Sunday, 18 January 2004

18th January 2004 Bulverhythe 8.00-8.30am, Pett 9.00-10.00am, Northpoint 10.30-11am, Jury’s Gap 11.15am, Scotney 11.30am – 2.00pm, ARC 2.15pm – 2.30pm, Lade GP 2.45pm – 3.15pm, Dungeness RSPB 3.30pm-4.00pm, Castle Water 4.20pm – 5.00pm

Red-throated Diver c.10W past Bulverhythe, c.4 on sea off Pett
Slavonian Grebe 1 w/p Northpoint
Black-necked Grebe 1 w/p Northpoint – a very dingy dark looking individual especially ear-coverts, neck and flanks
Little Grebe c.10
Great Crested Grebe c.10 on sea off Pett, 1 New Diggings
Cormorant c.25 including birds at the breeding colony at Castle Water
Bittern 3 perched views of all three on the edge of the Castle Water reedbeds
Little Egret c.10 Castle Water roost
Grey Heron c.2
Mute Swan c.100
Bewick’s Swan 2 Jury’s Gap
Whooper Swan c.9 including a white 1st-w indicating an Icelandic origin
Bean Goose 6 flew across Scotney arriving from the south (some Geese, probably these, were heard calling just prior to them being noticed) but they were dissuaded from landing in the fields immediately to the southwest by the presence of two fishermen, so despite circling twice, continued to the west where they appeared to be dropping into fields dropping out of view behind the farm at the southern end of the GP. As we were watching them through telescopes we could clearly see that one of the birds had a primarily dark bill with a restricted orange-pink band towards its tip and combined with all the birds sharing dark heads and lack of pale grey upperwings we tentatively identified them in flight as Tundra Bean Geese. However, on flying directly away from us, as they headed west, one individual looked clearly larger than the rest, so we were interested in obtaining further views in order to try to establish the species/subspecies that were involved. We decided to quickly walk to the far side of the farm buildings and relocated the group of Geese stood together in a distant field. By walking west along the road and then north on a public footpath we approached the birds to c.150m with the sun directly behind us. Whilst first walking towards the Geese, they appeared quite long-necked with almost with a Swan-like profile suggesting the possibility that Taiga Bean Geese were involved. All but one appeared to have bills marked quite extensively with pale orange, the other showing a more restricted area of pinkish-orange. All showed a white flank-line suggesting they were all adults and all shared bright orange legs and feet. However, at our closest, the birds were obviously concerned by our presence and crouched in the rough field for long periods, at times proving difficult to see. They then took on a short-necked appearance although their dark heads remained a rather triangular wedge-shape. Their necks and breast were contrastingly paler with the flanks noticeably barred darker. Their upperparts appeared dark with scaly whitish fringes to the coverts and tertials. Bill shapes varied amongst the flock with one appearing triangular, thick and deep-based, whereas others, especially when viewed ‘side-on’, appeared quite long and narrow. With no other Geese for comparison it was impossible to judge size and on the ground it was not apparent which was the bird that had appeared so considerably larger in flight.   
Greylag Goose c.200 Scotney
Canada Goose c.10 Pett
Brent Goose 1 in fields at Pett
Shelduck c.15 Scotney
Wigeon c.200
Gadwall c.4 Pett
Teal c.30
Mallard c.5 Pett
Pintail 2 Pett, 2 Scotney
Shoveler c.10 Scotney
Pochard c.100 Northpoint
Ring-necked Duck 1 1st-w female Lade GP
Tufted Duck c.25 Northpoint, c.15 Lade GP
Scaup c.10 Lade
Long-tailed Duck 2 Northpoint, 2 New Diggings, Dungeness
Scoter c.80 on sea off Pett
Goldeneye c.5
Smew 1 Pett, 1 Northpoint, 1 drake ARC, 6 Lade GP
Goosander 1 redhead
Ruddy Duck c.30
Hen Harrier 2 ringtails Scotney
Sparrowhawk 2
Kestrel 1
Pheasant 1 torquatus Dungeness RSPB
Moorhen c.5 Pett
Coot 100 Scotney
Oystercatcher 1 Blverhythe
Ringed Plover 2 in fields at Pett
Golden Plover c.200
Grey Plover c.3 Pett
Lapwing c.250 Northpoint
Sanderling c.150 Camber Sands
Purple Sandpiper 3 Bulverhythe
Dunlin c.6 Pett
Ruff c.4 Pett
Snipe 1 Pett
Curlew c.20 Pett
Spotted Redshank 1 w/p Northpoint
Redshank c.6 Pett, 1 Northpoint
Turnstone c.12 Bulverhythe
Lesser Black-backed Gull c.5 Dunngeness
Herring Gull c.200
Great Black-backed Gull c.30
Auk sp. C.3 east past Bulverhythe, c.6 east past Pett
Stock Dove c.50 Scotney
Kingfisher 1 Rye
Green Woodpecker 1 Lade GP
Skylark 1
Shore Lark 1 w/p Pett
Meadow Pipit c.2 Scotney
Pied Wagtail 1
Wren 1
Dunnock 1
Chaffinch c.5 Scotney
Snow Bunting 2 Pett
Corn Bunting 110