Archive | February 2017

Red-throated divers

A light Westerly this morning. Watching occasionally from 7 until noon I counted 220 Red-throated divers passing up-Channel. Most were paired up and gaining summer plumage. They were flying higher above the sea with the following wind than is usual when heading into the wind. Otherwise some gulls and auks offshore but no clear passage and ten Brent geese. seven Kittiwakes, 3 Cormorants and seven Scoters also passing east.

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Rush hour

5/8ths haze with a SE breeze. Milder and the wind moving into the west later.

A great passage up-Channel of Guillemots and Razorbills early, including some large flocks such as a  vee formation of 90 Guillemots, all low over the waves;-

7.40 – 8.40

Auk 904 e included over 50 Razorbills and over 270 identified Guillemots, Red-throated diver 10 e, Gadwall 4 e, Brent goose 43, Kittiwake 19 e, Common gull 1 e and Fulmar 5 e 1 w.

Maritime

Red-throated divers have been more frequently passing in pairs, and auks continue in good numbers – both Razorbills and Guillemots noted today with up to ten Guillemots on the sea. Occasional watches totalled;-

February 13th 1/8th ENE all night with a strong east swell on the sea. Very cold in the wind.

Diver 5 e 72 w, Fulmar 1 e, Scoter 3 e, Great black-backed gull 1 e, Common gull 7 e. Cormorant 2 e and Brent goose 3 e. Very little passage in the cold conditions.

February 14th 5/8ths. SE breeze.

Diver 51 e 8 w, Auk 75 e 7 w, Common gull 11 e, Great black-backed gull 6 e, Lesser black-backed gull 1 e, Kittiwake 5 e, Herring gull 5 e, Gannet 8 e, Fulmar 5 e, Cormorant 2 e and Scoter 3 e.

Marina note

Yesterday was a winter classic of prolonged light snow and sleet which did not settle. Today mainly dry although remaining overcast and after a calm hazy start a cold breeze set in from points east.

After returning home from a walk to Hastings harbour this late morning I was fortunate to spot a Glaucous gull flying steadily eastwards above the coastline. A large bird in first winter plumage, travelling alone, although the morning was notable for an occasional drift north-eastwards of Great black-backed and Herring gulls.

Carrion crows in numbers along the beach included 18 together.

Great black-backed gull 25 e including a 2nd winter bird that gave chase to a passing auk.

Common gull 19 e, a noticeable passage after midday, Kittiwake 1 e, Auk 4 e 2 w, Diver sp 4 e 50 w and Brent goose 3 w.

 

Signs of spring

Collared dove collecting twigs in St Leonards this morning. Herring gulls mating.

Chaffinches started singing days ago, seeming to be much earlier than formerly. Great and Bluetits in song and male Reed buntings in the fields showing their faces wearing towards breeding plumage. Blackbird, Song thrush, Greenfinch, Great spotted and Green woodpeckers also audible.

A flock of over fifty Fieldfares flying west over the fields recently and the wintering Waxwings seen at Bexhill. A Firecrest in the bramble and Japanese Spindle. With a cold overcast NE breeze blowing winter still to be overthrown.

Note

Tide going out and wind switching to NW with a fresh sunny outlook. A half-hour watch from 9.55 revealed a strong passage of seabirds west with 42 divers, 167 auks and 16 Gannets. Flocks of Razorbills passing quite close in were again a feature although in recent days I had thought Guillemots were becoming more frequent. A very good winter here for these two.

Hunger games

The feral pigeons along the St Leonards prom are in turmoil as Peregrines and Sparrowhawks are hunting them daily – a large Peregrine carrying a pigeon passed the window yesterday and in November I saw a Peregrine plucking a pigeon as it flew over Marina allotments.

At the harbour today the big gulls waiting for any discards watch the fishermen like hawks.

 

Marina today

Occasional watches through the day. Clear early but clouding over and the wind strengthening from the south-east. Passage was noticeable at times after midday with the gusting wind and rising tide.

Black-necked grebe 1 in winter plumage w after 1300hrs, Great crested grebe 22 on sea, Auk sp 104 e 13 w. Diver sp 44 e 15 w, Shelduck 2 w, Brent goose 12 or more e, Kittiwake 6 e 2 w, Common gull 3 e 2 w. Gannet 10 e 4 w.

Marina notes

January 30th A flock of 34 Great crested grebes resting on the sea.

January 31st 5 Common gulls w.

February 1st 8/8ths wet southerly wind. Occasional afternoon watches;- Auk 38 w, Diver sp 5 e 44 w with several apparent Black-throated divers, Gannet 2 e 4 w, Common gull 2 w, Mediterranean gull 1 w, Wigeon 3 e, Kittiwake 2 w and Brent goose 7 e.

February 2nd 6/8ths becoming overcast with rain through middle of the day. Occasional watches;- Kittiwake 8 e 1 w, Mediterranean gull 1 e, Auk sp 6 e 13 w, Diver sp 24 e 6 w 1 or possibly 2 Black-throated divers amongst the Red-throated divers, Fulmar 1 e, Scoter 14 e, Gannet 1 e 4 w, Common gull 5 e.