Saturday, 11 March 2017

El Gouna!

We had a week in El Gouna, Egypt 24th February-3 March for a bit sunshine, also so the builders could rip out our bathroom and start putting a new one in. The birding was very slow as we were probably about 3-4 weeks early for but showed me the potential of this resort. Access around the resort was  easy and safe. I spent most of my time on the golf course, the beaches (early morning) and Abydos Marina. Although I saw lots of Sooty and White-eyed Gulls I just could not get close to them. If i go again I'll go for a couple of weeks and hire boats to take me out to the Gulls. Below is a small sample of some of the images I took, I've still got many to edit. 
 Nile Valley Sunbird (male) common on the golf course

 Nile Valley Sunbird (female)
 Bluethroat common around the resort

 Greater Sand Plover c20 birds daily at Abydos Marina

 Pied Kingfishers up to 8 seen daily Abydos Marina (never got close to them)
 Caspian Terns common around the resort
 Slender-billed Gull common around the resort
 Red-throated Pipit common on the golf course the last couple of days
 Water Pipit unexpected on the golf course
 White Wagtail abundant all sites
 Spannish Sparrow Abundant on the golf course
 Cattle Egret common and tame
 Spur-winged Plover c20 on the golf course daily
 Hooded Crow abundant everywhere
 Steppe Gull common at the marina and off shore
 Whimbrel only 4 seen
 Woodchat Shrike only 1 seen on the golf course
 Lesser Whitethroat common around the resort
 Black-headed Yellow Wagtail numerous the last 2 days on the golf gourse
 Yellow Wagtail probably "flava"
Isabelline Wheatear 10+ the last couple of days on the golf course

Friday, 10 March 2017

Hooded Merganser!

This mornings southerly produced a very quiet early morning sea watch:
06.25-07.25 from the sea watch hide with BB,LG & AJG who collated the numbers:
Red-throated Diver: 32 up     3 down
Fulmar: 2 up  2 down
Gannet: 8 down
Oystercatcher: 6 up
Mediterranean Gull: 1 down
Kittiwake: 7 up   11 down
Guillemot: 1 up
Auk sp: 11 up
 1w Iceland Gull behind The Patch after the disappointing sea watch
 1 of the 2 Long-eared Owls 
On the reserve the Long-eared Owls were enjoying the warmth of the morning sunshine. By the New Excavations a Water Rail was skulking along with a Cetti's Warbler.
At Christmas Dell another Cetti's Warbler and a Chiffchaff of note. Denge Marsh produced 2 Great White Egrets and 2 Marsh Harriers. 
 1 of 4 seen around the reserve this morning
 From the viewing mound another Cetti's Warbler and a confiding Bearded Tit. The Ring-necked Duck was still on Tanners Pit along with another Great White Egret and another on Cooks Pit.
 Early afternoon a fine drake Hooded Merganser was found at Hookers. I eventually got on to it after making the mistake of wandering off to look elsewhere for it when it went missing after it's initial discovery. A really smart bird, unfortunately it does carry a green ring (see the last image).

Black-necked Grebe
Late afternoon I walked along the causeway between Burrowes and the New Diggings, the 2 Slavonian Grebes and the Black-necked Grebe could be seen easily from there, also 2 Chiffchaffs and feeding flock of 22 Reed Buntings.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

White Wagtail!

 This day last year saw 17+ Blue Fulmars with 400+ Fulmars and much more past the sea watch hide. Today there were c15 Fulmars, a handful of Red-throated Divers and Kittiwakes, 363 Brent Geese, 3 Common Scoter, 60+ Gannets and a Great Skua. The 2 1w Iceland Gulls were still at The Patch.
A visit to Denge Marsh Gully drew a blank on migrants with just a handful of Linnets and Corvids present.
From Springfield Bridge a Great White Egret and 2 Marsh Harriers were the highlights. As essential work was being undertaken in the hay fields they were inevitably devoid of avian life.
A Marsh Harrier and 2 Common Buzzards were on the ranges but no migrants were seen at Scotney.
Black-necked Grebe on the New Diggings
An early afternoon visit to the beach drew a blank on migrants also very little on the sea apart from a flotilla of Guillemots and Great-crested Grebes.
A walk across the causeway from Boulderwall to the Open pits this afternoon found 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Slavonian Grebes and a Black-necked Grebe. 
 White Wagtail at Makepiece
Late afternoon the Ring-necked Duck and 2 red head Smew were on Tanners Pit. The 2 Long-eared Owls  were showing in the bushes behind the Dipping Pool.
From Makepiece Hide I eventually found a 1w Caspian Gull among the 100s of Gulls present. A superb White Wagtail was feeding with Reed Buntings right in front the hide as was a pair of Goldeneye, also 5 Black-tailed Godwits and an Avocet there. In a field just west of the reserve entrance 2 Red-legged Partridges the first I have seen on the peninsula this year, now a scarce bird here.
 Goldeneye from Makepiece
Red-legged Partridges (scarce on the peninsula these days)

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

First Sandwich Tern!

No grey geese at Scotney, in fact very little at all, but a pleasant walk.
A short raptor watch from the garden saw 9 Common Buzzards, 4 Marsh Harriers, a Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk, but no sign of any Red Kites. (at least 3 seen around the area today)
The Black-necked Grebe and 2 Slavonian Grebes were still on the New diggings today. The Ring-necked Duck seems to have moved to Tanners Pool, no sign of the drake Smew, a Great White Egret was compensation.
A sea watch this afternoon from the turning circle was slow but did include my first Sandwich Tern of the year:
Common Scoter: 4 down
Red-throated Diver: 3 up
Great-crested Grebe: present n/c
Gannet: 6 up     9 down
Cormorant: present n/c
Sandwich Tern: 1 up
Guillemot: c25 on sea
Wood Pigeon: 14 feeding on beach
A Long-eared Owl was showing well at the Dipping Pool with 2 Little Grebes there. 4+ Goldeneye on Burrowes was the highlight there.

Monday, 6 March 2017

 Black Redstart Dengemarsh Gully this morning
As the wind was from a North Westerly vector this morning I didn't think a sea watch would be very productive, so I went to Dengemarsh Gully instead. While wandering out to the the converter station, I was alerted by the Gulls to a Marsh Harrier that came in off the sea at a great height and continued on towards Lydd. A Raven came over harassed by Crows, a Black Redstart was at the bottom of the gully as was 4 Pied Wagtails and 20+ Linnets.
At Dengemarsh from Springfield Bridge a Peregrine was on the pylons, a Bittern gave a brief flight view, the Raven flew over again, a Great White Egret was feeding in the reeds, many Reed Buntings, Linnets, Chaffinches and Stock Doves were feeding in the Sunflower fields and 4 Russian White-fronted Geese were with 8 Egyptian Geese and the other feral Geese.
I checked Brett's Marina but was unable to find the drake Goosander.
 2 of the 3 Tundra Bean Geese at Scotney this morning
At  Scotney 3 more Russian White-fronted Geese and 3 Tundra Bean Geese flew in with the feral Greylag flock, also there c150 Golden Plover, 3 Curlew and 4 Oystercatcher.
Russian White-fronted Geese at Scotney this morning
An hour at the beach early afternoon saw a few Gannets, Guillemots, Kittiwakes, 11 Turnstone and c200 Great-crested Grebes. 
On the reserve this afternoon 2 Slavonian and a single Black-necked Grebe on the New Diggings, a drake Smew and the Ring-necked duck were on the second pools along the entrance track, also Great White and Little Egret there.
2 Long-eared Owls behind the Dipping Pool, one of which was sitting right out in the open, also a Little Grebe there.
5 Ruff from Makepiece and 5 Goldeneye there also.
Late afternoon 5 Little Egrets at Cockles Bridge.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Polish ringed 1w Caspian Gull!

Waking up to the sound of the wind rain lashing the windows didn't inspire me to get out in the field early. After a leisurely breakfast and catching up on emails and other domestic stuff that needed my attention I finally got out late morning. 
At Scotney 100+ Golden Plover, 9 Ringed Plover and 2 Redshank on the sward. The lake was windswept with just a few Wigeon and Tufted Duck sheltering in the bay.
On the New Diggings a Black-necked Grebe was all I could find before the Power Station police moved me on!
An hour at The Point saw 32 Brent Geese, a Fulmar and 2 Red-throated Divers fly east, also a few Gannets, Guillemots and Kittiwakes tooing and froing.
After lunch I joined Mick and Richard at the fishing  boats where although there were plenty of Gulls around there was nothing notable, that is until we were on the point of packing up and Mick spotted a 1w Caspian Gull at the back of the pack. As it jostled for a place on the beach we could see a red ring on it, viewed through my scope I could see it was a Polish ring. We were soon joined  by RS, DW, LG,CB,AA & LF all getting good views of the bird and also the regular 1w Caspian Gull.
 Polish 1w Caspian Gull 897P

 Normandy 74J joined the throng
North Thames U1TT today, I first saw it on 14th January 2017