Saturday, 31 January 2015


First thing this morning at The Point virtually no off shore movement, just a few Gannets on the horizon. The gull roost was once again non existent.
At Scotney no change, the drake Scaup over at the far bank from the double bends, the 3 Black-necked Grebes hiding in the pool at the Kent end, the 2 Tundra Bean Geese, 18 Greater White-fronted Geese and all the other usual suspects present.
A wander around Pigwell was bitterly cold and very few birds to be seen, though 2 Stonechats were entertaining, an adult male Marsh Harrier flew through and a Kingfisher flashed over the wash out lake. A quick look for the Cattle Egrets drew a blank though Great White Egrets could be seen in the fields.
 Out on Walland the Bewick Swans and Whooper Swan were still in situ. Plenty of Tree Sparrows, Yellowhammers, Corn Buntings and winter Thrushes at all the usual spots. A chilly walk around Coldharbour and the Solar Farm was disappointing though a Black Redstart was some compensation.
On the beach this afternoon I joined Mick and Richard, but despite there best efforts with fish heads and loaves of bread the Gulls just weren't around. If you want to see the Littlehamton Kumlien's Gull well, the boys will be there tomorrow loaded with fish heads, loaves and popcorn.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Bright and Cold!

A very cold watch from the fishing boats 08.10-09.20
Eider: 1 drake down
Red-throated Diver: 2 up
Gannet: 72 down    19 up
Turnstone: 18 on beach
Pomarine Skua: 1 down
Kittiwake: 32 down
Auks: 16 down  4 up
At The Patch 1,000s each of Black-headed and Herring Gulls despite much disturbance, but could not find anything of note.
The 2 Cattle Egrets were back in the field opposite Wraxhalls Aggregates today joined by a Little Egret.
Staring into the bright sunshine on Walland Marsh this afternoon, the Whooper Swan among 86 Bewick Swans, 2 Common Buzzards and a Marsh Harrier over. Tree Sparrows, Corn Buntings, Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers in the usual spots.
At Scotney the 3 Black-necked Grebes and drake Scaup still, along with the feral Geese and 140+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese
Around the reserve a minimum of 4 Great White Egrets, 2 Goosander, 2 Kingfishers, 11 Smew, 4+ Marsh Harriers, c200 Golden Plover, a Peregrine and the usual Wildfowl. An hour late afternoon at the ARC from Hanson saw 2 Bitterns, a Great White Egret, 11 Goldeneye and 2 Smew of note.
The drake Smew still performing! 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Good Memories!

As the weather was so abysmal here today I barely left the house. To keep myself amused, I thought I'd have look and see what was on my external back up hard drive, I ended up spending virtually all day looking 1,000s old photographs, which bought back some great memories.
The images below are small sample taken in May 2006 on a trip to Pelee with Dick Eyre-Walker. Pelee is such an easy place to go birding, with a tram service to and from the Visitor Centre to The Point if you don't feel like walking, if you do there are lots of good paths all of which are flat. The local birders are really helpful and want you to see every bird. One time while we were there they were running down the road to see a rare bird, we declined to run it was Black-billed Magpie! Hopefully one day I will go back.
 Blackburnian Warbler
 Black and White Warbler
 Black-throated Blue Warbler
 Black-throated Green Warbler
 Blue-winged Warbler
 Canada Warbler
 Cerulean Warbler (female)
 Chestnut-sided Warbler
 Magnolia Warbler
 Nashville Warbler
 Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
 Yellow Warbler
Common Yellowthroat

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

A benign day!

07.40-08.30 from the fishing boats: With the benign weather today very little off shore movement.
Wigeon: 9 down
Common Scoter: 2 up
Red-throated Diver: 6 up
Great-crested Grebe: 172  up into Hythe bay
Gannet: 98 down
Peregrine: 1 around chasing the Merlin.
Merlin: 1 around
Kittiwake: 37 down
Guillemot: 9 up
The Patch hide under siege!
At The Patch just 2 Mediterranean Gulls of any note, although the 1,000s of Gulls present over the boil and further down the beach were suffering much disturbance. 
 The new rock flood protection for the Power Station!
 A beautiful Goose even if it is feral!
On the main pit at Scotney the 3 Black-necked Grebes and the drake Scaup still and later the 2 Tundra Bean Geese on the main spit along with the usual wildfowl.
 Feral Egyptians with some of the 148 Brent Geese present at the back of Scotney!
Wandering the paths at the back of Scotney enjoying the sunshine, a flock of 148 Brent Geese and 6 Egyptian Geese. Way in the distance nearly to Jurys gap 2 Great White Egrets. A flock of 42 Tree Sparrows just in Sussex were very flighty, most likely something to do with the 2 Peregrines that were putting on a superb aerial display and the 3-4 Marsh Harriers there. c35 Corn Buntings and 20+ Skylarks were also seen around the fields and farm.  
 The 2 Great White Egrets definitely in Sussex! 
 Part of a flock of 16 Corn Buntings in the farm
record of the 2 Tundra Bean Geese
The 2 Cattle Egrets were in the field behind the chicken sheds at Brickwall Farm, Dengemarsh Road early afternoon, also 3 Marsh Harriers there and a raven.
Typical afternoon view of Bittern from the Screen
Mid afternoon from the screen hide 3 Bitterns gave flight views, 2 Great White Egrets, 2 Goosanders, 5 Goldeneye and the usual wild fowl.

Monday, 26 January 2015


A busy half hour mid morning at the Tickner Lane seed dump, saw 30+ Yellowhamers, 20+ Corn Buntings, 20+ Reed Buntings, 4 Tree Sparrows, 40+ Chaffinches, 50+ Fieldfare,several each of Redwing and Song Thrush, a Green Woodpecker, 2 Common Buzzards, a Marsh Harrier and a Sparrowhawk.
At Baynham Farm more Yellowhammers, Tree Sparrows and Chaffinches, with Goldfinches, Greenfinches and c100 Linnets.
In the field adjacent to Horsebones Farm 84 Bewick Swans, the single Whooper Swan still with the lone Greylag Goose in tow. 
At Scotney the 1w drake Scaup and the 3 Black-necked Grebes eventually appeared from behind the gull island, also usual feral geese but no Whitefronts or Beans.
No sign in 3 visits of the Cattle Egrets in Dengemarsh Road, Lydd.   
1w drake Scaup, Scotney.
Early afternoon on the beach, the sea was very quiet and very few gulls in the roost areas.
The ARC was also very quiet with just 2 sightings of Bitterns, 2 Goosander, a Great White Egret and the usual wildfowl.  

Sunday, 25 January 2015


Early morning at Dengemarsh from Springfield Bridge saw of note 2 brief flights of Bittern, 2 Great White Egrets out in the fields, 3 Little Egrets flying over, a Cattle Egret at the back of the reed bed, 3+ Marsh Harriers and the usual wildfowl. From opposite the watersports entrance c500 Golden Plover, c1,000 Lapwing being constantly flushed by Marsh Harriers and a Peregrine. The Cattle Egrets are now getting a harder to see, as they move around now that there are no longer any cattle in the their usual field
Around the Scotney complex of note 14 Greater White-fronted Geese, 2 Tundra Bean Geese, the feral flock of Barnacle Geese with there attendant hybrids, 3 Black-necked Grebes, the 1w drake Scaup, a flock of 40+ Tree Sparrows at the Sussex end of the main lake behind the bungalow, also 4 Corn Buntings there, another party of 8 Tree Sparrows, 12 Corn Buntings and a few Skylarks at the back of the lake.
The Bewick Swans and Whooper Swan were reported as still present at Horsebones Farm, on the reserve all the usual suspects could still be seen today.  
 Tundra Bean Geese, Scotney today.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Buntings and Thrushes!

07.40-08.40 at the fishing boats, So enthralling I even counted the Cormorants until they turned round and came back, but at least it wasn't raining.  
 Brent Goose: 41 up
Shelduck: 1 down
Red-throated Diver: 2 down
Gannet: c100 feeding off shore
Cormorant: 728 up (07.40-08.05)
Kittiwake: 28 down
Guillemot: 8 on sea
1 Barrel Jellyfish by boats
 Herring Gull TD1T a regular on the beach
 Typical view of Bittern from the screen
At the ARC 15+ Tree Sparrows around the car park, a wander up to the Tower produced a Bittern, 2 Marsh Harriers, a Great White Egret, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, a Chiffchaff in the Long-tailed Tit flock, 3 calling Cetti's Warblers and Water Rails squealing from just about every patch of reeds.
An hour staring out from the screen later joined by BB saw at least 3 more Bitterns, 2 Great White Egrets, 2 Goosanders, a Smew, the usual wildfowl and more Water Rails.
At Lydd the 2 Cattle Egrets still in there chosen field. At Scotney the 3 Black-necked Grebes and the 1w drake Scaup.
Some of the 24 Corn Buntings at the seed dump. 
 I spent the afternoon on the marsh, the 84 Bewick and single Whooper Swan still in the field adjacent to Horsebones Farm. At Midley drying barns 10+ Tree Sparrows, 4 Yellowhammers and a few Chaffinches. A little further on at the feeders at least 20 Tree Sparrows, a few more Yellowhammers, 40+ Chaffinches, 40+ House Sparrows and a flock of c100 Linnets.
 A dodgy shot of the female Bullfinch 
A wander around Coldharbour and the Solar farm saw another 6 Tree Sparrows, c50 Fieldfare, c100 Redwing, 40+ Song Thrushes, countless Blackbirds, 20 Reed Buntings, 8 Yellowhammers, 6 Corn Buntings, a Bullfinch(scarce on the marsh), 2 Stonechat, a Jay, 3 Common Buzzards, 2 Marsh Harriers and 2 Sparrowhawks. 
At the Tickners Lane seed dump 24 Corn Buntings, 30 Yellowhammers, 10+ Reed Buntings, 4 Tree Sparrows another Common Buzzard and Sparrowhawk. 
Late afternoon 3 Marsh Harriers came into roost while another flock of c40 Linnets roosted nearby.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015


Yet another dull, damp miserable day on the peninsular. A late start at The Point this morning, a light S.E wind was blowing but it did nothing to improve the sea passage.
 09.15-10.15 with MH
Brent Goose: 38 up
Red-throated Diver: 2 down
Gannet: 16 down     6 up
Kittiwake:  17 down
Auk: 14 up
On the ARC south end from the causeway, 2 Goosander, a Bittern, a Great White Egret, a Little Egret, a Marsh Harrier, c100 Gadwall, c50 Shoveler and 4 Pintail. 
3 Black-necked Grebes, Scotney.
 At Scotney the 3 Black-necked Grebes at the Kent end and the 1w drake Scaup at the Sussex end.
 The 2 Mink taken through glass from Scott hide.
While sitting in Scott hide this afternoon watching the Smew, a loud screaming from underneath the hide startled me, it sounded just like a Rabbit being attacked by a Stoat so I thought no more of it. A minute later 2 dark shapes dashed up the bank through the brambles, at the top  I could see they were Mink and took a quick snap through a dirty glass window of them. I left the hide to see if I could get a better look, one of them disappeared under the hide the other ran across the path into the reeds, reappearing seconds later and running off down the path towards Makepeace hide. 
 By the track from Scott-Makepeace.

 Coot with a Perch
 A brief visit by the Kingfisher

Another Perch about to go down head first.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Smew brightens the day!

The sun rose out of the sea as a huge fiery red ball this morning, 20 minutes later it started to sleet and rain, 8hrs later it was still raining ending another thoroughly dismal day on the peninsular.
A wander around the north end of the trapping area looking for Woodcock was fruitless and wet, finding only a Tit flock in the bushes, on the north pit a Great Crested Grebe, 5 Tufted duck and 5 Coot.
08.30-09.00 near the fishing boats from the relative comfort of the car.
Brent Goose: 9 up
Common Scoter: 1 down
Fulmar: 1 down
Gannet: c40 o/s
Kittiwake: 14 o/s
Guillemot: 6 on sea
On the ARC from the causeway 2 Goosander, 4 Smew, 2 Great White Egret, 2 Kingfishers, a Marsh Harrier and the usual wildfowl.
On the reserve the rain really started in earnest keeping me marooned in the empty hide, ensuring that no one else would be stupid enough to be wandering about in such appalling weather. The compensation for my braving the weather, was having the hide to myself, with no one to tut at my use of a flash gun to photograph the pair of Smew and a Little Grebe that were feeding on small Perch in front the hide. The Kingfisher came onto the post to the side of the hide posing nicely, as I lifted my camera my mobile rang and the Kingfisher was gone! Bloody PPI!
 This afternoon at the ARC from Hanson a re-run of yesterday, Bitterns, Kingfishers, Egrets, Smew, Goosanders, Chiffchaffs.
In the near dark at Lydd the 2 Cattle Egrets in there chosen field were joined by 3 Little Egrets.

This afternoon at the ARC