Thursday, 28 February 2019

Most of my time today was spent sea watching. As the fine weather broke  over night bringing windier and wetter conditions I thought the sea might be productive, passage was brisk early in the day but slowed to barely a trickle after 10.00 AM.
06.45-09.30 + 10.30-12.00 + 15.00-16.15 thanks to AJG for collating the numbers:
Brent Goose: 826E
Common Scoter: 33E
Red-breasted Merganser: 4E
Red-throated Diver: 244E   7W
Great-crested Grebe: 7 around
Fulmar: 5E    9W
Gannet: 860E    47W
Cormorant: c150 around
Mediterranean Gull: 1E
Kittiwake: 146E   16W
Sandwich Tern: 13E   46W
Guillemot: 55E  13W    24 on sea
Auk sp: 383E   49W
Harbour Porpoise: 3 
The 4 Cattle Egrets were in the horse paddocks as I drove to the beach this morning. On the reserve the Smew finally gave me a photo opportunity. At least 2 1w Caspian Gulls were on the islands today including a colour ringed individual, also 16 Ruff came into the islands to roost this evening. The number of Gulls roosting increased today while the number of Cormorants has declined. 
1w Caspian Gull bearing a yellow ring XCKU

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Brent Geese passing out in the gloom this morning
08.00-09.00 from the sea watch hide in poor visibility:
Brent Goose: 246E
Common Scoter: 8E
Red-throated Diver: 15E    1W
Fulmar: 1E
Great-crested Grebe: 1W     2 on
Gannet: 27E   c20 feeding
Cormorant: 34 around
Kittiwake: 9E     8 on
Guillemot:  1E     32 on
Razorbill: 7E    2 on
Auk sp: 17E

 Ruff at Boulderwall
By the time I got to Boulderwall this morning the fog had lifted and the sun was shining, there I found 4 Cattle Egrets, 2 Great White Egrets, 2 Little Egrets, 14 Ruff, 26 Golden Plover, 8 Curlew, a Little Grebe, c200 Wigeon and the usual Coot and feral Geese all frequently being flushed by a couple of Marsh Harriers and a Common Buzzard. 
4 drake Goldeneye on the ARC were displaying to 5 females, c100 Pochard and c30 Tufted Duck were sleeping on the mirror like lake but little else of note.
I then went to Dennis's Hide hoping to spend some time looking at Gulls, I was to be disappointed as there was only a handful of Gulls present, there was a minimum of 600 Lapwings roosting on the islands, also thankfully a huge drop in the number of Cormorants roosting. 
The 2 Whooper Swans were still in the Kale field from Cockles Bridge. 
A Little Owl was by the Lydd camp watchtowers this afternoon also Green Woodpecker there. 
At Dengemarsh and down the Gully the highlights were c50 Reed Buntings, 2 Corn Buntings and c40 Linnets.  Hopefully a change in the weather will liven things up.
 Golden Plover over Bouldrerwall
Wigeon at Cook's Pool

Monday, 25 February 2019

Hooded Crow!

07.45-09.00 fro the sea watch hide with JTM:
Brent Goose: 244E
Shelduck: 1E
Shoveler: 6E
Pintail: 2E
Common Scoter:7E
Red-throated Diver: 1^E   4W
Great-crested Grebe: 2W     4 around
Gannet: c80 around
Cormorant: present n/c
Oystercatcher: 1E
Curlew: 4E
Kittiwake: 1 over The Patch
Guillemot: 1E   1W   2 on
Auk sp: 6E    9W
As I got back to the car I received a call from Dave Bunney telling me a Hooded crow had just flow over his house onto the beach, myself and JTM were there in minutes, just in time to watch the bird fly off into Lade Bay, where we caught up with it again for a very short while before we watched it disappear into the haze over Littlestone. As you can see I only managed some poor rather distant record images. Many thanks to Dave for the prompt call.
 Hooded Crow
 Hooded Crow 
Hooded Crow
Next a walk around the Kerton Road Triangle where I managed to get brief views of 2 Dartford Warblers, also there 4 Stonechats, a Kestrel and several each of Meadow Pipit and Skylark.
 Great White Egrets
A wander round Dengemarsh was very quiet, but 2 Great White Egrets and Grey Heron were nice, in the hay fields 2 Common Snipe but no sign of the Water Pipit or anything else of note.

Grey Heron
Whooper Swan
At lunchtime in the field opposite my garden the 2 Whooper Swans were again showing well, 2 Common Buzzards over and a hunting Marsh Harrier.
At Scotney the feral Barnacle Goose flock was still present, along with c200 Wigeon and 8 Curlew, Golden Plover seem to have departed. On the Scotney causeway 3 North Thames ringed Herring Gulls in the roost.
1 of 13 Sandwich Terns at the fishing boats this PM
15.00-16.00 from the fishing boats:
Red-throated Diver: 32E   2W
Great-crested Grebe: 6 on
Gannet: c30 around
Cormorant: c500 feeding off shore
Oystercatcher: 1E
Turnstone: 7 on beach
Mediterranean Gull: 1W
Kittiwake: 16 around
Sandwich Tern: 12E      1 feeding off shore
Grey Seal: 1
Turnstone at the fishing boats
A quick stop at Cooks Pool on the home saw 4 Cattle Egrets, a Great White Egret, a Little Egret, 9 Ruff among the many Lapwing and Starlings and 4 more Curlew.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Whooper Swans!

Stonechat by the approach road early morning
07.00-08.30 with RW, So & AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 15E
Teal: 4E
Wigeon: 33E
Mallard: 2E
Pintail: 4E
Common Scoter: 8E
Red-breasted Merganser: 4E
Red throated Diver 52 up
Great-crested Grebe: 46 around
Fulmar: 2E
Gannet: 319E  c50 feeding offshore
Kittiwake: 29E
Guillemot: 16E
Razorbill: 3E
Auk sp: 129: E
A walk around the Desert area produced a Common Snipe, 4 Stonechats and at least 6 Skylarks and a few Meadow Pipits but little else of note.
With the lovely weather Dungeness and the reserve soon became very busy so I got some domestic stuff done.
Superb views of the 2 Whooper Swans this afternoon 

Friday, 22 February 2019


 Common Gull claiming a nest box
I didn't go out today until after 2 PM when the fog lifted a little. The 2 Whooper Swans were still in the Kale field and 3+ Cattle Egrets were in the horse paddocks, there were at least 3 Great White Egrets around, I saw the drake Smew distantly at Xmas Dell to the accompaniment of the New Lighthouse fog horn. By 3.30 PM the fog had closed in again so home for a cup of tea.
Oak Beauty
The second night of running my moth trap caught the moths of the year, a splendid Oak Beauty, a Common Quaker and a Common Plume.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Slow going!

08.30-09.30 from The Patch hide with RW:
Greylag Goose: 2W
Wigeon: 13E
Common Scoter: 2E
Red-throated Diver: 3E   8W
Great-crested Grebe: 5 on
Fulmar: 4E
Gannet: 67W     25E
Cormorant: c300E
Kittiwake: 46E
Mediterranean Gull: 4E
Auk sp: 210E      430W
Harbour Porpoise: 1
Next a visit to the reserve to look at Burrowes from Dennis's, but being half term it was a very short visit, the car park filled very quickly so I went for breakfast and got some domestic stuff done.
An afternoon visit to The Patch was disappointing, 6 Reed Buntings feeding along the perimeter fence being the highlight. Back on the reserve there was now 52 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls, but no sign of yesterdays colour ringed birds, so I assume they are migrating through. The drake Smew was reported as still being present. The 4 Cattle Egrets were still around Boulderwall/horse paddocks, also the Whooper Swans have not departed and were feeding in their usual Kale Field late this afternoon.
I have put my moth trap out this evening more in hope than expectancy.
Cattle Egrets at Boulderwall this afternoon

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

A short uninspiring sea watch this morning saw a few each of Gannets, Auks, Red-throated Divers, Kittiwakes and Great-crested Grebes, Cormorants were however still abundant. The first Sandwich Tern of the year was seen by BB before I arrived.
As it is half term and coupled with clement weather means lots of tourists, so I decided to checkout Camber Pools, at least 245 Curlew were in the fields along with 8 Ruff and 5 Mediterranean Gulls and 100s of roosting Black-headed and Common Gulls which kept me busy for a while, checking for Bonaparte's Gull and colour rings which I failed to find on both counts. 
 Some of the 245 Curlews in field behind Camber Pools
Some of 37 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, including North Thames colour ringed bird N7CT 
History of N7CT
On the reserve this afternoon a small influx of 37 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls 2 of which were sporting colour rings. At least 4 of the Great Black-backed Gulls were bearing Norwegian/ Danish colour rings, I seem to be spending more and more time looking at Gulls legs! 
Also on the reserve the drake Smew still present, 2 Goosander, 3+ Great White Egrets and the 4 Cattle Egrets still around the Boulderwall Fields, also the 14 Ruff still present along with the usual Lapwing, Golden Plover, Wigeon and feral Geese, several Marsh Harriers also present. I was unable to find the Whooper Swans today so I fear they may have departed.
The 2 Whooper Swans yesterday

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Flyby Glaucous Gull!

 Back end of the Glaucous Gull as it sped past the sea watch hide
 Some of this mornings Gannets
8.00-10.00 from the sea watch hide with RW:
Brent Goose: 219E
Wigeon: 8E
Red-throated Diver:114E    42W
Great-crested Grebe: 2 on sea
Fulmar: 4W     2E
Gannet: 454E     72W
Cormorant: 500+ around
Curlew: 3E
Great Skua: 1E
Kittiwake: 224E
Glaucous Gull: 1 juvenile E
Guillemot: 77E
Razorbill: 435E
Auk sp: c1,450E     c380W
Harbour Porpoise: 1
The 2 Whooper Swans were still in the fields at Cockles Bridge. The 4 Cattle Egrets had moved over towards Dengemarsh per RW.
 Some of this mornings Brent Geese
W4VT Herring Gull at the fishing boats this afternoon
13.30-14.30 from the fishing boats with RW:
Red-throated Diver: 4E   2W
Great-crested Grebe: 205 from RX446
Gannet: c200 off shore
Cormorant: many present n/c
Oystercatcher: 2W
Great Skua: 2E
Guillemot: c100 on sea
Razorbill: c10 on sea
Auk sp: c50W
Mid afternoon on the reserve from Dennis's Hide 3 more Norwegian and Danish ringed Great Black-backed Gulls. Also 14 Ruff came into roost again per DW.
This evening only 2 Marsh Harriers roosted at my allotted reed bed though 7 dropped in but were spooked by something, perhaps a Badger, then flew towards the ranges.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

No Change!

07.00-09.30 with AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Common Scoter: 6E
Red-throated Diver: 67E,    66W
Great-crested Grebe: 6 on
Fulmar: 2E    4W
Gannet: 117E    24W
Cormorant: Many present n/c
Great Skua: 1W
Kittiwake: 3E     32W
Guillemot: 29E
Razorbill: 68E   35W
Auk sp: 398E
I joined AJG in an hours walk around the trapping area and Desert, which proved to be very disappointing with very little avian life seen.
Late morning I could see the 2 Whooper Swans while I had lunch.
This afternoon I joined RW at the fishing boats for a not unexpected disappointing sea watch:
Red-throated Diver: 17E
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: c250 feeding off shore
Cormorant: many present n/c
Guillemot: c150 on sea
Razorbill: c30 on sea
Skylark: 1 behind the boats
Linnet: 3 behind the boats
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Common Seal: 1
Late afternoon on the reserve 2 Great White Egrets and the drake Smew  from the entrance track. Fro Dennis's Hide 2 Norwegian ringed Great Black-backed Gulls and a party of 14 Ruff that flew in to roost.

Friday, 15 February 2019

A Beautiful day!

08.00-09.30 from the sea watch hide with OL and AJG who collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 131E
Wigeon: 22E
Pintail: 2E
Common Scoter: 14E
Red-throated Diver: 61W   96E
Great-crested Grebe: c50 around
Fulmar: 5W   1E
Gannet: 183E
Cormorant: n/c many present
Oystercatcher: 3E
Mediterranean Gull: 1 around
Kittiwake: 36E
Razorbill: 58E     22W
Guillemot: c100 on sea
Auk sp 248 up

At The Patch just an adult Mediterranean Gull of note but very few Gulls present, another 12 Red-throated Divers were seen along with more Guillemots.
 The 2 Whooper Swans snapped from my garden
A very sluggish Bee in the garden late morning
When I went home for a late breakfast the 2 Whooper Swans were fairly close to the garden, 2 Common Buzzards were thermalling high over the fields while a Marsh Harrier hunted the ditches.
A quick look at Walland found only 6 Bewick Swans, I'm presuming the other 28 are on their way back to Russia. There was still a large flock of Fieldfare and Redwing nearby.
This afternoon 13.00-15.30 from the fishing boats with MH and AJG:
Gadwall: 2E
Common Scoter: 11E
Red-throated Diver: 24W   1 on
Great-crested Grebe: c40 around
Gannet: 52W    14E   c50 feeding o/s
Cormorant: minimum of 4,000 flew into Lade Bay
Turnstone: 6 around
Mediterranean Gull: 3E
Kittiwake: 33E   8W
Guillemot: c100 around
Auk sp: 145E
Harbour Porpoise: 1 around
A poor image taken at 6400 ISO in near dark 
Late this afternoon 4 Cattle Egrets, 7 Great White Egrets and 4 Little Egrets flew into the ARC roost.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Sunshine at Last!

Probably a German colour ringed Sanderling at the fishing boats this afternoon
Sanderling at the fishing boats
This week has very much been like the previous few weeks with still 1,000s of Cormorants and Auks, along with 100s of Red-throated Divers, Kittiwakes, Gannets, Great-crested Grebes and small numbers of Brent Geese moving East. Notable today were 5 Shelduck West, 3 Common Scoter East( the first I have seen this month), 28 Sanderling on the beach, 2 Harbour Porpoise, a Grey and Common Seal and a Skylark feeding at the back of the fishing boats. 
Turnstone at the fishing boats
Kittiwake at the fishing boats
Reed Bunting feeding by the power station wall earlier this week
The reserve and lakes have been very quiet with very few winter duck, highlights being up to 6 Goldeneye, a Single drake Smew, 3 Goosander, the 2 Whooper Swans, up to 4 Cattle Egrets, 3 Great White Egrets and usual Marsh Harriers, Common Buzzards and handful of Tree Sparrows, while on Walland the 34 Bewick Swans, a flock of 30+ Corn Buntings, a reasonable mixed flock of Fieldfare and Redwings, all of which with the onset of warmer weather will depart along with the Whoopers.  

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Garden Sparrowhawk!

As the beach was packed with wall to wall fisherman taking part in the World Dab Championship, I only spent a few minutes there. That was enough time to see that there was very little change from the last few days, Cormorants, Auks, Red-throated Divers, Great-crested Grebes, Kittiwakes and Gannets, a single Harbour Porpoise and a Grey Seal.
I joined RW in walk around the reserve which was some what underwhelming, though we did see the drake Smew on Burrowes feeding between Makepiece and Scott Hide. We stopped off at Dennis's hide where we found 3 colour ringed Great Black-backed Gulls, a Norwegian, a Danish and a Normandy rung birds, what made them more unusual was that that there was only 15 Great Black-backed Gulls present.
While having lunch a superb male Sparrowhawk made 3 visits to my garden, even posing for photographs, unfortunately they had to be taken through dirty windows, on its third visit it left me with  Great Tit less to feed. 
 Male Sparrowhawk

This afternoon saw the 2 Whooper Swans still from Cockles Bridge, nearby at least 3 Cattle Egrets, 3 Great White Egrets and a Peregrine eating what looked like a Wigeon at Boulderwall.
From Dengemarsh Road c30 Curlew, 100s of Golden Plover and Lapwing but no sign of the Ruff, 2+ Marsh Harriers, a Common Buzzard, c150 Greylag Geese with only an Egyptian Goose with them.
3 Goosander were on Bretts Marina though difficult to see. The 34 Bewick Swans were still at Horses Bones Farm today per PT.  

Friday, 8 February 2019

No Change!

Some of the 1,000s of Gulls at The Patch the last couple of days
I have spent several hours of the last couple of days at The Patch where 1,000s of Gulls have been on the beach and over the sea. Despite intense scrutiny by myself, DW and OL we found nothing out of the ordinary, although we did read many colour rings. While there c400 Brent Geese flew east, Red-throated Divers, Gannets, Kitiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills and of course Cormorants could be seen constantly tooing and froing off shore, along with the odd Great Skua.
1 of 100s of Guillemots around the fishing boats
Small numbers of Razorbills off the fishing boats
1 of 2 Grey Seals off the fishing boats
The 2 Whooper Swans were still at Cockles bridge this afternoon along with the 3 Cattle Egrets.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

A very Poor Day!

A thoroughly miserable day around the peninsular, with more or less constant drizzle and fog, both images below taken with very high ISO through the mist. 87 Brent Geese flew east this morning during a very dull and disappointing visit to The patch. The 2 Whooper Swans were still at Cockles Bridge and the Cattle Egrets were nearby. A drake Smew was still on the reserve but little else was seen today in the poor conditions. A visit to Scotney saw no Grey Geese again and very little else.
 Black Redstart at the lifeboat station 
1 of 3 Cattle Egrets still present by Cockles Bridge 

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

1,000+ Red-throated Divers!

Another very gloomy day, made interesting by the sheer numbers of birds off shore.
08.15-11.00 & 13.10-15.30 from the fishing boats with DW, MH, OL
Brent Goose: 496E    1W
Shelduck: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 1,018W      4E
Great-crested Grebe: 114 on sea
Fulmar: 9W
Gannet: 306W
Cormorant: the now usual 1,000s present
Turnstone: 8 around
Great Skua: 1W
Black-headed Gull: 1,000+W
Kittiwake: 431W
Guillemot: Many present + minimum of 1,000W
Razorbill: 8+

The 2 Whooper Swans were still present at Cockles Bridge, nearby at Green Hop Farm the 3 Cattle Egrets. Once again no grey Geese at Scotney during my visit. On Walland the Bewick Swans were still present at Horses Bones Farm.
Late afternoon on Burrowes the drake Smew with 3 Goosanders but very few Gulls came into roost.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Owl and Harrier No Show!

A wander around the reserve this morning with CP, saw of note a Chiffchaff by Dengemarsh Hide, 3+ Bearded Tits from the viewing mound, the Smew nearby and 2 Dartford Warblers plus all the other usual species. When we were near the car park I got a call from SO telling me he had found a Tundra Bean Goose, with several Greater White-fronted Geese with the feral Greylags on the Sward at Scotney, a few minutes later we watching them in excellent light conditions.  
 Distant Smew, hopefully better in the next few days like the ones below a few years ago.
Tundra Bean Goose at Scotney
Greater White-fronted Geese at Scotney
This afternoon I stopped at Bretts Marina on my to Galloways for an afternoon Owl and Harrier watch, the usual Little Owl was in its favourite place at Lydd Camp and on the lake 3 Goosander showed distantly. The Owl and Harrier watch at South Brooks was a non event as no Hen Harriers, Short-eared Owls or Barn Owls were seen, a single male Marsh Harrier and 2 Peregrines were some compensation.
Little Owl at Lydd camp
3 distant Goosander on Bretts Marina