Wednesday, 26 December 2018

3 days of Christmas!

The sea from the fishing boats the last 3 days have been littered with 1,000s of sea birds, mainly Guillemots, Razorbills, Great-crested Grebes, Red-throated Divers, Gannets, Kittiwakes and 1,000s of Cormorants, with a few Common Scoter, Great Skuas, Brent Geese and Mediterranean Gulls. Very few of these birds appear to be going any where, just moving from Lade Bay to Rye Bay and back to feed. Several Caspian Gulls have added some interest. The 3 Cattle Egrets seem to have taken residence in the horse paddocks opposite Home Leigh Farm, the 2 Whooper swans are still at the back of Scotney and the Bewick Swans are at Horses Bones Farm. In general the reserve has been very quiet, still no Smew and all the Goosander have moved on, a distinct lack of grey Geese though 100 flew over Dengemarsh Chistmas Eve per Pam & Pete, Bitterns, Bearded Tits and Great White Egrets are still seen daily.
I wont be doing any posts for a couple of weeks due to domestic stuff.
 1w Caspian Gull
  1w Caspian Gull
  1w Caspian Gull
 1 of the many Gannets off shore
 Also many Kittiwakes around
Guillemots and a Razorbill
 Many Razorbills
 Many Guillemots
Great-crested Grebe numbers building best count of 249 so far
Many Red-throated Divers around
                                                      Dunlin and a single Sanderling
Dunlin and a single Sanderling

Friday, 21 December 2018

On my way to the fishing boats this morning the 3 Cattle Egrets were in the Horse Paddock c200mts NW of Boulderwall Farm
 Juvenile Gannet
Near gale force westerly blowing with occasional drizzle and poor visibility.
08.45-10.45 from the fishing boats:
Common Scoter: 12W
Red-throated Diver: 32W
Great-crested Grebe: 4 around
Fulmar: 2W
Gannet: 327W
Cormorant: 1,557W
Turnstone: 2 around
Great Skua: 1W
Kittiwake: 58W
Guillemot: 884W
Auk sp: 132W
Late morning once again very little to be seen on Burrowes as the work boat was out.
1 of 2 1w Caspian Gulls that came into Burrowes late afternoon to roost.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Herring Gull A3BJ is a regular around the fishing boats
08.30-10.00 from the fishing boats with DW:
Red-throated Diver: 78W      6E
Great-crested Grebe: 9 around
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 171W
Cormorant: n/c (100s present)
Turnstone: 2around
Kittiwake: 27W
Sandwich Tern: 1W
Guillemot: 292W
Razorbill: 12W
Auk sp: 174W
Grey Seal: 2
The 3 Cattle Egrets were still around the Horse Paddocks opposite Home Leigh Farm.
From Hanson Hide this afternoon a Great White Egret of note, 1,000+Cormorants along with all the usual wildfowl, but in greater numbers due to being flushed off of Burrowes by the work boat. 
 Adult Caspian Gull and a adult Yellow-legged Gull taken from Dennis's hide yesterday
 1w Caspian Gull taken from Makepiece Hide yesterday
2 Adult Caspian Gulls taken yesterday from Firth Hide in near darkness

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Strong southerly winds meant that sea watching was the order of the day!
 Guillemots past the fishing boats today
07.45-10.45 from the fishing boats with MH, AJG, SO & DW:
Brent Goose: 1W
Velvet Scoter: 3W
Red-throated Diver: 66W
Great-crested Grebe: 21
Fulmar: 4W
Gannet: 1,216W
Cormorant: 988W
Turnstone: 4 around
Pomarine Skua: 1W
Mediterranean Gull: 1W
Little Gull: 1W (adult)
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 (1w) on beach
Caspian Gull: 1 (1w) on beach
Kittiwake: 242W
Guillemot: 1,396W
Razorbill: 27W
Auk sp: 67W
Harbour Porpoise: 1
Grey Seal: 1
 Curlew by Cooks Pool
Late morning a quick look at Cooks Pool saw 4 Curlew, a Great White Egret, Marsh Harrier and the usual Wildfowl in the Boulderwall Fields.
The 3 Cattle Egrets were back in the Horse Paddock.

 1w Caspian Gull on the beach early afternoon
13.15-14.15 from the fishing was almost a repeat of this morning:
Red-throated Diver: 2W
Gannet: 73W
Cormorant: 203W
Kittiwake: 74W
Guillemot: 128W
Razorbill: 2W
Auk sp: 19W
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 1
Late afternoon on the reserve 7 Caspian Gulls came into roost (3 adult, 3w & 3 1w) also 3 adult Yellow-legged Gulls.
4 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato's in a shoot by the fishing boats today, apparently £3,000,000 worth.

Monday, 17 December 2018


Woodlark at Pigwell this morning (image courtesy of Andy Luckhurst)
First thing this morning I went looking for a Hooded Crow that was seen in Lydd Camp yesterday afternoon by GP. I thought I'd try Pigwell as there is some good rough ground there, full of Rabbits and finches that may attract the Rough-legged Buzzard. As soon as I arrived a party of 18 Bewick Swans flew over, then 2 Marsh Harriers cruised over followed a Common Buzzard. A large party of finches and Meadow Pipits were feeding around Teasels and Thistles when something spooked them, as they took to the air I heard the distinctive call of a Woodlark, which I managed to pick out quite easily in flight due to it's distinctive broad winged and short tailed appearance, it landed again quite near but out of site over a ridge, after a few minutes it took flight again but landed behind the ridge out of sight again, next time it alighted on some overhead wires but along way off for the camera, the images I got were very poor, when it took flight again it landed back behind the ridge out of sight. Fortunately Andy Luckhurst came along, as he has far more patience than me he managed to get some good shots of it. As for the Hooded Crow and Rough-legged Buzzard, I'll try again another day. 
Little Grebe from Firth
5 more Bewick Swans could be seen from Cockles Bridge. Late morning on Burrowes 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls and an adult Caspian Gull but otherwise disappointing. 2 Cattle Egrets were at the far end of Cook's Pool with Great White Egret. 
Adult Yellow-legged Gull from Firth
Early afternoon at the fishing boats the calm sea was littered with 100s of Cormorants, a minimum of  186 Great-crested Grebes and c200 Guillemots, also at least 14 Red-throated Divers feeding with them, while further out a large feeding flock of Kittiwakes with a few Gannets, nothing appeared to be moving. 
This injured young Herring Gull has been around the fishing boats for a few days, they must be incredibly tough to suffer such a horrific injury and carry on as normal. Perhaps they don't feel pain in their legs and feet, as I see many with leg and foot injuries.
Clearly shows the snapped bone sticking out the side of it's leg
Wood Pigeons enjoying the seaside sun this afternoon
Mid afternoon back at Burrowes another adult Caspian Gull. 2 Norwegian ringed Great Black-backed Gulls and 2 Pitsea Gulls.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Harrier Roost!

07.45-11.00 from the fishing boats with DW, LH, PH,& AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Teal: 2W
Shoveler: 6W
Common Scoter: 289W
Velvet Scoter: 1W
Eider: 7W
Red-throated Diver: 275W
Great-crested Grebe: 127 around
Gannet: 240W
Cormorant: N/c but numerous
Turnstone: 9 around
Kittiwake: 138W
Mediterranean Gull: 15 around
Guillemot: 27W
Razorbill: 7W
Auk sp: 169W
The 3 Cattle Egrets were still around the Boulderwall Fields and the 10 Bewick Swans still from Cockles Bridge. Early afternoon at least 2 adult Caspian Gulls and an adult Yellow-legged Gull were on Burrowes.
Late afternoon doing the Harrier count at my allotted Reed Bed in the company of LH & PH, $ Marsh Harriers roosted and at least another 10 birds had a looked then moved on, also a Ring-tail Hen Harrier roosted,4 Great White Egrets were seen and a Peregrine.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

A Chilly Sea Watch!

The 10 Bewick Swans spent the day in the rape and Kale at Cockles Bridge again, also the 3 Cattle Egrets were by Cooks Pool early morning.
 Adult Caspian Gull by the fishing boats
A very cold but rewarding 2 hr sea watch from the fishing boats 09.00-11.00: 
Common Scoter: 6W
Eider: 5W
Red-throated Diver: 14W
Great-crested Grebe: 4 around
Gannet: 1,023W
Cormorant: 1,000+W
Mediterranean Gull: 8W
Kittiwake: 1,285W
Caspian Gull: 1 adult around
Guillemot: 721W
Razorbill: 125W
Auk sp: 643W
I'm sure I must have missed loads of birds, if I had some company this morning the numbers would have been much higher.
 Probably the same group of Eider flew past Sandwich Bay this morning
 Many of the Gannets were over the beach
 1 of the many 1w Kittiwakes that came along the beach

Fortunately this was the only one I saw with oil on it
Herring Gull SA2Z in the puddles
Late afternoon on the reserve with MP we managed to find 3 adult Yellow-legged Gulls in the appalling weather and light. 
Elsewhere the 2 Whooper Swans were still at the back of Scotney per SO.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Winters arrived!

A bitterly cold walk down to The Patch this morning, the hide giving scant shelter from the SE wind:
Mallard: 2E
Shelduck: 1E
Common Scoter: 3E
Red-throated Diver: 15E
Great-crested Grebe: 17E
Cormorant: c200E
Gannet: C100 feeding off shore
Oystercatcher: 2E
Kittiwake: c50 feeding off shore
Auk sp: 17E   12W
 2 of the 3 Cattle Egrets by the entrance track
 On the reserve the 3 Cattle Egrets by the entrance track in Boulderwall Fields, also a Great White Egret by the ditch, plenty of Wigeon and feral Geese in the fields. From Makepiece Hide an adult Caspian Gull and an adult Yellow-legged Gull, also 3 Goldeneye of note among the usual wildfowl.
 Stonechat at Cockles Bridge
Form Cockles Bridge the 10 Bewick Swans still with the Mute Swans and 2 Marsh Harriers there.
30minutes at the fishing boats early afternoon saw very little at sea, though a Peregrine teasing the  Gulls was nice to watch. Nearby a Black Redstart in a private garden.
This afternoon on the reserve a 2w and another adult Caspian Gull also a 2w Yellow-legged Gull, once again the Gulls came in to roost on darkness so little was seen, a Merlin spooked the early arrivals as it sped across the lake, a Great White Egret flew past the visitor centre.  

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Long-eared Owl!

 From the sea watch hide with a cold SE wind this morning 08.00-10.00 with OL & DW
Brent Goose: 1W
Wigeon: 8W
Common Scoter: 9W      5E
Eider: 3W
Red-throated Diver: 35W     19E
Great-crested Grebe: 21 around
Gannet: 500+W on the horizon
Cormorant: n/c (1,000+ around)
Oystrecatcher: 2E
Mediterranean Gull: 1E
Kittiwake: 200+ W on the horizon
Auks sp: n/c (200+ tooing and froing)
Harbour Porpoise: 1
 Late morning there were 2 Cattle Egrets with a little egret by Cooks Pool, another Cattle Egret was in the Horse Paddock. From the garden the 10 Bewick Swans were still in the kale field with the Mute Swans. At a very cold Scotney the feral Barnacle Goose flock still insitu with c200 Greylags but little else. Looking out towards the wind farm 1,000s each of Lapwing and Golden Plover could be seen wheeling around.
An hour at the fishing boats early afternoon with OL, P & LH, saw a distant Great Skua and 2 Wigeon of note, along with the now resident Guillemots and Razorbills and the usual afternoon flock of c150 Kittiwakes. Fortunately we were rescued from a further hour in the cold by a call from DW telling me to come to the observatory, but no reason was given. I guessed that it would be a Woodcock caught in the Heligoland Trap, but was delighted when on arrival at the observatory I saw DW holding a beautiful Long-eared Owl.
 Long-eared Owl
Late afternoon on the reserve for the Gull roost was disappointing as few Gulls came in, the highlight being 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls.
Very late afternoon as I got out of my car in the driveway, 3 Great White Egrets flew low over the house heading for the ARC. 

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

A Beautiful Day!

Singing Corn Bunting
A beautiful still sunny morning after the fog quickly lifted, a wander out the back of Scotney had to be the order of the day. I was joined by OL in seeing and hearing 100+ Skylarks, 1,000s of Lapwing and Golden Plovers, a few Curlew. good numbers of Corn Buntings, Reed Buntings, Tree Sparrows, Goldfinches, Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails as well as all the feral geese and wildfowl, Mute Swans, not forgetting the 2 Whooper Swans, Common Buzzards, Ravens and other Corvids. It was simply a joy to be able to see birds all around and lots of them.
Common Buzzard
1 of 3 Cattle Egrets in the Horse paddock near Cockles Bridge
7 of the 10 Bewick Swans in the fields in front of my house
An excellent couple of hours this afternoon in the company of OL & DG on Lydd Ranges this afternoon. Above and below are some atmospheric images (meaning rubbish) of 1 of the 2 Short-eared Owls with 2 Barn Owls we enjoyed watching, also 5 Marsh Harriers through and a Great White Egret there.
Atmospheric Short-eared Owls

 Atmospheric Barn Owl
Taken with ridiculously high iso just to get Barn and Short-eared Owl together