Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Mediterranean Gull in the surf!

This morning from the fishing boats with DW, PT and The Joker 07.45-11.00. The boats protected us from the worst of the wind and spray. By 11.00 only myself and The Joker were left and the wind was really beginning to howl. 
Red-throated Diver: 3w
Fulmar: 2w
Gannet: 4w
Shelduck: 1w
Common Scoter: 1w
Peregrine: 2 hunting at sea and over the beach. 1 took an adult Little Gull  after a long chase and striking it twice.
Little Gull: 8+w
Mediterranean Gull: 4+w
Kittiwake: 137w
1,000s of the commoner gulls along the surf line and on the beach.
2w Mediterranean Gull
I couldn't see the Black-throated Divers on the New Diggings but the waves there were impressive.
At Scotney The Black-necked Grebe was sheltering in the calmer waters by double bends, the Long Tailed Duck was in its usual spot braving the full force of the wind and waves, by now the rain was lashing down and it was time for lunch. 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


I didn't get out of the house until lunchtime thanks to the rain and gales. When I did both Black-throated Divers were by the causeway at The New Diggings. From the fishing boats loads of Gulls feeding along the surf with at least 2 Little Gulls and a Mediterranean Gull. I was joined by DW and shortly after we were notified by SB that the HYTHE HERON was showing in a public area.
When we arrived 30 minutes later it was not showing but SB new exactly where it was. We stayed in the car so as not to flush it even though we couldn't see it, some school children past it within a few metres as they left the playground and even appeared to look at it. After they went we got out the cars and I briefly spotted it on some metal work by the stream before it flew up into the trees. It worked its way higher and higher, before eventually flying off out of sight into nearby gardens and was not seen again before dark. 
It appeared to have been feeding in the stream between the road and the children's play area in Turnpike Hill south of the junction with Spanton Crescent. If you go the grassy area is very boggy and PLEASE RESPECT RESIDENTS PRIVACY.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Little Gulls

07.40-09.40 from the fishing boats with DW being joined by PT and Barney.
Red-throated Diver: 39w 6E
Fulmar: 9W
Gannet: 1W
Common Scoter: 101W
Turnstone: 31 on beach
Oystercatcher: 2W
Little Gull: 6W
Kittiwake: 144W
Mediterranean Gull: 6W
Auks: 97W
Common Seal: 1 
Probably the first time I have only seen 1 Gannet in 2 hours there.
A Black-throated Diver was still on New Diggings, at Scotney the Long Tailed Duck was in its usual spot at the Kent end, also there 5 Little Egrets, 4 Ringed Plovers and a Marsh Harrier of note. 
 This afternoon at The Patch 13+ Little Gulls and 5+ Mediterranean Gulls among 1,000s of the commoner Gulls.
Adult and 1w Little Gull at The Patch.
Late afternoon on the reserve from Firth Hide, 2 red head Smew among 100s of the common wildfowl. At 16.36 the Glossy Ibis came into roost in the bushes between Firth and Makepiece. 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Glossy Ibis!

Once again I woke up to the rain battering against the bedroom window, once again I went back to sleep.  When I eventually got up I drove the short distance to Scotney where a Black-necked Grebe was in the bay by the double bends. In the distance near the wind turbines 1,000+ Lapwings with a few Golden Plover and Dunlin had been flushed from the fields. A Marsh Harrier hunted along the far bank and a Great White Egret and 2 Little Egrets could be seen on the back pit.  
Black-necked Grebe Scotney. 
 Driving to the point I stopped on the causeway where I could see a Black-throated Diver on the New Diggings along with 2 Great White Egrets sheltering under the west bank. Another Great White Egret on the ARC, a red head Smew and 4 Goldeneye among the many Pochard, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Shoveler and Gadwall.
From The Point in a 50 minute visit this morning and another visit of a couple of hours this afternoon, highlights were 27 Fulmars west, 6 Pintail west, 8+ Little Gulls, and few each of Gannet and Kittiwake, only a handful of Auks were present off shore today. Despite there being 1,000s of Gulls along the shoreline nothing unusal was found. A dead Porpoise was washed up near the fishing boats.  
Late afternoon from Firth hide overlooking Burrowes Pit a red head Smew and red head Goosander were close in front the hide, 2 Marsh Harriers could be seen over the Oppen Pits and at 16.37 the Glossy Ibis came into roost in the bushes between Firth Hide and Makepiece.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Much the same!

A lay in meant a late arrival at the fishing boats this morning, by all accounts I didn't miss much. While I was there very little moved, a few Guillemots and Kittiwakes were tooing and froing a Little Gull fed along the tide line. Another visit this afternoon in 40 MPH winds produced a minimum of 4 Little Gulls of note. It would appear that the 1w Glaucous Gull may have departed as it has not been seen for 2 days. The Hume's Leaf Warbler was seen in the trapping area by OL.
Goldfinch on the Plodland Feeder.

On a very watery Walland Marsh the Bewick Swan herd still viewable from Caldecott Lane, 15+ Tree Sparrows at Baynham Farm. The Solar farm on the marsh viewable from Eighteen Acre Lane off the A259 is an eyesore!
At Scotney this morning my first Ruff of the year on the local patch was the highlight among 1500 Lapwing, 6 Dunlin and c20 Golden Plover. I could not find the Long-tailed Duck in its usual spot, probably due to the waves on the lake. The ARC still holds plenty of wildfowl most of which are sheltering behind the bushes, 3 red Smew could be seen from the causeway as could a Great white Egret. Once again I was unable to find the Black-throated Divers on the New Diggings so I assume they have departed.
Another first for the year for the local patch today was a pair of Goldfinches on the Plodland feeder. (126)

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Wet! Wet! Wet!

07.30-09.45 (rain stop play) from the fishing boats with DW:

Red Throated Diver: 18w 3e
Great crested Grebe: c120 o/s
Fulmar: 17w
Gannet: 25w
Common Scoter: 39
Pintail: 2w
Mallard: 3w
Little Gull: 3w
Kittiwake: 26w

Auks: c75 o/s
At Scotney the Long-tailed Duck was on view from the double bends. The rest of the day was a washout.
At last my replacement mobile has arrived, but I have lost most of my contacts. Doubtless I will be asking many of you for your numbers again. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

All cleaned up!

After I originally posted the image below bemoaning my ineptness with photoshop, I was contacted by Laurence Pitcher who offered to retouch the image for me. I sent him the original image which he cleaned up. See the excellent results below.
 My original image
Retouched image
With the appalling weather very little birding was done today but I did see the 1w Glaucous Gull by the fishing boats.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Unusual Road kill!

This morning I had to have my car door fixed, as I drove back across Walland Marsh I came across the above road casualty, an Albino Badger. Avian interest on the marsh was 40+ Bewick Swans and few Tree Sparrows by the feeders.
 North Thames Herring Gull P1BT
The ARC from Hanson saw lots of common wildfowl 4 Goldeneye, 2 red head Smew, 2 Great White Egrets and 2 Marsh Harriers. By the track 2 Cetti's Warblers and a Song Thrush of note.
Orfordness Herring Gull WLB
This afternoon the sea was comparatively quiet, with only a few each of Guillemots and Red-throated Divers 4 Common Scoter, 11 Brent Geese and a single Mediterranean Gull. The small gull roost beside the fish hut held a couple of colour ringed gulls, the 1w Glaucous gull was in the main roost. 

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.