Tuesday, 13 November 2012

More Dips

08.00-09.00 from the fishing boats:
Red-throated Diver: 10w  3E
Gannet: c60w
Brent Goose: 8E
Common Scoter: 3w
Bonxie: 1w
Kittiwake: 93w
Auk sp: 179w
3w Glaucous Gull: 1 on beach
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 on beach
 Making it into Kent
At Scotney the Common Crane still present in fields behind the lake and always distant, it just about made it into Kent air space on one of its fly abouts. Also 2 Marsh Harriers and the feral Barnacles.
A plod from Littlestone to St Marys bay outfall and back looking for Snow Bunting and Lapland Bunting drew a blank on both counts. Responding to a text alerting me to the Penduline Tit being heard (SB) at Hanson, I made my way there and spent an hour looking at an empty reed bed. Maybe tomorrow.  

Monday, 12 November 2012

Snow Bunting

A very dull grey morning at The Point this morning. In an hour looking out to sea  7 Red-throated Divers west, 1 Fulmar, 16 Common Scoter w +8E, 28 Auk sp w + 56E, 6+ Kittiwakes off shore with a few Gannets and c300 Starlings in off.
With sea watching being so slow and having been told yesterday by CT that a Snow Bunting had been seen at Littlestone golf course I decided and look for it. I parked at Littlestone and walked east along the sea wall. As it was high tide and flat calm a dozen or more Great Crested Grebes could be seen along with 4 Red-throated Divers, 2 Common Scoter and 2 Guillemots could be seen feeding. Along the tide line 8 Grey Plovers, 12 Sanderling, 2 Dunlin and 43 Turnstone. Along the top of the beach 8 Pied Wagtails and 4 Meadow Pipits feeding on numerous spiderlings that covered the sea wall. Reaching St Marys Bay end of the golf course and no sign of the Snow Bunting I decided to walk back along the rough track on the inside of the sea wall. After about 150mts I nearly trod on the Snow Bunting before I saw it. It was very obliging walking within a couple of feet of me as I sat on the sea wall. In the second image you can see the difference in the amount of white in the wings.  

Trying not to step on it

 Making my way back to The Point the Glaucous Gull and Yellow legged Gull were in there usual spot but no change on the sea. As the rain started I went to the ARC and sat in Hanson for a while where the highlights were another adult Yellow-legged Gull, 4 Goldeneye, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Cetti's Warblers, 2 Water Rails and 2 Chiffchaffs.
I really must stop photographing this bird
As the rain eased I went to Scotney where the feral Barnacle Geese were still present and at the East Sussex end the Common Crane was still present but distant. Driving back across Walland Marsh the 2 Whooper Swans still present with the Mute Swans. While scanning the Swans a Merlin shot through and 2 Marsh Harriers and Common Buzzard drifted over. In Tickners Lane c200 Fieldfare in the Hawthorns.  

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Common Crane

The Glaucous Gull was still in its usual spot this morning with a Yellow-legged gull nearby, on the sea 40+ Great Crested Grebes, 3 Red-throated Divers and a single Common Scoter, off shore a few Gannets and 2+ Harbour Porpoises.
A wander up to and around the pines found 4+ Goldcrests, 1 Chiffchaff, 3+ Cetti's Warblers, 2 Marsh Harriers, a few Siskins overhead and a Crossbill. On the lake all the usual wildfowl but nothing much of note.
On Walland Marsh the 2 Whooper Swans still at Midley with the Mute swan flock, 50+ Fieldfare near Hawthorn Corner, a single Brambling with the Tree Sparrow and Chaffinch flock in the bushes opposite the feeders. While watching them a male Sparrowhawk swooped in taking a Tree Sparrow. Near Tickners Lane another flock of Fieldfare and 2 Buzzards, while there I  got news from NB and BB that the Common Crane was back at Scotney. I arrived shortly after to find it had disappeared when flushed by a Buzzard, it was eventually relocated by Neil among the wind turbines and gave distant views in a fly around and on the ground. Looking for the Crane a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen, several hundred each of Golden Plover and Lapwing, a few Skylarks and the feral Barnacle Goose flock.    

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Damp and Gloomy

I was woken this morning by the other half telling me that there was a bird in the garden standing on top of another one, I jumped out of bed to see a Sparrowhawk devouring a Collared Dove in the rain and early morning gloom. I ran down stairs and grabbed my camera and took a few images through the kitchen window, then went back up and took some more through the bedroom window. 
Unfortunately all the images had to be taken through a closed window.

 Across Walland Marsh 10+ Tree Sparrows opposite the feeders and a Marsh Harrier. At Midley the 2 Whooper Swans still with Mute Swans in the Kale field, but best of all 2 Grey Partridges there a rare sight on the marsh now. Further on 8 Red-legged Partridges and another Marsh Harrier.  
On the reserve 2 Great White Egrets and 8 Common Snipe on Burrowes but no sign of the Long-tailed Ducks. 2 more Great White Egrets on New Diggings but little else of note.
A Swallow over the ARC car park, 4 Goldeneye including a smart male on the pit but little else of note. 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Long-tailed Ducks

A sea watch from The Point was so riveting that myself, DW and TG, ended up getting out a map of France and trying to name the headlands we could see as visibility was so good. We did record c50 Common Scoter, 20+ Auk sp. 4 Guillemots, 1 Black-throated Diver, c10 Red-throated Diver and few Gannets. On the beach the Glaucous Gull and Yellow-legged Gull also 2 Swallows over the fishing boats.  
Long-tailed Duck Lade North pit.
On the reserve from Dennis's Hide 2 Long-tailed Ducks, 5 Goldeneye, a Peregrine sitting on an Island, a Marsh Harrier and a Great White Egret, Another Great White Egret on New Diggings, another at Christmas Dell and another from Scott Hide. A bittern gave a brief flyby at Hookers but little else of note.
A Lade North Pit the Long-tailed Duck still and a Goldeneye among the common wildfowl, 2+Cetti's Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Marsh Harrier.
On Walland the 2 adult Whooper Swans at Midley. While waiting at the Woolpack harrier roost 1000+ each of Golden plover and Lapwings flew over being harrassed by a large female Peregrine also a flock of 500+ Greylag Geese were put up by a tractor, c50 Fieldfare came over, several Water Rails were squealing in the reed bed, a Common Buzzard came over and c12 Marsh Harriers flew over the roost but none roosted.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Back to the Marsh

The 2 Whooper Swans were still in the Kale field at Midley, in the hedgerows 15+ Tree Sparrows, 25+ Fieldfare and 4 Mistle Thrushes. At Scotney the plastic Barnacle Geese were looking very smart in the morning sun with c150 Wigeon, c400 Lapwing, 1 Redshank and a Marsh Harrier over the Maize Field despite all the disturbance from the gravel excavations. 

In a couple of visits a large part of the day was spent in Hanson Hide at the ARC hoping the sunshine would entice the Penduline Tit out, but no luck. A Water Rail showed briefly with a couple of others squealing near by, a Bittern gave a couple of fly pasts as did a Peregrine and Marsh Harrier. A Kingfisher flew up and down a couple of times looking for a perch, it settled for a while on the nearest available perch to the hide (not exactly frame filling, it could so easily be so much better). A Goldeneye flew in and the first Smew of the winter appeared in front of us. A brief visit to the reserve found the Long-tailed Duck from Dennis's hide and a Great White Egret from the visitor centre(King Squacco had seen 4 Great whites on Burrowes).

 On the beach a Yellow-legged Gull posed on a shed roof, a one legged Turnstone posed in the puddle with the Glaucous Gull. At sea a few Kittiwakes, a single Common Scoter on the sea and Little Gull was off shore. In a late afternoon visit to Springfield Bridge with MH 2 Marsh Harriers were seen but little else.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Cap Gris Nez amazing vis mig

With North Westerly wind forecast for last night and this morning myself TG,DW and GH boarded the 06.40 ferry to Calais. After a full English breakfast we went out on deck for a sea watch and were pleasantly surprised to find birds which ever way you looked. Most numerous were 100s of Gannets, Kittiwakes and Auks, with 10s of Little Gulls, 9 Red-throated Divers, 4 Red-Breasted Mergansers, 2 Eiders, a Great Skua, 4 Brent Geese and 100s of the Commoner Gulls, a Peregrine just outside Calais harbour and a Shag at the entrance. There was a considerable delay in the harbour waiting for a berth which enabled us to see the first of 100s of Mediterranean gulls seen by us today. We eventually disembarked and I drove the short distance to Cap Gris Nez. As we got out of the car at the car park vis  mig was obvious with 100s of Thrushes, Starlings, Finches and Skylarks overhead. 
As we made our way to the top of cliff  1000s of Passerines were flying all around us on a scale that I cannot remember ever seeing. We set up our scopes for sea watching at the top of cliff rather than half way down so that we could enjoy the spectacle of this wonderful Passerine movement. Counting the birds was impossible because the numbers were overwhelming With 1000s of Fieldfares, 1000s of Redwing, and a few Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and even a Mistle Thrush. The Finches consisted of 1000s of Chaffinches, 100s each of Brambling, Greenfinches, Goldfinches and a few Siskins and Tree Sparrow. Skylarks were numbered in 1000s as were Starlings also at least 4 Woodlarks and 4 Waxwings with 1000+ Jackdaws. The vast majority of these birds were coasting westwards with few venturing out across the channel to England.  

The sea was also full of birds 1000+ each of Gannet and Kittiwake, 100s of Little Gulls, 20+ Red-throated Divers, a Black-throated Diver, a Sooty Shearwater, 5 Eider, 200+ Common Scoter, a Velvet Scoter,  10+ Red Breasted Mergansers, 200+ Brent Geese. The fishing boats off shore had 1000s of  the commoner Gulls and some Mediterranean Gulls. It was very difficult to concentrate on the sea with so much going on overhead.
 This afternoon we walked some of the fields and hedgerows at Gris Nez which were full of Birds.
Some Brambling posed for me and we also saw Black Redstart, Stonechat, Yellowhammer, a couple of Common Buzzards and more Mediterranean Gulls.

 A Hen Harrier was hunting some of the fields and flushed a covey of 8 Grey Partridges. The whole day we only saw 2 Magpies and a few Crows but on the downside we did come across a bloodied Sanderling.
 The wood round the gun emplacements was fairly quiet but we did find Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and a Short-toed Treecreeper. A brilliant days birding in good company.
Short-toed Treecreeper

Monday, 5 November 2012


The Whoopers were still in the Kale field at Midley on Walland Marsh this morning also a Merlin there. A plod around The Moat, Lloyds, West Beach, Lighthouse Garden and the Station Gorse  found just 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, a Black Redstart and 3 Sparrowhawks. Overhead a few Chaffinches and c400 Starlings came in.
Just along the road at Lade north pit the Long-tailed Duck was still present also a single Goldeneye with Pochard and Tufted Duck flock. In the Sallows several Water Rails squealing 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Goldcrests and 3 Redpolls. Overhead a couple more Redpolls and 3 Siskins and 2 Swallows.
 Long-tailed Duck Lade north pit
 Great White Egret taken through glass at Firth hide
On the reserve 3 Great White Egrets round Burrowes, While I was in Makepiece hide c2000 Starlings in several flocks flew across Burrowes having just arrived. When I entered Scott Hide BB called telling me a Penduline Tit was showing well in front of Hanson. It only took me a few minutes to get there and as I walked into the hide the Tit dropped into the reeds, despite staring at the reed bed for a couple of hours it was not not seen or heard again today. Apparently it was ringed, so is probably the same bird that has turned up for the last 2 years at this time of year. To make things worse just before I arrived SB and others in the hide had a Shorelark fly over the ARC. Some consolation was a Bittern flying across the lake into the reeds on the other side of the hide, a couple of distant Common Buzzards, 2 Marsh Harriers and a couple of Snipe. While there news came through from SB of a Long-tailed Duck on Burrowes from Makepiece Hide. I made my way there curious to see if it was the Lade bird. When I saw it I could see immediately that it was a different bird as it was much whiter on the face. I finished the day at Galloways hoping for a Short Eared Owl but only saw 4 Red-legged Partridges.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Wind and Rain

With the rain lashing down and the wind howling, where else would I be but sitting in my car sea watching at The Point on Dungeness beach. At times the car felt as if would be blown over in some of the squalls. In 2.5 hrs  150+ each of Gannets and Kittiwakes moved west, also 3 Red-throated Divers, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Sandwich Terns, c40 Auks, c30 Starlings in, a Merlin just offshore and 2+ Harbour Porpoises. As I drove back across the causeway a Great White Egret and 2 little Egrets were sheltering on the New Diggings.
 A soggy Glaucous Gull in its favoured puddle.

 Merlin just off shore
 At midday the wind seemingly strengthening I called it a day and headed over Walland, where the Whooper Swans were feeding reasonably close to the road. Little else was seen due to the wind.
A record shot of the Crossbill that Mike Buckland kindly informed me about at the pines yesterday taken in virtual darkness. This is the only Crossbill that I have seen on the peninsular that was not a fly over. 

Friday, 2 November 2012

Long-tailed Duck

The Whooper Swans were still at Midley as I drove across the marsh to Dungeness. A Marsh harrier hunted the field behind and 2 Swallows were hawking along the roadside ditch.
At the north pit Lade a Long-tailed Duck which kept its distance, a Goldeneye, a few each of Pochard and Tufted Duck, some dabblers, Great-crested and Little Grebes. In the Sallows several Water Rails squealing 3 Cetti's Warblers and 2 Chiffchaffs.
A sea watch from The Point in constant rain was poor with the usual Gannets off shore, 5 Red-throated Divers west, 4+Kittiwakes off shore with 3 Mediterranean Gulls 2 of which were robbing the kittiwakes. On the beach by the fishing boats the Glaucous Gull and a Yellow-legged Gull.