Friday, 20 January 2017

Elusive Laplands!

What with having the builders at home and a doctors appointment, the latter becoming more frequent with the passing years, I didn't get out and about until midday. I went straight to Scotney, as I arrived AP was leaving having just seen 2 Lapland Buntings in the fields behind the lakes. I wandered out to the back having an interesting chat on my way with the farmer about the number of pairs of Barn Owls at Scotney, reaching the raised bank I scanned the distant Greylag Geese, finding 2 Tundra Bean Geese among them 5 Brent Geese and a separate party of 14 Egyptian Geese. Carrying on along the bank 4 Goldfinches, 2 Corn Buntings, 6 Reed Buntings and 3 Skylarks came out of the rough ground around the dung heap, reaching the far end of the rough I heard  a Lapland Bunting but was unable to see it because of the low sun, a few minutes later I heard the call again and 2 birds came out of the sun and dropped into the crop field c50 mts from the path. I spent a few minutes scoping the area but could not locate them until they took off and flew back over me into the sun dropping into the ploughed field by the lake, once again I scoped the area but was unable to find them on the ground. 
 4 Pinkfeet, 2 Tundra Bean and a Greylag Goose taken yesterday
Drake and duck Smew on the New Excavations this afternoon
Visiting the reserve this afternoon the Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's pool and the first drake Smew of the year was  on the New Excavations. While scrutinising the 100s of Gulls that came into bathe, I came across a drake and 2 duck Goosander but no interesting Gulls.
The 2 Iceland Gulls were still at The Patch today per DW.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

 10 Great White Egrets at sunrise on the ARC this morning
As I drove across the causeway this morning I was surprised to see a group of Great White Egrets sheltering from the the bitter east wind, I was even more surprised when I pulled over and counted 10 birds, the most I have ever photographed in one shot. While I was there the Bewick Swans left the lake to feed out on Walland Marsh. 
A walk along the beach from the point towards the Lifeboat station was bracing and unrewarding, just a few Red-throated Divers and Gannets seen.
 I joined DW at The Patch and spent an hour watching the 2 1w Iceland Gulls (including the bird that some thought might be a Glaucous Gull), the drake Eider was present before I arrived and DW spotted an adult Mediterranean Gull which through my incompetence I could not get on to. A peregrine flew over as I walked back to the car.
This afternoon with MH we saw Little Owl in the Lydd camp, at Scotney no Grey Geese were present though there was a Black-necked Grebe on the main lake. On the reserve the Ring-necked duck was  still insitu, a drake Goosander flew over and 1,100+ Cormorants roosted on Burrowes.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Iceland Gulls!

 1w Iceland Gulls
 The 2 1w Iceland Gulls were at The Patch this morning, though sometimes difficult to pick out among the throng of Black-headed Gulls, the drake Eider was  also still there. Offshore a few each of Gannet, Red-throated Diver and Guillemot.
The 2 Slavonian Grebes were still on the New Diggings viewable from the causeway.
No sign of the Whitefronts or Bewick Swans at Pigwell this morning. On the lydd sewage works 40+ Pied Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail.
At Scotney 4 Pink-footed Geese and 2 Tundra Bean Geese among the hordes of feral Greylags and Barnacle Geese, also 17 Egyptian Geese. On the far bank a Green Sandpiper and 2 Marsh Harriers hunting the bank.
 3 of the 4 Pinkfeet
1 of the 2 Tundra Bean Geese
From Cockles Bridge c200 Golden Plover, c500 Lapwing, 10 Dunlin, 2 Ruff, 3 Marsh Harriers and a Great White Egret. This afternoon a walk from the ARC car park to the pines was very quiet, 4 Long-tailed tits were the highlights until Steve Brown spotted 3 red head Smew on the first pit on the left as you leave the car park  towards the screen hide, also a couple of Chiffchaff there. Over the road the Ring-necked duck was  still on Cook's Pool.
On the beach this afternoon it was very quiet, though a Glaucous Gull was reported there, despite a search of the beach I couldn't relocate it or the regular 1w Caspian Gull.
Late afternoon 10 Great White Egrets and 14 Little Egrets came into the ARC roost also 8 Bewick Swans came in and a Peregrine flew over.
As I got out of my car at home another 20+ Bewick swans flew over my house towards the ARC.

Monday, 16 January 2017

 1w Caspian Gull
With a bright low sun at the fishing boats this morning sea watching was virtually impossible, not that there was much moving on a flat calm sea and very low tide. I decided to walk along the beach to the lifeboat station and back checking the Gulls. The regular 1w Caspian Gull was atop one of the old sheds, while along the beach very few Gulls could be found even on the mud with the bait diggers. Scanning out into the bay I picked up 2 Swans along way out flying in from the continent, hoping that they may be Whoopers I watched them for what seemed ages as they came in, only to be disappointed when they turned out to be Mute Swans they eventually came in over the lifeboat station. 12 Turnstones were the only waders I saw, round the containers a party of 4 Meadow Pipits unbelievably the first I have recorded this year, also 2 Stock doves there.
 Great White Egret
On the reserve the Ring-necked Duck still also a Great white Egret there. The long-eared Owls were missing today but I guess they will reappear soon. Burrowes was very quiet with few Gulls, few ducks and only a handful of Goldeneye of any note.
At Scotney  I couldn't find any interesting Geese among the few Greylags on the main lake, the Black-necked Grebe was still on the back lake. 
A wander around Pigwell found 14 Bewick Swans and 36 White-fronted Geese but little else of note. 
 Little Owls
By the watch towers on the Lydd ranges 2 Little Owls were showing well but distant. Driving across the causeway the 2 Slavonian Grebes could be seen.
1w Iceland Gull
At The Patch this afternoon the 2 1w Iceland Gulls showing distantly in terrible light conditions, the drake Eider was also there.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Iceland Gull!

08.00-10.00 from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose:   2 up     9 down
Shelduck: 1 up
Teal: 7 up
Common Scoter: 5 up
Red-throated Diver: 89 up   4 down
Great-crested Grebe: 56 around
Gannet: 63 up   8 down
Cormorant: 100s present
Turnstone: 3 on beach
Great Skua: 1 around
Pomarine Skua: 1 around
Mediterranean Gull: 1 up
Iceland Gull: 1 1w down 
Kittiwake: 23 down     20+ around
Guillemot: 24 up   9 on sea
Razorbill: 4 up     2 down   5 on sea
Auk sp: 82 up
Harbour Porpoise: 1 around
The drake Eider was  also at The Patch.
Very poor images of 1 of 2 1w Iceland Gulls at The Patch
Late afternoon on Walland Marsh it was still drizzly and misty, 17 Marsh Harriers roosted in the reed bed I was watching.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Excellent afternoon on the beach!

Stonechat (maybe) still present this morning
Ring-necked Duck, Long-eared Owls, Slavonian Grebes, Tundra bean Geese, Pinkfeet, Black-necked Grebe, Great White Egrets all still present today per the bird news services.
An excellent afternoon at the fishing boats with Mick and Richard. Finally caught up with the drake Eider, 2 Scaup flew down channel, the usual Gannets, Red-throated divers and Auks offshore, the regular 1w Caspian Gull showing to a few feet, a 1w Glaucous Gull appearing late afternoon as the sun went down.
 Drake Eider at the fishing boats
 The regular 1w Caspian Gull
  The regular 1w Caspian Gull
 The regular 1w Caspian Gull
 1w Glaucous Gull turned up late afternoon
 Uncropped image

Friday, 13 January 2017

A some what chilly start to the morning with a bright low sun that would have made sea watching from the fishing boats hard work. I opted to go to Scotney, there I met Colin and Bert who had  also decided to have a walk around the back of the pits. No sign of the Little Owls which was no surprise, the Black-necked Grebe was still on the first pit, out on the fields a party of 17 Egyptian Geese, 2 Tundra Bean Geese and 2 Brent Geese were located among the hordes of Greylags. A ring tail Hen Harrier flew out towards the wind turbines, several each of Skylark and Corn bunting were seen.  
 Long-eared Owls at the Dipping Pool
Next stop the reserve where the Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool. While we were in the VC we heard news of some Waxwings in Hythe, so after a quick look at the 2 Long-eared Owls we made our way to Hythe where on our arrival it was snowing heavily. We soon located the Waxwings perched high in some trees giving very poor views in the heavy snow and poor light, a few record images were taken now deleted.
While waiting for the weather to improve we drove to Stade Street where 3 Purple Sandpipers were showing well, also 7 Mediterranean Gulls, a fairly showy Red-throated Diver and a scarcity in the form of a Shag. 
As the weather improved we made our way back to the Red Lion area, fortunately the Waxwings showed quite well though quite flighty and ranging over fairly wide area. Many thanks to Colin and Bert for there company and brilliant day out despite the weather.
 Waxwings Hythe

 Purple Sandpiper, Stade Street, Hythe.
 Shag, Stade Street, Hythe.
Red-throated Diver, Statde street, Hythe.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

JU024 Great Black-backed Gull joined us at The point this morning
07.30-10.00 from The point with AJG, OL & DW
Brent Goose:  1 down
Common Scoter: 13 down   18 up
Red-throated Diver: 3 down    83 up
Great-crested Grebe: c40 around
Fulmar: 3 down
Gannet:  134 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 1 down
Turnstone: 3 around
Great skua: 4 down  3 up (minimum 3 birds involved)
Pomarine Skua: 1 up
Kittiwake: 31 down
Guillemot: 14+ on sea
Razorbill: 2+ on sea
Auk sp: 22 up

2 Slavonian Grebes still on the New Diggings from the causeway.
The Ring-necked Duck still on Cook's Pool, also red head Smew and 2 Great White Egrets there. 2 Long-eared Owls behind the Dipping Pool, then the rain really started effectively putting an end to any birding.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

A slow sea watch this morning from the fishing boats with AJG:
Brent Goose: 21 up
Common Scoter: 9 down
Red-throated Diver: 16 up   38 down
Fulmar: 1 down
Gannet: c40 around
Kittiwake: 17 down
Guillemot: c25 on the sea
Leaving the beach the regular 1w Caspian Gull was by the Fish Hut.
As it was a bright sunny morning I thought I might try and get some more images of the Stejneger's Stonechat. Although it was showing and I took some more images, the bird never allowed close approach, consequently all the images were rubbish and have been deleted. I took the 2 images below at the end of last year. While there a Peregrine and Common Buzzard were seen.
 Stejneger's Stonechat
Crossing the causeway the 2 Slavonian Grebes still at the Boulderwall end of the lake.
The highlights of a visit to Jury's Gap were c25 Common Scoter and 9 Red-throated Divers on the sea.
In 3 visits to Scotney today, 3 Pinkfeet, 2 Tundra Bean Geese and 4 Whitefronts amongst the hordes of Greylags. On the lake behind the barns the Black-necked Grebe  was still insitu, also 4 Corn Buntings there of note. While checking the sewage works at Pigwell 37 Whitefronts flew over.
This afternoon on the reserve the Ring-necked Duck still present on Cook's Pool, on the next pool along the entrance track a red-head Smew and 2 Great White Egrets, over the fields there 3 Marsh Harriers were disturbing the Lapwings, Golden plover and Wigeon. At the Dipping Pool 2 Long-eared Owls again and a Chiffchaff. From Makepiece a 1w Caspian Gull was the only notable bird.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

As You Were!

08.15-09.30 from the fishing boats with MH:

Common Scoter: 3 down
Red-throated Diver: 6 up   31 down
Great-crested Grebe: 40+ on sea
Gannet: 7 up   24 down
Turnstone: 5 around
Great Skua: 1 around
Mediterranean Gull: 1 down  (2w)
Little Gull: 1 around  (1w)
Kittiwake: 15 down
Guillemot: c200 around
Razorbill: 4+ around
Grey Seal: 1
Driving back across the causeway 2 Slavonian Grebes at the Boulderwall end. Around The Willow Trail a Water Rail, 2 calling Cetti's Warblers and a small Tit flock comprising Long-tailed, Blue and Great.
The Ring-necked Duck still showing on Cook's Pool, also a Great White Egret at the far end with a Little Egret. Over the fields there a Common Buzzard and a Marsh Harrier flushing the Lapwing and Golden Plover and a few Dunlin.
Just the 1 Long-eared Owl at the Dipping Pool today, 2 Goosander flew over Burrowes and  another Water rail was at Scott Hide.
At Scotney the Black-necked Grebe still on the lake behind the barns, a Little Owl was also present, a Peregrine, Common Buzzard and 2 Marsh Harriers were hunting the fields nut didn't bother the 14 Egyptian Geese there. On the sward 3 Pinkfeet and 3 Tundra Bean Geese among the hordes of Greylags and Barnacle Geese. 
1w Caspian Gull at the Fish Hut this afternoon
Another short sea watch this afternoon saw no change from this morning, though the regular 1w Caspian Gull was at the Fish Hut.
In the fields down Dengemarsh Road 2 Ruff and another 6 Egyptian Geese. A smart male Sparrowhawk made an unsuccessful attack on the finch flock at Springfield Bridge, also there a Great White Egret but little else.
Elsewhere the Stejneger's Stonechat reported as still present as was the Red-necked Grebe, the Bewick Swans at Horsesbones Farm and the drake Eider at The Point.