Friday, 7 March 2014

Yellowhammers and Scaup!

09.30- 10.20 an uninspiring watch at The Point from the comfort of my car: 
Red-throated Diver: 12W   5E  6+on sea
Great Northern Diver: 1W
Great Crested Grebe: c50 off shore 
Gannet: 6W
Brent Goose: 22E
Shelduck: 3W
Little Gull: 1 off shore
Guillemot: c50 off shore 
 From the causeway 2 Black-throated Divers still and a Great White Egret on the New Diggings, on the ARC a red head Smew, 2 Goldeneye and a Marsh Harrier were the highlights.
Lunchtime a Great White Egret flew over Plodland heading for Scotney.
This afternoon on Walland 2 Marsh Harriers and the usual Tree Sparrows at Baynham Farm. The good news is that the farmer has started dumping seed again in Tickners Lane with immediate results, as I counted 32 Yellowhammers, 4 Corn Buntings, 20+ Chaffinches and 6 Greenfinches as well as a few Stock Doves.
 At Dengemarsh this afternoon in glorious sunshine several Reed Buntings basking, 10+ Meadow Pipits on the fence posts, a Marsh Harrier and a Raven. It cant be long before the first Garganey and migrant waders take advantage of the flooded hayfields.
Dengemarsh and the flooded Hayfield this afternoon.
Late afternoon at Scotney 4 Scaup, the Black-necked Grebe, another Marsh Harrier and the Great White Egret on the back lake. 

Thursday, 6 March 2014

More from Iceland!

1w Kumlien's Gull
1w Kumlien's Gull
 Adult Kumlien's Gull
 probable adult Kumlien's Gull
 probable adult Kumlien's Gull
2w Iceland Gull
 2w Iceland Gull with Glaucous Gulls
 1w Iceland Gull
1w Iceland Gull

Round the reserve!

I spent most the morning in the company of BP as we wandered up to the pines and then around the reserve. In the ARC car park 2 Mediterranean Gulls flew high overhead and several Tree Sparrows were in the bushes, on the way to the pines a couple of Marsh Harriers were over the Tower Pits and several Cetti's Warblers could be heard as could a Chiffchaff. From the entrance track a Great White Egret near Boulderwall farm, in the fields several Curlews feeding and 2 Hares charging across the field. From the viewing ramp more Marsh Harriers, several Bearded Tits, 2 Brent Geese flew into Dengemarsh and a Raven flew over. The Hayfields are looking really good for spring waders but only held 2 Oystercatchers today. Burrowes was very quiet as most the wildfowl has departed but the Long-tailed Duck was still present. No sign of the Glossy Ibis in the Emu paddock this morning.
Lunchtime I was viewing the fields from Plodland watching a Marsh Harrier quartering the ditches, the next thing I knew it was 6.00 PM! I'd been asleep for 4 hours, I cant seem to shake this bout of man flu!     

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

American Herring Gulls in Iceland!

Unfortunately time constraints didn't allow more and better images. At least 2 others were seen.
 2w American Herring Gull with Eider (borealis)
 2w American Herring Gull

 1w American Herring Gull with more white wingers!
 Glaucous Gull with all pink bill!
 2w Glaucous Gull with adult Argentatus Herring Gull?
The only reasonable image I obtained of an Icelandic Redpoll. 

A few hours in the sun!

I managed to get a few hours in around the peninsular today. At Scotney the Black-necked grebe was still present as was the Great White Egret on the back lake, most of the wildfowl appears to have departed, 4 Curlews and 6 Dunlin were on the sheep field.
The Glossy Ibis was still in the paddock adjacent to Homeleigh Farm with the Emu, further down the road the 2 Black-throated Divers were still on The New Diggings, on the ARC 2 Goldeneye and a red head Smew and 2 Marsh Harriers,but here also most the wildfowl appears to have departed.
On the beach looking out from the lifeboat station the only gull on the sea was the 1w Glaucous Gull which then flew towards The Patch. By the fishing boats the highlight was a Yellow Brimstone flying in off the sea. Round the observatory a few Small Tortoiseshells and a Peackock butterfly.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Wonderful White Wingers!!!

Just a few Icelandic White Winger images this evening, in a break from my nursing duties of my poorly partner.  I still have many more images to go through when I get time.
 Glaucous Gulls

 Iceland Gulls

 Kumliens Gull

American Herring Gull with Glaucous and Iceland Gulls.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Iceland February 2014 (a non Gull Blog)

One of the main reasons for going to Iceland last month was for the Aurora Borealis which was probably at its best while we were there. However where we were staying at Grundarfjorour we were plagued by cloud, where as at Keflavic airport at least one photographer got fantastic images.
The very poor image below was my best effort, taken on our last night in Iceland at Keflavic, at ungodly hour in a freezing gale.  
Another reason for our trip was to go on a whale watching boat trip from Grundarfjorour with virtually guaranteed up close and personal views of Killer Whales. Unfortunately the whales hadn't been told we were coming and didn't show. A small compensation was provided by a pod of White Beaked Dolphins. The boat was quite small and very crowded, with far to many passengers for comfortable viewing, not a trip I would recommend even had we seen the Orcas.
White Beaked Dolphin
White Winged Melee over the Dolphins
Grundarfjorour from the Whale watch Boat
 Just a ten minute drive from Grundarfjorour is a fjord called Kolgrafafjourdur that has a bridge over it that the Orcas swim under following the Herring shoals. So after the disappointment of the boat trip we drove over there to try our luck.
Watching Killer Whales from the bridge at Kolgrafafjourdur
 As soon as we arrived we spotted 4+ Killer Whales which never really came close. They constantly had large melee of Gulls over them taking advantage of the Herring that the Whales pushed to the surface. Despite waiting till virtually dark the whales stayed in the inner part of the Fjord instead of heading out under the bridge to the open sea which would have given us great views.
My best effort of a Killer Whale in the Fiord
 While watching the whales we saw another pod of White Beaked Dolphins, 5+ White Tailed Sea Eagles, 40+ Purple Sandpipers, 100s of Shags, 100s of  Northern Eider and 100s of White Winged Gulls.
White Beaked Dolphins in the Fiord
Harlequin Ducks
From our base at Grundarfjorour we saw Harlequin Ducks each day, unfortunately they were only reasonably close in the early morning, as it did not get light till 09.00 photographing them was problematical with ISO and very slow shutter speeds. We also saw there White Billed, Great Northern and Red Throated Divers, Red Breasted Mergansers, Goosanders, White Tailed Eagles, Northern Eiders, Shags, Long-tailed Ducks, a flock of several hundred Snow Buntings and 100s of White Winged Gulls.

We also found what we at first thought was a King Eider which got us very excited. On closer inspection the shoulders should be black and the bill is not quite right. It is an Eider/King Eider hybrid!   

On our last day we visited Geysir where Strokkur performed about every 8 minutes.
Strokkur Geyser

Photo Bombed!!!
 Many of the lakes held Whooper Swans
On our way back to Reykjavic we caught up with several Barrow's Goldeneye and a an American White Winged Scoter and more Long-tailed Ducks, all of which were to distant for any worth while images.
 Also on our last day we visited the Poll Garden Centre, where an American vagrant a Lincoln's Sparrow has taken up residence, which I believe is a first record for the Western Palearctic. While at the garden centre we saw a Common Crossbill (an Icelandic rarity) a Wren, a Goldcrest, a Short Eared Owl, Redwings, Blackbirds, Sbnow Buntings, Icelandic Redpolls and the seemingly ever present Ravens which were decidedly camera shy. 
 Lincoln's Sparrow

Tree dwelling Snow Buntings
 A frozen landscape!
The stunning view of 100s of White Winged Gulls from the harbour wall at Sneafellsbear.
Hopefully the Gull Blog tomorrow!!!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Back at Dungeness!

Keeping the Emu company.

A Dunge tick!!!!!!!
 Driving down to the ARC this morning the Glossy Ibis was showing well with the Emu just south of Cockles Bridge. On the opposite side of the road a Great White Egret and Little Egret feeding in the fields. On the New Diggings the 2 Black Throated Divers still in situ. The 1w Glaucous Gull was still by the fishing boats per DB.
Still on The New Diggings
Walking from the ARC car park to the Viewing ramp at Hookers, plenty of Tree Sparrows by Boulderwall Farm and another Great White Egret in the fields, with a few Curlew and the usual Greylags and Canada Geese. Marsh Harriers were much in evidence but the Penduline Tits were a no show while I was at the ramp. Back at the ARC 2 Smew could be seen with 2+ Goldeneye and the usual diving and dabbling ducks, 2 Common Buzzards and 2 Marsh Harriers were over the Tower Pits. Hopefully will soon get get some of the Iceland stuff on, am still but sorting out the images.