Thursday, 6 December 2012

Caspian Gull

27 Waxwings on the A2070 Johnsons Corner this morning and at least 4 more on Walland at Midley including the one below.
About to express an opinion on the photographer
 Arriving at The Point TG and DW were already there. Totals  08.30-10.30:
Red-throated Diver:  17E  74w
Gannet: 4 o/s
Brent Goose: 1E
Common Scoter: 2E  32w
Eider: 2W
Teal:  283w
Wigeon: 139w   24 in off
Pintail: 1w
Mallard: 16w
Kittiwake: 40 o/s
Auks: 346E

From the layby at the south end of the ARC 2 Great White Egrets and the juvenile Black-throated Diver could be seen on New Diggings.
 Going through the Gulls at Scotney I came across this near ad Caspian Gull giving good scope views but to distant for good images. A Marsh Harrier and the usual feral geese were seen but little else of note.

Back across Walland the Waxwings were being elusive but still 1000s of winter Thrushes, 2 Common Buzzards a minimum of 3 Merlins and c20 Tree Sparrows.
I saw 10 Waxwings at the Brenzett Green turn off on the A2070 on the way home.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

More Waxwings

Making my way to Dungeness driving down the A2070 as dawn was breaking, I noticed the unmistakable silhouette of a Waxwing in the road side bushes. A quick hand brake turn and pulling on to the verge opposite I could now see 5 beautiful Waxwings. I took a few shots in the half light before moving off as the road is like a race track.
 TG was already at watching from The Point with a bored look when I arrived. In about an hour of watching c200 Guillemots moved into Hythe Bay along with c15 Red-throated Divers, c20 Kittiwakes were off shore with a few Gannets.
My usual plod around the small fishing boats and containers looking for rarer Buntings and Larks was once again fruitless, but the Glaucous Gull could be seen being fed by the bait diggers on the sand.
Waxwing at Midley
 2 Great White Egrets could be seen on New Diggings from the causeway. On the empty RSPB reserve 2 more Great White Egrets from Dennis's Hide along with 2 Goldeneye and 2 Marsh Harriers.
From Makepiece a red head Smew among the usual wildfowl. In the Sea Buckthorn 2 Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest.
Pity about the light
 Once the sleet and snow stopped and sun started to come out I thought I go back to the Waxwings especially as BB texted to say that there were 27 at Johnsons Corner which is only c1.5mile further up the road from the 5 I found earlier. Driving across Walland Marsh there were still 100s of winter Thrushes in the bushes. Approaching Midley I could see a car parked ahead with the tell tale camera lens sticking out the window pulling up behind I could see it was Roger and Bob from Sussex photographing Waxwings. I gratefully joined them though the light conditions were poor.
 After having my fill for today of the Waxwings I drove slowly around the marsh seeing many more winter thrushes, a Common Buzzard and from Bell Corner 32 Bewick Swans, 2 Whooper Swans and 2 Black Swans.
Returning to the still empty reserve and making my way to Makepiece to see what Gulls might come in. After half an hour I was not disappointed when an adult Caspian Gull appeared, presumably the bird found by DW yesterday. By now the light was starting to go and I was getting cold so time to go home. Driving up the entrance track MH drove down towards me, we pulled up, MH asked if I had seen the Barn Owl today, as I said no I spotted it in the distance. Leaving MH to get a better look I made my way home.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Thrushes and more Thrushes

08.30-10.30 The Point Dungeness with TG and DW:

Red-throated Diver: 11E  12w
Gannet: 13E
Common Scoter: 3E
Peregrine: 1E
Kittiwake: 672w
Auks:   319E     280 on sea  probably all Guillemots
Skua sp: 1E    Probably a juvenile Pomarine but was unable to rule out Bonxie at the range we viewed it.

The juvenile Black-throated Diver was still on New Diggings as  was 2 Great White Egrets and 3 Goldeneye. From Dennis's Hide another Great White Egret, 4 Goldeneye and little else of note.
At Scotney c150 resident Herring Gulls, c500 Greylag Geese, the feral Barnacle Geese, c1000 Lapwing a few Wigeon and a Black Swan nothing of real note.
Out on the marsh a ring tailed Hen harrier hunting the Kale fields behind lydd. At Midley 36 Bewick Swans, while watching them 14 Waxwings flew north. The hedgerows still hold 100s of Fieldfare and Redwing, with 100s more on the Warehorn Road, 2 more Black swans with the Mute Swan herd.

Monday, 3 December 2012


I spent most of today touring some of the lanes and paths of Walland Marsh in search of my own Waxwing flock and failed miserably. However there were still 1000s of Fieldfare and Redwings along with a few Song and Mistle Thrushes in the fields and bushes being chased by Sparrowhawks and a Merlin, a Common Buzzard flew alongside the car and at least 36 Bewick Swans including 13 juveniles at Midley, 2 Black Swans further out on the marsh but no sign of the 2 Whooper Swans. At the feeders 16 Tree Sparrows and 14 Greenfinches and 2 Marsh Harriers over.
At Scotney little of note.
Late this afternoon I joined MH in his luxury Chelsea Tractor on the short drive to Hanson, but apart from a Great White Egret (there were 3 on New Diggings early morning) 2 Goldeneye and a Kingfisher flying straight past the hide(sill nowhere for it to perch and fish) little of note. We then went to Dennis's hide where another Great White Egret flew in and joined the common wildfowl. Moving on to Dengemarsh Hide up to 3 Marsh Harriers over the reed beds but little else unless you are into Coots.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Winter Birding

Arriving at Cheyne Court mid morning where a group of birders were already watching 5 Waxwings with 100s of Fieldfare and Redwing. While watching them a male Hen Harrier flew through. While diving around the marsh looking for more Waxwings a Mink came out of a ditch onto the road briefly, further on 2 more Waxwings by A259. All over the marsh large flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing numbering in 1000s. At Midley 23 Bewick Swans and 2 Whoopers with the Mute Swans, 4 Waxwings appeared briefly flushed by a Common Buzzard and the Hen harrier put in another fly by appearance. Neil Burt called me to say he had seen a Lesser Whitethroat at the Dungeness RSPB visitor centre. Despite only taking a few minutes to get there I missed it by seconds. Images of the bird taken by Neil can be found   here 
Highlights while trying to relocate the bird were a Great White Egret, Red Head Smew and 2 Marsh Harriers from Dennis's Hide.
I watched and photographed a Barn Owl that was hunting by the entrance track as I was leaving but it was mainly distant. As I drove away I saw it land beside another track and it allowed quite close approach in the car.
Late afternoon as dusk fell I had Hanson Hide all to my self. 2 more Great White Egrets flew in to join the one already there and a Kingfisher flew round in circles in front the hide looking for fishing perch. As darkness fell a Drake Goosander flew in, a red head Smew appeared in front the hide as did 4 Goldeneye and Bittern flew in to roost. The Egrets appeared to roost there to. Walking back to the car in the dark several Water Rails were Squealing and Cetti's Warbler chattered.  

Friday, 30 November 2012


Sea watch The Point Dungeness 08.15-09.00:
Red-throated Diver: 47w    26E
Gannet: c15 off shore
Brent Goose: 9E
Shelduck: 28w    16E
Wigeon: 9w
Common Scoter: 32w    8E
Red-breasted Merganser: 2w
3w Glaucous Gull: 1 on beach
Yellow-legged Gull: 1ad on beach
Mediterranean Gull: 1w
Kittiwake: 16E  4w
Auk sp: 138E        49w
Starling: c140 in
Black-throated Diver taken in terrible light conditions
 Driving across the causeway 2 Great White Egrets could be seen on the New Diggings, around the Tower Pits 4 Common Snipe, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2  Cetti's Warblers, a Chiffchaff, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Green Woodpeckers and 15+ Tree Sparrows in the car park.
A check of Scotney found a Slavonian Grebe at the Sussex end but little else of note.
Back at New Diggings after hearing of a diver sp there (PT). The diver was soon located and turned out to be juvenile Black-throated Diver. Most of the afternoon was spent with MH in his new all singing all dancing Chelsea tractor visiting Denge Marsh, where apart from a Marsh Harrier Little of note was seen, a look from Dennis's hide found 4 Goldeneye, a Great White Egret and distant views of the Diver. We then drove round to Galloways which was very disappointing as nothing of note was seen.
Leaving MH I started for home, reaching Lydd roundabout I got a call from BB about 5 Waxwings at Cheyne Court, 5 minutes later I pulled up to see them perched in Hawthorn, just about had time to fire off some record shots at 2000 iso before they moved of to roost as a Merlin landed atop an adjacent bush. While apologising to a couple of other birders for nearly forcing them off the road on my way to the Waxwings(they pulled onto the verge to let me pass) a Barn Owl appeared and flew around for a few minutes and a Common Buzzard ghosted past to roost.
Taken in near dark at 2000 iso

Thursday, 29 November 2012

A Good Day on Walland

Sea Watch from The Point Dungeness with TG 07.30- 10.00:

Great Northern Diver: 2E                           Auk sp: 301E  266w
Red-throated Diver:  23E    48w                 Kittiwake: 7E
Gannet: 7 off shore                                    Mediterranean Gull: 3W
Brent Goose: 30E  61w                              Merlin: 1 in off
Shelduck: 81E  41w                                   Woodcock: 1 in off
Eider: 2E  then West                                  Starling: 86 in off
Common Scoter: 15E 62w
Goldeneye: 1E
Red-breasted Merganser: 5E
Wigeon: 122w
Pintail: 8E
Shoveler: 14w
Teal: 39w
 The rest of my day was spent wandering around some the lanes and paths of Walland Marsh. As I was scanning a Mute Swan flock for the Whooper Swans, 11 Bewick Swans flew over, no sign of the Whoopers but a Black Swan in with the Mutes.
As I wandered round the lanes and paths the bushes were alive with 100s Fieldfare and Redwing with good numbers of Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and a few Mistle Thrushes all devouring the Hawthorns. The Thrushes attracted the attention of a Merlin and at least 2 Sparrowhawks. Reaching  Midley I relocated the 11 Bewick Swans (6 adults and 5 juveniles).
During the day on the marsh a minimum of 18 Marsh Harriers were seen, 2 Common Buzzards, a Barn Owl at dusk, 1000s of Golden Plover, 1000s of Lapwing, 9 Common Snipe, several Bearded Tits and few Water Rails squealing in the ditches.  

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Harrier Roost

The Point, Dungeness 07.30-10.30:
Red-throated Diver: 55w      18E                      Auk sp:  361w    30E
Black-throated Diver: 1w                                 Guillemot:  6w
Gannet: 18E                                                   3w Glaucous Gull:  1 on beach
Brent Goose:  55w   3E                                    Yellow Legged Gull: 1 on beach
Shelduck:  20w   65E                                        Mediterranean Gull:  4w  1E
Pintail:  6E                                                       Kittiwake: 10E
Wigeon:  13w   14E                                          Peregrine: 2 E
Teal:  2w                                                         Starling: 705 in
Common Scoter: 36w   33E
Red-breasted Merganser: 5w

Knot Littlestone beach
 A lunchtime walk along Littlestone golf course sea wall found c200 Sanderling, c150 Dunlin, 4 Knot, 8 Grey Plover, c200 Turnstone and a Black Redstart of note.
Superb male Hen Harrier. Picture taken in near dark moments before it dropped in to roost 
Most the afternoon was spent walking out from The Woolpack to fields by the wind mills. During this walk c14 Marsh Harriers were seen along with c2000 Golden Plover, c3000 Lapwing, 6 Snipe, 500+ Fieldfare and 10 Meadow Pipits. Getting back to the reed bed at c15.30  in the hope that some Harriers would roost there today. Waiting for the Harriers  to roost a Common Buzzard was seen, along with many more Golden Plover, Water Rail squealing and Bearded Tits pinging. Soon several Marsh Harriers were circling the reed bed being joined by a superb male Hen Harrier and huge female Peregrine that was as big as the Hen Harrier. Eventually 10 Marsh Harriers roosted as did the Hen Harrier which dropped in last at 16.18. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


The Point, Dungeness 08.00-09.30:
Great Northern Diver: 1 on sea                        Starling: 100 in
Red Throated diver: 77w  5E                          Guillemot: 4w
Gannet: 3w                                                       Auk sp:  61w
Shelduck:  2w 1E                                             Kittiwake: 7w  2E
Teal:  2w                                                          3w Glaucous Gull: 1 on beach
Wigeon: 4w                                                      Yellow-legged Gull: 1 adult on beach                                                 
Common Scoter: 1w                                          Black Redstart: 1 on beach

Record of Great northern Diver. A surprisingly rare bird at Dungeness.

 In the ARC car park 2 Bramblings feeding with c10 Tree Sparrows and 15 Chaffinches. 2 Marsh Harriers over. A walk around the Tower Pits produced 3 Common Snipe, 4 Redwing, 2 Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff of note.
2 Great White Egrets on New Diggings viewable from the causeway with another on Burrowes Pit, also 4 Goldeneye there and 4 Marsh harriers over the Open Pits
This afternoon at Scotney c2000 Lapwing, c1000 Golden Plover, c500 Greylag Geese and the feral Barnacle Geese.
Across Walland Marsh c1000 Fieldfare, c200 Redwing and 3 Marsh Harriers of note. No sign of the Whooper Swans at Midley. At the rubbish heap in Tickners Lane 6 Yellowhammers and c50 Chaffinches.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Barn Owl

Dungeness Point 08.15-09.15 with TG a slow sea watch:

Red-throated Diver: 6w
Fulmar: 2w
Gannet: 7w
Common Scoter: 9w
Red-breasted Merganser: 2w
Guillemot: 21w
Auk sp: 34w
Kittiwake: 51w
Starling: 40 in
Goldfinch: 26w
Linnet: 14w
From the causeway 2 Great White Egrets and 2 Little Egrets on New Diggings.
From the entrance track to the reserve a Barn Owl amazingly my first one this year, hunting at c11.00hrs in the rain probably means its starving. Elsewhere on the reserve another Great White Egret on Burrowes Pit, 4+ Marsh Harriers around but little else of note in such wet and windy conditions.