Monday, 19 January 2015


Another bitterly cold and dull day on the peninsular, started with scraping the windscreen in the half light, then driving the 200 yds down the road to check on the 2 Cattle Egrets which were huddled up to a straw bale. Next stop the fishing boats where an hours sea watch from the relative comfort of the car was busy, but not exactly enthralling.
Brent Goose: 3 up
Red-throated Diver: 7 down    3 up
Great-crested Grebe: 182 up  + c100 on the sea
Gannet: 156 up distantly  + a feeding party of c40 birds in shore
Cormorant: c400 tooing and froing
Kittiwake: 12 down   8 up (a big change from yesterday)
Guillemot: 9 on sea  13 up    5 down.
By the lifeboat slipway c1,000 large gulls, try as I might I was unable to locate anything unusual among them.
Next a plod around the north end of the Long Pits which was virtually birdless but at least tramping around on the pebbles kept me warm.
After some warming soup I spent most of the afternoon at the ARC in Hanson hide, where I was joined by CT and MH. We all remarked how we take for granted all the birds we see here, that we are so lucky to have this as part of our local patch. This afternoon was no exception we saw at least 3 different Bitterns, 2+ Great White Egrets, a Little Egret, 4+ Grey Herons, 2+ Marsh Harriers, a Sparrowhawk, a Merlin, 2 Smew, 2 Goosander, 6 Goldeneye, c100 Shoveller and all the usual wildfowl, 2 Kingfishers, 3 Chiffchaff, and heard Cetti's Warbler and Water Rail and all from the comfort of the hide, while being regaled with jokes we have only heard a dozen times before.
Dusk at Scotney produced the 1w drake Scaup, 3 Black-necked Grebes, 3 Marsh Harriers and the usual bits and pieces.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Kittiwakes in the rain!

Another thoroughly miserable,e cold, wet day on the peninsular, the rain finally stopping late afternoon.
An hours sea watch from the comfort of the car near the fishing boats was remarkable for the modest passage of Kittiwakes.
Common Scoter: 1 down
Red-throated Diver: 18 down  1 up
Fulmar: 1 down
Gannet: 108  down
Great Skua: 1 up then down a few minutes later
Mediterranean Gull: 3 down
Kittiwake:  446 down
Auk: 207 down
The Cattle Egrets present and correct this morning if a bit soggy.
At Scotney the 1w drake Scaup still present but I was unable to locate any Black-necked Grebes.
A quick look at the back of Scotney found 12 Tree Sparrows, 24 Corn Buntings, 5 Little Egrets and 9 Little grebes of note.
Out on Walland Marsh The Bewick Swans and Whooper Swan still tho distant. Feeding under a hedge c100mts long no less than 70 Song Thrushes, 15 Redwing, c100 Fieldfare, c40 Blackbirds, 6 Mistle Thrushes and c40 Chaffinches. Elsewhere on the marsh c2,000 Lapwing, c1,000 Golden Plover, a flock of c25 Linnets and a couple of vocal Bearded Tits along with a Merlin and the ubiquitous Marsh Harriers and Common Buzzards

Saturday, 17 January 2015


Most of my day was taken up with domestic stuff, which was just as well as it rained for the most of it.
The Cattle Egrets are still in there chosen field in Dengemarsh Road, Lydd. A brief look at the the sea from the fishing boats in the company of DW where a 1w Caspian Gull put in a brief appearance, 3 Mediterranean Gulls were feeding off shore with the many Black-headed Gulls and few each of Gannet and Kittiwake.
Late morning I met up with Richard Smith who had very kindly collected my camera and lens from the repair shop, then delivered them to me today, thanks again Richard.
I managed to try it out late this afternoon at the ARC where a Kingfisher posed in the near dark,
the pics below were taken at 2000 ISO. They are a long way from perfect but a million times better than the happy snapper, so a repair bill a little shy of £600 is worth every penny, considering its in constant use hour after hour due to my stressful, demanding, exhausting lifestyle.
Also at the ARC  3 Bitterns, a Merlin, 2+ Sparrowhawks, 2 Great White Egrets, 4+ Smew, 5+ Goldeneye, a couple of squealing Water Rails and the usual wildfowl. 
 Kingfisher taken at 2000 ISO 160th sec  at 6.3

Friday, 16 January 2015

Flyboy Flushers!

The Cattle Egrets were still in their chosen field first thing this morning. A sea watch from the fishing boats 08.15-09.15 just about kept the interest going:
Wigeon: 60 up
Velvet Scoter: 2 down
Red-throated Diver: 12 down     1 up
Gannet: 24 down
Oystercatcher: 2 down
Mediterranean Gull: 3 down
Kittiwake: 52 down
Auk: 24 down
 A nice Bass and happy angler!
A jaunt to the bottom of Dengemarsh Gully with MH found no Scoter flock there, just 1,000s of Gulls on the beach.
At the reserve in the pouring rain a quick look from Dennis's found 2 Smew and 2 Great White Egrets. With 2 more from the entrance track. At Scotney 2 Black-necked Grebes and the drake Scaup along with all the usual wildfowl, though the Barnacle Goose flock was missing. 
 Whooper Swan with Bewicks
I spent the afternoon wandering around Walland Marsh, where the wild swan flock was at last reasonably close to the road, allowing me to read the neck collar on the Bewick Swan(053E). The flock contained 84 Bewick Swans including 13 juveniles, 1 Whooper Swan and 1 Greylag Goose.
 The neck collared Bewick Swan 053E
At various points around the marsh 30+ Reed Buntings, 9 Corn Buntings, 8 Yellowhammers with 50+ Chaffinches, 20+ Tree Sparrows, 100+ Fieldfare, numerous Blackbirds and Song Thrushes, c3,000 Lapwing, c2,000 Golden Plover all dodging a Peregrine, 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 Kestrel and 4 Common Buzzards, 8+ Marsh Harriers and a superb male Hen Harrier.
On the down side everything on the marsh was flushed by 2 very low flying Chinooks.

A poor photograph uncropped, taken with my happy snapper as 1 of the Chinooks skimmed the hedge I was behind, which gives an idea how low they were flying.

Thursday, 15 January 2015


Most this week I have been battling man flu, although I did manage to get to Hythe yesterday for distant views of the 1w Night Heron.
This morning was an absolute shocker with gales and torrential rain till mid morning. It eased enough for me to be able spend an hour sea watching at The Point from the car in the company of MH, though in truth it was not the most enthralling of watches.

Common Scoter: 3 down
Red-throated Diver: 7 down
Fulmar: 3 down
Gannet: 66 down
Kittiwake: 75 down
Auk: 121 down

In 2 short visits to the reserve 7 Smew including the drake, 3 Great White Egrets and the usual wildfowl, from the entrance track 5 Brent Geese were with the Greylags and Canada Geese, unfortunately the flock was to distant to study properly for any other grey geese, the hail showers were far to hard to risk being caught out in walking out to the back of Hookers for a better look, maybe tomorrow?
Late afternoon at the ARC from Hanson, again with MH we saw 2 Bitterns, 2 Kingfishers, 4 Smew, 6 Goldeneye, 2 Great White Egrets, a Little Egret, 2 Marsh harriers and the usual wildfowl.  

Monday, 12 January 2015

More Weather!

Yet another wild miserable day at Dungeness. This morning I managed a couple of hours sea watching from the shelter of the car.
08.30-10.30 From The Point
Brent Goose: 124 up
Common Scoter: 3 down
Red-throated Diver: 1 down
Fulmar: 9 down      1 up
Gannet: 96 down
Great Skua: 1 up
Kittiwake: 78 down
Auks:  c100 o/s
With the weather deterioating I made a stop on the causeway where a red head Smew, a Goosander and 2 Great White Egrets could be seen among the other sheltering wildfowl. Then to Lydd where the Cattle Egrets were still in there chosen field. By now the weather was making birding impossible so time to get some domestic stuff done.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Plodding around!

 Sunrise from Plodland and bitterly cold!
08.15-09.15 from the fishing boats:
Mallard: 2 up
Red-throated Diver: 42 up     3 down
Great-crested Grebe: 56 up c100 on sea
Gannet: c50 o/s
Great Skua: 1 down
Kittiwake: 27 down   10+ on sea
Guillemot: c30 on sea
 Great White Egret from Makepeace!
On the reserve Great White Egret from Dennis,s Hide and another from Makepeace, 7 Smew including a drake from Scott hide also a Black-necked Grebe there, 100s each of Shoveler,Wigeon and Teal. Another red head Smew on New Excavations and another Great White Egret. From the viewpoint 2 more Great white Egrets and 2 Bitterns, 2 Bean Geese flew north over the return trail.
At Scotney the 3 Black-necked Grebes still and 1w drake Scaup.
 2 Smew and a Goosander happy snapped on the ARC from the causeway!
Rough ground around the Solar farm!
On the marsh this afternoon the wild Swan herd still insitu. While walking the green lanes of Coldharbour, little was seen until I reached the Solar farm where c200 Fieldfare, c100 Blackbirds, c50 Redwing, 6 Mistle Thrushes were commuting from the hedgerows to the solar farm to feed, they were joined by a few Reed Buntings, Chaffinches, Goldfinches and a Black Redstart. 2 Common Buzzards, 2 Sparrowhawks and a Kestrel were all hunting around the farm. Late afternoon at one of the Marsh Harrier Roosts saw at least 8 birds but none dropped in though at least 3 roosted in a nearby roost I could see.

Friday, 9 January 2015

A windy end!

Happy snapped Bonxie!
08.30-09.30 from The Point:
Brent Goose: 37 up
Common Scoter: 10 down
Red-throated Diver: 54 down       7 up
Fulmar: 1 down
Gannet:  296 down
Great Skua: 1 down
Kittiwake:   71 down
Auks: c 50 on sea#
At Lydd the 2 Cattle Egrets still in there chosen field.
I had to visit Folkstone today, on the way back I stopped off at the Twiss Road rocks in Hythe, where 2 Purple Sandpipers were roosting, on a nearby beach 6 Mediterranean Gulls were roosting.
Mid afternoon back at Dungeness sea passage had ceased but a 1w Caspian Gull was in the roost.
On the reserve from Dennis's Hide where the wind was now howling with some drizzle a drake and duck Smew flew down the lake and a Great White Egret could be seen. Retiring to the VC the Smew gave another flyby and another Great White Egret could be seen.

Thursday, 8 January 2015


A thoroughly miserable morning with Torrential rain until 12.30. A morning plod along the green lanes at Coldharbour was rewarded by a thorough soaking. The wild swans could just about be seen as white blobs through the curtain of rain.
In Lydd the 2 Cattle Egrets looked very bedraggled and fed up with rain.
Happy snapped Black Redstart at the fishing boats.
When the rain finally stopped I spent half an hour at the fishing boats with little reward:
Brent Goose: 14 up
Common Scoter: 1 down
Red-throated Diver: 5 up
Gannet: c15 o/s
Kittiwake: 19 on sea
Auk: 8 up
Black Redstart: 1 by boats
This afternoon on the reserve all the usual wildfowl including 3 Bitterns at Hookers per CT, I saw  another 2 on the ARC, also some Cetti's Warblers singing in the sun
At Dusk 13 Little Egrets flew into the ARC roost as did 2 Great White Egrets.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Bits and Pieces!

I joined PT at The Patch this morning where 1,000s of Gulls were on the beach and over the boil, despite careful scrutiny we were unable to find any unusual Gulls. Offshore small numbers of Red-throated Divers, Gannets, Kittiwakes and Auks.
In Lydd the Cattle Egrets still showing well to a constant stream of admirers.
At Scotney the 1w drake Scaup and 2 Black-necked Grebes still among the Tufties and Pochard. The Barnacle Goose flock numbered 103 + 7 Emporer X Heinz 57 and c500 Greylags, also a Kingfisher there.
On Walland 83 Bewick Swans, the Whooper Swan and a single Greylag but no sign of any Tundra Bean Geese. On the marsh large flocks of Lapwing and Golden Plover but thrushes seem to have all but disappeared.
On the reserve this afternoon large numbers of common wildfowl, 7 red-head Smew, 3+ Great White Egrets, 2 Marsh Harriers and elusive Firecrest in the windy conditions. From the entrance track a flock of 42 Curlew, 50+ Golden Plover, c500 Lapwing, 2 Marsh Harriers, a Common Buzzard and 2 Great White Egrets.
I abandoned a late afternoon visit to Scotney due to the rain and high winds.