Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Caspian Gulls!

 Stonechat hay field 3
A stroll around the hay fields first thing this morning found a posing Stonechat and the Cattle Egret, along with 2 Great white Egrets, c40 Golden Plover and 5 Ruff of note.
 Cattle Egret in the hay fields

 Grey Plover at bottom of Denge Marsh Gully
Denge Marsh Gully was once again virtually bird less apart from the usual Corvids and Gulls, a fly by Grey Plover was notable.
At Scotney from the double bends a count of 62 Shelduck was notable, many Wigeon there along with the feral Barnacle Geese but no sign of any of the more unusual Grebes.
 Adult Caspian Gull on the ARC this morning
At the ARC an adult Caspian Gull was the first I have seen there since last winter, c300 Lapwings and 6 Dunlin were on the islands along with feral geese and usual wildfowl, 2 Great White Egrets were fishing around the margins and Cetti's Warblers were making themselves heard a Marsh Harrier was hunting over the reed beds. In the Willow trail a Firecrest still with several Goldcrests loosely associated with the Tit flock. 
4 Great White Egrets dropped into the Tower Pits where several Cetti's Warblers were also very vocal, while in the pines another Firecrest with several more Goldcrests a Great-spotted and Green Woodpecker.
 2w Caspian Gull on Burrowes
2 visits to Burrowes saw 5 Caspian Gulls, (1 adult, 2 nr adults, a 2w and a 1w) also 5 Yellow-legged Gulls. As is usual with Burrowes all the Gulls were to distant for anything other than record images. The adult Caspian Gull was found to late for any images. 
Also on Burrowes a good number of Duck and Lapwing at least 1,000 Cormorants which one day soon I will endeavour to count properly, just a couple of Goldeneye but no Smew yet. 
Still no sign of any returning Long-eared Owls at the Dipping Pool. 
MH did a 1.5 hr sea watch at the fishing boats this afternoon:
Brent Goose: 1 up
Great-crested Grebe: 36 around
Gannet: 61 down
Great skua: 2 down
Turnstone: 10 on beach
Kittiwake: 226 down
 Nr adult Caspian Gull on Burrowes.
 1W Caspian Gull on Burrowes. (immediately left of Cormorant)
Nr adult Caspian Gull on Burrowes. taken at 10,000 ISO

Friday, 17 November 2017

Another virtually bird less stroll around the trapping area this morning, a few Goldcrests, Great & Blue Tits in the bushes, a very few Goldfinches and Chaffinches over also a single Redpoll.
A look for the Dartford Warblers drew a blank, though DW found 2 later. Another look around the Kerton Road Triangle also drew a blank.
A long walk around Scotney enjoying the glorious warm November sunshine was very disappointing avian wise, a singles of Tree Sparrow, Green Sandpiper, Marsh Harrier and Common Buzzard, a party of 12 Skylark and 3 Redwing feeding in the Hawthorns. On the back lake the usual feral Geese and 8 Redshank.
 Tree Sparrow at Scotney
I joined MH this afternoon at Galloways which was even quieter than usual, a single Blackbird and a Red-throated Diver on the sea being the highlight! At Denge Marsh Gully a Raven over was the highlight.  
View over The New Diggings at official sunset 16.08
Late this afternoon I joined DW at the Egret roost where 18 Great White Egrets came in with 10 Little Egrets and a Cattle Egret. The sky was stunning as the sun went down.
Same view 15 minutes after sunset

Thursday, 16 November 2017

A very quiet morning on the sea 07.20-08.20 from the sea watch hide, thanks to AJG for collating the numbers:
Common Scoter: 41 up
Red-throated Diver: 3 up   7 down
Gannet: 75 around
Cormorant: present N/C
Great Skua:  2 down
Kittiwake: 6 down
Guillemot: 6 on
Razorbill: 2 on
Auk sp: 58 up
Todays stroll around the trapping area was again uneventful with a few each of Goldfinch and Chaffinch over, a few Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits in the bushes, the highlight being a Fieldfare and 3 Ravens over.
Merlin west of the power station
A late morning walk out to the switching station along the front of the power station, a Merlin, 2 Ravens and 6 Linnets were the only birds seen apart from the gulls.
This afternoon the 2 Firecrests still in the Willow Trail, from Hanson c100 Golden Plover, 32 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Dunlin and 2 Great White Egrets of note.
On Burrowes from the visitor centre 2 Yellow-legged Gulls among the very few gulls that came in to roost.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017


07.20-08.20 from the sea watch hide with AJG:
Brent Goose: 2 down
Common Scoter: 10 down
Red-throated Diver: 3 up  12 down
Gannet: 56 around 
Great Skua: 1 down
Mediterranean Gull: 4 down
Kittiwake: 26 down
Guillemot: 3 up
Razorbill: 3 on
Auk sp:  3 up 12 down
A stroll around the trapping area produced a calling Bullfinch but little else of note.
In the Broome around The Point 2 Dartford Warblers, 4 Stonechats and a Siskin over. 
 Dartford Warbler at The Point
Dartford Warbler at The Point 
Dartford Warbler at The Point 
 Firecrest in the Willow Trail
At the ARC from Hanson c600 Golden Plover with c300 Lapwing, 30 Black-tailed Godwits covering the islands, 2 Great White Egrets, a fly by Kingfisher, 2 Marsh Harriers, a Goldeneye, calling Cetti's Warblers and Water Rail along with all the usual wildfowl. In the Willow Trail 2 superb Firecrests, 3+Goldcrests, 2 Chiffchaffs all loosely associating with a Tit flock also Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker.
  Firecrest in the Willow Trail
  Firecrest in the Willow Trail
Denge Marsh Gully produced just a Wren, 2 Dunnocks and 2 Robins and a Raven over.
The Cattle Egret could be seen distantly with the cattle at the bottom of hay field 3. At the back of Denge Marsh c60 Golden Plover with c250 Greylag Geese, around the edge of the marsh 3 Stonechats, 2 Cetti's Warblers and a Great white Egret.
Back on the beach this afternoon a flat calm sea saw 4 Great-crested Grebes, 3 Guilemots, 2 Razorbills, c70 Kittiwakes loafing on the sea and c30 Gannets feeding off shore.
A  mid afternoon walk around the Kerton Road triangle and along the western edge of the quarry, found just 2 more Stonechats of any note.
 At Egret roost tonight 19 Great White Egrets came in with the Cattle Egret and 8 Little Egrets. A Marsh Harrier was hunting around the roost frequently disturbing the Little Egrets. A small Starling roost of c1500 birds attracted the attention of 2 Merlins and a Sparrowhawk that repeatedly dived into the murmuration, at least one Starling was taken by a Merlin.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Grey Day!

2 Velvet Scoters and a Red-breasted Merganser
A dull, cold, drizzly morning which saw a surprisingly good sea watch.
07.05-10.30 MH,DW & AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 17 down     2 up
Shelduck: 18 down
Teal: 5 down
Wigeon: 4 down
Common Scoter: 46 up  76 down
Velvet Scoter: 2 down
Eider: 1 male down
Red-breasted Merganser: 5 down   2 up
Red-throated Diver: 8 down
Gannet: 442 down
Cormorant: many present n/c
Knot: 1 down
Dunlin: 11 down
Bar-tailed Godwit: 1 down
Curlew: 1 down
Great Skua: 10 down    1 up
Mediterranean Gull: 7 down
Kittiwake: 92 down
Guillemot: 26 up    3 on sea
Razorbill: 7 up   4 on sea
Auk sp: 427 up
Skylark: 2 in
Starling:  4220 down/in
Chaffinch: 193 in

No sign of the Purple Sandpiper on the Denge Marsh Groyne today, though one was reportedly seen on Burrowes today. Still a few Golden Plover & Lapwing on the fields opposite Herons Park.

A very slow hour at the fishing boats this afternoon:
14.15-15.15 from the fishing boats, joined by AJG:
Common Scoter: 4 down
Red-throated Diver: 1 down   + 1 on
Great-crested Grebe: 14 around
Gannet: c40 around
Turnstone: 1 on beach
Curlew: 1 down
Kittiwake: c80 around
Sandwich Tern: 3 around
Guillemot: 2 on
Razorbill: 3 on
Auk sp: 31 up

Monday, 13 November 2017

Purple Sandpiper!

First light at Scotney GP was very quiet with just a Curlew and c40 Golden Plover of note.
On Walland c100 Golden Plover opposite Midley Barns, at Baynham Farm a handful of Tree Sparrows, with a few Chaffinches and Greenfinches, a disappointing drive around the marsh found it to be ornithologically barren, with all the fields ploughed up to edges or turned over to turf, even long standing rough areas ploughed, so much for the farmers being the stewards of the countryside.    

09.45-11.15 from the sea watch hide:
Brent Goose: 7 down    13 up
Common Scoter: 1 down
Red-throated Diver: 3 down     2 up
Great-crested grebe: 5 around
Gannet: c150 feeding off shore
Purple Sandpiper: 1 down
Great Skua: 2 up
Mediterranean Gull: 68 around
Kittiwake: c350 around
Guillemot: 2 on sea
Razorbill: 1 on sea
Auk sp: 17 up    9 down
Blackbird: 1 in
Starling: 350 in
Earlier a Velvet Scoter and 3 Sandwich terns were seen per AJG.
 Purple Sandpiper Denge Marsh Gully
On the fields opposite Herons Park c200 Golden Plover with c200 Lapwing. From Springfield Bridge the Cattle Egret distantly with the cattle, 2 Marsh Harriers and 2 Ruff of note. At the bottom of Denge Marsh Gully a Purple Sandpiper showing well on the Groyne, presumably the bird that flew past the sea watching hide.
 Dartford Warbler
 This afternoon 3 Dartford Warblers around the lighthouse area with 5 Stonechats.
Frosty  Stonechat
14.50-15.20 from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose: 37 down     5 up
Common Scoter: 20 down
Eider: 1 up
Great-crested Grebe: 2 on sea
Gannet: c20 off shore
Turnstone: 1 on beach
Kittiwake: 9 around
Guillemot: 1 on sea
Auk sp: 8 down
Common Seal: 1
Late afternoon from the causeway 7 Great White Egrets could be seen. On the reserve a 1w Caspian Gull came into a small roost viewable from Makepiece.

Friday, 10 November 2017

 Grey Phalarope near The Patch this morning
 Again very quiet on the sea this morning, the Grey Phalarope was bobbing around among the the Black-headed Gulls usually along the scum line, a few Gannets and Kittiwakes were feeding off shore and 2 Sandwich Terns feeding were notable.
 Stonechat at Springfield Bridge
At Springfield Bridge a showy Stonechat, also several each of Reed Buntings, Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails. On Dengemarsh c120 Golden Plover and Ruff among the Lapwings, a Marsh Harrier over the reed beds. 2 juvenile Brent Geese on Denge Marsh flood were unexpected.
2 juvenile Brent Geese at Dengemarsh Flood
At Scotney from the double bends, 3 Ruff, 6 Redshank, 15 Golden Plover all on the Herring Gull island. On the sward the usual feral geese with 6 Curlew, c200 Lapwing and c300 Wigeon.
 Feral Barnacle Geese at Scotney
Early afternoon at the ARC 28 Black-tailed Godwits, a Dunlin, 12 Golden Plover, 5+ Great White Egrets and the usual wildfowl. Around the Willow Trail 2 Firecrests of note, also 10+ Long-tailed Tits in the Tit flock.
Back at the fishing boats no change on the sea.
Great White Egret from Firth late afternoon
Late afternoon from Firth Hide in the company of DW and MH, a Great White Egret posed and 2 Yellow-legged Gulls and a 3w Caspian Gull came into roost.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler!

07.15-08.15 from the sea watch hide with SO & AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Common Scoter: 26 down
Velvet Scoter: 1 down
Red-throated Diver: 2 down
Gannet: 153 down
Peregrine: 1 hunting offshore
Mediterranean Gull: 9 down
Kittiwake: 46 down
Auk sp: 19 down
Starling: 775 down
As we made our way back to the car park David Walker called to say he had heard the Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler again this morning, a few minutes later he called again to say the bird had now made it's way into a mist net.
 Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler
 Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler
 Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler
 Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler
After the release of the Hume's Warbler I joined AJG in a stroll around the trapping area, apart from a few Blackbirds, Chaffinches and Tits and Goldcrests very little was seen or heard and when the rain started it was time for lunch.
The Cattle Egret reappeared this afternoon on the Boulderwall fields per MH.
Grey Phalarope taken late afternoon at ISO 2000
While I was at the fishing boats this afternoon BH called to let me know the Grey Phalarope had reappeared at the fishing boats.
13.30-16.00 at The Point:
Common Scoter: 4 down
Red-breasted Merganser: 2 down
Great-crested Grebe: 5 around
Gannet: 37 down
Turnstone: 6 around
Grey Phalarope: 1 around
Mediterranean Gull: 4 around
Kittiwake: 32 around
Sandwich Tern: 1 down
Auk sp: 4 down
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 3

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Still dreaming of a Dungeness Hawfinch!

Today being mostly tied up with domestic stuff, I had time to look at my digital photographic library. I came across many images of Hawfinch that I took in West Sussex 2004 & 2009, some good and some definitely in the record shot category. Looking at these images made me feel better about the Hawfinch eruption bypassing Dungeness. I still hope one will pose for me on the peninsular but somehow I doubt it. Most of the images below were taken with the aid of a flash gun which I no longer use.
 Hawfinch I photographed in West Sussex in March 2009 

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Grey Phalarope and a Yellow-browed Warbler!

07.15-09.15 from the sea watch hide with AJG who kindly collated the numbers: 
Brent Goose:17 down
Shelduck: 4 down
Teal: 86 down
Gadwall: 2 down
Pintail: 7 down
Wigeon: 127 down
Common Scoter: 25 down   36 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 4 down
Red throated Diver: 1 up
Great-crested Grebe: 8 down
Gannet: 92 down
Great Skua: 1 down
Kittiwake: 47 down
Sandwich Tern: 1 up
Guillemot: 16 up
Razorbill: 4 up
Auk sp: 104 down   32 up
Starling: 5,930 down
 Woodcock about to be released by Owen
At the observatory Owen caught a Woodcock in the Heligoland Trap, I arrived in time to watch it being released.
 Woodcock on it's way
At the ARC the usual Great white Egrets, Marsh Harriers, squealing Water Rail and wildfowl on show from Hanson but no sign of the Dotterel in the short time I was there, though it was reported on the Boulderwall fields.
At Scotney from the double bends 10 Redshank, 3 Ruff, c50 Golden Plover, c300 Wigeon and the usual feral Geese.  
On the Dengemarsh fields c200 each of Golden Plover and Lapwing but little else of note around there.
 Great White Egret from Hanson
An unusual sea watch this afternoon from the fishing boats where a Grey Phalarope was showing well for a couple of hours, a very late Black Tern flew west, then news of a Yellow-browed Warbler found by Dave Bunney in his garden cut short the sea watch. The Yellow-browed Warbler was very active and highly mobile around the garden not allowing me to even press the shutter let alone get good images, many thanks to Dave for letting us know about and view the bird.
Brent Goose: 4 down
Teal: 3 down
Wigeon: 25 down
Common Scoter: 7 down
Red-breasted Merganser: 4 down
Red-throated diver: 1 down
Great-crested grebe: 3 around
Gannet: c150 around
Grey Phalarope: 1 around
Mediterranean Gull: c10 around
Yellow-legged Gull: 2 around
Kittiwake: c25 around
Sandwich Tern: 9 down
Black Tern: 1 down
Guillemot: 2 around
Auk sp: 4 down
 Grey Phalarope at the fishing boats this afternoon