Friday, 22 June 2018

Bittern Garden Tick!

Mediterranean Gull at The Patch
The Patch has been very quiet this week, with just a few Mediterranean Gulls and Common Terns of note there. A male Black Redstart was behind the hide this morning.
Common Seal at The Patch
Late morning JTM alerted me to some Common Buzzards moving around the peninsular, I set my scope up in the front garden and quickly located 4 Common Buzzards and 2 Marsh Harriers, while scanning for more I picked out a Bittern flying over Hookers and followed it all the way to the Tower Pits, a long awaited and welcome from the garden tick.
14.15-15.15 from the fishing boats:
Common Scoter: 12 drifted west along the colour change
Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Gannet: 7W     1E
Cormorant: 4 around
Sandwich Tern: 6W
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
Grey Seal: 1
 Young Dunnock in the garden for the last couple of days
Juvenile Goldfinches have started to appear at the garden feeders this week
The moth trap has been generally poor lately due to the cold windy nights, but has pulled in one or two nice moths.
The first Cynaeda dentalis of the year in my trap, one of my favourite micros
First Leopard Moth of the year, a gorgeous beast.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Curlew Sandpiper!

After sorting through another disappointing haul from the moth trap, (a Flame Wainscot my second this year was the highlight) I made my way to the reserve. Where in the dull, damp windy conditions yesterdays Curlew Sandpiper was still present, also 4 ringed Plovers of note. Over the lakes a few Swifts and House Martins. 100s of eclipse Duck including 100s each of Pochard, Tufted Duck and Gadwall can be found around the lakes, also a few pairs of breeding Common Terns.
 Curlew Sandpiper
 Curlew Sandpiper

 Curlew Sandpiper and Ringed Plover 
 Curlew Sandpiper

Shy Reed Warbler from Firth
At The Patch a few Common Terns and Gulls over the boil, but few on the beach due to to fisherman setting up at The Patch. Among the Gulls on the beach were 3 Pisea/Rainham colour ringed birds, yesterdays X2DT was still present, also F8ZT last seen by me on 20/03/2018 and K7LT last seen by me on 18/05/2018.
A couple of hours sea watching this afternoon in the company of MH, RW & LG was a rather slow affair.
14.00-16.00 from the fishing boats:
Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Fulmar: 1E
Gannet: 21W   2E
Cormorant: 6 around
Curlew: 2W
Oystercatcher: 5W
Mediterranean Gull: 1W  1s bird
Kittiwake: 1W
Sandwich Tern: 35W
Common Tern: 2W.  E
Swift: 2W
Harbour Porpoise: 2+  

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

At The Patch this morning just 2 Mediterranean Gulls and a handful of Common Terns among the usual Gulls there. Pitsea ringed Herring Gull X2DT seen regularly around Dungeness, also a new colour ringed Black-headed  Gull (black ring, white Alpha Numeric) R90T which was probably ringed in northern France in 2006/2007.
A call from MH telling me a Curlew Sandpiper was showing on Burrowes Pit, by the time I arrived it had gone missing, though after a few minutes I located on a distant island.
 Gulls trailing a trawler that passed close inshore this afternoon
14.00-16.40 from the fishing boats with MH till the fog came in again.
Common Scoter: 38E
Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 36W   2E
Oystercatcher: 4E
Mediterranean Gull: 2W  both ads
Kittiwake: 15W
Sandwich Tern: 76W   1E
Common Tern: 2W
Guillemot: 1E
 Sandwich Terns past the fishing boats

 Teal from Firth
A late afternoon visit to Burrowes found no sign of the Curlew Sandpiper, the first Common Tern chicks were seen, the Little Gull had reappeared, 20 Curlew and 2 Avocets had dropped in.
 Reed Bunting from Firth
 Little Gull from Firth

Common Terns from Firth

Thursday, 14 June 2018

1 of the 2 Little Gulls still on Burrowes today
Today the NE wind finally went round to a westerly vector with the arrival of storm Hector, though in truth it wasn't much of storm at Dungeness just a little breezy with some drizzle.
08.00-09.30 from the sea watch hide:
Common Scoter: 67E
Manx Shearwater: 2W
Gannet: 48E    73W
Cormorant: 14 around
Mediterranean Gull: 2W   both 2s
Kittiwake: 4E
Sandwich Tern: 39E.   9W
Common Tern: 26E   4W
Guillemot: 2E
Auk sp: 3E
Swift: 17 SW
Harbour Porpoise: 2
A walk down to The Patch saw little of note.
Driving back home across the causeway c50 Swifts were feeding over the ARC.

15.00-16.00 from the sea watch hide:
Common Scoter: 13E
Manx Shearwater: 4W
Gannet: 10E   33W
Arctic Skua: 3E  all LP
Mediterranean Gull: 2W  both ads
Sandwich Tern: 13E   17W
Common Tern: 4E
Swift: 7 SW
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Another walk down to The Patch again saw little of note, though the male Black Redstart was again singing behind the hide.
Late afternoon on the reserve there were c200 Swifts high over Burrowes, as soon as the sun came out they all melted away. 2 Little Gulls could still be seen from Firth as were a Dunlin and 4 ringed Plovers but little else of note.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Over the last few days the constant N.E. winds have made birding around Dungeness a challenge, to be honest most of the time it was a challenge to far for me. The highlight for me was coming across a pair of Hobby's mating, so at least there maybe at least one pair breeding on the peninsular.
 Yellow Wagtail at Scotney
This morning with barely a breeze I ventured out the back of Scotney, there were a few pairs of Yellow Wagtails and 2 singing Corn Buntings, disappointingly I only found 2 singing Reed Warblers and 1 Sedge Warbler but feel sure there must be more that were keeping quiet. On the islands 14 Avocets but no young but the islands are quite vegetated and could easily conceal youngsters. A couple of Marsh Harriers and Common Buzzards were seen and a number of Egyptian Geese with Goslings. Round the farm the regular Little Owls were missing, plenty of young House Sparrows were around the stalls and at least 1 pair of Swallows but on the whole it was very disappointing for breeding birds. 
At the Patch c25 Common Terns over the boil with a single 1s Mediterranean Gull and a male Black Redstart singing behind the hide.
 Little Gulls From Firth Hide
This evening on Burrowes highlights were a couple of Little Gulls, 4 Avocets, 3 Dunlin and 4 Ringed Plover, it was good to see some more muddy areas appearing in front of Firth hide.
 Avocet from Firth Hide
 Hoverfly sp apparently mating
Clancy's Rustic the best of the moths in the Plodland trap lately

Friday, 8 June 2018

A brief look at the sea from the sea watch hide this morning saw a single 1s Mediterranean Gull and c15 Common Terns over The Patch, also a handful of Gannets feeding way out off shore.
On Burrowes Pit just a Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank and the Little Gull of any note. At least 2 of purpose built Common Gull boxes are occupied at the moment.
Painted Lady on the beach at Galloways
I decided on walk from my home down Galloways to the beach, along the beach to Dengemarsh Gully and back up Dengemarsh Road back to home. Along the route Painted Lady butterfly's were much in evidence, one of the Little Owls was at the watch towers at Lydd Camp, Common Whitethroats were singing all along the route even at the back of the beach, several Cetti's Warblers were calling by Brett's Marina along with a few Reed Warblers, at least 3 pairs of Stonechats were seen, a few Sedge Warblers and plenty of Linnets, several small flocks of Stock Doves were feeding on the shingle ridges. The Gully was virtually bird less and Dengemarsh was more of the same with addition of 3 Yellow Wagtails and a Marsh Harrier.
15.00-16.00 from the fishing  boats with MH:
Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Fulmar: 2E
Gannet: 4E  23W
Cormorant: 8 around
Kittiwake: 6E
Sandwich Tern: 66E   7W
Common Tern: 8E   2W
Auk sp: 3E
Harbour Porpoise: 5+
Grey Seal: 1

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Another Bee-eater!

The persistent NE wind made today a rather grey and chilly day, with news from The Point of an unseen Serin over the observatory quickly followed by an unseen Bee-eater, gave me to think that today was going to be another of those near miss days. Both birds were heard and the Bee-eater seen again before I managed to catch up with them thanks to a call from Dave Bunney telling me he could see the Bee-eater on wires from his house, as I could see his house from where I was in the station car park I went into panic mode when I couldn't see bird, I moved to the bottom of the car park and saw the bird distantly, it had been obscured by the station cafe. As I started to walk towards it to try for an image a train came along and flushed it, it flew around over the beach for a couple of minutes before I lost it to view.
At The Patch there were 20+ Common Terns and the scrawny tame Fox was hoping to be fed by the fishermen but little else of note. A male Peregrine was around power station.
The afternoon sea watch started well with 3 Eider flying west along the beach as I got out of my car, then a party of 3 Arctic Skuas flew east soon after but they were the highlights. 
 Meadow Pipit on the perimeter wall
 3 Eider past the fishing boats this afternoon blurred by the haze coming off the beach
14.45-16.45 from the fishing boats:
Common Scoter: 28E
Eider: 3W
Great-crested Grebe: 7 around
Gannet: 15 around
Cormorant: 22 around
Arctic Skua: 3E  together
Kittiwake: 4E
Sandwich Tern: 94E   5W
Common Tern: 18E    2W
Harbour Porpoise: 7+
Party of 3 distant Arctic Skuas past the fishing boats this afternoon

Monday, 4 June 2018

Little Gull over Burrowes
I joined AJG at the end of a very slow sea watch which saw just a few each of Gannets, Sandwich & Common Terns. We then started to make our way to The Patch but were interrupted by a call from JTM saying a party of 5+ Bee-eaters were heading our way. Making our way back to the observatory and failing to see any Bee-eaters, we then walked out into the trapping area and met JTM. Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Lesser and Common Whitethroat were all singing there while we scanned the skies for the Bee-eaters. JTM spotted them again as they flew past the lighthouse westwards allowing me brief and very distant views.
Late morning at the reserve was also very quiet. Some Common Terns were prospecting one of the new rafts, a couple each of Redshank and Ringed Plover on the islands.
Dengemarsh and Galloways were also very quiet, a Hobby being the highlight.
Little Tern past the fishing boats
14.15-17.15 this afternoon from the fishing boats was surprisingly entertaining:
Common Scoter: 6E
Great-crested Grebe: 8 around
Fulmar: 2E
Gannet: 26E    18E     15 feeding offshore
Cormorant: 31 around
Sanderling: 2E
Mediterranean Gull: 3E   (2 ad + 1 1s)
Kittiwake: 3E   1W
Sandwich Tern: 292E   16W
Common Tern: 67E   (17+21+13+12+4 singles)
Little Tern: 2E
Black Tern: 2E in a flock of 17 Common Terns
Guillemot: 1W
Auk sp: 2W
Swallow: 1E
Harbour Porpoise: 8+ around
 Sandwich Terns at the fishing boats

Fulmar past the fishing boats

Friday, 1 June 2018

Fogged Off!


Little Gull hawking insects over the banks
Early morning on the reserve, the 3 near resident immature Little Gulls still from Firth Hide, also 3 Redshanks otherwise very quiet.
Common Gull in its purpose built box at Dennis's Hide
The Point was shrouded in fog which lingered all day, thinning a little this afternoon. I did wander down to The Patch but was unable to see the sea let alone the boil.
Sandwich Terns at the fishing boats this afternoon
14.35-15.35 from the fishing boats with AJG,
Common Scoter: 15E   25W
Velvet Scoter: 1W fem/imm  with the 25 Common Scoter flock
Great-crested Grebe: 4 around
Gannet: 2E    13 on     32W
Cormorant: 31 around
Kittiwake: 2W
Sandwich Tern: 3E    8 around  27W
Common Tern: 2E     2 around    7W
Swallow: 1 in
Harbour Porpoise: 4+
Grey Seal: 1
Another visit to Burrowes this evening was cut short as the fog rolled in again making the islands invisible and the temperature plummet.
Flame Wainscot from the Plodland MV

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Great Reed Warbler!

 Great Reed Warbler
A walk around the point in the fog this morning saw just 1 new migrant a Swallow, back at the observatory a Spotted Flycatcher was caught in the Moat processed and released. Then DW received a message from some of yesterdays visitors that thought they'd seen a Great Reed Warbler at the ARC. Most of the locals soon gathered at the ARC and before long the Great Reed Warbler had been confirmed. Initially this morning the bird was quite elusive but this afternoon it showed feeding and singing virtually non stop, much to the delight of all its admirers.  
The Rosy Starling had moved to the entrance to the estate and was twitched by all comers. 
 Great Reed Warbler