Thursday, 16 September 2021


This mornings sea watch was scaled down version of yesterdays watch, with 6+ Arctic Skuas back and forth chasing a few Sandwich and Common Terns, a flock of 90 Kittiwakes were loitering offshore, as were a c20 Gannets, a Guillemot on the sea was a first for the Autumn for me, 10 Common Scoter moved West, probably the only birds actually migrating were 3 Teal that flew West, at least 7 Harbour Porpoise were offshore with a Grey Seal. 3 Grey Wagtails were on the settling beds behind the sea watch hide.
A pleasant hour in the  warm sunshine this afternoon at the fishing boats with AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Gannet: 8E
Cormorant: 9 around
Kittiwake: 13 around
Mediterranean Gull: 1E
Sandwich Tern: 31 around
Common Tern: 1 around
Arctic Skua; 6 around
Guillemot: 1 on
Auk sp: 1W
Swallow: 39 out
Sand Martin: 11 out
Harbour Porpoise: 9+
Grey Seal: 1
1 of many Chiffchaffs around this morning
A chilly early morning around the bushes c40 Chiffchaffs, 15 Blackcaps, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 5 Common Whitethroats, 3 Wheatear and Tree Pipit I nearly trod on which is exactly what I have to do to be close enough to hear them call. As soon as temperature started rising the birds seemed to melt away. 
The Glossy Ibis was still on its chosen island at the ARC today, also 3 Clouded Yellows there. 2 Cattle Egrets were at the top of Cooks pool with 2 Great Egrets and a Little Egret. Burrowes from Dennis's a Black-tailed Godwit and a Common Snipe among the Lapwings.
An hour in the Lydd Fields 11.00-midday skywatching for Honey Buzzards which failed to materialise again, but instead saw a Common Buzzard, a Marsh Harrier, a Hobby, 2 Sparrowhawks, 4 Yellow Wagtails, several Reed Buntings, a Reed Warbler, a Cetti's warbler calling, more Chiffchaffs and 100s of Greylags dropping into the stubble.
Cattle Egrets at top end of Cooks Pool
Reed Bunting Lydd fields
Yellow Wagtail Lydd fields
Hummingbird Hawkmoth on the perimeter wall early morning
A late Small Elephant Hawkmoth in the trap yesterday

Tuesday, 14 September 2021


An unusual pale headed Arctic Skua
06.30-08.30 AJG, MC, OL
Gannet: 41E         8W
Cormorant: 5W
Oystercatcher: 6E
Kittiwake: 9E
Mediterranean Gull: 2E
Sandwich Tern: c200 around
Common Tern: 3 around
Arctic Skua: minimum 20 around
Great Skua: 1 around
Grey Seal : 1
Harbour Porpoise: 6+
The chap in the Kayak certainly had the best views of the Arctic Skuas this morning
First Razorbill of the autumn with a 1w Mediterranean Gull
The afternoon sea watch was very similar to the morning watch, with the addition of 2 firsts of the autumn for me, a Razorbill and summer plumage Red-throated Diver,  though another was seen this morning by another birder.
The bushes seemed devoid of birds today. There was no news from the reserve today though I not sure if any of the locals bothered to visit today. The Glossy Ibis was on its usual island late afternoon and at least 1 Black-necked grebe was present on the ARC.
This evening at Galloway's and out to South Brooks just 2 each of Wheatear and Whinchat and a Common Buzzard, it looks so good for raptors and Owls but I saw none.
c400 mainly Swallows with a few Sand Martins around the fishing boats this afternoon 

Monday, 13 September 2021

The last few days

1 of 4 Tree Sparrows I came across in The desert on Sunday 
 The sea watch highlight on Sunday morning was a Sooty Shearwater that moved West at great speed, little else was seen. 10 Tree Sparrows had dropped into a private garden but soon left, so I was surprised when I was walking through The Desert to come across 4 feeding on Blackberries. Apart from Wheatears and handful of Willow warblers, Common and Lesser whitethroats and Blackcaps I saw little else. Late morning I received a call from PT saying that there was White Stork over the Beehives, I quickly went up stairs and set my scope up on the small balcony and spotted the bird almost instantly, it drifted around for a few minutes before seemingly heading off NE. Late afternoon a message on the local WhatsApp group from Dave Scott saying he had 30-40 White storks high over his house at Greatstone, once again I set my scope up on the balcony only this time it it took me an agonisingly long time to find them through the murk and heat haze over The lade Desert, although they were quite distant they were still a superb spectacle even if they are the Knepp birds. many thanks to Chis who got much better views and sent me his photographs. Thanks again to Dave for putting the news out on the local group enabling most the members to see them.
Most of the flock of White Storks that toured the peninsular late Sunday afternoon. Both these images were taken by Chris Philpot as they flew in front of his house at St Mary in The Marsh

This mornings sea watch was slight improvement than of late.
07.00-08.30 AJG who kindly kept the log.
Common Scoter: 2W
Great-crested Grebe: 1W
Gannet: 13E
Cormorant: 6W
Kittiwake: 1W   1E
Sandwich tern: 9E   c20 around
Great Skua: 1E
Arctic Skua: 3W     14E
Gret Seal; 1
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Wheatear in The Desert this morning
Black Kite over the fields in front of my house late morning, Honest!!!
When I finished going through the moths in my trap, I took the egg boxes a few 100 yds down the track opposite my house to empty the moths out. As I was doing this I noticed a large raptor coming towards 
me, thankfully as I wear my binoculars most of the time, I lifted them and immediately realised the bird was a Black Kite, I immediately called Colin T as he lives a few doors up from me and would easily see it, unfortunately for him he was not at home, I cursed at myself for carrying my camera, but tried with the phone, as you can see from the image above the results were woeful.
Pity this Clouded Yellow at The ARC was just out of focus
Great White Egret catching Marsh Froglets at The ARC early afternoon

Glossy Ibis on its usual island this afternoon
Another very poor sea watch
14.05- 15.05 MC
Common Scoter: 2E
Gannet: 5E
Cormorant: 2E    4W
Sandwich tern: 57E
Arctic Skua: 1W
Harbour Porpoise: 6
Cattle Egrets at the southern end of the ARC this afternoon

Friday, 10 September 2021


AJG did the early sea watch for a very meagre return:
Common Scoter: 5W
Fulmar: 3W
Gannet: 31E
Kittiwake: 7E
Mediterranean Gull: 1E
Sandwich Tern: 27E
Arctic Skua: 3E
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 2
A nice adult Yellow-legged Gull on the beach at the bottom of Dengemarsh Marsh Gully
This morning I wandered down to the bottom of Dengemarsh Marsh Gully from Springfield Bridge. Considering the date I saw very little apart from numerous Linnets, 2 Corn Buntings flew over, 4 Common Whitethroats and a single Chiffchaff were seen on the way down, a total of only 5 Wheatear were seen, a single Common Buzzard and Marsh Harrier were behind the converter station, the Yellow-legged Gull on the beach was the undoubted highlight.
A walk around the reserve was equally poor. The Firth viewpoint had as usual zero birds in front of it made worse by getting a soaking because the hide and  Makepiece hide aren't open or even being repaired.
I joined AJG at the fishing boats this afternoon 13.30-15.00
Common Scoter: 1E
Great-crested Grebe: 1W
Gannet: 8W
Kittiwake: 3W
Sandwich Tern: 31W
Swallow: 33SW out to sea
It can only get better!!!
I took the image above a few days ago, today it is still the same a view of overgrown Sallows. An example of money and volunteer time being spent on erecting signs promoting the reserve, then no follow up maintenance taking place, I know it is only a small thing but it is symptomatic of the run down image  Dungeness RSPB Reserve portrays to visitors, Just a few minutes with secateurs would resolve this small issue, but I doubt "The Team" have even noticed, or even walked past it. It is little wonder visitors feel the reserve is shabby, run down and un-loved. 
The view from the Firth Viewpoint, this image was taken a few days ago when the sun was shining, the lack of birds is clear to see, not even the Coots stay when the first visitor of the day walks onto the viewpoint.

Thursday, 9 September 2021


A poor sea watch this morning was mercifully cut short by the fog closing in very quickly:
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 2E
Cormorant: 6W
Sandwich Tern: 12E   3W
Arctic Skua: 2W
Wheatear: 5 on the bund
One of the many Whinchats around the peninsular today, this one at The Patch
Around The Desert and trapping area very few migrants were seen, just singles each of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, 4 Common Whitethroats, 6 Wheatears in The Desert, another 8 around the new lighthouse but little else was seen.
A stop on the causeway at the ARC saw 2 Cattle Egrets, 2 Great Egrets, 3 Little Egrets and the Glossy Ibis.
Juvenile Hobby on the perimeter wall this morning. (A perimeter wall tick for me)
On Burrowes the 3 Spoonbills still present, c50 Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Dunlin and a Ruff
all still present.
Sandwich Tern feeding at the fishing boats this afternoon
Very quiet sea watch again this afternoon but quite entertaining watching the Terns feeding.
15.00-16.00 from the fishing boats:
Gannet: 3W
Cormorant: 4W
Sandwich Tern: c15 feeding off shore
Common Tern: 1 feeding offshore
Arctic Skua: 1 chasing offshore
Wheatear: 5 around the fishing boats

Juvenile Arctic Skua at the fishing boats this afternoon

Juvenile Common Tern feeding at the fishing boats this afternoon

Marsh Mallow Moth a nationally scarce moth, was the highlight in my MV this morning

Wednesday, 8 September 2021


Wheatear on the beach
Another very poor sea watch this morning but hopefully with the wind veering overnight tomorrow may be better. RW saw singles of Arctic and Great Skua off the fishing boats this afternoon.
Several Wheatears were on the beach with several more seen around The Point and Desert, also a single Whinchat. a Hummingbird Hawkmoth was basking on the perimeter wall. At least 3 Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher and a Redstart at the top of the Long Pits, 
After missing numerous fly over Spoonbills this year it was nice to catch up with the 3 that spent the day on Burrowes thanks to an alert from RW, also on Burrowes this afternoon a Ruff, Common Sandpiper, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, c50 Golden Plovers among the Lapwing, 2 Garganey and a very welcome juvenile/1w Caspian Gull thanks to DW for the call. On the ARC the Glossy Ibis still showing well on its chosen island, 2 Garganey and the usual Great and Little Egrets. 3 Cattle egrets were on the Boulderwall fields.
This evening I went to The Midrips and Wickes but got my timings wrong and arrived just as the sun was setting. I still managed to see a Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little stints, c20 Dunlin,  a Knot, Black-tailed Godwits, 4+ Spotted Redshanks, a Greenshank, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Knot and Oystercatcher, countless  Wheatears and Yellow Wagtails were along the Green Wall beach and ranges.
Spoonbills feeding from the Firth Viewpoint
The 3 Spoonbills having a fly around this afternoon before settling back on the islands

Juvenile/1w Caspian Gull found by DW on Burrowes this afternoon
Dunlins, Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper taken in near darkness this evening

Monday, 6 September 2021

The Weekend

The Midrips
As there is virtually no wader habitat at Dungeness this autumn I visited The Midrips this weekend for my wader fix. I saw13 species of wader including Curlew Sandpipers and a Little Stint, I also stumbled across a Grasshopper Warbler as walked along the green wall. There was a steady Easterly movement of Sand Martins and Swallows, also c150 Yellow Wagtails,  c30 Wheatears, 2 Whinchats and a few Terns off shore.
Visiting The Midrips can be problematic, especially at the moment with huge amouts of beach defence work being carried out seemingly 7 days a week, early morning is undoubtedly the best time before the contractors start work. 
Barge loads of shingle being imported for flood protection
Avocet with Black-tailed Godwits at The Midrips
Curlew Sandpiper at the Midrips

Black-tailed Godwit at the Midrips
Yellow Wagtails at The Midrips

A definite first for me was spotting this Grey Squirrel at The Patch on Saturday

Willow Warbler at Lighthouse Garden this morning
We seem to be in a form of Groundhog Day at the moment with the same birds all still present with the exception of the Wryneck that hasn't been seen for 2 days, though even that can easily be overlooked. Hopefully from tomorrow onwards the sea will start producing birds and new birds found on the land.
Ravens over the power station this morning
Glossy Ibis on its usual island at the ARC this afternoon