Sunday, 31 January 2016

1w Gannet past the fishing boats yesterday afternoon.
It seems though the world and his wife has been at Dungeness this weekend. Yesterdays sunny weather meant that the Gull roosts were constantly disturbed by walkers making the 1w Glaucous Gull and the 1w Caspian Gull difficult to locate. A short visit to the beach today in the wind and rain which didn't deter the numerous fisherman taking part the Dab championship. At sea the usual Gannets, Auks and kittiwakes but nothing of note.
At the reserve 1 of the 2 Long-eared Owls was showing, both were seen early morning, from Makepiece a Smew, 3 Goldeneye and a few dabblers. With rain still falling it was time for a full English.
This afternoon during a walk around the hayfields and Dengemarsh I managed ony 5 Meadow Pipits, 3 Reed Buntings, a Marsh Harrier and a few Crows. Galloways was equally disappointing.
At the Egret roost late afternoon 22 Little and 3 Great White Egrets came in, while 3 Marsh harriers headed towards the Oppen Pits. 

Friday, 29 January 2016

Enough birds to keep the interest going on another windy morning at the fishing boats, which fortunately afforded some shelter from the wind and occasional drizzle.
08.10-11.00 with BM and DW.
Brent Goose: 3W    24E      
Red-breasted Merganser: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 1E   1W
Great-crested Grebe: several birds present
Fulmar: 11W
Gannet: 62W
Cormorant: present in the usual numbers
Mediterranean Gull: 7W
Caspian Gull: 1W a new bird
Kittiwake: 249W
Guillemot: 128W
Razorbill: 29W
Auk sp: 75W
Grey Seal: 1W
With little coverage due the weather the only news from the reserve was of a Slavonian Grebe and 4 Smew on Burrowes,
At a very windswept Scotney very few Geese. Just 2 Ring Plover on the sward with a few Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails. The Herring Gull island was awash but a few hatdy birds were still on it.
Back at the beach early afternoon the regular 1w Caspian Gull was showing well in the puddles and the 1w Glaucous Gull was in the roost behind the fish hut, by now the rain had set in, time for a cup of tea.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Blue Skies!

The new bay carved out by the recent storms opposite Jarmans.
After yesterdays Gull glut, this morning there was barely a Gull to be seen, so I took the oppotunity for an early morning visit to Hookers. On the way 2 Black-necked Grebes were at the south end of the New diggings, at Boulderwall 6+ Tree Sparrows and a Great White Egret, from the viewing ramp several Bearded Tits, 2 Marsh Harriers, another Great White Egret, a Bittern, Cetti's Warblers were very vocal as was several Water Rails, 100s of Lapwing and Golden Plovers were constantly spooked by the Harriers and a Common Buzzard.
A wander up to The Pines with MH saw of note 3+ Chiffchaffs, a party of Long-tailed Tits, 4 Common Snipe, a fly over Bittern and 2 more Marsh Harriers.
At Scotney on the grass 2 Curlew, 6 Ringed Plovers which I think are the first of the year at this site, also 100+ Greylags and 40 Barnacle Geese but little else.
This afternoon I tracked down the 1w Glaucous Gull to the shore line by the Lifeboat Station, which was the only bit of beach without wall to wall fisherman bought out by the nice weather. The weather also brings out the arty photographers, beach combers and walkers all of which flush the Gulls from pillar to post. The Glaucous Gull was the only Gull on the beach, but was still flushed by someone collecting shells, who got to within a few feet of it and still didn't see the it, he then asked me what I was photographing!
From Springfield Bridge this afternoon of note a Bittern, Great White Egret and more Marsh Harriers.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

50,000+ Gulls!!

Blizzard of Gulls
When I left home this morning I wasn't expecting to be out all day. Gale force winds with drizzle in the air didn't bode well. I arrived at the fishing boats to be met by a veritable blizzard of Gulls moving West. 
Mediterranean Gull
08.45-12.45 & 13.45-16.00 with MH and DW, joined this afternoon by OL.
Brent Goose: 43E
Gadwall: 3W
Teal: 1W
Wigeon: 75W
Red-throated Diver: 2W  1 on sea
Fulmar: 25W
Gannet: 137W
Cormorant: 594W
Turnstone: 6 on beach
Sanderling: 1W
Great Skua: 1W
Black-headed Gull: 38,000+W
Common Gull: 9,000+W
Mediterranean Gull: 7W
Herring Gull: 3,500W
Yellow-legged Gull: 2W
Caspian Gull: 1 the regular 1w bird on the beach
Lesser Black-backed Gull: 37W
Great Black-backed Gull: 500+W
Kittiwake: 3,816W
Glaucous Gull: 1 the regular 1w bird on the beach
Guillemot: 207W
Razorbill: 184W
Auk sp: 92W
Grey Seal: 2 present

Common Seal: 1 present
A superb sea watch from the relative shelter of the fishing boats.
Great Skua
Mediterranean Gull

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Siberian Rubythroat!

Sunday morning, on the news that the Siberian Rubythroat was still present a few miles north of Amsterdam, I booked a place on the 06.20 Chunnel train for Monday. Monday morning DW,GH,TG and myself caught the train to Calais, then we drove to Hoogwoud motorway all the way arriving at 11.30. It's really only the equivalent of driving to Spurn Point from Dungeness only on far superior roads. News was not good as the Rubythroat had not been seen for an hour! We waited at the entrance to the alley where it was being seen every 15 minutes on Sunday! After about an hour some birders had wandered off allowing us to have pole position on the area where the Rubythroat usually performed, we stuck it out as a couple of Dutch photographers assured us the bird will show there. It suddenly flew across the path into a hedge giving the briefest of views. 45 minutes later 1 of the local photographers who was laying down, could see it working its way towards log he had baited with meal worms, then it hopped out flashing its stunning crimson throat causing the many cameras to whirr into overdrive, also making us very happy we had pole position. Over the next hour it performed several times for us allowing us excellent photographic opportunities.
Many thanks are due to the residents for there patience with the birders and the helpfulness of the Dutch birders on site, all who speak fluent English making me feel very ashamed that I don't speak a word of Dutch.
Leaving site we dashed up to the coast where we saw 3 Red-breasted Geese with flock of c1,000 Dark-bellied Brent Geese and 3+ Light-bellied Brent Geese. Also 1,000s each of White-fronted Geese and Greylag Geese, 100s of Egyptian Geese a few Barnacle Geese, 10+ Great White Egrets. a Bittern, 5 Scaup, 4 Smew, a Goosander, a Black-necked Grebe and a Kingfisher, but missed the Bufflehead and Lesser Scaup as the light went.

Saturday, 23 January 2016


As I drove across the causeway this morning a Black-necked Grebe was at the northern end of the New Diggings. Meeting up with SO at the observatory we walked out into the trapping area where we came across a Common Snipe, a Woodcock, 4 Long-tailed Tits with Blue and Great Tits, a pleasant walk but little else of note seen. 
1w Little Gull
The sea was quiet this morning from the at the fishing boats this morning, apart from the 1w Little Gull. At the sea watch hide a few Auks, Red-throated Divers and the Little Gull again. On the perimeter fence a female Black Redstart was fly catching with a couple of Pied Wagtails.
 Mick and Richard getting up close to the 1w Glaucous and 1w Caspian Gull this afternoon!
13.45-15.30 From the fishing boats:
Brent Goose: 43E
Red-throated Diver: 3W
Great-crested Grebe: present
Gannet: 96W
Cormorant: present
Black-headed Gull: 1500+ W
Kittiwake: 84W
Caspian Gull: regular 1w bird present throughout
Glaucous Gull: regular 1w bird present throughout
Guillemot: 14W
Razorbill: 336W

Auk sp: 134W

A short video of the 1w Glaucous Gull can be seen HERE . A video of the 1w Glaucous Gull with the 1w Caspian Gull can be seen HERE 
 1w Glaucous Gull

1w Glaucous Gull and the 1w Caspian Gull.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Rained Off!

 Not wanting to get out of bed this morning meant I missed a couple of thousand Razorbills heading west, but I was still in time to see c1,500, along with a few Guillemots, Gannets, Kittiwakes, 5 Fulmars and a single Pintail all moving west, not forgetting the 1w Glaucous Gull ghosting past for it's daily photo shoot. About 09.40 the rain arrived, leaving the beach the 1w Caspian gull was by the fish hut, as I drove home past the south end of the New Diggings 2 Black-necked Grebes could be seen.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

08.00-10.00 & 13.45-15.15 from the fishing boats, Thanks to BM & MH for collating the numbers.
Brent Goose: 67E
Shelduck: 1W
Teal: 2W
Wigeon: 2W
Common Scoter: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 26E   1W
Great-crested Grebe: Present
Fulmar: 1W   1E
Gannet: 81W
Cormorant: a flock of 235 feeding on a shoal this afternoon
Oystercatcher: 2W
Great Skua: 1 around this afternoon
Little Gull: 1W
Mediterranean Gull: 2W
Kittiwake: 47W
Glaucous Gull: the 1w around
Caspian Gull: the 1w around
Guillemot: 41W
Razorbill: 1,446W
Auk sp: 261W
On the New Diggings of note 2 Black-necked Grebes also 2 more on the ARC with 2 Great White Egrets and 7 Goldeneye there along with several 100s of Gadwall and Teal.
Surprisingly little of note on Burrowes, no Smew or Goosander, even the Long-eared Owl has gone missing. 
At Scotney another 2 Black-necked Grebes at the Kent end. A walk around the back of the farm saw 100s each of Wigeon, Shoveler and Teal also c30 Pintail and 5 Little Egrets but little else of note. 
The Tundra Bean Goose was seen from the double bends at Scotney and the Dartford Warbler was still in the Kerton Road triangle.
 1w Glaucous Gull

 Some of the 1400 Razorbills past the fishing boats today
 The stunning 1w Caspian Gull

I'm hoping it's not fishing line hanging from it's bill!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Calm and Quiet!

2 still, sunny days in a row are rare at Dungeness, with sea flat calm there was nothing moving off shore, there was a few Guillemots and Razorbills bobbing about with a few Red-throated Divers, some Gannets way out, a Red-breasted Merganser and of course the 1w Caspian gull and 1w Glaucous Gull.
I made the effort to walk around the Long Pits in search of a Woodcock and failed, however I did find 2 Jack Snipe, 10 Common Snipe and 2 Cetti's Warblers.
At the back of Scotney a Spotted Redshank was on the back lake island, also 24 White-fronted Geese and the Tundra Bean Goose. The fields were very quiet with just 3 Skylarks, 3 Stonechats and a few Meadow pipits being seen. In Scotney Farm the first Lambs of the year.
Scotney Farms first lambs of the year.
Driving past Belgar farm a Barn Owl appeared, by the time I stopped the car, the above image was the only one I managed.
At the Kerton Road triangle the Dartford Warbler was chasing around with 3 Stonechats at lunchtime today. At the south end of the New Diggings a Slavonian Grebe and 2 Black-necked Grebes. At the ARC 2 Bitterns walking on the ice, 3 Great White Egrets, 3 Marsh Harriers, 2 Common Snipe, 4 Cetti's Warblers and all the usual wild fowl.
1 of 2 Bitterns wandering about on the ice.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Castletown Bearhaven!

 On Sunday morning myself David Walker and Gillian Hollamby flew from Stansted to Cork where we picked up a hire car all for a mere £36 each. We drove in very poor weather conditions which worsened every Kilometre of the c125 to Castletown Bearhaven arriving early afternoon. We soon found our target the Glaucous-winged Gull sitting on rocks a few yards out in the harbour, though by now the rain was torrential, so we retired to Macarthy's bar for fresh crab sandwiches and tea in the hope the rain would abate, unfortunately it didn't if anything it got worse.
Macarthy's Bar. taken on Monday in much better weather.
 When we left Macarthy's the Glaucous-winged Gull had disappeared and not even a record picture taken! there was however an adult Ring-billed Gull there but the weather was to severe for photographs. We drove around the harbour to try and locate the the Gull without success. It's hard to believe a mega like this and we only saw 1 other birder on Sunday and 2 on Monday. As the light failed we went back to our B&B Murphy's Restaurant for fraught night of worrying if the Glaucous-winged Gull would be present in the morning. Our worry was made easier by after having a delicious Rack of Beef  and a bottle of Rioja in Murphy's then spending the rest of the evening in Macarthy's, downing a few Guinness enjoying an Irish sing song.
Our B&B
Ring-billed Gull. taken on Monday
Monday morning  9.0 A.M. and it was still more or less dark but it was dry and windless. We soon found the Glaucous-winged Gull perched on top of a street lamp where we took our first images of it, I have already deleted all of the images I took at that time, though the light was dreadful all the while we were there. We took the opportunity to go back to our B&B for breakfast where we could watch the gull from our breakfast table. After the breakfast the light had improved a little and more images were taken.  We also saw 3 Glaucous Gulls nearby and a 2w Iceland Gull at Eyeries, rounding off a brilliant 2 days birding in great company before we had to make our back to Cork airport and home. A short video of the Glaucous-winged Gull can be seen HERE
Glaucous-winged Gull

1w Mediterranean Gull Bearhaven
2w Iceland Gull, Eyeries Beach

Hooded Crow, Eyeries.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

A clear frosty morning on the peninsula made for a pleasant walk from the ARC to Hookers. 100s of Lapwing and Golden Plover were in the Boulderwall fields, also a small flock of Linnets my first of the year, but no sign of the drake Smew that had been in residence on the track side pools. Despite there being at least 2 Dartford Warblers between the coral and the viewing mound I failed to see any of them, nor not surprisingly the Penduline Tits. At the back Hookers the Slavonian Grebe still also a Bittern, 2+ Bearded Tits and a Snipe over.
A visit to the fishing boats saw the 1w Caspian Gull as tame as ever, unfortunately no sign of any of the Glaucous Gulls. A short video of the 1w Glaucous Gull can seen HERE. Another look around the beach this afternoon with the same result.
An hour lunchtime watching from Plodland saw 2 Great White Egrets, 2 Little Egrets, 3 Marsh Harriers, 2 Common Buzzards, 100s of Lapwing and Golden Plover and the usual Greylags and Canada Geese.
Late afternoon on Walland Marsh 9 Marsh Harriers came in to roost in one reed bed and 8 more into another, also a Bittern, 4 Bearded Tits, a Great White Egret, 2 Stonechats and a couple of Common Buzzards.
The Long-eared Owl was apparently showing well today. A short video of it taken the other day just to prove it's not stuffed can be seen HERE.

Friday, 15 January 2016

1w Glaucous Gull again!

 Another very cold morning watch at the fishing boats where I was joined by CP. We saw a trickle of Red-throated Divers coming in and out of the bay, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, c100 Guillemots, a few Razorbills and the usual Cormorants and Great-crested Grebes. With no sign of any Glaucous Gulls we walked along the beach to The Point then back towards the Lifeboat Station, about 400yds short of the Lifeboat Station we found the 1w Glaucous Gull which promptly flew back to The Point. Time for Breakfast and some domestic stuff.
At Scotney most of the grey geese were absent, only 5 Brent Geese of note. On the reserve the drake Smew was again viewable from the entrance track and the Long-eared Owl was still present.  
Back at the boats this afternoon the gull reappeared and showed well again, hopefully it will perform well tomorrow for those who have to work during the week.  

 At the puddles!

Long-eared Owl Basking in the sun!