Monday, 31 December 2012

Kittiwake victims

Sea watching from the fishing boats this morning 08.30-10.30 produced:
Red-throated Diver: 2E  3W
Fulmar: 6W
Gannet: 595W
Brent Goose: 42E
Common Scoter:  11W  4E
Grey Plover: 1W
Knot: 31W
Dunlin: 21W
Kittiwake: 356W   Several were oiled
Little Gull: 5W
Guillemot: c150 off shore
Another anglers victim!
 On New Diggings the usual 2 Great White Egrets and on the ARC Pit 3 Smew were the highlights.
A few hundred mts from home looking very bedraggled in the heavy rain 41 Waxwings on Singleton Hill, Singleton by the roundabout.

Sunday, 30 December 2012


As I had some domestic stuff to do today I decided to spend an hour wandering around Singleton this morning. Less than 300mts from home I heard a trill and there was a Waxwing sitting high in a bush for just a few moments before disappearing into nearby gardens. At the top of the hill 4 Lesser  Redpolls  were feeding in some Birches. Near the lake a Nuthatch was calling and a Coal Tit was on a garden feeder as was Blue and Great Tits. A pleasant enough walk but not enough to change my mind about moving to the coast.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

A very good and busy seawatch

Thinking that not much would be happening at The Point I had leisurely breakfast and drive down arriving at the fishing boats at 09.45 just as party of 60 Brent Geese flew east over the shore. For the next 3 hrs there was a non stop westerly passage of sea birds except the Brent geese that were mainly west. With so much going on I am sure I missed quite a few birds especially when i trying to photograph the Little Gulls. Thanks to Kevin for helping me to keep count and the spotting the Pom. Totals for 09.45-12.45 as follows:
Red-throated Diver: 128W     11E
Great Crested Grebe: n/c but many on sea
Fulmar: 4W
Gannet: 692W   Including 1 adult with a flouresent yellow mantle colour marked?
Brent Goose: 812E  (in 26 flocks)   19W
Shelduck: 6E
Teal: 4W
Gadwall: 4W
Common Scoter: 11W
Dunlin: 79W
Sanderling: 10W
Grey Plover: 4W
Turnstone: 2W
Pomarine Skua: 1W
Auk: 1740W    (Majoity Guillemots)
Kittiwakes: 1364W
Little Gull: 28W
3w Glaucous Gull: on beach

See Here (Mick Southcott) for better images 

New Diggings held 2 Great White Egrets and 4 Goldeneye. Burrowes Pit held 6 Goldeneye, 100s of the usual wildfowl but no Sawbills. On the ARC 2 red head Smew, 4 Goldeneye, the usual wildfowl, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Great White Egret.

Friday, 28 December 2012

A Trudge in the Mud

By 10.00 I was going stir crazy, so I made my way to Orlestone Forest for a trudge in the mud but at least it was sheltered from the wind. Most the birds were seen around the car park, where a Coal Tit let me try my old 40D which considering the light and the rain did not perform to badly. On the trudge (Wellies a must) Most the common woodland species were seen, lots of Jays, Nuthatches, Long Tailed, Blue and Great Tits, several Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, 2 Bullfinches  but still a distinct lack of Redpoll and Siskin. 1.5 hrs later the rain got worse and I gave up and went home.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Err 20

I drove through Shadoxhurst this morning but was unable to find the Waxwings this morning. Which was probably just as well, as driving across Walland a Mistle Thrush, which are usually very skittish was feeding in a Hawthorn hedge, allowed me to pull up beside it and at point blank range let down the window get my camera off the back seat press the shutter and **** ** Err 20  SHOOTING IS NOT POSSIBLE DUE TO AN ERROR TURN THE CAMERA OFF blah blah!!!!!  It would seem the 7D has some reliability problems. Back to be repaired again!!
View from the Screen Hide
At the fishing boats from The Point, plenty of Guillemots, Razorbills, Red-throated Divers, Great Crested Grebes, Kittiwakes and Gannets tooing and froing off shore. No sign of the Glaucous Gull in its usual haunts.
On New Diggings 2 Great white Egrets, 6 red head Smew and 4 Goldeneye among the usual wildfowl.
The ARC still holds several 100s each of Teal and Gadwall, smaller numbers of Wigeon, Shoveller and Pochards and Tufted Duck. The Willow Trail is now very wet (Wellies recommended) but holds  3+ Water Rail, 2+ Cetti's Warblers and a Chiffchaff with the Tits.
Water levels on Burrowes Pit are also very high, with nowhere for the Gulls to roost it was no surprise that no Gulls were present. From Dennis's Hide 2 red head Smew and a Great White Egret, from Makepiece 6 Goosanders (1 drake), 2 Smew (1 drake), 100s of usual wildfowl, 30+ Pintail and 2 Marsh Harriers.
Late afternoon from the Screen Hide 2 Great White Egrets, 3 Marsh Harriers, a Bearded Tit called and 6 Goosander flew in, presumably the Burrowes birds. On Walland still 40+ Bewick Swans.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Shadoxhurst Waxwings

Part of a flock of 45 in the Willow behind the pub.
After picking the Chelsea Tractor up from the garage this morning, (New discs and pads all round ouch!!!!) The other half wanted us to play Father Christmas delivering presents and cards. Driving  up Woodchurch road I spotted the unmistakable silhouette of Waxwings, which were swaying in the near gale force wind at the top of the Willow Tree at the back of the Kings Head pub. After apologising to the driver behind me I counted them, then took a record shot and made a note to come back when the weather and light improves.    

Sunday, 23 December 2012

At least its stopped raining

After yesterdays wash out, it was good to get out into today's gloom. Across the marsh 39 Bewick Swans and small numbers of winter thrushes. New Diggings held 6 red head Smew, 4 Goldeneye and a Great white Egret. On the ARC with water levels not surprisingly still rising, 100s each of Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon and Shoveller with smaller numbers of Pochard, Tufted Duck, 6 Goldeneye, a single red head Smew and a Great white Egret. A walk to The Pines found 2 Chiffchaffs and 3 Goldcrests in the Tit flock, 2 Marsh Harriers over and c100 Golden Plover flew over.  The RSPB have now kindly put 3 strategically placed perches in front of Hanson Hide (probably to stop me whinging), which I am sure will soon be giving great views of Kingfishers and more. 
Great White Egret ARC from the screen 
On Burrowes Pit 1 Goosander, 2 Smew (1 drake) and 6 Goldeneye of note among the 100s of common wild fowl. As I was leaving a party of 5 red head Smew flew over the car park.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Blue Sky

What a difference a day makes. Blue sky, mild and plenty of birds on the sea. 100+ Red-throated divers on the sea and up and down off shore, 100s of Guillemots and some Razorbills on the sea and moving mainly west, numerous Great Crested Grebes on the sea, c60 Gannets off shore, 200+ Common Scoter (Juvenile/females) west, 12 Brent Geese E 7W, and a mixed flock of c100 Sanderling and Dunlin. The Glaucous Gull was bullying the Herring Gulls on the wooden tower.

 On the New Diggings 2 Great White Egrets, 4 red head Smew, 4 Goldeneye and again I could not find the Black-throated Diver. On the ARC 15 Tree Sparrows in the car park, several hundred dabblers at the south end (Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon, Shovellor, Mallard and 4 Pintail.) also c100 each of Pochard and Tufted Duck, 6 Goldeneye and a red head Smew. From Hanson another red head Smew a fly by Great White Egret but little else of note. The Willow Trail still holds a Chiffchaff and 2 Goldcrests in the Long-tailed Tit flock and 2+ Cetti's Warblers  by the trail.
A stroll along the sea wall at The Midrips was very disappointing avian wise, with just 14 Redshank, 21 Shelduck, 6 Mute Swans and a few Mallard on the pools, The only bop being a Kestrel, though on the sands Oystercatchers were in 3 figures probably due to the disturbance at Camber from the Kite surfers tearing up and down.
The Scotney complex still holds the c90 feral Barnacle Geese flock with its attendant dark bellied Brent Goose, c1000 Lapwing, c1000 Wigeon also 2 Marsh Harriers over the bunds.
On Walland at Tickners Lane the Yellowhammers had increased to 14 with 4 Reed Buntings and c 40 Chaffinches, also 2 Common Buzzards over.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

What a miserable day

A thoroughly miserable morning at The Point with heavy rain and strong winds blowing plenty of Gannets inshore to join the Guillemots and Red-throated Divers and Great crested Grebes. Needless to say I did not stop long. Another casualty of a fisherman's carelessness was a 1st year Great Black Backed Gull with its leg tied up with line, but still managing to beat off rivals for the fish head.
Still 2 Great White Egrets and a red head Smew on a very rough New Diggings, but I was unable to locate the Black-throated Diver.
With rain still coming down I went to the reserve centre for a hot chocolate. Viewing from the centre was all but impossible through windows which being lashed by the rain.
Scotney held the feral Barnacle Flock with a dark bellied Brent Goose that has been tagging along with them for a few days now, several hundred Wigeon, a few Lapwing and Golden Plover.
On a rain and windswept Walland 50+ Bewick Swans could be seen but little else of note.   

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Bits and pieces

Driving across Walland in the early morning gloom 52 Bewick Swans and the 2 Whooper swans could be seen at Midley but no sign of yesterday afternoons Waxwings.
The Black-throated Diver, 2 Great white Egrets, a red head Smew and 4 Goldeneye could be seen on the New Diggings from the causeway.
At sea from The Point the usual Auks, Red-throated Divers, Kittiwakes, Great Crested Grebes and Gannets tooing and froing. The Glaucous Gull was hunkered down on the beach by the fishing boats.
On the reserve a Great White Egret by the entrance track and 3+ Marsh harriers around. On Burrowes 5 Smew (1 drake), 2 Goosanders, 6 Goldeneye and 100s each of Gadwall, Teal, Shoveller, Wigeon, Pochard, Tufted Duck with 10+ Pintail. The highlight was 2 Herring Gulls trying to drown one another in front of Makepiece.
On Scotney 1000+ each of Golden Plover and Lapwing, 15 Dunlin, the feral Barnacle Geese and little else. 

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Grebes, Egrets and Waxwings

At The Point from the fishing boats this morning very few birds were moving off shore, but there were many on the sea feeding close inshore. As PT managed to count 350 Great Crested Grebes before losing the will to live yesterday, I thought I'd count them today. Totals as follows:

Red-throated Diver: 9
Cormorant: 68
Common Scoter: 6
Great crested Grebe: 731
Guillemot: 182
Kittiwake: 3

On New Diggings from the causeway 2 Great White Egrets, the juvenile Black Throated Diver(Pity it is not as obliging as the Dover Docks bird, I live in hope!) 3 Goldeneye and a Marsh Harrier. The ARC from the causeway at the south end 200+ Gadwall still, 4 Goldeneye and another Great white Egret.
On the reserve on Burrowes Pit another G.W.Egret, 6 Goldeneye, 6 Smew(1 drake) an adult Caspian Gull and 3+Marsh Harriers. A walk to the pines and round the Tower Pits found 15 Tree Sparrows in the car park, 2 Goldcrests, a Chiffchaff, another G.W.Egret (No.5), 3 Common Snipe flushed and 2 more Marsh Harriers. 
Late afternoon driving back across Walland I came across a flock of 18 Waxwings in the hedge north of the drying barns at Midley. The light was failing so only a few pics taken but all were poor. 

Monday, 17 December 2012

Twitching Again

 DW, GH, TG, OM and myself went to Queen Mother Reservoir today to see the Buff-bellied Pipit. The bird showed very well indeed and optics were not required. In fact it was too close most of the time under the concrete rim of perimeter mostly in deep shade. It was still difficult to photograph well in the sun light as it never stayed still moving very jerkily but still close. The Long-tailed Duck and Great Northern Diver were on show distantly It was nice to see a Grey Wagtail which put in an appearance on the concrete as few are seen on the deck at Dungeness.

Sunday, 16 December 2012


On the sea this morning plenty of Guillemots, Red-throated Divers and Kittiwakes tooing and froing off shore, along with a few Gannets and Common Scoter.
On New Diggings from the causeway, The Black-throated Diver still present, also 3 Great White Egrets, 2 Little Egrets and 3 Goldeneye there.
On the ARC from the causeway 200+ each of Gadwall, Teal and Shoveller
On the reserve 4 Smew including 1 drake, 2 red head Goosander, 4 Goldeneye, the usual Marsh Harriers and what looks like a near adult Caspian Gull.
I spent most the afternoon on Walland Marsh wandering Knee deep in mud and puddles that swamped my wellies. A ring tail Hen Harrier flew through and disappeared into East Sussex, a Male Hen Harrier made several appearances hunting along the ditches and bunds. Sparrowhawk, Merlin,  Peregrine, 2 Common Buzzards and double figures of Marsh Harrier were seen. These were instrumental in flushing 1000s each of Lapwing, Golden Plover and Starlings which all put on a superb aerial displays for most of the afternoon. At the reed bed I was watching at dusk several Bearded Tits were pinging, Water Rails squealing and 2 Stonechats hunted insects, also 1 Marsh Harrier roosted the first here for along time. The long staying Common Crane made a dusk flight around the marsh.     

Saturday, 15 December 2012

A lazy day

After a leisurely breakfast I made my way down to Walland Marsh. Driving past Johnson's Corner I didn't see any Waxwings but they can be mobile. (BB saw 3 there later). On the marsh a distinct lack of winter thrushes compared to this time last week. The Swans had moved to Cheyne Court where at least 64 Bewick and 2 Whoopers could be seen though they were being harassed by dogs. 6 Marsh harriers could be seen by the windmills.
A stroll along the sea wall at Littlestone golf course was bracing, 150+ each of Sanderling and Turnstone with a few Grey Plover were the highlights.
At Dungeness the 3w Glaucous Gull and an adult Yellow-legged Gull were in the roost behind the fish sales shop, off shore plenty of Guillemots, Kittiwakes and Red-throated divers. The roadside gull roost had a colour ringed Herring Gull of note, about the only bird that allowed me to point the camera at it.  
From the causeway the Black-throated Diver could be seen on the New Diggings with 3 Great White Egrets, ( A Slavonian Grebe also there per PT).
Most the afternoon was spent in the warmth and comfort of the visitor centre looking at Gulls. 2 Caspian Gulls flew off as I arrived (DW) at least 4 Yellow-legged Gulls were seen along with 1 Goosander and a Peregrine also the ever present Marsh Harriers and a 4th Great White Egret. 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Bits and pieces

A gloomy morning at Dungeness saw very little change on the sea. A few each of Red-throated Diver, Guillemot, Great Crested Grebe and Kittiwakes tooing and froing with the tide off shore, also a few each of Common Scoter and Brent Geese past. The 3w Glaucous gull was on the beach by the fishing boats.
Red-throated Divers head shape is not always difinitive
 The Black-throated Diver was still on New Diggings as was 4 Goldeneye. At the south end of the ARC Pit 250+ each of Teal and Gadwall. From Hanson 3 Goldeneye and 2 Marsh harriers were the highlights. A Chiffchaff and 2 Goldcrest  in the Long-tailed Tit flock in the Willow Trail also 2 Cetti's Warblers and several Squealing Water Rails there.
On the reserve 4 Smew(1 drake), 1 red head Goosander brightened the gloom, along with large numbers of the common wildfowl.
58 of 60+ present
On Walland fewer winter thrushes than yesterday, 30 Bewick Swans at Midley and 2 Common Buzzards. Early afternoon at Johnson's Corner the sun came out for a couple of minutes, as 60+ Waxwings sat atop bushes beside the main road.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Back on The Marsh

As I drove to Dungeness this morning there was still 20+ Waxwings at Johnson's Corner on the A2070 at Hamstreet, 60 were reported there this afternoon.
In Lydd turning on to Dungeness road 5 more Waxwings were feeding on Apples in the allotments.
A short look at the sea was all that was needed to know that not much was moving off shore just a few Auks and Kittiwakes.
From the causeway the Black-throated Diver could be seen on New Diggings and c200 Gadwall could be seen on the ARC Pit.
A walk around the reserve with TG saw 5 Smew(1 Drake), 1 red head Goosander, 4 Goldeneye, 4+ Marsh Harriers, 1 Great White Egret, 100s each of Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Pochard and Coot, lesser numbers of Tufted Duck and Pintail.
On the ARC from Hanson 2 Goldeneye, 1 Great White egret and 2 Marsh Harriers.
 A drive round Walland Marsh 22 Bewick Swans and 2 black Swans  from Bell Corner. Near Old Romney 2 Waxwings one of which posed in the sun for me. Noticeably less winter thrushes on the marsh today.
 Wandering around the paths on Walland this afternoon saw 100s of Golden Plover, 4 Snipe were flushed, 1 Common Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawks and distant views of the Common Crane and a Barn Owl.
 In one of the reed beds 4 Bearded Tits showed well, 2 Stonechats and several squealing Water Rails. c15 Marsh Harriers were seen but only 5 roosted where I was watching.
Common Crane Walland

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


After seeing the superb images of the Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll at Aldeburgh on various web sites, then being asked if I'd like to join DW and GH on a trip to see it today I was raring to go. We arrived just after 10.00 to see the birders that were present looking at nothing in particular, not a good sign! Asking one of them if the bird was still about, he told us it had flown towards the town and not been seen for a while, again not a good sign. We started walking back along the sea wall and after a few yards DW heard it call then again as it flew over our heads towards the Martello Tower and dropped out of site. We made our way towards the tower and much to her (GH) delight, DW and myself walked past it so she had to wave us back when she spotted it. From then on the bird behaved impeccably which is more than can be said for one or two photographers.
In the snow

Monday, 10 December 2012

More Barnacles

At Johnson's Corner this morning 36 Waxwings sitting in atop the roadside bushes.
The juvenile Black-throated Diver was still on New Diggings from the causeway this morning along with 2 Great White Egrets and 4 Goldeneye.
At Boulderwall 20+ Tree sparrows round the feeders and another Great White Egret in the field adjacent to the farm from the entrance track. Despite walking round the reserve twice this morning there was no sign of yesterdays Ring-necked Duck, but 5+ Marsh Harriers , 1 Bittern, 2 Bearded Tits, 5 Cetti's Warblers, a Chiffchaff, 1 Avocet, 2 red head Smew and a redhead Goosander were seen. On the ARC from Hanson 2 Goldeneye and a Kingfisher but little else of note. The Willow Trail held a roving Tit flock with Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits, 2 Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff.
A very wary party of Barnacle Geese
A look Scotney GP found little of note apart from the feral Barnacle Goose flock had grown from 60+ to 80+ including a very wary party of 6.
Late afternoon back on the reserve I made my way to Makepiece Hide to watch Gulls coming to roost sadly very few did, the Goosander put in another appearance as did did a Smew and the Avocet was still on its island.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Soon they will be gone!

With just a couple of hours to spare today I thought I'd spend the time with the local Waxwing flock (25 today). All to soon they will be gone so make the most of them. Once again the light was rubbish most the time.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Orlestone Forest

As it was brilliant still sunny morning and thinking that Walland and Dungeness would be crowded, I decided to go for a wander around Orlestone Forest. Parking in Faggs Wood the unofficial feeding station was very busy with countless Great and Blue Tits, 3+ Coal Tits, 4 Nuthatches, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, several Chaffinches, at least 6 Jays and a couple of Magpies.
Away from the car park the paths and tracks were very wet and muddy making it hard going in wellies, the birds were few and far between as well. A couple of Redpolls flew over as did a couple of Siskins but no Crossbills today, 4 Bullfinches were seen during the walk, a Tawny Owl called and Common Buzzard flew over. It was at least 2 hours into the walk before I came across a roving Tit flock containing at least 15 Long-tailed Tits more Blue,Great and Coal Tits, 2 Nuthatches and 2 Goldcrests. It was a very peaceful wander albeit quiet on the bird front. I did not take the camera today as I did not fancy carrying it all round the woods or leaving it in the car.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Even more Waxwings

 I thought i'd have a look at the berry bushes by Hamstreet Garden Centre this morning on my way to Dungeness, as back in December 2010 a party of Waxwings took up residence there for a week  or so. I pulled on to the verge and there they were 20+ Waxwing. They gave great views coming down to drink in a puddle beside the car. It was a pity the light was so poor and then it started to rain. Further on down the A2070 another 18 Waxwing were sat atop some bushes completely ignoring the traffic hurtling by. On Walland the 2 Whooper Swans were still associating with the Mute Swans and at least 32 Bewick Swans could be seen from Bell Corner with 2 Black Swans and more Mute swans.  4 more Waxwing with the 100s of winter thrushes at Midley.

On New Diggings the juvenile Black Throated Diver, 2 Great White Egrets and a Goldeneye among the usual wildfowl. At the south end of the ARC a flock of c100 Gadwall.
Down at The Point 100s of Guillemots and Great Crested Grebes with a few Red Throated Divers on the sea. Many Auks, Kittiwakes and a few Gannets and Divers were tooing and froing off shore.
The Glaucous Gull was perched on top of one of the containers.
On the reserve a red head Smew, 4 Goldeneye, 2 more Great White Egrets, 18 Pintail, c200 Wigeon and 2 Marsh Harriers were of note.
A visit to the ARC Hanson hide was in order after getting news news of a Pallas's Warbler there, alas I was unable to find it but did see 9 Long-tailed Tits, several Blue and Great Tits, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest, also a superb male Goldeneye there.
On the way back I stopped at the rubbish pile in Tickners Lane, where apart from the 100s of winter thrushes, there were 50+ Chaffinches and 6 Yellowhammers, as I drove away the male Hen Harrier flew across the field opposite.