Saturday, 31 December 2016

1w Caspian Gull by the fish hut
08.30-10.20 from the turning circle joined by OL, AJG & PW:
Brent Goose: 26 up
Wigeon: 6 down
Teal: 1 down
Common Scoter:  1 up     8 down
Red-throated Diver: 11 up   19 down
Great-crested Grebe: 30+ around
Fulmar:  1 down
Gannet: 205 down        67 up
Oystercatcher: 3 up
Turnstone: 5+ around
Great Skua: 3 up   2 down   (minimum of 2 individuals involved)
Mediterranean Gull: 1 down
Kittiwake:  43 down      5+ around
Guillemot: c 200 around
Razorbill: 4+ around
1w Caspian Gull at the fish hut.

A quick look at Cook's Pool on my way home for breakfast saw the Ring-necked Duck sleeping there.
I joined PW in walk out the back of Scotney, the Little Owl was on it's usual barn though difficult to see, no sign of the Black-necked Grebe on the the back lake, the Geese were all very distant at the Sussex end , I could only find 3 Brents in front of the Greylags, though the range I was viewing them at, the gloomy conditions and Reeds obscuring my view a few Whitefronts could easily have been among them. A party of 16 Egyptian Geese were much closer, also a flock of c40 Corn Buntings were in the hedgerows and a few Skylarks in the fields.
Late afternoon at the ARC Egret roost I only saw 9 Great White and 12 Little Egrets come into the roost, some may well have come in before I arrived as it was so gloomy today. In the 40 minutes I was there 4 Marsh Harriers, a Common Buzzard, a Peregrine, a Merlin, 2 Sparrowhawks and a Kestrel flew over all towards the Open Pits, 5 Goosander were on the lake (2 drakes) and a red head Smew, but the Bewick Swans hadn't come in by the time I left when it was dark.
Elsewhere the Long-eared Owl was back behind the Dipping Pool and the Stejneger's Stonechat was in the Kerton Road quarry area, as far as I know there were no reports of any Dartford Warblers there today.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

A beautiful crisp sunny morning making viewing conditions very difficult staring into a low bright sun.
08.10-08.40 from the turning circle 

Brent Goose: 820 up
Shelduck:    3 up
Common Scoter:  3 up
Red-throated Diver: 15 up     4 down
Great-crested Grebe: 9 around
Gannet: c30 feeding
Cormorant: many present n/c
Black-headed Gull: many present n/c
Common Gull: present n/c
Herring Gull: many present n/c
Lesser Black Backed Gull: present n/c
Great Black Backed Gull: many present n/c
Turnstone: 3 on beach
Great Skua 1 down
Kittiwake: 5 around
Guillemot: c50 around
Razorbill: 2+ around
The Ring-necked Duck was still showing on Cook's Pool, a Bearded tit posed there as well. No Long-eared Owl at the Dipping Pool again but a Chiffchaff there.
Bearded Tit a Cook's Pool this morning
The 29 Bewick Swans were still at Horses Bones farm though distant, close enough to read the white neck collars 534X & 536X.
Brent Geese passing The Point
13.30-15.30 from the turning circle

Brent Goose: 1,760 up
Common Scoter: 1 up
Red-throated Diver:  21 up    4 down
Great-crested Grebe: present n/c
Gannet: 87 up   26 down
Oystercatcher: 2 up
Turnstone: as this morning
Great Skua:  1 up      4 down (2 flew down together)
Kittiwake: as this morning
Guillemot: as this morning

An excellent end to the day at the Egret roost. In the 40 minutes between sunset and last light 13 Great White Egrets joined 22 Little Egrets in the roost, a Merlin, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel all tried catching Starlings going to roost, 2 Goosander dropped into the lake, the Bewick Swans came into roost and 5 Marsh Harriers flew over.
The Stejneger's Stonechat was still present at Kerton Road per RBA, also a Dartford Warbler there per GH.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

08.15-09.45 from the turning circle

Brent Goose: 5 up
Shelduck:  5 up
Scaup:   2 up
Common Scoter: 1 down
Velvet Scoter: 2 down
Red-throated Diver: 124 up   6 down
Great-crested Grebe: 36 around
Fulmar: 1 up
Gannet:  211 down      37 up
Cormorant: many present n/c
Black-headed Gull: many present n/c
Common Gull: present n/c
Herring Gull: many present n/c
Lesser Black Backed Gull: present n/c
Great Black Backed Gull: many present n/c
Kittiwake:  38 down
Guillemot:  200+ around
Razorbill:  20+ around
On the reserve the Ring-necked Duck still present on Cooks Pool also a Great White Egret over.
The Long-eared Owl was missing today from the Dipping Pool. From Firth a single 1w Caspian Gull of note. On New Excavations a red head Smew.
 Smew on the New Excavations
News this afternoon that the Stejneger's Stonechat was still present at Kerton Road cut short my plans to go out onto Walland Marsh. On arrival the Stonechat was  along the fence line on the Western edge of the quarry with 2 Common Stonechats, also a Dartford Warbler there, presumably the bird has been feeding out of sight in the quarry.
Stejneger's Stonechat, by Kerton Road quarry

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Horrible pic of some of the Scotney Whitefronts
A lovely windless, crisp, bright morning is a rare event here. I parked at the entrance to Scotney Farm and headed towards  the wind turbines. A Marsh Harrier was hunting the banks at the back of the main pit flushing a couple of Snipe and a Redshank. At the farm a couple of Corn Buntings were feeding with the Chaffinch flock. On the eastern back lake a Black-necked Grebe among many Pochard and Tufted Duck. In the fields behind I found at least 18 Greater White-fronted Geese among c500 Greylags. Further on 3 dark bellied Brent Geese were with the feral Barnacle Goose flock, also 8 Egyptian Geese. Near the turbines a mixed flock of c60 Corn Buntings and 20 Reed Buntings were scattered by a ring tail Hen Harrier, a few Skylarks were seen on the walk along with a single Common Buzzard. On the western back lake 2 Great White Egrets, 48 Shelduck, c200 Wigeon, and 100+ Shoveler. 

Monday, 26 December 2016

 Sanderling sparkling in the morning sunshine
 A walk along the beach this morning found a roosting flock of c60 Sanderling, c20 Dunlin and 6 Turnstone, the calm sea was once again littered with Guillemots, Cormorants, Great-crested Grebes and a few Red-throated Divers. In the large roost I was unable to pick out anything unusual.
 Sanderling & Dunlin
 1w Caspian Gull at the puddles
A short visit to Cooks Pool found the Ring-necked Duck still insitu, also a Great White Egret there.
Marsh Harrier heading for France this afternoon
14.00-15.00 from the turning circle:

Red-throated Diver:  8 up
Great-crested Grebe: 53 around
Gannet: 42 down     8 up
Cormorants: many present n/c
Marsh Harrier: 1 out
Oystercatcher: 8 down
Great Skua: 1 around beating up Great Black-backed Gulls
Black-headed Gull: many around n/c
Common Gull: a few around n/c
Herring Gull: many around n/c
Caspian Gull: regular 1w at the puddles
Great Black-backed Gulls: many present n/c
Lesser Black-backed Gull: some present n/c
Kittiwake: 16 down
Guillemot: c50 around
Razorbill: 4+ around
Pied Wagtail: 2 on beach
Grey Seal: 1

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Just a couple of hours sea watching today. 08.00-10.00 from the fishing boats with MH & CP.
Great Skua from the fishingboats
Common Scoter: 2 down
Velvet Scoter: 1 down
Red-throated Diver:   15 down        9 up
Great-crested Grebe:  100s could be seen distantly in Lade Bay.
Cormorant: 141 in one sweep per MH though several 110s more over the 2 hours.
Turnstone: flock of 19 on beach
Great Skua: 1 down    +  1 around
Black-headed Gull: many present n/c
Mediterranean Gull: 1 up
Common Gull: present n/c
Herring Gull: many present n/c
Lesser Black Backed Gull: present n/c
Great Black Backed Gull: many present n/c
Kittiwake:  47 down
Guillemot: 300+ around
Razorbill: 3 around

1w Caspian Gull at the Fish Hut

Saturday, 24 December 2016

08.15-10.00 from the turning circle with DW

Brent Goose:  1 up
Common Scoter: 9 down
Velvet Scoter:  1 down
Red-throated Diver: 201 down
Gannet:  221 down
Cormorant: many present n/c
Black-headed Gull: many present n/c
Common Gull: many present n/c
Herring Gull: many present n/c
Great Black Backed Gull: many present n/c
Kittiwake: 17 down
Guillemot/Razorbill: 200+ around

On the reserve The Ring-necked Duck and Long-eared Owl were still present, as was 2 red head Smew, 5 Goldeneye, Water Rail, Great White Egret and Bittern of note.
This afternoon back on the beach much the same as this morning except for the appearance of a 1w Caspian Gull and 114+ Great Crested Grebes.

Friday, 23 December 2016


Gannet starting it's dive
07.45-09.45 with MH & DW from the fishing boats. Once again this morning the sea was littered with Auks.

Brent Goose:   15 up
Common Scoter:  10 up   1 down
Red-throated Diver: 97 up       10 down         2 on
Gannet:   371  down        c40 off shore
Oystercatcher:  4 up    1 down
Turnstone:  3 around
Great Skua:  1 up
Mediterranean Gull:  1 up
Kittiwake:  67 up     2 down
Guillemot:  300+ around
Razorbill: 20+ around
Grey Seal: 1
 Ring-necked Duck and friends this morning
On the reserve the Ring-necked Duck still showing well, unlike the Long-eared Owl that was missing from the Dipping Pool again today but there yesterday.
On Burrowes 2 red head  Smew, 6 Goldeneye, 4+ Caspian Gulls (ad + nr ad + 2 x 1w), ad Yellow-legged Gull, couldn't find the leucistic Lapwing today, it was present yesterday.
A brief foray out onto Walland  saw the 18 Bewick Swans and 100s of winter thrushes still.
Water Rail refusing to some out into the open at Scott hide today.
This afternoon at the fishing boats:
14.00- 15.15 with MH joined by PT
Red-throated Diver:    8 down
Great-crested Grebe:  12 around
Gannet: 236 down
Kittiwake: 117 down
Auks: as this morning
2 1w Caspian Gulls were by the Fish Hut this afternoon.

Stejneger's Stonechat!!!

 Stejneger's Stonechat  5th December 2016 (it's last day)
Well done Owen Leyshon on your excellent find, also many thanks to Martin Collinson for his expertise with analysing the DNA. 
Stejneger's Stonechat 8th November 2016 (it's first day)

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

A miserable looking Caspian Gull at the Fish Hut this morning
08.00-10.00 from the turning circle in SW 3-4 with drizzle.
All down channel unless stated otherwise:

Teal:         6
Common Scoter:  6
Great-crested Grebe: 5 around
Red-throated Diver: 16
Fulmar:          5
Gannet:      984
Cormorant: many present n/c
Great Skua:   2
Black-headed Gull:  many present n/c
Common Gull:  many present n/c
Herring Gull:   many present n/c
Great Black Backed Gull:  many present n/c
Kittiwake:   18
Auk:        1664 vast majority were Guillemots
The Bewick Swans from Hanson
The 1w Caspian Gull was by the Fish Hut when I arrived this morning and still present when I left.
A short visit to the ARC from Hanson found 18 Bewick Swans (17 ads 1 juv) asleep on 1 of the remaining shallow areas, also Great White Egret there and 2 Goldeneye of note. As I left the hide the rain set in which I did not mind as I had to spend the rest of the day Christmas shopping.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Gannet at the fishing boats this morning
 08.10-10.10 from the fishing boats:

Shelduck: 1 down
Common Scoter: 1 up
Red-throated Diver: 103 up
Great-crested Grebe: 4 on sea
Gannet: 133 up
Cormorant: many present
Oystercatcher: 9 up
Turnstone: 2 on beach
Great Skua: 1 down
Black-headed Gull: many present
Mediterranean Gull: 2 up
Common Gull: present n/c
Herring Gull: many present
1w Caspian Gull: the regular bird at the puddles
Lesser Black-backed Gull: present n/c
Great Black-backed Gull: many present
Kittiwake: 7 up     5 around
Guillemot: 621 up     200+ on sea
Razorbill:   16 up       3 on sea
Auk sp:  541 up

 1w Caspian Gull at the puddles
 If you want to get close views bring bread

At Cooks Pool, Boulderwall the Ring-necked Duck was showing well late morning. In 2 visits to Burrowes late morning and mid afternoon, 3 Caspian Gulls an adult and 2 x 1w, 3 Yellow-legged Gulls 2 x  adults and 3rd year bird, 3 red head Smew and 3 Godeneye. again no sign of the Long-eared Owl today.
At Scotney all the usual feral geese and wildfowl but nothing notable.
Late afternoon 12 Great White Egrets and 16 Little Egrets came into the ARC roost this evening, also a drake Goosander flew towards Burrowes.

Monday, 19 December 2016

This mornings sea watch from the turning circle from the relative comfort of the car. The fog horn was blasting out through the mist and steady drizzle over a flat calm sea:
Brent Goose: 4 up
Teal: 3 up
Long-tailed Duck: 1 up
Great-crested Grebe: 5 on sea
Red-throated Diver: 17 down   2 up     2 on sea
Gannet: 40+ feeding
Merlin: 1 hunting at sea
Oystercatcher: 1 up
Turnstone: 2 on beach
Great Skua: 1 down
Kittiwake:  3 down    4 around
Guillemot: 200+ down    20+ up         30+ on sea
Razorbill:  14 down       2 up          2 on sea
Grey Seal:  1
Out of interest is it still necessary to have fog horns, surely these days ships have radar, sonar and GPS. If someone knows the reason please enlighten me.  

The Ring-necked Duck was back on Cooks Pool today but no sign of the Long-eared Owl. From the comfort of the VC  an adult Caspian Gull, an adult Yellow-legged Gull and a Goldeneye of note.
Early afternoon back at the beach the regular 1w Caspian Gull came to some bread, while offshore, a Fulmar flew up channel as did 2 Common Scoter and 5 Brent Geese, also 3 Brent Geese flew down channel. The weather closed in again so home for a cup of tea. 

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Galloways Again!

A gloomy wind less early morning at the fishing boats, on flat calm sea a feeding frenzy of c50 Gannets plunging in among c200 Cormorants, c20 Guillemots and a few Great-crested Grebes. In half an hour 44 Red-throated Divers flew down channel and 5 up, apart from these little else seemed to be moving.
 Bewick Swans leaving the ARC this morning
18 Bewick Swans left the ARC to go to Walland to feed. The Long-eared Owl was back at the Dipping Pool this morning and 1w Kittiwake was on Burrowes. The Ring-necked Duck moved to the ARC today and 2 Goosander also there per RO.
Red-throated Divers past Galloways
As there has been no firing on the ranges for the last few days, I decided to walk along the beach from Galloways towards The Midrips, someone has to make the sacrifice. Off shore Red-throated Divers were much in evidence tooing and froing which was just as well as in 2.5 hrs on the beach and salt marsh apart from the Gulls I saw the grand total of 2 Meadow Pipits, a single Redshank and a Kestrel.
Late afternoon from the viewing ramp on the reserve 5 Marsh Harriers flew through, as did 2 Common Buzzards and a Raven. A Bittern gave a brief flyby, Bearded Tits, a Kingfisher and Cetti's Warblers were present. A wren entertained with peculiar behaviour on the Bearded Tits grit tray by rolling in and covering its self in the grit. A brief adrenalin rush occurred when I was scanning through a flock of c500 Lapwing I picked out a pale buffy coloured individual. I quickly changed the 30x for a 60x zoom through which I could see the bird was just a leucistic Lapwing.

Saturday, 17 December 2016


 1w Caspian Gull
An interesting hour this morning at The Point once the fog had cleared, the highlights being 3 long-tailed Ducks that flew up channel, as did 40 Brent Geese, 110 Wigeon, 4 Shoveler also 2 Great Skua's were noted. Fair numbers of Red-throated Divers and Guillemots were tooing and froing.
This afternoon at the fishing boats 3+ 1w Caspian Gulls  were coming to Mick and Richards offerings, one of the Caspian Gulls was very vocal a video of it giving it's very distinctive call can be seen HERE
2 x 1w Caspian Gulls
 1w Caspian Gull
F3XT Herring Gull

Thursday, 15 December 2016

The One That Got Away!

 3 Velvet Scoter past this morning
08.05-09.35 from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose:  373 up
Velvet Scoter: 3 down
Red-throated Diver:  52 down
Black-throated Diver: 1 down
Great-crested Grebe: 17 around
Gannet: 56 down      23 up
Cormorant: many present n/c
Turnstone:  3 around
Black-headed Gull: many present n/c
Herring Gull: many present n/c
1w Caspian Gull: 1 on beach
G.B.B.Gull: present n/c
L.B.B.Gull: present n/c
Kittiwake: 12 down    6 around
Guillemot:  32 down       18 on sea
Razorbill:   1 down  1 on sea
News of a Red-necked Grebe at Scotney curtailed my sea watch, but by the time I arrived it had disappeared. 
I joined AJG in walk out to the back of Scotney to the barns. Myriads of Lapwing and Golden Plover gave spectacular flying displays each time they were flushed by machinery, 1,000+ Greylag Geese were also present, a Ring-tail Hen Harrier gave good scope views, 2 Marsh Harriers were  seen. Passerines were thin on the ground with just a handful each of Corn Bunting, Skylark and Meadow Pipits.
Stonechat at the caravan park
Another hour spent early afternoon looking for the Red-necked Grebe drew a blank, a posing Stonechat was  some compensation. 
I had just arrived at the turning circle on the beach and was scanning through the Gulls on the beach with my binoculars when a large diver with a lumpy head and very pale bill flew through my vision in the background. What followed was akin to the keystone Cops, I leaped out of the car and grabbed my scope off the back seat, the scope came out but the tripod didn't as its legs were tangled in the seat belt and I ended up on my backside on the pebbles. Getting my act together I eventually got the scope on to the bird, my suspicions about the bird being undiminished by the scope view, realising I needed a photograph I leaned into the car and grabbed my camera off the passenger seat, nearly pulling my shoulder out of its socket, as the camera was snatched out of my hand by the strap being wrapped around the hand brake lever, by the time it and I were untangled the Diver was disappearing around The Point. The one that got away!!!
Brent Goose: 78 up
Red-throated Diver: 15 down
Gannet: 21 down
Kittiwake: 9 down
Guillemot: 28 down      5 up
Razorbill: 1 down
Late afternoon on the reserve the Ring-necked Duck still present and a red head Smew was seen from the VC. Elsewhere 6 Goosander were seen at the southern end of the ARC early morning per SO. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2016


1w Caspian Gull on the beach early morning
The sea was fairly quiet first thing this morning, a few each of Red-throated Diver, Gannet and Kittiwake all making their way down channel, while on the sea a few Great-crested Grebes and Guillemots. The highlight being a 1w Caspian Gull that has been around for a few days near the fishing boats.
On the reserve the Ring-necked Duck was still showing well on Cooks Pool, but the Long-eared Owl was missing again today. On Burrowes 2 red head Smew were of note as was a Chiffchaff at Makepiece. Between Scott and Denge Marsh at least 6 Song Thrushes were nice to see also a Great Spotted and 2 Green Woodpeckers, a Stonechat and a couple of unseen Cetti's Warblers calling.
Behind Denge Marsh the usual Lapwings, Golden Plover, Stock Doves and Linnets, also 3 Great White Egrets, a Common Buzzard, 2+ Marsh harriers and a Peregrine. At the back of Hookers Bearded Tits, Cetti's Warblers, a Bittern, Reed Buntings, 2 Stonechats and a Common Snipe were all noted.
At Scotney I was unable to locate the Black-throated Diver. Around the main pit the usual feral Geese, 100s of Wigeon along with usual diving ducks, Cormorants and Herring Gulls littered the islands and a ring tail Hen Harrier cruised along the bank at the back of the pit. In the distance by the wind turbines countless Lapwing, Golden Plover and Starlings filled the sky.
On Walland 100s each of Fieldfare, Redwing and Blackbirds, a few more Song Thrushes, 4 Mistle Thrushes and 4 Common Buzzards. At the feeding station 20+ Tree Sparrows and a Yellowhammer of note. 
17 Bewick Swans at Horesesbones Farm (What3words App:  blackouts.shades.narrowest)
Back at the beach this afternoon 135 Brent Geese flew up channel and a new 1w Caspian Gull was by the Fish Hut.
 The new 1w Caspian Gull

 Squaring up to a Great Black-Backed Gull

J6XT Herring Gull at the Fish Hut today.
Late afternoon at the ARC a couple of Marsh harriers flew through as I arrived flushing the Gulls and Duck leaving a single Great White Egret.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Another thoroughly miserable day on the peninsula, with a chilly wind, leaden skies, drizzle and the fog horn blasting out, making me wonder what I was doing standing out in it at the fishing boats.
A very poor photograph of a Kittiwake feeding along the shoreline
08.30-09.30 from the fishing boats:

Brent Goose:                                                1 up
Red-throated Diver:    8 down
Great-crested Grebe:                      9 on
Gannet:                      39 down                      8 up
Turnstone:                                       2 on beach
Kittiwake:                  12  down       4 around
Guillemot:                119 down      13 on      14 up
Razorbill:                     3 down        2 on
The up side to the poor visibility ensured that all the Auks seen were close enough to identify.
This afternoon on the reserve, the Ring-necked Duck still on Cooks Pool. At Denge Marsh a Great White Egret, 1,000+ Lapwing, 200+ Golden Plover, 400+ Stock Doves and c50 Linnets. A quick look at the Dipping Pool in yet another down pour saw the Long-eared Owl back on its chosen perch after going missing for a couple of days. From the comfort of the VC 2 Smew, Goldeneye, a Merlin, a Peregrine and Marsh Harrier.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Gloomy Dungeness!

08.15-09.15 from the fishing boats:

All down channel unless stated otherwise:

Shoveler:                     5
Common Scoter:       61        2 up
Velvet Scoter:              2
Red-throated Diver:    2        8 up
Great-crested Grebe:           12 around
Fulmar:                                  1 up
Gannet:                      57    106 up
Cormorant:                  c300 around
Turnstone:                             2 around
B.H.Gull:                     c500 on beach
Common Gull:              Present  n/c
Herring Gull:               c500 on beach
L.B.B.Gull:                   Present  n/c
G.B.B.Gull:                   Present  n/c

Kittiwake:                 18        4 around
Guillemot:    12 around       38 up
Auk sp:                                59 up

The Ring-necked duck was still on Cooks Pool with a great White Egret and Little Egret, in the field behind 100s of Wigeon, Lapwing and Golden Plover, also a Common Buzzard and 2 Marsh Harriers,
On Burrowes 3 Caspian Gulls (adult+3w+2w), 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls and 2 red head Smew of note. As the weather deteriorated I did some domestic stuff. With the drizzle still falling this afternoon I joined MH in the comfort of the VC where we saw another 2w Caspian Gull, another red head Smew and a gorgeous drake Goosander. Late afternoon on the ARC from Hanson an adult Yellow-legged Gull could just about be made out in the gloom but little else of note as darkness fell early today.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Kittiwake at the Puddles this morning
08.00-09.00 from the fishing boats:
All down channel unless stated otherwise.

Common Scoter:  5
Red-throated Diver:  6            2 up
Great-crested Grebe:  27 around
Gannet:          64
Cormorant:       Present n/c
Turnstone:        3 around
Great Skua:      1
B.H.Gull:          Present  n/c
Common Gull:  Present  n/c
Herring Gull:    Present  n/c
L.B.B.Gull:       Present  n/c
G.B.B.Gull:       Present  n/c
Kittiwake:      12      1 on beach
Guillemot:      48
Razorbill:         2
Auk sp:           18
On the way home for breakfast I had a quick look at Cook's Pool where the Ring-necked Duck was  still present along with a Great White Egret, the field behind was carpeted with Lapwing and Wigeon, also a small party of Golden Plover, nearby at Boulderwall Farm the ever present Tree Sparrows were much in evidence.
After breakfast at Scotney the Black-throated Diver is still present by the caravan park, by the main lake the usual feral geese and many Wigeon but no sign of the Black-necked Grebe. 
Ring-necked Duck in the afternoon sunshine
This afternoon a visit to the beach found no Gull roosts to go through. At the Kerton Road triangle 2 Common Stonechat and 2 Dartford Warblers but no sign of the grey Stonechat. On the reserve the Ring-necked Duck still showing well as was the Long-eared Owl behind the dipping pool, From Makepiece an adult Caspian Gull and Yellow-legged Gull.
Late afternoon at the ARC from Hanson A Kingfisher, a Water Rail still feeding out in the open though it was to dark for images, Cetti's Warblers calling, 4 Great White and 9 Little Egrets flew past on their way to roost, 2 Marsh Harriers over and c600 Jackdaws over to roost, at last light (16.25) 4 Bewick Swans Came into roost presumably part of the group of 17 that seem to spend all day at Horsesbones Farm feeding.

Thursday, 8 December 2016


An excellent trip across the channel to the Dunkirk area with MH, AJG and CP who did the driving. The train was slightly delayed this morning but not enough to make a difference to us. First stop was the Dunkirk Canal, not the most attractive area with flames burning gases from high heavy industrial chimneys smelling very sulphurous. In the canal a Red-necked Grebe showed well in the windy conditions and very poor early morning light, also a distant Slavonian Grebe and Shag. The area looks to have loads of potential for birds and easily accessible and little disturbance, with the canal one side and the beach the other, you can drive along the sea wall for about 2 miles to Dunkirk harbour entrance. If this site were in the UK the health and safety brigade would prevent public access or the National Trust would charge you an arm and leg use it. The harbour entrance held 2 Grey Seals and a Common Seal, a few Linnets and Reed Buntings, though we failed to connect with the wintering Snow Buntings. Along the shore Sanderling, Oystercatchers, Turnstones and Gulls. MH showed his love of Gulls by finding an adult Yellow-legged Gull on the shore
 Red-necked Grebe in the windy gloom
 Our nest stop was Grande Fort Phillipe where we quickly located 10 Shorelarks, my images do not do them justice as they gave excellent scope views but I couldn't get near them, however the the local dog walkers were able to walk right up to them, maybe I should get a dog. We new some Twite had been seen at this site recently so we spent quite a time wandering the salt marsh looking for them, in the process seeing more Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Rock Pipits, Little Egrets, 4 Spoonbill, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Redshank and Curlew. We had just got back to the car when we spotted a party of passerines c500mts away flying around which we felt sure were Twite, we pin pointed where they landed and moved closer. When we got nearer and trained our scopes on them the gleaming yellow bills were  a give away and there were 8 Twite picking up seeds from the edge of the salt marsh, the icing on the cake was the 10 Shorelarks flying in and joining them, I certainly cannot remember ever seeing Shorelark and Twite in the same scope view feeding together a superb experience, unfortunately to distant for any satisfactory images.
Next stop was Oye Plage which was surprisingly birdy considering the amount of shooting that goes on here. I have never seen so many Snipe 150+ counted, also 200+Shelduck, lots of Mallard and Teal, Wigeon, Pintail, Little Grebe, Greylag and Canada Geese Egyptian Goose, Barnacle Goose, a ring tail Hen Harrier and Common Buzzards. The light was fading when we left abut we still managed a Kingfisher and 2 more Buzzards along The Digue. A thoroughly enjoyable day out in excellent company and a renditions of songs I cannot repeat in writing though thoroughly amusing. Many thanks again to MH for providing the transport and CP for the driving, not forgetting AJG for giving us loads of laughs. Retirement Rocks!!!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Red-necked Grebe!

08.00-09.00 from the fishing boats:

                               Up Channel             Down Channel
Brent Goose:                  1
Shelduck:                                                          6
Teal:                               1
Wigeon:                         4
Red-throated Diver:     13                                25
Red-necked Grebe:                                          1
Great-crested Grebe:           122 around
Fulmar:                          1
Gannet:                                                              2
Cormorant:                         250+ around
Merlin:                                      1 around
Oystercatcher:              2
Turnstone:                                 2 around
Kittiwake:                                                          2
Guillemot:                               12 around
The Red-necked Grebe was the first I have seen this year a real rarity in the last few years. The Merlin gave a superb aerial display c400mts off shore, where it spent about a minute chasing what looked like an incoming Meadow Pipit, both birds dived and jinked in unison until I'm guessing the Pipit tired and the Merlin claimed it's prize. The Merlin was then chased by 2 Herring Gulls but was never in danger of being caught as it easily evaded attack after attack from the Herring Gulls.
At Boulderwall plenty of Tree Sparrows were seen and heard, nearby on Cook's Pool the Ring-necked Duck was still present along with a Great White Egret. No sign of the Long-eared Owl this morning though I'm sure it will be back. From Makepiece I could only find 1 Smew but the light was awful looking straight into the low sun, all the usual wildfowl appeared to be present.
At Scotney the Black-throated Diver was  still present, also at least 2 Great White Egrets, 2 Marsh Harriers, a Common Buzzard and the usual wildfowl.
Another short sea watch this afternoon saw apart from Gulls, the ever present Great-crested Grebes and  Cormorants nothing of note.
I stopped to look at the Gulls at The Fish Hut and spotted this 1w Caspian Gull
At the Kerton Road triangle I couldn't find the grey Stonechat but at least 2 Dartford Warblers were still present.
Driving down the entrance track on my way to the VC for afternoon tea I glimpsed a Harrier over Christmas Dell heading towards Makepiece, I stopped and saw it as it flew over the car park showing a gleaming white rump, then it headed off towards the ARC where I lost it from view.
Whilst having tea with the regulars 3 Smew flew across Burrowes. Late afternoon at the ARC from Hanson a Chiffchaff and a Cetti's Warbler, also the Water Rail was showing well but it was already to dark for images, 2 Bewick Swans were asleep on an island, a Bittern flew across the lake, 2 red head Smew flew in, finally at last light 11 more Bewick Swans came in but no sign of the juvenile that is usually with them.  

Monday, 5 December 2016

A very slow and uninspiring hour this morning from the fishing boats:
07.45-08.45:              ESE 2
                                Up Channel                      Down Channel
Common Scoter:            7
Red-throated Diver:       6                                         3
Great-crested Grebe:                  50+ around
Gannet:                          18                                      14
Cormorant:                               300+ around
Turnstone:                                      2 around
B.H.Gull:                                   Present  n/c
Common Gull:                           Present  n/c
Herring Gull:                             Present  n/c
L.B.B.Gull:                                Present  n/c
G.B.B.Gull:                               Present  n/c
Guillemot:                      6
Auk Sp:                        12
Grey Seal:         1
I thought about going to Norman's Bay to see the Desert Wheatear but only got as far as Scotney. The Black-throated Diver was still on the lake immediately west of Lydd caravan park. As the lakes were all like mill ponds in the windless glorious morning sunshine, I took the opportunity of taking a stroll out the wind farm, seeing a few each of Corn Bunting, Skylark and Reed Bunting, 2 Stonechats,3 Marsh Harriers, a Common Buzzard and 1,000+ Greylag Geese. 
 At the ARC from Hanson hide a very showy Water Rail has been entertaining visitors recently, also there a Common Snipe and a Dunlin of note.

 Mid afternoon at The Kerton Road triangle the grey Stonechat was still present along with at least 2 Dartford Warblers.

 I didn't make it to Burrowes today but there was  at least 3 Smew present per PB, the usual Great White Egrets were around and the Ring-necked Duck is still on Cook's Pool, also the Cattle Egret has returned per SC.
While unloading my car late afternoon 5 Bewick Swans flew over my house heading for the ARC, where apparently 14 roosted per DG.
As I didn't get to the Desert Wheatear today, I'll console myself with the image above which is one I took on 2nd November 2006 at Cooden.