Sunday, 12 January 2014

All at Sea!

 This morning I joined The Joker, CP, PT and AJG at the fishing boats. The promised SE wind was blowing and produced the birds. Thanks to AJG for collating most the records.
Red-throated Diver: 76W   15E
Fulmar: 1w
Gannet: 47w
Brent Goose: 37E   1W
Wigeon: 138E
Shelduck: 25W
Common Scoter: 4W   1E
Red-breasted Merganser: 3W
Peregrine: 1 over beach
Great Skua: 8W
Kittiwake: 2,000+W
Little Gull: 1W
Mediterranean Gull: 6W
Caspian Gull: 1st and 2nd W off shore
Guillemot: c6,000W
Razorbill: 500+W
Grey Seal: 1 off shore
When we left at 10.45 mainly because we were cold and hungry the Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Razorbills were still streaming past and the Gannets were just getting in on the act.
                                                              1w Caspian Gull

                                              Kittiwakes streaming past the fishing boats.
The rest of my way was taken up with domestic stuff but it seems that all the more unusual birds that were around yesterday were still present today. 

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Sunshine and Geese.

Mid morning at Scotney I relocated the 2 Tundra Bean Geese which spent most of the time sleeping during the 2 hours I was there, even when a Marsh Harrier flew low over them, flushing the Lapwing and Golden Plover they hardly lifted there heads. 7 Whitefronts were also there sleeping and when they stood up there was 8. The Long-tailed Duck was in its usual spot a Redpoll flew over and a flock of 12 Linnets were on the sward.   
                                                          Tundra Bean Geese
                                 Greater White-fronted Geese and a blinged up Mallard
                                                               Merlin at Walland
After doing some domestic stuff I went out onto Walland Marsh this afternoon to watch the Harriers going to roost. While out there a Merlin (111 for patch 2014) was perched on a fence distantly and up to 3 Common Buzzards were around. I was joined by CP and PT (Plovers Blog) but no one told the Harriers were there to watch them, as none came in to roost tonight.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Snow Buntings

As dawn broke at Camber Sands 3 calling Snow Buntings flew over me towards Rye, as I headed towards the harbour entrance they flew back over me towards the cafe. I made a short diversion towards the sea to what turned out to be a body being guarded by a dog walker that had been bought in by the tide. Upon nearly reaching the cafe and the Snow Buntings a Police Landrover drove along the beach to the body flushing the Buntings back over me again. By the time I finally caught up with them 2 other birders were watching them, then joined by Matt Eade. I saw very little else of interest on the beach.  

 At Scotney GP 9 Greater White-fronted Geese could be seen from the double bends along with usual plastic geese. The Long-tailed Duck was in its usual spot at the Kent end. A walk out on to Walland from Scotney Cottage was disappointing, finding only 2 Corn Buntings and a Great White Egret of note.
                                     Greater Whitefronted Geese Scotney GP

Seemed like a good idea at the time!
I spent a couple of hours this afternoon at Littlestone Golf Course waiting for no show Short-eared Owl but did catch up with 6 Skylarks and a Mediterranean Gull. A car was stranded on the track behind the beach which I wouldn't attempt in my 4x4. Apparently sat navs often direct drivers onto this track. While there a call from DW, that he had found 2 Tundra Bean Geese at Scotney while looking for the Whitefronts, had me hot footing it back to Scotney unfortunately arriving just after they flew out to Walland.
The Hume's Yellow Browed Warbler was still present today per The Joker, the Black Throated divers were still on New Diggings and the Glossy Ibis came into roost on Burrowes as usual. 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Grey Phalarope!

While visiting mum today in Shoreham, West Sussex today, I took the opportunity to see the incredibly confiding Grey Phalarope at Hove Lagoon and mum enjoyed it as well. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Another failure!

Once again most of my day was taken up with trying to get good images of the Hume's Yellow Browed Warbler. Although I saw it a number of times once again I failed to get the shot I wanted.
Early afternoon at the fishing boats the usual Guillemots with a few Razorbills, Kittiwakes, 5 Common Scoter, 20 Brent Geese, 2 Red-throated Divers but much fewer Gulls than of late.
On the reserve at least 5 Great White Egrets, 2+ Smew, 2+ Goosander but commoner wildfowl numbers appear to have dropped. At 15.37 the Glossy Ibis flew past Firth hide in to its roost.
 Glossy Ibis as it flew in to roost at 15.37 this afternoon. Taken at 2000 iso
                          An interesting Gull at the fishing boats on the 6th January.
                           An interesting Gull at the fishing boats on the 6th January.
                         An interesting Gull at the fishing boats on the 6th January.
                          An interesting Gull at the fishing boats on the 6th January.
                           An interesting Gull at the fishing boats on the 6th January.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


Finally sorted out Blogger, though in truth the problem was more my IT inadequacies and my steam powered computer.
Where's the beach? Jury's Gap guard house.
 The last couple of days have been spent looking at Gulls and trying and failing dismally to get an image of the Hume's Yellow Browed Warbler.
probable 3w Caspian Gull
 Caspian Gulls have been much in evidence with up to 7 being seen yesterday, though I suspect that they are just the tip of the iceberg, because of the vast numbers of Gulls around and several large roosts that cannot be viewed.

Little Gull
 Kittiwakes are particularly numerous around The Point, although very photogenic I did not bother with them as I have many images of them already. I also have many images of Little Gulls but never tire of seeing them.
A Fairlight bird
With the number of Gulls around inevitably there are more colour ringed birds and I photographed several today.
Late this afternoon I met The Joker and PT in Firth hide over looking Burrowes Pit for my 4th attempt at seeing the long staying Glossy Ibis coming to roost. While waiting 2 Smew flew through and 3 red head Goosander were swimming around in front the hide (yesterday there was also 3 drakes with them). Just before dark at 16.05 the Glossy Ibis flew in and appeared to roost in the bushes between Firth and Makepiece. 

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Leaden Skies!

Waking up to yet another wild wet morning, I took the opportunity to get some domestic stuff done before doing some birding.
Late morning on the ARC 1 each of Smew, Goosander and Great White Egret with the usual common wildfowl. New arrivals on New Diggings were 2 Black Throated Divers. In a look at the Gull roost behind the fish hut I was unable to find anything out of the ordinary.
Another try in the trapping area to get an image of Hume's Yellow Browed Warbler before the rain set in was again fruitless, in fact I didn't even glimpse it let alone photograph it, so in Blue Peter style here's one I took earlier, 6 years earlier.     
Hume's Yellow Browed Warbler, Beachy Head, 31st December 2007.
A short sea watch from the boats saw the usual Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Gannets and Gulls. Great White Egrets are now so regular around the reserve, that I drove straight past 2 by the entrance track this afternoon giving not much more than a cursory glance, had the sun been shining instead of the heavy leaden skies of today I probably would have stopped. Staring out into the gloom from the visitor centre a Goosander swam by and 2 Marsh Harriers were battling the wind over the Open Pit. As I was about to leave the Glossy Ibis flew over the car park, unfortunately for me I was still in the visitor centre.

Friday, 3 January 2014

More of the same!!

Chiffchaff sunbathing in the trapping area between showers.
An hour first thing this morning sea watching from The Point was disappointing, with small numbers of Gannets, Common Scoter, kittiwakes, Guillemots and Brent Geese.
In a very waterlogged trapping area the Hume's Yellow Browed Warbler was very elusive, 2 Chiffchaffs and a mixed Tit flock were a bit more showy.
In a couple of visits to the ARC singles of Smew and Goosander, the usual Gadwall flock, c500 Wigeon, c400 Pochard, 2 Great White Egrets and 2 Little Egrets. In the Willow Trail a Chiffchaff and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.
In an afternoon visit to Scotney I was unable to find the long staying Long-tailed Duck and the visit was cut short by Torrential Rain.      

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Hume's Yellow Browed Warbler

I arrive at The Point at 07.30 as dawn was breaking hoping to see plethora of birds moving down the channel, unfortunately very little was moving just very small numbers of the usual Red-throated Divers, Gannets, Kittiwakes, Common Scoters, Auks and Great-crested Grebes. At 08.15 just as was leaving a party of 15 Brent Geese flew back west.   
Kestrel at Boulderwall Farm
At the south end of the ARC 5 Goosander (2 drakes) could be seen, also still c150 Gadwall there and a Great White Egret. 2 more Great White Egrets flew over the causeway towards Lade.
At Boulderwall Farm 20+Tree Sparrows around the feeders with several Reed Buntings, by the entrance track a Kestrel posed and 2 Great White Egrets were out in the fields.
From Dennis's another Great White Egret, 3 Little Egrets, 5 Goldeneye and 200+Shoveler. From Makepiece 4 red head Goosander, 3 red head Smew, 2 Marsh Harriers, c400 Wigeon and c25 Pintail. A bittern flew from Christmas dell to Dengemarsh, 6+ Cetti's Warblers were heard around the tracks. From Hanson 2 more red head Smew and 5 Goldeneye. MH reported 2 Red Crested Pochards there this afternoon.
Half hour watching from Plodland at lunchtime saw 2 Great White Egrets (probably the Boulderwall birds), 2 Marsh Harriers, a Common Buzzard, c30 Stock Doves,c200 Golden Plover and c500 Lapwing.
From Scotney Court Cottage another Great White Egret, c1000 Wigeon. While looking for Corn Buntings, a call from DW that he had found a Hume's Yellow Browed Warbler in the trapping area, had me hot footing it back to the car with a brief stop at Plodland for my Wellies and a dash to the area. On arrival the bird had not been seen for a while but had been heard, fortunately DW relocated it shortly after my arrival, giving us a couple of brief views before moving off with a Tit flock that also contained 2 Chiffchaffs including a Tristis.
If you are thinking of looking for this bird in the near future Wellies are a must! 

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Year Wash Out.

09.45-11.20 from The Point: 
Red-throated Diver: 1W
Great-crested Grebe: c50 off shore
Fulmar: 44W
Gannet: c250W
Brent Goose: 313E
Wigeon: 16W
Great Skua: 1W
Kittiwake: c150W
Guillemot: c40W
 In the Gull roost at least 1 adult Caspian Gull (up to 6 reported) and an adult Yellow-legged Gull.
Kittiwake bathing at the fishing boats.
The south end of the ARC held 2 drake Goosander with the common wildfowl. On New Diggings 2 Great White Egrets with another 3 north or Boulderwall Farm, by now the wind was really howling and the rain lashing down so I called it a day.