Monday, 3 February 2014

Glorious Sunshine!

07.50-16.00 Dungeness beach (1hr break mid morning):
Red-throated Diver: 87W
Great-crested Grebe: n/c c300 o/s early morning
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: n/c c70W
Brent Goose: 238E
Wigeon: 573E
Pintail: 4E
Shoveller: 11E
Teal: 371E 3W
Common Scoter: 21W
Dunlin: 35W
Turnstone: 9 on beach
Little Gull: 14W
Kittiwake: n/c c400+W
Mediterranean Gull: 4W
Caspian Gull: 1 3w in roost
1w Glaucous Gull: 1 around
Guillemot: 2,000+W no Razorbills seen.
As at last the sun shone all day, I spent a good portion of the day photographing the gulls feasting the large amounts of Shellfish, Starfish and anglers throw backs, so I am sure I missed a lot more birds passing off shore.
1w Glaucous Gull
1w Glaucous Gull
1w Glaucous Gull


Little Gull

2w Mediterranean Gull
The Hume's Leaf Warbler was reported still in the trapping area, the 2 Black-throated Divers still on New Diggings, up to 3 red head Smew, 1 Goosander and up to 6 Great White Egrets all reported around the reserve.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Still Sea Watching!

                                     3 of a covey of 13 in the field opposite Plodland
Most of this weekend was spent around the fishing boats looking out to sea. The numbers of Auks and divers has dropped dramatically, today they were virtually non existent, where have they all gone? There are still a handful of Little Gulls around and the 1w Glaucous Gull. This afternoon a patch year tick in the form of Eider flying west but otherwise little of note. The Hume's Leaf Warbler is still in the south end of the trapping area.
Around the reserve 5+ Great White Egrets, 3+ red head Smew, at least 1 Goosander and 1+ Black Throated Diver. From the entrance track today 117 Curlew in the fields.

Friday, 31 January 2014

A brief moment of sunshine!

 At the fishing boats this A.M.
With the lakes full to bursting and the stormy weather continuing, the shelter of fishing boats offered the best birding locally. Once again I spent the most of the day there with DW and  the Joker.This morning the Auks were tooing and froing but this afternoon Guillemots in particular were pouring westwards out of the bay. The 1w Glaucous Gull paid us a visit this morning and a Great Northern Diver flew west, a flock of Knot and 4 Little Gulls were noted, Kittiwakes were much in evidence also a few Red-throated Divers and c100 Brent Geese moved east. Perhaps the most unusual bird was female Pochard heading west this afternoon. 
 Taken in the only moment of sunshine today!
Some of the 1,000s of Guillemots coming out of the bay past the fishing boats this P.M.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Bully!

I have been without a mobile phone for 2 days now since it went for dip in the sea, I am ashamed to say that I feel almost bereft without it.   
 In better weather conditions today the sea was quite busy first thing with some Auks moving, but movement petered out to be replaced with the tooing and froing of Auks and Red-throated Divers. There was a small movement of ducks and waders with c100 each of Wigeon and Teal, a few each of Shoveler, Pintail and Tufted Duck. Waders were represented by small numbers of Dunlin, Sanderling, Knot, Grey Plover, Curlew and a single Bar-tailed Godwit. Also of note 6 Little Gulls flew west.
 From the seawatch hide the 1w Glaucous Gull was performing brilliantly for a couple of hours at least, cruising up and down the beach effortlessly using the updraught from the sea wall. Any Herring Gull or Great Black Backed Gulls that got in its way were given short shrift, when David G. through some Squid for the Glaucous Gull a Kittiwake that dared to try and take some was brutally beaten up.

                 It was happy to take fish guts, Whiting and Ling donated by an angler.

On The Patch, 6 Little Gulls and Mediterranean Gull. At Scotney early afternoon there were no wild geese present, but 100+ Golden Plover and the Long Tailed Duck. Late afternoon driving back along the causeway 2 Great White Egrets were at the south end of the ARC and a Bittern flew over the road from the ARC to Boulderwall.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

1w Glaucous Gull!

 A thoroughly miserable day today rain, rain and more rain with a biting easterly wind, that numbed my fingers so much that I was struggling to press the camera shutter. Despite the weather I was still at the fishing boats at 07.45 where DW was already on site and where we spent most the day. In the south east to east wind, the fishing boats offered very little shelter and we both got soaked and cold. Sea bird numbers were well down on recent days but still enough to keep us out in the rain and cold.
Red-throated Divers: 100+W
Great Crested Grebes: 1,000+ on the sea
Fulmar: 3+W
Gannet: 100+W
Brent Goose: 3E
Common Scoter: 60+W
Shelduck: 1W
Wigeon: 4W
Little Gull: 7+W
Kittiwake: 150+W
Glaucous Gull: 1 1st w on the beach
Auks: 2,000+ W
The 1st w Glaucous Gull appeared at the back of RX446 in the melee of feeding Gulls and spent c1½ hrs showing down to a few feet before apparently moving to The Patch. Shame about the weather and light.

 This afternoon at The Patch the 1w Glaucous Gull was not difficult to find as it was the only Gull on the beach. Over The Patch were 5+ Little Gulls and a Mediterranean Gull. The 2 Black-throated Divers could be seen on the New Diggings from the causeway as well as 2 Great White Egrets and a red head Smew at the south end of the ARC.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Where do they go?

Another day of heavy showers some prolonged with a cold SW wind. Even so the thought of another Ross's Gull or similar slipping past the fishing boats, gave me a good enough reason to face the weather and stare out to sea.
07.40-10.00 and 14.45-15.45 with DW, this morning we joined by The Joker, Barney and his man servant PT.
Red-throated Diver: 57W
Great Northern Diver: 1W
Fulmar: 8W
Gannet: 179W
Brent Goose: 1W
Common Scoter: 15W
Pintail: 2W
Turnstone: 6+ on beach
Great Skua: 1W
Little Gull: 2W
Kittiwake: c1,000W
Mediterranean Gull: 2W
Auks: c7,000W
Grey Seal: 1
Where do all these Auks, Kittiwakes and Red-throated Divers go or come from? They don't seem to be reported from Samphire Hoe, Rye Bay, Beachy Head, Splash Point, Selsey Bill or even Portland, another birding mystery!
I left early at 10.00 to contact Virgin about my mobile phone which has died after it was drowned yesterday. A few minutes after I left a 1w Glaucous Gull and a 1w Caspian Gull settled on the beach in front of DW. Sods Law strikes again. Oh well no doubt I'll be back at the fishing boats tomorrow rain or shine.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Damn my lack of photoshop skills!

                                           1w Caspian Gull at the fishing boats this morning.
From the Fishing Boats with DW 07.30-10.00 and 15.00-16.45:
Red-throated Diver: 466W including a single flock of 164
Great-crested Grebe:  N/C but several 100s o/s
Fulmar: 8W
Gannet: 165W
Cormorant: c400 probably an under estimate.
Common Scoter: 232w
Velvet Scoter: 1w
Long-tailed Duck: 1w
Wigeon: 15W
Oystercatcher: 2E
Dunlin: 1W
Knot: 1W
Turnstone: 20 on beach
Little Gull: 1W
Kittiwake: c400w and feeding off shore
Black-headed Gull: 1,000s feeding close in shore this afternoon.
Mediterranean Gull: 1W
Common Gull: c400 feeding close in shore this afternoon.
Caspian Gull: 5 on beach
Auks: c12,000W  though probably an under estimate.
On my 6th attempt I finally managed to get an identifiable shot of the Hume's Leaf Warbler in the trapping area, albeit with a twig across it (I must learn how to remove twigs in photoshop). I found it almost immediately and had it in more or less constant view for half an hour, but very low and deep in the bush and did not manage a single recognisable shot. It then disappeared, I had all but given up hope of ever getting a shot of it when DW arrived, with the aid of his brilliant hearing he quickly relocated it and eventually I managed the above shot.  

 This afternoon while at the fishing boats 2 more 1w Caspian Gulls appeared along with a 2w. DW also located another 2W in the roost.
While photographing  the Caspian Gull I dropped my phone on the beach without realising it, when I did it I quickly located it, but not quick enough a wave had just come in over it. Its on the radiator now but I have my doubts!

The 2 Black-throated Divers are still on The New Diggings.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Another Dungeness Sea Bird Spectacular!

A photograph cannot convey the sheer numbers of birds on the sea and passing!
 From the fishing boats with DW till 11.00 when the rain arrived:
Red Throated Diver: c120 most in one flock pushed off the sea by a fishing boat.
Great Crested Grebe: N/C but many could be seen in Hythe Bay.
Fulmar: 2W
Gannet: c200 past and feeding off shore
Cormorant: N/C but c400 feeding
Goldeneye: 2W
Teal: 4W
Avocet: 4W
Turnstone: 6 on beach
Little Gull: 10+W and feeding along the tide line
Kittiwake: c800W and feeding
Mediterranean Gull: 1W
Black Headed Gull:  several 1,000sW
Guillemots: c12,000W and on sea
Razorbill: c2,000W and on sea  working on an approximate ratio of 6 to 1 in favour of Guillemots
Grey Seal: 1
The counts of Auks and Kittiwakes are only estimates as the birds were passing in such numbers it was impossible to count them individually.

 A small part of the flock of Red Throated Divers.
 1W Little Gull
 Adult winter Little Gull
 Adult winter Little Gull
Driving back across the causeway I could see the 2 Black-throated Divers and a Great White Egret at the southern end of the ARC.
As I left home this morning 14 Red Legged Partridges were in the field opposite.