Monday, 30 January 2017

A foggy hour at the fishing boats with the fog horn blasting out. The highlight was a flock of at least 388 Red-throated Divers being flushed by the range safety boat coming through Lade Bay towards Rye Bay, probably many more were went past unseen in the fog.
08.00-09.00 from the fishing boats:
Teal: 1 up
Red-throated Diver: 425 down
Great-crested Grebe: 74 around
Gannet: 4 down   2 up
Cormorant: 1,000+ around
Mediterranean Gull: 1 around
Guillemot: 23 around
Razorbill: 2 around
Auk sp: 48 down      17 up

The Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool with a Great White Egret. A drake Smew was with the Slavonian Grebe on the New diggings. One of the Long-eared Owls has returned to the Dipping Pool roost now the wind has gone round to the west, from the VC a 2w Caspian Gull roosting on Burrowes, also a Kingfisher there.
This afternoon the Red-necked Grebe was still at Camber with the 2 Great-crested Grebes and a Little Grebe.
Once again no grey geese at Scotney though nearby a handsome drake Goosander was on Bretts Marina by the ski ramp.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Red-necked Grebe!

 This morning I thought I'd give the Camber Red-necked Grebe yet another visit in the hope of getting some decent images. Pulling into the layby I was pleased to find no one else there, but I couldn't see the Grebe. Looking into the NW corner I could see the resident Great-crested Grebes chasing a Little Grebe. I then spotted the Red-necked Grebe acting as if there was a predator around, it was in fact trying to escape the notice of the Great-crested Grebes. Keeping flat on the surface it swam towards me constantly checking on the position of Great-crested Grebes, after a couple of minutes it was only few yards away from me giving superb views. Also there a Kingfisher, 3 Little Egrets and several Curlews.

At Scotney the Black-necked Grebe was sheltering behind the Herring Gull Island, the only grey geese present were a few Greylags, a Marsh Harrier was hunting the north bank.
From the causeway a Slavonian grebe and 4 Goldeneye were on the New Diggings, the Ring-necked duck was still on Cook's Pool. From Cockles Bridge 3 Ruff with c500 Lapwing and c200 Golden Plover feeding in the paddocks and fields.
A truly awful image of a 2nd cal year Pomarine Skua
This afternoon at the fishing boats in the company of Mick, Richard and Chris a Pomarine Skua was beating up the kittiwakes, 100s of Auks mainly Guillemots, a few each of Red-throated Divers and Gannets.
Probably 5 Caspian Gulls came into this afternoons offerings, 3 x 1w(including the regular bird) and 2 x 2w.
2w Caspian Gull
1w Caspian Gull
 2w Caspian Gull
 2w Caspian Gull
 1w Caspian Gull
The regular 1w bird

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Caspian Gulls!

An early morning walk around the reserve starting from Springfield Bridge where a flock of c150 Linnets, c100 Stock Doves, c50 Chaffinches with a few Greenfinches and Reed Buntings were feeding in the Sunflower field. They frequently disturbed by the resident Kestrel, a Marsh Harrier and a Common Buzzard, also 2 Ravens over. Hay field 3 held a Great White Egret, Little Egret and a Grey Heron. Dengemarsh held the usual wildfowl. At Christmas Dell a red head Smew was notable and 2 Common Snipe, a Green Woodpecker was behind the hide. Despite scrutinising all the hay fields I was  unable to locate yesterdays Water Pipit. Burrowes held the usual wildfowl but no Goosander or Smew, also no sign of any Long-eared Owls at the Dipping Pool. Round Hookers a couple of Bearded Tits were calling as was a couple of Cetti's Warblers, a Chiffchaff was on the island. Another Chiffchaff was by the corale along with a Stonechat and another Great White Egret. The Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool.
This afternoon the Slavonian Grebe was still at the Boulderwall end of the New Diggings.
 The regular 1w Caspian Gull
This afternoon at the fishing boats with Mick and Richard the regular 1w Caspian Gull was joined by a second bird, a first winter Little Gull put in a brief appearance, a drake Eider flew down channel, a few each of Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Guillemot and Kittiwake were tooing and froing off shore.
 1w Little Gull
 A different 1w Caspian Gull

Friday, 27 January 2017

A very busy watch this morning from the turning circle with many birds moving on the moderate SSW wind in the company of MH & DW:
Brent Goose: 76 up
Common Scoter: 2 down
Red-throated Diver:  606 up       32 down
Great-crested Grebe: 6 around
Fulmar:  1 up   1 down
Gannet: 526 up     33 down
Cormorant: Many present n/c
Turnstone: 2 around
Great Skua:  1 up
Black-headed Gull: Many present n/c
Common Gull: Many present n/c
Herring Gull: Many present n/c
Lesser Black-backed Gull: a few present
Great Black-backed Gull: Many present n/c
Kittiwake:   136 up     17 down
Guillemot:  22 up    9 down
Razorbill:    5 up      7 down
Auk sp: c1,500 up       c200 down

By the time I got to Scotney there were no Grey Geese present, consolation in the form of a Black-necked Grebe. Apparently the Pinkfeet, Tundra Bean and White-fronted Geese did put it an appearance per OL & PJ. The Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool, 2 red head Smew could be seen from Dennis's Hide.
What with Doctors and the builders I didn't get out this afternoon. The Red-necked Grebe was still present today per OL, a Water Pipit (scarce at Dungeness) was on Hayfield 2, also the regular 1w Caspian Gull at the fish hut both per PJ.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

A bitterly cold SE wind this morning produced a small movement of Red-throated Divers but little else.
09.15-11.15 from the turning circle with DW.
Shoveler:  1 down
Teal: 5 down
Red-throated Diver: 274 up  4 down
Great-crested Grebe: 9 up    7 down    6 on
Fulmar: 2 up    1 down
Gannet: 65 up    7 down
Oystercatcher: 1 up
Turnstone:  3 around
Mediterranean Gull: 1 up
Little Gull: 1 around
Kittiwake: 3 up    17 down    4 around
Auk sp: 68 up   37 down
Red-necked Grebe, Camber
At Scotney no Grey Geese on the main lake, a Black-necked Grebe was the only interest on there. It was far to cold to wander out the back to look for the Geese and Lapland Buntings. 
At Camber the Red-necked Grebe is still on it's chosen lake but is getting harassed by the resident Great-crested Grebes, 2 Little Grebes and a Kingfisher also there.
A Slavonian Grebe can still be seen on the New Diggings from the causeway. The Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool but it was to cold to get out of the car and walk around the reserve.

White-Billed Diver!

 As social media has been full of brilliant images of the Woodhall Spa White-billed Diver I couldn't resist joining DW & HG on a trip to see it. Although the journey was quite foggy the BBC had promised the fog would lift and the sun would be shining by lunch time, they LIED!!!! At 15.00 we could still barely see across the river. The Diver performed very well for us, shame about the weather.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Grebes & Geese!

First thing this morning in calm cloudy conditions I walked round the back of Scotney towards Jury's Gap. 2 Lapland Buntings were in the fields though I only saw them in flight,as when they landed they disappeared in the furrows and vegetation, c 50 Corn Buntings were around as well as a few Skylarks, Reed Buntings and a Stonechat. Several raptors were seen Marsh Harriers, Peregrine, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. A Black-necked Grebe was on the back lake among 6 Little Grebes as was a Green Sandpiper, A Great White Egret flew over, 14 Egyptian Geese, 6 Brent Geese were among some Greylags and Canada Geese.

 White-fronted Geese
At Camber the Red-necked Grebe was  still showing distantly in the North West corner of it's chosen lake because the rest of the lake was frozen. Back at Scotney from the double bends the sun was  shining, a Black-necked Grebe was feeding along the back edge on the lake some White-fronted Geese(now called Russian White-fronted Geese) flew in to join others already on the spit making a total of 41, 6 Pink-Footed Geese, a single Tundra Bean Goose were also there resting among the Greylags and Barnacle Geese.
 White-fronted Geese
 White-fronted Geese
5 of 6 Pink-footed Geese present today
The Ring-necked duck was  at the far end of Cook's Pool in a small unfrozen area, also a red head Smew there. A Slavonian Grebe was on Burrowes from Dennis's hide and another from the causeway at Boulderwall end of the New Diggings also several Great-crested Grebes making another 5 Grebe day.
At The Patch in the company of MH, PB and DW in the appalling light we found 1 of the Iceland Gulls, a Mediterranean Gull, the drake Eider, a Great Skua was marauding off shore, several Red-throated Divers were tooing and froing, also several rafts of Guillemots off shore.
The Long-eared Owl was back at the Dipping Pool per PB. 44 Bewick Swans were west of Cheyne per BB and 8 Great White Egrets came into the ARC roost per PB.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

German Yellow ringed X060 1w Caspian Gull (possibly Hybrid) Saturday afternoon
After several days of severe frost the lakes are beginning to freeze. A quick look around Burrowes early this morning found 7 red head Smew and 5 Goosander (3 drakes) and 3 Great White Egrets flew over. Once again the Long-eared Owls were missing much to the disappointment of coachloads of birders who were arriving as I left. 
A Little Owl was sun bathing on the ranges, Bretts Marina was frozen as was Dengemarsh so little was seen. At partially frozen Scotney the Geese must have been feeding out the back, a red head Smew was on the main lake. I was going to have a wander out the back but the number of cars parked at the farm entrance put me off. 
1w Little Gull at the fishing boats this afternoon
This afternoon at the fishing boats with Mick and Richard no Caspian Gulls, but there were a few colour ringed Herring and Great Black Backed Gulls, a 1w Little Gull made a couple of flybys. Off shore 2 Mediterranean Gulls, a Great Skua, a few each of Kittiwakes, Gannets, Guillemots, Razorbills and Red-throated Divers, the most unusual bird though was a drake Pochard that flew down channel.   

Friday, 20 January 2017

Elusive Laplands!

What with having the builders at home and a doctors appointment, the latter becoming more frequent with the passing years, I didn't get out and about until midday. I went straight to Scotney, as I arrived AP was leaving having just seen 2 Lapland Buntings in the fields behind the lakes. I wandered out to the back having an interesting chat on my way with the farmer about the number of pairs of Barn Owls at Scotney, reaching the raised bank I scanned the distant Greylag Geese, finding 2 Tundra Bean Geese among them 5 Brent Geese and a separate party of 14 Egyptian Geese. Carrying on along the bank 4 Goldfinches, 2 Corn Buntings, 6 Reed Buntings and 3 Skylarks came out of the rough ground around the dung heap, reaching the far end of the rough I heard  a Lapland Bunting but was unable to see it because of the low sun, a few minutes later I heard the call again and 2 birds came out of the sun and dropped into the crop field c50 mts from the path. I spent a few minutes scoping the area but could not locate them until they took off and flew back over me into the sun dropping into the ploughed field by the lake, once again I scoped the area but was unable to find them on the ground. 
 4 Pinkfeet, 2 Tundra Bean and a Greylag Goose taken yesterday
Drake and duck Smew on the New Excavations this afternoon
Visiting the reserve this afternoon the Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's pool and the first drake Smew of the year was  on the New Excavations. While scrutinising the 100s of Gulls that came into bathe, I came across a drake and 2 duck Goosander but no interesting Gulls.
The 2 Iceland Gulls were still at The Patch today per DW.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

 10 Great White Egrets at sunrise on the ARC this morning
As I drove across the causeway this morning I was surprised to see a group of Great White Egrets sheltering from the the bitter east wind, I was even more surprised when I pulled over and counted 10 birds, the most I have ever photographed in one shot. While I was there the Bewick Swans left the lake to feed out on Walland Marsh. 
A walk along the beach from the point towards the Lifeboat station was bracing and unrewarding, just a few Red-throated Divers and Gannets seen.
 I joined DW at The Patch and spent an hour watching the 2 1w Iceland Gulls (including the bird that some thought might be a Glaucous Gull), the drake Eider was present before I arrived and DW spotted an adult Mediterranean Gull which through my incompetence I could not get on to. A peregrine flew over as I walked back to the car.
This afternoon with MH we saw Little Owl in the Lydd camp, at Scotney no Grey Geese were present though there was a Black-necked Grebe on the main lake. On the reserve the Ring-necked duck was  still insitu, a drake Goosander flew over and 1,100+ Cormorants roosted on Burrowes.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Iceland Gulls!

 1w Iceland Gulls
 The 2 1w Iceland Gulls were at The Patch this morning, though sometimes difficult to pick out among the throng of Black-headed Gulls, the drake Eider was  also still there. Offshore a few each of Gannet, Red-throated Diver and Guillemot.
The 2 Slavonian Grebes were still on the New Diggings viewable from the causeway.
No sign of the Whitefronts or Bewick Swans at Pigwell this morning. On the lydd sewage works 40+ Pied Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail.
At Scotney 4 Pink-footed Geese and 2 Tundra Bean Geese among the hordes of feral Greylags and Barnacle Geese, also 17 Egyptian Geese. On the far bank a Green Sandpiper and 2 Marsh Harriers hunting the bank.
 3 of the 4 Pinkfeet
1 of the 2 Tundra Bean Geese
From Cockles Bridge c200 Golden Plover, c500 Lapwing, 10 Dunlin, 2 Ruff, 3 Marsh Harriers and a Great White Egret. This afternoon a walk from the ARC car park to the pines was very quiet, 4 Long-tailed tits were the highlights until Steve Brown spotted 3 red head Smew on the first pit on the left as you leave the car park  towards the screen hide, also a couple of Chiffchaff there. Over the road the Ring-necked duck was  still on Cook's Pool.
On the beach this afternoon it was very quiet, though a Glaucous Gull was reported there, despite a search of the beach I couldn't relocate it or the regular 1w Caspian Gull.
Late afternoon 10 Great White Egrets and 14 Little Egrets came into the ARC roost also 8 Bewick Swans came in and a Peregrine flew over.
As I got out of my car at home another 20+ Bewick swans flew over my house towards the ARC.

Monday, 16 January 2017

 1w Caspian Gull
With a bright low sun at the fishing boats this morning sea watching was virtually impossible, not that there was much moving on a flat calm sea and very low tide. I decided to walk along the beach to the lifeboat station and back checking the Gulls. The regular 1w Caspian Gull was atop one of the old sheds, while along the beach very few Gulls could be found even on the mud with the bait diggers. Scanning out into the bay I picked up 2 Swans along way out flying in from the continent, hoping that they may be Whoopers I watched them for what seemed ages as they came in, only to be disappointed when they turned out to be Mute Swans they eventually came in over the lifeboat station. 12 Turnstones were the only waders I saw, round the containers a party of 4 Meadow Pipits unbelievably the first I have recorded this year, also 2 Stock doves there.
 Great White Egret
On the reserve the Ring-necked Duck still also a Great white Egret there. The long-eared Owls were missing today but I guess they will reappear soon. Burrowes was very quiet with few Gulls, few ducks and only a handful of Goldeneye of any note.
At Scotney  I couldn't find any interesting Geese among the few Greylags on the main lake, the Black-necked Grebe was still on the back lake. 
A wander around Pigwell found 14 Bewick Swans and 36 White-fronted Geese but little else of note. 
 Little Owls
By the watch towers on the Lydd ranges 2 Little Owls were showing well but distant. Driving across the causeway the 2 Slavonian Grebes could be seen.
1w Iceland Gull
At The Patch this afternoon the 2 1w Iceland Gulls showing distantly in terrible light conditions, the drake Eider was also there.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Iceland Gull!

08.00-10.00 from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose:   2 up     9 down
Shelduck: 1 up
Teal: 7 up
Common Scoter: 5 up
Red-throated Diver: 89 up   4 down
Great-crested Grebe: 56 around
Gannet: 63 up   8 down
Cormorant: 100s present
Turnstone: 3 on beach
Great Skua: 1 around
Pomarine Skua: 1 around
Mediterranean Gull: 1 up
Iceland Gull: 1 1w down 
Kittiwake: 23 down     20+ around
Guillemot: 24 up   9 on sea
Razorbill: 4 up     2 down   5 on sea
Auk sp: 82 up
Harbour Porpoise: 1 around
The drake Eider was  also at The Patch.
Very poor images of 1 of 2 1w Iceland Gulls at The Patch
Late afternoon on Walland Marsh it was still drizzly and misty, 17 Marsh Harriers roosted in the reed bed I was watching.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Excellent afternoon on the beach!

Stonechat (maybe) still present this morning
Ring-necked Duck, Long-eared Owls, Slavonian Grebes, Tundra bean Geese, Pinkfeet, Black-necked Grebe, Great White Egrets all still present today per the bird news services.
An excellent afternoon at the fishing boats with Mick and Richard. Finally caught up with the drake Eider, 2 Scaup flew down channel, the usual Gannets, Red-throated divers and Auks offshore, the regular 1w Caspian Gull showing to a few feet, a 1w Glaucous Gull appearing late afternoon as the sun went down.
 Drake Eider at the fishing boats
 The regular 1w Caspian Gull
  The regular 1w Caspian Gull
 The regular 1w Caspian Gull
 1w Glaucous Gull turned up late afternoon
 Uncropped image