Saturday, 22 September 2018

An Excellent Day Despite The Weather!

 Grey Phalarope
This mornings sea watch 06.15 to 09.15 then 10.40-11.40 with AJG who kindly collated all the numbers also SO & OM.
Common Scoter: 11E    6 on
Red-throated Diver: 1W
Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Gannet: 108W
Kestrel: 1 out
Turnstone: 4 around
Grey Phalarope: 1 around
Arctic Skua: 38W
Mediterranean Gull: 13+ around
Kittiwake: 1W
Sandwich Tern: 657W
Common Tern 49W
Arctic Tern 4W
Auk: 1E
Meadow Pipit: 436W
Swallow:11 out
 Grey Phalarope

Common Terns
1cy Mediterranean Gull
 Tree Pipit 
While we were at the observatory having a cup of tea Dave Bunney called to say that an Osprey was currently heading round The Point, we all ran to the top of The Moat where we could see all the Gulls alarming and then Osprey appeared from behind the lighthouse and headed off West, many Meadow Pipits were flying around the observatory and many were caught in the Crow trap and processed, also a Tree Pipit dropped onto the wires by the observatory.
 5 Spoonbills on Burrowes, 1 is tagged but to distant to read
A very poor image of the Pectoral Sandpiper that made a brief visit to Firth at lunchtime
Egyptian Geese with a late brood of 5 young on Burrowes
1 of at least 8 Cattle Egrets at Boulderwall today
 Cattle Egrets
On the ARC from Hanson early afternoon, 3 Great White Egrets, a Knot, 4 Dunlin, 4 Black Terns, 2+ Arctic Terns, 3+ Garganey, a Bittern (just), also good numbers of Hirundines over the lake.
Great White Egret not enjoying the rain
Spot the Bittern
 I went back to the reserve early this evening mainly to see if the Pectoral Sandpiper had returned, it hadn't but the Little Stint was still present and the Spoonbills had moved closer and enabled me to discern the colour ring and flag combination. Checking on the web this evening it looks like it is a German bird denoted by the black flag, I look froward to receiving the full data from the ringing team.
 The Spoonbills weren't impressed by the Greylag Geese coming in to roost.
Flag and colour ring combination just about discernible

Friday, 21 September 2018

Very Quiet!

An early morning sea watch from the sea watch hide was very disappointing with no Shearwaters and the only Petrel being a single Fulmar.
07.00-09.00 from the sea watch hide:
Great-crested Grebe: 1 around
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: c30 around
Arctic Skua: c5W  &  5 around
Sandwich Tern: c100W
Common Tern: c40W
From Hanson of note 100s, of Swallows and Sand Martins over the lake, 2+ Black Terns, 2+ Arctic Terns, a Great White Egret and a Garganey among the usual wildfowl.
This afternoon 7 Cattle Egrets with the cattle in the Boulderwall fields. 
Juvenile Common Tern at the fishing boats
Another very disappointing sea watch
12.45-15.30 from the fishing boats:
Red-breasted Merganser: 2W
Great-crested Grebe: 6 around
Gannet: c30 around
Turnstone: 1 around
Arctic Skua: 5+ around
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 adult came to bread
Sandwich Tern: c100W
Common Tern: c10 around
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 4+
Red-breasted Mergansers past the fishing boats
 Yellow-legged Gull at the fishing boats
Turnstone at the fishing boats

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Fairly quiet on the sea this morning with Balearic Shearwaters before I arrived, c15 Arctic Skuas, c200 Sandwich Terns, a Common Terns, a juvenile Little Gull, a Peregrine came in and stream of Hirundines going south.
 Lovely Kestrel caught by Jacques in the Crow Trap
A walk around The Desert was very quiet avian wise not even the Wryneck popping up, a couple of Wheatears, more Hirundines, 3 Skylarks. At the observatory a Spotted Flycatcher was caught in The Moat, a Kestrel and several Meadow Pipits were caught in the Crow trap. 
From Hanson still 3 Black Terns, a Great White Egret and 3+ Garganey among the usual wildfowl. 

 Hook billed Herring Gull still present at the fishing boats today
Another 2 hour sea watch this afternoon was a pretty slow affair.
13.30-15.30 from the fishing boats with LH, PH, RW, AJG, JTM
Great-crested Grebe: 3 around
Balearic Shearwater: 2W   @ 14.16
Gannet: 17W      7E
Arctic Skua: 5 around
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 1w
Sandwich Tern: 260W
Common Tern: 17W
Black Tern: 2 around
Swallow: 270 out
House Martin: 17 out
Sand Martin: 8 out
Harbour Porpoise: 6+ around
 Couldn't resist a couple more pics of the stunning Oleander Hawk-moth

Monday, 17 September 2018

Oleander Hawkmoth!

 Oleander Hawkmoth
As I looked through the perspex top of the MV this morning this beauty was clinging to the rim, even though I knew exactly what it was I still had to look in the book to check, even when I had extracted the moth I had to go on the internet double checking images making sure I had not made a mistake. It is without doubt the highlight of my short time mothing,  
 Cattle Egret having a bath in the ARC
In a short walk around The Desert I failed to see the long staying Wryneck though it was still present today, Stonechats seemed to be on every bush, with a Few Common Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs.
An hour at the fishing boats lunchtime saw 5 Arctic Skuas marauding through a feeding frenzy of Gannets, Sandwich Terns, Gulls and 10+ Harbour Porpoises, all the while a stream of c200 Swallows and c40 Sand Martins headed off to France.
From Hanson at the ARC this afternoon all 3 Egrets species, c50 Golden Plover, a Greenshank, 3 Dunlin, a Ruff, a Black-necked Grebe, 3 Black Terns and 7 Garganey. 
 Lapwing giving a Great white Egret a hard time
 Great White Egret from Hanson
 Clancy's Rustic over shadowed today, as was the Delicate below.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

This Weekend!

Great White Egret in front of Hanson last evening
5 of 7 Garganey in front of Hanson last evening
Juvenile Grey Heron in front of Hanson last evening
The 5 Cattle Egrets flying into roost last evening in near darkness(very high iso used)
06.15-08.15 from the sea watch hide with AJG,
Common Scoter:37W   3E
Manx Shearwater: 1W
Sooty Shearwater: 1W @ 06.57
Gannet: 76W
Cormorant: present n/c
Arctic Skua: 3W    1E
Skua sp: 1W
Mediterranean Gull: 2E
Sandwich Tern: 29W
Common Tern: 4W
Auk sp: 1W
Swallow: 705 out
Sand Martin: 14 out
Harbour Porpoise: 14+ 
Today the Wryneck posed for me as above image, more usually it's like yesterdays view below.
A rather quiet walk around The Desert this morning though the Wryneck did pose nicely for me, also seen 5 Common Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Blackcaps, 5 Chiffchaffs, a single Wheatear and 6 Stonechats of note.

 Arctic Skuas from the fishing boats this afternoon
13.30-16.30 from the fishing boats with AJG & RW:
Common Scoter: 22E
Manx Shearwater: 1W
Gannet: 29W   7E
Cormorant: present n/c
Ringed Plover: 16W
Turnstone: 1W
Dunlin: 24W
Sanderling: 9W
Whimbrel: 1W
Arctic Skua: 9W    4 around
Mediterranean Gull: 5W
Kittiwake: 2E   1W
Sandwich Tern: 1,293W   76E
Guillemot: 3 around
Swallow: 103 out
Sand Martin: 27 out
Harbour Porpoise: 20+
Grey Seal: 1
Common Tern at the Fishing boats this afternoon
It seems that the reserve was fairly quiet avian wise apart from the 5 Cattle Egrets at still reported as being at Boulderwall Farm, on the ARC 2 Black Terns, 3 Garganey and a Black-necked Grebe all being seen by others today.
Presumed faded or aberrant Meadow Brown in The Moat yesterday.
The Plodland MV continues to be disappointing.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Another good day at Dungeness!

Huge female Sparrowhawk, those claws are sharp and strong as DWs hand can testify!
First thing this morning 1,000s of House Martins and Swallows were on the move high over the peninsular. In The Moat I met DW who could here an Ortolan calling, he quickly pinned down the area it was calling from, even I with my dodgy hearing could hear it but it remained unseen, until it flew up from the back of Blackthorn flew around the observatory then down to the station where it appeared to land. Soon after that excitement a huge female Sparrowhawk found it's way into the Moat net still carrying a dead Sparrow, a Pied Flycatcher evaded the nets and Heligoland but Chiffchaffs and a Common Whitethroat didn't. A call from OL who was looking for the Ortolan around the lighthouse area with PT telling me he could see 7 distant large white Herons towards the ARC, from the top of The Moat with the aid of scopes we could see the Herons were Spoonbills. While having a cup of tea and watching another party of high Hirundines which suddenly scattered as a Merlin dived through them. Back on The Moat 9+ Kestrels could be seen, 3 Marsh Harriers, 2 Common Buzzards and a Peregrine perched on a pylon, also a couple of Tree Pipits over. The Wryneck was scoped briefly from the top of The Moat.
10.45-11.45 from the sea watch hide with AJG who collated the numbers:
Teal: 3W
Common Scoter: 2E
Gannet: 17W
Arctic Skua: 7W
Sandwich Tern: 187W
Common Tern: 13W
Black Tern: 8W
Swallow: 14 out  
Harbour Porpoise: 4+
 There were 2 Pied Flycatchers in a private garden this afternoon, many thanks to Dave Bunney for inviting me in to see and photograph them.

 2w Yellow-legged Gull at the fishing boats
Mid afternoon at the fishing boats with AJG, DS, and JTM 2 Yellow-legged Gulls put in an appearance, another 3 Arctic Skuas moved west as did 200+ Sandwich Terns, a few Gannets, a Guillemot and a Great-crested Grebe were offshore, also 2 Grey Seals and 6+ Harbour Porpoises.
1st cal yr Yellow-legged Gull being threatened by a Herring Gull at the fishing boats
Late afternoon the Ortolan was seen and photographed well by Andy and Paul, despite a few of us searching it was not seen again, though I did add a Common and Black Redstart to my day list.
On the short drive home I stopped off at Boulderwall as DW had seen 5 Cattle Egrets there earlier, after a couple of minutes of scanning the cattle 5 Cattle Egrets appeared, also a Great White Egret and Little Egret there. An excellent days birding all within a few minutes of home.  

Thursday, 13 September 2018


 Juvenile Golden Plover in The Desert
Around the desert and bushes this today there were plenty of migrants, at least 4 Common Redstarts, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Garden Warblers, lots of Blackcaps and Common Whitethroats, 5 Lesser Whitethroats, 3+ Whinchats, 8+ Wheatears, the Wryneck was still insitu,  a few Swallows moving through, a juvenile Golden Plover running around and 2 more over, I've probably seen more Wrynecks on the ground in the desert than Golden Plovers.
 1 of 2 Spotted Flycatchers in The Desert
 1 of 4 Common Redstarts seen in The Desert
 Daily pic of the Wryneck
 1 of Great Spotted Woodpeckers
 2 more Juvenile Golden Plover over The Desert
 Tree Pipit at the Observatory
Good numbers of birds trapped and processed at the observatory this morning including the above Tree Pipit. From the top of The Moat c20 Common Buzzards were seen, presumably local birds and wandering juveniles. 
 Humming Bird Hawkmoth on the perimeter wall
A very brief look at the sea from the sea watch hide saw c20 Gannets feeding way out to sea, c20 Sandwich Terns feeding, a summer plumaged Red-throated Diver on the sea, 8 Common Terns over The Patch and 8+ Harbour Porpoises off shore.
 The Wryneck again this afternoon as it disappeared into the Pear Tree
Another walk around the bushes this afternoon was similar to this morning, though the Wryneck had moved over to the Pear Tree and did not want to be photographed.
 Marsh frog Hanson Hide
On the ARC from Hanson 3, Garganey, 78, Golden Plover, 3 Dunlin, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, c150 Lapwings, 4 Cattle Egrets, 6+ Great White Egrets, 3 Black Terns and a Goldeneye among the usual wild fowl.
1 of 3 Garganey on The ARC