Tuesday, 11 December 2012


After seeing the superb images of the Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll at Aldeburgh on various web sites, then being asked if I'd like to join DW and GH on a trip to see it today I was raring to go. We arrived just after 10.00 to see the birders that were present looking at nothing in particular, not a good sign! Asking one of them if the bird was still about, he told us it had flown towards the town and not been seen for a while, again not a good sign. We started walking back along the sea wall and after a few yards DW heard it call then again as it flew over our heads towards the Martello Tower and dropped out of site. We made our way towards the tower and much to her (GH) delight, DW and myself walked past it so she had to wave us back when she spotted it. From then on the bird behaved impeccably which is more than can be said for one or two photographers.
In the snow

Monday, 10 December 2012

More Barnacles

At Johnson's Corner this morning 36 Waxwings sitting in atop the roadside bushes.
The juvenile Black-throated Diver was still on New Diggings from the causeway this morning along with 2 Great White Egrets and 4 Goldeneye.
At Boulderwall 20+ Tree sparrows round the feeders and another Great White Egret in the field adjacent to the farm from the entrance track. Despite walking round the reserve twice this morning there was no sign of yesterdays Ring-necked Duck, but 5+ Marsh Harriers , 1 Bittern, 2 Bearded Tits, 5 Cetti's Warblers, a Chiffchaff, 1 Avocet, 2 red head Smew and a redhead Goosander were seen. On the ARC from Hanson 2 Goldeneye and a Kingfisher but little else of note. The Willow Trail held a roving Tit flock with Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits, 2 Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff.
A very wary party of Barnacle Geese
A look Scotney GP found little of note apart from the feral Barnacle Goose flock had grown from 60+ to 80+ including a very wary party of 6.
Late afternoon back on the reserve I made my way to Makepiece Hide to watch Gulls coming to roost sadly very few did, the Goosander put in another appearance as did did a Smew and the Avocet was still on its island.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Soon they will be gone!

With just a couple of hours to spare today I thought I'd spend the time with the local Waxwing flock (25 today). All to soon they will be gone so make the most of them. Once again the light was rubbish most the time.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Orlestone Forest

As it was brilliant still sunny morning and thinking that Walland and Dungeness would be crowded, I decided to go for a wander around Orlestone Forest. Parking in Faggs Wood the unofficial feeding station was very busy with countless Great and Blue Tits, 3+ Coal Tits, 4 Nuthatches, 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, several Chaffinches, at least 6 Jays and a couple of Magpies.
Away from the car park the paths and tracks were very wet and muddy making it hard going in wellies, the birds were few and far between as well. A couple of Redpolls flew over as did a couple of Siskins but no Crossbills today, 4 Bullfinches were seen during the walk, a Tawny Owl called and Common Buzzard flew over. It was at least 2 hours into the walk before I came across a roving Tit flock containing at least 15 Long-tailed Tits more Blue,Great and Coal Tits, 2 Nuthatches and 2 Goldcrests. It was a very peaceful wander albeit quiet on the bird front. I did not take the camera today as I did not fancy carrying it all round the woods or leaving it in the car.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Even more Waxwings

 I thought i'd have a look at the berry bushes by Hamstreet Garden Centre this morning on my way to Dungeness, as back in December 2010 a party of Waxwings took up residence there for a week  or so. I pulled on to the verge and there they were 20+ Waxwing. They gave great views coming down to drink in a puddle beside the car. It was a pity the light was so poor and then it started to rain. Further on down the A2070 another 18 Waxwing were sat atop some bushes completely ignoring the traffic hurtling by. On Walland the 2 Whooper Swans were still associating with the Mute Swans and at least 32 Bewick Swans could be seen from Bell Corner with 2 Black Swans and more Mute swans.  4 more Waxwing with the 100s of winter thrushes at Midley.

On New Diggings the juvenile Black Throated Diver, 2 Great White Egrets and a Goldeneye among the usual wildfowl. At the south end of the ARC a flock of c100 Gadwall.
Down at The Point 100s of Guillemots and Great Crested Grebes with a few Red Throated Divers on the sea. Many Auks, Kittiwakes and a few Gannets and Divers were tooing and froing off shore.
The Glaucous Gull was perched on top of one of the containers.
On the reserve a red head Smew, 4 Goldeneye, 2 more Great White Egrets, 18 Pintail, c200 Wigeon and 2 Marsh Harriers were of note.
A visit to the ARC Hanson hide was in order after getting news news of a Pallas's Warbler there, alas I was unable to find it but did see 9 Long-tailed Tits, several Blue and Great Tits, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest, also a superb male Goldeneye there.
On the way back I stopped at the rubbish pile in Tickners Lane, where apart from the 100s of winter thrushes, there were 50+ Chaffinches and 6 Yellowhammers, as I drove away the male Hen Harrier flew across the field opposite.  

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.