Sunday, 7 April 2013

Divers, Gulls & Spoonbill

Dungeness - 0645hrs - cold, frosty start, warm and sunny later, nw 1- The day commenced with a seawatch from the boardwalk for a change, although due to the poor light we soon moved back to the seawatch hide. It was a similar picture to yesterday with large flocks of Brents and divers moving up-Channel, many of them just off shore, and they just kept on coming throughout the day. By the time I left over 1,500 Red-throats had been logged and over 1,000 Brents (see DBO website for details) with the final tally undoubtedly being much higher and heading for a record count; 8 Black-throats and a Great Northern were also noted along with a steady flow of scoters, auks, Gannets, Kittiwakes, Sandwich Terns, Red-breasted Mergansers, Curlews, Little Gulls, Fulmars, 3 Sanderlings, a Shelduck and 10 Med Gulls west. Cormorants and grebes were everywhere and once again there were thousands of gulls on the sea.
Moving down to the Patch the full magnitude of the gull influx was apparent with maybe 10,000? present. They appeared to be surface feeding as far as the eye could see and when a Marsh Harrier came in virtually the whole lot took to the air. Couldn't find any further sign of the pale gull (which was confirmed as an albino Herring yesterday) but the 3rd winter Caspian was on the beach along with 10 Med Gulls and 8 Kittiwakes.
On the land singles of Black Redstart, Goldcrest and Wheatear.

                                Brents, Dungeness

                                Gulls galore, The Patch

                                Wood Anemones, Park Wood

                                            Footwear tree - any idea what that`s all about?

Park Wood - A spring-like stroll through the wood with CP and the ladies delivered plenty of Greater pecker `drumming` activity but not a lot else except a few Nuthatches, Chiffchaff, Treecreeper, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Jay, Green Woodpecker, Stock Dove, Bullfinch and a pair of Red-legged Partridges flushed form the woodland floor; overhead, soaring Buzzard and Sparrowhawk. Very pleasant in the warm sunshine and good to see wood anemones, primroses, celandines and violets in bloom.
ARC - A wander down to Screen hide this afternoon delivered a Marsh year tick in the shape of a Spoonbill (149) that had been seen earlier on the hayfields. It didn't stay put for long and circled the lake a few times before drifting back over Tower Pits. A Swallow and a singing Chiffchaff were the only hint of spring, while 5 Smew and 4 Goldeneyes were reminders that winter hasn't lost its grip quite yet. At the south end from the causeway road, Little and Great White Egrets and 10 Pied Wagtails amongst the usual dabbling ducks.
PS: Thanks to AJG for e-mailing through the co-ordinated seawatch totals for the up-Channel passage today at Dungeness. The highlights are as follows:
Red-throated Diver - 3,171
Black-throated - 8
Great Northern - 1
Fulmar - 55
Gannet - 443
Brent - 5,612
Common Scoter - 1,166
Velvet Scoter - 13
Eider - 24
Merganser - 18
Shelduck - 18
Curlew - 159
Little Gull - 118
Sandwich Tern - 455
auks - 113

1 comment:

  1. Funnily enough there is a 'footwear tree just west of Knowesgate in Northumberland that's been around for at least 20 years. New pairs appear seasonally.