Monday, 11 February 2013

Cold and grey

An hour at a bitterly cold and gloomy point this morning with TG, saw plenty of Guillemots and Razorbills on the sea and tooing and froing off shore. These were joined by c80 Red-throated Divers, a few Gannets and Kittiwakes, a single Mediterranean Gull, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 11 Greylag Geese moving west, 5 Teal, c50 Wigeon and a single Common Scoter. 
 New Diggings held 3 Great White Egrets and in 2 visits to the ARC 7 Smew (1 drake), 2 Bitterns, 2 Marsh Harriers and 6 Goldeneye were of note.
Scotney was very quiet compared to recent visits most the geese missing and alot of the duck having moved on. A Pintail and Black-tailed Godwit were of note as was a Peregrine and ring tail Hen Harrier.
On Walland 200+ Bewick Swans and c70 Greater White-fronted Geese of note.
 At the Varne Sailing Club car park the 2 Snow Buntings still and 8 species of wader.
On Lade North Pit the Black-throated Diver showing quite well with 2 Goldeneye among the common wildfowl.
Boulderwall Farm held the usual flock of Tree Sparrows and from the track the 7 Barnacle Geese still with c200 Curlew and another Great White Egret. Although it was cold, damp and gloomy most the day I had very good day around the peninsular see 88 species.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Wimped Out!

Got thoroughly soaked this morning in a plod around Eastwell Manor. The woodland offered up of note a flock of c20 Siskins in the Alders but no Redpolls. The lake held a few duck including the highlight of 2 Goosanders.
This afternoon I was supposed to be doing the Harrier roost count. Instead I am watching Man U play Everton in the warm, because the reed bed I watch is in the middle of the marsh, with absolutely no protection from the SE wind that is blowing 30mph+, or the driving rain/sleet that is now turning to snow.  

Saturday, 9 February 2013


With the morning taken up with domestic stuff, it was early afternoon before I started looking around the peninsular. A text from GH had me going to Scotney to see 5 Tundra Bean Geese (possibly the same 5 I saw on Walland on 28/01/13) and 31 Greater White-fronted Geese. At the ARC a wander up to the tower found a few Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff with 22 Curlew over and a few Common Snipe flushed. Another look at Scotney found no change. On Walland 226 Bewick Swans 1 with white colour ring but not close enough to read, 1 Whooper Swan and the Black Swan all at Hawthorn Corner. At Midley the usual Tree Sparrows and Yellowhammers, and at Tickners lane seed dump more Yellowhammers, 8+ Corn Buntings and a Common Buzzard.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Ruddy Duck Culling

One of the shooters boats hauled out onto the causeway between New Diggings and Burrowes Pit
As I drove across the causeway towards The Point, I saw 3 4x4s with motor boat trailers on the adjacent causeway with attendant Ruddy Duck shooters. All perfectly legal and sanctioned by the RSPB!!!   
At The Point the Glaucous Gull was on the beach. Offshore still many Guillemots and Razorbills with lesser numbers of Gannets, Kittiwakes and Red-throated Divers but no real migration yet.
At the Varne Sailing Club the 2 Snow Buntings on the beach. On the falling tide 100+ Knot, 30+ Bar-tailed Godwits, 100s of Oystercatchers, 14 Redshank, 40+ Turnstone, 12 Grey Plover and 100+ each of Dunlin and Sanderling.
On the Lade Pits the Black-throated Diver on north pit, Great White and Little Egret on south pit, 4 Goldeneye and 2+ Water Rail squealing.
The ARC was quiet with just 8 Smew (2 drakes), 6 Goldeneye among small numbers of common wildfowl.
Boulderwall held the usual Tree sparrow flock, along the track  7 Barnacle Geese, another Great White Egret, c50 Curlew and a Bittern over. From Dengemarsh another Bittern and 2 Marsh Harriers.  
 On Walland  a Whooper Swan with 266 Bewick Swans (59 Juveniles). The feeders held the usual Tree Sparrows, Yellowhammers, Chaffinches and Greenfinches, nearby a Common Buzzard.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Wildfowl clear out

At The Point this morning 1000s of Guillemots and Razorbills tooing and froing, with smaller numbers of Kittiwakes, Gannets and Red-throated Divers.
The Black-throated Diver had moved to to Lade south pit with a Smew and a couple of Goldeneye.
At Scotney duck numbers appear to have reduced significantly. The feral Barnacle Goose flock still present and 100s each of Golden Plover and Lapwing. Of note 3 Egyptian Geese flew over towards Dengemarsh.
From the causeway New Diggings was also virtually devoid of wildfowl but 2 Great White Egrets and 4 Smew could be seen.
A very short visit to Hanson, as the icy wind blowing into the hide made viewing difficult and very uncomfortable, but 6 Smew (2 drakes), 5 Goldeneye, 2 Marsh Harriers and another Great White Egret was noted in that time. 
 On Walland 223 Bewick Swans at Hawthorn Corner and another family party of 5 at Midley, The bushes opposite the feeders held c20 Tree Sparrows and 4 Yellow Hammers with 2 Marsh Harriers over and 2 Common Buzzards. Earlier a Ring Tail and the Male Hen Harrier was seen there by Wendy.
223 Bewick swans and 2 Mutes

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Black-bellied Dipper

 Myself TG, DW and GH who was our brilliant chauffeur today twitched the superb Black-bellied Dipper today at Thetford. It performed admirably from the moment we arrived all be it in the heavy shade, where it caught many Caddisfly larva. It was amazingly tolerant of birders and photograghers  showing down to a few feet.
 A couple of hours spent looking for Otters was fruitless, even though just about every resident of Thetford seemed to have seen them. One lady out for a walk with her mother, produced her I Phone and showed us a video she took on it yesterday, of 2 Otters playing just a feet from her in the river. We did manage to see a Kingfisher several times, Marsh, Coal, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits, Brambling, nuthatch and Treecreeper.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Bonaparte's Gull

A trip to Princes Park Eastborne today. After a quick look at the sea from the fishing boats where the usual Auks, Gannets and Kittiwakes were off shore,  we (DW,TG myself and picking GH up on the way) set off from Dungeness Obs. A quick stop on the causeway saw 2 Great white Egrets and at least 5 Smew ( 2 drakes ) on the ARC with another Great White Egret behind Boulderwall farm. At Pett level the 2 Pink-footed Geese showed distantly as did a Barn Owl and 3 Greater White-fronted Geese on the way back.
Arriving at Princes Park the Bonaparte's Gull was showing well and did so throughout our stay. It readily came to the bread being fed to the Mute Swans.

 In a quick look at Scotney on the way home a surprise in the form of 2 Scaup picked by TG. Scaup are few and far between on the marsh these days, last year I failed to see one so this male and female were very welcome. Hopefully the weather will be kind tomorrow for a trip to Thetford to see the long staying Black-bellied Dipper.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Round the Marsh

As it was a bright sunny morning a rare event lately, I had another look at the Waxwings at the Ashford Designer Outlet. Mick,Richard and Kev were already there, Mick had done some gardening arranging some berries and apples on Kevs tripod to get the perfect shot. 60+ Waxwings were there when I arrived and more came in making 100+. I took a few a shots but when the cloud arrived the cold in the bitter wind got the better of me.
Across the marsh noticeably less winter thrushes but the highest count of Bewick Swans so far with 242. The 2 Whoopers were elusive but eventually showed in flight at Midley disappearing among the windmills. At Scotney c200 Golden Plover, 2 Ruff, the feral Barnacle Goose flock and an Egyptian Goose in the fields at the western end. Galloways was open but very disappointing with nothing seen on the drive to the sea. Off shore a few Red-throated Divers, Guillemots and Great Crested Grebes. Spending 30 minutes by the wrecked armoured car just a few Crows and a distant Raven.
From the track to the VC the 7 Barnacle Geese, 3 Great White Egrets, 2 Marsh Harriers, c50 Curlew, 3 Ruff, c100 Golden Plover and the usual Tree sparrows at Boulderwall Farm.
Back out on Walland the ring tail Hen Harrier near Hawthorn Corner, at the seed dump in Tickners Lane 20+ Yellow Hammers, 2 Corn buntings, 5 Reed Buntings and 2 Common Buzzards.
It looks like the northern part of the marsh at Snave is to be blighted with 6 more Wind Turbines see Here 

Friday, 1 February 2013

Rain and Waxwings

A short sea watch this morning due to the poor weather found 2,000+ Great Crested Grebes on the sea, with 100+ Guillemots (but no Razorbills), 40+ Red-throated Divers and good numbers of Kittiwakes and Gannets off shore.
New Diggings held 19 Smew (2 drakes) and 2 Great White Egrets. The ARC from Hanson held 12 Smew (later joined by the 2 drakes), another Great White Egret, 2+ Marsh Harriers annd the Red-crested Pochard among the Wigeon.
The 7 Barnacle Geese and 2 Ruff could be seen from track to the VC. When I arrived at Scotney BH had his scope on a very distant Common Crane, also there 5 Ruff, 20+ Dunlin, 300+ Golden Plover and the feral Barnacle flock. 
85 Waxwings at the Outlet
 Coming back across Walland 235 Bewick Swans counted by PT, still a few winter thrushes and a Common   Buzzard. While I was in Hanson Wendy told me that she had seen 100+ Waxwings early morning by the Ashford Designer Outlet. After a text from her at 15.00 saying they were still present, I made a short diversion to see them. Pity the light was failing when I arrived but still a brilliant sight.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Bittern and Barn Owl

 Arriving at The Point this morning the as rain cleared and the gale subsided a little, an hour watching the sea produced many Guillemots, Razorbills, Red-throated Divers, Gannets and Kittiwakes could be seen tooing and froing. A Fulmar moved west as did a Bonxie.
 On the beach 100s of Black-headed Gulls and a few Kittiwakes one of which was bathing in a puddle. A Knot resting on the beach was unusual. As I left the beach the 3w Glaucous Gull flew over.
On New Diggings from the causeway, 2 Great White Egrets and a single Smew among the common wildfowl sheltering under the western bank, on the ARC 2 more Great White Egrets and 12 Smew (2 drakes) among large numbers of common wildfowl sheltering behind the bushes.
 From Hanson Hide 2 Bitterns, one of which flew in front the hide. A kingfisher was fishing inside the bushes by the hide and 2 Marsh Harriers were doing there best to spook everything.

 Among the many common Wildfowl a female Red Crested Pochard and a female Common Scoter.
 At Boulderwall Farm c20 Tree Sparrows round the feeders. Looking north from the track to the VC at the junction of the track to Hookers, 7 Barnacle Geese and the Greater Whitefronted Goose still present behind the fence in the sheep field also another Great White Egret making at least 5 at Dunge today.
 At Scotney 2 Black-tailed Godwits (my first of the year on the marsh), 4 Ruff, c500 Golden Plover, 22 Dunlin and the feral Barnacle Goose flock. Feeding round the hay bales by the sheep troughs 16 Corn Buntings.
 On Walland still 100s of winter thrushes, c160 Bewick Swans, 1 Black Swan, 2 Common Buzzards. By the feeders 20+ Tree Sparrows, 4 Yellow Hammers and c10 Green finches. At the triangle a stunning Barn Owl. Another excellent day on the peninsular with 84 species seen today and 132 so far this year.