Sunday, 24 September 2017

Red-backed Shrike

At the ARC this weekend the Red-necked Grebe was the star but always distant. Also there up to 5 Black Terns, a Black-necked Grebe, 3 Little Stints, a Curlew Sandpiper, up to 38 Black-tailed Godwits, 20+ Dunlin, a Ruff, a Hobby, an Osprey and much more including 8 Great-white Egrets which roosted Saturday evening. 
 Red-backed Shrike
Today Dave Bunney found his second Shrike of the year from his garden, this time a showy juvenile Red-backed Shrike. Elsewhere in The Desert  migrants were few and between though there was some quality in the form a Pied Flycatcher and a few Firecrests.
  Red-backed Shrike
  Red-backed Shrike
 Brown Hare in The Desert
 Brown Hare in The Desert
 Pied Flycatcher in The Moat
Firecrest at the observatory
 Arctic Skua at the fishing boats
At the fishing boats 6+ Arctic Skuas have been hanging around for a couple of weeks terrorising the Sandwich Terns, a few Great Skuas have been passing including one that dropped on to a Lesser Black Backed Gull, drowned it and started to eat it. Brent Geese and Wigeon have started to move west, a Shag was in front the sea watch hide this morning a Dungeness rarity. 
 Arctic Skua at the fishing boats
 Arctic Skua at the fishing boats
 Common Tern at the fishing boats
 Mediterranean Gull at the fishing boats
 juvenile Gannets at the fishing boats
 Brent Geese pass the fishing boats
 Distant Red-necked Grebe Saturday morning

Friday, 22 September 2017

 Wheatear in The Desert
I joined AJG in a walk around The Desert this morning seeing 5 Wheatears, 15 Chiffchaffs, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Blackcap, a Firecrest, a Goldcrest, a Hobby, 2 Yellow Wagtails over, and a few Meadow Pipits and Hirundines over. 
 Sandwich at the fishing boats
13.00-16.00 from the fishing boats with AJG:
Brent Goose: 13 down
Teal: 6 down
Wigeon: 15 down
Common Scoter: 12 up
Red-throated Diver: 1 around (summer plumaged bird)
Great-crested Grebe: 5 around
Gannet: 62 down
Turnstone: 3 on beach
Great Skua: 2 down
Arctic Skua: 7+ around
Sandwich Tern: 270 down
Guillemot: 2 down
Sand Martin: 7 out
House Martin: 154 out
Swallow: 3,821 out
Harbour Porpoise: 6+
Grey Seal: 1
Juvenile Hobby at the ARC
In 3 visits to the ARC today 3 Little Stints, a Curlew Sandpiper, 28 Black-tailed Godwits, a Common Sandpiper, 4 Black Terns, a Black-necked Grebe, a Red-necked Grebe, an Osprey, a Hobby, 2 Marsh Harriers, 4 Great White Egrets, 2 Water Rails and the usual wildfowl.
The Red-necked Grebe can sometimes be seen distantly from Hanson at the south end, if viewing from the south end please park in the gate way at the southern end of the ARC and walk back to view as the police will move you on. 
Juvenile Hobby at the ARC

Thursday, 21 September 2017

A very disappointing sea watch this morning from the sea watch hide, a few Skuas, Terns and Gannets but nothing really moving.
At Denge Marsh 210 Golden Plover, 5 Ruff, 9 Common Snipe, a Dunlin and 13 Yellow Wagtails of note among the usual wildfowl and Passerines. 
 Great White Egret from Hanson
In 2 visits to Hanson today 7 Great White Egrets, 31 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Little Stints, 2 Curlew Sandpipers, a Knot, a Ruff, 18 Dunlin, 3 Black Terns, a Water rail of  note among the usual wildfowl
 Sandwich Terns at the fishing boats
13.10-16.40 with LG & AJG who collated the numbers:
Common Scoter: 3 up
Great-crested Grebe: 8 around
Gannet: 89 down
Great Skua: 1 down
Arctic Skua: 10 down
Kittiwake: 1 down
Sandwich Tern: 438 down
Common Tern: 1 down
Black Tern: 1 down
Sand Martin: 17 out
House Martin: 183 out
Swallow: c2,000 out
 Black Tern at the fishing boats
Arctic Skua at the fishing boats

Wednesday, 20 September 2017


 Some of the Hirundines on The Point this morning
This mornings stroll around the trapping area with AJG was notable for the large number of Hirundines over the whole of the peninsula, also good numbers of Chiffchaffs, a few Blackcaps, Lesser Whitethroats, Goldcrests, a couple each of Wheatears and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Sedge Warbler  and a few Meadow Pipits over. 
 Great White Egret from Hanson
 Great White Egret from Hanson
In 2 visits to the ARC viewing from Hanson, 4 Little Stints, a Curlew Sandpiper, 39 Black-tailed Godwits, a Curlew, 18 Dunlin and a Garganey among the usual Lapwings and wildfowl all frequently being flushed by Marsh Harriers and a Peregrine. The Great White Egrets have been particularly showy catching tiny fish in front the hide. A juvenile Water Rail has also been showing there but so far has not bee fully in the open while I have been there.
 Great White Egret from Hanson
 Great White Egret from Hanson
 Juvenile Water Rail from Hanson
On the sward at Scotney 30+ Curlew, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Turnstone among the masses of feral geese.
 Arctic Skua at the fishing boats
15.00-16.30 from the fishing boats with PH, E.H & AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Common Scoter: 12 up
Great-crested Grebe: 1 around
Gannet 28 down
Arctic Skua . between min 14 and max of 19 (difficult to be specific with birds going both up and down
Sandwich Tern 226 down
Kittiwake: 1 on
Guillemot: 1down
 Male Sparrowhawk in my garden this evening
WW11 airplane engine brought ashore by a fishing boat today

Monday, 18 September 2017

Owls in The Desert!

In 3 visits to the ARC today among all the wildfowl and Lapwings, a Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Little Stints, 10 Dunlin, 12 Golden Plover, 6 Knot, 14 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Great White Egrets, a Bittern, 2 Marsh Harriers, a Hobby, a Sparrowhawk and a juvenile Water rail of note. Many Hirundines over the lake and Chiffchaffs in the Sallows. 
 Short-eared Owl in The Desert
As I arrived at The Point today a call on the radio from LG about a Short-eared Owl at the back of Jarmans, almost immediately I was able to call him back to let him know of a Barn Owl that flew out of the Old Lighthouse Garden and ended up in The Sanctuary. As I made my way through the Broome across The Desert I flushed 2 Hares and Chiffchaffs were all around. An Osprey flew over the NE end of The Desert where 2 Wheatears were feeding, further on 2 Redstarts in bushes that were full of Chiffchaffs and small numbers of Blackcaps.
 1 of 2 Hares seen in The Desert
 Osprey over The Desert
Wheatear in The Desert

Sunday, 17 September 2017


 Great White Egret
From Hanson as the fog began to clear a Great white Egret was showing very well, also there a Ruff, 2 Little Stints, a Curlew Sandpiper, 14 Black-tailed Godwits, 10 Golden Plover, 9 Dunlin and a single Garganey among the usual wildfowl and Lapwings. I joined SO on a short trip along the road to Seabrook to try and and see a Greenish Warbler that was seen there first thing this morning, unfortunately there was no sign of the bird when we arrived though plenty of Chiffchaffs were still present.
 Great White Egret
As I drove back onto the Dungeness estate I could see the Gulls were alarming, moments later I spotted the cause an Osprey slowly circling over the approach road. It carried on circling higher and higher until lost to view in the low cloud.
I joined SO in a very disappointing wander around The Desert and trapping area, seeing just a single Common Whitethroat, 3 Wheatears, 3 Stonechats and a trickle of Hirundines and Meadow Pipits over also a couple of Sparrowhawks, in the trapping area a few Chiffchaffs with a Tit flock and a Goldcrest.
Early afternoon from home a couple of Common Buzzards, a Hobby chasing Hirundines and a couple of distant Little Egrets.
 3rd cal yr Yellow-legged Gull
At fishing boats this afternoon 4+ Arctic Skuas chasing Sandwich Terns off shore, a 3rd calendar  year Yellow-legged Gull was attracted to Mick and Richards offerings along with a couple of Norwegian colour ringed Great Black-backed Gulls but no Caspian while I was there.
A Grey Phalarope was reported at The Point by RBA but no one seems to know anything about it.
 Arctic Skua and Sandwich Tern
Norwegian Great Black-backed Gull JJ491
Norwegian Great Black-backed Gull JK254

Friday, 15 September 2017

Sea watching today 06.10-09.10 + 11.00-12.15 + 14.45-16.00 Many thanks to AJG for collating the numbers:
Teal: 6 down
Wigeon: 6 down
Common Scoter: 23 up   22 down
Eider: 1 around
Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Sooty Shearwater: 1 down
Gannet: 371 down
Cormorant: present n/c
Oystercatcher: 3 up  1 down
Ringed Plover: 1 up
Great Skua: 37 down 
Pomarine Skua: 1 down
Arctic Skua: 67 down  5+ around
Kittiwake: 20 down
Sandwich Tern: 907 down
Commic Tern: 24 down
Guillemot: 1 down   1 around
Sand Martin: 19 out
House Martin: 10 out
Swallow: 373
Some excellent totals but meagre compared to Cap Gris nez just 27miles from Dungeness . See
At The Patch a juvenile Little Gull and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull of note, also 5 Black Redstarts and a Robin behind the hide.
 Redstart in The Desert
A wander around The Desert during a break from sea watching saw very few migrants, highlights being a Common Redstart, 7 Wheatears, a Whinchat, 120+ Meadow Pipits over along with a trickle of Swallows and House Martins, the Osprey could be seen over Kerton Road Pit.
Juvenile Red-necked Grebe from Dennis's view point this afternoon 
Late afternoon the juvenile Red-necked Grebe was showing distantly from Dennis's view point, also from there 4 Great White Egrets, 2 Black Terns over the New Diggings, the Osprey again between the ARC and Kerton Road Pit. 
2 Curlew Sandpipers and a Little Stint from Hanson late afternoon per CT. 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Pink-footed Geese!

A walk around The Desert with AJG this morning yielded the almost resident group of Wheatears and Whinchats at the eastern end, while the bushes held a few Chiffchaffs, Common Whitethroats and Tits also a Grey Plover over. Around The Moat a Skylark and 3 more Wheatears were of note.
 Sparrowhawk behind the sea watch hide
I had wander down to The Patch where a juv Little Gull among 100s of Black-headed Gulls was noted along with a handful of Common Terns. A Sparrowhawk flew into the power station grounds, while on the perimeter wall 3 Wheatears, 2 Black Redstarts and a Chiffchaff along with the ubiquitous Linnets and Pied Wagtails. 
At the ARC just a Ruff and a Garganey of note this morning, though this afternoon 11 Black-tailed Godwits and 2 Golden Plover had joined them.
At Scotney late morning all the usual feral Geese on the sward along with 41 Curlew, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Merlin.
 Whinchat Denge Marsh Gully
Lunchtime in Denge Marsh Gully 5 more Wheatears and 2 Whinchats of note. On Denge Marsh 2 Great White Egrets, an Avocet, 4 Dunlin and a Ruff were noted.
Back at Scotney a Common Sandpiper, 2 Dunlin, a Redshank 18 Yellow Wagtails, a Hobby and 2 Black-tailed godwits were all seen in a failed attempt to see the very brief Red-necked Phalarope.
 Unusual record of 14 Pink-footed Geese flying west down channel this afternoon
16.00-16.50 with AJG at the fishing boats:
Pink-footed Goose: 14 down
Eider: 1 around
Gannet: 12 around
Cormorant: present N/C
Oystercatcher: 2 up
Arctic Skua 12 down
Kittiwake: 1 down
Common Tern: 2 down
Sandwich Tern: 136 down
Late afternoon I went to the boardwalk to have another look at the Grey Phalarope which was showing very well, best of all I had it all to my self, I was very restrained and resisted the temptation to take yet more pictures of it, probably more because the light was very poor.
Just a few more images of the Grey Phalarope