Monday, 11 November 2013

Black Brant!

                                  Black Brant the first Dungeness record.
From the fishing boats with AJG, DW, MH and PT. All west unless stated.
07.00-11.30  13.30- 15.45:
Red-throated Diver: 9
Great-crested Grebe: c50 o/s
Gannet: c200 o/s
Brent Goose:  1,855
Black Brant: 1  first Dungeness record
Shelduck: 2
Mallard: 2
Gadwall: 3
Pintail: 31
Shoveler: 15
Wigeon: 400
Teal: 22
Tufted Duck: 6
Eider: 2
Common Scoter: 360
Velvet Scoter: 4
Goldeneye: 4
Red-breasted Merganser: 53
Merlin: 1 on beach
Oystercatcher: 26E
Grey Plover: 1
Knot: 7
Sanderling: 7
Turnstone: 6+ on beach
Purple Sandpiper: 1
Dunlin: 591
Great Skua: 3E
Mediterranean Gull: 1
Kittiwake: c50
Guillemot: 7
Auk sp:  25
Swallow: 4 out
Skylark: 1 in
Starling: 655 in
Little Gulls have been an everyday occurrence off Dungeness recently. Oddly enough none were seen today, yet record counts numbers were seen at Seaford and Portland!
I had a brief look at Scotney but was unable to locate the Long-tailed Duck in the deteriorating weather.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Harrier Roost!

                                               Rainbows from Plodland yesterday.
After yesterdays wash out this mornings blue skies were welcome. Unfortunately the cold NW wind brought nothing on the sea nor the land. 25 miles across the channel at Le Clipon was a different story see Here hopefully we will get across the channel later this week.
At the ARC the islands are now submerged, a Great White Egret and a couple of Marsh Harriers could be seen and in the Willow Trail 2 Chiffchaffs were the highlights.
The Long-tailed Duck was still on Scotney along with the feral Barnacle Geese.
Out in the middle of Walland Marsh once again no Marsh Harriers roosted in the reed bed I was watching, however I did see at least 8 Marsh Harriers, a Common Buzzard, a Peregrine, a Merlin, 100s of Lapwings and Golden Plover and 5 Ruff, also a bird that has been very scarce on the marsh this year a Short-eared Owl No.220 on the marsh this year. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

A day at the Fishing Boats

I spent most of the day at the fishing boats where a steady passage just about kept my interest.
Also present for some of the period covered were: AJG, MH, SO, PT and Barney.
Period covered: 07.00 - 11.00    12.00 - 1300    14.30 - 15.55  All west unless stated.
Red-throated Diver: 10
Black-throated Diver: 1
Red-necked Grebe: 1
Great-crested Grebe: c40 o/s
Gannet: 138
Shelduck: 5
Brent Goose: 387
Pale Bellied Brent Goose: 1
Mallard: 1
Tufted Duck: 2
Teal: 5
Common Scoter: 675  (the vast majority of which were juvenile/female)
Common Eider: 9
Red-breasted Merganser:  14
 Bat-tailed Godwit: 4
Sanderling: 1
Purple Sandpiper: 1
Turnstone: 4 on beach
Peregrine: 1
Great Skua: 5 
Arctic Skua: 5
Sandwich Tern: 48
Little Gull: 29
Mediterranean Gull: 15
Kittiwake: 101
Guillemot: 1
Razorbill: 10
Auk sp: 27
Goldfinch: 45
Snow Bunting: 1
Not a bad day looking at the sea!
Pale Bellied Brent Goose

Common Scoter juvenile/female


A truly terrible long distance shot of the Red-necked Grebe
Late afternoon a quick look at the ARC from Hanson saw the Glossy Ibis, 2 Great White Egrets, 4 Little Egrets , a Water Rail and the usual wildfowl and a Chiffchaff by the path to the hide.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Coues Arctic Redpoll

From The Point this morning with AJG and DW 07.00 - 11.00 all west unless stated:
Great Northern Diver: 1 on sea
Red-throated Diver: 12
Balearic Shearwater: 1
Gannet: 66
Brent Goose: 79
Red-breasted Merganser: 5
Common Scoter: 580
Velvet Scoter: 2
Merlin: 1 hunting off shore
Peregrine: hunting over beach
Great Skua: 9
Sandwich Tern: 8
Little Gull: 17
Kittiwake: 34
Mediterranean Gull: 1 o/s
Razorbill: 1
Auk sp: 18
On new Diggings a Great White Egret could be seen from the causeway.
I had just had lunch and was just about to go back to the beach when I received a call from DW to say that some interesting Redpolls had been trapped at the observatory.
There was several Lesser Redpolls, 2 Meally Redpolls and the Coues Arctic Redpoll.  
Coues Arctic Redpoll

                                                         Coues Arctic Redpoll
                                                            Coues Arctic Redpoll
                                                              Coues Arctic Redpoll
                                     Coues Arctic Redpoll (Single thin black shaft on the undertail coverts)
                                                            Coues Arctic Redpoll
                                                          Coues Arctic Redpoll
                    Meally Redpoll left                             Coues Arctic Redpoll right
                     Meally Redpoll left                             Coues Arctic Redpoll right
                        Meally Redpoll left                             Coues Arctic Redpoll right
                                       Meally Redpoll left                             Coues Arctic Redpoll right
                                                         Meally Redpoll
                                                             Lesser Redpoll
Elsewhere around the peninsular 4 Great White Egrets and a Black-necked Grebe on Burrowes also 2 Bitterns and the usual Marsh Harriers but little else of note.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


With my car in for service and MOT I was stuck at home most the day. However before I went stir crazy this afternoon, I was rescued by MH who kindly picked me up and took me down to the end of the concrete road for some sea watching 13.45 - 15.15:

Red-breasted Merganser: 3W
Common Scoter: 8W
Brent Goose: 36W
Shelduck: 3W
Arctic Skua: 1 o/s
Little Gull: 2W
Sandwich Tern: 8 o/s
Razorbill: 1W
Swallow: 2W

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

An excellent sea watch!

As I arrived at The Point this morning my expectations of a good sea watch were not high, the first half hour re-enforced this and then the passage started. Totals collated by AJG  also present DW:
07.00 - 11.40 all west unless stated.
Great Northern Diver: 1       Probably the same bird flew east a couple of hours later.    
Gannet: 82
Brent Goose: 1,895
Shelduck: 10
Wigeon: 6
Common Scoter: 118
Velvet Scoter: 1  came past with a Merganser
Eider: 1 very smart drake
Red-breasted Merganser: 15
Great Skua: 4
Arctic Skua: 1
Sandwich Tern: 29
Little Gull: 178 an excellent passage
Kittiwake: 21
Mediterranean Gull: 7+ around
Probable Hybrid Black-headed Gull x Mediterranean Gull: 1 around
Razorbill: 4
Auk sp: 19
Turnstone: 94 on beach
Purple Sandpiper: 2 on beach
Dunlin: 129
Knot: 3
Grey Plover: 2
Greenfinch: 7 in
Starling: 6 in
At c14.00 while checking the gull flock DW saw a Sabine's Gull fly east. 

Great Northern Diver
        Hybrid Black-headed Gull x Mediterranean Gull? (Look out for this one Mick and Richard)

Fred Olsen Line "Braemar" and a container vessel about to crush a Submarine.
While at home having my lunch news came of a Long Eared Owl on the reserve at Hookers that was showing in a Willow. So instead of going back to the beach I went to the reserve and minutes later PB was drawing me a diagram of exactly which Willow the bird was in. MH and PT kindly gave me a lift to the Willow, on arrival minutes later we found an empty tree the bird had gone and i'd missed a Sabine's Gull.
MH, PT and myself then went round Dengemarsh and Galloways  seeing very little of note.
When I left them I went to Hanson where the Glossy Ibis was still on what remains of the islands, giving a nice flyby when flushed by a Marsh Harrier, also there a Goldeneye, a Great White Egret, a Little Egret, a Chiffchaff and a male Merlin dashed across the lake.
In the fading light the Long-tailed Duck was asleep in the bay by the road at Scotney GP.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Busy on the sea this morning!

I joined AJG, BM, DW and MH at The Point this morning. We were watching from the shelter of our cars due to the rain and surprisingly cold NW wind. Totals collated by AJG 07.00 - 10.00 all are moving west unless stated:
Red-throated Diver: 3
Balearic Shearwater: 1
Gannet: 407
Brent Goose: 3
Common Scoter: 51
Red-breasted Merganser: 2
Merlin: 1 in
Great Skua: 24
Arctic Skua: 4
Sandwich Tern: 7
Kittiwake: 24
Little Gull: 1 o/s
Mediterranean Gull: 4 o/s
Auk sp: 33
Swallow: 1
Goldfinch: 77
The Long-tailed Duck was still at Scotney GP at the far western end in Sussex, on the Kent side 100+ Golden Plover, 2 Marsh Harriers and the Barnacle Goose flock.
At the ARC from Hanson a Great White Egret, a Marsh Harrier and the usual wildfowl, no sign of the Glossy Ibis there but it may well be in the fields around Boulderwall farm. In the Willow Trail a showy Firecrest, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Squealing Water Rail.
                                                 Firecrest in the Willow Trail
                                                  Firecrest in the Willow Trail
Firecrest in the Willow Trail
Add captio
The 2 Purple Sandpipers were near the Lifeboat station DB. 3 Common Buzzards, a Hen Harrier and a Short-eared Owl were seen on The Point DW.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Confiding Purps!

From The Point this morning many gulls feeding along the tide line, good numbers of Gannets and Kittiwakes mainly out on the horizon with a few Sandwich Terns and Auks. The picture above shows just a few of the 100s of Gulls on the sheltered side of The Point, feeding on plethora of Starfish, Sea Mice, Whelks and Scallops washed up by the stormy weather.
Scavenging along the tide line near the gulls, were 2 incredibly confiding Purple Sandpipers. Another sea watch mid afternoon was a re run of this mornings watch with 26 Common Scoter thrown in.

Following a call from MH I paid Scotney GP a visit to see a Long-tailed Duck which refused to lift its head in the half hour I was there even when a Marsh Harrier flew over. Another visit early afternoon found that it had moved further out into the pit. On the grass 150+ Golden Plover and the feral Barnacle Goose flock.
The Glossy Ibis is apparently still present on the ARC though now more mobile. On the reserve still 3+ Great White Egrets and 2 Black-necked Grebes also 28 Tree Sparrows at Boulderwall Farm and the usual Marsh Harriers.
From Plodland 18 Red-legged Partridege in the field opposite.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Wrong Decision!

Grey heron from Scott Hide
With lots of domestic stuff to be done today I could only get out for couple of hours this morning. I decided to spend my time wandering around the reserve seeing 3 Great White Egrets, 3 Black-necked Grebes, a Peregrine, 3+Marsh Harriers, Blackcaps, 2 Stonechats and lots of Blackbirds and Robins. Although it was a pleasant enough walk it seems that a sea watch would have been more productive as several each of Pomarine and Great Skuas were seen and 2 Great Northern Divers which are surprisingly scarce at Dungeness. It seems there was also a good passage of Mediterranean Gulls as well as a couple of Purple Sandpipers on the beach. The Glossy Ibis is still present on the ARC though it seems to be wandering further afield, maybe because the islands on the ARC are rapidly disappearing.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Twitter Rant!!!

To clear up some confusion for those who have asked me and for any one else who might be interested,  I am now Tweeting under #plodingbirder as I have lost access to #ploddingbirder. Access was lost because I forgot my password so could not re-activate it on my phone after I had to reset it. Ah but Twitter can send a reminder to my email! I requested a reminder several times and each time Twitter said that they had sent it. It never arrived! (I did turn off all my spam filters much to the alarm of Norton) Twitter does not recognise my email address even though they are emailing me to tell me this!!! No problem for Twitter fill in there online form to solve the problem. The form sends you round in circles and you end up at the sign in page which requests you to put in your PASSWORD!!!! Forum advice is to delete your account and then reactivate it, great now we are getting some where. I start to delete my account and get to the last stage when it requests my PASSWORD to confirm I want to delete the account!!!
I try to set up another Twitter account. Twitter says my email address is already being used even though they tell me they don't recognise it!!!
I have now opened a Gmail account in which to run Twitter which is why I am now tweeting under #plodingbirder  (single d).

Sea watching from The Point today: All west unless stated.

07.30-09.30                                              13.10-15.40
Red-throated Diver:  1                                    1
Gannet: 62                                                    153
Balearic Sheawater: 0                                      1
Brent Goose: 9                                                0
Common Scoter: 2                                           1
Grey Heron: 1 out                                            0
Arctic Skua: 0                                                  1
Great Skua: 1                                                   8
Sandwich Tern: 11                                           41
Little Gull:  0                                                    3
Kittiwake:  9                                                    42
Mediterranean Gull: 1                                        1
Mediterranean x B H Gull: 1                              0
Guillemot: 0                                                     17
Auk sp:  9                                                        11

    The picture above says it all about the ARC today. The Ibis was joined by a Great White Egret and a few Common Snipe.
New Diggings held another Great White Egret.