Friday, 30 November 2012


Sea watch The Point Dungeness 08.15-09.00:
Red-throated Diver: 47w    26E
Gannet: c15 off shore
Brent Goose: 9E
Shelduck: 28w    16E
Wigeon: 9w
Common Scoter: 32w    8E
Red-breasted Merganser: 2w
3w Glaucous Gull: 1 on beach
Yellow-legged Gull: 1ad on beach
Mediterranean Gull: 1w
Kittiwake: 16E  4w
Auk sp: 138E        49w
Starling: c140 in
Black-throated Diver taken in terrible light conditions
 Driving across the causeway 2 Great White Egrets could be seen on the New Diggings, around the Tower Pits 4 Common Snipe, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2  Cetti's Warblers, a Chiffchaff, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Green Woodpeckers and 15+ Tree Sparrows in the car park.
A check of Scotney found a Slavonian Grebe at the Sussex end but little else of note.
Back at New Diggings after hearing of a diver sp there (PT). The diver was soon located and turned out to be juvenile Black-throated Diver. Most of the afternoon was spent with MH in his new all singing all dancing Chelsea tractor visiting Denge Marsh, where apart from a Marsh Harrier Little of note was seen, a look from Dennis's hide found 4 Goldeneye, a Great White Egret and distant views of the Diver. We then drove round to Galloways which was very disappointing as nothing of note was seen.
Leaving MH I started for home, reaching Lydd roundabout I got a call from BB about 5 Waxwings at Cheyne Court, 5 minutes later I pulled up to see them perched in Hawthorn, just about had time to fire off some record shots at 2000 iso before they moved of to roost as a Merlin landed atop an adjacent bush. While apologising to a couple of other birders for nearly forcing them off the road on my way to the Waxwings(they pulled onto the verge to let me pass) a Barn Owl appeared and flew around for a few minutes and a Common Buzzard ghosted past to roost.
Taken in near dark at 2000 iso

Thursday, 29 November 2012

A Good Day on Walland

Sea Watch from The Point Dungeness with TG 07.30- 10.00:

Great Northern Diver: 2E                           Auk sp: 301E  266w
Red-throated Diver:  23E    48w                 Kittiwake: 7E
Gannet: 7 off shore                                    Mediterranean Gull: 3W
Brent Goose: 30E  61w                              Merlin: 1 in off
Shelduck: 81E  41w                                   Woodcock: 1 in off
Eider: 2E  then West                                  Starling: 86 in off
Common Scoter: 15E 62w
Goldeneye: 1E
Red-breasted Merganser: 5E
Wigeon: 122w
Pintail: 8E
Shoveler: 14w
Teal: 39w
 The rest of my day was spent wandering around some the lanes and paths of Walland Marsh. As I was scanning a Mute Swan flock for the Whooper Swans, 11 Bewick Swans flew over, no sign of the Whoopers but a Black Swan in with the Mutes.
As I wandered round the lanes and paths the bushes were alive with 100s Fieldfare and Redwing with good numbers of Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and a few Mistle Thrushes all devouring the Hawthorns. The Thrushes attracted the attention of a Merlin and at least 2 Sparrowhawks. Reaching  Midley I relocated the 11 Bewick Swans (6 adults and 5 juveniles).
During the day on the marsh a minimum of 18 Marsh Harriers were seen, 2 Common Buzzards, a Barn Owl at dusk, 1000s of Golden Plover, 1000s of Lapwing, 9 Common Snipe, several Bearded Tits and few Water Rails squealing in the ditches.  

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Harrier Roost

The Point, Dungeness 07.30-10.30:
Red-throated Diver: 55w      18E                      Auk sp:  361w    30E
Black-throated Diver: 1w                                 Guillemot:  6w
Gannet: 18E                                                   3w Glaucous Gull:  1 on beach
Brent Goose:  55w   3E                                    Yellow Legged Gull: 1 on beach
Shelduck:  20w   65E                                        Mediterranean Gull:  4w  1E
Pintail:  6E                                                       Kittiwake: 10E
Wigeon:  13w   14E                                          Peregrine: 2 E
Teal:  2w                                                         Starling: 705 in
Common Scoter: 36w   33E
Red-breasted Merganser: 5w

Knot Littlestone beach
 A lunchtime walk along Littlestone golf course sea wall found c200 Sanderling, c150 Dunlin, 4 Knot, 8 Grey Plover, c200 Turnstone and a Black Redstart of note.
Superb male Hen Harrier. Picture taken in near dark moments before it dropped in to roost 
Most the afternoon was spent walking out from The Woolpack to fields by the wind mills. During this walk c14 Marsh Harriers were seen along with c2000 Golden Plover, c3000 Lapwing, 6 Snipe, 500+ Fieldfare and 10 Meadow Pipits. Getting back to the reed bed at c15.30  in the hope that some Harriers would roost there today. Waiting for the Harriers  to roost a Common Buzzard was seen, along with many more Golden Plover, Water Rail squealing and Bearded Tits pinging. Soon several Marsh Harriers were circling the reed bed being joined by a superb male Hen Harrier and huge female Peregrine that was as big as the Hen Harrier. Eventually 10 Marsh Harriers roosted as did the Hen Harrier which dropped in last at 16.18. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


The Point, Dungeness 08.00-09.30:
Great Northern Diver: 1 on sea                        Starling: 100 in
Red Throated diver: 77w  5E                          Guillemot: 4w
Gannet: 3w                                                       Auk sp:  61w
Shelduck:  2w 1E                                             Kittiwake: 7w  2E
Teal:  2w                                                          3w Glaucous Gull: 1 on beach
Wigeon: 4w                                                      Yellow-legged Gull: 1 adult on beach                                                 
Common Scoter: 1w                                          Black Redstart: 1 on beach

Record of Great northern Diver. A surprisingly rare bird at Dungeness.

 In the ARC car park 2 Bramblings feeding with c10 Tree Sparrows and 15 Chaffinches. 2 Marsh Harriers over. A walk around the Tower Pits produced 3 Common Snipe, 4 Redwing, 2 Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff of note.
2 Great White Egrets on New Diggings viewable from the causeway with another on Burrowes Pit, also 4 Goldeneye there and 4 Marsh harriers over the Open Pits
This afternoon at Scotney c2000 Lapwing, c1000 Golden Plover, c500 Greylag Geese and the feral Barnacle Geese.
Across Walland Marsh c1000 Fieldfare, c200 Redwing and 3 Marsh Harriers of note. No sign of the Whooper Swans at Midley. At the rubbish heap in Tickners Lane 6 Yellowhammers and c50 Chaffinches.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Barn Owl

Dungeness Point 08.15-09.15 with TG a slow sea watch:

Red-throated Diver: 6w
Fulmar: 2w
Gannet: 7w
Common Scoter: 9w
Red-breasted Merganser: 2w
Guillemot: 21w
Auk sp: 34w
Kittiwake: 51w
Starling: 40 in
Goldfinch: 26w
Linnet: 14w
From the causeway 2 Great White Egrets and 2 Little Egrets on New Diggings.
From the entrance track to the reserve a Barn Owl amazingly my first one this year, hunting at c11.00hrs in the rain probably means its starving. Elsewhere on the reserve another Great White Egret on Burrowes Pit, 4+ Marsh Harriers around but little else of note in such wet and windy conditions. 

Sunday, 25 November 2012


After spending all day Friday in West Sussex and yesterday a wash out it was good to get out this morning for a bit woodland birding in Orlestone Forest. Parking in Faggs Wood the fence was busy with Tits, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Chaffinches and Jays. Walking round the flooded tracks was hard work and very slippery. Away from the car park birds were thin on the ground, though 4 Bullfinches and a Common Buzzard were seen but no Crossbills.  

Late morning at The Point with frequent showers there was little moving at sea, but 27 Common Scoter, 4 Red-throated Divers and a few each of Gannet and Kittiwake and still good numbers of Guillemots on the sea.
Driving across the causeway 3 Great White Egrets could be seen on New Diggings. From Hanson 2 Marsh Harriers and 4 Goldeneye were the only note worthy sightings on a now very full ARC Pit.
Round the car park bushes 6+ tree sparrows and a Chiffchaff.
At Scotney the feral Barnacle Geese along with several hundred Greylag Geese, 5 Dunlin, 1 Redshank and 2 Marsh Harriers.
At Midley the 2 Whooper Swans still in the Kale Field with the Mute Swans and several 100s of Fieldfare and Redwing and 9 Tree sparrows were in the bushes.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Good Light

From the fishing boats this morning many Guillemots and Great Crested Grebes tooing and froing  off shore along with a some Gannets and Kittiwakes, also a few Common Scoter and Red-throated Divers but no real movement. C150 Goldfinches over the beach, the Glaucous Gull eluded me today though in truth I didn't really try very hard to find it.
A visit to Lade North Pit found the Long-tailed Duck eventually being cooperative after some patient waiting behind a bush. While waiting a Little Grebe surfaced with a small fish in front of me not realising I was there, also 50+ Curlew flew through and Cetti's Warbler blasted out its song just a couple of feet from me.    

 A late morning plod out to The Patch was disappointing with just c40 Black-headed Gulls over the boil and no Gulls roosting in front the hide.
 As I drove across a very windswept causeway 4 Great White Egrets flew over into the ARC Pit. A quick walk from the car park to the Screen hide revealed all 4 together sheltering from the wind though distant. Also there of note 2 Little Egrets and 2 Marsh Harriers.
A stop at Faggs Wood car park unauthorised feeding station, found up 3 Great spotted Woodpeckers, 4 Nuthatches, 4 Jays and numerous Tits and Chaffinches feeding on and around the fence. When the sun is out brilliant for photography. 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Wind and Rain

This morning as I parked at the end of the concrete road at The Point, the Glaucous Gull landed beside the car and remained there for the duration of my sea watch. Very little movement off shore in the southerly gale and rain c20 Guillemots, c25 Gannets, 4 Kittiwakes, 9 Red-throated Divers and 3 Common Scoter. At The Patch the highlight was a juvenile Little Gull and bedraggled Goldcrest behind the hide.
Up to 3 Great White Egrets could be seen on New Diggings from the causeway. On Walland Marsh the 2 Whooper Swans still at Midley also c600 Fieldfares there. With the weather still lousy I gave up and came home.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Dungeness Fishing boats 08.15-10.00:

Red-throated Diver: 4 on sea
Great Crested Grebe: c40 on sea
Gannet: 67w
Common Scoter: 86w 3E
Red-breasted Merganser: 2w
Mallard: 2w
Kittiwake: 428w over whelming majority were adults.
Glaucous Gull: 1 on beach
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 on beach
Guillemot: c50 on sea
Auk sp: 143w

The Patch 11.00-12.30
Most of my time was spent scanning the Herring Gulls for Caspian Gulls failing dismally.

Common Scoter: 48w 16E
Mediterranean Gull: 1ad in roost
Kittiwake: 9 in roost all ads 72w
Guillemot: c40 on sea
Auk sp: 38w
Black Redstart: 1 behind hide

2 Great White Egrets on the New Diggings viewable from the causeway.

At Midley the 2 Whooper Swans still in the Kale field. Near The Woolpack the Common Crane flew over the car flushed by the local hunt. 

Monday, 19 November 2012

2 Snow Buntings and 5 Great White Egrets

A quick stop at Hamstreet Garden Centre this morning found a Great White Egret wading about in the canal with a Little Egret.
From the fishing boats Great Crested grebe numbers have increased with 124 in small area in front the boats along with 4 Red-throated Divers and 230 Guillemots. 42 Common Scoter flew west as did   2 Velvet Scoter, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, 29 Brent Geese and 47 Kittiwakes. On the beach the 3w Glaucous Gull and the adult Yellow-legged Gull. 
A walk along the sea wall from Littlestone Tower to St Marys Bay and back found 2 obliging Snow Buntings stripping grass seeds by the beach, several 100s of Oystercatchers, c100 Turnstone, c30 Curlew, c20 Sanderling, 5 Dunlin, 5 Knot and 4 Ringed Plover. 
Munching seeds
Showing off his bling

Stripping grass seeds

Stripping grass seeds
At the ARC Pit 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Chiffchaffs and 3 Goldcrests of note.
On the reserve 4 Great White Egrets, 2 Goldeneye and a Common Scoter of note.
The 2 Whooper Swans were still with the Mute swans in the Kale field at Midley late afternoon. 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Harrier Roost

In Faggs Wood this morning most the common woodland birds were coming to the seed on the fence in the car park until the dog walkers arrived.

 At Lade north pit the Long-tailed duck was present though some what skittish. No sign of the Ruddy Ducks that had been there for a while which probably explains the Long tailed Ducks behaviour.
At The Point very quiet on the sea, on the beach the Glaucous Gull and Yellow-legged Gull still present. The Snow Bunting was still at Littlestone Golf Course per (BH)
2 Great White Egrets on New Diggings with another on the ARC Pit and another on the canal at Hamstreet (BB). At the pines 6+ Goldcrests, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Green Woodpeckers and 2 Marsh Harriers.
At Midley the 2 Whooper Swans back with the Mute Swans in the Kale field. Nearby still 1 Brambling with the Tree Sparrow Flock.
The Harrier roost count was again disappointing at the reed bed I watch. The same as last month no Harriers roosted there tonight, but a minimum of 12 Marsh Harriers flew over towards a nearby roost also an adult male Hen Harrier. Presumably the Scotney Common Crane was relocated in private area of the marsh.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Snow Bunting

Spent most the day house hunting, but persuaded the other half to have a walk along the sea wall at Littlestone Golf Course, where I came across this Snow Bunting a different bird to last week. Only had my 40D with 100-300 lens with me.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Official Hand Over

At lunch time today EDF formally handed over the new hide that over looks The Patch, replacing the one that disappeared in a storm last winter.
Barney and friends at the hand over
When I arrived at the old lighthouse garden Dungeness this morning it was cold and grey and getting greyer and foggier as the morning progressed. A few birders were already watching the Pallas's Warbler darting around the garden, also a Firecrest, Goldcrest and Chiffchaff. A plod around The Desert found c30 Redwing, c30 Song Thrushes, c15 Blackbirds, 7 Common Snipe, a Black Redstart, a Merlin having a Goldfinch for breakfast and a Golden Plover high overhead repeatedly flying round the area.
 At the fishing boats the 3w Glaucous Gull and adult Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Red-throated Divers on the sea with 2 Guillemots.
 A wander round the moat flushed a Woodcock and 2 Goldcrest there.
At the ARC a Great White Egret and a couple of Cetti's Warblers of note and another Great White Egret on New Diggings.
TG found another Pallas's Warbler in the trapping area and recorded it calling.
After the hand over of the hide I had another look at the Pallas's Warbler in the garden, but with the fog getting worse and the appalling light there was no chance of any decent pics, I consoled myself at the chip shop with pie and chips.
Couldn't resist a couple more shots of this stunner

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Another Pallas's Warbler

Arriving at The Point at c07.45 there was no wind and the sea was flat calm. A plod around the containers and fishing boats found the Glaucous Gull and the Yellow-legged Gull, also 4 Redwing and 2 Goldcrests foraging round the old nets. Overhead a few Stock Doves and Wood Pigeons went out and a Redpoll and 2 Siskins flew over avoiding a Merlin. Strangest was Brent goose with an identity crisis roosting with the Great Black Backed Gulls. At the obs yesterdays Pallas's Warbler had gone. But as a Woodcock and Woodlark had been recorded I went for tramp around the trapping area with TG where we recorded 2 newly arrived Common Buzzards and ring tail Hen Harrier, 12 Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush, 17 Redwing, 44 Blackbirds, 8 Redpoll, 13 Siskin and 6 Brambling.
There was no sign of The Common Crane at Scotney , not surprising since a quad bike was tearing around the stubble field.
A Pallas's Warbler was seen in Denge Marsh Gulley early morning (BM) but quickly moved on. I met King Squacco down the gully late morning but could only find a flock of c10 Goldcrests. While there a call from DW alerted me to another Pallas's Warbler in the Lighthouse Garden, minutes later I was on site and shortly after the Pallas's appeared. A different bird to yesterday as its rump was much brighter. It was moving around the garden extremely quickly, often in company of a Firecrest allowing very few photo opportunities. While there a Brambling landed in the Sycamore and a Black Redstart made several visits to the garden.

Munching a Bluebottle

Yesterdays Firecrest

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Pallas's Warbler

Across the marsh this morning the Whooper Swans were notable by there absence. The sea was very quiet this morning at The Point With just a couple of Red-throated Divers on the sea with a Guillemot and a few Gannets and Kittiwakes off shore. On the beach The 3w Glaucous Gull and the Yellow-legged Gull in there usual spot. While chatting to PT a Lapland Bunting flew over, further along the beach a Merlin dashed between the containers. After having a quick look from Hanson where  a Great White Egret was the only notable bird, I met King Squacco in the Willow Trail. We wandered up to the pines noting a couple of Cetti's Warblers, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Marsh Harrier and 3+ Chiffchaffs. While there I got a call from DW with news of Pallas's Warbler in the observatory garden. We quickly made our way there and were soon watching this gorgeous sprite which showed well throughout the the day to the few that came to see it. Also present 5+Goldcrest, a Firecrest and a Black Redstart.