Thursday, 13 November 2014

The sea produces the birds again!

Due to internet problems no post yesterday, but apart from being a 5 Grebe day(Little, Black-necked, Slavonian, Red-necked and Great-crested Grebe) it was fairly quiet.
 Grey Phalarope off the fishing boats today
Sea watching today produced as follows. Thanks to AJG and MH for helping to collate the numbers.

Brent Goose: 6 W  8 E
Velvet Scoter: 7 W single flock
Red-breasted Merganser: 8 W
Red-throated Diver: 8 W
Gannet: 207 W
Sparrowhawk: 1 out
Curlew: 2 W
Grey Phalarope: 1  settled on sea for a minute or so then flew back east
Pomarine Skua: 7 W
Mediterranean Gull: 30 W
Common Gull: 168 W counted in first hour
Little Gull: 15 W
Kittiwake: 192 W
Sandwich Tern: 1 W
Guillemot: 3 W
Razorbill: 12 W
Auk sp: 30 W
Wood Pigeon: 16 W
Skylark: 1 in  7 out
Meadow Pipit: 4 W
Goldfinch: 1,510 W
Linnet: 15 W
Grey Seal: 1
Juv. Pomarine Skua past the fishing boats today
While I was watching 2 Great White Egrets at the south end of the ARC today DB was watching 5 on Burrowes Pit making at least 7 around the reserve. From Hanson the 2 Slavonian Grebes still present, also the red head Smew.
While on Burrowes the Black-necked Grebe still and the 2 Cattle Egrets still with the cattle in the Dengemarsh area.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


With a brisk SE wind blowing this morning hopes for a good sea watch were high, unfortunately it was not quite as lively as hoped.
07.05-08.05 from the fishing boats with BM and AJG who also collated the numbers:
Shelduck: 1 W
Wigeon: 2 W
Teal: 3 W
Common Scoter: 3 W
Gannet: 61 W
Fulmar: 1 W
Dunlin: 6 W
Great Skua: 2 W
Mediterranean Gull: 2 W
Kittiwake: 32 W
Auk sp: 56 W
Razorbill: 1 W
Starling: 160 in
Stock Dove: 6 W
A wander around the sea containers towards the lifeboat station found A Black Redstart, a Robin and a Wren.
At the south end of the ARC a Black-necked Grebe and a Great White Egret, also another Great White egret on the New Diggings from the causeway.
At Scotney c250 Golden Plover by the double bends and the usual flock of feral Barnacle Geese but little else of note. In the fields by Dengemarsh Road another flock of c250 Golden Plover and 2 Egyptian Geese.
 A visit to Dengemarsh with MH saw 2 brief flights of a Bittern, a Great White Egret dropped in and a Marsh Harrier but little else, on the way out by the coral we spotted the 2 Cattle Egrets which then flew towards Dengemarsh. From Dennis's Hide 2 more Great White Egrets, 4 Little Egrets and 3rd year Yellow-legged Gull of note.
An hour in Hanson with MH this afternoon saw the 2 Slavonian Grebes, 6 Goldeneye, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Black-tailed Godwit of note. By the hide 4 Goldcrests and a Water Rail.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Thunderstorms bring in the Slavonian Grebes!

After a night of non stop thunderstorms I arrived at the fishing boats at c08.45, it was still raining, just not quite so hard. After 15 minutes I'd logged just a handful of Gannets and Kittiwakes tooing and froing, when yet another thunderstorm rolled in from the channel cutting visibility to zero.
 Goldcrest Dengemarsh Gully
After another breakfast the rain had eased a little. I drove down the rough track which is now a lake to Dengemarsh Gully. In the Gully a single Goldcrest and several Blackbirds and Robins also a small flock of Linnets.
 Scruffy Slavonian Grebe ARC
I went onto the reserve this afternoon to check out the Gull roost which I found to be non existent, My hope of checking the roosting Gulls from Makepiece were dashed when I went into Dennis's hide and could see that the islands in front of Makepiece were just about submerged.
Late afternoon over the road on the ARC from Hanson a scruffy looking Slavonian Grebe was showing quite well in the gloom. Scanning the wildfowl flock which was constantly being harassed by 2 Marsh Harriers, I found another Slavonian Grebe, a much smarter looking individual, also 5 Goldeneye and on the margins 2 Great White Egrets. I was just about to leave as it was now almost dark, when presumably yesterdays Red Head Smew swam out of the reeds. 
 Smart Slavonian Grebe ARC
Red Head Smew at dusk ISO 2000

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Another learning curve!

 Pomarine Skua
 Pomarine Skua
07.10- 11.00 AJG,DW and Paul thanks to AJG for collating the numbers:

Brent Goose: 4 W
Wigeon: 3 W
Shoveller: 13 W
Common Scoter: 22 W
Red throated Diver 1 down
Gannet: 758 W
Great Skua: 11 W
Pomarine  Skua: 6 W
Arctic Skua: 4 W
Mediterranean Gull: 2 W
Kittiwake: 247 W
Sandwich Tern :1 W
Auk sp: 21 W
Razorbill: 9 W
Guillemot: 1 W

Goldfinch: 208 W
Due to domestic stuff the sea watch was all I managed today.
What I believed at first to be an abherrant Long-tailed Skua is probably an Arctic Skua. When the photo is zoomed right in on the tail the central tail feathers are in fact pointed making it an Arctic. Many thanks to DW for his research.

Friday, 7 November 2014

4 Skua Day!

A day of torrential rain at times and strong southerly veering to Westerly winds, meant that sea watching was the only viable birding to be done. Although there was not a huge passage of sea birds, there was definitely enough quality to keep me entertained, with a Grey Phalarope, a juvenile Long-tailed Skua and some Pomarine Skuas and more besides.  
Grey Phalarope at the fishing boats

08.00-10.45 and 13.10- 16.05 from the fishing boats with DW,AJG,MH,BM,PT
Brent Goose: 151 W   4 E
Shelduck: 2 W
Wigeon: 23 W
Teal: 6 W
Shoveler: 10 W
Pintail: 24 W
Common Scoter: 167 W
Red-breasted Merganser: 3 W
Red-throated Diver: 1 W  1 E
Gannet: 614 W
Sanderling: 2 W
Knot: 1 W
Bar-tailed Godwit:  3 W
Grey Plover: 10 W
Grey Phalarope: 1+ lingering
Great Skua: 5 W   1 E
Pomarine Skua: 5 W
Long-tailed Skua: 1 juv  W  at 14.55
Arctic Skua: 1 w
Mediterranean Gull: 2 W
Kittiwake: 193 W
Little Gull: 2 W
Guillemot: 7 W
Razorbill: 12 W
Auk sp: 103 W
Grey Phalarope at the fishing boats

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Red-rumped Swallow

A flat calm sea with some mist at the fishing boats this morning when I arrived. AJG and BM were already there and had had a fly over Snow Bunting but little passage at sea.
AJG and BM decided to bird around the Long Pits while I wandered around The Point just in case yesterdays Great Grey Shrike was still around. In the lighthouse garden just a couple of Robins chasing each other and 2 Blackbirds, also an adult male Sparrowhawk flashed through the garden across the road seemingly leisurely putting out 1 leg and plucked a House sparrow from the air. I saw a Swallow land on the wires at West Beach, because of the relatively late date and the light was good I decided to take a couple of pictures of it, it allowed me to creep more or less underneath it. While snapping away at it 2 House Martins appeared and then a Red Rumped Swallow alighted on the wires right above me. I quickly took a couple of images of the bird then started making phone calls, all the time aware of just how close I was to it and trying not to spook it. I then took a few more images then tweeted it. While tweeting it, it flew off towards the observatory with the 2 House Martins and 2 Barn Swallows, losing my chance of a flight shot. Fortunately at least 6 of the local birders manged to see it. 
A wander around the boats and sea containers found another Robin and Black Redstart.
 Red-rumped Swallow
  Red-rumped Swallow
  Red-rumped Swallow
 Red-rumped Swallow
With the wind getting up another watch from the fishing boats with MH 13.50-14.55 joined by PT and SM:
Brent Goose: 107 W
Common Scoter: 11 W
Velvet Scoter: 1 W
Red-throated Diver: 1 W
Gannet: 37 W
Mediterranean Gull: 7 around
Kittiwake: c30 around
Little Gull: 3 W
Auk sp: 32 W
Late afternoon on the reserve from Makepiece Hide , a 1w Caspian Gull, at least 5 Yellow-legged Gulls, 4 Great White Egrets and 8 Dunlin. The 2 Cattle Egrets were still around today.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Great Grey Shrike!

Late afternoon, DW and BC spotted  a Great Grey Shrike that had probably just come in, opposite the entrance to the road to the fishing boats. It was fairly mobile, though did come up onto the wires quite close for a record image in the fast fading light against a leaden sky.  For me it was welcome Dungeness tick.

Monday, 3 November 2014


The morning was a total wash out which gave me a chance to catch up on some domestic stuff.
This afternoon a visit to The Point from 13.40-14.10 only produced of any note 11 Gannets W, 2 Little Gulls W and 2 Auks W.  
 At the South end of the ARC a Great White Egret with a Little Egret, another Great White Egret could be seen on the New Diggings from the causeway. I stopped on the entrance track to the reserve to have a quick look for the Cattle Egret and was pleasantly surprised to see 2 of them feeding among the Cattle.
I met MH at the VC and we made our way to Makepiece Hide where there was another Great White Egret in the bushes by Scott Hide, a Black-necked Grebe could be seen but little else. The Islands were virtually devoid of roosting Gulls. 
We made our way back to Firth Hide where yet another Great White Egret and Little Egret were seen in the late afternoon gloom, 3 Little Grebes swam in front the hide as did 3 Pintail.
 The 2 Cattle Egrets at Boulderwall Farm
 Great White Egret in the gloom from Firth
Little Egret in the gloom from Firth

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Sabines Gull

Sea watching today 07.30 - 11.00 & 13.30 - 16.20
The undoubted star was the juvenile Sabines Gull spotted by CP.
Myself, AJG & MB had packed up at 10.15 and had just reached our cars when CP shouted the Sabines Gull. The 3 of us ran back the c75 yds across the beach to the boats in response, I was last to arrive being total unfit to run, let alone across pebbles. Fortunately the Gull was still showing giving good scope views but was to far out for photo's.
Brent Goose: 18 W
Fulmar: 1 W
Gannet: c1500 W
Goldeneye: 1 W
Common Scoter: 2 W  1 E
Red-breasted Merganser: 2 W
Great Northern Diver: 1W
Red throated Diver 1 W
Grey Heron: 1 out
Merlin: 2 in
Great Skua: 1 W
Pomarine Skua : 5 W
Mediterranean Gull: c20 around/W
Kittiwake: 321 W
Sabines Gull: 1 juv lingering off shore for several hours
Little Gull: 25 W
Sandwich Tern: 15 W
Arctic Tern: 1 W
Common Tern: 2 W
Razorbill: 1 W
Auk sp: 43 W
Starling: 70 in
Goldfinch 30 down
Harbour Porpoise: 2+

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Another Pom day!

Firecrest at the observatory
Due to domestic stuff I was unable to spend all day watching the sea, so only managed to see 14 including one of the adults of the 50+ Pomarine Skuas past Dungeness today, also the 2 Great White Egrets which headed south west out to sea, plus several Mediterranean and Little Gulls and a Great Skua.
On the way to the observatory where a Firecrest was trapped and ringed a Black Redstart on the fence at West Beach. 
Early afternoon a few minutes after receiving a call from SB to say PB had found a Dartford Warbler at Galloways I was watching it (my 220th species on the peninsular this year).  
 Dartford Warbler Galloways
Late afternoon on the reserve whilst walking up to Makepiece hide a Bittern flew into the New Excavations. On Burrowes from Makepiece a Long-tailed Duck, 2 Black-necked Grebes, c100 Golden Plover, 22 Dunlin and a single Curlew Sandpiper. In the Cormorant roost the Cattle Egret a Great White Egret and 6 Little Egrets, while in the gull roosts 2+ Yellow-legged Gulls.