, it flew to the hay fields for a while before heading back towards Boulderwall, I think it eventually settled for the night in the coral area.
 Common Crane over the hay fields illuminated by the red glow of the setting sun