Sunday, 28 February 2016

As OL was braving the strong cold North East wind on The Point this morning I decided to be equally silly and wander around the Scotney complex. The birding was very thin fare, the highlights being 2 Black-necked grebes on the main pit, 11 Dunlin,16 Ringed Plover and 2 Curlew on the sward and the feral Barnacle Goose flock at the double bends. At the back of Scotney I had difficulty seeing with the amount of dust being blasted off  the fields in the wind.
Next I walked around the reserve, I couldn't find the Long-eared Owls at the Dipping Pool, Burrowes was very windswept so it was not till I reached Dengemarsh did I see anything of note, a Great White Egret. I stopped at the view point but quickly moved on due to the wind, reaching the entrance track pools 4 Smew including the drake could be seen. Making my way back to the car park along the entrance track was unpleasant due the dust being blasted off the track by the wind, when ever a car came past it was even worse.
At the New Diggings the 2 Black-necked Grebes and the 2 Slavonian Grebes were still present.
In a short visit to the beach this afternoon I was surprised to learn that the 1w Glaucous Gull had not been seen at all today the first time since the 14th January. Offshore a few Red-throated Divers and Auks were tooing and froing.
 These images were taken early yesterday morning

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Hen Harrier!

 Stopping at the New Diggings on my way to the fishing boats the 2 Slavonian Grebes could be seen but not the Black-necked Grebes.
At the fishing boats the 1w Glaucous Gull was again showing well. In the bitterly cold easterly wind several Red-throated Divers were tooing and froing off shore, along with a few each of Gannet and Great-crested Grebe.
In wander around the Long Pits a Woodcock was flushed, a Cetti's Warbler was chattering at the causeway, 22 Coot and a Moorhen were on the pits,a few Robins, Blackbirds and Great Tits were in the bushes.
 A visit to Lydd water treatment works payed off with superb views of a Male Hen Harrier though little else was seen.

At Scotney the 2 Black-necked Grebes still sheltering under the far bank, on the sward 19 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 3 Redshank and 4 Curlew were of note.
Back at the beach the Glaucous Gull was performing for the cameras, but still nothing moving off shore.

Friday, 26 February 2016


As a gentle SE wind was forecast for this morning I went to the relative comfort of the sea watch hide where a few bits and pieces were seen but no real movement. 
Brent Goose: 6E
Wigeon: 2E
Common Scoter: 6E
Red-throated Diver: 22E   3W   4 on sea
Great-crested Grebe: c300 on sea
Gannet: 27E
Cormorant: many present
Oystercatcher: 3W
Peregrine: 2 present
Mediterranean Gull: 3E
Guillemot: 14 on sea
Black Redstart: 2 present

A walk around The Moat found 3 Song Thrushes, a few Blackbirds and the usual Dunnocks, Robins, Wrens and House Sparrows.
At the fishing boats the 1w Glaucous Gull showing well still, but again no sign of the 1w Caspian Gull.
 Black-necked Grebes on the New Diggings
On the New Diggings 2 Black-necked Grebes as well as 2 Slavonian Grebes were of note. At Boulderwall Farm, 2 Great White Egrets, c200 Golden Plover and 20+ Dunlin among the many Lapwings.
 The 2 Long-eared Owls at the Dipping Pool  just!
The Brute!
Back at the beach this afternoon the Glaucous Gull still. Despite a couple of loaves still no sign of the 1w Caspian Gull. On the sea many Great-crested Grebes, a few Red-throated Divers and Guillemots and 3 more Brent Geese flew east.
Late afternoon at Scotney the 2 Black-necked Grebes still, c150 Wigeon, 2 Marsh Harriers, 8 Ringed Plovers, 4 Dunlin, 8 Curlew, 3 Redshank and 6 Oystercatchers were all noted. 
This evening BM watched the ARC Egret roost and recorded 5 Great White Egrets and 21 Little Egrets.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Black-necked Grebes

 Little Owl, Scotney.
As it was a very frosty still start to the morning, I decided on a stroll around the Scotney complex. At the Sussex end 2 winter plumaged Black-necked Grebes, 2 Little Egrets and a Redshank. On the sward 6 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin and 2 Curlew. Around the farm a Little Owl was enjoying the early morning sun, c20 Chaffinches joined the House Sparrows in the byres. A Great White Egret flew over the farm and joined another at the west end, in the fields and reeds c15 Reed Buntings a handful each of Corn Buntings and Skylarks were the highlights.
 Great White Egret over Scotney Farm
After a cup of coffee a walk around the reserve starting at Dennis's hide saw the Slavonian Grebe still and several Goldeneye among the many Shoveler, Gadwall and Tufted Duck. Once again I was unable to spot the Long-eared Owl behind the Dipping Pool. Between Makepiece and Scott 8 Long-tailed Tits and 3 Chiffchaffs but not the Siberian one. Between Scott and Christmas Dell I got distant views of the Glossy Ibis as flew across into Dengemarsh. I joined MH on the Hookers ramp where we saw another Great White Egret, a Bittern, several Bearded Tits, Cetti's Warblers and Water Rails calling, a flock of c300 Golden Plover, c70 Dunlin among the 100s of Lapwings, a couple of Common Buzzards and 4+ Marsh Harriers. 
2 Black Redstarts on the power station wall
This afternoon very little of note around the lighthouse, apart from the 2 Black Redstarts one of which was ringed.
On the beach 1w Glaucous Gull was still around the fishing boats but again no sign of the 1w Caspian Gull. On the flat calm sea a few Red-throated Divers and Guillemots tooing and froing.
From the causeway 2 Black-necked Grebes on New Diggings were of note.
A look down Dengemarsh Gully with MH this afternoon saw nothing of note.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Unusual Glaucous Gull Behaviour!

 1w Glaucous Gull livening up a poor sea watch this morning.
Weather wise an altogether much better day on the peninsula, light winds and sunshine.
08.00-08.45 from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose: 2E
Shelduck: 3W
Common Scoter: 1E
Red-throated Diver: 23E   2W
Great-crested Grebe: c250 on sea
Gannet: 12W
Cormorant: c200 on sea
Oystercatcher: 1W
Turnstone: 4 on beach
Kittiwake: 5W
Glaucous Gull: the regular 1w bird on beach
Guillemot: 4 on sea
On the reserve 2 Great White Egrets from the entrance track, the Long-eared Owls excellent camouflage took me at least 5 minutes staring into the Dipping Pool bushes to spot it. The drake Smew and Slavonian Grebe were a lot easier. I joined MH at the Hookers viewing ramp, where we watched 3+Marsh Harriers put up 100s of Lapwing and Golden Plover, also 70+ Dunlin there. In the reed bed Bearded Tits were calling as were Cetti's Warblers and Water Rails, also a party of 9 Long-tailed Tits and what appeared to be 5 White-fronted Geese distantly.
At Scotney very little on the main lake and sward, at the back 3 Avocets were the first this year for me but little else seen there. 
Back at the fishing boats this afternoon the sea was even quieter than this morning, but I did have the 1w Glaucous Gull all to my self, I sat on the beach and it walked past me coming to close to photograph at times. As it walked along the shingle ridge, it was I assume feeding in some way by probing the soft shingle deeply taking large beak fulls then shaking it out which it numerous times in the half hour I was watching it. 
 Unusual feeding behaviour of the 1w Glaucous Gull probing deeply!
Shaking out another beak full!
Late this afternoon at Galloways just 8 Reed Buntings, 2 Stonechats, a Kestrel and the usual Corvids. 

Monday, 22 February 2016

Constant Drizzle!

Yesterdays Harrier count at the airport had just 2 birds coming in to the roost, but 14 Little Egrets and a Great White Egret flew over at last light, also 2 Common Snipe and 2 Jack Snipe were seen on the way to the watch point.
JZ235 Great Black Backed Gull a Dungeness regular in the puddles this morning.
 The seemingly now resident 1w Glaucous Gull this morning
Yet another thoroughly miserable day on the peninsula, constant drizzle with a light Northerly wind. 
Brent Goose: 11W
Red-throated Diver: 273W     6E
Great-crested Grebe: N/C
Gannet: 6W    3E
Turnstone: 8 on beach
Kittiwake: 9W
Yellow-legged Gull: 1  3w on beach
Glaucous Gull: 1 the regular 1w bird on the beach
Guillemot: 1W
Auk sp: 1W
A walk from the ARC car park up to The Pines saw of note a Common Snipe, 3 red-head Smew and a Bittern.
 3cy Yellow-legged Gull in front the fishing boats this morning
On Burrowes the Slavonian Grebe still, the drake and 3 redhead Smew, 10+ Goldeneye also 2 Long-eared Owls behind the dipping pool.
Drake Goldeneye from Makepiece
Back at the fishing boats this afternoon 14.15-15.45 with JW
Red-breasted Merganser: 2W
Red-throated Diver: 112W
Great-crested Grebe: 851 in 1 sweep from the fishing boats feeding on calm sea.
Gannet: 55W
Cormorant: c200 on sea
Oystercatcher: 1W
Kittiwake: 19W
Glaucous Gull: still on the beach
Guillemot: 12W
No sign of the 1w Caspian Gull today.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Strong westerly wind and drizzle made for a thoroughly miserable day at Dungeness today. 
 Feeding Frenzy!
09.00-10.00 from the fishing boats: 
Brent Goose: 20E
Common Scoter: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 5E        13W
Great-crested Grebe: c40 present
Fulmar: 3W
Gannet: 4E   15W
Cormorant: c200 present
Turnstone: 4 on beach
Caspian Gull: the regular 1w bird at the puddles
Glaucous Gull: the regular 1w bird at the puddles
Kittiwake: 43W
Guillemot: 223W
Razorbill: 1W
Auk sp: 32W
 Whiting swallowed whole
North Thames U6ST in the puddles
On the reserve both Long-eared Owls showing today per SB. From the entrance track 3 Smew including the drake, along with 100s each of Lapwing and Golden Plover. At a windswept Scotney the usual feral Geese on the sward with 8 Ringed Plover, 6 Dunlin and 2 Curlew. A wander around Pigwell saw nothing of note.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

A wet morning with cold NNW wind didn't inspire me to rush down to the beach. Instead a leisurely breakfast and extra Coffee. 
When I finally arrived at the beach around 10.00 there was absolutely no movement off shore, but the sea was covered in birds. c500 Guillemots, c30 Razorbills, c500 Cormorants, c500 Great-crested Grebes, c30 Red-throated Divers and 100s of Gulls all busy feeding. On the beach the 1w Glaucous and 1w Caspian Gull were loafing around the puddles.
On Burrowes a red head Smew, Slavonian Grebe and a 1w Little Gull flew through. No sign of any of the Long-eared Owls today, hopefully they have just buried themselves deeper in the bushes.
Late afternoon look at Scotney, Bretts Marina and Scotney saw nothing of note.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Much the Same!

 The 1w Glaucous Gull enjoying a drink at the puddles.
A short uninspiring sea watch this morning as it seems we seeing exactly the same birds each day. The only new bird was a drake Tufted Duck which is scarce on sea watches here.
08.15-08.45 from the fishing boats:
Tufted Duck: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 21W     13E
Great-crested Grebe: N/C many present
Gannet: 9W
Cormorant: N/C many present
Oystercatcher: 2E
Kittiwake: 3W
Glaucous Gull: the regular 1w bird on the beach
Caspian Gull: the regular 1w bird on the beach
Guillemot: 47 o/s
Razorbill: 6 o/s
Auk sp: 62 o/s
I couldn't resist taking more pictures of the Glaucous and Caspian Gull as I had them all to myself in excellent light conditions. Both were still present this afternoon.
1w Caspian Gull showing well on the beach
A walk from the ARC car park to the Pines saw 2 Chiffchaffs with c9 Long-tailed Tits also 3 Cetti's Warblers and a Green Woodpecker.
At Scotney the 2 Black-necked Grebes were the only birds of note on the main lake, a few Ringed Plover and Dunlin on the sward.
A walk from Springfield Bridge around the reserve in the sunny conditions was a bit of a slog. No sign of the hoped for Glossy Ibis in the The hayfields or much else apart from a flock of 9 Curlews that landed briefly before a Marsh Harrier flushed them. At the back of Dengemarsh the Lapwings and Golden Plover and wildfowl were constantly being flushed by up to 5 Marsh Harriers, in the reed bed a few Reed Buntings and a Kingfisher. By Scott hide 2 Chiffchaffs one a regular Colybita the other probably a Tristis, It spent most of its time out of site on the lakeside of the bank giving just a couple of very brief views. 2 Smew including the drake was on view at Burrowes and the Long-eared Owl was still behind the Dipping Pool. On the way back a Great White Egret appeared at Christmas Dell. 
Back on the beach this afternoon the Caspian and Glaucous Gulls were in the roost. With the now overcast and windy conditions the temperature plummeted, I wimped out of another sea watch instead going home for a mug of tea.  

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Glossy Ibis!

Thick fog at Dungeness this morning kept me at home till 10.00. As it cleared I drove the short distance to Scotney where a few Dunlin, Redshank and Ringed Plovers were on the sward as was the feral flock of Barnacle Geese. On the lake 2 Black-necked Grebes were of note (3 seen later per PT) a Peregrine and Marsh Harrier were terrorising the Wigeon. Brett's Marina and Galloways were very quiet.
As I arrived at Boulderwall Farm PB sent a message that a Glossy Ibis had flown over Burrowes, a few minutes later the Ibis (130 for the local patch) flew over the viewing ramp and disappeared into Dengemarsh. Later it made it's way to the fields north of Boulderwall where several 100s of Golden Plover could be seen among even more Lapwing and 76 Dunlin. Also there 8 White-fronted Geese and 5 Egyptian Geese among the Greylag and Canada Geese, a red head Smew among Coot and Wigeon there, another Peregrine and several Marsh Harriers, a male Stonechat was in the reeds also 2 Great White Egrets there.
 The best I managed of the Glossy Ibis
 some of the 100s of Golden plover present
On the beach this afternoon the regular 1w Glaucous and 1w Caspian Gull were still present along with a few Kittiwakes, Red-throated Divers, Auks and Great-crested Grebes.
Late afternoon 4 Great White Egrets and 22 Little Egrets roosted at the ARC.

Sunday, 14 February 2016


 With a little imagination you can pick out the Slavonian Grebe flying with a Great-crested Grebe.
A very busy sea watch this morning from the fishing boats in a bitter NE wind 09.00-10.40:
Red-throated Diver: 32E   5W
Great-crested Grebe: 2,661 moved North into Lade Bay
Slavonian Grebe: 1E
Gannet: 53E   2W
Cormorant: N/C but several 100s present
Oystercatcher: 1E
Kittiwake: 37E   + c25 in feeding flock o/s
Glaucous Gull: 1 the regular 1w bird around
Caspian Gull: 1 the regular 1w bird around
Guillemot: 248E
Razorbill: 14E
Auk sp: 135E   27W
1w Caspian Gull in the puddles this morning!
Mid morning from Cockles Bridge, 8 Red-legged Partridge, c150 Golden Plover, c500 Lapwing, 2 Egyptian Geese with the Greylags, 2 Marsh Harriers, a Common Buzzard and a Great White Egret.
Early afternoon back at the boats more Red-throated Divers and Guillemots moving into Lade Bay and both Glaucous and Caspian Gull in the roost.
A drive around Dengemarsh, Brett's Marina, Galloways and Scotney saw the usual suspects but nothing of real note.
Apparently the Long-eared Owl was flushed by a photographer, who left the footpath and walked behind the Dipping Pool. Lets hope it will return to its favoured roost tonight.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Hen Harriers make the day!

I went to the fishing boats this morning full of hope as a cold SE wind was blowing, after a few minutes I realised today would not be a classic day>
08.10-09.10 from the fishing boats:
Common Scoter: 3E     4W
Red-throated Diver: 14W   2E
Great-crested Grebe: many present
Fulmar: 3W
Gannet:  29W    4E
Cormorant: many present
Mediterranean Gull: 2W
Glaucous Gull: the regular1w bird on the beach.
Kittiwake: 9W
Auk sp:  66W    9E
A look around Dennis's Hide for yesterdays possible Siberian Chiffchaff drew a blank, as did a few minutes staring into the bushes behind the Dipping Pool for Long-eared Owls, though not surprising as the SE wind was blowing straight into the roost. A drake and 3 duck Smew and 10 Goldeneye were the highlights on Burrowes, 2 Great White Egrets from the entrance track also 300+ Golden Plover, c40 Dunlin, c500 Lapwing and 2 Marsh Harriers.
 The flooded Wicks
Late this afternoon I walked along the sea wall from Jury's Gap to the Midrips/Wicks, on the beach several more clusters of Goose Barnacles, also c120 Oystercatchers, 27, Sanderling, 3 Dunlin, 1 Knot and 2 Grey Plover. On the pools 16 Shelduck, c80 Wigeon, 12 Shoveler, 4 Teal, 10 Redshank and c100 Golden Plover. At dusk a Ring-tailed Hen Harrier and an adult male Hen Harrier my first this year, also a Marsh Harrier came in.
Sanderling on the beach at the Wicks

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

 1 of the clusters of Goose Barnacles on the beach at Dengemarsh Gully
With a brisk North Westerly blowing I decided against my usual sea watch from The Point this morning, instead I drove to the seaward end of Dengemarsh Gully and walked along the tide line to the switching station and back. I found several clusters of Goose Barnacles but no Columbus Crabs among them. Avian interest was in the form of a Raven and a Peregrine.
 My first Black-tailed Godwit of the year!
Parking at Scotney Farm entrance I walked through the farm past the back lakes to Jurys Gap then back along the cycle path to Scotney. Despite the sunny weather avian interest was very poor, just 11 Brent Geese and c25 Greylag Geese on back lakes, along with 4 Pintail, a few Shoveler, Teal, Shelduck, 5 Little Grebes, 3 Little Egrets and a couple of Marsh Harriers over. In the fields a few Skylarks and Reed Buntings, 2 Corn Buntings and 2 Tree Sparrows. Jurys Gap to Scotney was virtually bird less. The highlight was my first Black-tailed Godwit of the year in the pools on the sward with 10 Ringed Plovers. Also on the sward the feral Barnacle Goose flock has reappeared after a couple of weeks absence.
Video of Glaucous Gull in the puddles this afternoon.
This afternoon the 1w Glaucous Gull was showing well in the puddles and the 1w Caspian Gull was on the beach. Little else of note to be seen there this afternoon other than the visibility out to sea.
Bolougne from Dungeness.
A walk late afternoon at the ARC to the pines saw the usual Marsh Harriers but no Bitterns today, 5 more Black-tailed Godwits flew over towards Greatstone, a red head Smew was on the lake, a Tit flock with c15 Long-tailed Tits was around the pines also a Chiffchaff there. 

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Just a light breeze at The Point this morning but constant rain throughout the sea watch:
Common Scoter: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 3W   1E
Fulmar: 3W
Gannet: 19W      13E
Turnstone: 20 on beach
Mediterranean Gull: 4W     1E
Kittiwake:  357W
Glaucous Gull: 1 the regular 1w bird
Guillemot: 3W
Auk sp: 13W

The 1w Caspian Gull was in the roost this afternoon.

On the reserve a Great Northern Diver put in a brief appearance, the 2 Long-eared Owls are still in the bushes behind the Dipping Pool, 3+ Great White Egrets, several Bitterns and the usual Marsh Harriers around. Late afternoon at the ARC several Cetti's Warblers singing, a couple of Chiffchaffs along with the usual wildfowl.   

Monday, 8 February 2016


 As I drove onto the beach this morning this was the first Gull that caught my eye, hopefully there will not be any more like this.
1 of 153 Fulmars that passed West this morning. My highest total of Fulmars at Dungeness.
As the wind was blowing force 8-10 all day I spent most of the it in the relative shelter of the fishing boats, to be honest the wind would have made birding elsewhere on the peninsula virtually impossible. Some of the huge waves were very impressive, though the Fulmars and Kittiwakes seemed to make light work of the winds. 
08.00-12.00 from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose: 8E
Red-throated Diver: 1W
Great-crested Grebe: 3W
Fulmar: 153W
Gannet: 12W
Cormorant: Present N/C
Kittiwake: 218W
Glaucous Gull: 1 the regular 1w bird
Guillemot: 17W
Auk sp: 24W
I spent most of this afternoon photographing the Gulls feeding on the numerous Whiting that were on the shoreline.
 Herring Gull
 Great Black-backed Gull
  Great Black-backed Gull
 Great Black-backed Gull
 The 1w Caspian Gull after swallowing 3 Whiting in as many seconds!
 2w Yellow-legged Gull
 2w Yellow-legged Gull
Goose Barnacles that have probably drifted from the Caribbean!