Sunday, 18 February 2018

18th February, 2018 Beachy Head Sunny, mild and clear with a very light S breeze

A beautiful calm sunny morning. We sea-watched from 07.25-08.30 but surprisingly virtually nothing on the move, other than a large flock of 85 Cormorants moving high over W, one of the largest flocks I have seen going past Beachy, perhaps this flock is from Dungeness where in excess of 2,500 have been seen recently.

Red-throated Diver 1 E
Great-crested Grebe 3 on the sea
Cormorant single flock of 85 W
Fulmar 10
Gannet 6
Kittiwake 8 E
Auk Sp. 1 E

On our way home we called into Newhaven Harbour as the tide was right, but only a few gulls feeding on the exposed beach and little of interest with no white wingers.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

15th February, 2018 Beachy Head Part overcast and murky out to sea WSW 3-4

We sea-watched from 07.15-08.15, we then covered the Birling loop, Belle Tout wood and the set-a-side field. Sea-watch was extremely quiet, and no sign of the Dartford Warbler.

Red-throated Diver 4 E
Gannet 2
Fulmar 1
Kestrel 1
Skylark 50 in set-a-side field
Meadow Pipit 1
Stonechat 2
Raven 1
Goldfinch 35 in set-a-side field
Yellowhammer 1 female in set-a-side field
Corn Bunting 10 (7 singing)

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

12th February, 2018 Scotney and Dungeness Early frost becoming very sunny but cold.

With Terry, we decided to visit Scotney and Dungeness, on the drive over we came across two road accidents and both resulted in long diversions as the police had closed both roads which resulted in an extra 15 miles driving. Luckily we didn't get lost on the Kent minor roads. After the early frost with ice on the roads, we had strong sunlight the whole of the day although it was cold all day.
Our first stop was at Scotney Gravel pit but unfortunately no sign of the Tundra Bean Geese. The usual flock of 50 feral Barnacle Geese were seen but only a few Grey-lags were present, and duck numbers were on the low side. We also stopped here on our way home but still no sign of any Tundra Bean Geese.
We then drove onto Dungeness and our first visit was to the patch. Huge numbers of gulls were flying over the patch and small numbers on the beach. Luckily the juvenile type Glaucous Gull came flying onto the beach just as we arrived, but only stayed about 2 minutes before flying around and then briefly landed on one of the buildings in the nuclear power station before dropping down and out of sight. We then visited Lade Gravel Pit where one of the Long-tailed Ducks was showing distantly also 2 Goldeneye, plus the usual ducks.
We then drove to the Visitors Centre, no sign of the Long-eared Owl but a drake Red-crested Pochard was on the dipping pool. We visited a number of the hides but again duck numbers were very low with Shoveler being the commonest duck, another 3 Goldeneyes seen although not a single Pintail. On the New Diggins, Terry located a very distant Slavonian Grebe and 2 Great White Egrets, but no sign of any Smew or the Black-throated Diver, we never had time to visit the ARC pit although nothing had been reported from there during our visit. On the drive out, we past good numbers of Golden Plovers feeding on two ploughed fields.

The famous Dungeness old lighthouse and garden.

Dungeness Bird Observatory, end house.
I first stayed here in 1956 and met Roger Charlwood. 
Having no transport, I had to travel by train using the
Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch mini railway.
When I arrived at Dungeness, met up with the late Bert
Axell and going past out to sea was a large old red sail-boat
which was the very last tea-clipper on its final sailing.
This was long before the power stations had been erected.

Part of the flock of gulls feeding over the patch.


Juvenile type Glaucous Gull

 Long-tailed Duck on Lade Gravel Pits.

Terry and Doreen at Lade Gravel Pits with the war mirrors in the background.

Terry photographing at Lade.

The Coopers first selfie and probably their last, although
not sure who the old biddy is in the middle.


picture taken by Terry Cooper
Drake Red-crested Pochard on the dipping pond, fully
winged but origin not known.

Great White Egret on the New Diggins

Record shot of the distant Slavonian Grebe on the New Diggings.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

11th February, 2018 West Rise Marsh and Sovereing Harbour, Eastbourne

Our son Terry was visiting us this week-end and wanted to go out birding to try to see the male Bluethroat and the long staying Black Guillemot. A sunny but cold morning and our first stop was at West Rise Marsh where the Bluethroat was showing distantly and then onto the Sovereign Harbour which was very busy with people and also quite a lot of activity with boats. Unfortunately, the Black Guillemot was moving around a lot and once flew along the inner harbour channel. It then moved up one of the boat channels in the harbour and was showing with us having to look right into the into the sun.

taken by Terry Cooper
Male Bluethroat at West Rise Marsh


Black Guillemot in transitional plumage still showing in Sovereign harbour

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

6th February, 2018 Slaugham Churchyard

Mark M. kindly let us know of around a party of 18 Hawfinches which were occasionally showing in the churchyard of Slaugham church yesterday. We decided to visit this morning although we were unable to arrive at dawn when the Hawfinches leave their roost, but did arrive around 09.30 and met up with Mark who was already on site. We spent the next 90 minutes or so watching around 4-5 birds arriving at the top of some trees where they spent several minutes before dropping down into some nearby yew trees and then they were lost to sight. One bird came straight over our heads giving good flight views. Many thanks to Mark for the information and picking out the Hawfinches.

Male Hawfinch at Slaugham

Female Hawfinch at Slaugham

Thursday, 1 February 2018

31st January, 2018 @ 20.00 hrs Super Blue Moon

Super Blue Moon taken at 20.00 hrs from my back garden
in Burgess Hill.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

30th January, 2018 Beachy Head Early frost, becoming sunny and clear, calm

Another very slow sea-watch from 07.40 to 08.40.

Red-throated Diver 11 (1 E and 10 W)
Gannet 1
Fulmar 3
Common Scoter 1 E
Common Gull 110 on the sea off Birling
Auk Sp.21
Rock Pipit 1 Birling