Thursday, 12 March 2015

Back at Dungeness!

1 of 2 Firecrests in the lighthouse garden yesterday
With a light south easterly blowing this morning I spent a disappointing hour in the seawatch hide in the company of AJG and BB. A few Red-throated Divers, Gannets and Common Scoter flew up channel, along with 200+ Brent Geese, a Goldeneye and 3 Sandwich Terns which went past before I arrived. 
On the shingle between the fishing boats and the lifeboat 3 Wheatears, 5 Black Redstarts, 3 Skylark, 4 Meadow Pipits and a superb Rubicola Stonechat.
A Black-necked Grebe was at the southern end of the New Diggings and couple of Goldeneye on the ARC. Scotney was disappointingly quiet but at least the Cattle Egrets were still in Dengemarsh Road.
This afternoon a wander up to The Pines found just the 1 Chiffchaff in the Sallows but many Reed Buntings and Chaffinches, A Green Woodpecker was doing its best to bring down the telegraph pole behind the screen hide, while 2 Marsh Harriers quartered the Tower pits.
Walking from the ARC to the back of Hookers saw 2 Great White Egrets, 3 Little Egrets, a Bittern, more Marsh Harriers, c100 Golden Plover, 6 Tree Sparrows and 2 Bearded Tits. While I was at the back of Hookers, a call from CT about a Slavonian Grebe on Dengemarsh gave me the spur to make my way to the hide there. There was no sign of the Grebe from the hide but CT could see it from Springfield Bridge. I made my way round the Hayfields seeing another Great White Egret and 3 more Little Egrets along with 3 Redshank in them. Finally reaching Springfield Bridge I eventually got views of the Slavonian Grebe through the reeds as it became more elusive. While waiting for it to show again 2 Peregrines put in an appearance along with a Great White Egret and a Bittern seen only by PT.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Cattle Egrets!

Most of my day was taken up with domestic stuff but I did manage to catch up with the Cattle Egrets again.


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Windswept Dunge!

07.40-08.40 from the sea watch hide:
Westerly 5 with showers:
Brent Goose: 95 E
Common Scoter: 5E
Red-throated Diver: 9E  3W  5 on sea
Great-crested Grebe: 6 on sea
Fulmar: 4W
Gannet: 20E  2W
Oystercatcher: 1W
Kittiwake: 1W
Auk: 3E  4W
Not the most exciting hour!
Herring Gull/Glaucous Gull Hybrid????
Another interesting Gull in the roost on The Point picked out by DW, looks like its got some Glaucous Gull in its lineage.
At a wind swept Scotney the 3 Black-necked Grebes were sheltering in the Kent pool, 2 Curlews and 50 Golden Plover could be seen on the turf along with the lonesome Barnacle Goose.
On Walland no sign of the Bewick Swans and Whooper Swan, presumably the Bewicks are on there way back to Russia. I have no idea about the Whooper!
The 2 Cattle Egrets were showing well in the ditch by the chicken sheds today! 
Early evening at the Egret roost 9 Littles, 4 Great Whites and 2 Cattle Egrets came in. While I was waiting 2 redhead Smew and a Goosander flew over, as did 6 Marsh Harriers.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Thin Fare!

 07.30-08.30 from the sea watch hide:
Brent Goose: 1w
Common Scoter: 4E
Red-throated Diver:  23E   5W
Great-crested Grebe: 14 on sea
Fulmar: 4W
Gannet: 4E
Kittiwake: 2W
Guillemot: 1E
Auk sp: 4E
At The Patch among the 100s of  Black-headed Gulls a striking leucistic individual was the only bird of note there.
Leucistic Black-headed Gull

In the Gull roost on The Point  a 1w Caspian Gull picked out by DW, as I got on to it and lifted the camera all the Gulls flushed and the Caspian flew off.
Another look at the sea this afternoon produced nothing in the very strong westerly winds.
The ARC from the causeway just a single red head Smew of note.
Burrowes Pit and Dengemarsh were very rough, apart from a couple of Marsh Harriers and Little Egrets, Shoveler, Gadwall and 5 Goldeneye little was seen here.
Scotney was more like an ocean with waves breaking over the islands and the wind howling across the turf, not surprisingly there was very little to be seen there.
The Cattle Egrets could be seen in the ditch by Brickwall Farm sheltering from the wind. 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

March Blows In!

At Horsebones Farm this morning the Bewick Swan herd had diminished to 40 , the neck collared bird was still present as was the the Whooper Swan. The usual Sparrows,Finches and buntings could be seen at the feeders and seed dump. 1,000s each of Lapwing and Golden Plover filled the sky over Cheyne, probably flushed by Marsh Harriers or Common Buzzards. 
At Brickwall Farm the 2 Cattle Egrets were still wandering around the fields by the chicken sheds.
 At Scotney a Little Egret strutted it stuff on the flood pools, where another 50 Golden Plover fed.
An hour at The Patch saw c2,000 Black-headed Gulls, c20 Common Gulls, c200 Herring Gulls, c10 Lesser-black backed Gulls and c50 Great-black backed Gulls but no quality Gulls. A party of 17 Brent Geese flew east and just a handful each of Red-throated Diver and Great-crested Grebe were off shore, just 4 Gannets were seen.
On the ARC from the causeway 5 red-head Smew, 6 Goldeneye and still plenty of the common Wildfowl.
 Lapwing at Cockles Bridge
 Red-legged Partridge at Cockles Bridge now becoming scarce on the peninsular.
7 of the 14 Ruff
Back at Scotney this afternoon a party of 14 Ruff on the turf (the first this year on the patch) with 8 Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plover, 27 Golden Plover, 4 Oystercatcher, a Curlew and the Little Stint. On the lake the 3 Black-necked Grebes, a Peregrine put in an appearance flushing everything.

Saturday, 28 February 2015


On the way home last night after a day in West Sussex yesterday, I spent some time Owling on Walland, where a Long-eared Owl which flew across in front of me landed on a branch. I stopped the car underneath the branch just a few feet from the Owl, we stared at one another for 2-3 minutes before the Owl continued hunting. A brilliant moment and another patch year tick.
This morning a strong SW wind and drizzle greeted me at The Point where MH and CP were already in-situ:
Brent Geese:  415 up
Shelduck:  3 up  3 down
Pintail: 20 up
Common Scoter: 9 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 2 up
Red-throated Diver:     572  up    29 down
Great-crested Grebe: 49 down  6 on sea
Fulmar: 13 up      9 down
Gannet:  136 up     27 down
Cormorant:  c150 around
Oystercatcher: 7 up
Turnstone: 1 on beach
Kittiwake:  67  down
1w Glaucous Gull:  1 up (CP,MH) which I missed, I was probably doing the numbers!!!!!!!!!
Guillemot: 2 down
Auk sp: 86 down    14 up

As the weather deteriorated I had a look around the Gull roosts for the Glaucous Gull to no avail.
By the time I'd been home for breakfast, the rain had really set in and visibility was very poor so I called it a day.
It would appear all the usual birds were still be found around Dungeness despite the weather.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015


08-45-10.45 with MH:
Dark-bellied Brent Goose: 473 up
Pale-bellied Brent Goose:     1 up
Great-crested Grebe: 1,432 on sea (my best count this year)
Red-throated Diver: 10 down    3 up
Gannet: c25 off shore
Oystercatcher: 6 up
Turnstone: 1 on beach
Kittiwake: 6 down
Guillemot: 1 on sea
Auk sp: 6 down
Raven: 4 down

A drake and duck Smew was at the south end of the New Diggings, over the road on the ARC another duck 7 Goldeneye and a Great White Egret.
At Scotney the 3 Black-necked Grebes still but little else of note.
The Egret roost this evening was some what disappointing with just 7 Little Egrets and 5 Great White Egrets, though a Bittern dropping into the roost was a bonus.  Once again the Starlings put on a spectacular display especially when attacked by a Sparrowhawk and 1 of 6 Marsh Harriers that flew over. 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

A Good Day!

Very quiet on the sea again this morning, just a few Red-throated Divers, Gannets, Cormorants and 178 Great-crested Grebes. A walk from the fishing boats to the lifeboat station and back with AJG, was notable for the lack of birds except the 100s of Gulls on the sands.  A single Curlew on the sands and 21 Meadow Pipits and 3 Stock doves by the road.
At the south end of the New diggings, a Black-necked Grebe, 4 red head Smew and a Great White Egret.
 At Scotney the Little Stint was associating with 16 Ringed Plovers. 2 Black-necked Grebes and the Scaup could be seen from the double bends. 2 Marsh Harriers were hunting the north bank. At the farm 2 Tree Sparrows and 7 Corn Buntings.
 At Horsebones Farm 54 Bewick Swans still and the Whooper Swan, nearby the usual Sparrows and finches at the Baynham farm feeders.
While in the Plodland garden having my lunch the above Great White Egret flew over at roof top level. Although I see them most days from the garden this is the first one to fly right over.

This afternoon at Cockles Bridge a Kestrel sat in the sun, in the fields c1,000 each of Golden Plover and Lapwing being flushed by a couple of Buzzards.
Another short sea watch this afternoon was quieter than this morning the highlight being 15 Brent Geese flying up channel.
On the reserve from Dennis's hide, another Black-necked Grebe, 2 red head Smew and 2 red Goosander of note, the Red-crested Pochard was still on the dipping pond.
Early evening at the Egret roost numbers were lower than usual, 14 Little Egrets, 7 Great White Egrets and the 2 Cattle Egrets. While waiting for the Egrets to come in a Bittern flew over as did 5 Marsh Harriers, Smew, Goosander and Goldeneye were seen, a Sparrowhawk attacked the the Starling flock causing a spectacular display. As I started to leave a Barn Owl came in and appeared to pluck a Starling from its roost. A brilliant end to a very good day!  

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Colour ringed Little Stint!

Colour ringed Little Stint, Scotney. (Probably part of a Norwegian Project.)
As it was superb bright frosty morning I decided I'd have a wander around the Scotney complex. 
First I walked from the farm entrance along the cycle path to the red brick bungalow and back. The main lake was like a mirror it was so calm and the Kent end was frozen. The 3 Black-necked Grebes were easy to spot as they swam around together, while on the edge of the lake the Little Stint was associating with 2 Dunlin, I could see that it was colour ringed but to far off to sort out. (I eventually got better views this afternoon in much duller conditions)
20 Ringed Plover ran around the turf along with 4 Redshank, a Curlew and c40 feral Barnacle Geese. On the the far side of the lake 2 Egyptian Geese but no sign of any wild geese. The Scaup was still associating with some Pochard and 3 Little Egrets were around the lake.
 Green Sandpiper, Scotney.
By the time I got back to the farm entrance a light breeze was rippling the lake and breaking the ice. As I wandered up to the farm a Green Woodpecker flew over as did a Marsh Harrier. Round the farm a couple of Tree Sparrows, several Corn Buntings and Green Sandpiper flew over, I continued along the track beside the back lake towards Jury Gap seeing of note 9 Little Grebes, 22 Shelduck, 12 Pintail, 5 Little Egrets, 6 Redshank, 3 Marsh Harriers and 2 Great White Egrets one of which flew back into Kent over me. The fields were virtually bird less with just a few Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and Pied Wagtails, once again no Hen Harrier.   
 Great White Egret in Sussex.
Red-crested Pochard skulking in the reeds!
In January I resisted temptation to twitch a female Red-crested Pochard on Lade pit, so today with news of drake on the reserve I crumbled, joined MH on the bench at the dipping pool twitching a plastic duck.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

A Gull and some Egrets!

Most the morning was taken up with domestic stuff, I did manage a brief look at at Scotney in the sleet and snow finding only the 3 Black-necked Grebes of note. Early afternoon at The Point yesterdays 3w Caspian Gull was in the roost, which was often disturbed by dog walkers.
3w Caspian Gull
Early evening 22 Little Egrets, 10 Great White Egrets and 2 Cattle Egrets roosted on the reserve. Around the reserve plenty of the common wildfowl, 8+ Smew, at least 1 Goosander, a Black-necked Grebe, a Barn Owl and regular sightings of Bitterns.