Thursday, 5 December 2019


An early call from AJG told me not to bother with the sea as visibility was minimal in the freezing conditions. This day last year saw probably the best sea watch of the winter with 7 Puffins, Black Guillemot, 3 Diver species, Long-tailed Duck and more what a difference.
Most of my morning was taken up with domestic stuff, late morning I got out onto Walland Marsh to look for Wild Swans and Grey Geese. Fieldfares seemed to be abundant feeding on the Hawthorns, a few Redwings, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes were with them. A party of 10+ Yellowhammers by the model airfield were very nice. A single Bewick Swan was in with a herd of Mute Swans in the Kale field near The Woolpack, viewed from Hook Wall but no wild Grey Geese. On my way home I thought I'd check the Dengemarsh Mute Swans and was pleased to find 2 Whooper Swans and 4 Bewick Swans with them.
 The 4 Bewick Swans at Dengemarsh today
Presumably the 2 returning Whooper Swans from last winter at Dengemarsh today
Early afternoon on the reserve 3 Caspian Gulls and 3 Yellow-legged Gulls were roosting on Burrowes and a few G.B.B.Gull rings were read, a nice drake Goldeneye was present and a Firecrest was in the scrub at Dennis's.
Late afternoon at Pigwell a party of 20 Corn Buntings, a Stonechat and a flyover male Marsh Harrier were the highlight as no Owls were seen. Nearby the Slavonian Grebe was still on the lake to the west of the entrance to Bretts batching plant.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Wednesday 04/12/2019

 1 of 2 Jack Snipe seen this morning
This morning I joined AJG and RW in a pleasant walk around the trapping area, Desert and Long Pits, where wellingtons are now essential for accessing large areas. We did not see many birds but we did see of note 2 Jack Snipe, a Common Snipe and heard Water Rails. 
 Adult Caspian gull from Dennis's this afternoon
As is usual this time of year I am spending a large part of the day looking at Gulls on the reserve. Today I saw at least 5 Caspian Gulls and 3 Yellow-legged Gulls also a fine drake Goldeneye.
 3w Caspian Gull from Dennis's this morning
 2w Caspian gull from Dennis's this morning
 German ringed X86C 1w Caspian Gull from Firth this afternoon
Dungeness RSPB visitor centre at sunset this evening, taken from the causeway
Late afternoon I watched the Egret roost but only 5 Great White Egrets and 5 Little Egrets came into roost. At the same time the Marsh roost was being watched by CP who recorded 8 Great White Egrets and 10 Little Egrets, he also recorded 2 Whooper Swans perhaps last years returning birds.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Tuesday 03/12/2019

I over slept this morning so AJG did this mornings sea watch on his own and kindly sent me his numbers:
Common Scoter: 11W
Red-throated Diver: 12W   43E
Great-crested Grebe: 4W    11E
Gannet: 34E
Cormorant: 1,010 E into Lade Bay
Auk sp: 4E
I went back to Copt Point again today after going there yesterday seeing c3,00 Mediterranean Gulls and not reading a single ring, as the birds refused to land on the rocks to roost but stayed on the sea. When I arrived there were just a few birds on the sea, after short wait Mediterranean Gulls started streaming in from far out in the the channel where presumably they had been feeding, once again they all settled on the sea, after another hour some birds started to fly onto the rocks enabling me to read some rings. I had just read the fifth ring of the day a new Hungarian bird when the birds on the rocks were flushed by Dogs, there owners had even stopped to ask me what I was looking at but still let there dogs run riot all over the rocks! Needless to say I was less than happy and the dog owners learnt some Anglo Saxon!
Phonescoped image of 2 Caspian Gulls from Dennis's
This afternoon back at Dungeness on Burrowes Pit at least 9 Caspian Gulls came into roost, also a Swedish colour ringed Great black-backed Gull a new ringing scheme for me, hopefully I will have the life history of this bird very soon.
There are at least 3 Caspian Gulls including yellow ringed X86C in this image taken as the sun set 
The Slavonian Grebe was still at Scotney today, on the pit to the West of the road to Brett's batching plant. The Cattle Egrets and Great White Egrets are still present around the reserve.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Sunday 01/12/2019

08.15-10.00 from the sea watch hide:
Eider: 1E then drifted west
Velvet Scoter: 4E  (party of 3 and singleton)
Red-throated Diver: 89E       11W
Great-crested Grebe: 27E       9 o/s
Gannet: 549E       73W
Cormorant: Present: n/c
Oystercatcher: 6E
Kittiwake: 4E
Guillemot: 42E
Razorbill: 1E
Auk sp: 39E
By the time I arrived at The Patch mid morning most of the roosting Gulls on the beach had been flushed by walkers,  DW had already seen at least 10 Caspian Gulls there before they were flushed, but I still managed to see at least 3 including the regular German ringed bird X86C.
This afternoon from Dennis's Hide at least 5 Caspian and 3 Yellow-legged Gulls came in, very few birds came in until it was nearly dark and too late. Driving out of the reserve 2 Cattle Egrets flew over on their way to roost.
The Burt family found 4 Bewick Swans near The Woolpack on Walland Marsh, hopefully there will be plenty more.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Saturday 30/11/2019

Digiscoped image of X86C Caspian Gull at The Patch this morning
08.45-10.00 from The Patch
Brent Goose: 4E
Shelduck: 5W
Common Scoter: 28W
Red-breasted Merganser: 4W
Red-throated Diver: 16E   27W
Great-crested grebe: 12E
Gannet: 49W    26E
Cormorant:  present n/c
Kittiwake: 51E
Mediterranean Gull: 7W
Black-headed Gull: c400 present
Common Gull: c20 present
Caspian Gull: 2 x 1w present including X86C
Herring Gull: c250 present
L.B.B.Gull: 4
G.B.B.Gull: 12 on beach many off shore
Guillemot: 1E      2 o/s
Auk sp: 22W    6E
Digiscoped image of Presumed Caspian Gull X276 on Burrowes this afternoon, I should have the life history of the bird in the next couple of days.
At least 6 Caspian Gulls on Burrowes this afternoon from Dennis's, I must have missed many more that came in late afternoon to the islands in from of Firth Hide.
 1st and 3rd Cal year Caspian Gulls on Burrowes
 1 of at least 6 Yellow-legged Gulls on Burrowes late afternoon. Also JWZ34 G.B.B.Gull.
 Caspian Gull G0UT from last weekend. It's life history below.
Many thanks to Paul Roper for the life history. Double click the map to enlarge.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Friday 29/11/2019

07.15-08.45 with AJG who collated the numbers:
Brent Goose:11W
Common Scoter: 25W  8E
Red-breasted Merganser: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 16W    57W
Great-crested Grebe: 11E
Gannet: 82E
Cormorant: 2,534 west into Rye bay with many going East into Lade Bay
Grey Heron: 1 in off the sea
Kittiwake: 7W
Guillemot: 1E
Razorbill: 1E
Auk sp: 17W
Very poor image of the 4 Cattle Egrets
I suspected yesterday that there were 4 Cattle Egrets around, so it was nice to have this confirmed by seeing all 4 together on the Boulderwall Fields. Several 100s each of Lapwing and Wigeon also on the flooded fields. A quick look from Dennis's at the islands found them to be covered in the black plague of Cormorants, 1,000s of them.
A walk along the front of Scotney saw on the sward 2 Knot, a Ruff, 12 Redshank, 4 Curlew, 6 Dunlin, c150 Golden Plover (another 1,000+ wheeling around the wind turbines) c1,000 Lapwing and the usual feral Geese. 2 Marsh Harriers were hunting the far bank.
In Dengemarsh Gully a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest was all I could find.
 Short-eared Owl flying straight at and past me
On Lydd ranges this afternoon with Owen Leyshon 4 Short-eared Owls were hunting, giving excellent views though most the time they distant. 2 Common Buzzards, a single 1st calendar year Marsh Harrier and a Common Snipe were seen, sadly once again no Hen Harriers.
 Short-eared Owls

 Mirror image
The Ranges at sunset

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Thursday 28/11/2019

Male Sparrowhawk in the garden early this morning image taken through the window.
07.20-09.20 from the sea watch hide. Numbers kindly sent to me by AJG:
Eider: 1W
Common Scoter: 14W
Red-throated Diver: 42W
Gannet 738W
Cormorant: present n/c
Shag: 1W
Great Skua: 1E
Kittiwake: 46W
Guillemot: 3 o/s
Razorbill: 14W
Auk sp: 204W
Rock Pipit: 1 over
I was wondering why my fat log in the garden was being emptied so quickly
Half an hour this afternoon at the fishing boats saw just 3 Mediterranean Gulls, 4 Kittiwakes and 8 Gannets of any note.
Mid afternoon on Burrowes saw a 3w Caspian Gull, a 3w Yellow-legged Gull, a Marsh Harrier devouring a Gull on one of the islands, the flock of 17 Black-tailed Godwits, a Cattle Egret that was roosting on an island at the same time as 3 were reported being present on the ARC. At 15.40 I gave up as the light was so poor. 

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Wednesday 27/11/2019

NO early morning sea watch today as the weather was appalling, the heavy rain being driven into the hide by the strong SW wind would have made it virtually impossible, also the visibility would have been nil.
Mid morning I drove the short distance to a very wind swept Scotney, out on the sward I could just make a few Golden Plover, a couple of Redshanks and the usual feral Geese. From the double bends Tufted Ducks, Pochard, Mallard, Wigeon and Shoveler sheltering in the lee of the bank, a leucistic Starling flew across the lake during a heavy shower spoiling the image.
 Leucistic Starling taken during a heavy shower
 On my way to the beach the 3 Cattle Egrets were in the Horse Paddocks
Juvenile Merlin hunting off the fishing boat 
11.00-12.00 from the fishing boats:
Red-throated Diver: 2W
Great-crested Grebe: 2 o/s
Gannet: 64W
Cormorant: c150 o/s
Merlin: 1 hunting o/s
Kittiwake: 52W
Mediterranean Gull 1W (2w bird)
Guillemot: 5W      1o/s
Kittiwake past the fishing boats
The weather this afternoon was so abysmal I did not leave home this afternoon.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Tuesday 26/11/2019

Strong SSW wind with constant drizzle and some heavy rain made for a poor sea watch and generally a poor day for birding.
07.15-09.30 from the sea watch hide with Brian and AJG who collated the numbers:
Common Scoter: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 11W      9E
Great-crested Grebe: 17W
Gannet: 290W
Cormorant: present n/c
Kittiwake: 39W
Guillemot: 21W
Razorbill: 23W
Auk sp: 118W
Starling: 60W
Mid morning at Boulderwall fields peering through the driving rain I could just about make out 3 Barnacle Geese, presumably from the Scotney flock. Burrowes from Dennis's saw several 100s of Lapwing but little else, not even Gulls.
X86C 1w Caspian Gull at the fish shack early afternoon
At Scotney early afternoon 2 Knot, 6 Dunlin, c50 Golden Plover, 6 Redshank, 2 Curlew and the usual Geese on the sward.
Back at Burrowes an adult Caspian Gull came in, along with a 2w and adult Yellow-legged Gull. By 15.30 the light was so poor I gave up in favour of a cup of tea. 

Monday, 25 November 2019

Monday 25/11/2019

1 of many Gannets feeding close inshore off the fishing boats late morning

Another very gloomy damp day on the peninsular with a strong SSW wind that made for a reasonable sea watch.
07.30-09.30 from the sea watch hide with AJG &OL
Brent Goose: 1W
Common Scoter: 3W
Red-breasted Merganser: 1E
Red-throated Diver: 58W  7E
Black-throated Diver: 1E
Great-crested Grebe: 7W
Gannet: 589W  437E
Kittiwake: 239E.  19W
Mediterranean Gull: 1E.  2nd w
Sandwich Tern: 3E
Great Skua: 1W     2E
Pomarine Skua: 1W   1E
Skua sp: 1E
Guillemot: 33W   5E
Razorbill: 24W
Auk sp: 104W   21E
 Mid morning at the fishing boats and many Gannets were feeding close inshore, along with Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Red-throated Divers.

 Guillemot off the fishing boats
 Kittiwake off the fishing boats 
 Cattle Egrets in the Boulderwall Fields early afternoon
The reserve was again quiet with 2 Yellow-legged Gulls on Burrowes, the 3 seemingly resident Cattle Egrets and 2 Great White Egrets at Boulderwall, the usual Marsh Harriers but little else of note. 

4th calendar year Yellow-legged Gull in the beach roost this afternoon
A bit like me this Magpie at the fishing boats this afternoon has seen better days
A short sea watch this afternoon saw c400 Cormorants, 21 Great-crested Grebes, many Gannets and a handful of Kittiwakes all feeding off shore.