Friday, 13 January 2012

East Kent

Water Pipit
 A still bright morning at Grove Ferry was only spoilt by the lack of birds. Although some good birds were seen numbers of them and the common ones were poor or non existent.  An hour sat in Marsh Hide produced 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Redshank, 1 Greylag Goose, 1 Water Pipit, 1 Marsh Harrier in front the hide. Harrisons Drove had 1 Grey Heron. David Feest hide held 40+ Teal, 6 Gadwall, 12 Shoveler and 4 Tufted Duck. 4 Cetti's warblers were heard, 3 Bearded Tits, 1 Ring Tail Hen Harrier and 3 Marsh Harriers were seen from the paths between the hides. From the viewing ramp 2 Ruff and 100+ Lapwing.
 The afternoon was spent at Oare Marshes where good numbers of Black Tailed Godwits, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Snipe, Redshank, Dunlin a few Avocet and Ringed Plovers were roosting along with many Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Pintail. From the sea wall 200+ Avocet were on the Swale, on the wall and salt marsh 50+ Reed Buntings, 30+ Skylark, 20+ Meadow Pipits and 2 Rock Pipits. From the sea wall the adult Rough Legged Buzzard could be seen with 2 Common Buzzards and 2+ Marsh Harriers over Mocketts Farm. At the east end of the reserve 2 showy Water Rails performed.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Out and About

In Orlestone Forest this morning a distant Tawny Owl was calling as I got out the car and things went downhill from then. After an hour and half's plod just a few Great and Blue Tits, the only finches were a few Chaffinches and fly over Siskin, a Nuthatch calling deep in the wood and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. It was time to cut my losses and try and find the Purple Sandpipers at Hythe that I have heard so much about. This time I was not disappointed as I could see them as I parked the car. These were the first I have seen since moving from Shoreham in West Sussex. On closer inspection there was 7 Purple Sandpipers on the rock groyne also 18 Turnstones that flew off when disturbed by a dog, fortunately the Sandpipers were very confiding taking no notice of the dog or me.     

Just lately the birds on the beach at Dungeness is like Ground Hog day and today was no different.
On New Diggings it looks like the shooters that were seen on Tuesday in the boats presumably paid for by DEFRA were very efficient. Nice to know our taxes are being used efficiently.
On the ARC the Drake Smew and 2 red Head Smew with the Long Tailed Duck.
On Walland Marsh a flock of 15 Corn Buntings at Hawthorn Corner my first this year also 4 Mistle Thrushes there. The Bewick Swan herd at Midley has risen to 45 including 5 juveniles, 20+ Tree Sparrows round the feeders and 50+ Fieldfare in the hedges. The Woolpack Harrier roost was very disappointing with a maximum 6 Marsh Harriers seen and only 1 adult male roosted also 2 Common Buzzards there. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

More of the same

From the fishing boats this morning still lots of activity off shore with good numbers of Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Gannet, Red Throated Divers and 7 Common Scoter coming and going but no real movement.
On New Diggings from the causeway 2 red head Smew and 1 Great White Egret and on the ARC 4 Marsh Harriers, 1 red head Smew, the Long Tailed Duck and a Common Buzzard could be seen perched on the Listening Ears.
4 Stonechats and a Raven between Dengemarsh and Galloways.
At Scotney 500+ Golden Plover, 3 Marsh Harriers, 2 more Stonechats but little else.
Still 1 Whitefronted Goose with Greylags and Canada Geese at Pigwell, 36 Bewick Swans at Midley and 100+ Fieldfare nearby. 

Monday, 9 January 2012

No Change

Caspian Gull
 The Caspian Gull was on the beach near the fishing boats along with hundreds of other gulls.
The sea was very busy with many Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills,Gannets, Red Throated Divers and Great Crested Grebes all toing and froing off shore with no real movement. Later in the morning the 2w Glaucous Gull joined them.
 On New Diggings 2 red head Smew, 4 Little Egrets, 2 Marsh harriers and a Great White Egret.
On the ARC from Hanson the Long Tailed Duck, 3 Smew including a superb drake, 12+ Goldeneye including 6+ males some displaying, 2+ Marsh Harriers, 2 Peregrines,several hundred Golden Plover and Lapwing, a lone Redshank and 3 Chiffchaffs were in the bushes next to the hide.

Greater White-fronted Geese
 A walk round the pits at the back of Lydd was rewarded finding 6 Greater White-fronted Geese in mixed flock of c400 Greylags and Canada Geese
The Bewick Swan herd on Walland has now increased to 36 but still only 2 juveniles. At the Harrier Roost this evening a minimum of 18 Marsh Harriers arrived but only 3 stopped to roost, also 2 Common Buzzards were around. 

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Over the Border

As an overcast virtually wind less day for a change dawned I thought I might try Pett Bay and levels.
Being unable to locate any Scoter on the sea and just a few Red Throated Divers, Auks, Great Crested Grebes, 1 Eider and a few fly by Gannets, I took a walk up the Canal from which the 4 Pinkfeet, 12 Whitefronted Geese, 2 Brent Geese, the Bar Headed Goose with Greylags and Canada Geese could be seen. Passerines were few and far between and raptors non existent.
A stop at Northpoint G.P. on the back found the pit virtually devoid of wild fowl but 30+ Snipe, 4 Redshank and 20 Ringed Plover on the saltings. A large flock of Golden Plover and Lapwings could be seen in the distance over Rye Harbour.
At Scotney nothing of note and on Walland a Merlin over Midley Barn, nearby the Bewick Swan herd has increased to 34.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Grey Ghost

 At last a still sunny morning so Galloways first thing seemed a good choice. Once there 2 Stonechats, 4 Mippits and 6 Red Legged Partridge was all that was on offer till just as I got back into the car a Short Eared Owl popped up hunting the rough. MH had good views this afternoon.
 After Galloways I met MH at the ARC at Hanson where we saw the first Drake Smew of the winter at Dungeness with up to 4 red heads. A Cetti's Warbler showed well in front the hide but i was to slow with the camera to get publishable shots and again with a Bittern that flew across in front the hide. 2+ Water Rails were squealing by the hide and 2 Marsh Harriers flew by.
On New Diggings 1 Great White Egret and a Black Necked Grebe was new.
Dengemarsh held another Marsh Harrier and 6 Little Grebes and little else. A look at Hookers for Bearded Tits was a failure. Beside the path to Dennis hide several Tree Sparrows were sun bathing and from the hide the Long tailed Duck could be seen.
On Walland the 32 Bewick Swans still near Midley Barns and 200+ Golden Plover over.
At the Harrier roost near The Woolpack 50+ Fieldfare were in the Hawthorns, a Merlin sat on gate post, a minimum of 16 Marsh Harriers roosted and late on a superb adult male Hen Harrier ghosted in over the reed bed, spending a few minutes picking his roosting spot and being buzzed briefly by a Peregrine ,before dropping into the reeds to roost. A brilliant end to a good day birding.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Stormy Dungeness

On the beach at Dungeness in gale force winds birding was some what difficult even from the shelter of a rocking car. Among the hundreds of gulls sheltering on the beach was the Caspian Gull and the Glaucous Gull also a Kittiwake.
At sea many Auks, Kittiwakes and Gannets with fewer Red Throated Divers were flying up and down and still several hundred Great Crested Grebes on the sea.
On New Diggings 2 Great White Egrets and 8 Little Egrets on the sheltered side.
On the ARC from Hanson most the islands have disappeared but 300+ Lapwing, 300+ Wigeon, 100+ Teal, 3 Pintail and a Marsh Harrier.
A thrash around the Tower Pits for Mondays Jack Snipe was fruitless but at the pines 15+ Long Tailed Tits and a Chiffchaff.
Back on the beach no change.
The ARC from the causeway mid afternoon and the Long Tailed Duck appeared as did 2 red head Smew and a Kingfisher.
At Scotney the feral flock of Barnacle Geese, 300 + Greylag Geese and a few Wigeon, Pintail and Marsh Harrier.
On Walland still 32 Bewick Swans near Midley Barn.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Wild at Dungeness

Taken at Faggs Wood car park at ISO 2500
The Caspian Gull was doing its best to shelter behind some scant vegetation with the other Gulls but sea watching was a wash out due to the visibility in the gale force winds. 2 Great White Egrets could just about be made out on New Diggings but most birds were hidden in shelter.
A stop at Faggs Wood added a few new passerines (Bullfinch, Lesser Redpoll and Nuthatch) for the year and a confiding Great Spotted Woodpecker would have made a much better picture in reasonable light.  

Monday, 2 January 2012

Snipe Surprise

Leucistic Grey Heron
Still plenty of Auks, Gannets, Kittiwakes, G C Grebes and R T Divers off the point today. The Caspian Gull showing in the roost and the Glaucous Gull on the exposed sand.
On the ARC from the causeway 3 red head Smew, the Long Tailed Duck, 6 Goldeneye and a Marsh harrier. Opposite on New Diggings1 red head Smew, 2 Great White Egrets and the Leucistic Grey Heron.
By the Water Tower I flushed a Jack Snipe and a Chiffchaff in the bushes.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Damp at Dunge

A quick look around the peninsular today found Still plenty of Guillemots, Razorbills, R.T.Divers, Gannets, Kittiwakes and G C Grebes on the sea. On the beach the Caspian Gull in the roost, a very bedraggled Merlin sat on the beach briefly and a Kittiwake posed by the concrete road.
From the causeway the ARC and New Diggings were virtually invisible in the heavy rain but at least 1 Great White Egret and 3 Litttle Egrets could be made out on the New Diggings.
On Walland still 32 Bewick Swans at Midley and 100+ Fieldfares in the hedges.