Friday, 10 February 2012

Sunny Dungeness

On Walland this morning the Bewick Swans had increased to 77 at Midley but they were all flushed off this afternoon by the farmer. Also 15 Tree Sparrows by the feeders and a Common Buzzard over. Still plenty of Thrushes foraging under the hedges.

 At the ARC up to 9 Smew and a minimum of 3 Bitterns, 3 Marsh Harriers,  3 Cetti's Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff, 4+ Goldeneye, 100s of Wigeon, Shoveler, Teal, Gadwall, Pochard and Tufted Duck. 4 Woodcock at the Tower Pits.

 On the reserve 8 Goosander(4 drakes) 5 Smew(1 drake) and the Long Tailed Duck were all seen from Dennis's Hide and another red head Smew from Christmas Dell. 6 Stonechats round the trail 20+ Curlew in the fields and at Boulderwall Farm 28 Tree Sparrows.

Thursday, 9 February 2012


Rye from Northpoint
 After parking by Northpoint GP I walked round the pit and on out to Camber Bay. Every patch of bushes seemed to hold Woodcock a minimum of 12 seen on the plod to the bay. On the salt marsh 30+ Common Snipe, 6 Redshank and 6 Rock pipits. On one patch of rough grassland by the path a mixed flock of Reed Buntings, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and 1 Corn bunting. Camber Bay was disappointing with no waders on the shoreline and no sea duck. On the way back a Merlin flew across the river from Rye NR and further on I found it perched up, unfortunately the light was very poor (that's my excuse).
Scotney held 20 Greater White-fronted Geese and the Bewick Swan herd on Walland near Midley has risen to 70.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

More of the same

Woodcock in the Willow Trail
 On an icy Walland Marsh this morning 10+ Tree Sparrows in the bushes opposite the feeders, small numbers of Song Thrushes and Blacbirds foraging under the hedgerows along with a single Snipe. 1 Curlew in the Midley fields and no sign of the Bewick Swans But they were seen later by another birder.
 In the Willow Trail a posing Woodcock, Robins,Wrens, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Redwings foraging under the boardwalk and in the Willows a mixed flock of  Long tailed, Blue, Great Tits, 1 Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff.
From Hanson Hide Godd numbers of the commoner wild fowl with 1 Red head Smew, 3 Goldeneye and a Marsh Harrier.
From the pines by the Water Tower 6 Smew(1 Drake) and 15 Pintail.
On New Diggings the Long Tailed Duck, 3 red head Smew, 2 drake Goosander and 4 Goldeneye.
Dengemarsh and Hookers from the viewpoint
On Burrowes Pit 6 Goosander (2 drakes), 2 red head Smew, 1 Little Egret and hundreds of common wildfowl. Also tonight a minimum of 7 Marsh Harriers roosted as did 500+ Cormorants.
Around the rest of the reserve 5 Woodcock between Scott Hide and Dengemarsh and another flew over the car park as I was leaving and plenty of common wildfowl on the unfrozen bits. 

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

West Sussex Twitch

A 05.30 start to Pagham North Wall arriving soon after 08.00 to hopefully see the Paddyfield Warbler that seems to like showing early mornings except today. At the Breach pool numerous Wrens and Reed Buntings in the reeds along with a couple of Stonechats and Bearded Tits, 2 Peregrines over along with 3000+ Brent Geese and lots of waders, mainly Black Tailed Godwits, Curlews, Golden Plover, smaller numbers of Snipe, Dunlin, Knot, Grey Plover and 4 Avocet swimming in the harbour. After 4.5 hrs patrolling up and down the top and lower path I along with 3 old friends were about 100mts from the main group of birders when we realised they were all looking at something and some were waving. We quickly joined them and they put us straight on to the Paddyfield Warbler which was in a bush c150mts out in the field. The bird gave very good scope views all be it distantly to everyone present, as it spent 20 minutes around and in the bush even sitting preening for a few minutes in the open, which undoubtedly it wouldn't have done had been in one of the path side bushes. Many thanks to John Dodds and Dave Sneller for sharing there 60x scopes with me.   
(I hope you get your Camera back from Canon soon Dorian)
Leaving Pagham I stopped off at Coldwaltham. Several Chiffchaffs around the sewage works along with a Grey Wagtail and Treecreeper but no Short Eared Owls.

Monday, 6 February 2012


Willow Trail
 Mid morning in the Willow Trail I flushed 1 Woodcock and little else. At Hanson Hide met RCand LC on a day out from Beachy Head. There we was several hundred Wigeon, Shoveler and Gadwall, with smaller numbers of Teal, Tufted Duck and Pochard, 3 Goldeneye and 2 Marsh Harriers.
Walking the track to the Water Tower a Chiffchaff in the bushes with 10+ Long Tailed Tits, loking south down the pit from the Water Tower a flock of 15 Smew.
Flock of 15 Smew in NE corner of ARC
 On the sea from the fishing boats it appears that most of the Auks and Grebes have moved on leaving 150+ Cormorants and 2 Red Throated Divers.
As the reserve was officially closed I parked back in the ARC car park and walked in. At Boulderwall farm 20+ Tree Sparrows round the feeders and 2 Stonechats a liitle further on. Between the bend in the track and the Hookers I flushed 2 more Woodcocks and a Snipe, a Bittern flew towards Christmas Dell and 2+ more Marsh Harriers was seen. Round the back of Hookers another Woodcock was flushed and 6 Reed Buntings. Dengemarsh was very quiet considering the weather but a Firecrest flew across the track disappearing into the Gorse. From the the track to Christmas Dell a Great White Egret and Little Egret flew over and from the hide a red head Smew and 3 Marsh Harrriers.
Christmas Dell to Scott hide yet another Woodcock and a Kingfisher on the return journey. Burrowes Pit held several hundred Shoveler, Wigeon and Gadwall and few Pintail but no sawbills were seen. The return plod from Makepiece Hide to the car produced the much the same birds but on more Woodcock. 

The usual Woodcock view

Saturday, 4 February 2012

East Sussex

A cold grey day in East Sussex started at Scotney where 20 Greater Whitefronted Geese were at the Sussex end with 200+ Greylag Geese, 70+ feral Barnacle and hybrid Emperor Geese, 1000+ Wigeon and 2 Marsh Harriers.
Northpoint G.P. and the smaller pits which were frozen on the way were disappointing, lacking the expected cold weather influx of wildfowl.
On to Pett Levels where there was plenty of geese grazing behind the pools including 38 Greater Whitefronted Geese, 230 dark bellied Brent Geese, 200+ Canada Geese, 200+ Greylag Geese and a Marsh Harrier over Carters Flood.  
 On to Rye Harbour and parked at the viewpoint. A long but pleasant plod around Castle Water to Winchelsea and back via the Long Pit and Narrow Pit. The smaller stretches of open water on the way to Castle Water hide was frozen and as I walked out towards the hide a flock 70 Pintail flew over. The area in front the new bench was mainly clear of ice. Scanning the wildfowl a surprise as 4 smaller geese stood out from the 200+ Greylags, these Pinkfeet are I assume the 4 from Pett Level. As I carried on to the hide a snipe was flushed from  a dyke. Infront the hide another Common Snipe sat ignoring the noise from the occupants of the hide, on the open water 100+ Shoveler, 100+ Wigeon, 100+ Gadwall, 8 Pintail, 6 Little Grebes a few Tufted Duck and Pochard and 2 Marsh Harriers.
Moving on from the hide towards Winchelsea 2 Bullfinches and 2 Green Woodpeckers and little else till the Long Pit  where the highlight was 4 Goldeneye and 8 Little Grebe. On the Narrow Pit 1 Red head Smew, 1 Great Crested Grebe, a Stonechat by the path and 15+ Song Thrushes along the way.   

Friday, 3 February 2012


On Walland Marsh a noticeable increase in the number of Thrushes this morning. With some bushes full of Fieldfare, Redwing and Blackbirds, under the bushes Song Thrushes grabbing the fallen berries and Mistle Thrushes trying to chase the rest off. The Bewick Swan herd had increased to 65 but reduced to 52 late this afternoon. 
 From Hanson Hide this morning 3 mobile Smew probably more and 6 Goosander this afternoon also all the usual wildfowl. In the Willow Trail 1 Chiffchaff and 2 Goldcrest and 2 more Smew on the New Diggings.
Off the beach still Razorbills, Guillemots, Great Crested Grebes and Kittiwakes a plenty, with many Cormorants. The 2w Glaucous Gull was seen today but not by me.

 A plod around the RSPB reserve found at least 8 Goosander and 4 Smew, the Long Tailed Duck had moved to Burrowes. 3 separate sightings of Bittern around Hookers Pit, 6 Stonechats around the reserve also 4+ Marsh Harriers and at least 2 Great White Egrets were seen by others. 

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Deserted Dunge

Pulling in to an empty ARC car park this morning with a bitter NE wind blowing across the pit a Great White Egret flew over towards Boulderwall Farm. From Hanson 3 red head Smew and still several hundred of Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler. A plod around the Willow Trail was birdless except for flushing a Marsh Harrier from the reed bed from the viewing mound. 
 From the causeway on New Diggings 12 Smew including 2 drakes and 6 Little Egrets tucked up in the NE corner. At the south end of the ARC 2 red head Smew and a Peregrine over.
 On the sea still plenty of Auks, Grebes, Kittiwakes and a fed Red Throated Divers tooing and froing off shore but I was unable to find the Glaucous or Caspian Gull.
 On the reserve my first Goosander of the year a fine drake and 1 Avocet both on Burrowes. At Christmas Dell  2 Stonechats and 4 Marsh Harriers. Denge Marsh held 8 Little Grebe and 150+ Greylag and Canada Geese. Early afternoon on Hookers pit a surprise in the form of a Long Tailed Duck. Presumably the long staying ARC bird.  

 After a chat with SB in the reserve centre he prompted me to take the short trip to Dover to try for the 2w Kumlien's Gull.
 As I walked down the pier I could only see 2 fisherman and no other birders, looking east into the harbour I could see 6 other birders on the inner pier scoping a flock of gulls on the ramp. Great I got the wrong pier, as I turned a white winged gull came out of the sun and grabbed a fish thrown by one of the fisherman and promptly disappeared. A short while later the fisherman threw another fish back and the bird appeared again but sat on the sea with its fish tight to the pier wall. The only way i could get a shot of it was to lay on the wall and hang over the side, stupid really but it had to be done hence the shaky images. When it flew it stuck tight to the wall and disappeared. I waited around for a while and a Kittiwake landed beside me in perfect light but as the pier shuts at 1600 I had to go. Walking round the circular bit in the middle, there is a trough with 2 taps and as i got a few feet from it I suddenly saw the gull the other side of it. I was to close for any shots so I backed off and managed to fire 3 quick shots as the gull dropped over the edge out of sight.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Freezing Dungeness

Redshank Scotney
First thing this morning at the ARC I walked the Willow Trail hoping to find Woodcock without any luck or birds. I entered Hansen Hide and opened a shutter which i quickly shut as the icy wind blew across the pit straight into the hide. Through the glass a Marsh Harrier was quartering the reeds and a Great White Egret was on the N.E. side sheltering under the willows along with several hundred duck (Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Shovelor, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye and 2 Shelduck).
From the causeway at the southern end 4 red head Smew, the Long Tailed Duck another Marsh Harrier and 100+ Gadwall.
On the beach from the point in biting NE wind still plenty Auks, Great Crested Grebes, Red Throated Divers and Kittiwakes tooing and froing with a few Gannets, 64 Wigeon W, 3 Mallard W +1E, 34 Teal W, 4 Pintail W, 6 Shelduck E, 25 Brent Geese W and 1 Bonxie W. The 2w Glaucous Gull was round the fishing boats.
Back on the causeway 5 red head Smew on New Diggings and 2 Little Egrets.
At Boulderwall Farm 6 Tree Sparrows by the empty feeders, a Great White Egret on the first pit and 100 Golden Plover out in the field, 2 Stonechats and 2 Mistle Thrushes by the entrance track, 2 Tree Sparrows and a Redwing by the feeders opposite the toilet block.
At Scotney 3 Redshank, 10 Dunlin, 100+ Golden Plover and little else of note.
On Walland  45 Bewick Swans at Midley also 8 Red Legged Partridges.