Friday, 30 November 2018

A much brighter day but very quiet avian wise.
8.00-09.30 from the fishing boats with DW:
Grey Goose sp: 44S (I thought probably Pink-footed Geese)
Eider: 1W
Common Scoter: 2W
Great Northern Diver: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 37W    5E     2on
Great-crested Grebe: 52 around
Gannet: 56W
Merlin: 1 around
Cormorant: 57W
Oystercatcher: 1W
Mediterranean Gull: 1W   1E
Kittiwake: 1W
Guillemot: 3W.  1E  2on
Auk sp: 8W
Skylark: 1 out
Harbour Porpoise: 1
Grey Seal: 2
Common Seal: 2
After getting some domestic stuff done I went back to the fishing boats early afternoon but very little was seen.
adult and a 2w Caspian Gull 
On the reserve late afternoon with DW et al at least 6 Caspian Gulls came in, 1 x 1w, 3 x 2w, 1 x 3w & a fine looking adult.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Sheltering at the Fishing Boats!

 1w Caspian Gull in roost behind the fishing boats late morning
Another mild day with constant strong SW winds with intermittent drizzle.
08.20-11.00 from the fishing boats with NF & DW
Mallard: 1W
Common Scoter: 38W
Velvet Scoter: 6W seen by NF just before I arrived.
Red-breasted Merganser: 5W
Red-throated Diver: 1E   3W   2 on
Great-crested Grebe: 34W
Fulmar: 5W
Gannet: 287W
Cormorant: 688W
Oystercatcher: 1W
Caspian Gull: 1 x1w flew past the fishing boats. Probably the above bird.
Kittiwake: 521W
Guillemot: 3W
Razorbill: 10W
Auk sp: 8W
Grey Seal: 2
Common Seal: 2
 The Cattle Egret at Boulderwall getting a little colour on its forehead & being very showy today.
 From Cockles Bridge 5 Bewick Swans and 5 Greater White-fronted Geese per NF
3w Caspian Gull behind the fishing boats this afternoon.
14.10-15.10 from the the fishing boats:
Red-breasted Merganser: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 2W
Great-crested Grebe: 16W
Gannet: 26W
Cormorant: 182W
Caspian Gull: 1 x 3w on beach behind boats
Kittiwake: 26W
Guillemot: 1w
Auk sp: 4W
 3w Caspian Gull

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Dull,Damp & Windy!

 Eider past the fishing boats this morning
 09.15-10.15 from the fishing boats:
Eider: 6W     1E
Red-throated Diver: 14W     4 on
Great-crested Grebe:  24 around
Gannet: 138W   17E
Kittiwake: 24W   6 on
Guillemot: 10W   4 on
Razorbill: 4W   1 on
Auk sp: 12W
Grey Seal: 1
 Red-throated divers past the fishing boats this morning
 1w Yellow-legged Gull at the fishing boats this afternoon
13.00-13.30. from the fishing boats:
Red-throated Diver: 2W
Gannet: 21W
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 x1w around
Kittiwake: 61W
Guillemot: 5W
Auk sp: 4W
Pied Wagtail: 2 around
The lone Cattle Egret still at Boulderwall this afternoon
1,000s of Gulls came into roost on Burrowes this afternoon unfortunately not until after 15.30 by which time viewing them was difficult in the Dull conditions. I did manage to find a single 1w Caspian Gull and 2 more Yellow-legged Gulls but must surely have missed a few more in the darkness. Before the Gulls came in a huge Saker or possibly hybrid flew across Burrowes and headed off towards Galloways.


As it was very foggy early morning I tidied up the garden, while doing so a party of 12 Fieldfare flew low north, unseen Redwings were overhead as were the local feral Geese, 11 Goldfinches were on the Sunflower feeder until a Sparrowhawk glided out of the gloom alarming unseen Blackbirds. 
 1 of 4 Bewick Swans on the ARC
As the fog cleared I made my way to the ARC where from Hanson the 4 Bewick Swans were still roosting, 2 Great White Egrets could be seen, a Water rail ran around in front of the hide avoiding all my efforts to photograph it, a Cetti's Warbler gave me eye ball to eye ball views, on the lake a single Goldeneye among the usual wildfowl.
 Great White Egret from Hanson
 Firecrest in the Willow Trail
A walk around the Willow Trail saw at least 3 Firecrests, several Goldcrests, a Chiffchaff and a c10 Long-tailed Tits which seemed to have been quite scarce of late.
In the Boulderwall fields by Cooks Pool a single Cattle Egret and Great White Egret, I then joined MH at the viewing mound where 5 Greater White-fronted Geese and 2 Barnacle Geese were seen with the Greylags, a male Bearded Tit was on the Grit Tray, a Bittern sat out in the open for at least 10 minutes scope views only, 2 more Great White Egrets were seen also a Marsh Harrier and common Buzzard.
At midday I had look from Dennis's Hide where a 1w Caspian Gull sporting a Yellow colour ring was roosting with Great Black-backed Gulls 2 of which were wearing Black Norwegian/Danish rings.
The weather deteriorated rapidly in the afternoon so I sat in Firth Hide where the colour ringed 1w Caspian Gull dropped in briefly allowing a poor image in the the murky conditions, on the Islands out in the lake another 1w & 2w Caspian Gull came to roost, also 2 Yellow-legged Gulls and 3 more Black ringed Great Black-backed Gulls, by 15.30 the light was so bad I gave up. 
1w Caspian Gull XAJK
XAJK ringing details, many thanks to Ronald Klein for his prompt response.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Garden Geese!

At Cockles Bridge on my way to the beach this morning the 4 Bewick Swans were still with the Mute Swans.
08.30-09.30 from the sea watch hide:
Eider: 7W
Red-throated Diver: 18E    2on
Great-crested Grebe: 8 around
Gannet: 157E   31W
Cormorant: 89W
Merlin: 1 in
Kestrel: 1 in
Kittiwake: 21 around
Razorbill: 1E
Guillemot: 1E
Auk sp: 10E
Grey Seal: 1
After doing some domestic stuff I went back to Cockles Bridge where among the many Greylag Geese I picked out 2 Pink-footed Geese, a Tundra Bean Goose, 5 Greater White-fronted Geese and 2 Barnacle Geese. While watching the geese with some locals the 4 Bewick Swans flew back in.
3 of the 4 Bewick swans at Cockles Bridge today
MH called me to say he could see the Bewick Swans from my house, so I drove the short distance to home and joined him and AJG in scanning the Goose flock from my garden. While scanning the farmer appeared and drove out the Geese and Swan flock deliberately flushing them by sounding his horn and flashing, lights then getting out and clapping and waving his hands, we managed to find all the Geese except the Tundra Bean Goose before they were all flushed by the farmer, so adding Pink-footed Goose to the garden list.
Late afternoon on the reserve was very disappointing as very few Gulls came into roost and nothing notable.

Sunday, 25 November 2018


Cattle Egret at Boulderwall
3 visits to the reserve today saw the Cattle Egret first thing and again mid afternoon, a Greenshank from Dennis's hide first thing was still present at dusk, an unusual site for me was 2 Merlins perched in a dead tree by the entrance track, another unusual siting occurred this afternoon while in Firth hide Graham noticed a passerine on the edge of a lake which was a Grey Wagtail, I can't remember seeing a grounded individual on the reserve before. The late afternoon roost produced just a single 1w Caspian Gull, 3 Yellow-legged Gulls, 2 Great White Egrets and 2 Marsh Harriers, also a female Goosander flew through. An unusually high count of 106 Mallard on Burrowes this afternoon At Cockles Bridge 3 Bewick Swans still and 2 Barnacle geese among the Greylag Geese, also Common Buzzard.
Late morning a 1w Caspian Gull was roosting behind the Fish Shack.
2 Merlins by the reserve entrance track
1w Caspian Gull behind the Fish Shack

Friday, 23 November 2018

 Caspian Gull at The Patch this morning 
A Caspian Gull was among a few Gulls roosting at The patch this morning though they were quickly disturbed by works taking place on the bund.
Off shore a few Red-throated Divers, Gannets and Auks but little was moving. On the boundary wall and the sewage Works a Black Redstart c15 Meadow Pipits, c10 Linnets a couple each of Chaffinches and Pied Wagtails, also a Grey Wagtail per BH.  
 On the reserve 3+ Yellow-legged Gulls on Burrowes, also 3 Goldeneye, no sign of yesterdays Little Gull or any Goosander, though DC found a Common scoter at Christmas Dell late afternoon. A Great White Egret flew over but it seems that the Cattle Egrets have departed.
The 2 Whooper swans are still at the back of Scotney per CT.
Bewick Swan 1of 4 and Ruff from Hanson this afternoon
From Hanson this after noon 4 Bewick Swans, a Ruff among c200 Lapwing and c40 Golden Plover, also a skulky Water Rail. 

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Little Gull Surprise!

A wander down to The Patch this morning saw of note 12 Red-throated Divers moving east, a handful of Gannets and a 1w Mediterranean Gull, on the beach Great Black-backed Gull JC782 a regular bird here.
At the lighthouse with OL a Marsh Harrier flew out to sea, also another Harrier sp flew high out to sea. 
Another disappointing wander among the fishing boats and up towards the lifeboat station, just 2 Skylarks of any note.
 Skylarks on the beach behind the fishing boats
 On the reserve mid morning there were lots of Gulls for a change even in front of Firth Hide, 2 new colour rings were recorded with the help of Pete B. Unfortunately the wardens chose this morning to take the boat out on the lake which put an abrupt end to any more Gull watching. Just to make sure the Gulls wouldn't return a Peregrine landed on one of the islands and had a bath.
At Cockles Bridge at least 2 Bewick Swans still, also a Great White Egret there.
Tree Sparrow at Scotney
Late morning/early afternoon at Scotney the usual feral Geese including 180 Barnacle Geese, the Common Sandpiper was still present round the main lake, by the farm 10+ Tree Sparrows, a Black Redstart and Little Owl, at the back of the farm the 2 Whooper Swans still with the Mute Swans, 100s of Golden Plovers, Lapwings, Teal and Wigeon, 2 each of Common Buzzard and Marsh Harrier.
Late afternoon back at the reserve from Makepiece very few Gulls still, though a 1w Little Gull was a surprise visitor in the gloom.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

After yesterdays appalling weather today seemed almost summery.
A quick stop off at Cockles Bridge on my way to the sea watch hide saw 3 Bewick Swans with the Mute Swan flock.
07.00-08.30 from the sea watch hide with AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Common Scoter: 9E   1W
Red-breasted Merganser: 4E
Red-throated Diver: 32E
Gannet: 431E
Great Skua: 1E
Kittiwake: 6 around
Razorbill: 7E
Auk sp: 16E
Yellow-legged Gull  near the fishing boats this morning
A wander along the beach from the fishing boats to near the life station and back was pleasant in the light winds and sunshine, but quiet avian wise. The highlights being 6 Wood Pigeons Feeding among the Sea Kale, 27 Great-crested Grebes off shore along with c50 Kittiwakes and 8 Mediterranean Gulls, a Yellow-legged Gull, a Red-breasted Merganser flew west and a colour ringed Great Black-backed Gull JP981 which is a new one for me.
JP981 Great Black-backed Gull
On the reserve late morning from Dennis's Hide a 4th Cal Year Caspian Gull and 2+ Yellow-legged Gulls and another new for me colour ringed Great Black-backed Gull JP498, but little else of note.
Early afternoon at Scotney the usual array of feral geese, also a surprise in the form of a Common Sandpiper.
Late afternoon as there were not many Gulls coming into Burrowes to roost, I went to the ARC for the Egret roost, just 4 Great White Egrets and 4 Little Egrets came in. 5 Bewick Swans roosted in front the Screen Hide and lovely drake Goosanders dropped in briefly then moved to Burrowes. 

Monday, 19 November 2018

Sheltering from the East Wind!

A strong easterly wind again made for another cold day, though the hide was relatively comfortable.
07.00-11.00 from the sea watch hide with AJG who kindly collated the numbers & JTM
Brent Goose: 1E
Shelduck:  2E
Gadwall: 2E
Wigeon: 9E
Teal: 2E
Eider: 10E
Common Scoter: 14E
Velvet Scoter: 1E
Goldeneye: 1E male 
Goosander: 2E
Red-breasted Merganser: 11E    2W
Red-throated Diver: 46E
Black-throated Diver: 1E
Great-crested Grebe: 67E
Red-necked Grebe: 1W
Merlin: 1 hunting offshore
Lapwing: 7 out
Turnstone: 1 around
Great Skua: 1E
Mediterranean Gull: 2E   3 around
Kittiwake: c60 around
Sandwich Tern: 3 around
Razorbill: 8E
Guillemot: 7E
Auk sp: 219E
Cattle Egret over the reserve entrance track this morning
13.30- 15.00 from the shelter of the fishing boats joined by MH & JTM.
Brent Goose: 1E   1W
Wigeon: 22W
Red-breasted Merganser: 3E
Red-throated Diver: 8E    1W    2on
Great-crested Grebe: 31E
Gannet: 102E
Golden Plover: 2 out
Mediterranean Gull: 2E
Kittiwake: c100 around
Razorbill: 46E
Guillemot: 12E
Auk sp: 34E
Skylark: 1 behind beach
Harbour Porpoise: 1+
Grey Seal: 1
Common Seal: 1
I joined DW late afternoon on the reserve where 1,000s of Gulls came in to the roost but we could only find a single 1w Caspian Gull and 3+ Yellow-legged Gulls in the gloom.
In the near dark 5 adult Bewick swans were roosting on the ARC. 

Sunday, 18 November 2018

A very cool morning with a strong easterly wind  that lasted all day.
08.00-10.00 from the fishing boats joined by DW & PW:
Brent Goose: 1E   2W
Teal: 3W
Common Scoter: 3W
Red-throated Diver: 37E
Great-crested Grebe: 9E   1 on
Gannet: 100s around
Cormorant: present n/c
Turnstone: 1 around
Dunlin: 19E
Sanderling: 3E
Great Skua: 2E
Mediterranean Gull: 18 around
Kittiwake: c150 around
Guillemot: 3E    3 on
Razorbill: 36E   2 on
Auk sp: many
Goldfinch: 80 over
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
Stonechat in scrub behind the fishing boats
Back at the fishing boats after lunch lots of birds offshore mainly Gannets and Kittiwakes still, with a few Guillemots, Razorbills and Red-throated Divers. c100 Auks moved west in an hour. 
Goldcrest on the beach by the fishing boats
Late afternoon on Walland 2 male Marsh Harriers roosted in my allotted reed bed and several more flew over. Interestingly 3 Great White Egrets roosted in Hawthorns there, while 2 Little egrets appeared to roost on one of the reservoirs. 2 Barn Owls hunting the area was notable, 4 Common Buzzards over, a Cetti's Warbler singing and squealing Water Rails but most birds were keeping low in the strong wind.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Pallid Swift & Redwings in the Fog!

Yesterday afternoon and again this morning the excellent Pallid Swift found by Chris Philpott was zooming around New Romney. Although it did show well the light was appalling due to the fog, making obtaining images extremely difficult, as you can see the images that were obtained were awful.
Pallid Swift
 Pallid Swift
 Pallid Swift
Pallid Swift
 Early morning Redwings at the research station
Early morning at The point 100s of Redwings, with smaller numbers of Fieldfare, Blackbirds and Meadow Pipits arrived and were seemingly everywhere. The Lighthouse garden held lots of Goldcrests, at least 2 Firecrests and Chiffchaffs, most the birds seem to move on quickly.
 Chiffchaff looking for insects
 Meadow Pipit with a ring
 Redwing on the beach this afternoon
Early afternoon the reserve was again quiet, the 6 Cattle Egrets were still at Boulderwall and 3 red head Smew were reported though not seen by any of the locals. Mid afternoon at the fishing boats after a call from MH telling me that more Thrushes were coming, saw Redwings, Fieldfare and Blackbirds hopping around the beach. The longer I sat in the car watching them foraging on the beach, more flocks were dropping out of the fog onto the shingle and rough grass behind the fishing boats, as the light faded many of the Redwing were dropping in and promptly going to sleep on the shingle something I have not seen before, I guess that they had been flying around out at sea in the fog and were exhausted. c400 Redwing and 70 Fieldfare were involved but just a couple of Blackbirds and Skylarks.  

 Fieldfare at the puddles at the fishing boats
Redwings bathing in the puddles at the fishing boats late this afternoon

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Whooper Swans!

A couple of hours first thing this morning looking around the lighthouses, fishing boats and power station for scant reward, the highlights being 4 Stonechats and a few each of Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits.
Mid morning at Boulderwall saw the 7 Cattle Egrets  and 4 Great White Egrets at the top end of Cooks pool.
The 7 Cattle Egrets showing well today at Boulderwall

As there was news of the first Whooper Swans in the area for 2 years at the back of Scotney, I decided to have a wander out there. I joined Brian at the farm entrance and we made our way into East Sussex to view the Whoopers which were in the company of Mute Swans and 2 Black Swans. We passed a flock of 41 Egyptian Geese adding to the hordes of feral geese at Scotney, 15 Ruff were by the back lake, several100s of Golden Plover and Lapwing were seen, along with Common Buzzard and Marsh Harrier, the Little Owl was seen briefly before being disturbed by a tractor, 2 Black Redstarts were around the farm.
Whooper Swans at Scotney

Fast growing numbers of Egyptian Geese on the peninsular
1 of 2 Black Redstarts around the Scotney Farm
Late afternoon on Burrowes from Makepiece 3 Caspian Gulls were seen 2 x 2w + 1 x 1w, also 3 Yellow-legged Gulls.