Monday, 21 January 2019

A proper winters morning saw myself CP and MH on the reserve doing a WeBs count. Nothing out of the ordinary was seen though nice views of a Bittern were had from the viewing mound, also 2 Kingfishers were seen on Burrowes. A count of just 17 Cormorants on Burrowes was remarkable, though when we went back an hour later 100s had arrived from Lade bay.
From Cockles Bridge the Whooper Swans still with the Mute Swans.
 The 2 Little Owls at Lydd camp trying to hide late morning
Some of the Gulls feeding on the dung heap opposite Herons Park this afternoon
This afternoon a wander down to Denge Marsh Gully was very quiet with a flock c50 Linnets being the highlight.
Late afternoon at the ARC 9 Great White, 4 Cattle and 4 Little Egrets came into roost. 2 Goosander dropped on to the ARC, but best of all was an adult male Merlin putting a spectacular aerobatic display while catching a Starling for its supper.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Harrier Count!

 Stonechat at Cockle Bridge
First thing this morning as I left home I could see the 2 Whooper Swans still in the rape field with the Mute Swans. As I drove past Green Hop Farm 4 Cattle Egrets were in the adjacent field.

08.30-10.00 from the fishing boats with RW & SO:
Brent Goose: 236E
Red-throated Diver: 188E   9W
Great-crested Grebe: 3 on
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 32E    46W
Cormorant: N/C many present
Kittiwake: 16E    28W
Guillemot: c60 on sea  + c100W
Razorbill: c20 on sea + c200W
Auk sp: c150W
Grey Seal: 1
Mid morning from Boulderwall the Black-tailed Godwit still with 17 Curlew, a Great White Egret there along with c150 Wigeon and small numbers of Greylag and Canada Geese. Most of the rest of the day was spent scouring the area for something interesting and failing. A few flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing on Walland with at least 6 Common Buzzards seen.
Late afternoon at a newly discovered Harrier roost 12 Marsh Harriers came in to roost.
On the ranges late afternoon per OL a male Hen Harrier, 3 Short-eared Owls and 2 Barn Owls, I think I'll have make the effort to get out there one day this week if the army stops firing early enough.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Whooper Swans!

 1 0f 4 Great Skuas seen this morning
08.25-09.40 From the fishing boats with DW:
Brent Goose: 43E
Red-throated Diver: 5W     90E
Great-crested Grebe: 2+ around
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 93W
Cormorant: many present n/c
Great Skua: 4W
Mediterranean Gull: 2W (1w + 2w)
Kittiwake: 167W
Guillemot: many present n/c
Razorbill: many present n/c
 A quick stop at Cockles Bridge on my home for a late breakfast saw 3 Cattle Egrets, a Great White Egret, 2 Common Buzzards, a Marsh Harrier harassing 100s of Lapwing, Golden Plover and Wigeon.
Common Buzzard Cockles Bridge
Cattle Egrets opposite Cockles Bridge
At Scotney the regular feral Barnacle Goose flock on the sward with 24 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Redshank and c40 Golden Plover.
Black-tailed Godwit at Cook's pool early afternoon
A wander this afternoon around the Tower Pits, Pines and pumping station was virtually birdless with nothing of note seen.
 The 2 Whooper Swans about to be flushed by a dog walker, image taken from my garden
The flushed Whooper Swans flew to Cook's Pool for a short while before flying back towards Cockles Bridge, also at Cook's Pool a great White and Little Egret and Marsh Harrier.
The 30+ Bewick Swans were still at Horsesbones farm this afternoon but distant per DW/GH.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Hume's Warbler!

I joined DW at the fishing boats this morning in the most unpleasant weather of the winter so far, strong cold NW wind with sleety showers that set the fog horn off and rapidly reduced visibility, needless to say I only lasted around 30minutes. 100s of Auks mainly Razorbills were flying mainly West, while on the sea feeding many Guillemots, with usual 100s of Cormorants, smaller numbers of Gannets and Great-crested Grebes, of note 13 Brent Geese flew East.
Black-tailed Godwit at Boulderwall
At Boulderwall a single Black-tailed Godwit was of note also 27 Curlew, a Great White Egret and a Marsh Harrier.
A couple of the 27 Curlew at Boulderwall
The 4 Cattle Egrets were in there usual Horse Paddock c400mts north of Boulderwall Farm. 
At Pigwell the long staying but elusive Woodlark a very difficult species to see in Kent, unlike neighbouring Sussex where they are relatively easy to see, it showed briefly to me in the company of a Chaffinch before flying off into the ranges which explains why it is so elusive.
I spent a large part of the day trying to see and photograph a Hume's Warbler which has been seen and heard intermittently for a few days by a resident in and around private gardens in Littlestone. Although I did eventually see the bird well as it darted hither and thither fly catching through the bushes, my photographic efforts were again abysmal. My thanks to the resident for the call. 

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

A Quiet Day!

08.30-10.00 from the fishing boats joined by DW & PW:
Greylag Goose: 1over then inland
Velvet Scoter: 2W
Red-throated Diver: 1E  1W   3 on
Great-crested Grebe: c100 around
Gannet: c40 around
Cormorant: N/C. 100s present
Oystercatcher: 2E
Turnstone: 2 around
Great Skua: 2E
Kittiwake: c40W
Guillemot: 200+ moving into Rye Bay + off shore
Razorbill: 1,200+ mainly moving into Rye Bay + off shore
Harbour Porpoise: 2 off shore

At least 3 Cattle Egrets are still present in Horse Paddocks north of Boulderwall Farm.

A Great White Egret was the only notable bird at Brett's Marina. 2 Firecrests were in on the Sallows opposite Wraxalls Aggregates.

At Scotney singles of Pink-footed Goose and Greater White-fronted Goose per PW.

Early afternoon on Burrowes from VC with MH a drake Goldeneye was the only notable among the black slick of Cormorants.

This afternoon I joined CP at Harrier roost on Walland Marsh where 8 Marsh Harriers came into roost, also a Barn Owl showed itself quite well and a Common Buzzard flew over and several Water Rail were calling from the reed bed.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Slow Recovery!

Now I am starting to get out and about I Joined DW near the fishing boats this morning, fortunately he had his telescope as I am still unable to lift mine or my camera. Even through binoculars I could see many Guillemots, Red-throated Divers, Gannets, Kittiwakes, Great-crested Grebes, a few Razorbills, at least 2 Great Skua's and not forgetting the black slick of Cormorants.
There were at least 2 Cattle Egrets just south of Cockles Bridge but not much else on this very grey day. At Scotney the Whooper Swans still present, also a few Tree Sparrows around the farm but not a single Corn Bunting.
At Pigwell no sign of the Woodlark but 2 Chiffchaff and a Grey Wagtail at the sewage works.
Out on Walland at least 35 Bewick Swans with 3 Juveniles, 3 Marsh Harriers, 2 Common Buzzards, 2 Great White Egrets and a small number of Redwing and Fieldfare.
For the first time in living history of some of the older locals no Smew were seen in December on the peninsular, January appears to be following in the same vein.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Home Watch!

As I have been laid up for the last week and probably for another couple of weeks, I have spent a lot of time bird watching from home. In the last 3 days I have managed to see 46 species, including daily views of all 3 Egret species, Marsh Harriers, Peregrine, Common Buzzards, Ruff and  Golden Plovers, 3 Bewick Swans on the 1st were flushed by lycra wearing cyclists who seem to think they can take their mountain bikes where ever they like. Todays highlight was the Pink-footed Goose in among the Greylag flock, also a minimum of 10 Egyptian Geese. I don't do that well for normal garden birds for example Long-tailed Tit seen once in 8 yrs, Coal Tit, Treecreeper and Nuthatch are unheard of, and still waiting for my first Firecrest.
It would seem at the moment I am missing a sea fest at the moment at the fishing boats with 1,000s of Guillemots, Razorbills, Gannets, Great-crested Grebes, Cormorants and 100s of Red-throated Divers feeding close inshore per AJG, MH & DW. Hopefully I'll be back down there soon.
View south from Plodland over the reserve to the lighthouses and power station
View East from Plodland to Cockles Bridge and the Water Tower
One of a regular party of 6 Greenfinches today
Even the Starlings look good in the sun

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

3 days of Christmas!

The sea from the fishing boats the last 3 days have been littered with 1,000s of sea birds, mainly Guillemots, Razorbills, Great-crested Grebes, Red-throated Divers, Gannets, Kittiwakes and 1,000s of Cormorants, with a few Common Scoter, Great Skuas, Brent Geese and Mediterranean Gulls. Very few of these birds appear to be going any where, just moving from Lade Bay to Rye Bay and back to feed. Several Caspian Gulls have added some interest. The 3 Cattle Egrets seem to have taken residence in the horse paddocks opposite Home Leigh Farm, the 2 Whooper swans are still at the back of Scotney and the Bewick Swans are at Horses Bones Farm. In general the reserve has been very quiet, still no Smew and all the Goosander have moved on, a distinct lack of grey Geese though 100 flew over Dengemarsh Chistmas Eve per Pam & Pete, Bitterns, Bearded Tits and Great White Egrets are still seen daily.
I wont be doing any posts for a couple of weeks due to domestic stuff.
 1w Caspian Gull
  1w Caspian Gull
  1w Caspian Gull
 1 of the many Gannets off shore
 Also many Kittiwakes around
Guillemots and a Razorbill
 Many Razorbills
 Many Guillemots
Great-crested Grebe numbers building best count of 249 so far
Many Red-throated Divers around
                                                      Dunlin and a single Sanderling
Dunlin and a single Sanderling

Friday, 21 December 2018

On my way to the fishing boats this morning the 3 Cattle Egrets were in the Horse Paddock c200mts NW of Boulderwall Farm
 Juvenile Gannet
Near gale force westerly blowing with occasional drizzle and poor visibility.
08.45-10.45 from the fishing boats:
Common Scoter: 12W
Red-throated Diver: 32W
Great-crested Grebe: 4 around
Fulmar: 2W
Gannet: 327W
Cormorant: 1,557W
Turnstone: 2 around
Great Skua: 1W
Kittiwake: 58W
Guillemot: 884W
Auk sp: 132W
Late morning once again very little to be seen on Burrowes as the work boat was out.
1 of 2 1w Caspian Gulls that came into Burrowes late afternoon to roost.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Herring Gull A3BJ is a regular around the fishing boats
08.30-10.00 from the fishing boats with DW:
Red-throated Diver: 78W      6E
Great-crested Grebe: 9 around
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 171W
Cormorant: n/c (100s present)
Turnstone: 2around
Kittiwake: 27W
Sandwich Tern: 1W
Guillemot: 292W
Razorbill: 12W
Auk sp: 174W
Grey Seal: 2
The 3 Cattle Egrets were still around the Horse Paddocks opposite Home Leigh Farm.
From Hanson Hide this afternoon a Great White Egret of note, 1,000+Cormorants along with all the usual wildfowl, but in greater numbers due to being flushed off of Burrowes by the work boat. 
 Adult Caspian Gull and a adult Yellow-legged Gull taken from Dennis's hide yesterday
 1w Caspian Gull taken from Makepiece Hide yesterday
2 Adult Caspian Gulls taken yesterday from Firth Hide in near darkness