Had a lay in this morning thinking it wont happen today so did not arrive untill about 09.00 A big mistake. I stayed till 18.00, but missed the early rush of birds at least 16 poms, 5 Bonxies and a drake Long Tailed Duck. But i ended uphaving probably my best ever sea watch. Pride of place going to 61 Pomarine Skuas most with magnificent spoons including a flock of 19 that came past close in shore loping along majestically as only Poms do, i reached down for my camera only to realise that i had left it in the car. Any one who knows me, knows i never go any where with out it. B******s! All the other flocks were further out nearer the second Bouy. Bar-tailed Godwits were another superb feature of the day with in excess of 2500 majority in the afternoon (570 Between 1700-1730) Also seen 6 Arctic Skuas, 1 Bonxie, 200+ Common Scoter, 5 Velvet Scoter,2 Shovellor, 2 Garganey, 16 Shelduck, 3 Black-throated Divers, 3 Red-throated Divers, 150+ Little Terns, 1200+ Commic Terns only 4 of which i identified as Arctic (must try harder) mainly in the afternoon, 6 Black Terns, 100+ Whimbrel, 100+ Knot, 40+ Grey Plover, 12 Turnstone, 4 Dunlin, 2 Sanderling, 8 Fulmars, 4 Meditteranean Gulls, several small flotillas of Guillemots and 10+ Great Crested Grebes off shore, many Auk sp. and numerous Gannets and Kittiwakes past, a constant trickle of Swallows in off. The list does not do justice to a superb day.
In a sea watch this morning and another in the middle of the day 1500+ Bar-tailed Godwits with much smaller nubers of Whimbrel, Knot and Grey Plover, also 3 Arctic Skuas,4 Teal, 1 Garganey,a few Common Scoter , 2 Little Gulls, 6 Kittiwakes, 2 Red-Throated Divers, 5 Fulmars numerous Common Terns, Sandwich Terns and Gannets milling about off shore, 20+ Guillemots, a trickle of Swallows in off also a tatty Sarrowhawk and a Dungeness tick for me a Ring Necked Parakeet in th Lighthouse Garden (thanks Neil) last seen being chased round the power station by a Peregrine. At Denge Marsh the Purple Heron showed briefly twice in about 2 hours (Rubbish Pic) but whilst waiting 40+ Barwits and 2 Blackwits were on the marsh with more going over, also 2+ Hobbies, 2 Ravens, a Peregrine, 3+ Marsh Harriers, a Bittern flew by and was booming. At The |Midrips late afternoon a Curlew Sandpiper with 270 Barwits and another 250 feeding on the shore , 22 Avocets, 4 Greenshank and a Knot. At Scotney another 200+ Barwits with more arriving as i left.
A couple of hours sea watch this morning was relatively productive with 3 Bonxies, 1 Arctic Skua, 1 Pomarine Skua, 6 Common Scoter, 2 Fulmars and smaller numbers than of late of Commic, Sandwich Terns and Gannets. Denge Marsh Road held 4 Wheatears, 4 Red-Legged Partridges, 3 Yellow Wagtails and good numbers of Sedge Warblers and Whitethroats.
An evening stroll in Orlestone Forest still had 4 Nightingales singing along with 3 Garden Warblers, 2 Willow Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs, 4 Blackcaps and 3 Bullfinches despite the best efforts of morons roaring around on Quad Bikes.
A lazy day today with a visit to The Midrips where the only notable birds were 18 Avocet. So went back to Springfield Bridge to try and photograph a Vagrant Emporer Dragonfly. After a couple hours of dismal failure despite the Dragonfly showing well from time to time i gave up went for lunch. As 1 walked back to the car a Grass Snake, 1 of 3 seen today, slithered across the path.
Arrived at the beach for sea watch late this morning to be told by Bernard and Bert that nothing was passing. They were going to look for yesterdays Ring Ouzel at the ARC Pit and then go to Galloways for a reeling Gropper so i joined them. At the ARC Bernard quickly found the Ouzel which showed well for a few minutes before flying into the Sallows. Also of note we saw a Grey Partridge there. Galloways was alive with Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers, but no Gropper. Also there of note 2 Stonechats, 4 Wheatears and 2 Med Gulls. On my way back to the beach the Ouzel was showing very well again so more pictures were taken. On the beach by the fishing boats the juv Glaucous Gull was very obliging for the camera. Wondering what to do next i headed for Denge Marsh Gully. As drove down the road i could see several birders on Springfield Bridge staring into the dyke so i stopped to take a look and was told that a Vagrant Emporer Dragonfly was present but had just flown to the far end of the dyke on private property. Fortunately it flew back down and gave good flight views so no pics for me but Dave Walker got some good ones earlier when it was perched.
An early start at the point was not wasted with a Pom going through at 06.20 though the rest of the morning watch was a little slow. With 2 Arctic Skuas , 1 Little Gull, a few Whimbrel,Sanderling, Red Throated Divers, Oystercatchers,Common Scoter and Red-Breasted Mergansers and the usual Common and Sandwich Terns and Gannets. After a few hours i decided to look at the bushes which apart from the now resident Wheatears and Whitethroats held nothing new, so i went to the ARC Pit to try and relocate yesterdays Ring Ouzel fortunately as i pulled up it hopped out from the Sallows and showed well. The RSPB is still alive with Sedge, Cetti's and Reed Warblers. At Hookers pit the Bittern is still booming , 4 Bearded Tits gave tantalising views and 4 Marsh Harriers Tussled overhead. I went back to the beach at 13.30- 15.00 and in that time the passage picked up with 360 Whimbrel, 226 Common Scoter, 11 Velvet Scoters, 2 Bonxies, 2 Arctic Skuas, 3 Red Breasted Mergansers,4 Bar-Tailed Godwits, 2 Red Throated Divers, 6 Med Gulls and a Merlin along the beach. On the way home i looked for yesterdays Turtle Dove to no avail but had compensation in the form of a Cuckoo and 2 Common Sandpipers on th Military Canal.
Whilst watching the Little Ringed Plovers at the ARC Pit in a brief visit on my way back to the office this afternoon a superb male Ring Ouzel appeared. I had just grabbed my camera when a male Sparrowhawk swept through and the was the last i saw of the Ouzel. On the dead tree opposite Hamstreet Garden Centre a Turtle Dove was purring.
An evening stroll around Dungeness RSPB found 15 Yellow Wagtails by the visitor centre, numerous Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Cetti's Warblers, Whitethroats, Reed Buntings singing, 1 Slavonian Grebe on Burrowes Pit, 32 Whimbrel around the reserve, a flock of 13 Greenshanks over, 2 Stonechats, 4 Marsh Harriers, a Little Ringed Plover, 1 Cuckoo, only 2 Swallows, 2 Bearded Tits all accompanied by the booming Bittern.
Very quiet again at Dunge early morning today but kept amused for the 2 hours i watched by 6+ Harbour Porpoises that were off shore the whole time. Bird wise 1 Bonxie, 35 Common Scoter, 1 Fulmar, 1 Kittiwake, 12 Eider, the first BLACK TERN of the year at The Patch, 6 Guillemot, 18 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Red Throated Diver, 1 Whimbrel and the usual Common,Sandwich Terns and Gannets back and forth off shore, 2 Peregrines were tussling overhead and a Black Redstart on the power station fence. In the lighthouse garden a pair of Linnets were busy building there nest.
A Little Owl on the derelict building half a mile before Lydd Golf Club on my way to Dungeness this morning. Ithe sea was blank this morning with virtually no migration at all. The story was the same on the land around the point, so i went to the Midrips where 12 Avocets were paired up for breeding as were 8 Redshank and 12 Lapwing, 37 Shelduck, a lone drake Pintail, 2 Gadwall, 4 Brent Geese, 2 Marsh Harriers, 6 Meditteranean Gulls (5 ads & 2w), 2 Swallows through, 6 Northern Wheatears, a stunning Yellow Wagtail, several Skylarks and Meadow Pipits displaying, 4 Great Crested Grebes off shore with 3 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Kestrel posing on the wires at Jury's Gap. I spent the afternoon at Dungeness RSPB where the reed beds and bushes were alive with singing Cetti's Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings, 3 Bearded Tits and a Bittern Booming every few minutes. Also there 2 female type Goldeneye, 2 Greenshanks (my first this year), 6 Yellow Wagtails (all males) 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Marsh Harriers and 2 ad Med Gulls over. This evening there is a Nightingale singing a few hunder yards from my home in the community wood.
Spent a couple of hours at Stodmarsh this morning. No sign of the Wood Warbler but plenty of Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs. The Reed beds and pathside bushes were full of Cetti's Warblers, Reed Warblers and Sedge Warblers. A pair of Marsh Harriers gave a brilliant display from the Lampen Wall.
This evening i spent a couple of hours in and around Orlestone Forest with estimated 15+ Nightingales singing around the forest also seen 6 Bullfinches and plenty more Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs.
Only 2 Garganey at the ARC Pit first thing this morning with 2 Little Ringed Plovers and the Curlew. The sea was very quiet just a few Common Scoter and a light passage of Common Terns and 3 Harbour Porpoises? off shore. On the land migrants were very sparse with just 4 Swallows, 2 Sand Martins and 2 Northern Wheatears. A Peregrine was around the power station briefly. Of interest a Crimson Rosella was in one the gardens and even that escaped my lens.
At the ARC Pit from the road this morning 4 Garganey, Spotted Redshank, 2 Little Ringed Plover, the Curlew still present and a Slavonian Grebe. The Sea was very quiet in a short watch a flock of 6 Avocets went by , 15 Common Scoter and a steady stream of Gannets and Sandwich Terns with a few Common Terns. On the land birding was difficult due to the wind but my first Common Whitethroats of the year were singing and very little else. The reserve held more Common Whitethroats and at least 12 singing Sedge Warblers and 9 Cetti's Warblers were singing. Once again the wind spoiled the birding.
A walk in Orlestone Forest this evening found my first Nightingales of the year, 3 of them a couple of hundred yards from the car park. Also seen were 4 Bullfinches, Numerous Chaffinches, 2 Nuthatches, 4 Willow Warblers, 5 Chiffchaffs, 6 Blackcaps, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blue,Great and Long Tailed Tits.
Common Gull basking in the last of the evening sunshine
A pleasant stroll around Dungeness RSPB this evening found 6 Yellow Wagtails by the centre, gorging on a mass hatching of flies which were in swarms all around the reserve and 2 Little Ringed Plover on Denge Marsh. From the view point numerous Cetti's Warblers, Sedge Warblers and Reed Buntings singing, 4+ Marsh Harriers, 2 Bearded Tits and the Bittern regularily booming Brilliant!! Back at the centre a pair of Common Gulls on the roof surrounded by the flies.
A much quieter morning today but still some nice birds around and a pleasant walk. At The Point 2 Black Redstarts, 4 Wheatears, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, 2 Grey Herons over and a Sparrowhawk upsetting the Gulls. At the ARC 2 Litle Ringed Plovers, A Slavonian Grebe, Little Egret, 3 Goldeneye and a Cetti's Warbler all in SW Corner. On the reserve a Wheatear, 2 Garganey, 2 Mediteranean Gulls over, 4 Sedge Warblers, 8+ Cetti's Warblers, 40+ Reed Buntings, 6 Marsh Harriers, 6 Chiffchaffs, 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Stonechats, a single Swallow and a booming Bittern.
A sea watch 08.00-10.30 produced 5 Bonxies, 62, Little Gulls, 26 Velvet Scoter, 1300 Common Scoter(estimate), 4 Black Throated Divers, 6 Red Throated Divers, 14 Eider, 12 Red breasted Mergansers, 6 Common Terns, 50+ Shovellor, 32 Teal, 10 Gadwall, 16 Tufted Duck, 4 Pochard, 8 Shelduck, 22 Wigeon, 25 Knot, 18 Curlew, Streams of Sandwich Terns, Gannets and Kittiwakes, 6 Fulmars, 2 Mediteranean Gulls, 26 Brent Geese,1 Peregrine, 2 Auks, a Swallow in off and lots more i missed.
Round the old Light House and garden the 2 Serins still present and flighty, another Swallow, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Ring Ouzel(elusive), 1 Firecrest, 2 Willow Warblers, 6+ Chiffchaffs, 1 Blackcap, 4 Wheatears and the Glaucous Gull still by the fishing boats. At the SW end of the ARC Pit 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Slavonian Grebes, 2 Marsh Harriers, 3 Goldeneye and the Curlew.