Monday, 30 January 2012


Went to Blackdown today for the Parrot Crossbill but failed, good to catch with old friends though. The photographs of the bird claimed today seem some what unconvincing, but I am probably just grumpy because I did not see it.
20+ Common Crossbills seen including a male with faint wing bars also 1+ Woodlark.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Glaucous Gull

In a bitter south easterly at the point this morning the sea was once again full of birds. 2000+ Great Crested Grebes, 1000+ Auks and several hundred Cormorants on the sea, with many more tooing and froing along with 100+ Kittiwakes, 50+ Red Throated Divers, 50+ Gannets 2 Shelduck E, 7 Common Scoter W. On the beach I was unable to locate the Caspian Gull but the 2w Glaucous Gull reappeared after a weeks absence among the few gulls that were in the roost which was regularly disturbed by dog walkers and the many fisherman today.
On the ARC Pit fron the causeway in the rain 5 Smew including the drake, the Long Tailed Duck, 12+ Goldeneye and a Kingfisher flashed across. Around the Tower Pits another or the same Kingfisher, 1 Common Buzzard, 2 Marsh Harriers and 100+ Golden Plover flew over. 
On Scotney the only birds of note were 10 Dunlin, 3 Redshank, several hundred Lapwing, the feral Barnacle Geese Flock  and a Sparrowhawk flew through.
On Walland the 53 Bewick Swans were back at Midley this afternoon. 

Saturday, 28 January 2012


After a text from BB I went to straight to Lydd Airport, where the Dotterel after being refound by Neil B was giving good scope views, in the field beside the airport approach road among Golden Plover and Lapwing. Also seen there a Common Buzzard, a Peregrine, a Black Redstart and 8 Red Legged Partridge.
A couple of hours round the Tower Pits was disappointing bird wise with 2 Marsh Harriers, a Goldcrest, a Chiffchaff  and a Common Buzzard perched on the listening ears.  

Friday, 27 January 2012

Little Owl year tick

A lunch time start today after sorting out bits at home this morning. I went straight to the fishing boats which were bathed in sunshine where the Caspian Gull was immediately on show. On the sea only a few Auks, Grebes and Kittiwakes tooing and froing but 2-300 Cormorants were busy fishing. Again the Glaucous Gull was conspicuous by its absence.
On the ARC from the causeway 3 Smew including a smart drake, the Long Tailed Duck and fly by Bittern.
On the reserve Burrowes Pit was birdless. Not surprising as brush cutting was being done on the islands.

Christmas Dell was its usual peaceful self, with a single Common Snipe taking advantage of the newly cut reeds in front of the hide, up to 3 Marsh harriers quartering the reed beds a couple of Bearded Tits calling as was a Water Rail. The rest of the reserve was just as quiet with brief views of a Great White Egret, 4 Stonechats around the paths and 9 Tree Sparrows at the entrance.
On Walland this afternoon 2 Little Owls my first for the year, no sign of the Bewick Swans. At the Woolpack Harrier roost 4 Tufted Duck on the reservoir but no Harriers came into roost though 6+ were seen further out on the marsh and 2 Common Buzzards were seen.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Brent Geese

On my way to Dungeness there were still 53 Bewick Swans at Midley.
Sea watching from the fishing boats  (10.30-12.30) was kept interesting due to the large number of Brent Geese moving east, most were along way out and high.
Brent Geese: 2262E
Wigeon : 37 E
Numbers of Auks, Great Crested Grebes,Kittiwakes, Gannets and Red Throated Divers were well down on recent counts. The Caspian Gull was still on the beach.
At the ARC Pit from Hanson with MH this afternoon the Long Tailed Duck, 42 Bewick Swans, 4 red head Smew, 16 Goldeneye, 400+ Golden Plover, 2+ Marsh harrier, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2+ Cetti's Warblers and 2 Water Rail squealing.
MH and I then went to Dengemarsh hide which was very quiet. As we left I got a call about a Dotterel with the Golden Plover flock on the ARC. On arrival a very kind birder had the Dotterel lined up for us in his scope at 50x mag which was necessary as the birb was distant. We moved to the screen hide where we located the Dotterel at slightly closer range,  but it was still very difficult buried in among all the Golden Plover.
Back on Walland the Bewick Swans had gone so were presumably the ones relocated to the ARC Pit.

For some reason Blogger wont let me upload any pictures from my computer only from the internet!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


With the rain tipping down I arrived at the point at about 10.15 and stayed till 11.30.  On the sea things had not changed with 100s of Auks, Great Crested Grebes, Kittiwakes and smaller numbers of Red Throated Divers and Gannets. 68 Brent Geese moved east and 14 Common Scoter west. At the ARC a Great White Egret, 1 red head Smew, the Long Tailed Duck and 14 Goldeneye and a soggy Marsh Harrier.
With the rain still falling I decided to head home. As I drove across Walland near Midley I noticed a large pale shape flying way out in the field a male Hen Harrier, I quickly stopped grabbed the camera and managed a couple of extreme range shots in terrible visibility, before my ears were blasted by the horn of huge tractor filling my rear windscreen just as the bird turned and headed towards me. By the time I moved the car out the way the Harrier had crossed the road close behind me and was heading out to the windmills. ****! 
Further along the road the 53 Bewick Swans were still in there usual field. 

Monday, 23 January 2012

Back Home

A visit to Mum gave me the opportunity to try and see the 3 Snow Buntings at Widewater  my old stamping ground. The Buntings were not difficult to find and showed well in the early moring sun.
Also there 4 Little Egrets, 6+ Little Grebes, a Kingfisher, 1 Redshank and a Red Throated Diver off shore.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Little Change

A couple of hours plodding around Orlestone Forest was pleasant but not overly rewarding bird wise. I probably clocked up more dogs species than birds. 4 Bullfinches being the highlight with a few each of Great, Blue, Coal, Long Tailed Tits, Goldcrests and a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Where are all the Finches?

 On the beach at Dungeness little change in numbers of Razorbills, Guillemots, Red Throated Divers  and Great Crested Grebes. Though Kittiwakes seemed more numerous and my first Little Gull of the year was feeding back and forth along the surf along with hundreds of other gulls. Off shore there was very little movement except for 32 Wigeon moving west.
The 1w Caspian Gull was in the roost but no Glaucous Gull today.
On the reserve 2 red head Smew and the Long Tailed Duck were on the ARC and a Great White Egret was on Burrowes from Dennis Hide.
Round the tower pits a Common Snipe flushed from a boggy area, a Kingfisher flashed over and a Bittern briefly, also 2+ Marsh Harriers.
Out on Walland the 53 Bewicks still at Midley. 

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Man Flu

After spending all of yesterday and most of today indoors suffering from man flu (uploaded  1000+ pictures onto Flickr) I managed to drag myself to the fishing boats for an hour this afternoon. As I arrived the 1w Caspian Gull was on the track. On the sea 1000+ Great Crested Grebes, 1000+ Auks, 200+ Kittiwakes a few Gannets and a Bonxie west at 14.50.
Driving back across Walland still 53 Bewick Swans at Midley.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Wild and Wet

 At a very breezy and wet ARC Pit this morning the handsome drake Smew and a single redhead were at the southern end. Along with 6 Goldeneye and the Long Tailed Duck. On the New Diggings 1 Great White Egret and 6 Little Egrets.
11.30-12.30 at the fishing boats in very poor visibility, found most the Razorbills and Guillemots have moved on leaving several hundred Great Crested Grebes and a few Red Throated Divers with usual Gannets and Kittiwakes milling around off shore. The Caspian Gull and Glaucous Gull were conspicuous by there absence.
On Walland still 53 Bewick Swans at Midley, nearby 15+ Tree Sparrows in the bushes opposite the feeders, 50+ Fieldfare and 4 Mistle Thrushes at Midley Barn and 4 Marsh Harriers around the marsh.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Dull at Dungeness

An afternoon visit to the fishing boats in very dull drizzly conditions, with the fog horn blasting away the whole time  found less birds on the sea than yesterday, though still good numbers of Razorbills, Guillemots, Great Crested Grebes and Red Throated Divers. Gannets and Kittiwakes seemed more numerous  and 25 Common Scoter flew west in an hour. The 2w Glaucous Gull brightened up an otherwise gloomy beach.
On the ARC from the causeway viewing conditions were poor but I could still see 3 Smew including the adult drake.
On Walland at Midley the Bewick Swan herd has increased again, now 53 birds there including 5 juveniles, also 2 very bedraggled Marsh Harriers sitting in the same field.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Sea of Birds

First stop the fishing boats Dungeness. There was only 1 gull in the roost the Capian Gull. After taking a few more pics it was time to look at the sea. Wow the sea was carpeted with birds 2000+ Razorbills, several hundred each of Guillemots and Great Crested Grebes, 100+ Kittiwakes were patrolling up and down the beach and probably as many Red Throated Divers up and down off shore. Surprisingly few Gannets were at sea. The same Velvet Scoter made 3 fly pasts, 2 Red Breasted Mergansers west and 35 Brent Geese east.  
1w Caspian Gull

At the ARC 2 red head Smew, 10+ Goldeneye, 2 Marsh Harriers, a Kingfisher near the screen hide, 2 Chiffchaffs and 2 Goldcrests in the pines and 4 Tree Sparrows in the car park.
At Scotney 3 Greater White-fronted Geese  at the Sussex end along with 2 more Marsh Harriers.
Back at the beach this afternoon not quite so many Auks on the sea, the Velvet Scoter did another fly past as did a few Common Scoters, the 2w Glaucous Gull was following a fishing boat and Pomarine Skua chasing gulls close in shore disappeared to the west.  

Monday, 16 January 2012


Distant record of bird with black neck collar with white "K" and SY on side

The forecast was for a clear still sunny day perfect for a visit to Sheppey. I parked at Muswell Manor and walked down the track (about half a mile) to the raised bank between the RSPB fields. A little way down the bank I heard the first Lapland Bunting in with some Skylarks. A little further on a large mixed flock of Lapland Buntings and Skylarks got up from the middle of one field and wheeled around high dropping into the middle of the next field. This was the general pattern for the next hour and I estimate that there was around 30 present. Occasionally a Lapland Bunting could be seen briefly scuttling in the field but only through the telescope. While I was watching them a Great White Egret flew past, a Merlin  perched on some ironwork, a ring tail Hen Harrier sat in a field and 3-4 Marsh Harriers were hunting.
A long plod out to the Swale NR to look at the Geese was rewarded with good but distant scope views of c150 Greater White-fronted Geese but no Tundra Bean. Also seen along the bank another ring tail Hen Harrier, 1 Short-Eared Owl and 3 more Marsh harriers.
From the Harty raptor viewpoint 2 Common Buzzards, 1 Short-Eared Owl, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier, 1 Merlin, 4 Marsh Harriers and 1 Ruff.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Harrier Roost

From the fishing boats this morning in brisk south easterly still plenty of Guillemots, Razorbills, Red Throated Divers and Great Crested Grebes on the sea, though it did not seem as many yesterday but counting was difficult in a choppy sea. Kittiwakes and Gannets were milling around off shore and 127 Brent Geese flew east. The 2w Glaucous Gull was in the roost as was the 1w Caspian Gull later.
On the ARC from the causeway the Long Tailed Duck, 2 red head Smew, 14 Goldeneye and a Marsh Harrier were at the south end.
In 2 hour plod around the reserve the highlights were 2 Tree Sparrows, 2 Marsh Harriers and 200+ Golden Plover at the back of Hookers.
On Walland still 48 Bewick Swans including 5 juveniles. At dusk a minimum of 18 Marsh Harriers came into the marsh over the reed bed I was watching but none roosted there. No Hen Harriers were seen this evening.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Frosty Walland

On very frosty Walland Marsh this morning 2 Mistle Thrushes with 50+ Fieldfare, 2 Green Woodpeckers and a Common Buzzard in the hedges and fields at the northern end of the marsh. In the bushes opposite the feeders 15+ Tree Sparrows and in the field opposite a Hen Harrier (prob 1st fem) quartering the dykes though always distant. At Midley the Bewick Swan herd has increased to 48 including 5 juveniles also 2+ marsh harriers there.
 A watch from the fishing boats 10.35-11.35 was productive with 109 (3,46,6,44,1,2,7) Brent Geese moving east. A single flock of 92 Red Throated Divers flew west out of Hythe Bay with many more s on the sea and toing and froing. Several 100s Guillemots and Razorbills of shore in more or less equal numbers, also 100+ Kittiwakes, 50+ Gannets 1000+ Great Crested Grebes off shore, 3 Sanderling and a Dunlin flew west and the 2w Glaucous Gull appeared grabbing a small flat fish when the fishing boat came ashore.

Friday, 13 January 2012

East Kent

Water Pipit
 A still bright morning at Grove Ferry was only spoilt by the lack of birds. Although some good birds were seen numbers of them and the common ones were poor or non existent.  An hour sat in Marsh Hide produced 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Redshank, 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Water Pipit, 1 Marsh Harrier in front the hide. Harrisons Drove had 1 Grey Heron. David Feest hide held 40+ Teal, 6 Gadwall, 12 Shoveler and 4 Tufted Duck. 4 Cetti's warblers were heard, 3 Bearded Tits, 1 Ring Tail Hen Harrier and 3 Marsh Harriers were seen from the paths between the hides. From the viewing ramp 2 Ruff and 100+ Lapwing.
 The afternoon was spent at Oare Marshes where good numbers of Black Tailed Godwits, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Snipe, Redshank, Dunlin a few Avocet and Ringed Plovers were roosting along with many Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Pintail. From the sea wall 200+ Avocet were on the Swale, on the wall and salt marsh 50+ Reed Buntings, 30+ Skylark, 20+ Meadow Pipits and 2 Rock Pipits. From the sea wall the adult Rough Legged Buzzard could be seen with 2 Common Buzzards and 2+ Marsh Harriers over Mocketts Farm. At the east end of the reserve 2 showy Water Rails performed.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Out and About

In Orlestone Forest this morning a distant Tawny Owl was calling as I got out the car and things went downhill from then. After an hour and half's plod just a few Great and Blue Tits, the only finches were a few Chaffinches and fly over Siskin, a Nuthatch calling deep in the wood and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. It was time to cut my losses and try and find the Purple Sandpipers at Hythe that I have heard so much about. This time I was not disappointed as I could see them as I parked the car. These were the first I have seen since moving from Shoreham in West Sussex. On closer inspection there was 7 Purple Sandpipers on the rock groyne also 18 Turnstones that flew off when disturbed by a dog, fortunately the Sandpipers were very confiding taking no notice of the dog or me.     

Just lately the birds on the beach at Dungeness is like Ground Hog day and today was no different.
On New Diggings it looks like the shooters that were seen on Tuesday in the boats presumably paid for by DEFRA were very efficient. Nice to know our taxes are being used efficiently.
On the ARC the Drake Smew and 2 red Head Smew with the Long Tailed Duck.
On Walland Marsh a flock of 15 Corn Buntings at Hawthorn Corner my first this year also 4 Mistle Thrushes there. The Bewick Swan herd at Midley has risen to 45 including 5 juveniles, 20+ Tree Sparrows round the feeders and 50+ Fieldfare in the hedges. The Woolpack Harrier roost was very disappointing with a maximum 6 Marsh Harriers seen and only 1 adult male roosted also 2 Common Buzzards there. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

More of the same

From the fishing boats this morning still lots of activity off shore with good numbers of Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Gannet, Red Throated Divers and 7 Common Scoter coming and going but no real movement.
On New Diggings from the causeway 2 red head Smew and 1 Great White Egret and on the ARC 4 Marsh Harriers, 1 red head Smew, the Long Tailed Duck and a Common Buzzard could be seen perched on the Listening Ears.
4 Stonechats and a Raven between Dengemarsh and Galloways.
At Scotney 500+ Golden Plover, 3 Marsh Harriers, 2 more Stonechats but little else.
Still 1 Whitefronted Goose with Greylags and Canada Geese at Pigwell, 36 Bewick Swans at Midley and 100+ Fieldfare nearby. 

Monday, 9 January 2012

No Change

Caspian Gull
 The Caspian Gull was on the beach near the fishing boats along with hundreds of other gulls.
The sea was very busy with many Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills,Gannets, Red Throated Divers and Great Crested Grebes all toing and froing off shore with no real movement. Later in the morning the 2w Glaucous Gull joined them.
 On New Diggings 2 red head Smew, 4 Little Egrets, 2 Marsh harriers and a Great White Egret.
On the ARC from Hanson the Long Tailed Duck, 3 Smew including a superb drake, 12+ Goldeneye including 6+ males some displaying, 2+ Marsh Harriers, 2 Peregrines,several hundred Golden Plover and Lapwing, a lone Redshank and 3 Chiffchaffs were in the bushes next to the hide.

Greater White-fronted Geese
 A walk round the pits at the back of Lydd was rewarded finding 6 Greater White-fronted Geese in mixed flock of c400 Greylags and Canada Geese
The Bewick Swan herd on Walland has now increased to 36 but still only 2 juveniles. At the Harrier Roost this evening a minimum of 18 Marsh Harriers arrived but only 3 stopped to roost, also 2 Common Buzzards were around. 

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Over the Border

As an overcast virtually wind less day for a change dawned I thought I might try Pett Bay and levels.
Being unable to locate any Scoter on the sea and just a few Red Throated Divers, Auks, Great Crested Grebes, 1 Eider and a few fly by Gannets, I took a walk up the Canal from which the 4 Pinkfeet, 12 Whitefronted Geese, 2 Brent Geese, the Bar Headed Goose with Greylags and Canada Geese could be seen. Passerines were few and far between and raptors non existent.
A stop at Northpoint G.P. on the back found the pit virtually devoid of wild fowl but 30+ Snipe, 4 Redshank and 20 Ringed Plover on the saltings. A large flock of Golden Plover and Lapwings could be seen in the distance over Rye Harbour.
At Scotney nothing of note and on Walland a Merlin over Midley Barn, nearby the Bewick Swan herd has increased to 34.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Grey Ghost

 At last a still sunny morning so Galloways first thing seemed a good choice. Once there 2 Stonechats, 4 Mippits and 6 Red Legged Partridge was all that was on offer till just as I got back into the car a Short Eared Owl popped up hunting the rough. MH had good views this afternoon.
 After Galloways I met MH at the ARC at Hanson where we saw the first Drake Smew of the winter at Dungeness with up to 4 red heads. A Cetti's Warbler showed well in front the hide but i was to slow with the camera to get publishable shots and again with a Bittern that flew across in front the hide. 2+ Water Rails were squealing by the hide and 2 Marsh Harriers flew by.
On New Diggings 1 Great White Egret and a Black Necked Grebe was new.
Dengemarsh held another Marsh Harrier and 6 Little Grebes and little else. A look at Hookers for Bearded Tits was a failure. Beside the path to Dennis hide several Tree Sparrows were sun bathing and from the hide the Long tailed Duck could be seen.
On Walland the 32 Bewick Swans still near Midley Barns and 200+ Golden Plover over.
At the Harrier roost near The Woolpack 50+ Fieldfare were in the Hawthorns, a Merlin sat on gate post, a minimum of 16 Marsh Harriers roosted and late on a superb adult male Hen Harrier ghosted in over the reed bed, spending a few minutes picking his roosting spot and being buzzed briefly by a Peregrine ,before dropping into the reeds to roost. A brilliant end to a good day birding.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Stormy Dungeness

On the beach at Dungeness in gale force winds birding was some what difficult even from the shelter of a rocking car. Among the hundreds of gulls sheltering on the beach was the Caspian Gull and the Glaucous Gull also a Kittiwake.
At sea many Auks, Kittiwakes and Gannets with fewer Red Throated Divers were flying up and down and still several hundred Great Crested Grebes on the sea.
On New Diggings 2 Great White Egrets and 8 Little Egrets on the sheltered side.
On the ARC from Hanson most the islands have disappeared but 300+ Lapwing, 300+ Wigeon, 100+ Teal, 3 Pintail and a Marsh Harrier.
A thrash around the Tower Pits for Mondays Jack Snipe was fruitless but at the pines 15+ Long Tailed Tits and a Chiffchaff.
Back on the beach no change.
The ARC from the causeway mid afternoon and the Long Tailed Duck appeared as did 2 red head Smew and a Kingfisher.
At Scotney the feral flock of Barnacle Geese, 300 + Greylag Geese and a few Wigeon, Pintail and Marsh Harrier.
On Walland still 32 Bewick Swans near Midley Barn.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Wild at Dungeness

Taken at Faggs Wood car park at ISO 2500
The Caspian Gull was doing its best to shelter behind some scant vegetation with the other Gulls but sea watching was a wash out due to the visibility in the gale force winds. 2 Great White Egrets could just about be made out on New Diggings but most birds were hidden in shelter.
A stop at Faggs Wood added a few new passerines (Bullfinch, Lesser Redpoll and Nuthatch) for the year and a confiding Great Spotted Woodpecker would have made a much better picture in reasonable light.  

Monday, 2 January 2012

Snipe Surprise

Leucistic Grey Heron
Still plenty of Auks, Gannets, Kittiwakes, G C Grebes and R T Divers off the point today. The Caspian Gull showing in the roost and the Glaucous Gull on the exposed sand.
On the ARC from the causeway 3 red head Smew, the Long Tailed Duck, 6 Goldeneye and a Marsh harrier. Opposite on New Diggings1 red head Smew, 2 Great White Egrets and the Leucistic Grey Heron.
By the Water Tower I flushed a Jack Snipe and a Chiffchaff in the bushes.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Damp at Dunge

A quick look around the peninsular today found Still plenty of Guillemots, Razorbills, R.T.Divers, Gannets, Kittiwakes and G C Grebes on the sea. On the beach the Caspian Gull in the roost, a very bedraggled Merlin sat on the beach briefly and a Kittiwake posed by the concrete road.
From the causeway the ARC and New Diggings were virtually invisible in the heavy rain but at least 1 Great White Egret and 3 Litttle Egrets could be made out on the New Diggings.
On Walland still 32 Bewick Swans at Midley and 100+ Fieldfares in the hedges.