Saturday, 10 March 2012

Trickle of migrants at Dungeness

Around The Point this morning 4+ Black Redstarts and my first Brambling of the year flew north. Off shore very little movement with just a very few Auks, Red-throated Divers, Kittiwakes and Gannets tooing and froing. The 2w Glaucous Gull was in the roost but regularly disturbed by dog walkers.
The Great White Egret and 4 red head Smew on New Diggings. At the ARC and Water Tower pits 3+ Chiffchaffs singing, 8+ Cetti's Warblers, a flight view of a Bittern, 4 Goldeneye and 4 Marsh Harriers tussling high over the tower.
The Long-tailed Duck was on view from Dennis's Hide as were 5 Goldeneye but little else of note.
Dengemarsh Gull was virtually devoid of avian activity apart from 4 Linnets.
At Scotney still 7 Snow Geese (unknown origin) and 2 Marsh Harriers in front the Wind Mills.

Friday, 9 March 2012

2w Iceland Gull

Visiting mum gave me the opportunity to drop in on the very obliging 2w Iceland Gull at Newhaven today.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Woodland Walk

As I only had the morning free and the sun was shining I had a plod around Orlestone Forest. In the car park many Great and Blue Tits feeding on french sticks that have skewered onto the bushes.
Plodding round the forest lots of bird song including Goldcrests, Coal Tits, Robins, Mistle and Song Thrushes, Nuthatches , Treecreepers Great Spotted, Green Woodpeckers and the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in his usual spot and a pair of Tawny Owls calling to one another with Common Buzzards mewing overhead. Still no Siskins and no Redpolls today and definitely no Marsh Tits but otherwise a very pleasant plod.

                                              A Few more Bittern Images from yesterday

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

When the sun comes out!

A sea watch cut short by the weather and nothing much happening apart from a few Brent Geese moving east and a few Gannets and Kittiwakes off shore. The 2w Glaucous Gull was hunkered down in the roost on the beach.
As the weather deteriorated I headed for the reserve and spent a couple of hours in Firth Hide in the company of DW, where we whiled away the time Gull watching, DW checking the colour rings and giving me a masterclass in Gull ID.

yellow-legged Herring Gull
 Leaving the reserve with the weather still abysmal before going to the ARC, a look at the New Diggings found 4+Smew and a soggy Great White Egret. When after an hour in Hanson the rain finally abated a superb drake Goldeneye flew in  and spent most the afternoon feeding and displaying near the hide.  

 As soon as the sun came out for a short spell a movement caught my eye. A superb Bittern stalked out of the reed bed climbed on to a clump and sat in the open preening for the next half hour enabling me take another couple of hundred pictures. What promised to be a pretty poor day birding turned into another brilliant day in the field.  Hopefully I'll upload some more images tomorrow when I have had the time to look at them all.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A morning only at Dunge

A short video of yesterdays Bittern from Hanson Hide taken on my happy snapper.

 At the South end of the ARC Pit this morning in a freezing wind I met DW and TG, who had both been looking at the sea with nothing to report. 3 Scandinavian Rock Pipits present with up to 6 Pied Wagtails, 1 Bar Tailed Godwit, 1 Dunlin, 1 Common Snipe, 1 Marsh Harrier and at last my first Slavonian Grebe of the year. Over the road on the New Diggings of note 6 Smew and the Great White Egret still.
 A short while spent at Burrowes Pit 2 Caspian Gulls. The 3rd year above and a second year bird and little else of note.
No repeat of yesterdays performance at Hanson Hide this morning, thougth the Slavonian Grebe had relocated to the northern end. A Bittern dropped in by the screen hide, A red head Smew swam past Hanson, 16 Curlew dropped in, 1+ Marsh Harrier hunted the reed beds, a Cetti's Warbler chattered, a Water Rail squealed and a Chiffchaff was at by the hide. Back home early to be dragged out by my better half to buy a new car.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Bittern Over Load

St the south end of the ARC Pit this morning 2 Scandinavian Rock Pipits which unfortunately did not hang around and a red head Smew. Over the road on New Diggings 7 Smew(1 drake) and a Great White Egret. 
Long distance heavily cropped Scandinavian Rock Pipit
 Down at The Point the 2w Glaucous Gull was in the roost. Off shore Gannets were putting on a display close in and a few Great Crested Grebes, Guillemots and Red Throated Divers.
Back at the ARC Pit from Hanson Hide, 4 Magical hours c2 of which I was completely alone in the company of up to 3 Bitterns in the small reed bed to the left of the hide. One of which spent the whole 4 hours wandering round feeding on Sticklebacks and Marsh Frogs coming so close I was unable to focus on it. Even allowing me to take some video with my happy snapper camera. For those who no the hide it was at times feeding under the Brambles to the side of and in front the hide. This afternoon I paid a brief visit to the visitor centre where I saw 2 of 3 Caspian Gulls found by DW, also the Long Tailed Duck. In the pouring rain the Snow Geese were still at Scotney but no sign of the Bewick Swans on Walland but 25 Yellowhammers, 10 Corn Buntings and 40+ Chaffinches on rubbish pile in Tickner's Lane.  

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Snow Geese

At The Point this morning my first Sandwich Tern of the year, 1 Bonxie E, 68 Brent Geese E, 1 Pintail E, good numbers of Gannets and Kittiwakes tooing and froing, still plenty of Great Crested Grebes and Guillemots on the sea, a few Red Throated Divers and 2 Fulmars.
On New Diggings still 8 Smew(2 drakes) and a Great White Egret.
On the ARC Pit 2 more Great White Egrets appearing to be paired up, 14+ Goldeneye, 2 red head Smew, 4+ Bitterns and 2+ Marsh Harriers.    
 At Scotney mid afternoon 31 Snow Geese (unknown origin) flew in, 32 Greater Whitefronted Geese among the 100s of Greylags and a Marsh Harrier.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Gloomy Orlestone

As it was cold foggy morning when I left home I thought I'd try the Orlestone Forest. As I pulled into a gloomy Faggs Wood carpark with out much expectation, CT and BH pulled alongside  and I joined them on a very pleasant walk to try and find the Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers that I saw at the weekend.
As we walked down the track towards Bayland Wood in the gloomy conditions, prospects did not look good with few birds being seen or heard. Having spent a while looking and listening in the area I'd found them we wandered across a nearby field to look at some game cover to no avail. As we got back to the original area we heard the distinctive drumming, after a little more searching CT spotted the Woodpecker high up, alas it quickly moved and although it called and drummed several more times we did not see it again. In the same area 20+ Redwing were seen along with several Treecreepers and Nuthatches, Great, Blue, Coal and Long Tailed Tits also 2 Woodcock.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Birding in the Sun

On a flat calm sea at The Point this morning 500+ Great Crested Grebes, 200+ Guillemots, a few Gannets and Kittiwakes. The only real passage was 42 Brent Geese and 14 Shelduck. On the shingle I was unable to locate the Snow Buntings this morning  but this Skylark was confiding.  
On New Diggings, where else in Britain could you take a dodgy photo of 6 Smew and a Great White Egret.
 On the ARC 2 more red head Smew and at least 2 Bitterns including the one below from Hanson Hide. The Penduline was seen again this afternoon after I left. Lunch on the reserve found the Long Tailed Duck on Burrowes from Dennis Hide. On the the way out another Bittern flew over the entrance track  and the usual Tree Sparrows were on the feeders at Boulderwall.
 A quick look at Scotney found 12 Greater White Fronted Geese still with the Greylags and little else of note. At Littlestone Golf Course 1 Short Eared Owl appeared about 15.00hrs but always distant. On the beach 50+ Knot, 6 Sanderling, 8 Grey Plover and 10 Dunlin.
ON Walland still 48 Bewick Swans at Midley.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012


From Hamstreet Dungeness was obscured by fog, so Idrove the short distance to Warehorn. I parked by the Royal Military Canal and walked the canal to Appledore and back. There were no real avian surprises but a Peregrine entertained flying from pylon to pylon. 6 singing Yellowhammers 2 Bullfinches and five Thrush species were the highlights.
By the time I arrived at the ARC car park it was very busy and bathed in glorious sunshine. I was told the Penduline Tit had been seen from Hanson Hide briefly early morning which explained the crowd, so I made my way to the screen hide. From there a Bittern showed well and 60+ Curlew, 50+ Knot and a Ringed Plover were on the islands. 2 red head Smew were feeding close to the reeds by Hanson Hide, while scoping them I saw tufts of Reed Mace seed drop to the water behind them, zooming in on the Reed Mace I could see a Reed Bunting tearing one of the heads apart and next to it the male Penduline Tit. Walking back to Hanson 2 more Bitterns dropped into the Tower Pits. From Hanson I was unable to see the Tit but got from DW telling me the Snow Buntings were back at The Point.    

After spending some time with the Snow Buntings, I went back to Hanson. SB went to the screen hide and called to say he could see the Penduline Tit. With that most people left the hide and with SB relaying the Tits movements I was able to pick it out feeding on the Mace behind the reed bed.
poor record from Hanson