Thursday, 17 November 2011

Albatrosses, Petrels and Penguins

Am off to the Antarctic today for 3 weeks! Whoopee! 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

1w Coues's Arctic Redpoll?

On my way to Dungeness this morning as I drove over the road bridge over the Military Canal at Hamstreet I could see the Great White Egret feeding a little way along the canal. Also present 3 Little Egrets.
At The Point once again very little on the sea with just a few Gannets and Auks off shore, 6+ Red Throated Divers  ands 12 Brent Geese flew west. The Yellow-Legged Gull and Glaucous Gull were around the beach the latter has now been present for 1 year.
While looking for yesterdays Desert Wheatear there was a Black Redstart by the Research Station a few Redpoll and Goldfinches over and little else.
Great White Egret Royal Military Canal.
At the Obs. a very interesting Redpoll was trapped and ringed which I believe could well be Coues's Arctic Redpoll. It appears to be the double of the bird shown in BW Vol 9 No 2 plates 48-50.

A visit to the ARC Pit produced a Great White Egret perched on top of the Cormorant nests on Cormorant Island,1 Marsh harrier,  6+ Goldeneye and the usual wildfowl, 2 Chiffchaffs in The Willow Trail, several Tree Sparrows around the car park and very little else.
On the reserve Wildfowl numbers are building up, 19 Dunlin, 1 Knot, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Golden Plover, 6 Snipe, the Leucistic Heron and Bittern.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Desert Wheatear

First thing this morning in dull misty conditions I went to Dengemarsh Gully looking for a rare Wheatear, all I found was a Skylark. On Dengemarsh 2 Great White Egrets and Bittern along with 2 Marsh Harriers were flying around disturbed by work going on there. Next stop the Fishing Boats. As I got out of the car I received a call from DW telling me that a Desert Wheatear was around the Observatory, minutes later I was watching this splendid bird even with a dodgy tail. It was fairly mobile, ranging from The Moat where Will first found it, to the Railway Station and to the Research Station in front of the old lighthouse. Sometimes it came right up to observers allowing excellent views and photo opportunities.
On the ARC this afternoon one of the Great White Egrets, 10+ Goldeneye, 1 Avocet and 2 Water Rail calling.
On the way home another Great White Egret was on the Military Canal behind the Wyevale Garden Centre at Hamstreet.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Eastern Black Redstart

A  worth while trip to a dull misty Margate today for the Eastern Black Redstart, exceeded all my expectations with the bird showing superbly well to all admirers who braved the gloom and cold. Also seen there 3 Black Redstarts, 6+ Rock Pipits, 200+ Sanderling, 40+ Turnstone, 5 Brent Geese and 2 Slavonian Grebes which drifted past east.  

Eastern Black Redstart

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Here comes The Sun

At The Point this morning the sea was very quiet with just a few Auks and Gannets and the resident Great-crested Grebes. On the Beach a Lapland Bunting flew through and the 2w Glaucous Gull and Yellow-legged Gull showed well as did 1 Snow Bunting on the concrete road.
Just can't resist snapping this beauty
 At the Observatory more Redpolls were being trapped (1000+) this autumn, a Sparrowhawk trapped itself in the Heligoland Trap and 3 Blackcaps were in The Moat.
Trapped in the Heligoland

Sun bathing in The Moat
At the Arc Pit 10+ Goldeneye were seen from the road, a Great White Egret was showing well from the Screen Hide, 3+ Chiffchaffs were in the Sallows and 2 Marsh Harriers were hunting the Tower Pits. Hanson hide was full as was the reserve car park so short drive to West Hythe to see the Rough Legged Buzzard again, which eventually appeared over the quarry but frustratingly kept its distance from my camera, a Green Sandpiper flew over while I was waiting. No sign of the Short-eared Owls at Littlestone Golf Course this afternoon.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Winter Gloom

 Another very dull and gloomy and foggy morning at The Point with a surprising chilly SE wind.  A few Kittiwakes and Gannets moving west, 3 Skylarks came in and 24 Lapwing went out. On the beach  7 Snow Buntings brightened things up, the Glaucous and Yellow Legged Gull were on there usual stations and a Golden |Plover was running among the fishing boats. 
 At the ARC Pit 2+ Marsh Harriers, the Long-tailed Duck and 6+ Goldeneye kept there distance, 200+ Wigeon, 200+ Shovelor, 50+ Teal, 40+ Gadwall, 3 Pintail also Tufted Duck and Pochard. On the islands 1 Little Stint, 4 Dunlin, 50+ Golden Plover briefly and a Snipe. 30+ Tree Sparrows around the car park and Boulderwall Farm.
On the reserve Plenty of wildfowl on most the pits and on Dengemarsh 2 Great White Egrets, 500+ Golden Plovers, 1 Dunlin and 2+ Marsh Harriers.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Golden Plovers

 A drive around Walland first thing this morning looking for the Golden Plover flock and hopefully the Dotterel drew a blank.
Next stop the fishing boats 08.15-09.15 a slow hour:
Gannet: 40+ fishing off shore
R B Merganser: 7W
C Scoter : 6W
Great Skua: 1W
Kittiwake: 217W
2w Glaucous Gull and Y L Gull on the beach.
No sign of the Snow Buntings this morning.
At the observatory 100+ Redpolls trapped, mostly Common Redpoll. In the Moat 30+ Blackbirds and 1 Wheatear and far fewer finches moving today.
At Scotney 1000+ Golden Plover but could not find the Dotterel, also there 1000+ Lapwing, the feral flock of Barnacle and Emperor Geese with 1 Dark Bellied Brent Goose, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Merlin chasing Meadow Pipits.
Dengemarsh Gully held only 3 Redwing and a Skylark. On Dengemarsh 3 Marsh Harriers, 200+ Golden Plover, 4 Dunlin and 1+ Great White Egret.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A Very Good Day

Very little at sea from the fishing boats this morning 08.00-09.00:

R T Diver: 7W                                           Kittiwake: 15W & 5E
Gannets: no count                                      Y L Gull: 1 on beach
R B Merganser 2W                                    2w Glaucous Gull : on beach                                     
C Scoter: 27W 4E                                      Swallow: 3W
Gadwall: 3W                                              Goldfinch: 500+ S
Brent Geese: 12W & 13E                          Redpoll: 20+ N
G L Geese: 7W                                          Siskin: 10+ N
Great Skua: 1E                                           Snow Bunting: 4 on beach
Auks: 44W & 32E
A plod along the beach to the research station and back looking for Snow Buntings was fruitless until I got back to the car where they running around and under it giving me the opportunity to snap away at them. 

 As the sun came out I made the short trip to Hythe to see the Rough-legged Buzzard which showed very well though kept its distance from my lense. While I was there 2+ Cetti's Warblers were heard, 3+ Chiffchaffs were in the sallows round the sewage works with a large flock of Long-tailed Tits, 2+ Sparrowhawks hunted the Quarry and mid afternoon 2 Whooper Swans flew West over. As I was leaving I was told of 2 Short-eared Owls hunting over Littlestone Golf Course, a few minutes later I was watching 2 them Superb! Next stop the Woolpack Harrier roost where a minimum of 15 Marsh Harriers came in and a Common Buzzard flew through. Sadly no Hen or Pallid Harriers came in.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Slow Day

Another very dark dull and dreary morning at The Point. The sea was very quiet with just a few Brent Geese moving up and down the channel, 100+ Gannets and 100+ Auks mainly moving East, 2 Red-throated Divers West. The Snow Buntings were still around first thing and the Glaucous and Yellow-legged Gull still there, overhead 1000+ Goldfinches, c100 Redpolls, c30 Siskins. A plod along the back of the beach to research station and back beyond the old fishing boats found a 3 grounded Redwings, 4 Blackbirds and a Robin. Also a Stoat by the fishing sheds chasing a tired Redwing
12 still present this morning

Redwing fresh in at the fishing boats

Hunting tired migrants among the fishing boats?
 Dengemarsh Gully this afternoon held only 2 Redwing (one with an apparently broken wing), 1 Skylark, 6 Blackbirds and Wheatear. The Great White Egret could be seen from Dengemarsh Road along with 2 Marsh Harriers.
The last of the year?

Monday, 7 November 2011

Snow Buntings

1 of 12+ very flighty Snow Buntings on The Point today
 Sea watching from the fishing boats 08.00-10.00:
R T Diver: 6E & 2W & 2 on sea                Kittiwake: 21E & 24W
G C Grebe: 30+ on sea                               Y L Gull: 1 on beach
R N Grebe: 1W                                           2w Glaucous Gull on beach
Gannets: 357E                                            Great Skua: 3W & 1E                                           
Brent Geese: 34E & 71W                           Pomarine Skua: 1W                           
Shelduck: 4W                                             Auks: 48E & 120W
Wigeon: 5W                                               Starling: 800+ in off sea
Teal: 50W                                                  Goldfinch: 600+ overhead
Eider: 3E & 1W all adult drakes                Siskin: 6+ overhead
C Scoter: 17E & 256W                              Redpoll: 1+ overhead
Goldeneye: 1W                                          Snow Bunting 5 + 7 in off sea
Peregrine: 1 hunting off shore                    Swallow: 1E
Sanderling: 3E

Just along the coast at West Hythe the Rough-legged Buzzard was showing well but distantly. The gloomy weather not helping photography.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Excellent Sea Watch

When I arrived at the fishing boats at 08.15 TG was there. The following is our combined sightings from 07.00-13.45:
R T Diver: 6                                      Little Gull: 2
Gannets: c250                                    Med Gull: 2
G L Geese : 250                                 Glaucous Gull: 1
Brent Geese: 1978                             Y L Gull: 1
Shelduck: 36                                      Kittiwake: 117
Mallard: 12                                        Great Skua: 12
Pintail: 14                                           Pomarine Skua: 7
Wigeon: 455                                       Arctic Skua: 3
Shoveller: 32                                      Auks: 691
Teal: 233                                            Skylark: 19
Pochard: 4                                          Blackbird: 65 See pics below.
C Scoter: 283                                     Redwing: 19
Goosander: 17 in one flock                Fieldfare: 38
R B Merganser: 88                            Song Thush: 3
Curlew: 2                                           Starling: 999
Knot: 2                                               Goldfinch: 600
Sanderling: 8                                      Redpoll: 1
Dunlin: 18                                          Lapland Bunting: 3
Lapwing: 71                                       Snow Bunting: 3 in one flock

Lapland Bunting came in landed briefly then off again

First Attack

Second attack

Third attack

Final attack

All over