Monday, 31 March 2014

All at sea!

Another day where the main interest was the sea passage. It would appear that I should have stayed by the sea, instead of looking for non existent passerines around the area, as from Midday for a couple hours it seems off shore passage was heavy.
07.00-10.45                                        14.20-15.20
Red-throated Diver:     54E      8W             3E
Black-throated Diver:    2E
Black-necked Grebe:     2 drifted E
Fulmar:                        5E
Gannet:                      25E
Greylag Goose:                                         2 drifted E
Brent Goose:              767E                      21E
Shelduck:                       1E
Wigeon:                         1E
Shoveler:                      15E                       9E
Pintail: 19E
Teal: 9E
Eider: 11E
Common Scoter:       1,161E                      12E
Red-breasted Merganser: 32E                       2E       1W
Curlew:                           1E
Great Skua:                      1E
Sandwich Tern:              64E                      17E
Kittiwake:                        3E
Wheatear:                        2 around
Redpoll:                           2 in

Harbour Porpoise:         12+ off shore

The Black-throated Diver is still on the New Diggings, at Scotney the Long-tailed Duck still present along with 2 Avocet but little else of note. The Hume's Leaf Warbler and 1w Glaucous Gull still present per DW.
An evening wander around the Hayfields at Dengemarsh can best be described as disappointing.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Steady Sea Watch

07.40-10.40 from the end of the concrete road with The Joker and JC:
Red-throated Diver:            97E     7W
Black-throated Diver:            4E
Fulmar:                                5E    2W
Gannet:                              43E
Brent Goose:                     494E
Shelduck:                              2E
Teal:                                    21E
Garganey:                              5E
Red-breasted Merganser:       23E
Common Scoter:                816E
Velvet Scoter:                       5E
Merlin:                                 1+ hunting off shore giving a spectacular display.
Curlew:                              22E
Oystercatcher:                      7E
Ringed Plover:                      1E
Sandwich Tern:                  56E
Kittiwake:                            5E
Little Gull:                           1E
Mediterranean Gull:             5E
Glaucous Gull:               usual bird on beach
Auk sp:                              3E     2W
Harbour Porpoise:              2+ off shore
Long-tailed Duck, Scotney.
Early afternoon at Scotney 2 Little Ringed Plovers at the new pit, the Long Tailed Duck was on the first pit east of the main pit, 3 Black-necked Grebes, an Avocet, 7 Redshank, 8 Ringed Plovers and 3 Little Egrets on the main Pit.
Mid afternoon ½hr watch from the concrete road was slow with just 30 Common Scoter E, Red Throated Diver 4E 2W, 6 Sandwich Terns feeding off shore and 65 Brent Geese E as I finally left the beach. 

The 1W Glaucous Gull was once again performing impeccably this afternoon as I chatted with Mick and Richard. I now have 100s of images of this bird, I just cant resist taking more as it shows so well. Pity the Wheatears aren't so obliging.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Sea Watching

                                1w Glaucous Gull posing again at the fishing boats today!

Most of my time today was spent sea watching from the end of the concrete road: 07.00-10.00 & 15.00-17.00:

R T Diver:             41E    5W
Fulmar:                   4E
Gannet:               172E
Brent Goose:       253E
Teal:                     16E
Garganey:               4E
Shoveler:              35E
Pintail:                  12E
Common Scoter:  286E
Eider:                     2E
R B Merganser:     14E
Curlew:                  6E          
Barwit:                   1E
Oystercatcher:         1E
Sandwich Tern:     65E
Little Gull:             13E
Kittiwake:               2E
Med Gull:               2E
Common Gull:     274E a bit desperate counting these!
Glaucous Gull:     the usual 1w up and down the beach

Guillemot:              2E
Harbour Porpoise: 2+ off shore
The Hume's Leaf Warbler is still in the trapping area per O.L.   

Friday, 28 March 2014

Repairing the Sea Watch Hide

I spent all day yesterday in London and hopefully I will never have to go back there again, I once again realise how lucky I am to live down on the marsh. 
This morning the Black-throated diver was still on the New diggings as I made my way to the beach. On arrival DW and PT were were already on site. Before I arrived DW had seen 2 Garganey and 13 Avocet go through, but on my arrival things quietened down rapidly.
I spent the rest of the morning assisting DW to re felt the roof of the sea watch hide, so with any luck it should now be weatherproof. While we were working we noted 500+ Brent Geese, 400+ Common Scoter, 20+ Red-throated Divers a Black-throated Diver, a Greylag Goose and the 1w Glaucous Gull gave frequent fly bys, also 2+ Harbour Porpoises.
Late this afternoon I joined the Joker at the end of the concrete road for an hour where 10+ Sandwich Terns moved east, 14 Common Scoter, 75 Brent Geese, 5 Red-throated Divers and the Glaucous Gull again giving fly bys.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

An uninspiring day!

07.00-08.00 a not very inspiring hour from the end of the concrete road.
Red-throated Diver: 5E       2W
Gannet:                 20E       3W
Merlin:                    1 in
Sandwich Tern:       8E
Mediterranean Gull: 9E
Guillemot:                         1W
Harbour Porpoise:      2 
Another watch early afternoon produced nothing of note, but 2 Wheatears were on the shingle.
Elsewhere 3 Little Gulls on the ARC were of note, 4 Goldeneye and a Great White Egret on Burrowes were the only birds of note here.
At Scotney late afternoon 2 Avocet, 7 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover, 6 Oystercatchers and a Little Egret of note.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Sea Watching

 With rain most the day and south easterlies predicted, I had 2 sea watches from the end of the concrete road in the comfort of my car. This morning I was joined by The Joker. Most the movement this afternoon was in a 20 minute period as the rain cleared about 15.00hrs. 
                     08.15-10.00                13.30-16.30
Red-throated Diver:         11E                                    8 E       2W
Great crested Grebe:        c50 offshore
Fulmar:                            1E       2W                                     2W
Gannet:                          58E       7W                       36E      3W
Brent Goose:                  22E
Shoveller:                       12E
Teal:                                                                         2E
Garganey:                         1E
Common Scoter:             44E                                    26E
Red Breasted Merganser:  3E
Oystercatcher:                 4E
Sandwich Tern:               8E                                      27E     3W
Kittiwake:                       1E                                        4E
Little Gull:                                                                 14E
Mediterranean Gull:         1E
1w Glaucous Gull:           1 around

Guillemot:                       2E                                       1E

Mid morning at Scotney found 36 Dunlin, 32, Ringed Plover, 12 Redshank and 2 Brent Geese of note. Late afternoon from the causeway 2 Goldeneye and 45 Curlew over the ARC.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Another Day Another Gull.(but what is it)

At The Patch this morning I was joined by PT and Barney looking for white winged gulls, of which there were none. Also there was absolutely no movement offshore.
 Stoat by the Old Lighthouse
A wander around the bushes yielded 6 Chiffchaffs ( at least 6 more were recorded in the trapping area) and relatively showy Stoat.
Early afternoon 2 Wheatears by Dengemarsh Road as I drove to Springfield Bridge where I parked and walked to Dengemarsh Hide. On the walk in a Little Egret and a Lapwing were on the Dengemarsh Flood and Hayfield 3 held 6 Shelduck, 4 Shoveler and a Marsh harrier flew over. Near Dengemarsh Hide a Pipit flushed from a wet section by the fence was probably a Water Pipit, I watched as it flew c600mts back the way I came and landed in a wet section of the sheep field, but by the time I'd walked back I could not relocate it.     
1 of 12 Wheatears opposite Beach Cottage this afternoon 
Mid afternoon I had a look at the beach opposite Beach Cottage where I saw 12 Wheatears, 2 Skylarks and 2 Meadow Pipits.
½ hour sea watch from the concrete road saw c50 Great Crested grebes off shore and little else.
I saw a pale Gull fly into a small roost, thinking it was the usual 1w Glaucous Gull I put my scope on it and realised that it was not. Unbeknown to me DW was already looking at it from the other end of the beach. We watch it on and off till dusk as it moved around the beach obtaining a few images, probably a Hybrid but I don't know for sure. 
 ??? Gull
 ??? Gull
 ??? Gull
??? Gull

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Iceland Gull

This morning at The Patch in the company of DW, KP et al, we were scanning for yesterdays 1w Glaucous Gull when a 1w Iceland Gull drifted into view. Also seen the regular 1w Glaucous Gull, 2+ Mediterranean Gulls, 1 Eider west and a couple of Red-throated Divers and Guillemots off shore of note.
1w Iceland Gull
1w Iceland Gull
1w Iceland Gull
On the power station an array of Herring Gull deterrent's Plastic Owls, Hawk Kites, Gas Guns and Distress calls. 
Even the 1w Glaucous Gull isn't put off by the deterrent's
It really puts the Herring Gulls off, they can hardly sleep!
Another look at the sea this afternoon from The Point saw no change in the lack of offshore movement. On the shingle opposite Spion Kop 10+ Wheatears, 4 Linnets, 4 Skylarks and 2 Meadow Pipits. This morning a Black Kite came in off the sea per DB.   

Saturday, 22 March 2014

More Gulls!

 At The Patch this morning  in the company of DW there was virtually no up channel  movement.
The usual 1w Glaucous Gull was in the roost on the  beach, also a new 1w pale individual  dropped in and was still present when we left at c10.00. A 2w Yellow-legged Gull was also present.
A new very pale 1w Glaucous Gull

 New bird above, usual bird below.

2w Yellow-legged Gull
Opposite Jarmans 6+ Wheatears on the shingle. The Black-throated Diver was still on The New Diggings. The Avocets appear to have left Scotney but may have been disturbed by the farmer along with all the other waders.
This afternoon I parked at Springfield Bridge and wandered around the Hayfields down to Makepiece. The Hayfields are still looking good for spring waders but none present as yet, several Meadow Pipits were feeding around the track and 2+ Marsh Harriers were around. From Makepiece 4 Sand Martins and a red head of Smew of note. It has now been several weeks since I last saw a Bittern which should be booming by now, have they gone or perished?
There will be no firing on the ranges for the whole of April so hopefully The Midrips and Galloways might be productive.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

A few more Migrants.

07.55-08.55 from the sea watch hide, a some what disappointing hour:
Red-throated Diver: 3E
Great Crested Grebe: c35 off shore
Gannet: c15 off shore
Brent Goose: 139E
Common Scoter: 18E
Oystercatcher: 4E
Guillemot: 1E
Carrion Crow: 15 out
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Before I arrived c1100 Brent Geese and 5 Garganey moved east per DW.
2 Black Redstarts were on the Experimental Station and 8 Wheatears, 20+ Meadow Pipits and 2 Skylarks were opposite Jarmans. (PT saw 15 Wheatears there earlier)
On the New Diggings the Black Throated diver still present, on Burrowes 3 Garganey(2 drakes and a duck) associating with Shovelers and Teal, also 2 red head Smew there. By the entrance track the Pink footed Goose associating with some Greylags and a Great White Egret.
Early afternoon at Scotney of note, 2 Avocet, 14 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover, a Grey Plover, 2 Little Egret and 56 Wigeon.
 Mid afternoon by the fishing boats Herring Gull M8HT still around. Very little of note on the sea apart from a flyby from the 1w Glaucous Gull.
 Late afternoon from Hanson a posing Great Crested Grebe, 5 Goldeneye and 2 Marsh Harriers were noteworthy.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Another day on the other side!

Today The Joker, Marshman and myself had a day trip to the Pas De Calais hoping to see Black Woodpecker. We met at The Jokers at 05.20 and caught the 06.15 train to Calais. On arrival we drove straight to Crecy Forest arriving around 08.30. The forest alive with bird song, numerous Chiffchaffs and Nuthatches were singing and calling, along with double figures of Short-toed Treecreeper were joined by Great, Blue, Long-tailed, Marsh, Coal and Crested Tits, Goldcrests, Chaffinches and Bramblings were seen, as were Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a pair of Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, Green Woodpeckers were heard and several Common Buzzards soared over head but no sight or sound of Black Woodpecker. That didn't really matter as there was so much else to look at.
Late morning we left Crecy for a short stop at Sailly Braie, which was quiet as we were probably a few weeks to early but I'm sure we will be back later. Next stop Le Crotoy harbour which was rapidly filling as the tide came in, there we saw 56 Avocet, 30+ each of Ringed Plover and Dunlin, 100+ Redshank a Great Crested Grebes and a Little Grebe.
We moved to the Le Crotoy pools where we saw Several Pintail, Shoveler, Teal, a couple of Wigeon and our first Garganey of the year, best of all a 3 Sand Martins, 2 House Martins and a Swallow flew through together.
 A brief stop at Marquanterre gave us superb views of White Stork one of which circled over the car park, also 10+ Spoonbills of note.
Coming back along the motorway I was as usual asleep. The Marshman woke me with a shout of Osprey which was being mobbed by a Common Buzzard. Pity we couldn't stop on the motorway. A fitting end to great day out in great company (I wont mention the jokes)  and many thanks to the Marshman for doing the driving.

Monday, 17 March 2014

A few more migrants.

A watch at The Patch this morning with DW a Polish ringed 1w Caspian Gull was in the roost, a Merlin came in, a few Red-throated Divers were tooing and froing, a Bonxie was off shore and a Harbour Porpoise was off shore, but little else of note. On the perimeter fence 2 Black Redstarts and a Wheatear by the sea watch hide.
A distant 1w Caspian Gull on shore line sporting a Polish green colour ring but to far to read.
Spot the Caspian Gull.
1 of 4+ Chiffchaffs in the lighthouse garden.
In the lighthouse Garden at least 4 Chiffchaffs, a Redwing and a Black Redstart.
The 1w Glaucous Gull was in the usual roost and another Wheatear was opposite Jarmans(this afternoon 8 Wheatears there per Dorothy).
Late afternoon now 6 Avocets at the Kent end of Scotney, then a visit to Galoways found it to be an avian free zone.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Kites and Harriers!

On the way to the beach the Black Throated Diver was on the New Diggings. A very short sea watch this morning as nothing was moving and nothing of note seen. On the power station fence at least 2 Black Redstarts and round The Point migrants were non existent. 
Red Kite by the water tower
My decision to wander up to the Water Tower paid off almost immediately as 4 Mediterranean Gulls flew over mewing, then I scanned of the airport pits and picked up 2 Red Kites with a Marsh Harrier. A few quick phone calls made sure most the locals connected with the Kites, indeed The Joker opened his back door took one step and Red Kite flew over him, a very short twitch.
While wandering round the pits another Red Kite flew north of the airport, then another Flew over Boulderwall Farm and appeared to land in a field.
Early afternoon sky watching from Plodland 2 more Red Kites flew distantly over the ARC Pit, up to 4 Marsh Harriers and 2 Common Buzzards were over the fields.
Late afternoon on Walland Marsh doing the Harrier Count I saw at least 30 Marsh Harriers but none roosted in my designated reed bed. However Water Rails were much in evidence vocally, 2 Common Buzzards flew through and a flock of 30+ Fieldfare were in the Hawthorns, my biggest flock this year. I picked up 18 very distant Greater White-fronted Geese at extreme range on the marsh, 2 Tundra Bean Geese were also present per PT and CP. Several Hares and 2 Foxes were in the fields and last thing a Bat sp. flew through.  

Saturday, 15 March 2014

It's only March!

08.05-08.40 from the sea watch hide:
Red-throated Diver: 4W     2E
Fulmar: 3W   1E
Gannet: c25 off shore
Brent Goose: 92E
Peregrine: 1 in
Black Redstart: 2 behind hide on perimeter fence.
Harbour Porpoise: 1 off shore
The light house garden was seemingly devoid of avian life as was most of The Point.
Scotney turned up 4 Avocets at the Kent end, a visit to The Midrips saw a few Oystercatchers, 7 Redshank, a Dunlin and few pairs of Shelduck. Dengemarsh Gully was equally quiet. Most of the long stayers were reported on the reserve today, but the Hume's Leaf Warbler was no show for the second day in a row.
An hour or so in the Plodland garden sky watching saw 2 Marsh Harriers, a Common Buzzard and Grey Heron of note, but no Kites.  
Nothing came into my camera range today, and as there seems to be loads of pictures of the Pembroke Great Spotted Cuckoo on the net, I thought I'd join in by posting an image of one I took at Brooklands Park Lancing, West Sussex in April 2005.   

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Fog and a Pink Foot!

A distant Pink Footed Goose in field by Boulderwall Farm.

A very foggy morning meant an extra in hour in bed and a full English before I left home for Scotney. Once there 2 Avocet at the Kent end were the highlights, but no sign of Long-tailed Duck which may have decamped to Burrowes Pit, joining the Black Necked and Slavonian Grebe and drake Scaup. News from BP about a Pink Footed Goose in the fields by Boulderwall farm delayed my lunch, as it is a scarce bird for Dungeness. As for its provenance who knows! While having lunch the fog returned with a vengeance so that was it for the day.   

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Pas De Calais 11th March 2014

Presumed 1w male Snowy Owl
 Another cross channel twitch in the company of DW and GH who very kindly did all the driving. We caught the 06.00 ferry to Calais allowing us to have a full beakfast, arriving at Le Maisnil at 09.00 the bird was easy to find by the crowd of 1 french birder watching it, we stayed till about 12.30  during which time the Owl did what Snowy Owls do, nothing! it sat on the pollarded tree the whole time we were there. 2 locals joined the throng of 4 and admired the Owl through my scope for a few minutes and later 3 more french birders arrived but didn't stay long as it was lunch time. When we left site no one was there. The bird is in a field between the D141B(Rue Haut Loge) and the D141(Rue de la Feterie, Le Maisnil. The field is accesed by a muddy track that runs between the 2 roads, though the bird can seen distantly from the D141. If you go please park sensibly and respect the residents privacy.

 From Le Maisnil we went to a forest immediately north of Valenciennes where we found a pair of Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, Black Woodpecker calling, lots of Crested Tits, Short toed Treecreepers, Nuthatches, Marsh Tits and more. A very enjoyable day in great company.
Short-toed Treecreeper


 Driving along the road to the point I stopped and chatted to Wendy and Doug, who informed me that they had seen a Wheatear opposite Jarmans. I parked up by the fishing boats and wandered back along the beach, taking time out to snap a distant pic of the 1w Glaucous Gull in the roost, further along the beach a Black Redstart was darting around the old winches and overhead a Skylark was singing. Then a fine male Northern Wheatear popped into view allowing a dodgy photo opportunity which I promise not to repeat again till next year.
 On the New Diggings the 2 Black-throated Divers still present, over the road on the ARC from the causeway a Great White Egret, 2 red head Smew and 2 Goldeneye.
Late morning I parked at Springfield Bridge and plodded round the hayfields to Makepiece. 2 Peregrines were causing havoc over Dengemarsh, feeding on the flood detritus by hayfield 3 perimeter fence my first Fieldfare of the year on the local patch, this time last year there were 100s feeding in the fields opposite plodland. Feeding with the Fieldfare was a Scandinavian Rock Pipit which disappeared to the other side of Dengemarsh. From Makepiece 9 Goldeneye, 2 red head Smew, a Black-necked Grebe, a Slavonian Grebe and a drake Scaup but no sign of the Green Winged Teal.
At the bottom of Dengemarsh Gully another Wheatear and another Black Redstart.
Late afternoon back at Firth and Makepiece still no sign of the Green Winged Teal.
The Long-tailed Duck has reappeared on Scotney per  BC.  

Monday, 10 March 2014

Hume's Leaf Warbler!

07.45-08.45 from the sea watch hide:
Red-throated Diver: 7E   4W
Great Crested Grebe:  c50 off shore
Gannet: 6E
Brent Goose: 64E
Kittiwake: 7E
1w Glaucous Gull: 1 around
Guillemot: c15 on the sea
Black Redstart: 1 behind the hide
Kestrel opposite Lloyds.
In the trapping area the Hume's Leaf Warbler, was calling frequently and showing occasionally, but it is still a photographic challenge. Also in the area 2 Chiffchaffs and a Firecrest, along with several Small Tortoiseshells and Peacock Butterfly.
At least 1 Black-throated Diver was still on the New Diggings but little else of note.
Late afternoon at Dengemarsh 2 Marsh Harriers were quartering the reed bed, several Reed Buntings were in song and a Stonechat was fly catching from the fence.    

Sunday, 9 March 2014

1w Glaucous Gull still present!

 1w Glaucous Gull cruising along the the sea wall this morning!
07.30-09.00 from the sea watch hide with DW:

Red-throated Diver: 9W 2E 2 on sea
Diver sp. 1E
Fulmar: 1W 1E
Gannet: 59E
Brent Goose: 214E
Teal: 26E
Shoveller: 4E
Gadwall: 2E
Mallard: 2E
Wigeon: 6E
Pintail: 8E
Common Scoter: 63E 15W
Oystercatcher: 4E
Kittiwake: 64E
Mediterranean Gull: 7E
1w Glaucous Gull: 1 around

Guillemot: c20 on sea

Saturday, 8 March 2014

A small Arrival!

This morning 07.20-08.20 from the point:
Red-throated Diver: 5W    2E   2 on sea
Great Crested Grebe: c50 off shore
Fulmar: 1W
Gannets: 37E    6W
Brent Goose: 3E   (almost stratospheric)
Shoveller: 5E
Common Scoter: 70W      8E
Merlin: 1 over beach
Oystercatcher: 3E     1W
Sandwich Tern: 1E
Guillemot: c50 off shore
Driving off the beach at c08.30 the lifeboat car park was already full and with wall to wall sunshine expected today The Point and reserve was going to get busy, so I stayed away for the rest of the day.
From the causeway 2 Great white Egrets and 2 Little Egrets at the south end of the ARC, at least 1 Black Throated Diver still on the New Diggings. Once again I did not see the Glossy Ibis in the field with the Emu/Rhea whichever, but it was reported there later in the day. At Scotney the 3 duck Scaup still present but no sign of the drake, the Black-necked Grebe was still present.    
 In Dengemarsh Gully early afternoon 4 Firecrests (2 more around the lighthouse and West Beach per DG) 2 Chiffchaffs and 2 Stonechats also in the Gully. By the power station 2 ravens could be seen. 4 more Stonechats around Galloways.

                           The local Little Owl was sun bathing on the chicken shed roof.