Monday, 31 October 2011

Dull end to October

Very quiet on the sea and around the point today with 4 Swallows out, c400 Goldfinches with a few Redpoll and Siskins over. 2 Black Redstarts and a Stonechat by the experimental station.
A plod around the Water Tower Pits was even less productive apart from a few Crests, 2 Marsh Harriers and flushing a Bittern.
Once again Dengemarsh Gully was virtually devoid of bird life.
At Scotney 640 Golden Plover and the feral flock of Barnacle Geese and Emperor Geese, 2 Stonechats and 1 Marsh harrier.
Mid afternoon from the Woolpack 3 Marsh Harriers and a flock of 150 Fieldfare.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

A slow dreary day

From the fishing boats this morning a slow 1.5 hrs with highlights of 4 Red-throated Divers, 1 Bonxie, 193 Gannets, 97 Great Crested Grebes, 15 Swallows out, 1 Rock Pipit, 275 Goldfinches, a few Auks, Brent Geese, Scoter, Siskins and the adult Yellow-Legged Gull on the beach.
The only bird that gave it self up.
Round the Lighthouse a Black Redstart, 2 Skylarks, 1 Stonechat, 175 Goldfinches and a Merlin.
An hour spent at Galloways produced only 1 Kestrel, 2 Skylarks, 1 Stonechat and a few Meadow Pipits.
Dengemarsh Gully appeared to be devoid of bird life.

Friday, 28 October 2011


With very little movement on the sea half an hour at the fishing boats was enough. In that time 1 Bonxie, 2 Red-throated Divers, 1 Common Tern, a few Kittiwakes, Scoter and Gannets, also a Grey Seal and a few Porpoises. 

 At the Obs a Yellow-Browed Warbler was trapped along with Lesser and Common Redpolls. The YBW was seen a couple of times after release into The Moat.
Around the trapping area and Moat 6+ Firecrests, 6+ Goldcrests, 4 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Ravens, several hundred Goldfinches overhead mixed with Redpolls and Siskin. Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Robins were more conspicuous today.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Pallas's makes the day

This morning from the fishing boats was the first time for a few weeks that no Skuas or Shearwaters were recorded. Highlights were 2 Merlin with another at lunch time, 1 Arctic Tern, 1 Black-throated Diver, 4 Red-Throated Divers, a trickle of Auks, Kittiwakes and Gannets and a few hundred Goldfinches over.
Pallas's Warbler

Pallas's Warbler

Pallas's Warbler
In the trapping area a Yellow Browed Warbler popped up and was gone before i got the camera on it. Also seen there 2 Blackcaps, 1 Chiffchaff and a few Redpolls and Siskins.
Dengemarsh gully was devoid of birds except for 1 Merlin. The Great White Egret  was on Dengemarsh.
Galloways was open this afternoon but only held 2 Stonechats and another Merlin.
At Scotney 70+ Golden Plover and little else. While I was there DW alerted me to a Pallas's Warbler that had been seen by Hookers Pit. In a few minutes I was there with a small gathering of birders but Pallas's. As it began to get dark just before 17.00 there was only Barry and myself left and with little help from Xeno Canto the  Pallas's appeared allowing me to take some terrible images at 1600 ISO. On the way back to the car we flushed a Ring Ouzel.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Common Redpolls

As doubts have been raised over Common Redpolls trapped at Dungeness recently, please look at the Dungeness Bird Observatory web site to hopefully allay these doubts. 

Fire in The Desert

From the fishing boats 08.00-09.45:

Red-Throated Diver: 1w                        Little Gull: 1w                                                                    
Great-Crested Grebe: 70+ off shore      Med Gull: 2w           
Balearic Shearwater: 1w                        Kittiwake 40w
Gannet: 80w                                           Goldfinch: 1600+
Wigeon: 9w                                            Redpoll: 30+
Teal: 1w                                                 Siskin: 20+
Common Scoter: 7                                 Grey Seal: 1 off shore  
Hen Harrier: 1 ring tail out                    Porpoise: 3+
Curlew: 1w
Dunlin: 2w
Grey Plover: 2w
 In the trapping area and Desert 6+ Firecrests, 100+ Redpoll, 50+ Siskin.
At the ARC Pit: 3 Goldeneye, 1 Merlin, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Marsh Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 Water Rail (heard) and the usual wildfowl.
On the reserve 1 Merlin, 3 Marsh Harrier, 1 Bittern, 1 Great White Egret, 2 Water Rail (heard).

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Busy Seawatch

Arctic Tern
From the fishing boats 08.00-10.30

Red-Throated Diver: 4w
Great-Northern Diver: 1w (Superb Summer Plumaged)
Black-Necked Grebe: 1w
Great-Crested Grebe: 20+os
Manx Shearwater: 1w
Balearic Shearwater: 1w
Shearwater sp: 1w
Brent Geese: 60
Shelduck: 3w
Mallard: 2w
Shoveler: 1w
Teal: 1w
Eider; 1w Adult Drake
Common Scoter: 105
Red-Breasted Merganser: 6w
Merlin: 2 out
Knot: 1w
Dunlin: 12w
Sanderling: 14w
Gannet: 85w
Pomarine Skua: 6w
Med Gull: 4w
Kittiwake: 160w
Yellow-Legged Gull: 1 On the beach
Little Gull: 3w
Sandwich Tern: 2w
Arctic Tern: 3w
Auks (Guillemots and Razorbills): 100s w
Swallow: 3 out
Skylark: 15 out
Goldfinch: Several hundred out (with a few Siskin,Redpoll, meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail)

At the ARC again quiet with highlights of 2 Avocet, 3 Sparrowhawks, 3 Marsh Harriers, 1 Common Buzzard, 2 Stonechats and 5 Goldcrests.

Coming home across Walland Marsh a flock of 100+ Fieldfare and 2 Mistle Thrushes Hawthorn Corner.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Goldfinches Galore

Bonxie beating up Great Black Backs and Herring Gulls
From the Fishing Boats 08.00-12.00:
Red-Throated Diver: 4
Black-Throated Diver: 1
Great-Crested Grebe: 18+
Gannet: 100s
Brent Geese: 57
Common Scoter: 3
Wigeon: 43
Pintail: 3
Mallard: 4
Merlin: 1
Curlew: 1
Dunlin: 2
Great Skua: 12
Pomarine Skua: 3
Arctic Skua: 3
2w Glaucous Gull: 1
Yellow-legged Gull: 1
Med Gull: 105
Kittiwake: 100s
Little Gull: 8
Common Tern: 8
Sandwich Tern: 2
Auks(Razorbill and Guillemots) 100s
Skylark: 5
Swallow: 9
Goldfinch : Several Thousand with a few each of Linnet, Redpoll, Siskin, Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Leach's Petrel

A late start at the fishing boats after unsuccessfully trying to locate a Snow Bunting. When I arrived a gathering of watchers had already seen some good birds including 6 Poms. I watched for c2.5hrs  and in that time numerous Gannets, Kittiwakes and Auks off shore and past, 7 Bonxies, 3 Arctic Skuas, 1 Manx Shearwater, 1 Leach's Petrel, 28 Great-crested Grebes, 7 Common Scoter, 2 Wigeon, Little Gull, 7 Med Gulls, 1 Red-throated Diver, The Glaucous Gull, 3 Arctic Terns, 7 Common Terns, 6 Sandwich Terns, 5 Swallows, 1 Skylark, 400+ Goldfinches.
At the ARC I saw very little from Hanson or round the Willow Trail and Water Tower Pits.
Leach's Petrel. Another very poor record shot.

Leach's Petrel over a Guillemot. Another shot where imagination is essential.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Phalaropes, A Pipit and A Penduline

From the fishing boats this morning with MB who was already on site when I arrived, the totals whilst I was there were, Gannets and Kittiwakes and Auks in there 100s off shore and passing, also 8 Bonxies, 3 Arctic Skuas, 2 Grey Phalaropes, 4 Red-throated Divers, 1 Little Gull, 2 Sandwich Terns, 2 Comic Terns, 9 Common Scoter, 12 Swallows, 3 Sand Martins, several hundred finches mainly Goldfinches. As DW arrived after being told of the Phalaropes I heard him shout Richards Pipit and saw it fly out to sea. At c12.30 the lure of the of the Penduline Tit showing well from Hanson hide and the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker being seen again by the Willow Trail was to much. After c30 minute wait I spotted the Penduline Tit on the Mace at the edge of the reed bed where it performed very well the every one in the hide. Unfortunately I can't say the same for the Lesser Pecker. Going back to the fishing boats this afternoon 7 more Bonxies, 2 Arctic Skuas, 1 Grey Phalarope, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 2+ Comic Terns and still large numbers Gannets, Kittiwakes and Auks passing. As I left the 2w Glaucous  Gull was roosting on the the track  allowing me to drive up beside it. 

A very poor record of one of 3 Grey Phalaropes I saw today

Friday, 21 October 2011

Meally's and Merlins

Plodding around The Point and The Desert was hard work with few grounded birds. Overhead 3+ Merlins, a few Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails, 100+ Goldfinches, 20+Linnets, Indeterminate numbers of Redpolls and Siskins as most were to high to see. Over the trapping area a mixed of 100+ Redpoll and Siskins some of which were being caught in the nets and once again good numbers of Meally's were trapped and ringed showing some of the variations in this species.
The ARC was very quiet with the islands virtually devoid of birds with the highlight in the car park 10+ Tree Sparrows.
At Scotney the feral Barnacle and Emperor Goose flock is back and 3+ Marsh Harriers were round the wind mills also another Merlin was hunting the range.
Out on Walland Marsh 2 more Marsh Harriers yet another Merlin and 20+ Tree Sparrows round the feeders.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A Slow Day

From The Point first thing this morning the sea was very quiet with just a few Gannets off shore. Over the beach a few each of Redpoll,Siskin, Linnet, Chaffinch and Goldfinch, also a Merlin caught a passerine over the beach and the Yellow-legged Gull and Glaucous Gull were in there usual haunts.
Round The Trapping area and The Desert a few more Finches over, also 6+ Chiffchaff, 5 Goldcrest, 1 Skylark, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Green Woodpeckers and 2 Sparrowhawks.
After receiving news from the ARC that the Penduline Tit was showing I made my way there and was lucky enough to get a very brief view of it, although it did show well again after I left. Other birds seen around the ARC were the usual wild fowl, 4+ Water Rail (heard), 60+Golden Plover, 1 Little Stint, 50+ Lapwing, 2+ Common Buzzarsd, 3+ Marsh Harriers, 3 Sparrowhawks, 1 Merlin, 1 Peregine, 2 Chiffchaff, 6 Goldcrest, a Flock of c100 Fieldfare, 4 Redwing and 2 each of Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers. A Grass Snake was basking by the path at the Water Tower.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

And then it was gone!

08.15-10.00 from The Point this morning saw  24 Brent Geese, 5 Red-throated divers, 7 Common Scoter, 1 Arctic Tern, 2 Sandwich Terns, 3 Razorbills, 4 Guillemots, 6 Auk sp, 1 Kittiwake, 1 Med Gull, 42 Great-crested Grebes, 2 Swallows and  the 2w Glaucous Gull which flew half way to France before coming back. On the beach 2 Merlins, 1 Yellow-legged Gull and a couple of Siskins and a Redpoll over.
On the reserve 7 Dunlin, 1 Little Stint, 2 Swallows, 5 Cetti's Warblers, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 4+ Marsh Harriers, 1 Bittern, the Great White Egret and another Merlin.
This afternoon a Yellow-browed Warbler was found on the sheltered side of some Sallows on the edge of The Desert. I was lucky enough to be very near by as it showed briefly a couple of times in a few minutes then presumably disappearing into the forest of Sallows which were being battered by the strong wind.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Redpolls and a distant Shrike

Around The Lighthouse, The Desert and The Moat this morning 3 Goldcrest, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Wheatears, 2 Black Redstarts, 3 Sparrowhawks, 35 Swallows moving through, overhead Pied Wagtails, Meadow Pipits, Siskins and Redpolls in small numbers. In the trapping area Redpolls were being caught including some more Meally's probably of Scandinavian origin rather than the cold grey eastern european birds.
Meally Redpoll
With birding at Dunge being slow and news that the Daurian Shrike at Cliffe was showing well I cracked and went to see it. The Shrike was more or less constantly on show for the 4 hours I was there, giving good scope views providing you zoomed it up to 40x and did not mind the heat haze. Also seen there 1 Green Sandpiper, 3 Little egrets, 5 Swallows and a few finches over.
Daurian Shrike (The brown speck in the middle)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Meally Redpolls?

In the desert this morning very few birds grounded eg. 1 Goldcrest, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap 4 Meadow Pipits, 1 Redwing and 6 Pied Wagtails. Overhead 3 Sparrowhawks, 8 Swallows, Siskins, Redpolls and Goldfinches calling mostly to high to see, 3 Skylarks and 1 Brambling.
From obs mound more finches over with1 Yellow Wagtail, a Glossy Ibis in the distance over the ARC Pit.
In the nets at least 40 more Redpolls trapped some of them putative Meally Redpolls. None of which look like the classic frosty grey Meally.  
Bird 1 Meally?

Bird 1 Meally?

Bird 1 Meally?

Bird 1 Meally?

Bird 2 Meally?

Bird 2 Meally?

Bird 3 Meally? and Bird 2 Meally?

Bird 4 Lesser? and Bird 5 Meally?

Bird 6 Meally? and Bird 7 Meally?

Bird 6 Meally? and Bird 7 Meally?

Bird 7 Meally? and Bird 6 Meally?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

When The East Wind Blows

The Sea was very quiet this morning with just 1 Bonxie, 1 Med gull and a few Terns and the 2w Glaucous Gull on the beach as usual. Vis mig was a little better with Goldfinches, Siskins, Redpolls, Tree Sparrows, Pipits and Pied Wagtails moving over the beach in small numbers. In the Lighthouse Garden a brief view of a Firecrest.
On arrival at the obs the Firecrest below had just been trapped and was released into The moat.

As the Firecrest was released a superb Pallas's Warbler was trapped and shown to the gathered birders and also an RSPB childrens group who appeared to be totally under whelmed by the rarity of the bird. 

 Also trapped this morning were 50+ Redpolls. Some of them were apparently Meally Redpolls with white streaked rumps and clean white under tail coverts and stronger wing bars. Had I seen these Meallys in the field I feel sure I would have dismissed them as Lesser Redpolls.
Meally Redpoll?

Meally Redpoll?

Lesser Redpoll
 After a text from Jake about the Isabelline Wheeatear at Crowlink this afternoon I dithered for half an hour before cracking and phoning my partner Sally asking her if she would like to go for a drive to Beachy Head, which fortunately she thought was a good idea. The Isabelline Wheatear showed well if a little to distant for photo's. But Mike Galtrey was in the right place at the right time and was duly rewarded with at least 1 cracker. Well done Mike! 

Friday, 14 October 2011

Hookers Little Auk

A small movement of Goldfinches and the Glaucous Gull at the point this morning but little else of note. On the reserve a Common Sandpiper on Burrowes with 3 Grey Plover, 2 Ring Plover and 13 Dunlin. On a pool at the back of Hookers Pit a Little Auk was a surprise. Whilst watching and photographing a Glossy Ibis flew towards Dengemarsh unfortunately straight into the sun so no pics, also there several Migrant Hawkers. Other birds of note on the reserve 2 Peregrines, 4+ Little Egrets, 3+ Marsh Harriers, 1 Bittern, the Great White Egret, 2 Brambling over, 5+ Cetti's Warblers, 2 Water Rail, 4 Stonechats 4 Chiffchaffs and 16 Swallows over.
On the ARC of note 200+ Golden Plover and 6 Snipe.