Friday, 31 December 2010

Pity about the Bean Goose

4 of the 7 Pink-footed Geese
At Pett Level this morning the Pale-bellied Brent Geese were showing well with the Dark-bellied Brents at the Winchelsea end. At the pools the Red-breasted Goose(many thanks to Tony Wilson for putting me on to it) was showing very distantly by Military Canal  with Whitefronts and Barnacles on the sea a few Red-throated Divers and Great-crested Grebes. At Northpoint GP there was 2 Red-head Smew but no Jack Snipe. 400+ Whitefronted Geese flew west in 2 flocks 250+ & 150+ and 84 Bewick Swans flew East.
At Scotney on my second visit today the Geese flock eventually came in. In it there was 7 Pink-footed Geese, 100 + Whitefronts, 100+ Wild Barnacle Geese along with the feral flock of Barnacles and 5 Egyptian Geese including the albino bird, but no Bean Goose.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Gloomy Dungeness

Caspian Gull ?

 First stop Scotney where little was noted due to disturbance by fisherman.  Next stop Galloways Road, where the Rough-legged Buzzard showed itself distantly flying  over the beach then hovering over the beach scrub for a short while before gradually coming closer and closer eventually flying more or less over head and hovering again before appearing to go down near the beach again. A drive over Walland Marsh was frustrating  because of the fog but there were still plent of winter Thrushes there. Next stop Dungeness RSPB where Matt Eade told me there was an adult Caspian Gull Gull from Makepiece Hide. As i was the only one in the hide i found a bird that i presume was the one Matt saw and it certainly looks good but i'm not sure of the underwing detail(hopefully some one will put me right please). Also from the hides were 11 red head Smew, 12 Goosander 3 Bitterns, a Water Rail and 3 Marsh Harriers.  
Smew with Perch

Monday, 27 December 2010

Galloways Rough-legged Buzzard

   A short visit to Galloways to hopefully see the Rough-legged Buzzard was imediately successful as the bird was on show as i arrived albeit distantly. It is a superbly marked bird so hopefully it will remain for a while to give me a chance of getting better photo's and maybe it wont be quite as cold as it was today.
The Grampian Ringing group have been in touch and informed me that the Waxwing i photographed at Hamstreet was the same one photographed in Ebbsfleet by Dylan Wrathall on 20/12/2010 and had been rung in Aberdeen on 31/10/2010

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Neck Collar Whitefronts

2 Birds with Neck Collars
 First stop Cockle Bridge where 170+ Greater Whitefronted Geese, 8 Barnacle Geese and 18 Bewick Swans in the field. Scanning through the geese i found 2 with neck collars. White collar with black letters (BJ) and (BR) will be interesting to know where they were marked. The whole flock was flushed by a Marsh Harrier creating a fantastic spectacle. The ARC Pit was mostly frozen with only a small open area filled with Wigeon and Gadwall. A Bittern flew over as did 8 Red Head Goosander. On the New Diggings 5+ Smew including a smart drake were showing well from the road.
Spectacle of wild geese

 The reserve was shut so i went to  Scotney where the Wigeon have increased to easily 10,000 birds on the and around thr 3 pits. Greylag Geese  also appear to have increased dramatically. Feral or Wild? The only Barnacle Geese i could find were the usual feral flock  and the Whitefronts appear to have departed. On Walland Marsh still large flocks of thrushes, 200+ Bewick Swans and 4 Tree Sparrows at the feeders. No sign of the Hamstreet Waxwings. Dipped on the Rough -Legged Buzzard but will try again tomorrow.
Marsh Harrier

Smew on the New Diggings

Fieldfare at the ARC Pit

Colour ringed Waxwing

Browsing the images i took on the 24th at Hamstreet last night, i came across this colour ringed one (Blue on Red on White) probably one of the Aberdeen rung birds. I await Grampian Ringing Groups reply.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Irresistable Waxwings

 An early morning visit to scotney to try and catch the Geese roosting on the pit was a miserable freezing failure thanks to a couple of idiots with shotguns. On the way down as i passed Hamstreet i saw the Waxwings i found on Wednesday in the same place but as it was quite dark i thought i'd re-visit them after i'd looked at Scotney. There were 2 flocks of Barnacle Geese there the usual feral flock of 70+ with its hybrid Emporers and another of 120+ presumably wild birds. This flock contained 2 coloured ringed individuals which i managed to read and have reported. The Greater Whitefronts were scattered across the marsh by the shooters. Wigeon numbers around the pits appear to increase every day with 6000+ probably very conservative. Also seen were 3 Marsh Harriers, 2 Ruff, 40+ Golden Plover and a Peregrine. Walland Marsh still  has many flocks  of mixed thrushes but i could not find yesterdays Waxwings. Back at Hamstreet the sun was now out and the 18 Waxwings i found had increased to 47 with at least 1 colour ringed individual but not yet seen well enough unlike some of the other posing individuals.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Walland Waxwings

As i drove across Walland Marsh i got a text from Jake telling me had just found 30 Waxwings  in Horsham, moments later i found a party of 10 feeding on the Hawthorns along with hundreds of Redwing and Fieldfare. At the feeders were 6 Tree Sparrows and nearby at the drying barn 12 Corn Buntings, 15 Yellowhammers, 8 Linnets, 4 Goldfinches and 20+ Chaffinches and hundreds more thrushes. In the fields 62 Bewick Swans, 100+ Greater Whitefronted Geese, 26 Golden Plover, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Common Buzzard looking dejected sat in a muddy field. Nearby at Scotney pits the Wigeon numbers easily topped 5000, 100+ Greater Whitefronted Geese, 100+ Barnacle Geese some colour ringed. Still no Smew or Goosander there despite fair numbers at Dungeness. 

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Foggy Scotney

On my way to Scotney this morning i saw 18 familiar silouettes by the side of the main road at Hamstreet.  Unfortunately i could only get a record picture of 16 of them due to traffic. At Scotney i counted 121 Barnacle Geese  and 73 Greater White Fronted Geese(both counts are probably very conservative) and probably 4 Bean Geese. ID and precise counts was difficult due to the fog, distance and the folds in the landscape. Also 4+ Marsh Harriers were chivvying the 3000+ Wigeon on and around the pit.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Super Sawbills

 A brilliant morning at dungeness started with a Bittern flying over the deserted ARC Pit car park as i arrived. Though the pit was mainly frozen 1000+ Wigeon  were in a small ice free hole along with 8 Goldeneye a few Pochard and Tufted Duck. 4+ Marsh Harriers were chivvying the Coot  and Teal unsuccessfully. The Willow trail held a Chiffchaff and a couple of squealing Water Rail. I followed Ray Turley down the icy entrance track to  the Visitor Centre which we had to our selves. From Firth hide we counted 4 Bitterns on show around the  edge of Burrowes Pit though distant 11 Smew (1 Drake) on the New Diggings and 6 Goosander. From Makepiece Hide a brilliant drake Goosander with 3 Red heads Goosander came right up to the the hide giving myself and Ray the best views we have ever had of Goosanders and 2 red head Smew came nearly as close. At least 2 more Bitterns were seen and a Yellow Legged Gull was on the ice, also another Chiffchaff was in the Willows infront the hide.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

An icy Walland Marsh

At an icy Walland this morning there were still numerous Fieldfares and Redwings. As i was counting one of the  groups Bewick Swans i heard a now familiar trill as 26 Waxwings flew over north as i struggled to get the camera on them. A Snipe was huddled on the verge and a Common Buzzard sat on a bush way out on the marsh and then the snow arrived.
They really are Waxwings

Friday, 17 December 2010

Early Morning at Castle Water

An early morning vigil in the hide at Castle Water, paid off when this Bittern walked out of the reed bed, allowing me to take some 600 photo's these are just from the first 100. There was at least 2 present whilst i was there along with 2 red head Smew, 1 Water Rail and numerous dabbling duck and a Marsh Harrier. A look at Northpoint and Scotney found little of note. On the walk from the car park at the ARC Pit to the hide a flock of 34 Waxwings flew NW. On the pit a fine drake Smew, 3 Goosander  2 drakes and 8 Goldeneye also 4+  Marsh Harriers. At Walland 2 Tree Sparrows by the feeders, large flocks of Redwing and Fieldfares (3000+) around the marsh devouring the Hawthorns. 

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Sensational Eagle

A very successful twitch to Amberly Wildbrooks for the White-tailed Eagle. An incredible bird for Sussex. Pity it was always distant hence the rubbish pictures but it was good to meet some old freinds. Also there a ring tail Hen Harrier, 5 Common Buzzards and aflock of c.20 Waxwings briefly.

Saturday, 11 December 2010


 At Walland this morning there was 86 Bewick Swans in 3 herds of 45,26 and 15, 6 Tree Sparrows, 4 Corn Buntings, 10+ Yellowhammers and several large flocks of Fieldfares and Redwings with several pairs of Mistle Thrushes. Most unusually i did not see a single Marsh Harrier  there. At the ARC Pit there was 8 Goosanders including 2 fine drakes, 16 Goldeneye and 5 of our american friends and 2 flyover Bitterns. In the Willow trail 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest and 3 Cetti's Warblers.
On the main reserve there was 4+ Marsh Harriers another 3 Goosanders, 6 Smew including 2 Drakes, 2 Black-necked Grebes atleast another 4 Bitterns flying around and sitting in the reeds and bushes with one quite showy individual near Scott Hide. Also from there 2+ Water Rail and a Great-crested Grebe doing battle with a Perch. On the beach the 1W Glaucous Gull was posing well and 100+ Great-crested Grebes on the sea. 

Thursday, 9 December 2010

More Waxwings

Couldn't resist stopping to take more Waxwing pictures. These were on the A259 at Hythe. There was 45 of them and not another birder the whole time i was there.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

A Good day around Walland and Dungeness

 A damp dreary start at Walland found the Hawthorns full of thrushes. The vast majority Fieldfare and Redwing and Blackbirds with a few Mistle thrushes and Song Thrushes with 2+ Sparrowhawks in attendance also 3 Great spotted Woodpeckers. In the fields 20 Bewick Swans and 4 Marsh Harriers. At the ARC Pit 17 Goosander, 20+ Goldeneye. On the reserve a red head Smew, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Black-Necked Grebes and a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the centre feeders. At the point the 1w Glaucous Gull still showing well and 100+ Great Crested Grebes on the sea. Back at a now sunny Walland Marsh another herd of 26 Bewick Swans flew over and 4+ Tree Sparrows posed in a Hawthorn.