Saturday, 30 November 2019

Saturday 30/11/2019

Digiscoped image of X86C Caspian Gull at The Patch this morning
08.45-10.00 from The Patch
Brent Goose: 4E
Shelduck: 5W
Common Scoter: 28W
Red-breasted Merganser: 4W
Red-throated Diver: 16E   27W
Great-crested grebe: 12E
Gannet: 49W    26E
Cormorant:  present n/c
Kittiwake: 51E
Mediterranean Gull: 7W
Black-headed Gull: c400 present
Common Gull: c20 present
Caspian Gull: 2 x 1w present including X86C
Herring Gull: c250 present
L.B.B.Gull: 4
G.B.B.Gull: 12 on beach many off shore
Guillemot: 1E      2 o/s
Auk sp: 22W    6E
Digiscoped image of Presumed Caspian Gull X276 on Burrowes this afternoon, I should have the life history of the bird in the next couple of days.
At least 6 Caspian Gulls on Burrowes this afternoon from Dennis's, I must have missed many more that came in late afternoon to the islands in from of Firth Hide.
 1st and 3rd Cal year Caspian Gulls on Burrowes
 1 of at least 6 Yellow-legged Gulls on Burrowes late afternoon. Also JWZ34 G.B.B.Gull.
 Caspian Gull G0UT from last weekend. It's life history below.
Many thanks to Paul Roper for the life history. Double click the map to enlarge.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Friday 29/11/2019

07.15-08.45 with AJG who collated the numbers:
Brent Goose:11W
Common Scoter: 25W  8E
Red-breasted Merganser: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 16W    57W
Great-crested Grebe: 11E
Gannet: 82E
Cormorant: 2,534 west into Rye bay with many going East into Lade Bay
Grey Heron: 1 in off the sea
Kittiwake: 7W
Guillemot: 1E
Razorbill: 1E
Auk sp: 17W
Very poor image of the 4 Cattle Egrets
I suspected yesterday that there were 4 Cattle Egrets around, so it was nice to have this confirmed by seeing all 4 together on the Boulderwall Fields. Several 100s each of Lapwing and Wigeon also on the flooded fields. A quick look from Dennis's at the islands found them to be covered in the black plague of Cormorants, 1,000s of them.
A walk along the front of Scotney saw on the sward 2 Knot, a Ruff, 12 Redshank, 4 Curlew, 6 Dunlin, c150 Golden Plover (another 1,000+ wheeling around the wind turbines) c1,000 Lapwing and the usual feral Geese. 2 Marsh Harriers were hunting the far bank.
In Dengemarsh Gully a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest was all I could find.
 Short-eared Owl flying straight at and past me
On Lydd ranges this afternoon with Owen Leyshon 4 Short-eared Owls were hunting, giving excellent views though most the time they distant. 2 Common Buzzards, a single 1st calendar year Marsh Harrier and a Common Snipe were seen, sadly once again no Hen Harriers.
 Short-eared Owls

 Mirror image
The Ranges at sunset

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Thursday 28/11/2019

Male Sparrowhawk in the garden early this morning image taken through the window.
07.20-09.20 from the sea watch hide. Numbers kindly sent to me by AJG:
Eider: 1W
Common Scoter: 14W
Red-throated Diver: 42W
Gannet 738W
Cormorant: present n/c
Shag: 1W
Great Skua: 1E
Kittiwake: 46W
Guillemot: 3 o/s
Razorbill: 14W
Auk sp: 204W
Rock Pipit: 1 over
I was wondering why my fat log in the garden was being emptied so quickly
Half an hour this afternoon at the fishing boats saw just 3 Mediterranean Gulls, 4 Kittiwakes and 8 Gannets of any note.
Mid afternoon on Burrowes saw a 3w Caspian Gull, a 3w Yellow-legged Gull, a Marsh Harrier devouring a Gull on one of the islands, the flock of 17 Black-tailed Godwits, a Cattle Egret that was roosting on an island at the same time as 3 were reported being present on the ARC. At 15.40 I gave up as the light was so poor. 

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Wednesday 27/11/2019

NO early morning sea watch today as the weather was appalling, the heavy rain being driven into the hide by the strong SW wind would have made it virtually impossible, also the visibility would have been nil.
Mid morning I drove the short distance to a very wind swept Scotney, out on the sward I could just make a few Golden Plover, a couple of Redshanks and the usual feral Geese. From the double bends Tufted Ducks, Pochard, Mallard, Wigeon and Shoveler sheltering in the lee of the bank, a leucistic Starling flew across the lake during a heavy shower spoiling the image.
 Leucistic Starling taken during a heavy shower
 On my way to the beach the 3 Cattle Egrets were in the Horse Paddocks
Juvenile Merlin hunting off the fishing boat 
11.00-12.00 from the fishing boats:
Red-throated Diver: 2W
Great-crested Grebe: 2 o/s
Gannet: 64W
Cormorant: c150 o/s
Merlin: 1 hunting o/s
Kittiwake: 52W
Mediterranean Gull 1W (2w bird)
Guillemot: 5W      1o/s
Kittiwake past the fishing boats
The weather this afternoon was so abysmal I did not leave home this afternoon.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Tuesday 26/11/2019

Strong SSW wind with constant drizzle and some heavy rain made for a poor sea watch and generally a poor day for birding.
07.15-09.30 from the sea watch hide with Brian and AJG who collated the numbers:
Common Scoter: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 11W      9E
Great-crested Grebe: 17W
Gannet: 290W
Cormorant: present n/c
Kittiwake: 39W
Guillemot: 21W
Razorbill: 23W
Auk sp: 118W
Starling: 60W
Mid morning at Boulderwall fields peering through the driving rain I could just about make out 3 Barnacle Geese, presumably from the Scotney flock. Burrowes from Dennis's saw several 100s of Lapwing but little else, not even Gulls.
X86C 1w Caspian Gull at the fish shack early afternoon
At Scotney early afternoon 2 Knot, 6 Dunlin, c50 Golden Plover, 6 Redshank, 2 Curlew and the usual Geese on the sward.
Back at Burrowes an adult Caspian Gull came in, along with a 2w and adult Yellow-legged Gull. By 15.30 the light was so poor I gave up in favour of a cup of tea. 

Monday, 25 November 2019

Monday 25/11/2019

1 of many Gannets feeding close inshore off the fishing boats late morning

Another very gloomy damp day on the peninsular with a strong SSW wind that made for a reasonable sea watch.
07.30-09.30 from the sea watch hide with AJG &OL
Brent Goose: 1W
Common Scoter: 3W
Red-breasted Merganser: 1E
Red-throated Diver: 58W  7E
Black-throated Diver: 1E
Great-crested Grebe: 7W
Gannet: 589W  437E
Kittiwake: 239E.  19W
Mediterranean Gull: 1E.  2nd w
Sandwich Tern: 3E
Great Skua: 1W     2E
Pomarine Skua: 1W   1E
Skua sp: 1E
Guillemot: 33W   5E
Razorbill: 24W
Auk sp: 104W   21E
 Mid morning at the fishing boats and many Gannets were feeding close inshore, along with Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Red-throated Divers.

 Guillemot off the fishing boats
 Kittiwake off the fishing boats 
 Cattle Egrets in the Boulderwall Fields early afternoon
The reserve was again quiet with 2 Yellow-legged Gulls on Burrowes, the 3 seemingly resident Cattle Egrets and 2 Great White Egrets at Boulderwall, the usual Marsh Harriers but little else of note. 

4th calendar year Yellow-legged Gull in the beach roost this afternoon
A bit like me this Magpie at the fishing boats this afternoon has seen better days
A short sea watch this afternoon saw c400 Cormorants, 21 Great-crested Grebes, many Gannets and a handful of Kittiwakes all feeding off shore.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Saturday 23/11/2019

A mild dull start to the day with a stiff SSE wind, but mainly dry.
07.30-09.30 from the sea watch hide with AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Wigeon: 5W
Red-throated Diver: 3W     8E
Great-crested Grebe: 7 W into Rye Bay
Gannet: 514E
Cormorant: present n/c
Arctic Skua: 1E
Skua sp: 2E
Kittiwake: 8W     109E
Little Gull: 1E
Sandwich Tern: 1W
Guillemot: 57E
Razorbill: 19E
Auk sp: 178E     24W
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Stopping off at Boulderwall Fields on my way home for breakfast saw the 3 Cattle Egrets and a Great White Egret on Cooks Pool, while in the fields 11 Black-tailed Godwits, 7 Ruff and c50 Golden Plover of note.
12.45-16.00 I spent on the reserve looking at Gulls finding 11 Caspian Gulls, 6 adults which included a red ringed Polish bird, a yellow ringed German bird and a North Thames ringed bird, also 2 x 3w and 3 x 1w birds and at least 6 Yellow-legged Gulls.
 Adult Caspian Gull bearing a North Thames ring marked G0UT
Life history of Great Black-backed Gull JK899 on the reserve  this afternoon.

Friday, 22 November 2019

Friday 22/11/2019

A cold grey drizzly start to the day with a stiff South Easterly wind.
07.15-09.15 from the sea watch hide with OL & AJG who collated the numbers:
Wigeon: 1W
Common Scoter: 1E
Red-breasted Merganser: 1W
Great-crested Grebe: 12W into Rye Bay
Red-throated Diver: 10W     9E
Fulmar: 3E
Gannet: 459W
Cormorant: 85W
Merlin: 1 over the beach
Great Skua: 5W
Kittiwake: 20W     10E
Sandwich Tern: Party of 4E into Lade Bay
Razorbill: 38 down
Guillemot: 27 down
Auk Sp: 318W    55E
                                                 1 of 2 adult Caspian Gulls present on Burrowes                                
A couple of hours mid morning scanning the Gulls on Burrowes found 3 Caspian Gulls, (2 adults and a 1w) also 5 Yellow-legged Gulls, (3 adults a 3w and a 2w). At least 5 colour ringed birds were present (3 Norwegian Black ringed GBBGs, a Dutch Green ringed LBBG and North Thames Herring Gull). Of note 3 Black-tailed Godwits were also present from Firth hide. The 3 Cattle Egrets were still frequenting the Boulderwall Fields along with a Great White Egret.
 ! of 3 adult Yellow-legged Gulls on Burrowes today
2w Yellow-legged Gull on Burrowes this morning

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Thursday 21/11/2019

With an overcast sky and a stiff cold South Easterly blowing this morning, I joined Owen in the newly roofed sea watch hide, we were hoping for some off shore movement but we were to be sorely disappointed.
Red-throated diver: 8W  2E
Gannet: 17W      6E
Cormorant: 835 into Rye bay
Kittiwake: 9W
Mediterranean Gull: 2E
Sandwich Tern: 4E (party of 4)
Guillemot: 1W
Razorbill: 2W. 1 on
Auk sp: 37W      12E
The 3 Cattle Egrets still frequenting the Boulderwall Fields and Dengemarsh area
3 visits to the reserve today saw very little, not even a Caspian or Yellow-legged Gull unlike yesterday when I saw 3 and 5 respectively. While waiting for the Gulls to come into roost the party of 17 Black-tailed Godwits that have been coming to roost for the last 3 days at least came in, also 4 of yesterdays 6 Ruff. 
2 of the 4 Marsh Harriers that were flushing the Gulls
When the Gulls started to arrive so did the Marsh Harriers flushing everything repeatedly, it never ceases to amaze me that Great Black-backed Gulls flush from Marsh Harriers, I'm sure that the Gulls would do a Marsh Harrier serious damage if it had the temerity to attack them. I stayed until after sunset panning through the Gulls but couldn't find anything noteworthy, some of the Gulls were sporting colour rings but it was too dark for me to read them. As drove out of the reserve a Common buzzard and 2 Great White Egrets flew over the track heading to their roosts.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Tuesday 19/11/2019

 Ruff from Makepiece   (double click on the images to enlarge them)
Most of my day was taken up with domestic stuff, so it was nearly 14.00 hrs before I got to the reserve. Although it was fairly quiet I did manage to see a 3w Caspian Gull which came in after sunset, a 2w and an adult Yellow-legged Gull, 5 Ruff and a party of 17 Black-tailed Godwits that dropped in at sunset. Also I managed to read 4 Norwegian Great Black-backed Gull rings, 1 of which was a new one for me.
 2w Yellow-legged Gull from Dennis's
Most of the 17 Black-tailed Godwits that dropped in from of Dennis's at sunset
Yesterday while counting the Cormorants on Burrowes (1,486) for the WEBs, I came across one which was sporting a dark blue ring marked M16. It was ringed as a pullus on 28/04/2016 at Saint-Macouf, Normandy and has not been reported again until I spotted it yesterday. Many thanks to Gerard Debout for coming back to me the ringing information so promptly. Its a pity that some of the British ringers find it so difficult to reply so promptly, some not at all. 

Sunday, 17 November 2019

AJG kindly sent me his early morning sea watch numbers. You know the sea watch is poor when the Cormorants are being counted though he did find a Shag among them, still a scarce bird at Dungeness.
07.15-08.45 from the sea watch hide 
Red-throated Diver: 10W  14E
Gannet: 17E
Cormorant: 162W into Rye bay
Shag: 1W
Auk: 2 on sea
Starling: 40 in off sea
I decided to walk down to The Patch and spend an hour scanning through the gulls over the boil, but saw nothing of note.
As the bushes were being done by a KOS group I headed for Scotney, as I climbed out of the car I received a call from Ray O'reilly telling the group had just found a Pallas's Warbler in The Moat, I was soon on site but sadly the bird appears to moved on, a couple of Firecrests and Goldcrests were some compensation.
I'd just finished a late breakfast when I received another call, this time from Dave Scott who was looking at a Stone Curlew from the comfort of his lounge that was roosting with Oystercatchers on Greatstone beach, an excellent house tick for him. Once again in a few minutes I was on site, this I saw the bird even though it had been flushed by a jogger. I managed some record images of the bird which eventually settled further along the beach where it remained for the rest of the day and was seen by many admirers. 

 Stone Curlew on Greatstone Beach take straight into the light
Late afternoon I did the monthly Harrier roost count which was disappointing in the fact that just a single adult male came into roost. This was probably due to the fact that Brett's depot apparently flooded during the week, so they dug a flood alleviation channel, unfortunately the channel was straight through the roost site. Hopefully in time they will return. While I was there several Water Rails were squealing and a flock of 14 Corn Buntings dropped into nearby bushes, as I left site a Little Owl was sat on top of a barn.

Saturday, 16 November 2019


Another very dull day but at least it was dry
07.30-09.00 from the sea watch hide, RW,OL and AJG who collated the numbers
Brent Goose: 7W
Wigeon: 2W
Common Scoter: 3W
Red-throated Diver: 7W    9E
Gannet 211 up
Cormorant: 520E from Rye bay into Lade Bay
Oystercatcher: 3E
Great Skua: 1E
Sandwich Tern: 1E
Razorbill: 3W
Auk sp: 10W
Starling: 1 flock of 150 in
A quick look around The Point found a Dartford Warbler of note which disappeared into a private garden. The drive home for breakfast saw a Great White Egret at the Southern end of the ARC and 2 Marsh Harriers over the causeway.
A wander along the cycle path at Scotney. found despite my intensive scrutiny of all the feral Geese, nothing unusual. 5 Ruff, 7 Redshank, 4 Curlew, c50 Golden Plover among the many Lapwing. On the main lake at least 70 Mallard which seems unusually high number, a single drake Pintail among them, also many Wigeon and a few Shoveler, no sign again of the Long-tailed Duck.
As I drove past Dengemarsh a Merlin zipped across the road, the Gully was an avian free zone. 3 dogs and their owner saved me the trouble of walking out to switching station.
Early afternoon at the reserve saw 2 Great White Egrets at Boulderwall, while Burrowes was disappointing.
Early afternoon at the fishing boats I joined RW where 4 Red-throated Divers flew West, 2 Razorbills and half a dozen Kittiwakes lingered off shore with a few Gannets. As i drove away from the boats a Woodcock came in off the sea and across the beach to The Desert like a rocket.
Mid afternoon I walked out onto Lydd Ranges accessed from Galloways to hopefully see if any Hen Harriers came into roost. As soon as I got to my chosen view point got comfortable and set my scope up I picked out a Short-eared Owl quartering the rough grass land, then a male Merlin dashed through landing on a distant fence post, a Common Buzzard came over the pines and settled on one of the armoured cars used for target practise, next sweep of the scope and there were 2 Short-eared Owls over the rough field. A few minutes later and there were what I thought at first were 3 Short-eared Owls, until I realised one of them was in fact a Long-eared Owl. It is many years since I saw a daytime hunting Long-eared Owl, though it was very dull and overcast this afternoon. I watched the LEO hunting for several minutes when it dropped into the grass out of sight, I had another scan around and this time there were definitely 3 Short-eared Owls, as I watched these hunting they joined by the LEO, all thoughts of my watching out for Hen Harriers were gone as I enjoyed the Owls for the rest of the afternoon. As the light faded the Owls seemed to disappear or were too distant to see, but the pale shape of Barn Owl came into view.
Many thanks to Paul for for finding my mobile phone which I had left on the car roof before walking out onto the ranges. I have already lost at least 3 like that.

Friday, 15 November 2019

Friday 15/11/2019

1 of 2 1w Caspian gulls at the Patch
Good to see plenty of Gulls at The Patch again
07.30-09.00 from the sea watch hide and The Patch with SO & AJG who collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 42W   8E
Teal: 8E
Wigeon: 23W
Pintail: 3W
Common Scoter: 31W       9E
Red-throated Diver 1W   4E
Black-headed Gull: c500 present at The Patch
Common Gull: 16 Present at The Patch
Herring Gull: c800 present at The Patch
Caspian Gull: 2 X 1w at The Patch
Lesser Black-backed Gull: 9 at The Patch
Great Black-backed Gull: 26 at The Patch
Razorbill: 2W
Auk sp : 1W
Black Redstart: 1 at The Patch
Starling 68 down in three locks
Black Redstart flanked by Chaffinches behind The Patch
 Great Black-backed Gull that has swallowed a hook and will no doubt die because of it

4 Eider flying west past the fishing boats this morning
10.15-11.15 from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose: 23W   8E
Common Scoter: 1W
Eider: 4W
Red-throated Diver: 1E
Great-crested Grebe: 7E
Gannet: 73W     32E
Cormorant: c200 o/s
Kittiwake: 90W
Sandwich Tern: 1W
Guillemot: 8W
Auk Sp: 159W
Starling: 25W
Pied Wagtail: 2 present
Grey Seal: 1
At least 5 juveniles in this small party of Brent passing the fishing boats this morning 
The same 4 Eider flying back East past the fishing boats this afternoon
13.40-15.10 from the fishing boats with Doug Standard:
Brent Goose: 3W      2E
Common Scoter: 2W
Eider: 4E same birds as this morning
Red-throated Diver: 5W        2E
Gannet: 38E     11W
Dunlin: 6E
Kittiwake: 9E        5W
Sandwich Tern: 3E
Guillemot: 2W
Razorbill: 1W
Auk sp: 28W
Common Seal: 1
Grey Seal: 1
When I left the fishing boats the rain had set in and it was already getting dark.