Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Another stormy day!

11,45-13.00 from the fishing boats:

Red-throated Diver: 5W
Fulmar: 17W
Gannet: 248W
Brent Goose: 140E in 3 flocks cutting across The Point behind the boats.
Wigeon: 7W
Turnstone: 6 on beach
Kittiwake: c150W
Guillemot: 17W
Razorbill: 2W
Auk sp: c50W
I am sure I missed many more while taking photo's




Brent Geese cutting high across The Point

 2 Colour ringed Herring Gulls in the small roost by the fishing huts.
A brief stop at the south end of the ARC as the rain set in saw the usual common wildfowl, 2 Great White Egrets and 2 Little Egrets, then the rain set in.
The patch list ended on 223 for the year, not a bad total in a year that was not noted for the number of rarities on the peninsular but will hopefully do better next year. By no means the rarest this year the Alpine Swift and Red-spotted Bluethroat were the stars because of the way they performed.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Portland andWeymouth!

Because I'm I am going to Iceland in February I told myself I would not twitch the Weymouth Brunnich's Guillemot. A text last evening from GH offering a lift to Weymouth today with PB broke my resolve in a matter of seconds. I'm so glad I weakened so easily as we had a great day out. We met at PBs at 07.00 and GH drove us through the gales and driving rain, stopping for coffee en route, arriving at Portland at 11.30 just as the sun broke through. Immediately the Brunnich's Guillemot was showing but quickly disappeared for an hour, before popping up again.
While waiting for it to reappear we had reasonable if distant views of a Black Guillemot, also several Common guillemots and Razorbills, along with a Great Northern Diver a Black Throated Diver and c40 Red-breasted Mergansers.    
Brunnich's Guillemot

Glossy Ibis
 After leaving Portland we went to Radipole, to have a look at the Hooded Merganser that has been present since 2008 a smart bird despite its provenance. While there we saw several Mediterranean Gulls. We then moved half a mile along the road where a Glossy Ibis was strutting around a flooded plying field. A great end to a great day out.
Hooded Merganser

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Back home to Great White Egrets

Canary taken with a Happy Snapper.

After a virtually birdless  Xmas week in the sun in the Canary Island of La Palma it was good to get back to the marsh.
Most of yesterday was spent tidying the garden and retrieving the greenhouse from next door, the neighbours said it had been a little windy while I was away.
In the bright sunshine of this morning I went out onto Walland Marsh, the 37 Bewick Swans were still in the fields north of Caldecott Lane, At Baynham farm plenty of Tree Sparrows with the Chaffinches and a Yellowhammer.
The storms have remodelled the shoreline at the fishing boats where in a nearby roost a 2w Caspian Gull could be seen, while on the sea many Great Crested Grebes, Guillemots and a few Red-throated Divers.
On the ARC large numbers of common duck with 6+ Goldeneye and 2 Great White Egrets, another Great White Egret on New Diggings, 3 more in the Boulderwall Fields from the entrance track and another 2 from Dennis's hide making a minimum of 8 birds.
An excellent hour spent at lunchtime scoping out from the Plodland balcony saw 3 Great White Egrets (presumably the Boulderwall 3), 2 Little Egrets, 4 Marsh Harriers, 2 Common Buzzards, a Peregrine, 2 Ravens, 100s each of Lapwing and Golden Plover, a flock of c100 Stock Doves, 8 Red-legged Partridges and more. (still no Bittern or Glossy Ibis from Plodland).
Early afternoon at Scotney the Long-tailed Duck still present with seemingly many more Wigeon than my last visit.
Late afternoon at a Marsh Harrier roost 4 adult males roosted, (despite the disturbance by a family walking along the tops of the banks shouting at there 4 barking dogs) also seen there 100s of duck on the flooded fields, 1,000s of Lapwing and Golden Plover, 2 Common Buzzards, 2 Bearded Tits also Water Rail and Cetti's warblers calling.   

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Bits and Pieces

07.45-09.15  from The Point:
Red-throated Diver: 66w
Fulmar: 1w
Gannet: 19w
Common Scoter: 216w
Wigeon: 4w
Auks: 1460w mainly Guillemots.
A juvenile Little Gull seen on a lunchtime visit. Not long before DW saw 3 Caspian Gulls in the roost not including the regular 1w individual.
At Scotney an adult Caspian and Yellow Legged Gull and the usual wildfowl.
The south end of the ARC held 3 Goosander and Great White Egret along with usual flock of Gadwall. Another Great White Egret on New Diggings with another behind Boulderwall Farm. Highlight on Burrowes was 3 red head Smew from Dennis's Hide and the Black-necked Grebe from Makepiece.
I will be away for next week so no more posts till late December.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013


07.30 at The Point this morning was rather disappointing with no real movement at sea. The now usual Auks and Red-throated Divers were tooing and froing, joined by a few Gannets, 30 Common Scoter and c100 Kittiwakes.
The 1w Caspian Gull was showing quite well, but is rather nervous of approach on foot, best viewed from the car.
1w Caspian Gull

 A Great White Egret could be seen on New Diggings. Round The Willow Trail Water Rail, Chiffchaff and Cetti's Warbler. From Hanson in the company of The Joker a Kingfisher and Marsh Harrier were the only notable sightings.
We moved to Burrowes where the wind was stronger and most the wildfowl were hiding behind islands or under some sheltered banks, however we did mange to find an adult Yellow Legged Gull.
The Glossy Ibis was seen by a visitor flying behind Boulderwall farm.
From Caldecott Lane the 37 Bewick Swans could be seen.
Long-tailed Duck
Late afternoon at Scotney, the wind was whipping across the surface and waves were breaking over the Herring Gull colony island. In the relatively sheltered bay from the double bends the Long-tailed Duck was swimming among the Pochard. On the shore an adult Yellow Legged Gull and an adult Caspian Gull that was joined by a second bird. As darkness fell 1,000+ Golden Plover, 1,000+ Lapwings, 2 Egyptian Geese and the feral Barnacle Goose flock came into roost.
Behind the caravan park a murmuration of Starlings put on a superb display, I estimate 10,000+ birds involved.  
ad Caspian Gull

A second ad Caspian Gull

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Gloom Continues.

This morning at The Point in the a north easterly wind the sea was not nearly as busy as yesterday.
There was still plenty of Red Throated Divers and Auks tooing and froing off shore but not the numbers of yesterday, nor were there so many gulls. On the beach a 1w Caspian Gull. 
1w Caspian Gull
 On new diggings the usual Great White Egret could be seen from the causeway. On Scotney the Long Tailed Duck still, also the feral Barnacle Goose flock on the grass with a few Dunlin, Golden Plover, Redshank and a Curlew. The 37 Bewick Swans still north of Caldecott Lane.
A gloomy hour on the reserve this afternoon saw a Goosander, a red head Smew, a Black-necked Grebe, 3 Great White Egrets and 100s of duck including a few Pintail and 8 Goldeneye.

Monday, 16 December 2013

More Guillemots!

A sea watch from the fishing boats with DW 07.40-10.10:
Red Throated Diver: 115W
Great Northern Diver: 1W
Diver sp: 1  (GND or BTD)
Gannet: 27W
Brent Goose: 8E
Teal: 1W
Common Scoter: 59W
Knot: 1W
Kittiwake: 482W
Yellow Legged Gull: 2 off shore
Guillemot: c8,000W  Probably and under estimate. For the first 20 minutes they passing quicker than I could count approx 5,000.
 In the Gull roost an adult Caspian gull and another Yellow legged Gull.
Ad Caspian Gull near the fishing boats.
The large Gadwall flock still at the south end of the ARC. A Great White Egret on New Diggings viewed from the causeway, at least another 4 around the reserve today per PB.
I had a look at Burrowes with the joker this afternoon, little was seen from Dennis's Hide so we moved on to Firth and Makepiece in the rapidly growing gloom. There were large numbers of wildfowl on the lake but we were unable to find the Smew and Goosanders seen earlier, in the gloom I totally underwhelmed him by pointing out 2 adult Yellow Legged Gulls bathing just before we left for home.  

Sunday, 15 December 2013


08.30-10.30 from The Point all west unless stated otherwise:
Red-throated Diver: 38
Fulmar: 3
Gannet: 46
Common Scoter: 69
Mediterranean Gull: 1
Kittiwake: c200 feeding off shore with 100s each of Common Gulls and Black-headed Gulls
Auks: 2,915 vast majority of which were Guillemots.
The 1w Caspian Gull was again roosting near the fishing boats.
1w Great Black Backed Gull
ad Yellow-legged Gull  playing with a pebble.
At the south end of the ARC still c200 Gadwall but no sawbills. A great White Egret could be seen on New Diggings from the causeway.
On the reserve another Great White Egret from Makepiece and 2 Yellow-legged Gulls (ad + 3w) along with good numbers of the common wildfowl.
On Walland the 37 Bewick Swans still from Caldecott Lane.
Once again the reed bed I watch for Harriers roosting scored a zero, but at least 5 Great White Egrets were on the marsh. 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Sperweruil Revisited!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go back to Zwolle with DW and GH to see the Hawk Owl again. As we drove through Belgium and Holland the fog cleared to glorious sunshine, until we reached the outskirts of Zwolle, where the fog returned thicker than ever and remained for the rest of the day. The Owl showed very well despite the fog and the 3 of us took many images most of which will be deleted. Later in the day we drove to nearby wood where a Pygmy Owl had been seen, unfortunately we arrived minutes after it flew back into the wood and left to come home a short while before it showed again. Despite that we a brilliant if tiring day. 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

1w Caspian Gull

08.00-08.30 from the fishing boats very slow until the range boat came through:
Red-throated Diver: 87w (a flock of 64 pushed out of Hythe Bay by the range boat)
Gannet: 4w
Kittiwake: 3 o/s
Guillemot: 5w
Auk sp: 32w
The Glossy Ibis was seen again north of Boulderwall farm. (SC)
09.00 a plod around the reserve saw 2+ Great White Egrets, 3+ Marsh Harriers, a superb male Hen Harrier which flew over Scott heading for the ranges, still many wildfowl including 6+ Goldeneye, but no Smew today, a Black-necked Grebe and at least 5 Chiffchaffs around. Met up with MH in Dengemarsh Hide where he had just seen a a Bittern.   

 On my way back to the fishing boats this afternoon a Goosander on the ARC from the causeway and another Great White Egret with another on New diggings.
1w Caspian Gull
 I met DW at the gate to the beach, as we pulled up near the fishing boats DW immediately spotted a 1w Caspian Gull loafing by the fishing boats. Despite throwing a loaf of bread out the Caspian Gull refused to play ball with us and kept its distance.
1w Caspian gull
A second visit to the Hawk Owl tomorrow I just hope the light is better this time. 

Monday, 9 December 2013

Green Sandpiper

Mid morning at Scotney in warm sunshine found the Long-tailed Duck still at the Kent end among many Wigeon and Pochard. On the turf the feral Barnacle Goose flock with 100+ Canada Geese and 200+ Greylags. On one of the muddy pools a Green Sandpiper foraging with a Redshank. 
Late morning at the fishing boats, very few gulls on the beach and on the sea 100+ Great Crested Grebes, a few Kittiwakes and Gannets.
This afternoon was spent in the company of MH on the reserve and joined by BH who had just seen 5 Goosander on the ARC. Burrowes held 100s of wildfowl plus the usual Marsh Harriers and a party of 9 Curlew flew through. All we could find of note was 1 red head Smew, a Black-necked Grebe and a Great White Egret.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Snow Buntings

I drove the short distance to to Camber this morning after reading a report of several Snow Buntings being seen there. I parked at the western end of Camber and walked through the dunes to the beach, then back to the Marina Cafe but no sign of any Snow Buntings, just 8 Pied Wagtails, 3 Meadow Pipits and 2 Reed Buntings. I wandered back to where I started which was about 600mts west of the cafe, was just about to give up when 6 Snow Buntings flew past me landing a short distance away on the beach. As Snow Buntings usually are, they were quite approachable but took exception to being chased by dogs and often flew up into the dune system before returning to the beach.

All 6 as they flew past after being flushed by yet another dog walker!
On the ARC this afternoon a Goosander, a Black-necked Grebe, 2+ Marsh Harriers and 2 Great White Egrets were the highlights. On Burrowes this afternoon no sign of the adult Caspian Gull but another Goosander and 1+Great White Egrets.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

A good afternoon on the local patch!

At the south end of the ARC this morning the now resident flock of c300 Gadwall and a Black-necked Grebe with another on New Diggings of note. At The Point I met MS and RS where I spent an hour picking there brains on the finer points of photography as there were no Gulls around. 
This afternoon from the screen hide 2 Great White Egrets, 4 Little Egrets, a Bittern, 2 Marsh Harriers, a Chiffchaff also Water Rails and Cetti's Warblers calling, along with the common wildfowl. Next stop Dennis's hide where a Goosander could be seen but no Smew, while going through the gulls I noticed a Gull bathing at the other end of Burrowes that I was sure was a Caspian Gull. I quickly went to the visitor centre where I saw SB who was also looking at the same gull. We made our way to Makepiece for a better view, on arrival we quickly relocated the Gull and confirmed its ID. The Gull  flew a short distance allowing some poor record shots to be taken at extreme range, after settling for a few minutes it flew off towards the power station. Another Great White Egret could be seen from Makepiece. Back at the visitor centre as dusk fell 5 Marsh Harriers were over the Open Pits and at 15.55 the Glossy Ibis flew in to roost. I am so lucky to have Dungeness as my local patch.
                      Sorry Mick and Richard as you can see I forgot all you told me!

Friday, 6 December 2013


 A lovely bright fresh morning I walked the cycle path the length of the Scotney Pits. The pit next to the caravan park held of any note a Black Swan with a dozen Mutes. The next pit held c500 Wigeon with 20+ Golden Plover on the turf. The main pit held another c500 Wigeon, 12 Pintail, 70+ Pochard and few each of Shoveler, Teal and Mallard. The 80+ Barnacle Geese were flushed by a Marsh Harrier, while a Sparrowhawk gave the Starlings a torrid time. When I was nearly to back at the car the Long-tailed Duck popped up in the small bay at the Kent end of the pit.
 After some refreshment I plodded out past Scotney Cottage carrying on past Scotney Court Farm before returning. Of note were a Green Sandpiper flushed from beside the bridge over the ditch that runs down the back of Scotney Pit, 7 Corn Buntings a little way past Scotney Cottage, c 20 Skylarks and 5 Reed buntings flushed from ploughed fields beside the track to Scotney Court Farm, at the farm 2 Tree Sparrows, 2 Common Buzzards and 2 Marsh Harriers. On the new pit 4 Little Egrets, 12 Shelduck and many other dabblers.
A quick look at a blank sea from The Point early afternoon the stopping at the south end of the ARC on the way back  where a Goosander could be seen, along with a Black-necked Grebe, 2 Great White Egrets,2 Little Egrets and still 300+ Gadwall.
On the reserve from Dennis's Hide another Great White Egret and 4 red head Smew, also another Great White Egret in front of First Hide seen from the visitor centre. Leaving the reserve 2 more Great White Egrets from the entrance track by Boulderwall Farm. Late afternoon from the screen hide on the ARC at least 2 Great White Egrets still present, making a minimum of 5 birds around the reserve, also 6 Little Egrets the Black-necked Grebe, the Goosander, 7 Goldeneye and 2 Chiffchaffs could be seen.   

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Tree Sparrows

Yet another gloomy morning. From The Point 08.25-09.00:
Red-throated Diver: 13E    7W
Great Crested Grebe: c100 o/s
Gannet: 6E   13W
Common Scoter: 45E
Velvet Scoter: 7E
Kittiwake: 4+ o/s
Auk sp: 27E    9W

At the south end of the ARC the Gadwall flock still c 200 joined by c40 Teal, c100 Shoveler and c70 Pochard, also 2 Goldeneye.
Scotney was full of birds mainly Wigeon, Shoveler, a few Pintail, c200 Lapwing and all the usual Geese. At the back of the lake 4+ Marsh Harriers hunted the ditches.
A couple of hours plodding around the green lanes of Walland was pleasant enough though not especially rewarding. The 37 Bewick Swans were still to the north of Caldecot Lane, Marsh Harriers could be seen just about everywhere along with 2 Common Buzzards, Tree Sparrows were fairly plentiful, 4 Mistle Thrushes, c20 Fieldfares and usual 100s of Lapwing and many 1000s of Jackdaw, Rooks and Crows, several flocks of c20 each of Chaffinches but a distinct lack of Buntings. The Tickners Lane seed dump is now overgrown and no birds.