Thursday, 14 January 2016

Glaucous Gulls!

An absolutely punishingly cold morning sea watch at the fishing boats today. There was very little moving off shore, just some localised feeding movement of a few Guillemots, Red-throated Divers, Kittiwakes and Gannets, because of the lack movement I only last half an hour before seeking the warmth of the car. I through out some scraps of bread and instantly the regular 1w Caspian Gull appeared.
From the entrance track on the reserve 3 Smew including the drake, 2 Great White Egrets and a Bittern that flew towards the ARC. I drove the short distance to Scotney and immediately spotted the Tundra Bean Goose and was interrupted by a message from RBA about a Glaucous Gull by the entrance track on the reserve, exactly the place I left minutes earlier. Minutes later I was back there seeing a Jay on the way but no Glaucous Gull, I found out later it was a fly over seen by AP. I made my way to the VC and had a look at the Long-eared Owl, 4 more Smew were on Burrowes, while have a hot chocolate in the VC a Firecrest was in the scrub in front the window.
Speaking to AP he told me had seen the Glaucous Gull distantly from the entrance track and it had flown towards the sea, he was only able to obtain long distance images which were inconclusive in ageing the Gull. From the VC I went to the beach in the hope of finding the Glaucous Gull, not long after arriving at the beach I spotted a Glaucous Gull sitting on the beach about 400yds away, as I moved to get closer to it the bird flew off over fishing boats towards The Point and appeared to land there. DB joined me at The point and the bird flew back to the boats showing well to all who chose to come and see it. Later I threw some bread out to try and tempt it in closer, it immediately came for the bread as did the Caspian Gull and to my and MFs amazement another Glaucous Gull appeared though quickly moved off. I at first thought it was another 1w bird but on reviewing the some of MFs quickly shot off images showing a pale eye proving it to be a 2w. A few of the images can be seen below, still many more to review.
 1w Glaucous Gull
 1w Glaucous Gull
 1w Glaucous Gull
 1w Glaucous Gull
 1w Glaucous Gull
 1w Glaucous Gull
 2w Glaucous Gull
 2w Glaucous Gull
2w Glaucous Gull

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Glaucous Bittern!

Early morning from the viewing ramp, 3 Bitterns including the Leucistic individual gave flight views this morning, though not very good photographic opportunities. 2 Great White Egrets could be seen in the fields, up to 4 Marsh Harriers quartered the reed beds, a Kingfisher, several Cetti's Warblers but no sign of the Penduline Tits, Bearded Tits or Dartford Warbler. 
Leucistic Bittern from the ramp this morning
A run around the marsh with MH was disappointing though we did see a dozen Tree Sparrows, Mistle Thrushes and 31 Bewick Swans at the wind turbines. A short visit to Pett saw the Glossy Ibis by the pool, 9 Brent Geese with 20 Whitefronts in the fields behind, c20 Redshanks and few Curlews,. A stop off at the double bends Scotney on the way back, found the Tundra Bean Goose and 10 Brent Geese among the many feral Greylags and Barnacle Geese.
 Glossy Ibis
This afternoon I spent another couple of hours in a fruitless search for the Dartford Warbler and Penduline Tits at the ramp, only to find a different Dartford Warbler where I parked the car. A late afternoon look from the ramp with SB saw of note 2 Bitterns 1 of which was perched, a Raven flew over. The drake Smew was on the Boulderwall pools at dusk.
The Long-eared Owl was on its usual perch and the 1w Caspian Gull was by the fish huts.
Reed Bunting at Hookers

Monday, 11 January 2016

More Little Gulls!

Little Gull from the fishing boats
08.00-10.10 from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose: 25E     8W
Common Scoter: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 13W
Great-crested Grebe: c40 around
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 203W
Cormorant: 889 came out of Lade Bay
Great Skua: 1W
Little Gull: 16W
Kittiwake: 109W
Caspian Gull: 1 the regular 1w bird was by the puddles
Guillemot: 140W
Razorbill: 5W
At a rain lashed and windswept Scotney I couldn't find any Whitefronts or the Tundra Bean Goose among the sleeping hordes of Greylags, a single Brent Goose was with the feral Barnacle Geese, even the Black-necked Grebe was hiding.
 At the ARC the Cormorant island is now under water, also the Willow Trail is now closed due to flooding.  From Hanson small numbers of Tufted Duck, Pochard, Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler a single Great White Egret was of note.
A couple of hours spent on the ramp this afternoon failed to see the Penduline Tits, nor any Bearded Tits or Bitterns. A kingfisher showed well, several Cetti's Warblers were heard and seen along with 3 Great White Egrets and 4 Marsh Harriers. The Long Eared Owl was still showing behind the Dipping Pool today.

Saturday, 9 January 2016


Great Skua on the beach this afternoon
08.00-11.00 at the fishing boats with RO,LO,SO and MC
Brent Goose: 89E
Common Scoter: 6W
Velvet Scoter: 1 around
Eider: 1W
Red-breasted Merganser: 3W
Red-throated Diver: 29W
Graet Northern Diver: 1W
Gannet: 106W
Curlew: 2W
Great Skua: 3W
Arctic Skua: 1 o/s
Little Gull: 23W
Kittiwake: 92W
Guillemot: 157W
Razorbill: 72W
Auk sp: 78W
Grey Seal: 1
Distant Velvet Scoter
A text from RS this afternoon alerted me to a Great Skua that he, Chiddy and MS had found and was posing near the fishing boats.
Unfortunately it was partially oiled but feeding well on the fish offal, it was easily seeing off any Great Black Backed and Herring Gulls that were brave enough to come near it. It was still present on the beach late afternoon when we left.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Great Northern Diver!

Great Northern Diver over the fishing boats this morning 
08.30-10.00 from the fishing boats with DW.
Common Scoter: 4W
Velvet Scoter: 1W
Red-throated diver: 7W     7E
Great northern diver: 1W
Fulmar: 3W
Gannet: 58W
Turnstone: 3 around
Oystercatcher: 1W
Little Gull: 1W
Kittiwake: 34W
Guillemot: 134W
Razorbill: 91W
Auk sp: 75W
Great Northern Diver
Smew from Dennis's Hide
On the reserve today the Long-eared Owl still showing to the crowds, the drake Smew showed well from Dennis's hide along with a red head Smew and a Shag.
From the viewing ramp up to 5 Bitterns were seen, also a Kingfisher, Water Rails, Great White Egrets and Marsh Harriers and what was probably a Penduline Tit, but the view was brief and distant. On the pool behind Hookers a Slavonian Grebe.
At Scotney The Tundra Bean Goose, 25 White-fronted Geese, a Brent Goose all among the 100s of feral Geylags and Barnacle Geese, also a Black-necked Grebe there.
 White-fronted Geese at Scotney
A drive around Walland Marsh failed to find any Bewick Swans, but did find 5+ Common Buzzards, 6+ Marsh Harriers, Fieldfares, Redwings, several Mistle and Song Thrushes, 20+ Tree Sparrows and 6 Yellowhammers of note.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Little Gulls!

Most of the Little Gulls were close in shore
09.00-11.50 from the fishing boats with MH and DW. The first hour of the watch was in atrocious conditions, thankfully the boats gave us shelter from the worst of the weather.
Brent Goose: 10E       12W
Teal: 31E
Common Scoter: 4W
Red-breasted Merganser: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 7W    6E
Great-crested Grebe: N/C
Gannet: 24W
Cormorant: c300 around
Oystercatcher: 124E
Turnstone: 3 around
Knot: 1E
Great Skua: 1W
Little Gull: 120W Only 1 juvenile!!!!
Mediterranean Gull: 4E
Kittiwake: 58W
Guillemot: 134W
Razorbill: 2W
Auk sp: 23W   13E
Little Gulls

Brent Geese passing the fishing boats
At the fish hut the 1w Caspian Gull was showing extremely well also a colour ringed Great Black-backed Gull there.
1w Caspian Gull by the fish hut
JH485 Great Black-backed Gull by the fish hut (ringed at Tromso north of the arctic circle per DW)
A quick visit to a very busy reserve saw a couple of Peregrines, Marsh Harriers and a red head Smew of note, though the Long-eared Owl was still present, also the Penduline Tit and a Shag were reportedly still present.
At Scotney the Tundra Bean Goose and a single Greater White-fronted Goose among the Greylags, little else was seen in the windswept conditions.
Late afternoon in the Willow Trail 2 Chiffchaffs of note and a red head Smew from Hanson.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

A very brief Penduline!

Great White Egret at South end of the ARC early morning

08.10-09.10 from the fishing boats:
Teal: 2W
Red-throated Diver: 82W
Great-crested Grebe: 210 off shore
Fulmar: 2W
Gannet: 11W
Cormorant: N/C
Mediterranean Gull: 7W
Little Gull: 7W
Guillemot: 48W
Razorbill: 2W
Auk sp: 112W
Great White Egret from the RSPB entrance track this morning
On Burrowes Pit today 3 Shags, a Slavonian Grebe and 6+ Goldeneye of note. The |Long Eared Owl was still behind the Dipping Pond though somewhat obscured.
2 of the 3 Shags on Burrowes today
As it was the first still day for a long while I thought I'd take a look at the back of Scotney, first I drove to the double bends where a pair of Smew could be seen.
 Distant Smew on Scotney
Among the 100s of Greylags I finally caught up with the Tundra Bean Goose, also 17 Greater White- fronted Geese and 4 Brent Geese among the 100+ Barnacle Geese.
 Tundra Bean Goose in its usual sleepy pose!
Some of the Greater White-fronted Geese at Scotney!
Grey Wagtail at Scotney Farm
My walk around Scotney Farm saw a Grey Wagtail, Black Redstart and Little Owl of note, disappointingly no Corn Buntings, Skylarks or Tree Sparrows there.
News of a couple of Penduline Tits at Hookers drew me back to the reserve. After about an hours wait I managed a very brief view of 1 of the Penduline's, while waiting a Kingfisher showed well, Cetti's Warblers were singing, Marsh Harriers were around, a Peregrine flew through and just before dark the leucistic Bittern made a Brief flight.  

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Raining Shags!

 Slow with the camera as this Shag gave us a very close fly by (my first at Dunge since April 2014)
MH joined me at the fishing boats this morning despite the frequent rain and hail storms.
Brent Goose: 27
Teal: 11W
Common Scoter: 6W
Eider: 1W  as drake
Red-throated Diver: 11W
Great-crested Grebe: 72 around
Fulmar: 11W
Gannet: 299W
Cormorant: c200 around
Shag: 1W
Oystercatcher: 6E
Dunlin: 2W
Grey Plover: 4W
Little Gull: 19W
Kittiwake: 60W
Guillemot: 169W
Razorbill: 2W
Auk sp: 18W
 Little Gulls passing the boats this morning

At Scotney I was still unable to find the Tundra Bean Goose among the Greylags. 4 brent Geese among the 100+ Barnacle Geese, a flock of 10 Redshank was notable there, but I found nothing else of note there in horrendous conditions.
Shag from Dennis's hide
As I arrived at very wet RSPB reserve, DB told me that a Shag had been seen on Burrowes but had gone missing. When the rain eased a little I made a dash for the shelter of the Visitor Centre, shortly after I settled myself in there PK spotted the Shag in front the centre, I dashed to Dennis's hide where I had excellent views of the bird as it swam by. I returned to the visitor centre where a red head Smew flew by while I was waiting for the rain to abate, BB joined me as he had come to see the Shag, we went back to to Dennis's to look for it and to my astonishment there were 2 Shags there, after waiting nearly 2 years to see a Shag at Dungeness I see 3 in a day! Also on Burrowes a Kingfisher and a Great White Egret and the drake Smew was seen again by DB.
On the first pool past Boulderwall Farm a Slavonian Grebe, presumably yesterdays bird from Burrowes also another Great White Egret with another on the New Diggings.
2 Shags on Burrowes
3 of 21 Little Gulls past the boats this afternoon
This afternoon at the fishing boats with MH & DW:
Brent Goose: 4W
Teal: 37E   14W
Eider: 1W  adult fem
Red-throated Diver: 3W
Great-crested Grebe: N/C
Gannet: 65W
Cormorant: N/C
Little Gull: 21W
Kittiwake: 29W
Yellow-legged Gull: 1  3w feeding along shore line
Caspian Gull: 1 1w by the fish shack
Guillemot: 96W
Razorbill: 6W
Auk sp: 9W
The 1w Caspian Gull by the fish shack this afternoon

Monday, 4 January 2016


Eider past the fishing boats this morning
08.00-10.30 from the fishing boats with OL & AJG who collated the numbers.
Brent Goose: 2E
Teal: 12W
Common Scoter: 24W
Eider: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 48W
Great-crested Grebe: 57 around
Fulmar: 8W
Gannet: 140W
Cormorant: c200 around
Oystercatcher: 2E
Dunlin: 9W
Turnstone: 5 around
Mediterranean Gull: 1E
Little Gull: 10W
Kittiwake: 46W
Guillemot: 168W
Razorbill: 3W
Auk sp: 61W
Grey Seal: 1 around
Slavonian Grebe from Dennis's Hide
By 10.30 the weather had deteriorated to a mere monsoon, despite plenty of bread being deployed there was no sign of the 1w Caspian Gull.
At Scotney the geese were hunkered down, so once again I was unable to find the Tundra Bean Goose among the 100s of Greylags.
As I arrived on the reserve a Slavonian Grebe flew in to Burrowes Pit which seemed to disappear as quickly as it arrived. I made my way to Scott hide, stopping to admire the Long-eared Owl on the way, and glimpsing a Chiffchaff at Firth. I spent a couple of hours in Scott mainly because the rain was so heavy I couldn't leave, although I did see 2 red head Smew, and plenty of dabbling ducks.
Stonechat at Christmas Dell
In a brief respite in the rain I walked to Dengemarsh seeing a Stonechat and a Great White Egret at Christmas Dell. I met MH in Dengemarsh Hide where we sat out another rain storm seeing 3 Marsh Harriers and another Great White Egret, fortunately MH had his car outside the hide and kindly ran me back to the visitor centre where we had a cup of tea as darkness fell.