Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Another Brilliant Sea Watch!

Arctic Skua & Guillemot
After an early morning dental appointment I arrived at the fishing boats to find a small expectant gathering. With gale force southerlies no one was disappointed: Many thanks to MH,CP,OL,BM,RP for all the help collating the numbers:
08.10-12.30 & 13.30-15.30:
Brent Goose:1165E
Shelduck: 14W
Wigeon: 10E  4W,
Common Scoter: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 51W
Great-crested Grebe: c100 on sea
Fulmar: 21W
Sooty Shearwater: 3W
Gannet: 1,163W
Cormorant: c200 around
Oystercatcher: 9E
Sanderling: 1W
Dunlin: 5W
Turnstone: 2 around
Great Skua: 17W
Arctic Skua: 1W
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 adult around
Caspian Gull:  regular 1w bird
Little Gull: 12W
Kittiwake: 574W
Sandwich Tern: 1W
Guillemot: 1,104W
Razorbill: 3W
Auk sp: 63W
Grey Seal: 1
Driving back across the causeway 3 Great White Egrets sheltering on the New Diggings. The Long-eared Owl still behind the dipping pool today per PT.
Little Gull
Distant Bonxie with Guillemot
The regular 1w Caspian Gull cruising along the shore line

Monday, 28 December 2015

Busy Sea Watch!

Great Skua past the fishing boats this morning
The wind this morning was southerly with a touch of east as forecast, so it was no real surprise that we had an excellent few hours sea watching 08.10-11.10:
Brent Goose: 408E       5W
Shelduck: 2W
Pintail: 15E
Wigeon: 88E      38W
Teal: 4E
Common Scoter: 9W
Red-throated Diver: 61W       9E
Great Northern Diver: 2W
Great crested Grebe: 50 around
Fulmar: 2W
Sooty Shearwater: 10W
Gannet: 269W      16E
Cormorant: c300 around
Sanderling: 3W
Turnstone: 6 around
Dunlin: 25W
Great Skua: 4W
Mediterranean Gull: 47W
Caspian Gull: 2 x 1w around
Kittiwake: 223W
Sandwich Tern: 1W
Guillemot:146W         43E
Razorbill: 14W
Auk sp: 136W     27E
Siskin: 14 out

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Velvet Scoters!

Nice drake Velvet Scoter past the fishing boats this morning
09.00-10.00 from the fishing boats:
Velvet Scoter: 3W   (2 + 1)
Red-throated Diver: 6W
Great-crested Grebe: 17 present
Gannet:  142W
Cormorant: c200 present
Turnstone: 2 present
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 adult present
Caspian Gull: 1 regular 1w bird
Kittiwake: 18W
Guillemot: 351W
Auk sp: 72W
Another 2 Velvet Scoters past the fishing boats this morning
In 2 visits to the reserve of note, the Long-eared Owl was showing on its chosen perch, an adult Yellow-legged Gull was bathing on Burrowes as was a 1w & 2w Caspian Gull, 3+ red head Smew on Burrowes, 5+ Great White Egrets, but wildfowl numbers seemed to have decreased, passerines are hard to find in the strong winds though the Tree Sparrows have been very obliging at Boulderwall also in the visitor centre car park.

The regular 1w Caspian Gull still showing well near the the fishing boats today will undoubtedly be a popular bird on the 1st.

Red-throated Diver: 4W
Gannet: 71W
Kittiwake; 17W
Guillemot: 48W  13E

Friday, 25 December 2015

Sooty for Xmas!

A distant Sooty Shearwater
An interesting Christmas sea watch with MH and CP from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose: 2W
Shelduck: 2W
Red-throated Diver: 16W
Great-crested Grebe:  37 present
Fulmar: 1W
Sooty Shearwater: 1W   Was an excellent Xmas present!
Gannet: 341W
Cormorant: c250 present
Dunlin: 4W
Grey Plover: 6W
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 ad on beach
Kittiwake: 54W
Guillemot: 295W
Auk sp: 27W
 Gannets and a Guillemot

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Fishing Boats Again!

1w Caspian Gull
Another day of gales sunshine and showers:
08.40-10.05 from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose: 7E
Shelduck: 1W
Pintail: 6W
Red-throated diver: 17W
Great-crested Grebe: 24 present
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 421W
Cormorant: 745 around
Turnstone: 16 around
Great Skua: 1W
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 adult on beach
Kittiwake: 112W
Guillemot: 178W
Auk sp: 131W

1w Caspian Gull
14.20- 14.50
Red-throated diver: 8W
Great-crested Grebe: N/C
Gannet: 59W
Cormorant: N/C
Kittiwake: 16W
Caspian Gull: regular 1w on beach
Guillemot: 20W
Razorbill: 3W
Auk sp: 9W
1w Caspian Gull

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A much better day today although still relatively quiet on the avian front.
08.00-10.00 from the fishing boats
Brent Goose: 18E
Common Scoter: 14W
Red-throated Diver: 100W
Great-crested Grebe: 74 present
Fulmar: 2W
Gannet: 227W
Cormorant: c500 present
Turnstone: 24 present
Caspian Gull: 1 the regular 1w in the roost (which I resisted the urge to photograph)
Kittiwake: 76W
Guillemot: 161W
Razorbill: 2W
Auk sp: 178W
Around the reserve of note the very popular Long-eared Owl back on its chosen perch, another 1w Caspian Gull from Makepiece, 2 red head Smew, 5+ Goldeneye, a Kingfisher, 3+ Great White Egrets, 2 each of Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, several Cetti's Warblers, a Water Rail, Marsh Harriers enjoying the sun and a brief flight view of a Bittern.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Wash Out!

1w Caspian Gull feeding in the surf
Gale force winds, driving drizzle and sea spray made for Horrendous conditions at the fishing boats this morning, fortunately the boats offered me some shelter, cant think why I was on my own.
08.30-10.00 from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose: 1W      127E
Shelduck: 2W
Common Scoter: 1W
Great-crested Grebe: 9W
Fulmar: 14W
Gannet: 273W
Cormorant: c300 present
Turnstone: 5 on beach
Caspian Gull: 1 1w on beach
Kittiwake: 103W
Guillemot: 146W
Auk sp: 27W
1w Caspian Gull landing in front of me at the fishing boats
On the reserve conditions were no better, a Great White Egret could be seen from the entrance track near Boulderwall farm, from the visitor centre a 2w and an adult Caspian Gull could be seen on an island in front of Makepiece hide, by the time I got up to Makepiece they had both moved on, 2 red head Smew and several Goldeneye could be seen from Makepiece. The Long-eared Owl not surprisingly in the conditions could not be seen. With no let up in the winds and rain getting heavier I wimped out and went home, spending the afternoon with a bottle of wine and looking through newly found images of my 2011 Antarctic trip. 

Saturday, 19 December 2015

A drive around Walland Marsh this morning found several flocks of Fieldfares, more Mistle Thrushes than of late, only a few Redwings, plenty of Tree Sparrows around Baynham Farm and poor views of a 7+ Bewick Swans at Hooks wall.
On the reserve the Long-eared owl was showing well, and from Makepiece a superb 2w Caspian Gull.
 Long-eared Owl showing well today
 The regular 1w Caspian Gull
This afternoon 3 1w Caspian Gulls on the beach, including the stunning the regular bird. 

Thursday, 17 December 2015

More Caspian Gulls!

As I parked at the fishing boats this morning this now regular 1w Caspian Gull was in the puddles!
08.30-09.30 from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 56W
Great-crested Grebe: 152 present
Gannet: 28W      3E
Turnstone: 6 present
Kittiwake: 8W
Guillemot: 36W
Razorbill: 13W
Auk sp: 21W

1 of 2 2w Caspian Gulls roosting on Burrowes  early afternoon
The Long-eared Owl was roosting behind the dipping pool but in slightly different place and deeper in the bushes. 2+ red head Smew on Burrowes along with several Goldeneye, 2 Kingfishers, Bearded Tits, Cetti's Warblers and Chiffchaffs, also the leucistic Bittern was seen again per MH. Up to 6 Great White Egrets could be seen around the peninsula.
 This new 1w Caspian Gull dropped into the puddles for a few minutes this afternoon. a short video of this bird can be seen HERE
This now regular 1w Caspian Gull was also around the puddles this afternoon. A short video of this bird can be seen HERE

Poor Light!

This mornings sea watch was a total non event, after 30 minutes I'd seen only seen a few Gannets fishing and a couple each of Guillemots and Red-throated Divers. As it was so quiet I took the opportunity to do some of those Christmas things that have to be done.
This afternoon by the fishing boats a 1w Caspian Gull that has been around for a few days showed well, pity about the atrocious light conditions.
 1w Caspian Gull

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

De Haan, Belgium!

Yesterday I joined DW, GH and AJG on a day trip to De Haan, Belgium, mainly to see the spectacle of 1,000s of wild geese, as well as getting some chocolate and alcohol.
We caught an early morning train to Calais, then Gill drove the approximately 50 minute drive to De Haan where 1,000s of geese of 8 species were seen in the fields, along with 1,000s of Lapwing, 100s of Curlews and  other wildfowl. Although the weather was not brilliant, being damp and some what dull, all the birds could be seen from the comfort of the car, it was superb day out with good birds and company. 
As we arrived at De Haan we found a party of 9 Cattle Egrets
Some of the 1,000s of Pinkfeet in the fields around De Haan
A huge juvenile female Peregrine flushing the geese.
Some of the 1,000s White-front Geese also present there.
A few Tundra Bean Geese were also seen.
Common Buzzards were common there.
100s of Curlews were feeding in the wet fields.
On one of the flooded fields Gill our driver for the day picked out a distant Grey Phalarope, a short video of the Phalarope can be seen HERE . Although by no means a quality video, it was taken on my Canon Bridge camera, at the end of the video I zoom out, showing just how good these new Bridge cameras are for video, for even very distant small birds.
2500 ISO was needed for any a chance of an image.
We found this Great Northern Diver very late in the day at Ostende, along with a Slavonian Grebe, 15+ Goldeneye, dozens each of Great Crested and Little Grebes, a Kingfisher and more. 

Monday, 14 December 2015

With S to SE winds forecast this morning, a small group of locals gathered at the fishing boats with high expectaions and enjoyed a reasonable couple of hours sea watching with much banter.
08.00-10.00  with AJG, DW, MH, CP,
Brent: 43E          2W
Shelduck: 14W
Wigeon: 10W
Teal: 12E     12W
Common Scoter: 3W
Goosander: 1 in
Red-breasted Merganser: 9W
Red-throated Diver: 37W    4E
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 95W    14E
Dunlin: 34W
Sanderling: 9W
Turnstone: 4 on beach
Oystercatcher: 2W   1E
Great Skua: 1W
Kittiwake: 45W
Guillemot: 43W
Razorbill: 7W
Auk sp:  14W    5E
Grey Seal: 1

A new 2w Caspian Gull in the beach roost late morning 
On the Reserve the Long-eared Owl was missing today, 5 red head Smew could be seen on Burrowes and the usual wildfowl along with at least 2 Kingfishers, Great White Egrets on New Diggings, ARC, Dengemarsh and Christmas Dell along with the usual Marsh Harriers.
JZ582 Great Black-backed Gull at the puddles this afternoon
Highlight of a half watch from the boats was a Black-necked Grebe flying west.
Brent Goose: 17E
Red-throated Diver: 9W
Black-necked Grebe: 1W
Gannet: 17W
Guillemot: 12W
Auk sp: 5W

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Trio of Caspian Gulls!

Another dull dreary day on the peninsular. The highlight of a slow sea watch with BM was a juvenile Pomarine Skua chasing a Brent Goose.
Brent Goose: 2W     20W
Wigeon: 1W
Common Scoter: 6W     3E
Red-throated Diver: 21W        7E
Gannet: 16E       10 around
Pomarine Skua: 1W
Kittiwake: 26W      6 around
Sandwich Tern: 1 around
Guillemot:  14W
Auk sp: 10W
This afternoon back at The Point 3 Caspian Gulls provided an opportunity for some visiting birders to tick them off. The light was awful this afternoon for photography. Much better images can be seen and
A new 1w Caspian Gull + and adult Yellow-legged Gull

Yesterdays Polish ringed 3w Caspian Gull still around today
This very smart 1w Caspian Gull has been around for a few days

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Another Caspo!

On the reserve first thing this morning there was no sign of the Long-eared Owl on its usual perch, though apparently it had returned by midday, 5 Smew could be seen from Dennis's hide also a Great White Egret there.
From the fishing boats 08.00-09.00
Brent Goose: 1E  19W
Common Scoter: 1E  1W
Great-crested Grebe: 137 west from Lade Bay
Red-throated Diver: 1E   27W
Gannet: 56W
Cormorant: c200 around
Mediterranean Gull: 1W  (2w)
Kittiwake:  9W
Guillemot:  22W
Razorbill: 2W
Auk sp:  13W
After dropping my binoculars into Hythe Camera's to be repaired I saw 5 Purple Sandpipers on the Breakwater at the end of Twiss Road, Hythe.
This afternoon as I drove onto the beach I could see Richard Bonser busily photographing a Gull in the roost, parking up and scanning the roost I spotted the gleaming white head that held Richard's attention, a very smart 3w Caspian Gull. As it was it was sitting down I couldn't see that it sported a yellow ring PNXB making it the same bird that David Walker had seen briefly earlier in the week.
3w Caspian Gull

Friday, 11 December 2015


An hour at the fishing boats this morning saw plenty of Gannets moving west, very small numbers of Red-throated Divers and Auks, along with the usual Great-crested Grebes and Cormorants, a drake Eider being the only notable bird.
On the reserve the Long-eared Owl was on its chosen perch, 5 Smew and 8 Goldeneye could be seen among the common wildfowl. Also at last a Kingfisher posed for me though the light conditions were terrible.
Agreat White Egret was on the New Diggings and another at the south end of the ARC.

 This afternoon yesterdays 1w Caspian Gull was in the roost on the beach.
 1w Caspian Gull