Sunday, 21 October 2018

Glorious Calm Day, Slow Birding!

Another beautiful autumn day on the peninsular, unfortunately the calm warm weather does not appear to provoke heavy bird migration. Early morning there were small numbers of Redpolls, Siskins, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Skylarks, Reed Buntings and a few Crossbills over, along with c4,000 Starlings. Some of the Redpolls and Reed Buntings made there way into the nets, as did a few Goldcrests and  Chiffchaffs, but by 10.00 all passage seemed to have stopped.
On the reserve the usual Egrets were still the main attraction.
A short sea watch with virtually no birds actually moving off shore in the calm conditions still produced amazing numbers of Mediterranean Gull loafing around offshore, also what a few years ago would have been an incredible sight of 3 Great White Egrets flying along just offshore.
14.00-14.30 with AJG, RW, P & L.H.
Wigeon: 3W
Common Scoter: 4E
Gannet: c40 around
Great White Egret: 3W
Great Skua: 1 around
Arctic Skua: 3 around
Mediterranean Gull: c2,000 around
Kittiwake: c200 around
Sandwich Tern: 4 around
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
Grey Seal: 1
The first Harrier count of the season this evening saw 3 Marsh Harriers come into the roost I was watching, but no Hen Harrier, indeed I have yet to see a Hen Harrier on the peninsular this year. A Bittern came in, a Merlin flew over and a distant Short-eared Owl was seen.

Friday, 19 October 2018

The Goldcrests have Arrived!

Yellow-browed Warbler
A chilly start to the day that heralded the arrival of Goldcrests, with c60 caught and ringed and many more being seen around the peninsular, a lone Yellow-browed Warbler was trapped in The Moat and a single Firecrest was caught out in the area. A few Skylarks and Meadow Pipits flew over, as did several Brambling and Lesser Redpolls, c25 of the latter were trapped and ringed along with several Robins that seemed far more numerous today, also several Reed Buntings and Chiffchaffs were caught.
 1 of c60 Goldcrest caught and ringed today
1 of c25 Lesser Redpoll caught and ringed today
This afternoon from Hanson 5 Avocet, c100 Golden Plover, a Goldeneye, a Black-necked Grebe and a Great White Egret were the highlights.
Late afternoon at Galloways 2 Fieldfare, a Dartford Warbler and a Jack Snipe.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Brent Geese on the Move!

An early morning walk around The Point and bushes in a cool brisk NE wind was very disappointing, a few each of Brambling, Siskin, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Skylark and Meadow Pipits flying over, along with 10 Wigeon and 8 Pintail flying over The Desert. On the ground a handful of Song Thrushes, Blackbirds and Chiffchaffs. Things livened up when following a call from DW saying that there were lots of Mediterranean Gulls off shore, I arrived at the sea watch hide to find that by lots he meant 1,900+ a fantastic number with good numbers of Kittiwakes and Gannets and a few Sandwich Terns.
It's a shame that there there is still no boil at The Patch, apparently this state of affairs is likely to continue to at least Christmas while urgent work is carried out on the power station. There were at least 3 Black Redstarts behind The Patch and a Rock Pipit flew over. 
 Brent Geese, at least 2 juveniles in the top image
13.00-17.15 from the fishing boats with AJG who collated the numbers, JTM, DS, PT & DM.
Brent Goose: 6,197W   183E  (most were seen between in a 2 hour period between 15.00 & 17.00 also most were several miles off shore)
Wigeon: 1W
Common Scoter: 23W   21E
Red-throated Diver: 3W   1E
Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Gannet: 38W
Great Skua: 1W
Arctic Skua: 1 around
Mediterranean Gull: many around
Kittiwake: Many around
Sandwich Tern: 13 around
Razorbill: 11W  2E
Guillemot: 12E
Auk sp: 12E   40W

Water Rail from Hanson yesterday afternoon
Garganey from Hanson yesterday afternoon
1 of 5 Gems caught in the last 2 nights
2 of 6 Delicates caught in the last 2 nights
 Dark Sword-grass
Golden Triangle which is apparently common but the first to grace my MV

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

A Slow Day!

A very quiet morning around The Point with a very elusive Yellow-browed Warbler in the lighthouse garden, a few each of Firecrest, Goldcrest and Chiffchaff in the bushes, while overhead small numbers of Siskins, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Skylarks, Reed Buntings, Meadow Pipits, a Rock Pipit and a Woodlark which I missed, also a handful of Swallows and House Martins.
At Denge Marsh the 6 Cattle Egrets still, also a Ruff, a Curlew, 3 Great White Egrets and a Wheatear of note.
 Cattle Egrets in the hay fields

A very slow sea watch this afternoon14.00-15.15 from the fishing boats with AJG:
Common Scoter: 37W
Red-throated Diver: 2W
Gannet: 6W
Mediterranean Gull: 16 around
Kittiwake: 42 around
Sandwich Tern: 9 around
Harbour Porpoise: 2
The Plodland MV held it's first Vestal of the year, also 2 more Palpita vitrealis, a Scarce Bordered Straw, a Udea ferrugalis and a few Xylostella's of note among the Lunar Underwings, Seataceous Hebrew Characters, Large Wainscots, Black Rustics and Feathered Brindles, also a single Sallow.
My first Vestal of the year
 Another 2 Palpita vitrealis last night
Udea ferrugalis

Monday, 15 October 2018


Lots of Thrushes first thing this morning in the bushes by the track to Dengemarsh, mainly Song Thrushes and Blackbirds but at least 1 Ring Ouzel. At Denge Marsh the 6 Cattle Egrets were seen distantly, also 3 Great White Egrets, 3 Common Snipe, a Ruff and the usual wildfowl.
A Yellow-browed Warbler was trapped at the observatory but surprisingly little else. Another Yellow-browed Warbler was seen and heard along the Pilot Path per AJG, with another spending all day in Dave Bunney's garden, which he kindly invited me into.
Yellow-browed Warbler
Yellow-browed Warbler in a private garden

A look around the lighthouse before the afternoon sea watch found just a Chiffchaff and a Black Redstart of any note.
13.45-15.15 from the fishing boats with MH and AJG who collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 5E
Shoveler: 18W
Common Scoter: 10E
Red-throated Diver: 2  around
Gannet: 34 around
Dunlin: 2W
Arctic Skua: 3W
Mediterranean Gull: 66 around
Kittiwake: 71 around
Sandwich Tern: 34 around
Some of the 240 Golden Plover at the ARC from Hanson
Late afternoon from Hanson 240 Golden Plover, 260 Lapwing, 8 Black-tailed Godwits and a Ruff along with usual wildfowl.
Black-tailed Godwits and a Ruff from Hanson
 Palpita vitrealis
A Palpita vitrealis in the MV yesterday and a pristine Delicate today.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

1,000+ Mediterranean Gulls!

07.00-09.00 from the sea watch hide with SO, RW and AJG who collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 4W
Common Scoter: 9W
Red-throated Diver: 1E
Great-crested Grebe: 1W
Gannet: c200 around
Arctic Skua: 1 around
Med Gull: 18W
Sandwich Tern: 44 around
Auk sp: 4W
Starling: 32 in
After a very mediocre sea watch we walked through The Desert to the top of Long Pits and back, on the way we saw the Wryneck briefly in the High Gorse, c15 Song Thrushes, c200 Siskins, c200 Goldfinches, a few Chaffinches and Meadow Pipits, 4 Chiffchaffs, 6 Swallows and a couple of singing Cetti's Warblers, a Firecrest was caught and processed. A morning that seem to promise so much but gave very little.
Late morning David Walker found an Asian Hornet at the lighthouse garden, the second in 2 days at Dungeness after Dave Bunney found one in his garden yesterday which was destroyed by the authorities, todays Hornet was caught and will also be destroyed by the authorities as it is an alien species that kills Honey Bees.
 Asian Hornet ( please click on any of the images to see them full size)

A very poor image of some of 1,000+ Mediterranean Gulls off the fishing boats this afternoon

13.00-16.00 from the fishing boats with AJG, RW, JTM, DW,
Brent Goose: 27W
Common Scoter: 5E
Red-breasted Merganser: 2W
Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Gannet: 48W
Merlin: 1W
Arctic Skua: 7-14
Mediterranean Gull: 1,000+ came out of Lade bay
Kittiwake: 350+ came out of Lade bay
Sandwich Tern: 137 came out of Lade bay
Guillemot: 1 around
Auk sp: 2W
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
Other news 5 Ring Ouzels were by the pines at the ARC per SO. 6 Cattle Egrets are still present as are the Great White Egrets and a Black-necked Grebe.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

All at Sea!

07.00-09.30 from the sea watch hide with SO, RW, Doug and AJG who collated the numbers:
Common Scoter: 21W
Gannet: 2,290W   (I did a single sweep of the horizon and counted 530 Gannets)
Great Skua: 2W
Arctic Skua: 7W
Mediterranean Gull: 116 around 
Kittiwake: 23 around
Sandwich Tern: 67W 
Black Tern: 1W
Razorbill: 1W
Auk sp: 8W
Starling: 75 down
Pied Wagtail 7 down
Harbour Porpoise: 1+
After I had my breakfast I went back to the sea at the fishing boats for an hour joining DW, GH & Doug seeing more of what was seen earlier including another Black Tern, also a female Eider flew into the bay. 
1W Caspian Gull at the fishing boats this afternoon
13.15-16.15 from the fishing boats with RW, JTM, AP and AJG who once again did the onerous task of collating the numbers:
Common Scoter: 2W
Red-throated Diver: 2 around (adult and a Juvenile)
Great-crested Grebe: 3 around
Gannet: 126 down
Great Skua: 1W
Arctic Skua: 28W
Mediterranean Gull: 358 came out of Lade Bay
Kittiwake: 374 came out of Lade Bay
Caspian Gull: 1 1w around
Sandwich Tern: 58 came out of Lade Bay
Guillemot: 3W
Auk sp: 9W
 Some of the 100s of Kittiwakes that came out of Lade bay
 Some of the 100s of Mediterranean Gulls that came out of Lade Bay this afternoon
Mediterranean Gull at the fishing boats
Sandwich Tern at the fishing boats this afternoon
JX61 in the beach roost this afternoon ringed as a chick in 2007, seen in Boulogne in 2008 and not seen again until today.
15 of the 18 Great White Egrets present on Burrowes this evening
Late afternoon/early evening on Burrowes from Makepiece Hide, a 1w Caspian Gull and a2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls came to roost, 18 Great White Egrets and 10 Little Egrets could be seen around the lake, also 3 Dunlin of note.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Little Owl!

07.00-09.00 from the sea watch hide numbers from AJG:
Common Scoter: 14W
Great-crested Grebe: 2W
Fulmar: 1E
Gannet: 549W
Great Skua: 2W
Arctic Skua: 8W
Kittiwake: 11W
Sandwich Tern: 123W
Razorbill: 2W
Guillemot: 2W
Auk sp: 6 down
Starling: 75W
At the ARC from Hanson the Garganey was still present, also the nasal banded Shoveler still among the usual wildfowl, 22 Swallows flew through but little else of note seen in the strong southerly wind.
 Little Owl peering out of the Sallows
Jacques found a Little Owl in The Desert, a scarce bird on The Point, I think its only the 3rd I've seen. A walk around The Desert and through the Broome saw very little. 
A wind blasted Scotney produced nothing other than the usual feral geese.
At Dengmarsh 3 Cattle Egrets could be seen distantly form Springfield Bridge, also here the wind made its presence felt and the drainage contractors didn't help.
Brent Geese past the fishing boats this afternoon
13.30-16.00 from the fishing boats joined by AJG, MH, JTM and PS.
Brent Goose: 16W
Shoveler: 2W
Common Scoter: 3W   9E
Great-crested Grebe: 5W    1 on
Gannet: 117W
Arctic Skua: 7+ around
Mediterranean Gull: 4W
Kittiwake: 41W
Sandwich Tern: 205W
Common Tern: 1 around
Razorbill: 1W
Auk sp: 7W
Swallow: 4 out
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 2+  
Late afternoon on Burrowes from Makepiece up to 16 Great White Egrets were visible along with 7 Little Egrets, also a Spoonbill was sleeping in a sheltered spot out of the wind.
It may be mild but the wind has made sure that the Plodland MV has caught very little.
 Spoonbill in usual pose 
Sometimes the Egrets fly quite close