Saturday, 4 February 2017

The forecast overnight storm never happened, consequently first thing this morning at The Point the sea was flat calm, made flatter by the heavy rain. Even in the poor visibility I could see that the sea was littered with numerous Guillemots, Cormorants, Great-crested Grebes and a few Red-throated Divers. Nothing was moving until the range safety boat came along flushing everything before it, a minimum of 250 Red-throated Divers disappeared around The Point into Rye Bay.  
 Bedraggled Tree Sparrow at Midley
From the causeway the Slavonian Grebe could be seen on the New Diggings. Out on Walland at Midley a mixed flock of c500 Fieldfare and Redwing were feeding in the fields, while many Blackbirds and Song Thrushes were feeding under the hedgerows. At the feeding station plenty of Tree Sparrows, Chaffinches and Greenfinches. 
From Hooks Wall 4 Pink-footed Geese, 2 Tundra Bean Geese and a minimum of 26 Bewick Swans among the Mute Swans and Greylag Geese. 
Kittiwake this afternoon
 This afternoon back at the beach the sun was shining but very few Gulls came into the offerings. c150 Gannets were plunging into a presumed shoal of fish off shore, another c200 Red-throated Divers moved up channel and Great Skua flew into Lade Bay.
Guillemot this afternoon

Friday, 3 February 2017

Just another quiet day at Dungeness!

 First thing this morning as I drove onto the beach I saw a Fox curled up by the kerb in the sun and sheltered from the wind. As I got closer I expected it to run off but it just stood up looked at me and curled back up again allowing me to drive right along side it. I thought it had a piece of dead grass on its head but on closer inspection I could see it was fishing attached to a hook that was stuck in its ear. I did try to approach it on foot in the hope of catching it and cutting the hook but it would not let me close enough.

 1w Glaucous Gull in The Patch roost
As the low sun made sea watching from the fishing boats virtually impossible I made my way to The Patch. On arrival DW was already there and pointed out a 1w Glaucous Gull that was apparently there yesterday according to an observatory visitor. Also in the Gull roost a 1w Iceland Gull, 2 1w Caspian Gulls and a 2w Mediterranean Gull over the boil. Offshore the usual Auks, Gannets and Red-throated Divers.
 Driving back across the causeway a Slavonian Grebe was on the New Diggings. The Ring-necked Duck was on Cook's Pool as usual. No sign of any Long-eared Owls again today, all the usual wildfowl could be seen on Burrowes but no Smew or Goosander. From Christmas Dell a red head Smew was virtually the only bird on the lake, by the hide a Marsh Harrier, a Stonechat, Green Woodpecker, 3 Meadow Pipits and a Cetti's Warbler. At Dengemarsh 6 Russian White-fronted Geese with Greylags, Canada's and 14 Egyptian Geese, also there a Ruff among the Lapwing, a flock of c150 Linnets, c100 Stock Doves and 2 Great White Egrets.
At Scotney a Common Scoter was unusual, the Black-necked Grebe still, 3 Curlew and another Ruff. once again no grey geese. Along the road at Camber the Red-necked Grebe still, also 2 Great-crested Grebes, 2 Little Grebes and 2 Little Egrets.
Common Scoter at Scotney
This afternoon back at the beach the wind was starting to blow hard so we watched from the shelter of our cars.
14.00-15.30 from the turning circle with MH
Shelduck: 1 down
Velvet Scoter: 1 up
Red-throated Diver: 32 up
Fulmar: 2 down
Gannet: 37 down
Peregrine: 2 around
Kestrel: 1 around
Mediterranean Gull: 1 up
Kittiwake: c25 around
Guillemot: c300 around
Razorbill: 2 around
Female Peregrine on her kill, the male was loitering overhead, a brave Kestrel trying share the kill.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

A Dungeness record count of Cormorants!

This morning watch from the fishing boats:

Brent Goose: 14 up
Common Scoter: 4 up
Red-throated Diver: 222 down
Great-crested Grebe: 200+ around
Fulmar: 2 down   1 up
Gannet: 36 down
Great Skua: 1 around
Mediterranean Gull: 1 around
Kittiwake: 19 down
Guillemot: 40+ around
Razorbill: 3+ around
Auk sp: c200 around
As I had to go to Hythe this morning, I dropped into Stade Street where 2 Purple Sandpipers were on the breakwater.
At Scotney the Black-necked Grebe was still present but no grey geese, 3 Ringed Plovers flew over my first of the year. The drake Goosander was still on Bretts Marina also a Great White Egret there.
The Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool this afternoon and another Great White Egret.
Most of the afternoon was spent in the shelter of the VC in the company of MH and DW, where another Great White Egret was seen, a 1w Iceland Gull a different individual from yesterday afternoon was in the island Gull roost, 5+ Goldeneye, a Ruff and a Turnstone among the Lapwing also a couple of Marsh Harriers of note. The most notable sighting was a Dungeness record breaking 1,860 Cormorants coming into roost.

Monday, 30 January 2017

A foggy hour at the fishing boats with the fog horn blasting out. The highlight was a flock of at least 388 Red-throated Divers being flushed by the range safety boat coming through Lade Bay towards Rye Bay, probably many more were went past unseen in the fog.
08.00-09.00 from the fishing boats:
Teal: 1 up
Red-throated Diver: 425 down
Great-crested Grebe: 74 around
Gannet: 4 down   2 up
Cormorant: 1,000+ around
Mediterranean Gull: 1 around
Guillemot: 23 around
Razorbill: 2 around
Auk sp: 48 down      17 up

The Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool with a Great White Egret. A drake Smew was with the Slavonian Grebe on the New diggings. One of the Long-eared Owls has returned to the Dipping Pool roost now the wind has gone round to the west, from the VC a 2w Caspian Gull roosting on Burrowes, also a Kingfisher there.
This afternoon the Red-necked Grebe was still at Camber with the 2 Great-crested Grebes and a Little Grebe.
Once again no grey geese at Scotney though nearby a handsome drake Goosander was on Bretts Marina by the ski ramp.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Red-necked Grebe!

 This morning I thought I'd give the Camber Red-necked Grebe yet another visit in the hope of getting some decent images. Pulling into the layby I was pleased to find no one else there, but I couldn't see the Grebe. Looking into the NW corner I could see the resident Great-crested Grebes chasing a Little Grebe. I then spotted the Red-necked Grebe acting as if there was a predator around, it was in fact trying to escape the notice of the Great-crested Grebes. Keeping flat on the surface it swam towards me constantly checking on the position of Great-crested Grebes, after a couple of minutes it was only few yards away from me giving superb views. Also there a Kingfisher, 3 Little Egrets and several Curlews.

At Scotney the Black-necked Grebe was sheltering behind the Herring Gull Island, the only grey geese present were a few Greylags, a Marsh Harrier was hunting the north bank.
From the causeway a Slavonian grebe and 4 Goldeneye were on the New Diggings, the Ring-necked duck was still on Cook's Pool. From Cockles Bridge 3 Ruff with c500 Lapwing and c200 Golden Plover feeding in the paddocks and fields.
A truly awful image of a 2nd cal year Pomarine Skua
This afternoon at the fishing boats in the company of Mick, Richard and Chris a Pomarine Skua was beating up the kittiwakes, 100s of Auks mainly Guillemots, a few each of Red-throated Divers and Gannets.
Probably 5 Caspian Gulls came into this afternoons offerings, 3 x 1w(including the regular bird) and 2 x 2w.
2w Caspian Gull
1w Caspian Gull
 2w Caspian Gull
 2w Caspian Gull
 1w Caspian Gull
The regular 1w bird

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Caspian Gulls!

An early morning walk around the reserve starting from Springfield Bridge where a flock of c150 Linnets, c100 Stock Doves, c50 Chaffinches with a few Greenfinches and Reed Buntings were feeding in the Sunflower field. They frequently disturbed by the resident Kestrel, a Marsh Harrier and a Common Buzzard, also 2 Ravens over. Hay field 3 held a Great White Egret, Little Egret and a Grey Heron. Dengemarsh held the usual wildfowl. At Christmas Dell a red head Smew was notable and 2 Common Snipe, a Green Woodpecker was behind the hide. Despite scrutinising all the hay fields I was  unable to locate yesterdays Water Pipit. Burrowes held the usual wildfowl but no Goosander or Smew, also no sign of any Long-eared Owls at the Dipping Pool. Round Hookers a couple of Bearded Tits were calling as was a couple of Cetti's Warblers, a Chiffchaff was on the island. Another Chiffchaff was by the corale along with a Stonechat and another Great White Egret. The Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool.
This afternoon the Slavonian Grebe was still at the Boulderwall end of the New Diggings.
 The regular 1w Caspian Gull
This afternoon at the fishing boats with Mick and Richard the regular 1w Caspian Gull was joined by a second bird, a first winter Little Gull put in a brief appearance, a drake Eider flew down channel, a few each of Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Guillemot and Kittiwake were tooing and froing off shore.
 1w Little Gull
 A different 1w Caspian Gull

Friday, 27 January 2017

A very busy watch this morning from the turning circle with many birds moving on the moderate SSW wind in the company of MH & DW:
Brent Goose: 76 up
Common Scoter: 2 down
Red-throated Diver:  606 up       32 down
Great-crested Grebe: 6 around
Fulmar:  1 up   1 down
Gannet: 526 up     33 down
Cormorant: Many present n/c
Turnstone: 2 around
Great Skua:  1 up
Black-headed Gull: Many present n/c
Common Gull: Many present n/c
Herring Gull: Many present n/c
Lesser Black-backed Gull: a few present
Great Black-backed Gull: Many present n/c
Kittiwake:   136 up     17 down
Guillemot:  22 up    9 down
Razorbill:    5 up      7 down
Auk sp: c1,500 up       c200 down

By the time I got to Scotney there were no Grey Geese present, consolation in the form of a Black-necked Grebe. Apparently the Pinkfeet, Tundra Bean and White-fronted Geese did put it an appearance per OL & PJ. The Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool, 2 red head Smew could be seen from Dennis's Hide.
What with Doctors and the builders I didn't get out this afternoon. The Red-necked Grebe was still present today per OL, a Water Pipit (scarce at Dungeness) was on Hayfield 2, also the regular 1w Caspian Gull at the fish hut both per PJ.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

A bitterly cold SE wind this morning produced a small movement of Red-throated Divers but little else.
09.15-11.15 from the turning circle with DW.
Shoveler:  1 down
Teal: 5 down
Red-throated Diver: 274 up  4 down
Great-crested Grebe: 9 up    7 down    6 on
Fulmar: 2 up    1 down
Gannet: 65 up    7 down
Oystercatcher: 1 up
Turnstone:  3 around
Mediterranean Gull: 1 up
Little Gull: 1 around
Kittiwake: 3 up    17 down    4 around
Auk sp: 68 up   37 down
Red-necked Grebe, Camber
At Scotney no Grey Geese on the main lake, a Black-necked Grebe was the only interest on there. It was far to cold to wander out the back to look for the Geese and Lapland Buntings. 
At Camber the Red-necked Grebe is still on it's chosen lake but is getting harassed by the resident Great-crested Grebes, 2 Little Grebes and a Kingfisher also there.
A Slavonian Grebe can still be seen on the New Diggings from the causeway. The Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool but it was to cold to get out of the car and walk around the reserve.

White-Billed Diver!

 As social media has been full of brilliant images of the Woodhall Spa White-billed Diver I couldn't resist joining DW & HG on a trip to see it. Although the journey was quite foggy the BBC had promised the fog would lift and the sun would be shining by lunch time, they LIED!!!! At 15.00 we could still barely see across the river. The Diver performed very well for us, shame about the weather.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Grebes & Geese!

First thing this morning in calm cloudy conditions I walked round the back of Scotney towards Jury's Gap. 2 Lapland Buntings were in the fields though I only saw them in flight,as when they landed they disappeared in the furrows and vegetation, c 50 Corn Buntings were around as well as a few Skylarks, Reed Buntings and a Stonechat. Several raptors were seen Marsh Harriers, Peregrine, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. A Black-necked Grebe was on the back lake among 6 Little Grebes as was a Green Sandpiper, A Great White Egret flew over, 14 Egyptian Geese, 6 Brent Geese were among some Greylags and Canada Geese.

 White-fronted Geese
At Camber the Red-necked Grebe was  still showing distantly in the North West corner of it's chosen lake because the rest of the lake was frozen. Back at Scotney from the double bends the sun was  shining, a Black-necked Grebe was feeding along the back edge on the lake some White-fronted Geese(now called Russian White-fronted Geese) flew in to join others already on the spit making a total of 41, 6 Pink-Footed Geese, a single Tundra Bean Goose were also there resting among the Greylags and Barnacle Geese.
 White-fronted Geese
 White-fronted Geese
5 of 6 Pink-footed Geese present today
The Ring-necked duck was  at the far end of Cook's Pool in a small unfrozen area, also a red head Smew there. A Slavonian Grebe was on Burrowes from Dennis's hide and another from the causeway at Boulderwall end of the New Diggings also several Great-crested Grebes making another 5 Grebe day.
At The Patch in the company of MH, PB and DW in the appalling light we found 1 of the Iceland Gulls, a Mediterranean Gull, the drake Eider, a Great Skua was marauding off shore, several Red-throated Divers were tooing and froing, also several rafts of Guillemots off shore.
The Long-eared Owl was back at the Dipping Pool per PB. 44 Bewick Swans were west of Cheyne per BB and 8 Great White Egrets came into the ARC roost per PB.