Sunday, 17 December 2017

Sea watching at Dungeness in the last few days has produced small numbers of Red-throated Divers, Gannets, Guillemots and Kittiwakes, a count of 522 Great-crested Grebes, a singles each of Black-throated Diver, Goosander, Merlin and Mediterranean Gull. A new 1w Caspian Gull has been seen around The Point for last couple of days. At least 1 Dartford Warbler is still present around the new lighthouse area.
1w Caspian Gull at the fishing boats
16 Bewick Swans were opposite Cockles Bridge yesterday but I could only find 13 today, though the others may have been obscured by reeds.
The now seemingly resident 3w Caspian Gull seems to be living on an island viewable from Makepiece and is usually joined by other Caspian and Yellow-legged Gulls in the late afternoon roost. The long-eared Owl was just about showing today deep inside the bushes behind the dipping pool, a male Brambling was coming to the feeders in the reserve car park today. 6 Goosander (3 drakes & 3 Ducks) dropped into Burrowes this afternoon and were joined by a 4th drake a little later but still no Smew. Nearby at Lade the Long-tailed Duck and Slavonian Grebe are still present.
Scotney is still very quiet with just the usual feral geese to be seen, a Green Sandpiper or 2 can also usually be seen but so far no sign of any wild geese.
Brambling on the visitor centre car park feeders

Thursday, 14 December 2017

AS I made my way to the beach this morning the & Bewick Swans (3 adults + 4 Juvs) were in there chosen field opposite Cockles Bridge.

08.00-09.00 from the sea watch hide:

Brent Goose: 5 down
Common Scoter: 4 down
Velvet Scoter: 1 down
Red-throated Diver: 158 down.   7 up
Great-crested Grebe: 56 down
Fulmar: 2 down
Gannet: 119 down
Great Skua: 1 down
Kittiwake: 37 down
Guillemot: 26 down
Auk sp: 38 down. 17 up
I joined PT in a wander around the lighthouses and Brittania but drew a blank on the Dartford Warblers and Stonechats.
By the fishing boats plenty of Gulls to look at including an adult and 1w Caspian Gull, also 2 Yellow-legged Gulls an adult and a 3w and several colour ringed Gulls.
 Adult Caspian Gull at the Fishing Boats
 Pitsea colour ringed Herring Gull
 3w Yellow-legged Gull with an injured wing
 Adult Yellow-legged Gull
Scotney was again very quiet with just the usual feral Barnacle Geese, 61 Shelduck, a Marsh Harrier and a few Tufted Duck and Pochard. In the distance Golden Plover and Lapwing could be seen wheeling around the wind turbines.
In the fields opposite Herons Park 4 Egyptian Geese with a Brent Goose, more Golden Plover and Lapwing, Stock Doves and Starlings all being flushed by a very low flying Helicopter inspecting the power lines.
 Long-tailed Tit from Makepiece
In a morning and afternoon visit to the reserve at least 4 Caspian Gulls were seen (adult, 2 x 3w, 2w) also 4 Yellow-legged Gulls including the bird with injured wing seen this morning at the fishing boats. The Long-eared Owl was reported but I failed to find it.
From Hanson the Bittern again showing out to the left of the hide per GP. Still no sign of any Smew.
 3w Caspian Gull from Firth
2w Caspian Gull from Firth

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Wash out!

A reasonable sea watch this morning though it was a thoroughly miserable day on the peninsula.
08.30-10.00 from the sea watch hide:

Common Scoter:1 down
Red-breasted Merganser: 1 down
Red-throated Diver: 517 down
Great-crested Grebe:56 down
Gannet: 241 down
Cormorant: n/c
Great Skua: 1 down
Kittiwake: 9 down
Guillemot: 734 down
Auk sp: 129 down

From Cockles Bridge the 7 Bewick Swans could just about be seen through the rain.

This afternoons Gull roost on the reserve produced 3 Yellow-legged Gulls and 2 3w Caspian Gulls, frustratingly there were a minimum of 11 Gulls bearing colour rings but all were unreadable due to the poor weather conditions.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

AJG spent an hour freezing in the sea watch this morning, many thanks to him for sending me the results of his efforts:
07.30-08.30 
Brent Goose: 22 down
Teal: 4 down
Shoveller: 32 down
Wigeon: 22 down
Pintail:5 down
Common Scoter: 8 down
Red-throated Diver: 52 down . 59 up
Black-throated Diver: 1 down
Great-crested Grebe: 8 up
Gannet 22 around
Avocet 2 down
Auk sp 9 up
Kingfisher from Firth

A quick look at the ARC and Burrowes first thing this morning confirmed that there had been no cold weather arrival of Smew or anything else. The Willow trail held a couple of Goldcrests and Song Thrushes, also a couple of noisy Cetti's Warblers. Both lakes were very quiet.
At Scotney the lake was mill pond smooth but no new arrivals here also.
After repairing my storm damaged fence I made my way to the reserve again via Cockles Bridge where 7 Bewick swans could be seen, presumably yesterday afternoons birds that were around Burrowes.
In the Gull roost late afternoon 1 adult and 2 x 3w Caspian Gulls were of note. A Great White Egret and Kingfisher were also seen.
The details of Sundays Polish colour ringed 3w Caspian Gull are below.
Caspian Gull 26P5: Seen at Dungeness 10/12/2017
Caspian Gull colony (Larus cachinnans kolonia) []
[Ringed as a pullus released by ringer 21/05/2015, 0:0, date accurate
[PL OE] ZB.KOZIELNO,PACZKÓW, OPOLSKIE, POLAND 50°28'35.8''; 16°58'54.2'' (50.47659800; 16.98173000) accurate to the given coordinates
Jacek Betleja, Jakub Szymczak 



Date Rings Place Latitude Distance
Elapsed time
Circumstances Longitude Direction
Finder Condition Status
25/10/2016 NOG RED 26P5 (FR 07) Berck sur Mer, PAS-DE-CALAIS, FRANCE 523 days (81) colour ring read
Frédéric LEVIEZ
50°25'25.0'' 1°33'50.0'' (7) ŻYWWYP
1088 km 275° ZIM
22/09/2017 NOG RED 26P5 (FR 01) PENNEDEPIE, CALVADOS, FRANCE 855 days (81) colour ring read
Tony Le Huu Nghia
49°24'28.1'' 1206 km 0°09'07.0'' 270°
(7) ŻYWWYP

Monday, 11 December 2017

Bewick Swans!

First thing this morning I stupidly went to The Point (I wasn't the only one) spending half an hour peering out of the car seeing just a few Gannets, Guillemots, Kittiwakes and Cormorants, which considering a NE gale was rocking the car and driving a mixture of heavy rain, sleet and snow across the beach virtually obscuring the sea and activating the fog horn.
 Bewick Swans
Another drive around Walland Marsh looking for Wild Swans and Geese drew a blank, even Mute Swans were mostly absent.
On the reserve 5 Brent Geese were by the entrance track at Boulderwall, 2 Bewick Swans dropped onto Burrowes and 5 more Bewicks flew over per PB. 2 Caspian Gulls (adult and a 3w) were on the islands from Makepiece and a Brent Goose joined them. A kingfisher, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest were seen from Makepiece and the VC.
Adult Caspian Gull

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Cold & Stormy!

Saturday morning I drove around Walland hoping the cold weather had pushed some wild Swans and Geese south, but only found a couple of small parties of Fieldfare. Most the rest of the day was spent looking at Gulls on the reserve, where at least 6 Caspian Gulls, 3 Yellow-legged Gulls and several colour ringed birds were the highlights. All the usual wildfowl were seen but still no Smew. Nearby on Lade Pit the Long-tailed Duck and Slavonian Grebe still in residence.
DW did a very disappointing Egret roost count at the ARC where only 5 Great White Egrets and 3 Little Egrets came into roost.
 3w Caspian Gull (HCL23) ringed in Latvia in May 2015 & seen at Dungeness in October 2015 and again yesterday.
 Today I didn't venture out until late though the rain was still falling and the wind rising.
10.30-11.00 from The Point:
Red-throated Diver: 8 up    3 down
Fulmar: 2 down    1 up
Gannet: 96 down    43 up
Cormorant: present n/c
Great Skua: 1 up
Kittiwake: 32 up      6 down
Guillemot: 27 up    8 down
Auk sp:   34 up       18 down
The howling gale dictated that Gull watching from Makepiece was the only viable birding to be done,  we were rewarded with at least 7 Caspian Gulls (an Adult, 3 x 3w, a 2w 2 x 1w) also 3 Yellow-legged Gulls. The highlight being a Polish red ringed 3w Caspian Gull which came in just after sunset.
Goldeneye sheltering from the storm below Makepiece
26P5 Polish ringed 3w Caspian Gull came in very late 4000 iso needed
 Adult Caspian Gull from Makepiece  taken at iso 3200 
3w Caspian Gull from Makepiece

Friday, 8 December 2017

Winter Birding!

08.00-09.30 from The Point:
Brent Goose: 2 up
Common Scoter: 1 down
Red-throated Diver: 243 down  7 up
Great-crested Grebe: 21 up
Gannet: 276 down
Cormorant: many present n/c
Merlin: 2 around
Great Skua: 3 down
Kittiwake: 29 down
Guillemot: 34 up     7 down
Auk sp: 42 up    17 down
Long-eared Owl
I spent most the rest of the day around the reserve where the Long-eared Owl was sun bathing and showing quite nicely. From Firth  hide an adult Little Gull was a surprise as was the Peregrine that put an end to the Gull watching there. Several colour ringed Herring Gulls were noted and a Raven flew over.
Peregrine on ridge in front of Firth
From Makepiece Hide 3 Caspian Gulls were located including a colour ringed 2w bird, also 2 Yellow-legged Gulls.
 Raven over Firth
Good numbers of Pintail, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck and Shoveler can be seen around the reserve, only a few Goldeneye are present while Goosanders are irregular at the moment and no Smew have arrived yet. Cetti's Warblers are quite vocal at the moment as are Water Rail both of which can be heard at several places around the reserve. 3+ Kingfishers are on the reserve, Marsh Harriers, Great White and Little Egrets can easily be seen, the Cattle Egret seems very elusive though it was reported today, Bitterns are also very elusive so hopefully the colder weather may tempt them to show themselves. It looks as though this year will be the first in many years that I haven't seen Ruddy Duck.
2w Caspian Gull Yellow ringed X136

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

A stop off at the New Diggings on the way to the beach saw a Great White Egret, c400 Great Black Backed Gulls bathing and small numbers of the common wildfowl, but still none of the scarcer Grebes or a Diver.08.20-10.00 from the sea watch hide:

Common Scoter: 3 down
Red-throated Diver: 88 down.    9 up
Great-crested Grebe: 87 around
Gannet: 168 around
Cormorant: 361 around
Great Skua: 3 up
Kittiwake: 28 down. 16 on sea
Guillemot: 76 on.   27 up.  8 down
Auk sp: 38 up.   9 down
Grey Wagtail 2 around
Meadow Pipit: 5 around 
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Goldeneye from Makepiece Hide this afternoon
A short late morning visit to Burrowes found 3 Caspian Gulls(2 ads + 3w) and an adult Yellow-legged Gull, also a red head Goosander flew through. Again I was unable to locate the Long-eared Owl at The Dipping Pool.

 1 of 4 adult Caspian Gulls seen this afternoon from Makepiece Hide 
I spent a couple of hours this afternoon in Makepiece Hide in the company of David Walker, where we sheltered from the increasing winds, while scanning through the 3,000+ Gulls that came into the islands to roost. We found a minimum of 10 Caspian Gulls(4 x ad, 4 x 3w, 2w and a 1w), also 5 Yellow-legged Gulls also 2 Goosander flew in including a nice pink drake, 2 Goldeneye, a Common Snipe, several 100s of Lapwing and Cormorants plus the commoner wildfowl.
 1w & 2w Caspian Gulls from Makepiece this afternoon

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

More Gulls!

The Long-eared Owl was back in it's usual  spot behind the dipping pool yesterday, but alas no sign today, hopefully it will return.
While Gull watching on Burrowes from Firth hide yesterday 8 Goosanders made a brief appearance, despite a reasonable number of Gulls being present only a single 3rd calender year Caspian Gull was located.
This morning a quick look around Walland Marsh found no wild Swans or Geese, however later in the morning 6 Bewick Swans including 3 juveniles flew over the reserve. A minimum of 5 Caspian Gulls were located on Burrowes this morning, also an adult Yellow-legged Gull there. Other birds included c100 Dunlin, 34 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Goldeneye and the usual wildfowl. At least 2 Chiffchaffs around as well as 2+ Kingfishers per PB. Several Great White Egrets could be seen around the reserve.
 Adult Caspian Gull
Adult Caspian Gull
3rd cal yr Caspian Gull ?
I've spent quite a bit of time trying to master the vagaries of Macintosh after investing in an Imac at the weekend having had enough of the nightmare of windows 10. I have at last managed to get images on to blogger, though it was through a somewhat tortuous route of creative cloud. If there any mac users out there who know easier ways of posting images on blogger I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Saturday

08.15-10.00 from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose:18 up 16 down
Shelduck: 1 down
Teal: 6 up 87 down 12 in
Mallard: 2 up
Wigeon: 51 up 21 downCommon Scoter: 2 up 44 down
Red-breasted Merganser: 1 up
Red-throated Diver: 137 up 15 down
Great-crested Grebe: 23 around
Gannet: c200 up & down
Cormorant: c350 around
Merlin: 1 around
Turnstone: 2 on beach
Great Skua: 1 around
Mediterranean Gull: 1 around
Kittiwake: 27 around
Guillemot: 9 on  8 down. 2 up
Auk sp: 17 up 5 downL
Starling: 197 in

1w G.B.B.Gull JC753 on the beach.

A mid morning visit to the ARC found 4 Bewick Swans including a juvenile, 30 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Dunlin, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Great White Egrets, a Kingfisher & the usual wildfowl.
Early afternoon back at the fishing boats was very quiet with nothing moving.
Mid afternoon on Burrowes 8 Goosander from Dennis's hide which I missed per SO, from Firth a near adult green ringed Caspian Gull XDFP and an adult Yellow-legged Gull.