Tuesday, 31 May 2016

That Gull Again!

Another cold day of strong northerly winds and drizzle.
This morning at The Patch:
Gannet: 258W  21E
Arctic Skua: 1 pale phase around
Mediterranean Gull: 3 over the boil
Kittiwake: 8Wmany present n/c
Herring Gull: many present n/c
Lesser Black Backed Gull: present in small numbers
Great Black Backed Gulls:
Iceland Gull:  2nd calender year probably
Little Tern: 3 over the boil
Black Tern: 2 over the boil
Common Tern: 800+ over the boil
Sandwich Tern: present offshore n/c
Auk sp: 7W
Swift: 11 in
A poor video of the gull can be seen on the following link https://youtu.be/l1xi6Crdmwg
In the video it appears to an Iceland Gull, yet yesterdays images seem to me to lean towards Glaucous. As a very wise sage by the name of Steve Gale says it's a Gull!

Add caption

Monday, 30 May 2016

Swift Arrival

1 of 2 Black Terns present this morning
08.00-10.00 at The Patch this morning
Great-crested Grebe: 17 around
Gannet: 8W   3E
Oystercatcher: 2E
Great Skua: 1E
Arctic Skua: 1 pale phase around
Kittiwake: 1 in roost
Mediterranean Gull: 4+ around
Black-headed Gull: many present
Herring Gull: many present
Lesser Black Backed Gull: present
Great Black Backed Gull: present
Glaucous Gull: 2nd calender year I believe?
Little Tern: 1
Black Tern: 2
Common Tern: c100 around
Sandwich Tern: present n/c
House Martin: 1 in
Swallow: 1 in
Swift: 163 in
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Grey Seal: 1
The peninsula played host to 1,000s of Swifts and many Hirundines this morning presumably escaping poor weather on the continent.
There has been some debate about the identity of the white winged gull found by Dominic Mitchell on Friday 27th, it is still present. My personal opinion is that it is a 2nd calender year Glaucous Gull. It is certainly an odd looking bird and not the normal brute of a bird associated with Glaucous Gulls.
The White Winged Gull!

Arctic Skua at the back of The Patch

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Scarlet Rosefinch

While emptying my surprisingly full MV this morning news came through that David Walker had found a Scarlet Rosefinch while doing his net rounds. The bird was singing regularly all through the day, but was very elusive in the Cuckoo Spit laden Sallows as it appeared to feed on Froghoppers. 
 A couple of poor efforts of the Scarlet Rosefinch

Cuckoo flying past the Rosefinch observers.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Glaucous Gull

Juvenile Robin still in the garden early morning
I wandered down to The Patch this morning to see if the Laughing Gull was still present, though the body language of the birders already there told me it wasn't. There was 3 Black Terns there, also a Little Tern, c100 Common Terns and a party of 15 Common Scoter flew east.
Next stop the fishing boats where no sooner had I started out along the beach a call from David Walker to say Dominic Mitchell had found a white winged gull at The Patch. A few minutes later I was back there and sure enough there was 2nd cal yr Glaucous Gull present, I guess I over looked in the beach roost. It was not a real brute of a bird like the the bird earlier this year and didn't appear to be much bigger than the Herring Gulls , also the bill appeared quite weak. Early afternoon it was on the reserve on an island on Burrowes Pit before flying off back towards the power station. 
 2nd cal yr Glaucous Gull over The Patch

A late afternoon walk along the Midrips found 24 Avocets, 9 Dunlin, 16 Ringed Plover and 4 Redshanks around the pools. Offshore a few Sandwich, Little and Common Terns were feeding also a party of 18 Sanderling flew east.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Laughing Gull at Dungeness!

First thing this morning I pulled into an empty car park by the power station quite pleased that I would have the beach to myself. I wandered down to The Patch in the hoping that the Hastings Laughing Gull had relocated to Dungeness. Arriving at The Patch there were c50 Common Terns and c150 Herring Gulls plus at least 3 Mediterranean Gulls over the boil, on the beach another c250 Herring Gulls but no sign of the Laughing Gull. I settled down to trying to get some North Thames ring numbers but all the gulls were to far away to read the rings. I scanned the sea towards Fairlight through the scope suddenly picking up a lone Gull c 600 yds away, knowing instantly it was the Laughing Gull. I quickly took some video at 260X for a record image, then had to walk back along the beach to the sea watch hide before I could get a phone signal (the service is appalling at Dungeness). Arriving back at The Patch, a 5 minute panic whilst I relocated the Gull. Most of the morning it stayed distant. I went home for lunch then got a call to say that it was eating cheesy snacks at peoples feet. I quickly arrived and the bird was really close but the light was shocking (I'm never satisfied)  A short video of the Laughing Gull can be seen by clicking on the the following link  https://youtu.be/AahX4zFPfXU

 Just about to be flushed by security
A poor record of it's brief visit to Dungeness RSPB reserve. A first for the reserve I believe.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Laughing Gull!!

After a thoroughly cold, miserable and unrewarding birding wise around Dungeness today, news of of a spanking summer plumaged Laughing Gull nearby at Hastings found by Dave Rowlands was to good to miss. David Walker kindly picked me up en route. Half an hour later we were watching the the superb Laughing Gull on the beach behind the Basketball Court. Next to the court today's fish catch was being gutted  and the Laughing Gull was in attendance grabbing scraps with Herring Gulls and Great Black Backed Gulls. Minutes after we arrived a group of young men arrived to use the court, 5 Herring Gulls trapped inside the enclosed court started panicking as these grown men cowered and screamed in fear of the Gulls. One of the Herring Gulls got itself entangled with the netting, David Walker quickly freed it and let it go on the beach, while I and another birder shepherded the remaining Gulls out. In the short time we were distracted from the Laughing Gull it disappeared, as far as I am aware it didn't reappear this evening. I think an early morning look at The Patch is in order tomorrow!!
Superb summer plumaged Laughing Gull

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Souss Valley, Oued Massa & Oued Souss

On our way to the Ooarzazate a roadside stop produced excellent views of Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Crested Larks, Serins, Southern Grey and Woodchat Shrikes, Rufous Bushchats and more.
Moroccan Pied Wagtail (Subpersonata)
An overnight stop at Ouarzazate allowed some time at the barrage at Mansour Eddahbi where we saw Moroccan Wagatail, Collared Pratincoles, Black-winged Stilts, Greenshank, Little-ringed and Kentish Plovers, Stone Curlews, Gull-billed and Black Terns, Flamingos, Spoonbills, Purple Herons, Marbled Duck, Ruddy Shelduck, Shelduck, Bonelli's and Melodious Warblers, Hoopoe's and much more.
Collared Pratincoles
Melodious Warbler fly catching from a pinnacle atop the hotel 
House Bunting on another Pinnacle
Juvenile Black Wheatear
Next day we headed for the Oued Massa south of Agadir for 2 nights. In the evenings and mornings we sea watched from our hotel balcony seeing several Cory's Shearwaters, Balearic Shearwaters, Gannets, Sandwich Terns, Yellow-legged Gulls and 29 Bald Ibis's. In the National Park a Barbary Falcon sat on a pylon, Little Owls and Crested Larks seemed abundant and good numbers of Bald Ibis's were seen.  In the valley the fields were teeming with birds. Cirl Buntings, House Buntings. Nightingales, Rufous Bushchats, Sardinian, Melodious, Fan-tailed, western Olivacious Warblers, Blackcaps, Serins, many Turtle Doves and Laughing Doves, Moussier's Redstart, Stonechats, Crested Larks, Common, Pallid and Little Swift, Brown-throated Martin, Red-rumped and Barn Swallows and best of all superb views of Black-crowned Tchagra.
Barbary Falcon
Bald Ibis
Moussier's Redstart

Fan-tailed Warbler
Sardinian Warbler
Black-crowned Tchagra

Stone Curlew
Rufous Bushchat
Cirl Bunting
House Bunting
Our last stop was at Oued Souss where we had superb views of Black-winged Stilts, Flamingos, Grey Plover, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Sanderling, European Bee-eaters, Sardinian Warblers, Gull-billed Terns and more. The end of brilliant trip with Chris and Mark. Brahim and Hamid were excellent hosts, giving us a superb Moroccan birding experience. If you are thinking of going to Morocco on a birding trip we thoroughly recommend them. Brahim can be contacted at http://www.gayuin.com/  I am sure you will not be disappointed. 
Black-winged Stilts
Maroccan Cormorant 
Greater Flamingos