Wednesday, 29 November 2017

A bitterly cold hour at the fishing boats this morning 08.20-09.20:
Red-throated Diver: 1 up   1 down
Great-crested Grebe: 14 around
Gannet: c50 feeding off shore
Cormorant: no count
Merlin: 1 around
Turnstone: 1 on beach
Great Skua: 1 around
Mediterranean Gull: 1 around
Kittiwake: 7 around
Guillemot: 4 on sea.   6 down
Razorbill: 1 on beach
Auk sp: 4 up.  15 down
A stroll along the beach once again failed to locate any Larks or Buntings.
On the reserve a drake Goosander was new, the Cattle Egret was still in the Cooks Pool area and the usual Great White Egrets could be seen.
On Walland I was unable to find the Bewick Swans though I did only look from the car, to cold to go wandering around the marsh.
Back on the reserve this afternoon in the company of DW despite good numbers of Gulls coming in to roost we were unable to find any Caspian Gulls or even Yellow-legged Gulls.

Monday, 27 November 2017

 1w Caspian Gull (yellow X193)
With the rain and a dental appointment I didn't get out this morning, early afternoon I went to the reserve to hopefully see a green ringed Caspian Gull XTDN but despite arriving a few minutes after the bird being found it had already gone. As I drove past Cooks Pool the Cattle Egret was showing and the Red-crested Pochard was showing well on the Dipping Pool as I mad my way to Firth. 
I was joined in Makepiece by Mark, Pete, Pam and Richard where we saw a 3w Caspian Gull and an adult Yellow-legged Gull, DW arrived as the others left and we saw another 5 Caspian Gulls along with 2 more Yellow-legged Gulls. 
 3w Caspian Gull
 Adult Caspian Gull
 Adult Caspian Gull
Red-crested Pochard on the Dipping Pool
A drake Red-crested Pochard has turned up on the Dipping Pool about this time for the last 3 years same bird? 

Sunday, 26 November 2017


 1 of 2 Yellow-legged Gulls in a small roost behind the fishing boats
Saturday morning walk along the beach from the fishing boats to the Lifeboat station and back in the hope of turning up a scarce Bunting or Lark drew a blank on those species, though I did see a Dartford Warbler and 2 Stonechats behind the Fish Shack, the regular Merlin heading off out to sea to hunt, 4 Stock Doves and 6 Pied Wagtails, while looking out to sea occasionally a Shag flew into Lade Bay with a Cormorant(appalling image below), 5 Brent Geese flew west and a few Gannets and Kittiwakes were feeding offshore. The Cattle Egret spent the day in the ditches on the Boulderwall Fields and the usual Great white Egrets could be seen around the reserve. On Burrowes late afternoon another 2 Yellow-legged Gulls and 4th calender year Caspian Gull came into roost.
Shag & Cormorant flying into Lade Bay
 Bewick Swans over Walland
A long wander around Walland this morning saw c150 Fieldfare, 6 Redwing, 4 Song Thrush, c30 Blackbirds all feeding on a plentiful supply of Hawthorn berries. Just 4 Tree Sparrows were located but they do move around, finch numbers in the hedgerows were very low and the only Buntings seen were Reed Buntings. Several Common Buzzards and 2 Marsh Harriers were seen and my first Bewick Swans of the winter flew over. 
1 of several Common Buzzards seen on Walland this morning
  2w Caspian Gull at the fishing boats this afternoon
A 2w Caspian Gull came into the offerings at the fishing boats this afternoon, also Yellow-legged Gull there, A Mediterranean Gull made a brief appearance and a Gannet came in for a look, offshore a few each of Auks, Kittiwakes and Gannets were feeding.
 2w Caspian Gull at the fishing boats this afternoon
 2w Caspian Gull at the fishing boats this afternoon
 Gannet at the fishing boats this afternoon
Mediterranean Gull at the fishing boats this afternoon

Thursday, 23 November 2017

08.00-09.00 from the fishing boats with OL:
Common Scoter: 11 down
Great-crested Grebe: 19 around
Gannet: 51 down
Cormorant: c300 around
Turnstone: 5 around
Kittiwake: 5 down
Auk sp: 1 down
Another half hour watching at lunchtime saw nothing avian of note.
 The only interest over the sea at lunchtime
 Cattle Egret at Boulderwall
This afternoon on the reserve the Cattle Egret was showing well by the track at Boulderwall. On Burrowes from Firth Hide 3 1w Caspian Gulls and 2 Yellow-legged Gulls were of note but far fewer Great Black-backed Gulls came into roost tonight.
1w Caspian Gull from Firth

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

More Caspian Gulls!

07.15-09.30 from the fishing boats with MH:
Common Scoter: 8 down
Great-crested Grebe: 25 on sea
Gannet: 368 down
Cormorant: c750 around
Merlin: 1 around
Kittiwake: 17 down
Guillemot: 1 down
Auk sp: 2 down
Grey Seal: 1
On the ARC 2 Great White Egrets and 10 Dunlin among c150 Lapwing and the usual wildfowl.
I spent midday to 16.40 watching Burrowes Pit mainly from Firth hide. 8 Caspian Gulls 4 x 1w, 3 x 4th cal yr birds and an adult came in to roost, also 7 Yellow-legged Gulls and a spectacular 5,000+ Great Black-backed Gulls came in, thanks are due to David walker of Dungeness B.O. for counting them also 1,000+ Cormorants.
 adult Yellow-legged Gull
1 legged 1w Caspian Gull
1w Caspian Gull
 1w Caspian Gull taken at 51,200 ISO in near darkness
  adult Caspian Gull
 Nr adult Caspian Gull
 Ad Caspian gull
 Herring Gull A6XT
Great Black Backed Gull  J5353
The above Great Black-backed Gull has also been seen at Dungeness on 24/05/2013 & on 09/10/2014
Many thanks to David Walker for the sightings information.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Caspian Gulls!

 Stonechat hay field 3
A stroll around the hay fields first thing this morning found a posing Stonechat and the Cattle Egret, along with 2 Great white Egrets, c40 Golden Plover and 5 Ruff of note.
 Cattle Egret in the hay fields

 Grey Plover at bottom of Denge Marsh Gully
Denge Marsh Gully was once again virtually bird less apart from the usual Corvids and Gulls, a fly by Grey Plover was notable.
At Scotney from the double bends a count of 62 Shelduck was notable, many Wigeon there along with the feral Barnacle Geese but no sign of any of the more unusual Grebes.
 Adult Caspian Gull on the ARC this morning
At the ARC an adult Caspian Gull was the first I have seen there since last winter, c300 Lapwings and 6 Dunlin were on the islands along with feral geese and usual wildfowl, 2 Great White Egrets were fishing around the margins and Cetti's Warblers were making themselves heard a Marsh Harrier was hunting over the reed beds. In the Willow trail a Firecrest still with several Goldcrests loosely associated with the Tit flock. 
4 Great White Egrets dropped into the Tower Pits where several Cetti's Warblers were also very vocal, while in the pines another Firecrest with several more Goldcrests a Great-spotted and Green Woodpecker.
 2w Caspian Gull on Burrowes
2 visits to Burrowes saw 5 Caspian Gulls, (1 adult, 2 nr adults, a 2w and a 1w) also 5 Yellow-legged Gulls. As is usual with Burrowes all the Gulls were to distant for anything other than record images. The adult Caspian Gull was found to late for any images. 
Also on Burrowes a good number of Duck and Lapwing at least 1,000 Cormorants which one day soon I will endeavour to count properly, just a couple of Goldeneye but no Smew yet. 
Still no sign of any returning Long-eared Owls at the Dipping Pool. 
MH did a 1.5 hr sea watch at the fishing boats this afternoon:
Brent Goose: 1 up
Great-crested Grebe: 36 around
Gannet: 61 down
Great skua: 2 down
Turnstone: 10 on beach
Kittiwake: 226 down
 Nr adult Caspian Gull on Burrowes.
 1W Caspian Gull on Burrowes. (immediately left of Cormorant)
Nr adult Caspian Gull on Burrowes. taken at 10,000 ISO

Friday, 17 November 2017

Another virtually bird less stroll around the trapping area this morning, a few Goldcrests, Great & Blue Tits in the bushes, a very few Goldfinches and Chaffinches over also a single Redpoll.
A look for the Dartford Warblers drew a blank, though DW found 2 later. Another look around the Kerton Road Triangle also drew a blank.
A long walk around Scotney enjoying the glorious warm November sunshine was very disappointing avian wise, a singles of Tree Sparrow, Green Sandpiper, Marsh Harrier and Common Buzzard, a party of 12 Skylark and 3 Redwing feeding in the Hawthorns. On the back lake the usual feral Geese and 8 Redshank.
 Tree Sparrow at Scotney
I joined MH this afternoon at Galloways which was even quieter than usual, a single Blackbird and a Red-throated Diver on the sea being the highlight! At Denge Marsh Gully a Raven over was the highlight.  
View over The New Diggings at official sunset 16.08
Late this afternoon I joined DW at the Egret roost where 18 Great White Egrets came in with 10 Little Egrets and a Cattle Egret. The sky was stunning as the sun went down.
Same view 15 minutes after sunset

Thursday, 16 November 2017

A very quiet morning on the sea 07.20-08.20 from the sea watch hide, thanks to AJG for collating the numbers:
Common Scoter: 41 up
Red-throated Diver: 3 up   7 down
Gannet: 75 around
Cormorant: present N/C
Great Skua:  2 down
Kittiwake: 6 down
Guillemot: 6 on
Razorbill: 2 on
Auk sp: 58 up
Todays stroll around the trapping area was again uneventful with a few each of Goldfinch and Chaffinch over, a few Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits in the bushes, the highlight being a Fieldfare and 3 Ravens over.
Merlin west of the power station
A late morning walk out to the switching station along the front of the power station, a Merlin, 2 Ravens and 6 Linnets were the only birds seen apart from the gulls.
This afternoon the 2 Firecrests still in the Willow Trail, from Hanson c100 Golden Plover, 32 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Dunlin and 2 Great White Egrets of note.
On Burrowes from the visitor centre 2 Yellow-legged Gulls among the very few gulls that came in to roost.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017


07.20-08.20 from the sea watch hide with AJG:
Brent Goose: 2 down
Common Scoter: 10 down
Red-throated Diver: 3 up  12 down
Gannet: 56 around 
Great Skua: 1 down
Mediterranean Gull: 4 down
Kittiwake: 26 down
Guillemot: 3 up
Razorbill: 3 on
Auk sp:  3 up 12 down
A stroll around the trapping area produced a calling Bullfinch but little else of note.
In the Broome around The Point 2 Dartford Warblers, 4 Stonechats and a Siskin over. 
 Dartford Warbler at The Point
Dartford Warbler at The Point 
Dartford Warbler at The Point 
 Firecrest in the Willow Trail
At the ARC from Hanson c600 Golden Plover with c300 Lapwing, 30 Black-tailed Godwits covering the islands, 2 Great White Egrets, a fly by Kingfisher, 2 Marsh Harriers, a Goldeneye, calling Cetti's Warblers and Water Rail along with all the usual wildfowl. In the Willow Trail 2 superb Firecrests, 3+Goldcrests, 2 Chiffchaffs all loosely associating with a Tit flock also Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker.
  Firecrest in the Willow Trail
  Firecrest in the Willow Trail
Denge Marsh Gully produced just a Wren, 2 Dunnocks and 2 Robins and a Raven over.
The Cattle Egret could be seen distantly with the cattle at the bottom of hay field 3. At the back of Denge Marsh c60 Golden Plover with c250 Greylag Geese, around the edge of the marsh 3 Stonechats, 2 Cetti's Warblers and a Great white Egret.
Back on the beach this afternoon a flat calm sea saw 4 Great-crested Grebes, 3 Guilemots, 2 Razorbills, c70 Kittiwakes loafing on the sea and c30 Gannets feeding off shore.
A  mid afternoon walk around the Kerton Road triangle and along the western edge of the quarry, found just 2 more Stonechats of any note.
 At Egret roost tonight 19 Great White Egrets came in with the Cattle Egret and 8 Little Egrets. A Marsh Harrier was hunting around the roost frequently disturbing the Little Egrets. A small Starling roost of c1500 birds attracted the attention of 2 Merlins and a Sparrowhawk that repeatedly dived into the murmuration, at least one Starling was taken by a Merlin.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Grey Day!

2 Velvet Scoters and a Red-breasted Merganser
A dull, cold, drizzly morning which saw a surprisingly good sea watch.
07.05-10.30 MH,DW & AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 17 down     2 up
Shelduck: 18 down
Teal: 5 down
Wigeon: 4 down
Common Scoter: 46 up  76 down
Velvet Scoter: 2 down
Eider: 1 male down
Red-breasted Merganser: 5 down   2 up
Red-throated Diver: 8 down
Gannet: 442 down
Cormorant: many present n/c
Knot: 1 down
Dunlin: 11 down
Bar-tailed Godwit: 1 down
Curlew: 1 down
Great Skua: 10 down    1 up
Mediterranean Gull: 7 down
Kittiwake: 92 down
Guillemot: 26 up    3 on sea
Razorbill: 7 up   4 on sea
Auk sp: 427 up
Skylark: 2 in
Starling:  4220 down/in
Chaffinch: 193 in

No sign of the Purple Sandpiper on the Denge Marsh Groyne today, though one was reportedly seen on Burrowes today. Still a few Golden Plover & Lapwing on the fields opposite Herons Park.

A very slow hour at the fishing boats this afternoon:
14.15-15.15 from the fishing boats, joined by AJG:
Common Scoter: 4 down
Red-throated Diver: 1 down   + 1 on
Great-crested Grebe: 14 around
Gannet: c40 around
Turnstone: 1 on beach
Curlew: 1 down
Kittiwake: c80 around
Sandwich Tern: 3 around
Guillemot: 2 on
Razorbill: 3 on
Auk sp: 31 up

Monday, 13 November 2017

Purple Sandpiper!

First light at Scotney GP was very quiet with just a Curlew and c40 Golden Plover of note.
On Walland c100 Golden Plover opposite Midley Barns, at Baynham Farm a handful of Tree Sparrows, with a few Chaffinches and Greenfinches, a disappointing drive around the marsh found it to be ornithologically barren, with all the fields ploughed up to edges or turned over to turf, even long standing rough areas ploughed, so much for the farmers being the stewards of the countryside.    

09.45-11.15 from the sea watch hide:
Brent Goose: 7 down    13 up
Common Scoter: 1 down
Red-throated Diver: 3 down     2 up
Great-crested grebe: 5 around
Gannet: c150 feeding off shore
Purple Sandpiper: 1 down
Great Skua: 2 up
Mediterranean Gull: 68 around
Kittiwake: c350 around
Guillemot: 2 on sea
Razorbill: 1 on sea
Auk sp: 17 up    9 down
Blackbird: 1 in
Starling: 350 in
Earlier a Velvet Scoter and 3 Sandwich terns were seen per AJG.
 Purple Sandpiper Denge Marsh Gully
On the fields opposite Herons Park c200 Golden Plover with c200 Lapwing. From Springfield Bridge the Cattle Egret distantly with the cattle, 2 Marsh Harriers and 2 Ruff of note. At the bottom of Denge Marsh Gully a Purple Sandpiper showing well on the Groyne, presumably the bird that flew past the sea watching hide.
 Dartford Warbler
 This afternoon 3 Dartford Warblers around the lighthouse area with 5 Stonechats.
Frosty  Stonechat
14.50-15.20 from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose: 37 down     5 up
Common Scoter: 20 down
Eider: 1 up
Great-crested Grebe: 2 on sea
Gannet: c20 off shore
Turnstone: 1 on beach
Kittiwake: 9 around
Guillemot: 1 on sea
Auk sp: 8 down
Common Seal: 1
Late afternoon from the causeway 7 Great White Egrets could be seen. On the reserve a 1w Caspian Gull came into a small roost viewable from Makepiece.