Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Pannel Valley and Rye Harbour

Bearded Tit Pannel Valley
In the Pannel Valley this morning 2 Cuckoo's, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Common Buzzards, 1 Hobby, numerous Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers and Reed Buntings singing, 2 Blackcaps, 3 Common Whitethoats, a Bearded Tit and many Swifts moving infront of thrf the showers. On the scrape 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 6ad Med Gulls, 1 Greenshank, 2 Redshank, 20+ pairs of Avocets with at least 14 young so far, 2+ pairs of Oystercatchers with 2 young, a Tufted Duck with a brood of new ducklings with a Heron in attendance swallowing them whole.  
At Rye Harbour by the Long Pits a Nightingale singing, as was a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Cuckoo's and several Common Whitethroats, Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers. On the scrapes 5+ pairs of Avocets with at least 4 young, 1 Whimbrel, 4 Black Tailed Godwits, and a 1 legged Ringed Plover. On the way to the Ternery Pool 20+ Little Terns 2 Northern Wheatears and 1 Marsh Harrier. On the Pool many pairs each of Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Black Headed Gulls and  Med Gulls. A flock of 100+ Oystercatchers and probably rarest of all in Sussex 1 pair of Common Gulls nesting on one of the islands.   

Monday, 30 May 2011

Afternoon Hobbys

An afternoon visit to the ARC Pit was rewarded with up to 12 Hobbys around the area, On the pit were 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Ringed Plovers, 1 Dunlin and 4 Little Egrets.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Trouble with Blogger

For a few days i have been unable to sign in to Ploddingbirder. Looking on the web i am not alone as it appears thousands of Bloggers are suffering a similar experience. Hopefully Google have fixed the problem.

Heath Fitillary

A visit to East Blean Woods on Wednesday late morning i found at least six stunning fresh Heath Fritillaries on the bank in the centre of the car park. From the car park Garden Warblers, Blackcaps and Nightingales were all singing.
The last few days around Dungeness have been relatively quiet with a pair of Garganey taking up residence on the ARC Pit. Also 4 + Little Ringed Plovers there and Burrowes pit, up to 10 Hobbys and hundreds of Swifts yesterday. The water levels are dropping on the ARC and Burrowes and the islands now appearing are starting to attract waders so hopefully some good things will be found. Today they held 1 Knot, 5 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper, 4+LRP, 6 Ringed Plover, 6+ Oystercatchers and 1 Bar tailed Godwit a good start. An hour watching the sea at The Patch 11.00 - 12.00.  122 Gannets W + 26 E, 16 Common Scoter E, 8 Kittiwake W, 12 Auks sp E, 1 Red Throated Diver W, 2 Fulmar W, 1 Balearic Shearwater W at 11.25 and hundred or so Common Terns with a few Sandwich Terns milling around the outfall. 

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Record of 2 Summer Plumage Black-necked Grebes
A relatively quiet day at Dunge yesterday with 5 Med Gulls at The Patch and 300+ Common Terns. The Black Redstart was still singing on the Power Station as was a male Wheatear.  The trapping area held 2 singinging Lesser Whitethroats, 2 more Wheatears and several Common Whitethroats. At the ARC Pit from the causeway 2 Little Gulls, 1 Brent Goose and a Little Ringed Plover. From the Screen hide 2 Garganey 3 Marsh Harriers 2 more LRPs and 4 Hobbys. A visit to Orlestone Forest last night for Nightjars was a failure but 5 + singing Nightingales and 2 roding Woodcock were compensation.
Today at Dunge the strong wind made things difficult. On the reserve 6 Sanderling and 2 Ravens were the highlight. On the ARC pit only 1 Little Gull, 2 Garganey, 2 LRPs, 2 Black-necked Grebes and many swifts and Martins hawking over the pit.  

Friday, 20 May 2011

Garganey Pose but Golden O no show

I arrived the ARC to late to see the Golden O but up to 12 Hobbys over the Tower Pools was compensation. This evening at a deserted RSPB a pair of Garganey infront of Firth hide posed just for me, the lower water levels are exposing more islands and looking good for waders, 2 Whimbrel, 8 Dunlin, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and 4 Ringed Plovers. The strong wind made finding any passerines difficult but 2 Yellow Wagtails at Makepiece were good and 3 Ravens over.  

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A couple of hours at Dungeness RSPB and the ARC Pit this afternoon found 3 Greenshanks, 2 Little Ringed Plovers,  2 Common Sandpipers, 7 Little Egrets, 2 Cuckoo's, 2 Hobbys, 3 Marsh Harriers, numerous Reed, Cetti's and Sedge Warblers,  Common Whitethroats and good numbers of Hirundines over the pits.Also seen 1 Raven and 2 Lesser Whitethroats at Christmas Dell and Hookers.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

A meeting in West Sussex gave me the chance to visit Lords Piece.  Woodlarks were very prominent not taking much notice of the dog walkers, 4 Common Buzzards and Red Kite was over the north facing hangers on the downs, 2 Hobbys were hawking over the common and a family of Mistle Thrushes were  by the pond. But little else could be found in the strong wind.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Swifts and Dragonflys

Nothing new noted at The Patch this morning and the Black Redstart was still singing on the power station. The Stubby Tail the Glaucous Gull was still on the beach by the fishing boats with 3 Ruddy Turnstones though the walk to and from the beach was done with my mouth firmly shut to avoid swallowing myriads of flies. These being gorged by the local Gulls, Starlings, House Sparrows, Pied Wagtails and a couple of Wheatears.

At the ARC Pit hundreds of Swifts and House Martins and at least 5 Hobbys, 1 Black Tailed Godwit, 1 Whimbrel, 3 Little Egrets, 1 Egyptian Goose and 4+ Marsh Harriers. The bushes round the pits held hundreds of Blue Tailed and Azure Damselflys, a few Hairy Dragonflys,Four Spotted Chasers, Broad Bodied Chasers and i think there were some Variable Damselflys though not sure.  

Saturday, 14 May 2011

 Walking out to the Patch this morning the Black Redstart was singing on the power staion. At the Patch along with 200+ Common Terns and the usual gulls were 2 first year Med Gulls, nothing moving at sea. As the bushes were also quiet i went to The Midrips. At Jurys Gap a Sedge Warbler was posing 
and by the cottages 1ofseveral pairs of Meadow Pipits were busy feeding young.
Off shore from the Midrips still 3 Great Crested Grebes and a few Sandwich and Common Terns were fishing. On the pools only 6 Avocets with no sign of breeding, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Bar Tailed Godwit, 1 Knot, 10 Redshank, 2 Dunlin, 12 Oystercatchers, 2 Curlews,6 Lapwing and 37 Shelduck. On the bank 3 pairs of Common Whitethroat, 2 Pairs of Northern Wheatear by the pools. A drive across Walland on the home Turtle Dove on overhead wires, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Corn Buntings, 3 Marsh Harriers and 4 Tree Sparrows.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

An early meeting gave me the oppotunity to spend an hour on Ashdown Forest. Redpolls seemed to be everywhere and every Birch appeared to have a singing Willow Warbler  2 Tawny Owls were calling along with at least 2 Cuckoo's. The Stonechats were very obliging,  a few Tree Pipits were singing as was 1 Dartford Warbler unfortunately i ran out of time before i could locate Woodlark and Redstart.

As i drove into Dungeness RSPB this afternoon i received a text telling me about a Red-Rumped Swallow at Boulderwall Farm (thanks Bernard) 2 minutes later i was watching it and later 2 together. 1 had broken streamer and tatty wing the other was pristine and they disappeared for periods especially when the Hobbies came through,  they did not lend themselves to photography hence the rubbish pics. 

Monday, 9 May 2011

Rye Harbour and the ARC Pit

At Rye Harbour early morning a Cuckoo flew over the car park and a Mistle Thrush was singing from the  tower. On the Scrape an Avocet, 2 Ringed Plover and a Rock Pipit. By the track to the harbour entrance a pair of Wheatears several Oystercatchers and Common and Sandwich Terns  screeching overhead along with Mediterean Gulls mewing as flew back and forth to the Ternery Pool. On the beach road another pair of Wheatears and another Cuckoo. The highlight of the beach road was 20+ Little Terns screamimg as flew back and forth to the sea. In the rough field adjacent to The Quarry 2 Grey Partridges and several pairs of Sky larks. 

On the Ternery Pool numerous pairs of Blck Headed Gulls some with chicks. The med Gulls are difficult to count as most cant be seen but there appears to be good numbers. The Common and Sandwich Terns are trying to squeeze into spaces left by the Gulls.  Soon after i left the Ternery Pool a text from Bernard about a Red Backed Shrike at the ARC Pit. So plodded back to the car park straight to the ARC and the Shrike duly obliged. 

Sunday, 8 May 2011


Stubby Tail now into his sixth month stay
 A very quiet sea watch this morning 07.50-09.15 with only 1 Bonxie, 1 Arctic Skua, 1 Black Throated Diver, 2 Sanderling, 4 Swifts, 1 Little Tern and a few each of Gannets, Common Terns, Sandwich Terns and Kittiwakes. The most unusual sighting was of 2 Mute Swans flying east off shore.
At the ARC Pit up to 5 Hobbies, 1 drake Garganey, 4 Little Egrets, Little Ringed Plover. Still plenty of Brown  Tail Moth caterpillars around Dunge.
Brown Tail Moth Caterpillar
Broad Bodied Chaser
A walk around a different part of Orlestone Forest this evening found 4 more singing Nightingales, 3 Garden Warblers, 2 Willow Warblers, 4 Chiffchaffs and another purring Turtle Dove. Around a dirty pool several Broad Bodied Chasers.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

168 and the Poms are still running

Dungeness 06.45-10.00 (Under orders again)

18 More Poms today along with 2 Arctic Skuas, 1 Black Tern, 6 Little Terns, 78 Commics, 2 Shovellor, 2 Pintail,  44 Common Scoter, 3 Barwits,  a Raven Cronking behind the beach, 3+ Harbour Porpoises and 5 Whimbrel over as i walked to the car. A walk round the Moat saw only 1 Willow Warbler, at the ARC Pit beach 1 Black Tern and 1 Little Ringed Plover.
In a great walk around Orlestone Forest this evening, apart from not seeing another person in 2.5hrs,   produced 6+ Nightingales, 6+ Garden Warblers, 4 Blackcaps, 3 Willow Warblers, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 pairs of Mistle Thrushes,  8 Bullfinches, 1 Nuthatch, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Long-tailed, Coal, Great and Blue Tits and best of all a Turtle Dove Purring and doing its flight display

Friday, 6 May 2011

Purple end to the day

Seawatch at Dungeness 06.45-08.30 and 11.00-18.00
17 Pomarine Skuas, 3Arctic Skuas, 4 Black Terns, 430 Commic Terns, 5 Little Terns, 7 Black-throated Divers, 598 Common Scoter, 1 Eider, 4 Shelduck, 26 Knot, 41 Whimbrel, 25 Sanderling, 4 Med Gulls and few Gannets, Kittiwakes, Fulmars and Auks.
A look at the ARC Pit on the way home was productive, as I walked to the screen hide a Purple Heron flew in and landed on one the bushes infron the hide and remained there for about 20 minutes  then dropped into the reeds.
A rubbish pic of 11 of a flock of 13 Poms that were probably nearer the French coast

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Poms still coming

Another good  seawatch (07.30-11.00) 18 Pomarine Skuas,(flock of 3 flying high above the horizon) 7Arctic Skuas, 24 Little Gulls, 3 Black Terns, 5 Black-throated Divers, 22 Brent Geese, 44 Little Terns, 485 Commic Terns, a superb close of 17 Velvet Scoters, 168 Common Scoter, 3 Shovellor, Wader numbers were much lower with only 4 Sanderling, 1 Barwit, 14 Whimbrel and 4 Curlew.  But normal numbers of the usual suspects Kittiwake,Fulmars, Gannets,  Sandwich Terns and Auks. A visit to the Pannel Valley early evening found 4 Garganey, 51 Avocets, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Common Sandpipers, 4 Barwits, 2 Common Snipe  but no Med Gulls breeding this year. The reed beds and sewer were full of Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers, 6+ Cetti's Warblers, Bearded Tits calling  and a Water Rail Squealing.   

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Dungeness and Walland

Arrived at the car park by the power station to be greeted by  this Whitethroat in full song. Walking out to the beach the local male Wheatear was singing on the power station wall. Started sea watching at 06.50- 0.900 As soon as i was settled the first of 8 Pomarine Skuas (1,3,2,1,1) powered its way past also seen  were 21 Little Gulls, 25 Little Terns, 78 Commic Terns, 27, Barwits, 29 Common Scoter, 1 Red-throated Diver, 4 Black Terns and the usual Gannets, Auks and Sandwich Terns off shore.  
A Visit to fishing boats found stubby tail still on the beach stuffing its self with putrid fish.   
On the Reserve both Purple Herons showed occasionally from the viewing ramp and the back of Hookers Pit, also seen 1 Bittern, 2 Bearded Tits, there were good numbers of Swifts, Sand Martins, House Martins and Swallows around, 2 Wheatears, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Cuckoo and 3+ Hobbies.  
Next a visit to Scotney GP where there were still at least 400 Barwits,(several with colour rings) 100+ Whimbrel, 10 Grey Plover, 58 Knot, 2 Common Sandpipers, 1 Ruff and a Yellow Wagtail most the birds in there summer finery. A Peregrine put on a terrific show put everything up revealing all the waders that were hidden under the banks.  
A look around Walland Marsh found 6 Tree Sparrows by the feeders, A Little Owl showing well with a Corn bunting and 2 Red-leegged Partridges at Marsh Farm. A very good days birding

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Magnificent Poms

 Another superb seawatch 07.25-11.05 included 38 Pomarine Skuas(5-10-4-1-5-5-5-2-1)1 Arctic Skua, 1 Velvet Scoter, 2 Black Terns, 3 Little Gulls, 8 Shovellor, 3 Teal, 45 Common Scoter, 1 Black Throated Diver, 116 Barwits, 88 Whimbrel, 12 Grey Plover, 3 Sanderling and a steadt passge of Auks, Gannets, Common Terns and Hiundines in off. 
Majestic Poms
 At the ARC Pit 4 Greenshank, 4 Knot, 3 Whimbrel, 5 Barwits, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Ringed Plover. Waders were dropping in and leaving each time i stopped there today.   
At the Midrips this afternoon 3 Curlew Sandpipers, 400+ Barwits dropping in and leaving as were 150+ Whimbrel. Nearby at Scotney GP many more Barwits and Whimbrel also dropping in and leaving. 
1 of 3 Curlew Sands at the Midrips today

Monday, 2 May 2011

North East wind still blowing

Whimbrel ARC Pit
Another four hours on the beach at Dunge was again productive. My only Pom of the day was flying by as i arrived. Also seen 4 Arctic Skuas, 4 Black-throated Divers, 5 Red-throated Divers, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Velvet Scoter,  85 Common Scoter, 412 Barwits, 1 Greenshank, 18 Grey Plover, 84 Knot, 39 Sanderling, 78 Whimbrel, 3 Curlew, 12 Turnstone, 6 Kittiwake, 4 Fulmars, 8 Little Terns, 2 Little Gulls, 2 Black Terns and flow of Common Terns, Sandwich Terns and Swallows. At  the ARC Pit from the road 4 Barwits, 1 Greenshank, 2 Grey Plover, 2 Whimbrel 2 Little Ringed Plovers and 4 Arctic Terns. A call from Bernard enabled me to see the Red-rumped Swallow this evening but i was unable to get any worth while pics. 

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Another Pom day in the making

As i was under orders i could only spend 3 hours sea watching this morning. In that time i still saw 6 superb Poms, 6+ Velvet Scoter, 3+ Black Terns, hundreds of waders mainly Bar-tailed Godwits but also Whimbrel, Knot, Turnstone, Dunlin, Sanderling and Grey Plover, Oystercatchers, 100+ Common Scoter, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers,  1 Black-throated Diver, 2 Red-throated Divers another just off shore, a flock of 13 Shovelor, 12 Shelduck, 3 Teal, 20+ Little Terns, Common Terns , Sandwich Terns and Gannets moving through and feeding off shore, at least 1 Arctic Tern and few Guillemots off shore along with the near resident Harbour Porpoises,