Sunday, 31 December 2017

Wind, Rain and loads of Sea Birds

Gannet past the fishing boats
08.50-11.00  from The Point in heavy rain, wind WSW 6
Brent Goose: 2 up
Red-throated Diver: 243 down.     6 up
Great-crested Grebe: 9 down
Fulmar: 18 down
Gannet: 379 down
Cormorant: c500 around
Caspian Gull: regular 1w bird
Kittiwake: 283 down
Guillemot: 1,463 down  not a single Razorbill noted!
1w Kittiwake
1 of the many Guillemots
1w Caspian Gull joining me at the fishing boats
 1w Glaucous Gull from Makepiece
After lunch the wind was still blowing and the rain still falling, but I made my way to the reserve anyway. From the entrance track several 100s of Golden Plover were flushed by a Marsh Harrier and a Great White Egret looked very dejected at Cook's Pool.
Only small numbers of wildfowl were on Burrowes and very few Gulls when I arrived. A very quick look for the Long-eared Owl unsurprisingly drew a blank. From Firth there were a few Gulls but nothing unusual. From Makepiece more or less the first Gull I saw was a 1w Glaucous Gull presumably the same bird that spent a few days around The Point, the regular 1w Caspian Gull was the next to be found, as the Gulls began to come into roost in the near dark the gleaming white 3w Iceland Gull came in, after a quick bathe it buried itself among the Great Black Backed Gulls.
3w Iceland Gull from Makepiece (16,000 iso)

Saturday, 30 December 2017

3w Iceland Gull!

 1w Caspian Gull at the fishing boats this morning
This morning from the fishing boats 1,000s of Guillemots, 100s each of Gannet, Kittiwake, Cormorant and Red-throated Diver, 10+ Fulmar a few Great-crested Grebes offshore and of course the regular 1w Caspian Gull, I couldn't resist taking more images of it. 
 along the entrance track to the reserve c300 Golden Plover, c40 Curlew, a Ruff, a Great White Egret, 2 Little Egrets, 100s of Wigeon, and a few feral Geese.
At least 1 Long-eared Owl was behind the Dipping Pool and still as difficult to spot. Wildfowl was once again virtually absent on Burrowes making Gulls the only birds to look at, a 2w & 3w Caspian Gull was noted, best of all a 3w Iceland Gull that came into roost after sunset.
3w Iceland Gull that came into Burrowes late afternoon

Friday, 29 December 2017

Avocet Surprise!

A thoroughly miserable morning with strong winds and heavy rain made me decide to wimp out and stay warm indoors, however Mark is made of tougher stuff and braved the wind and rain at the fishing boats below are his sightings.
Brent Goose: 11 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 2 down
Red-throated Diver: 4 down
Great-crested Grebe: 5+ around
Fulmar: 3 down
Kittiwake: 18 down
Guillemot: 2265 down
 1w Caspian Gull by the Fishing Boats
I eventually made it to the fishing boats at lunch time where the regular 1w Caspian Gull immediately appeared as soon as I through some bread but no sign of the 1w Glaucous Gull.
 1w Caspian Gull by the Fishing Boats
 1w Caspian Gull by the Fishing Boats
1w Caspian Gull by the Fishing Boats
The reserve was very quiet, in 2 visits a few Tree Sparrows were around the Boulderwall feeders, from the entrance track 20+ Curlew, 100+ Golden Plover, a Ruff, Great White Egret, many Wigeon, plenty of feral Geese, Common Buzzard and 2 Marsh Harriers.
On Burrowes100s of Shoveler with smaller numbers of Teal, Pochard and Tufted Duck but no Goosander and still no Smew. Grebes were represented by Great-crested and Little Grebes. The 2 Long-eared Owls were just about visible behind the Dipping Pool if you knew exactly where to look.
a 3w & 2w Caspian Gull came into the roost late afternoon in front of Firth. The biggest surprise was an Avocet that dropped in for a couple of minutes.
 2w Caspian Gull late afternoon from Firth taken at iso 6400!
 3w Caspian Gull from Firth late afternoon taken at iso 6400!

Thursday, 28 December 2017

2 LEO's!

First thing this morning out in very frosty trapping area apart from a flushed Woodcock and Great Spotted Woodpecker very little of note was seen. Around the feeders Blue and Great Tits, a couple of Chaffinches and a Blackbird.
On The Point including The Patch no sign of the Glaucous Gull nor the 1w Caspian Gull (the latter turned up on the reserve ), on the sea c1,000 Great-crested Grebes, 200+ Guillemots and smaller numbers of Red-throated Divers, Gannets and Kittiwakes. Another Woodcock was seen coming in off the sea per MW.
On the reserve a Bittern was in the reeds alongside the entrance track per GP, 2 Caspian Gulls a 3w & 1w were seen from Makepiece and Firth, 2 Long-eared Owls could just about be seen behind the Dipping Pool, late afternoon an adult Yellow-legged Gull came into roost on Burrowes.
Once again still no Smew or wild Geese.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Xmas Morning Sea Watch!

The Glaucous Gull joined us in the early morning gloom.
07.45-09.30 from the fishing boats with MH & CP:

Brent Goose: 6 up
Common Scoter: 2 down
Red-throated Diver: 12 up.    4 on     10 down
Great-crested Grebe: 380 around
Fulmar: 17 down
Gannet: 322 down
Cormorant: 300+ around
Turnstone: 3 around
Dunlin: 11 down
Great Skua: 2 up.      3 down
Caspian Gull: regular 1w bird around
Glaucous Gull: regular 1w bird around
Kittiwake: 42 down
Guillemot: 439 down/around
1w Caspian Gull in front of the boats

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Bring Bread!

This morning near the fishing boats I threw out a couple of slices of bread and within seconds the Glaucous Gull and Caspian Gull arrived giving super views, both birds literally walking right up to me more or less begging for bread, let's hope they stay for a while. If you want to see them bring some bread!
On the sea the usual Gannets, Great-crested Grebes, Guillemots and Red-throated Divers.
 1w Glaucous Gull (if you want to be pedantic a juvenile)

 1w Caspian Gull on the beach
 1w Caspian Gull from Firth
2 visits to the reserve today found 5 Caspian Gulls and 2 Yellow-legged Gulls in the roost, wildfowl numbers seem to be well down, though c300 Greylag Geese came into Burrowes just after sunset as did c100 Golden Plover with c500 Lapwings. There was no sign of yesterdays Goosanders or any scarce Grebes and still no Smew. 2 Great White Egrets could be seen on the ARC from the causeway and 2 Marsh Harriers were hunting the railway bank  Nearby also no sign of the Bewick Swans today and most the Mute Swans were missing, probably flushed by the farmer.
Scotney was also very quiet, no wild geese and very few duck, a Green Sandpiper being the highlight. 
The Long-tailed Duck and Slavonian Grebe were still present on Lade Pits per PT.

Saturday, 23 December 2017


I was watching several Goldfinches and Great Tits on my garden feeders as I drank my early morning coffee, when they all alarmed in a flurry of wings as a super male Sparrowhawk landed on the fence. For once my camera was right beside me, so I quickly got some half decent images through the patio window.
 Sparrowhawk on my garden fence this morning
At Cockles Bridge at least 6 Bewick Swans still present as i made my way to the beach. I'd barely settled in the hide when a call from DW alerted  us to the presence of the 1w Glaucous Gull. Stepping out of the sea watch hide myself AJG & PW were able to see the bird with other Gulls being thrown scraps by fisherman, though I am sure they were unaware they feeding a Glaucous Gull.
1w Glaucous Gull
                                                               1w Glaucous Gull
1w Glaucous Gull
2 x 2w Caspian Gulls
This afternoon 3 Caspian Gulls, 2 Yellow-legged Gulls and the Glaucous Gull came into Mick & Richards offerings. Offshore 100s each of Great-crested Grebe and Guillemot with a few Red-throated Divers and Kittiwakes on the sea, a party of c30 Wigeon flew west as did a Great Skua.
On the reserve the Long-eared Owl was still in situ and 10 Goosander were present per PB.
2w Caspian Gull
1w Caspian Gull

Friday, 22 December 2017

Glaucous Gull!

First thing this morning from the sea watch hide, c50 Gannets, 400+ Great-crested Grebes, 20+ Guillemots, a few each of Kittiwake and Red-throated Diver otherwise little of note. Only a few Gulls at The Patch and none on the beach probably due to disturbance from shingle moving plant.
1w Caspian Gull from Firth
On the reserve at least 5 Caspian Gulls today, 2 adults, 2 3w and a 1w. a few Pintail and Goldeneye and still no Smew. The Long-eared Owl was again just about visible if you know where to look.
On the ARC 4 Goosander and 2 Great White Egrets.
3w Caspian gull from Makepiece
Pintail from Makepiece
This afternoon DW found a brute of a 1w Glaucous Gull in the roost near the fishing boats, it hung around for a while before departing with the other Gulls as they went to roost. The regular 1w Caspian Gull also put in an appearance there.
The Long-tailed Duck and Slavonian Grebe were showing well on Lade Pits per JK, also at least 6 Bewick Swans were still opposite Cockles Bridge.
 1w Glaucous Gull near the Fishing Boats
1w Glaucous Gull near the Fishing Boats
1w Glaucous Gull near the Fishing Boats 
1w Glaucous Gull near the Fishing Boats 
1w Glaucous Gull near the Fishing Boats
1w Caspian Gull at the fishing boats same individual as from the reserve

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Gulls in the Gloom!

In the very gloomy conditions this morning the islands on Burrowes were barely visible, those that were visible were avian free. 
As I had been meaning to have a walk along The Midrips and Wick's while there was no firing on the ranges, I thought today would be a good time to go there. Parking at Jury's Gap clambering over the sea wall and hopping from rock to rock until I reached the green wall. I walked to within a kilometer of Galloways and back and didn't record a single passerine nor a another human, the highlight being 12 Shelduck, c100 Wigeon, c30 Teal a few Redshank and Oystercatchers and a single Curlew.
Late morning back at the reserve the fog was marginally better allowing me to spot a 3w Caspian Gull and 2 Yellow-legged Gulls, also the Long-eared Owl which is really difficult to see even when you know exactly where to look. 
A lunchtime visit to the fishing boats found a 1w and 3w Caspian Gull, both of which showed well (see images below if you like Gulls otherwise don't bother).
Late afternoon back at the reserve more Gull watching another new 3rd or 4th cal yr Caspian Gull came in, unfortunately it was on the far islands as I have not one like this before, it was near adult but had retained it's shawl, a superb bird if you like Gulls, as dark fell a 1w and an adult came in and several colour rings were obtained.
 1w Caspian Gull by the fishing boats
  1w Caspian Gull by the fishing boats
  1w Caspian Gull by the fishing boats
  1w Caspian Gull by the fishing boats
  1w Caspian Gull by the fishing boats
 3w Caspian Gull by the fishing boats
 3w Caspian Gull by the fishing boats
 3w Caspian Gull by the fishing boats
 3w Caspian Gull by the fishing boats
 3w Caspian Gull by the fishing boats
 3w Caspian Gull by the fishing boats
 3w Caspian Gull by the fishing boats