Friday, 13 January 2017

A some what chilly start to the morning with a bright low sun that would have made sea watching from the fishing boats hard work. I opted to go to Scotney, there I met Colin and Bert who had  also decided to have a walk around the back of the pits. No sign of the Little Owls which was no surprise, the Black-necked Grebe was still on the first pit, out on the fields a party of 17 Egyptian Geese, 2 Tundra Bean Geese and 2 Brent Geese were located among the hordes of Greylags. A ring tail Hen Harrier flew out towards the wind turbines, several each of Skylark and Corn bunting were seen.  
 Long-eared Owls at the Dipping Pool
Next stop the reserve where the Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool. While we were in the VC we heard news of some Waxwings in Hythe, so after a quick look at the 2 Long-eared Owls we made our way to Hythe where on our arrival it was snowing heavily. We soon located the Waxwings perched high in some trees giving very poor views in the heavy snow and poor light, a few record images were taken now deleted.
While waiting for the weather to improve we drove to Stade Street where 3 Purple Sandpipers were showing well, also 7 Mediterranean Gulls, a fairly showy Red-throated Diver and a scarcity in the form of a Shag. 
As the weather improved we made our way back to the Red Lion area, fortunately the Waxwings showed quite well though quite flighty and ranging over fairly wide area. Many thanks to Colin and Bert for there company and brilliant day out despite the weather.
 Waxwings Hythe

 Purple Sandpiper, Stade Street, Hythe.
 Shag, Stade Street, Hythe.
Red-throated Diver, Statde street, Hythe.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

JU024 Great Black-backed Gull joined us at The point this morning
07.30-10.00 from The point with AJG, OL & DW
Brent Goose:  1 down
Common Scoter: 13 down   18 up
Red-throated Diver: 3 down    83 up
Great-crested Grebe: c40 around
Fulmar: 3 down
Gannet:  134 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 1 down
Turnstone: 3 around
Great skua: 4 down  3 up (minimum 3 birds involved)
Pomarine Skua: 1 up
Kittiwake: 31 down
Guillemot: 14+ on sea
Razorbill: 2+ on sea
Auk sp: 22 up

2 Slavonian Grebes still on the New Diggings from the causeway.
The Ring-necked Duck still on Cook's Pool, also red head Smew and 2 Great White Egrets there. 2 Long-eared Owls behind the Dipping Pool, then the rain really started effectively putting an end to any birding.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

A slow sea watch this morning from the fishing boats with AJG:
Brent Goose: 21 up
Common Scoter: 9 down
Red-throated Diver: 16 up   38 down
Fulmar: 1 down
Gannet: c40 around
Kittiwake: 17 down
Guillemot: c25 on the sea
Leaving the beach the regular 1w Caspian Gull was by the Fish Hut.
As it was a bright sunny morning I thought I might try and get some more images of the Stejneger's Stonechat. Although it was showing and I took some more images, the bird never allowed close approach, consequently all the images were rubbish and have been deleted. I took the 2 images below at the end of last year. While there a Peregrine and Common Buzzard were seen.
 Stejneger's Stonechat
Crossing the causeway the 2 Slavonian Grebes still at the Boulderwall end of the lake.
The highlights of a visit to Jury's Gap were c25 Common Scoter and 9 Red-throated Divers on the sea.
In 3 visits to Scotney today, 3 Pinkfeet, 2 Tundra Bean Geese and 4 Whitefronts amongst the hordes of Greylags. On the lake behind the barns the Black-necked Grebe  was still insitu, also 4 Corn Buntings there of note. While checking the sewage works at Pigwell 37 Whitefronts flew over.
This afternoon on the reserve the Ring-necked Duck still present on Cook's Pool, on the next pool along the entrance track a red-head Smew and 2 Great White Egrets, over the fields there 3 Marsh Harriers were disturbing the Lapwings, Golden plover and Wigeon. At the Dipping Pool 2 Long-eared Owls again and a Chiffchaff. From Makepiece a 1w Caspian Gull was the only notable bird.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

As You Were!

08.15-09.30 from the fishing boats with MH:

Common Scoter: 3 down
Red-throated Diver: 6 up   31 down
Great-crested Grebe: 40+ on sea
Gannet: 7 up   24 down
Turnstone: 5 around
Great Skua: 1 around
Mediterranean Gull: 1 down  (2w)
Little Gull: 1 around  (1w)
Kittiwake: 15 down
Guillemot: c200 around
Razorbill: 4+ around
Grey Seal: 1
Driving back across the causeway 2 Slavonian Grebes at the Boulderwall end. Around The Willow Trail a Water Rail, 2 calling Cetti's Warblers and a small Tit flock comprising Long-tailed, Blue and Great.
The Ring-necked Duck still showing on Cook's Pool, also a Great White Egret at the far end with a Little Egret. Over the fields there a Common Buzzard and a Marsh Harrier flushing the Lapwing and Golden Plover and a few Dunlin.
Just the 1 Long-eared Owl at the Dipping Pool today, 2 Goosander flew over Burrowes and  another Water rail was at Scott Hide.
At Scotney the Black-necked Grebe still on the lake behind the barns, a Little Owl was also present, a Peregrine, Common Buzzard and 2 Marsh Harriers were hunting the fields nut didn't bother the 14 Egyptian Geese there. On the sward 3 Pinkfeet and 3 Tundra Bean Geese among the hordes of Greylags and Barnacle Geese. 
1w Caspian Gull at the Fish Hut this afternoon
Another short sea watch this afternoon saw no change from this morning, though the regular 1w Caspian Gull was at the Fish Hut.
In the fields down Dengemarsh Road 2 Ruff and another 6 Egyptian Geese. A smart male Sparrowhawk made an unsuccessful attack on the finch flock at Springfield Bridge, also there a Great White Egret but little else.
Elsewhere the Stejneger's Stonechat reported as still present as was the Red-necked Grebe, the Bewick Swans at Horsesbones Farm and the drake Eider at The Point.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Waking up to a windless foggy morning I decided to walk some of the green lanes on Walland Marsh. Blackbirds seemed to be positively abundant feeding under the hedgerows with small numbers of Song Thrushes, I saw several Mistle Thrushes but only a handful each of Fieldfare and Redwing. a small flock of Tree Sparrows were feeding with Reed Buntings and Chaffinches around the solar farm also my first Jay of the year flew over. 50+ Bewick Swans were seen distantly through the fog at Horsesbones Farm.
 2 Long-eared Owls behind the Dipping Pool
A brief look for the Stenjneger's Stonechat drew a blank, in the strengthening wind it was probably sheltering in the quarry.
On the reserve the Ring-necked Duck was back on Cook's Pool, while behind the Dipping Pool now 2 Long-eared Owls. I scoured the Gulls on Burrowes but could only find an adult Yellow-legged Gull, 6+ Goldeneye were present but no I couldn't find Saturdays Scaup nor a Smew or Goosander.
Red-necked Grebe during a very brief break in the clouds
Late morning at Camber the sun made a very brief appearance, unfortunately the Red-necked Grebe was not as close as it has been. While I was there a Kingfisher was flying around the lake.
At Scotney among the 100s of Greylag Geese I could see 6 Whitefronted Geese, 3 Tundra Bean Geese and a single Pinkfooted Goose.
An afternoon sea watch from the turning circle until the rain made viewing impossible: 
Red-throated Diver:  5 down
Great-crested Grebe:  8 around
Gannet: 91 down
Cormorant: many present n/c
Turnstone:  2 on beach
Great Skua:  1 around
Black-headed Gull: Many present n/c
Common Gull: many present n/c
Herring Gull: many present n/c
Great Black-backed Gull: present n/c
Lesser Black-backed Gull: present n/c
Little Gull:  1 1stw feeding off shore
Kittiwake:  36 down
Guillemot:  200+ around
Razorbill: 8+ around

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Cormorant at Camber on Saturday
 Grey Plover & Dunlin at The Midrips
As Dungeness has been manic with birders since the new year I decided to go to The Midrips this morning. I spent the best part of 3 hours there without seeing another person, it has to be said that birds were pretty thin on the ground as well. The highlights being 11 Grey Plover, 23 Dunlin, 14 Redshank, 6 Oystercatchers, 120 Wigeon, 24 Shoveler, 16 Teal, 18 Shelduck, a Common Buzzard and the star bird a Rock Pipit. I also spent another hour at Camber waiting for Red-necked Grebe to give a close pass to no avail. 
 Rock Pipit at The Midrips
3 of 4 Pinkfeet on Scotney lunchtime
Next stop the double bends Scotney, on arrival the lake was devoid of Geese but after a few minutes a swirl of c400 Golden Plover and c1,000 Lapwing appeared by the windmills, these were quickly followed c1,000 Grey Geese many of which flew onto the lake. A Party of 10 Whitefronts landed by the Herring Gull island and swam towards the shore. Scanning through the Greylags I came across 2 Tundra Bean Geese also a singleton which were probably the same birds that were present on Thursday, these  were quickly followed by a party of 3 Pinkfeet which were presumably new in, later I came across another single Pinkfoot which was probably also a bird that was present on Thursday.
4 of 10 Whitefronts on Scotney at lunchtime
On my way to the beach this afternoon a quick stop on the causeway saw the 2 Slavonian Grebes, on the beach with Mick and Richard a 1w Caspian Gull put in a brief appearance as did a adult Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Mediterranean Gulls and few Guillemots off shore.

Friday, 6 January 2017

08.15-10.00 from the turning circle with DW:

Brent Goose:  37 up
Shelduck: 4 down
Goldeneye: 1 down
Common Scoter:  12 down
Velvet Scoter: 5 down
Red-breasted Merganser: 2 up
Red-throated Diver: 17 up    29 down
Great-crested Grebe: 6 around
Slavonian/Black-necked Grebe: 1 down
Fulmar:  1 down
Gannet: c70 o/s
Turnstone: 2 around
Great Skua: 1 around
Kittiwake: c20 around
Guillemot: c200 around
Razorbill: 3+ around
Grey Seal: 1 around
Harbour Porpoise: 2+ around

The Stejneger's Stonechat was again showing per RBA, 1+ Slavonian Grebes were on the the New Diggings. On the reserve the Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool but the Long-eared Owl was missing, 3 red head Smew and a Great Skua over the reserve per LH & PH.
At Scotney a Black-necked Grebe was on the lake behind the farm, the feral Barnacle Geese were by the main pit but no grey geese there today, I assume they were out on the marsh.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Not a bad day!

At Scotney first thing this morning 2 Tundra Bean Geese among the hordes of Greylag Geese, which by 08.30  had all flown off from the lake out on to the marsh.
 Stejneger's Stonechat 
As I drove across the causeway a Slavonian Grebe could be seen on the New Diggings close to the road, then a call from DW  alerted me 7 wild swans he had seen come in over the beach, I pulled over at the southern end of the ARC and scanned the skies to no avail.
When I arrived at Kerton Road there were a number of disappointed birders wandering around as the Stonechat had no been seen since an early morning report. I started to walk out towards what seems to be it's favoured area, after only a few steps I could see a pale blob on the perimeter fence. It still does not allow close approach and is very active. In the gorse by the fence a Dartford Warbler. 
 1w Caspian Gull
On my way to the beach I checked the Fish Hut roost  but there was only a handful of Gulls and nothing notable. A 30 minute wander among the containers and boats saw nothing of any note either on the land or the sea. Leaving the beach I could see that the Fish Hut roost had attracted more Gulls, as I pulled up I could see the large regular 1w Caspian Gull's gleaming white head.
 4 of the 7 Bewick Swans
Driving back across the causeway I could see a party of swans on the ARC, pulling over quickly I could see they 7 Bewick Swans presumably the same birds DW saw come in earlier.  
 The Ring-necked Duck was showing well on Cook's Pool
From Dengemarsh Road the Lapwing flock the leucistic bird was feeding with c100 Golden Plover, in the field by the farmhouse 2 Ruff among some more Lapwing.
feral Barnacle Geese at Scotney
An excellent afternoon at Scotney, the highlights being 3 Tundra bean Geese, a Pink-footed Geese, a Merlin, a Green Sandpiper, 2 Avocet, 14 Curlew, 3 Marsh Harriers, 2 Great White Egrets and a Little Owl.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

After an early morning visit to Ashford, I came back via the lanes on Walland Marsh which on the whole were disappointing. I did manage to find a Yellowhammer, several Mistle and Song Thrushes, 30+ Tree Sparrows but no Fieldfares or Redwings, 25 Bewick Swans were at Horsesbones farm.
On the reserve the Ring-necked Duck and Long-eared Owl were insitu, a few Godeneye and a Smew. A couple of Chifchaffs were in front of Dennis's Hide, but the star was a very showy Water Rail from Scott Hide.
 Water Rail from Scott Hide

Chiffchaff from Dennis's
As I drove across the causeway a Slavonian Grebe was still on the New Diggings. In the gorse by the Kerton Road Quarry a Dartford Warbler was flitting about in the now persistent drizzle.
A look around the beach area this afternoon failed to find any interesting Gulls.
Late afternoon from Hanson another Water Rail made a brief appearance along with a couple of Cetti's Warblers and a Sparrowhawk. 4 Bewick Swans came into roost. As I walked back to the car park a further 28 Bewick Swans flew in to roost.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Bean Geese and a fine Red-necked Grebe!

 Slavonian Grebe New Diggings
With the builders starting work at home today my time was limited to a quick run around the Peninsular. On the ARC 3 Goosander at the south end from the causeway, on the opposite side of the road a Slavonian Grebe was  showing nicely. On the reserve the Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool. The Long-eared Owl was missing today, just a single Smew on Burrowes of note.
A short watch from the garden late morning saw Great White Egret, Little Egret, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Golden Plovers and Lapwings. As I was in the garden RH,BE and KH pulled up and showed me back of the camera images of 5 Bean Geese taken at Pett Level, although distant and heavily cropped they looked good for Taiga Bean Geese. 
A call to MH ended with us going to Pett where we saw the 5 Bean Geese distantly which looked good for Taiga's long necked, long billed, but they were just too distant to clinch the ID for certain. However all the Geese were flushed landing closer to us, while searching through the Greylags and Canada's we came came across a party of 4 Tundra Bean Geese, as we were cold and thinking we had made a mistake we left for home. As we approached Camber we spotted a Red-necked Grebe on the small lake immediately west of the village. I called Paul James who arrived shortly, chatting about the Bean Geese he had seen the 5 Taiga's where we had. Hopefully all 9 Bean Geese will be present tomorrow.
 Red-necked Grebe, Camber.