Sunday, 7 February 2016

Quiet after the Storm.

After a very wild night weather wise on the peninsula and the SW wind still blowing I wasn't expecting much of a sea watch, which was just as well as nothing was moving at sea. A few Auks and Kittiwakes were tooing and froing and a handful of Gannets were feeding also the 1w Little Gull gave a fly by. The 1w Glaucous Gull flew by and the 1w Caspian Gull landed more or less at my feet, I resisted the temptation to take more pictures of them. I started to walk towards the Lifeboat Station where 100s of Gulls were feeding along the tideline, as I headed out towards them they were all spooked possibly by an unseen Great Skua, anyway they all flew towards me including the 1w Glaucous Gull again which landed just a few feet from me. This time I could not resist taking a few more snaps. Also 35 Turnstones flew in which I did resist.   
 Just couldn't resist a few more snaps.
At Scotney there was no change, the waves were lashing the Herring Gull island while on the lake just a few Tufted Duck and Wigeon sheltering in the bays.
Early afternoon back at the fishing boats there was even less off shore. On the beach the Glaucous and Caspian Gull were being well fed while posing very nicely for there constant stream of admirers. Galloways apart from a few Stock Doves and a Kestrel it was its usual disappointing self.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Sea Watching

1w Glaucous Gull in the gloomy morning light.
2 sea watches today in strong SSW winds 08.30-10.00 & 12.20-14.45. On both occasions the Great Skua flew past I was for warned as the 1,000s of Gulls lifted high off the sea to escape its attentions.
Brent Goose: 70E
Common Scoter: 14E
Red-throated Diver: 26W
Great-crested Grebe: 47 on sea
Fulmar: 3W
Gannet: 99W
Cormorant: c600W
Oystercatcher: 1W
Turnstone: 6 on beach
Great Skua: 1W flew back East this afternoon
Little Gull: 1 1w around
Black-headed Gull: c3,000W
Common Gull: c1000W
Herring Gull: c1500W
Caspian Gull: 1 the regular 1w bird
Glaucous Gull: 1 the regular 1w bird
Kittiwake: 231W + feeding flock of c60
Guillemot: 619W
Razorbill: 18W
Auk sp: 78W
Wood Pigeon: 9W
 Some of the Gannets came close inshore
The regular 1w Caspian Gull

Thursday, 4 February 2016

A fairly quiet day weather wise and bird wise today at Dungeness.
08.15-09.15 from the fishing boats
Red-throated Diver:  36W  3E
Fulmar: 8W
Gannet: 38W
Cormorant: many present
Turnstone: 4 on beach
Glaucous Gull: 1  regular 1w bird on beach
Kittiwake: 78W
Guillemot: 37W
Razorbill: 16W
Auk sp: 521W
On my way to Scotney a quick stop off at the southern end of the New Diggings saw 2 Black-necked Grebes of note there.
A wander around the back of Scotney found of note 33 White-fronted Geese and 8 Brent Geese among the hordes of Greylag Geese, 2 Peregrines flew over as did 2 Marsh Harriers, 10 Pintail were on the eastern lake, a Stonechat, 4 Corn Buntings, 6 Skylark and few Reed Buntings were in the weedy areas. On my back the White-fronted Geese relocated to the sward beside the main lake.
Some of the White-fronted Geese at Scotney
 This afternoon back at the beach the 1w Glaucous Gull and the 1w Caspian Gull were showing very well. A count of 372 Great-crested Grebes feeding off The Point this afternoon. The 2 Long-eared Owls were still in the bushes behind the Dipping Pool.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

With the demise of the Grey Partridge even Red-legged Partridges are scarce on the peninsula now. These ones were at cockles Bridge early this morning. 
A much quieter morning at the fishing boats today.
Red-throated Diver: 11W
Great-crested Grebe: 100+ on sea
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 29W
Cormorant: n/c
Turnstone: 42 on beach
Kittiwake: 136W
Caspian Gull: 1 regular 1w bird on beach
Glaucous Gull: 1 regular 1w bird on beach
Guillemot: 36W
Razorbill: 112W
Auk sp: 47W
Still quiet on the reserve, a drake and duck Smew, 10+ Goldeneye, among the many Teal, Shoveler and Tufted Ducks,  the 2 Long-eared Owls still behind the Dipping Pool, Peregrine over, also 3+ Bitterns around Hookers, a Great White Egret and the usual Marsh Harriers.
This afternoon on The Point the 1w Glaucous Gull and 1w Caspian Gull were performing very well.
 1w Glaucous Gull
 2 for the price of 1
 1w Glaucous Gull
1w Caspian Gull

Monday, 1 February 2016


 The only Mediterranean Gull I saw though I probably missed some.
As I went to the fishing boats this morning a gale force westerly was blowing drizzle across The Point giving me very low expectations of a good sea watch. I was very pleasantly surprised to see a constant westerly passage of birds off shore from the relative shelter of the boats. Unfortunately I was on my own, so without a doubt I missed a whole lot more.
Brent Goose: 15E
Wigeon: 2W
Teal: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 9W
Great-crested Grebe: 124 on sea
Fulmar: 8W
Gannet: 139W
Cormorant: 1,074W
Turnstone: 36 on beach
Mediterranean Gull: 1W
Kittiwake: 492W
Black-headed Gull: c1,000W
Common Gull: c1,500W
Herring Gull: c500W
Caspian Gull: 1 regular 1w bird on beach
Glaucous Gull: 1 regular 1w bird on beach
Guillemot: 1,310W
Razorbill: 2,613W
Auk sp: 227W

 The 1w Glaucous Gull in the beach roost
On the reserve 2 Long-eared Owls were hunkered down deep in the bushes behind the Dipping Pond, from Makepiece a red head Smew was among a couple of hundred Teal sheltering at the back of the Burrowes. While in the VC in the company of MH the army let off 10 huge explosions on the ranges which flushed all the wildfowl on the reserve, among the 100s commoner wildfowl 4 Goosanders (2 drakes+2 ducks) and a Great White Egret flew across the lake. 
At Scotney there were 6 Ringed Plovers on the sward and once again very few geese though they are probably on the more sheltered back lake. The main lake was more like an Ocean with rollers swamping the Gull island, a single Goldeneye was in the centre of the lake while in the lee of the bays the Tufted Duck and Wigeon were sheltering. 
Back at the beach this afternoon 1,000s of Gulls were feeding along the shoreline but little was moving offshore. The 1w Caspian Gull was in the puddles, a short video of it can be seen HERE 
Late afternoon half an hour in Dennis's hide with MH 10+ Goldeneye, another Goosander flew through, a Great White Egret and a couple of Marsh Harriers were the highlights. 
Goldeneye from Dennis's hide 
Goosander from Dennis's hide

Sunday, 31 January 2016

1w Gannet past the fishing boats yesterday afternoon.
It seems though the world and his wife has been at Dungeness this weekend. Yesterdays sunny weather meant that the Gull roosts were constantly disturbed by walkers making the 1w Glaucous Gull and the 1w Caspian Gull difficult to locate. A short visit to the beach today in the wind and rain which didn't deter the numerous fisherman taking part the Dab championship. At sea the usual Gannets, Auks and kittiwakes but nothing of note.
At the reserve 1 of the 2 Long-eared Owls was showing, both were seen early morning, from Makepiece a Smew, 3 Goldeneye and a few dabblers. With rain still falling it was time for a full English.
This afternoon during a walk around the hayfields and Dengemarsh I managed ony 5 Meadow Pipits, 3 Reed Buntings, a Marsh Harrier and a few Crows. Galloways was equally disappointing.
At the Egret roost late afternoon 22 Little and 3 Great White Egrets came in, while 3 Marsh harriers headed towards the Oppen Pits. 

Friday, 29 January 2016

Enough birds to keep the interest going on another windy morning at the fishing boats, which fortunately afforded some shelter from the wind and occasional drizzle.
08.10-11.00 with BM and DW.
Brent Goose: 3W    24E      
Red-breasted Merganser: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 1E   1W
Great-crested Grebe: several birds present
Fulmar: 11W
Gannet: 62W
Cormorant: present in the usual numbers
Mediterranean Gull: 7W
Caspian Gull: 1W a new bird
Kittiwake: 249W
Guillemot: 128W
Razorbill: 29W
Auk sp: 75W
Grey Seal: 1W
With little coverage due the weather the only news from the reserve was of a Slavonian Grebe and 4 Smew on Burrowes,
At a very windswept Scotney very few Geese. Just 2 Ring Plover on the sward with a few Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails. The Herring Gull island was awash but a few hatdy birds were still on it.
Back at the beach early afternoon the regular 1w Caspian Gull was showing well in the puddles and the 1w Glaucous Gull was in the roost behind the fish hut, by now the rain had set in, time for a cup of tea.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Blue Skies!

The new bay carved out by the recent storms opposite Jarmans.
After yesterdays Gull glut, this morning there was barely a Gull to be seen, so I took the oppotunity for an early morning visit to Hookers. On the way 2 Black-necked Grebes were at the south end of the New diggings, at Boulderwall 6+ Tree Sparrows and a Great White Egret, from the viewing ramp several Bearded Tits, 2 Marsh Harriers, another Great White Egret, a Bittern, Cetti's Warblers were very vocal as was several Water Rails, 100s of Lapwing and Golden Plovers were constantly spooked by the Harriers and a Common Buzzard.
A wander up to The Pines with MH saw of note 3+ Chiffchaffs, a party of Long-tailed Tits, 4 Common Snipe, a fly over Bittern and 2 more Marsh Harriers.
At Scotney on the grass 2 Curlew, 6 Ringed Plovers which I think are the first of the year at this site, also 100+ Greylags and 40 Barnacle Geese but little else.
This afternoon I tracked down the 1w Glaucous Gull to the shore line by the Lifeboat Station, which was the only bit of beach without wall to wall fisherman bought out by the nice weather. The weather also brings out the arty photographers, beach combers and walkers all of which flush the Gulls from pillar to post. The Glaucous Gull was the only Gull on the beach, but was still flushed by someone collecting shells, who got to within a few feet of it and still didn't see the it, he then asked me what I was photographing!
From Springfield Bridge this afternoon of note a Bittern, Great White Egret and more Marsh Harriers.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

50,000+ Gulls!!

Blizzard of Gulls
When I left home this morning I wasn't expecting to be out all day. Gale force winds with drizzle in the air didn't bode well. I arrived at the fishing boats to be met by a veritable blizzard of Gulls moving West. 
Mediterranean Gull
08.45-12.45 & 13.45-16.00 with MH and DW, joined this afternoon by OL.
Brent Goose: 43E
Gadwall: 3W
Teal: 1W
Wigeon: 75W
Red-throated Diver: 2W  1 on sea
Fulmar: 25W
Gannet: 137W
Cormorant: 594W
Turnstone: 6 on beach
Sanderling: 1W
Great Skua: 1W
Black-headed Gull: 38,000+W
Common Gull: 9,000+W
Mediterranean Gull: 7W
Herring Gull: 3,500W
Yellow-legged Gull: 2W
Caspian Gull: 1 the regular 1w bird on the beach
Lesser Black-backed Gull: 37W
Great Black-backed Gull: 500+W
Kittiwake: 3,816W
Glaucous Gull: 1 the regular 1w bird on the beach
Guillemot: 207W
Razorbill: 184W
Auk sp: 92W
Grey Seal: 2 present

Common Seal: 1 present
A superb sea watch from the relative shelter of the fishing boats.
Great Skua
Mediterranean Gull

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Siberian Rubythroat!

Sunday morning, on the news that the Siberian Rubythroat was still present a few miles north of Amsterdam, I booked a place on the 06.20 Chunnel train for Monday. Monday morning DW,GH,TG and myself caught the train to Calais, then we drove to Hoogwoud motorway all the way arriving at 11.30. It's really only the equivalent of driving to Spurn Point from Dungeness only on far superior roads. News was not good as the Rubythroat had not been seen for an hour! We waited at the entrance to the alley where it was being seen every 15 minutes on Sunday! After about an hour some birders had wandered off allowing us to have pole position on the area where the Rubythroat usually performed, we stuck it out as a couple of Dutch photographers assured us the bird will show there. It suddenly flew across the path into a hedge giving the briefest of views. 45 minutes later 1 of the local photographers who was laying down, could see it working its way towards log he had baited with meal worms, then it hopped out flashing its stunning crimson throat causing the many cameras to whirr into overdrive, also making us very happy we had pole position. Over the next hour it performed several times for us allowing us excellent photographic opportunities.
Many thanks are due to the residents for there patience with the birders and the helpfulness of the Dutch birders on site, all who speak fluent English making me feel very ashamed that I don't speak a word of Dutch.
Leaving site we dashed up to the coast where we saw 3 Red-breasted Geese with flock of c1,000 Dark-bellied Brent Geese and 3+ Light-bellied Brent Geese. Also 1,000s each of White-fronted Geese and Greylag Geese, 100s of Egyptian Geese a few Barnacle Geese, 10+ Great White Egrets. a Bittern, 5 Scaup, 4 Smew, a Goosander, a Black-necked Grebe and a Kingfisher, but missed the Bufflehead and Lesser Scaup as the light went.