Saturday, 22 February 2014

Jack Snipe

Guessing that Dungeness would be very busy today, I opted for parking up at the ARC and walking out past the Water Tower towards the mirrors and back to the airport pools and reed beds. Highlight was flushing a Jack Snipe, but I also flushed 3 Common Snipe and a Bittern. Marsh Harriers were much in evidence, 2 Little Egrets and a Great White Egret. On the way back a Red Crested Pochard flew over with 6 Tufted Duck. By the pines 5 Chiffchaffs but not the Siberian. No more posts for a few days as I'm off to Iceland tomorrow.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Camber Beach in the sunshine!

At Scotney this morning 44 Greater Whitefronted Geese  on the new pit viewable from Scotney Farm Cottage, the Black-necked Grebe was on the main pit with a handful of Wigeon, Tufted Duck and Pochard. At Camber no sign of the Snow Buntings but a very pleasant walk along the beach in glorious sunshine.
At the ARC near the pines the Siberian Chiffchaff was being difficult, after just over an hour I gave up and went to the beach.  
 Numerous Gulls feeding along the tide line and off shore including the 1w Glaucous Gull which made a few flybys, strangely I saw no Little Gulls there this afternoon, there were a few Auks and 2 Red-throated Divers off shore.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Gulls Again!

What with domestic stuff and the rubbish weather this morning I didn't get to the beach until c14.00. Watching from the point in the comfort of the car a few Auks, Gannets and Kittiwakes were tooing and froing among 1,000s of Gulls off shore.
When the sun came out I moved to the fishing boats along with DW where we carried on with the Gull watching. Still no passage at sea and no sign of that Gull, but up to 4 Little Gulls were just asking to photographed feeding along the waters edge. While we doing that the 1w Glaucous Gull appeared giving brilliant views in the glorious sunshine. 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


Again very quiet at the fishing boats this morning just a few Auks tooing and froing and a few Kittiwakes patrolling the strand line. The main attraction was the 100s of Great Crested Grebes on view on the flat calm sea.
At the south end of the causeway a Great White Egret, a Little Egret and 2 red head Smew. On the New Diggings the 2 Black-throated Divers were showing well from the causeway.
 Parking at the ARC and strolling to the viewing ramp, 10+ Tree Sparrows at Boulderwall and another Great White Egret out the fields north of the track, a flock of c60 Golden plover flew over. Arriving at the viewing ramp CT and BH were already there watching a Bearded Tit. No sign of the Penduline Tits while I was there (They showed later per Tony and Brenda) a Bittern gave a brief flight view and a couple of Marsh Harriers quartered the reed bed. A look at Scotney with The Joker saw the Long staying Long-tailed Duck and the Black-necked Grebe but little else of note, we also drove around Galloways and Dengemarsh but saw little there.
 Siberian Chiffchaff 
Back at the ARC I wandered up to The Pines where 4 Chiffchaffs could be seen including one which looked to be a Siberian Chiffchaff. Because I could only see a silhouettes I went home for lunch and returned a couple of hours later when the sun had gone round, this time I was able to see the bird well and hear it call and grab some record images, but could not read the ring. 

That Gull!!!

No post last night as I spent most the night at Kent and Canterbury Hospital. I was suffering with severe toothache and that was the nearest emergency dentist. As the dentist prodded and scraped the offending molar, I just had to remark to him, "Gosh that smarts a bit " as he proceeded to scrape me off the ceiling. Anyway that's why no post last night!
 The gull experts seemed of the opinion that the above bird is a Lesser Black Backed Gull. I am definitely not an expert, but I would have thought that the obvious pale tips to the primaries would rule out LBBG. All comments welcome.
 While watching That Gull a Hare came bounding across the beach, earlier apart from a few Auks off shore the only other thing of note from the fishing boats was the 1w Glaucous Gull dropping onto the beach in front of me.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Razorbill Demise!

Once again the sea was very quiet this morning with the only bird of note seen being the 1w Glaucous Gull in the roost behind the fish hut. 
No photographic opportunities with the 1w Glaucous Gull today, this one was taken on 30/01/2014
 At the ARC 3 Great White Egrets, 3 red head Smew, 5 Goldeneye, a Water Rail was squealing and a Chiffchaff by the hide were the highlights.
At Scotney the Long-tailed Duck still insitu and 2 Egyptian Geese.
46 Greater White-fronted Geese heading for Sussex
 On the reserve the 2 Penduline Tits were showing from the ramp but very distant and hardly worth the effort, 46 Greater White-fronted Geese made a brief stop at Dengemarsh before flying off towards Sussex, a Bittern flew over Hookers where 3 Marsh Harriers were putting on a show and several Bearded Tits were pinging in the reed bed.
As views were distant here is one I took on Saturday. The female.

Razorbill plucked from the surf by a Great Black Backed Gull.
 This afternoon at the fishing boats a Razorbill that was obviously sickly and floundering in the surf, was quickly put out of its misery by marauding Great Black Backed Gulls.
North Thames Herring Gull RX3.T by the concrete road this afternoon.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Penduline Tits!

Driving past the south end of the ARC this morning after clearing the garden of last nights storm damage, 3 Great White Egrets and a Little Egret were sheltering behind the bushes. DW was at the fishing boats when I arrived and had only seen a few Fulmars and a couple of Little Gulls of note. A few more Fulmars and another Little Gull moved west, the 1w Glaucous Gull appeared among the Gull melee then flew into the roost behind the fish hut.
 With more clearing up to be done I went back home for breakfast. Early afternoon a Call from SB and DB about to 2 Penduline Tits performing in front Hanson hide. A few minutes later I was in the hide snapping the male and female Pendulines, both were sporting rings one a Paris ring. While I was there up to 6 Little Gulls, a red head Smew, 2 Marsh Harriers and the usual wildfowl.

4 of the 6 Little Gulls from Hanson.

Friday, 14 February 2014

1w Gulls.

 I am doing this post on my mobile as the home phone line is down, weather related. 07.30-09-30 from the fishing boats with DW when the rain started with a vengeance.
Highlights were 3 1w Gulls, a Glaucous, A Caspian and a Yellow Legged Gull. Curiously no Little or Mediterranean Gulls and just a handful of Auks, Divers and Gannets, also a Peregrine flushing the 100s of Black Headed and Herring Gulls. 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

A bit of Sunshine

Within minutes of arriving at the fishing boats at 08.00 the rain arrived causing the what little off shore movement there was to end abruptly. I cut my losses and had an extra breakfast.
Mid morning at Scotney the Black-necked Grebe and Long-tailed Duck were still insitu but little else of note in the still falling rain. The New Diggings still held 2 Black-throated Divers and a Great White Egret was at the south end of the ARC.
Midday at The Patch the rain had stopped and the sun was shining, 19+ Little Gulls and 4+ Mediterranean Gulls were feeding among 100s of Black-headed Gulls. off shore a few Auks were tooing and froing, 2 Red-throated Divers flew east.
Gadwall from Hanson
Mid afternoon from Hanson Hide plenty of common wildfowl, a single red head Smew, 5 Goldeneye, 2 Marsh Harriers and a fly by Bittern.

The Reason the Willow Trail is shut
Late afternoon on the reserve from Firth Hide the usual common wildfowl, red head Goosander and red head Smew. Dozens of Carrion Crows and Magpies flying over to the Oppen Pits to roost and finally at 16.57 the Glossy Ibis came into roost.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Mediterranean Gull in the surf!

This morning from the fishing boats with DW, PT and The Joker 07.45-11.00. The boats protected us from the worst of the wind and spray. By 11.00 only myself and The Joker were left and the wind was really beginning to howl. 
Red-throated Diver: 3w
Fulmar: 2w
Gannet: 4w
Shelduck: 1w
Common Scoter: 1w
Peregrine: 2 hunting at sea and over the beach. 1 took an adult Little Gull  after a long chase and striking it twice.
Little Gull: 8+w
Mediterranean Gull: 4+w
Kittiwake: 137w
1,000s of the commoner gulls along the surf line and on the beach.
2w Mediterranean Gull
I couldn't see the Black-throated Divers on the New Diggings but the waves there were impressive.
At Scotney The Black-necked Grebe was sheltering in the calmer waters by double bends, the Long Tailed Duck was in its usual spot braving the full force of the wind and waves, by now the rain was lashing down and it was time for lunch. 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


I didn't get out of the house until lunchtime thanks to the rain and gales. When I did both Black-throated Divers were by the causeway at The New Diggings. From the fishing boats loads of Gulls feeding along the surf with at least 2 Little Gulls and a Mediterranean Gull. I was joined by DW and shortly after we were notified by SB that the HYTHE HERON was showing in a public area.
When we arrived 30 minutes later it was not showing but SB new exactly where it was. We stayed in the car so as not to flush it even though we couldn't see it, some school children past it within a few metres as they left the playground and even appeared to look at it. After they went we got out the cars and I briefly spotted it on some metal work by the stream before it flew up into the trees. It worked its way higher and higher, before eventually flying off out of sight into nearby gardens and was not seen again before dark. 
It appeared to have been feeding in the stream between the road and the children's play area in Turnpike Hill south of the junction with Spanton Crescent. If you go the grassy area is very boggy and PLEASE RESPECT RESIDENTS PRIVACY.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Little Gulls

07.40-09.40 from the fishing boats with DW being joined by PT and Barney.
Red-throated Diver: 39w 6E
Fulmar: 9W
Gannet: 1W
Common Scoter: 101W
Turnstone: 31 on beach
Oystercatcher: 2W
Little Gull: 6W
Kittiwake: 144W
Mediterranean Gull: 6W
Auks: 97W
Common Seal: 1 
Probably the first time I have only seen 1 Gannet in 2 hours there.
A Black-throated Diver was still on New Diggings, at Scotney the Long Tailed Duck was in its usual spot at the Kent end, also there 5 Little Egrets, 4 Ringed Plovers and a Marsh Harrier of note. 
 This afternoon at The Patch 13+ Little Gulls and 5+ Mediterranean Gulls among 1,000s of the commoner Gulls.
Adult and 1w Little Gull at The Patch.
Late afternoon on the reserve from Firth Hide, 2 red head Smew among 100s of the common wildfowl. At 16.36 the Glossy Ibis came into roost in the bushes between Firth and Makepiece. 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Glossy Ibis!

Once again I woke up to the rain battering against the bedroom window, once again I went back to sleep.  When I eventually got up I drove the short distance to Scotney where a Black-necked Grebe was in the bay by the double bends. In the distance near the wind turbines 1,000+ Lapwings with a few Golden Plover and Dunlin had been flushed from the fields. A Marsh Harrier hunted along the far bank and a Great White Egret and 2 Little Egrets could be seen on the back pit.  
Black-necked Grebe Scotney. 
 Driving to the point I stopped on the causeway where I could see a Black-throated Diver on the New Diggings along with 2 Great White Egrets sheltering under the west bank. Another Great White Egret on the ARC, a red head Smew and 4 Goldeneye among the many Pochard, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Shoveler and Gadwall.
From The Point in a 50 minute visit this morning and another visit of a couple of hours this afternoon, highlights were 27 Fulmars west, 6 Pintail west, 8+ Little Gulls, and few each of Gannet and Kittiwake, only a handful of Auks were present off shore today. Despite there being 1,000s of Gulls along the shoreline nothing unusal was found. A dead Porpoise was washed up near the fishing boats.  
Late afternoon from Firth hide overlooking Burrowes Pit a red head Smew and red head Goosander were close in front the hide, 2 Marsh Harriers could be seen over the Oppen Pits and at 16.37 the Glossy Ibis came into roost in the bushes between Firth Hide and Makepiece.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Much the same!

A lay in meant a late arrival at the fishing boats this morning, by all accounts I didn't miss much. While I was there very little moved, a few Guillemots and Kittiwakes were tooing and froing a Little Gull fed along the tide line. Another visit this afternoon in 40 MPH winds produced a minimum of 4 Little Gulls of note. It would appear that the 1w Glaucous Gull may have departed as it has not been seen for 2 days. The Hume's Leaf Warbler was seen in the trapping area by OL.
Goldfinch on the Plodland Feeder.

On a very watery Walland Marsh the Bewick Swan herd still viewable from Caldecott Lane, 15+ Tree Sparrows at Baynham Farm. The Solar farm on the marsh viewable from Eighteen Acre Lane off the A259 is an eyesore!
At Scotney this morning my first Ruff of the year on the local patch was the highlight among 1500 Lapwing, 6 Dunlin and c20 Golden Plover. I could not find the Long-tailed Duck in its usual spot, probably due to the waves on the lake. The ARC still holds plenty of wildfowl most of which are sheltering behind the bushes, 3 red Smew could be seen from the causeway as could a Great white Egret. Once again I was unable to find the Black-throated Divers on the New Diggings so I assume they have departed.
Another first for the year for the local patch today was a pair of Goldfinches on the Plodland feeder. (126)

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Wet! Wet! Wet!

07.30-09.45 (rain stop play) from the fishing boats with DW:

Red Throated Diver: 18w 3e
Great crested Grebe: c120 o/s
Fulmar: 17w
Gannet: 25w
Common Scoter: 39
Pintail: 2w
Mallard: 3w
Little Gull: 3w
Kittiwake: 26w

Auks: c75 o/s
At Scotney the Long-tailed Duck was on view from the double bends. The rest of the day was a washout.
At last my replacement mobile has arrived, but I have lost most of my contacts. Doubtless I will be asking many of you for your numbers again. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

All cleaned up!

After I originally posted the image below bemoaning my ineptness with photoshop, I was contacted by Laurence Pitcher who offered to retouch the image for me. I sent him the original image which he cleaned up. See the excellent results below.
 My original image
Retouched image
With the appalling weather very little birding was done today but I did see the 1w Glaucous Gull by the fishing boats.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Unusual Road kill!

This morning I had to have my car door fixed, as I drove back across Walland Marsh I came across the above road casualty, an Albino Badger. Avian interest on the marsh was 40+ Bewick Swans and few Tree Sparrows by the feeders.
 North Thames Herring Gull P1BT
The ARC from Hanson saw lots of common wildfowl 4 Goldeneye, 2 red head Smew, 2 Great White Egrets and 2 Marsh Harriers. By the track 2 Cetti's Warblers and a Song Thrush of note.
Orfordness Herring Gull WLB
This afternoon the sea was comparatively quiet, with only a few each of Guillemots and Red-throated Divers 4 Common Scoter, 11 Brent Geese and a single Mediterranean Gull. The small gull roost beside the fish hut held a couple of colour ringed gulls, the 1w Glaucous gull was in the main roost.