Thursday, 23 February 2017

The Stunning Dungeness 2w Iceland Gull!

The boiling sea in Lade Bay this afternoon.
Very little birding done today due to Doris. I did mange to see the Ring-necked Duck and the 2 Long-eared Owls one of which was showing exceptionally well, pity I messed up all the images I took. 
All the following images were taken on Sunday 19th February

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Sea Watch!

A snatched image of the 1w Iceland Gull as it went past the hide
06.50-09.35 from the sea watch hide with BB and AJG who collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 198 up
Teal: 24 up
Common Scoter: 43 down        10 up
Velvet Scoter: 12 down(3, 2,3, 4)
Red-throated Diver: 16 up    5 down
Great-crested Grebe: 5 down
Fulmar: 46 down
Gannet: 3 up     49 down
Oystercatcher: 4 down
Iceland Gull: 1 x 1w down
Kittiwake: 16 down
Guillemot: 241 down
Razorbill:  11 down
Auk sp:  690 down
Oiled Red-throated Diver
After the morning sea watch I walked down to The Patch hide where I could only find the 1 Iceland Gull in challenging conditions, though DW found all 3 later on.
 Pink-footed Goose with Canada & Greylag Geese
No sign of the Ring-necked Duck on Cook's Pool late morning, some compensation in the form of a Pink-footed Goose among the Canada & Greylag Geese, also c200 Golden Plover and a Ruff among the Lapwing and Ringed Plover.
Common Scoter on Scotney
On a very wind swept Scotney the only notable bird I could see was a Common Scoter.
14.15-15.00 from the turning circle:
Brent Goose: 24 up
Red-throated Diver: 1 up   1 down
Great-crested Grebe: 26 around
Fulmar: 4 down
Gannet:  2 up   4 down
Auk sp: 117 down  39 up

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Distant Velvet Scoters
06.55-09.25 this morning from the sea watch hide with BB and AJG who collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 36 up
Common Scoter: 41 up     8 down
Velvet Scoter: 3 down
Red-breasted Merganser: 1 up
Red-throated Diver: 166 up
Great Crested Grebe:  142 on
Gannet: 145 up
Fulmar: 1 down
Mediterranaen Gull: 3 adults up
Kittiwake: 41 down
Guillemot: 22 up
Razorbill: 9 down
Auk sp: 200+ around
Harbour Porpoise: 2
An hour mid morning from the fishing boats the highlights were 11 Turnstone on the beach, 27 Brent Geese up, and dozens of Guillemots off shore.
On the reserve the Ring-necked duck and 2 Long-eared Owls still but fairly quiet.
 Gannets from the fishing boats
This afternoon from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose: 52 up
Velvet Scoter: 2 up
Red-throated Diver: 3 around (1 badly oiled)
Great-crested Grebe: 242 on sea
Gannet: c40 feeding off shore
Little Gull: 1 juv down
Iceland Gull: 1 (the 2w bird flew through towards The Patch)
Kittiwake: 10+ down
Guillemots: 100+ around
Razorbill: 14+ around
Diving Gannet
Herring Gull D9PT
Late afternoon at The Patch 3 Iceland Gulls (the 2w and 2 1w birds)

Monday, 20 February 2017

The Bewick's leave!

I drove to the beach this morning through a blanket of mist without much enthusiasm but hoping the sea would be clear of fog, unfortunately the fog horn was blaring and my walk to the sea watch hide confirmed that sea watching was a non starter.
At Boulderwall I couldn't find the Ring-necked Duck though it was present this afternoon. Behind Cook's Pool 3 Ruff and 7 Curlew among the 100s of Golden Plover, Lapwing and Wigeon.
 Great Black-backed Gulls squabbling over the corpse of a Harbour Porpoise
As the red flags were down and the promise of nice weather and being a glutton for punishment I drove to Jury's Gap and walked to Galloways and back. I didn't see another person in the 3 hours it took me. Along the beach a dead porpoise was feeding a number of Gulls, 22 Sanderling were running along the shoreline and a flock of c150 Brent Geese flew east.
1 of 2 Redwing feeding along the green wall at The Midrips
On the ranges and the pools 2 Redwing feeding along the green wall and 14 singing Skylarks were the highlights, also seen a fly over Little Egret a site tick for me, 3 Stonechats, a Marsh Harrier, a Common Buzzard, 5 Grey Plover, a Dunlin, 18 Redshank, 6 Pintail, 24 Shoveler, 100+ Wigeon, 30+ Teal and 28 Shelduck.
The old ammunition railway on the ranges
I counted 14 semi inflated Happy Meal balloons and numerous other sorts along the beach
He thought no one could see him!
Mid afternoon at the ARC from the causeway I counted 74 Bewick Swans, certainly my highest count of the year at Dungeness. While counting them I noticed a chap clamber down the bank by the screen hide totally oblivious to the fact that he was disturbing the Bewick Swans and that my camera was pointing in his direction. 
2w Iceland Gull at the fishing boats
At the fishing boats there were a few Gulls around  so I threw out some bread, within seconds the gorgeous 2w Iceland Gull appeared, shame the skies had clouded over. 
2w Iceland Gull

The last 14 Bewick Swans heading out to sea
By the time I got back to the ARC Hanson Hide where I joined RW, there were only 14 Bewick Swans left including 3 juveniles, apparently the others had gone out to sea earlier. A Bittern flew from the ARC to the Tower Pits, a Great White Egret appeared in the reeds, a Marsh Harrier flew over and finally at 17.15 the remaining 14 Bewick Swans flew off out to sea, the start of there long and perilous journey to northern Russia, lets hope they have a safe journey and return to Walland Marsh in November with plenty more juveniles.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

2w Iceland Gull!

The 2 Slavonian Grebes were still on the New Diggings as I drove across the causeway to the beach.
My walk to The Patch was somewhat disappointing, as there was not a single Gull on the beach and only a few over the boil due to the hordes of fisherman. A few Gannets, Red-throated Divers, Guillemots and Kittiwakes were milling around off shore, 26 Brent Geese flew up channel.
 Ring-necked Duck
On the reserve the Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool. In the fields behind 4 Ruff among the many Golden Plover, Lapwing and Wigeon. A Great White Egret was in the ditch and a Marsh Harrier and Common Buzzard were by the paddocks.
2 Long-eared Owls could just about be seen behind the Dipping Pool. Apart from 6 Goldeneye and a party of 16 Brent Geese which flew straight through I saw little of note on Burrowes. At Dengemarsh a Dartford Warbler appeared out of the brambles. From the hide 5 Russian Whitefronted Geese and a Brent Goose among the Greylags and Canada Geese, another Great White Egret and a couple of Marsh Harriers also there, 100+ Stock Dove on the far bank. 
 Dartford Warbler at Dengemarsh always into the sun.

White-fronted Geese at Dengemarsh
 2w Iceland Gull
This afternoon a text from Richard alerted me to a stunning 2w Iceland Gull which was coming to the offerings at the fishing boats. Once again I over did it with the camera so I've still got 100s more images to look at.
 2w Iceland Gull
2w Iceland Gull
Late afternoon I was out on Walland Marsh doing the Harrier roost count, although I saw  at least 10 birds only 1 roosted in the reed bed I was watching, while I was waiting 52 Bewick Swans were feeding before flying off to roost, also 20+ White-fronted Geese, 3 Pinkfeet and 2 Tundra Bean Geese were with c300 Greylag Geese, c100 Fieldfare, 5 Common Snipe and 2 Common Buzzards were seen.

Friday, 17 February 2017

06.55-08.55 from the sea watch hide with BB and AJG who collated the numbers:
Red throated-Diver: 145 up
Great-crested Grebe: present n/c
Fulmar: 2 down
Gannet: 198 up
Cormorant: Many present n/c
Brent Goose: 423 up
Pintail 4 up
Common Scoter: 21 up
Oystercatcher: 2 down
Mediterranean Gull: 2 down
Kittiwake: 13 down
Guillemot: c500 around

At The Patch a 1w Iceland Gull and a 1w Caspian Gull of note among the many Gulls present.
The Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool, in the fields behind c300 Wigeon, c400 Lapwing, c100 Golden Plover and a single Ruff. A Marsh Harrier and Great White Egret flew over.
2 Bearded Tits, a Cetti's Warbler and another Great White Egret from the viewing ramp.
This afternoon 2 Slavonian Grebes on the New Diggings could be seen from the causeway at the Boulderwall end of the lake.

14.30-15.30 from the turning circle:
Brent Goose: 3 up
Common Scoter: 5 up
Red-throated Diver: 126 up
Great-crested Grebe: 14 up
Gannet: 32 up
Oystercatcher: 2 down
Turnstone: 2 on beach
Kittiwake: 6 around
Guillemot: c 300 around

Scotney held c500 Lapwing, 20 Golden Plover, 6 Redshank a Turnstone and the usual wildfowl along with the feral Barnacle Geese.
Late afternoon at Galloways was the usual disappointment, 4 Egyptian Geese opposite Herons Park Dengemarsh Road.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017


 An excellent sea watch this morning from The Patch this morning in the company of DW. The numbers of Guillemots stole the show. I did take some images of the flocks of Guillemots but they couldn't begin to convey the passage.
 1w Iceland Gull
08.10-10.45 from The Patch:
Brent Goose: 393 up
Shoveler: 5 up
Teal: 1 up
Pintail: 7 up
Wigeon: 154 up
Common Scoter: 17 up
Red-throated Diver: 96 up  24 down
Great-crested Grebe: 5 up
Fulmar: 6 up
Gannet: 114 up
Cormorant: many present n/c
Great Skua: 1 up
Black-headed Gull: Many present n/c
Mediterranean Gull: 2 around
Herring Gull: Many present n/c
Caspian Gull: 1 x 1w on beach
Iceland Gull: 2 x 1w on beach
Great Black-backed Gull: many present n/c
Lesser Black-backed Gull: present n/c
Kittiwake: 247 up
Guillemot: 9,100 up
Razorbill: c50 up
Skylark: 6 up
Grey Seal: 1

1w Iceland Gull the darker bird
 Brent Geese passing The Patch
 Ring-necked Duck
On the reserve the Ring-necked Duck still on Cook's Pool, no sign of the Long-eared Owl again. Another circular walk around the reserve saw of note 3 Great White Egrets, 3 Marsh Harriers, a red head Smew, 6 Goldeneye, 2 Bearded Tits, 2 Cetti's Warblers and a Stonechat.
Rainbow over the fishing boats this afternoon
This afternoon from the turning circle:
Red-throated Diver: 112 up   3 down
Gannet: 27 down
Turnstone: 1 on beach
Guillemot: 183 up    81 down
Razorbill: 4 up
Pair of Smew over the ARC
Late afternoon at the ARC 2 Great White Egrets, 2 red head Smew, 4 Goldeneye and the usual wildfowl.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

It was nice to get out this morning for a while after being tied up with loads of domestic stuff lately.
08.45-09.30 from the turning circle loads of birds but no surprises:
Red-throated Diver: 284 up
Great-crested Grebe: present n/c
Fulmar: 2 up
Gannet: 24 up
Cormorant: many present n/c
Kittiwake: 12 up
Guillemot: 1,000+ up
Razorbill: 21 up

The Slavonian Grebe was still on The New Diggings viewed from the causeway at the southern end.
The Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool with a Great White Egret.
No sign of the Long-eared Owl at the Dipping Pool or any Scaup on Burrowes. In a circular walk of the reserve passerines were virtually non existent, a drake and 2 red head Smew were the highlights.
Fox behind Dengemarsh Hide
Back at the beach this afternoon in the company of MH 14.30-16.00:
Common Scoter: 44 up    18 down
Red-throated Diver: 32 up      13 down
Fulmar: 1 up
Gannet: 7 down
Oystercatcher: 6 up
Kittiwake: 9 up
Guillemot: c200 around
Razorbill: c10 around

Saturday, 11 February 2017

A cold gloomy morning with the peninsula covered in a thin layer of snow and with sleet still falling.
08.30-10.30 from the turning circle:

Greylag Goose: 11 out
Red-throated Diver: 428 up  7 down
Great-crested Grebe: 37+ on sea
Fulmar: 1 up     2 down
Gannet:  44 up        3 down
Cormorant: c250 around
Black-headed Gull: many present n/c
Common Gull: present: n/c
Herring Gull: present n/c
Great Black-backed Gull: present n/c
Lesser Black-backed Gull: 2+ present
Kittiwake: 6 down
Guillemot: 48 up
Razorbill:   22 up
Auk sp: 1157  up       168 down
Pied Wagtail: 2 around
Scotney was very disappointing with very few duck and no grey geese.
On the reserve the Ring-necked Duck still on Cook's Pool, also Great White Egret and Marsh Harrier there. Behind the pool feeding in the fields  c200 Golden Plover, c300 Lapwing, c200 Wigeon and a single Ruff. 5 Scaup were on Burrowes as were 6 Goldeneye and a Goosander. A single red head Smew was at Christmas Dell. A Long-eared Owl was hiding in deep cover behind the Dipping Pool.
The 2 1w Iceland Gulls were still at The Patch this morning per OL & PT.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

I arrived at the fishing boats this morning to be greeted by leaden skies and a biting east wind coming in from from Lade Bay.  A few minutes staring out to sea was enough to let me know that there was very little change, still just a few each of Red-throated Divers, Gannets, Guillemots and Razorbills. I decided to walk along the beach to the Lifeboats Station, but gave up halfway due to the dearth of avian activity along the shore just a single Turnstone and 2 Skylarks in of any note.
Next stop was Kerton Road where I found no sign of the infamous Stonechat or any other Stonechat.
Across the causeway the Slavonian Grebe was at the Boulderwall end of the New Diggings. On Cook's Pool the Ring-necked Duck still in residence, 2 Redshank and  Ruff among the Wigeon and Lapwing there. From Dennis's hide 4 Goldeneye of note among the usual Tufted Duck and Pochard. While in the VC having a hot chocholate 6 Pintail dropped into Burrowes, no sign of the Long-eared Owls at the Dipping Pool, though not surprising with the east wind blowing straight into their favoured perches.
At Scotney no grey geese just the feral Barnacle flock and little to be seen on the main lake.
At Camber again no sign of the Red-necked Grebe, the Red-breasted Merganser still there along with a Great White Egret, 6 Little Egrets 2 Great-crested Grebes and 2 Little Grebes.
The drake Goosander still on Brett's Marina near the ski jump, at Dengemarsh another Great white Egret, 3 Marsh Harriers and few Meadow Pipits of any note.
This afternoon I spent a couple of cold hours in Makepiece hide watching the Gulls coming in to roost, no notable Gulls arrived and only 560 Cormorants came in. A pair of Goosander that dropped in copulated and left were the afternoon highlight.    

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

 Long-eared Owls at the Dipping Pool
After another day of doctors appointments I managed to get out for the last couple of hours of daylight at the reserve. As I drove past Cook's Pool I could see the Ring-necked Duck and 2 Great White Egrets there. At the 2 Long-eared Owls were showing nicely behind the Dipping Pool. Between there and Dengemarsh another Great White Egret and 2 Marsh Harriers, a Great-spotted Woodpecker and Cetti's Warbler. Back at Makepiece the Gulls were coming in including a different 1w Iceland Gull from yesterday (but looks like one of The Patch birds) A first of the year for me in the form of a 3w Yellow-legged Gull and a 1w Caspian Gull, as well as all the usual wildfowl. Not a bad couple of hours and only a 2 minute drive from home.
1w Iceland Gull 

Monday, 6 February 2017

First thing this morning I took a stroll down to The Patch and was pleased to see I had it all to my self. Although there was nowhere near as many Gulls present as last week there was still a good roost close to the hide. I had just picked out the 1w Iceland Gull when all the Gulls spooked, looking around I spotted the culprit, a big female Peregrine. Unfortunately the Gulls flew off and settled a further 400 mts away. Despite scrutinising the Gullls over the boil and on the beach I could find no other interesting Gulls. Off shore the usual tooing and froing of Red-throated Divers, Gannets and Guillemots, also more Razorbills than of late.
 Slavonian Grebe, New Diggings
The Slavonian Grebe was still on the New Diggings viewed from the causeway. At Scotney the Black-necked Grebe still, a Green Sandpiper, 3 Redshank, 3 Curlew, 2 Marsh Harriers and the feral Barnacle Goose flock. No sign of the Red-necked Grebe at Camber but 2 Great White Egrets, 4 Little Egrets, a Red-breasted Merganser, a Common Snipe, 2 Great-crested Grebes and a Little Grebe.
At Dengemarsh another 2 Great White Egrets but little else of note.
 1w Iceland Gull, Burrowes
This afternoon the Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool. Most of the afternoon was  spent in Makepiece Hide looking at Gulls and counting Cormorants, the 1w Iceland Gull came in for a bath and roosted on an island, a total 1,615 Cormorants came into roost.
Goldeneye, Burrowes