Sunday, 23 February 2020

Weekend 22/23/02/2020

Fulmar passing the Bouy Saturday morning
Saturday 07.40-08.40 from the sea watch hide in more rain and gales:
Brent Goose: 5E
Common Scoter: 3W
Fulmar: 14W
Gannet: 45W  2E
Cormorants: present n/c
Oystercatcher: 1W
Kittiwake: 1W
1,000s of Gulls moving West and feeding along the shore line, mainly Herring & Common.
 Great Black-backed Gull making light of the force wind and huge waves
 Argentatus Herring Gull doing its best to stand in the gale
A Fulmar making flying look easy
 A message late morning from David Walker that the 2nd Calendar year Iceland Gull was roosting near the fishing boats, gave me the excuse leave my suit case packing and to venture out into the gales and rain. When I pulled up at The Point the bird was still roosting, but partially hidden among the other Gulls present. After a little wait other Gulls moved so that I could see it properly, after another wait it took to the air and flew to the sea. We moved off to the other end of the beach look for it, then I got a call from Graham P that it was back beside the road where we had been parked.
 2nd calendar year Iceland Gull
  2nd calendar year Iceland Gull
  2nd calendar year Iceland Gull
  2nd calendar year Iceland Gull
  2nd calendar year Iceland Gull
  2nd calendar year Iceland Gull
Late this afternoon I made my way to a reed bed on Walland Marsh to count the Harriers coming in to roost. I did not hold out much hope of seeing much after such appalling weather this weekend, I was right as only 1 adult male Marsh Harrier came in, Water rails were squealing and a Green Sandpiper flew over calling.

Friday, 21 February 2020

Friday 21/02/2020

The day started with the wind blowing force 4, by lunchtime it was a howling force 8 with intermittent drizzle.
 Just a fraction of the 1,000s Gulls present along the tideline this morning
I gave the sea watch hide a miss this morning, opting to go to the shelter of the lifeboats Station where I was joined by PT, to scan through the many 1,000s of Gulls that were gorging upon the vast quantities of shellfish being washed up by the storms. Despite our best efforts we could only manage to find a 3w Yellow-legged Gull and 6+ Mediterranean Gulls of any note among them. Offshore a few Guillemots and Red-throated Divers were tooing and Froing.
Owen preparing to tow yet another family of visitors out of the shingle this morning
 1,000+ Golden Plovers still present
For no particular reason I walked the length of a very wind swept Scotney main lake. There are still 1,000+ each of Golden Plover and Lapwing present on the Sward, these were joined by 21 Ringed Plovers, 14 Redshanks, 4 Oystercatchers, 2 Dunlin and c200 Wigeon. A Marsh Harrier and a Common Buzzard flew over and the feral Barnacle Geese were still present
 4 of the 21 Ringed Plovers present on the Sward
 I counted at least 14 Redshanks along the Sward
An Oystercatcher was displaying 
 Water Pipit at Dengemarsh
Walking around Dengemarsh in a force 8 gale this afternoon payed off when 1 of the 2 Water Pipits finally showed quite well to me, a Meadow Pipit and Reed Bunting posed but most birds seem to be keeping a low profile in this continuing awful weather. 
 Water Pipit at Dengemarsh

 Meadow Pipit at Dengemarsh
1 of c25 Reed Buntings at Dengemarsh
9 Black-tailed Godwits on Burrowes late afternoon
A late afternoon visit to Burrowes to see the Gulls come into roost was a waste of time as very few came in, the highlight was the Black-tailed Godwit flock of which there are only 9 left, I guess the Peregrines are taking them out.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Thursday 20/02/2020

Yet another day of westerly gales and rain, thankfully this time next week I'll be in the Sierra Morena, Spain.
07.00-08.30 from the sea watch hide with AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 15E
Wigeon: 51E
Red-throated Diver: 10W
Great- crested Grebe: 12W     1E     2 o/s
Fulmar: 5W
Gannet: 28W
Cormorant: present n/c
Sanderling: 1W
Kittiwake: 54W
Black-headed Gull: Present n/c
Common Gull:  Present n/c
Herring Gull: Present n/c
Lesser Black-backed Gull: present n/c
Great Black-backed Gull: present n/c
Guillemot: 14W
Razorbill: 13W
Auk sp: 64W
I joined OL at the lifeboat station watching the many 1,000s of Gulls that lined Lade Bay
 Some of the many 1,000s of Gulls present ion Lade Bay at high tide today
 Black-headed Gulls feasting on the abundant shellfish washed up by the storms
The circled Gull that with much scrutiny turned out to be just a Leucistic/aberrant Herring Gull and not a White Winger.
Late morning I just about managed to see the 2 Water Pipits again despite the best efforts of the gale force wind. Walking back to the car the rain swept in giving me a soaking and the hail mixed in stinging my face.
At 16.20 the rain stopped so I ventured back out to the reserve where several 100s of Gulls came into roost, the best I could find among them was an adult Yellow-legged Gull.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Tuesday 18/02/2020

A very poor sea watch in cold blustery conditions was saved by the appearance of yesterdays 2nd calendar year Glaucous Gull.
07.15-08.45 from the sea watch hide with SO and AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Red-throated Diver: 37W  3E
Great-crested Grebe: 6W
Fulmar: 3W
Gannet: 13W
Cormorant Present n/c
Curlew: 2W
Kittiwake: 48W
Black-headed Gull: Present n/c
Mediterranean Gull: 1W
Common Gull:  Present n/c
Herring Gull: Present n/c
Glaucous Gull: 1E 2nd calendar year
Lesser Black-backed Gull: 5+ o/s
Great Black-backed Gull: present n/c
Auk sp: 13E 
If you look carefully you can just about see the heads of 2 of the 5 Long-tailed Ducks at Scotney
A long windy walk out the back of Scotney found the 5 Long-tailed Ducks still in residence, but to be honest very little else, only small numbers of Golden plover and lapwing compared to the 1,000s we have been used to.
This peregrine took me by surprise, so not as sharp as it should have been.
The Glaucous Gull at the fishing boats as dusk fell
14.45-17.05 from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose: 55E
Red-throated Diver: 2W     6o/s
Great-crested Grebe: 172 o/s
Gannet: 11W
Cormorant: 274 o/s
Turnstone: 15 on beach
Kittiwake: 48W
Black-headed Gull: Present n/c
Mediterranean Gull: 6+W
Common Gull:  Present n/c
Herring Gull: Present n/c
Yellow-legged Gull: 1W
Glaucous Gull: 1 o/s
Lesser Black-backed Gull: 5+ o/s
Great Black-backed Gull: present n/c
Guillemot: 54W    23 o/s
Razorbill: 7W       2o/s
Auk sp: 12E   43W 

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Saturday 15/02/2020

A fairly calm early morning to the day quickly deteriorated to gales by lunchtime followed by heavy showers.
08.15-09.15 from the sea watch hide:
Brent Goose: 53E
Common Scoter: 2E
Red-throated Diver: 3E   1W
Great-crested Grebe: 3 o/s
Gannet: 33E   68W
Cormorant: c500 o/s
Oystercatcher: 1E
Great Skua: 1E
Kittiwake: 3E  27W
Black-headed Gull: Present n/c
Mediterranean Gull: 1E
Common Gull:  Present n/c
Herring Gull: Present n/c
Lesser black-backed Gull: 2 o/s
Great Black-backed Gull: present n/c
Guillemot: 4E   131W
Razorbill: 3E  87W
Auk sp: 52E   160W
Water Pipit in the hay field late morning
A late morning walk from Springfield Bridge to Christmas Dell found the 2+ Water Pipits still present in the hay fields, along with 5+ Meadow Pipits. A Great White Egret flew over and a pair of Great-crested Grebes were sheltering behind the reeds as a Cetti's Warbler announced its presence. By midday the weather put a stop anymore birding.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Friday 14/02/2020

As there was barely a breath of wind this morning there was a touch of frost on the windscreen first thing this morning. The sea very quiet with just the usual suspects.
Common Scoter: 5W
Red-throated Diver: 4W     2E
Great-crested Grebe: 62 o/s
Gannet: c20 o/s
Cormorant: present n/c
Kittiwake: c15 o/s
Black-headed Gull: present n/c
Common Gull: present n/c
Herring Gull: present n/c
Great Black-backed Gull: present n/c
Guillemot: 46W       14E
Razorbill: 38W   1E
Auk sp: c50W
Harbour Porpoise: 2
 One of my library images of a Barn Owl taken at Scotney in 2016
I joined CP in a very pleasant walk around the back of Scotney, there were plenty of Wigeon and Lapwing by the main lake, a Redshank and a few feral Geese. I didn't see a Sparrow of any kind at the farm, but a Black Redstart was on the green footbridge. We spotted a Barn Owl hunting along a ditch in front of us and watched as it pirouetted and dived into the ditch, a minute or two later it reappeared carrying a large rodent which we think was a Water Vole. The Owl started flying towards us, I instinctively tried to raise my camera suddenly realising I'd left it in the car, the Owl kept coming towards us flying past just 10mts away giving us the best views we have ever had, it continued on finally landing in a barn full of hay bales to eat its prize. I had broken my own rule always take your camera, barring absolute disaster the images I could have achieved would have made the above image look as if it had been taken on Box Brownie. We continued on our way seeing several each of Common Buzzard, Marsh Harrier and Kestrel, a Merlin, a Sparrowhawk, 3 Green Sandpipers, 2 Ravens, a few each of Corn and Reed Bunting, Skylarks, a flock of Linnets, all of the feral Geese, 100s each of Lapwing and Golden Plover and found that the 5 Long-tailed Ducks were still present on the far western back lake, not bad for a very leisurely stroll.
This afternoon on the ARC all the usual wildfowl present, highlights being a Firecrest and a Chiffchaff. Good to see that the Sea Buckthorn that has taken over the sandy area between the car park and the Screen Hide is being removed, look forward to seeing spring Wagtails, Pipits and Plovers on the cleared area. 
  Clearing the Sea Buckthorn 
 Very poor images of the 2 Water Pipits on the Hay Fields this afternoon
The 2 Water Pipits on the Hay fields between Dengemarsh Hide and Christmas Dell were associating with 5-6 Meadow Pipits, but only allowed scope views.

 CP has bolted the The sea watch hide to the concrete foundation, but it is now perilously close to the edge after storm Ciara. Hopefully storm Dennis wont be so severe and fortunately the high tides are quite small. There is certainly not enough room for us to set up our chairs in front the hide, to let us bask in the sun while watching the flocks of Poms come through in May.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Thursday 13/02/2020

With more heavy rain showers and strong winds sea watching was the order of the day.
07.55-09.10 from the hide with AJG, SO & OL:
Brent Goose: 25E
Common Scoter: 11W
Red-throated Diver: 12E     14W
Great-crested Grebe: 2E
Fulmar: 9W
Gannet: 36W 22E
Cormorant: present n/c
Kittiwake: 280W
Black-headed Gull: Present n/c
Common Gull: Present n/c
Herring Gull: Present n/c
Great Black-backed Gull: Present n/c
Guillemot: 63W   9E
Razorbill: 43W   7E
Auk sp: 95W   17E
Harbour Porpoise: 2

This afternoon there were huge numbers of Gulls feasting on all the shellfish washed up by storm Ciara, looking into Lade Bay 10s of 1,000s more Gulls were feeding.
14.00-16.30 joined from the fishing boats by SO, CP and CT
Gadwall: 4W
Red-throated diver: 13W   1E
Great-crested Grebe:5W
Fulmar: 4W
Gannet: 48W
Cormorant: c1,000 o/s
Kittiwake: 321W
Black-headed Gull: c8-10,000 W + o/s
Mediterranean Gull: 4W  1E
Common Gull:  c8-10,000 W + o/s
Herring Gull: c5,000 W + o/s
Great Black-backed Gull: Present n/c
Guillemot: 331W.   19E
Razorbill: 4W
Auk sp: 312W 

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Wednesday 12/02/2020

Another bright and breezy morning at The Point with many birds off shore, mainly Cormorants, Common and Black-headed Gulls but little movement.
08.20-09.20 from the hide:
Red-throated Diver: 1E     2W
Great-crested Grebe: 12E     108 o/s
Gannet: 11E     36W
Cormorant: present n/c
Kittiwake: 7W
Black-headed Gull: Present n/c
Mediterranean Gull: 4W
Common Gull: Present n/c
Herring Gull: Present n/c
Great Black-backed Gull: Present n/c
Guillemot: 12E
Auk sp: 6E
Harbour Porpoise: 1
A wander around the trapping area saw many Great and Blue Tits, 2 Long-tailed Tits, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker and the usual Robins, Wrens, Dunnocks and Corvids.
 2nd calendar year Iceland Gull making one of its 3 flybys at the fishing boats this afternoon.

I went to the fishing boats in the hopes that the Iceland Gull would appear, I was not to be disappointed.
13.00-15.30 from the boats with RW, joined by DW, BC, AJG, CT, LW, PT et al:
Great-crested Grebe: 1 o/s
Gannet: 6E     39W
Cormorant: present n/c
Kittiwake: 36W
Black-headed Gull: Present n/c
Mediterranean Gull: 1W    2 o/s
Common Gull: Present n/c
Herring Gull: Present n/c
Iceland Gull: 1 2nd cal year o/s
Great Black-backed Gull: Present n/c
Guillemot: 7E    40W
Razorbill: 6W
Auk sp: 6E     45W
Harbour Porpoise: 1
 2nd calendar year Iceland Gull

2nd winter Mediterranean Gull

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Tuesday 11/02/2020

 Drifts of wrecked shellfish
Millions of Clams
As a change today I parked at the Lifeboats Station this morning and walked along the beach to the fishing boats and back. The strand line was covered with millions of dead shellfish washed up by storm Ciara.
Filling buckets with the dead shellfish
The Gulls had been enjoying but were constantly disturbed by some people collecting buckets full of it, literally filling their cars with it.
One of many long trudges back and forth across the shingle to fill there car
There were many Gulls off shore constantly dipping and picking up many more floating shellfish, little else appeared to be moving, as I made the return leg back to my car, my eyes were watering so much in the constant westerly gale that I saw very little.
Dungeness Lifeboat on exercises today
Turnstone at the fishing boats
12.00-13.00 from the fishing boats:
Red-throated Diver: 1W
Great-crested Grebe: 1W
Fulmar: 3W  1E
Gannet: :23W   2E
Cormorant: c1,000 o/s
Turnstone: 7 on beach
Kittiwake: 31W
Black-headed Gull: 1,000s o/s
Common Gull: 100s o/s
Herring Gull: 100s o/s
Great Black-backed Gulls: 100s o/s
Guillemot: 22W
Razorbill: 1W
Auk sp: 31W  3E
I went home for a late lunch and mug of tea, next thing I knew my tea was cold and it was late afternoon! definitely getting old.