Tuesday, 31 July 2012


An hour at The Point this morning in gloomy conditions was rather slow, with a highlight of a single Balearic Shearwater W, 1 adult Little Gull W, 31 Common Scoter 2W 29E. Off shore Common and Sandwich Terns were feeding along with 100+ Gannets and 3+ Harbour Porpoises, also 6  Sand Martins and 5 Swifts flew south.
Around the ARC Pit 2 Garganey, 4 Common Sandpipers, 1 Green Sandpiper, 4 Dunlin, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, a Peregrine c100 Swifts, c150 Sand Martins, c50 House Martins.
Another sea watch from the fishing boats this afternoon produced 2 Manx Shearwaters W, 34 Common Scoter E, at least 1 juvenile Arctic Tern W, with more Gannets Common and sandwich Terns.
The Harwich Lifeboat The Albert Brown was an impressive sight powering by off shore from The Point this afternoon.
Harwich Lifeboat Albert Brown

Monday, 30 July 2012

On The Beach

There were 3 Wheatears on the approach road at Jarmans. A stroll down to The Patch this morning and round The Point with DB was uneventful, apart from 3+ Harbour Porpoises there was nothing of note on the sea and only a single Willow Warbler at Lloyds.
I spent most of the day on the beach around the fishing boats where  there were at least 6 Harbour Porpoises off shore, also a single Arctic Skua flew west  along with c100 Common Terns including 30+ juveniles, some of which were feeding close in shore allowing me to while away the day trying to photograph them.

 Late afternoon at the ARC Pit. As I got out the car a Hobby flashed over chasing one of the 100s of Sand Martins that were all over the pit. From an empty Hanson Hide 6+ Common Sandpipers, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, 6 Dunlin, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Snipe, 4 Garganey among all the other eclipse ducks and 1 of the ever present Marsh Harriers.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Balearic Shearwater

A drive around Walland this morning found good numbers of Tree sparrows in the usual spots, 2 Marsh Harriers but little else in the strong wind.
At the ARC from Hanson hide 5 Garganey, 4+ Common Sandpipers, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Dunlin, 1 Golden Plover and many Sand Martins. At the Tower little of note and at the south end 4 Little Egrets and 2 Common Sandpipers.
An hour and half from the fishing boats produced relatively close views of Balearic Shearwater which was plunge diving off shore, some thing I have not seen before. Also a single Arctic Skua flew west, 3 Common Scoter east, 127 Swifts south and a few Common and Sandwich Terns and Gannets off shore.
Balearic Shearwater

Balearic Shearwater plunge diving

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Wood Warbler

A late start this morning after watching the fantastic Olympic opening ceremony last night.
As I got out of the car I could hear a Willow Warbler calling and saw 3 more on the track to an empty Hanson Hide, also 3 Reed Warblers still singing by the track. From the hide 4+ Common Sandpipers, 2 Little-ringed Plovers, 2 Garganey, 1 Black-tailed Godwit. Mick, Richard and Kevin arrived and we put the world to rights. I decided to wander round to the Screen Hide and then up to the Tower. On the way there were a couple more Willow Warblers in the sallows also 2 Green and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Up at the pines Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap another Willow Warbler and a superb Wood Warbler.
Wood Warbler

 The Lighthouse Garden held at least another 3 Willow Warblers and at The Patch little of note.
Willow Warbler

 Late this afternoon back at Hanson 4 Garganey, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 5+ Common Sandpipers, 5+ Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Dunlin and Marsh Harrier. But no sign of the reported Kentish Plover.

Friday, 27 July 2012

A Fishermans Victim

Condemned to a lingering death
 A half hour sea watch in the rain at The Point this morning was virtually bird less. With rain stopping I wandered down to The Patch, where by the old hide stood a second year Herring Gull with fishing line hanging from its bill. It had obviously swallowed the hook and attached to the line was
at least 1 more hook. Just another victim of some of our caring fisherman who discard there equipment and pollute the beaches with discarded beer cans, supermarket bags and even faeces.
Also seen at there a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and a Grey Seal.  
Grey Seal
 At the ARC from Hanson 3 Green Sandpipers, 4 Common Sandpipers, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Little-ringed Plovers, 4 Dunlin, 5 Common Terns, 4 Little Egret and 3 Garganey among all the other eclipse duck.
On the reserve 2 Common Sandpipers on Burrowes, from Dengemarsh Hide at least 10 Common Tern chicks could be seen, 2 Marsh Harriers over the reed bed and near Springfield Bridge a Corn Bunting, 2 Stonechats, a Peregrine flew through and several Black-tailed Skimmers were on the path.

Black-tailed Skimmer

Thursday, 26 July 2012


A day out in Surrey and Sussex today with GH and DW looking for Purple Emperors. We started at Botany Bay and had superb views of Wood Whites, Silver-washed Fritillaries, White Admirals and several other species but no Purple Emperor. We also so several family parties of  Marsh Tits and heard Treecreepers, Nuthatches, Bullfinches and a Tawny Owl.
Wood White

White Admiral
 We moved on to Southwater, where shortly after arriving at a spot I have seen Emperors before GH decided to have sit down and rest on the grass while DW and myself walked on. Seconds later GH called out after seeing what she thought was an Emperor high in the canopy. A short while later it reappeared and we manged great scope views at 60x. We then spent well over an hour with at least 2 Emperors in virtually constant view all be it high in the canopy hence the dodgy highly cropped images.
Purple Emperor

Purple Emperor

Purple Emperor

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Doldrums

At The Patch this morning a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and little else of note. On the perimeter wall a juvenile Wheatear with another by the car park.
An hour at the fishing boats in a refreshing breeze produced nothing of note.
At the ARC from Hanson Hide 2 Garganey, 3 Common Sandpipers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and singles of Hobby, Sparrowhawk and Marsh Harrier.
Late afternoon an entertaining hour in a wonderful breeze on Springfield Bridge 3+ Marsh Harriers, 30+ Common Terns, a flyover Black-tailed Godwit, a Yellow Wagtail and a singing Corn Bunting. Also a huge Pike laying just below the surface of the ditch by the bridge and an assortment of Dragonfly's and Damsels.

2 Garganey

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

More of the same

A drive around Walland on my way to Dungeness found plenty of Tree Sparrows in the usual spots, but I found only 1 Corn bunting and no Yellowhammers. A few Reed warblers were still singing in some of the ditches and 2 Marsh Harriers were at Midley.
At the ARC 3 Common Sandpipers, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank and 2 Little ringed Plovers. Today was probably the first day since early May that i have not seen any Hobby's there.
Most of the afternoon was spent at the fishing boats sitting in cool breeze watching Harbour Porpoises.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Lazing in the Sun

As I wandered towards the sea watch hide I was joined by DW on his bike. He carried on down to The Patch while I plodded along the sea wall to meet him. While we were there he picked out 2 Yellow-legged Gulls an Adult and a juvenile, also there 2 Mediterranean Gulls and the adult Little Gull still. A dot at the back of the Power station was a Black Redstart which DW said was singing loudly not that I could hear it. Off shore a Common Seal and a few Gannets and a couple of superb sailing ships. 
 A plod around The Point found a few pairs of Common Whitethroats feeding young, a juvenile Wheatear and several Linnet families.
Sea Pea on The Point
 A visit to the ARC Pit south end found 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Little Ringed Plover and a juvenile Peregrine sitting on one of the telegraph poles.
At the Tower my first returning Willow Warbler of the Autumn in the pines with a large Tit flock including 15 Long-tailed Tits also 1 Hobby and a Marsh Harrier hunting round the tower. On the islands 3+ Common Sandpipers, 1 Greenshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, a Little ringed Plover and a Garganey.
Who needs the Mediterranean!
 Back at the fishing boats this afternoon a few Sandwich Terns, Gannets and 3+ Harbour Porpoises off shore. Not to much to interrupt my dozing in the glorious weather.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Hotting up

First stop this morning the ARC. A wander up to the Tower in the hope of migrant warblers drew a blank, but 2 Hobby's, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Peregrine were compensation. From the Screen hide a Common Sandpiper, 3 Dunlin and a Little ringed Plover among the Lapwing and all the eclipse duck.
At The Patch an adult Little Gull, a single juvenile Mediterranean Gull, c40 Common Terns among the usual gulls, a few Gannets off shore also a Common Seal and 2+ Harbour Porpoises.  

On the reserve from Dengemarsh Hide now 2 newly hatched Terns in the corner of the raft in front the hide, the abandoned clutch still intact. Over the reed beds 2 Hobby's, 2+Marsh Harriers. A Greenshank and 2 Black-tailed Godwits flew through. On the return trail 2 juvenile Wheatears.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Eagle Owl

 After a lay in this morning I went to have a look at the presumed escape Eagle Owl that has taken up residence on the NW side of Charter House, Ashford. (Its the largest tallest building in the town centre) For the short time I was there it was mainly asleep and in the shade. I went back this evening  and it was basking the sunshine.
At Dungeness little of note at The Patch, around the point 3 Wheatears and a Peregrine over were the only birds of note.
At the ARC the highlight was Greenshank. 2 Hobby's and 2 Marsh Harriers were over the Tower Pits. 

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Little Gull

Mid morning at Scotney 2 Curlew and 2 Bar Headed Geese among all other feral geese, 2 Marsh Harriers hunting the windmill fields and numerous Swifts, House and Sand Martins.
At the south end of the ARC an adult Little Gull of note.
Lunchtime sea watch at the fishing boats produced a few Gannets and Terns off shore. But after c20minutes I received a text from BH about a probable Black Stork over New Romney heading towards Dungeness. After a quick drive to Boulderwall where SB, CT and others were all looking skyward, no Stork but up to 3 Hobby's.
A short spell in Hanson Hide found the Little Gull there for a while until the juvenile female Peregrine made a second pass through flushing most birds there. A juvenile Marsh Harrier was over the reed bed and Little Ringed Plover was on one of the islands. A lot less Swifts over the pit than of late but still plenty of Martins. 

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

A Summers Day

While pulling on my fleeces on as I got out of the car on another God awful summers day at the ARC this morning 2 Ravens flew over cronking. Myriads of Swifts mainly fairly high over the pit while skimming the surface 100s of House and Sand Martins. The only wader was a single Little Ringed Plover.  
Juvenile Sandwich Tern
By the time I got to the reserve the wind was really blowing. From Firth Hide a few Herring, Lesser Black Backed and Common Gulls hunkered down on the island. From Makepiece the only waders a Ringed Plover and an Oystercatcher also a Juvenile Sandwich Tern flew through. On Dengemarsh the Common Tern Chick numbers have doubled to 2. Over the reed beds 2 Marsh Harriers were battling the wind.
 Back at the reserve centre this Fox cub was trotting around the entrance.
 An afternoon plod around The Tower pits was very under whelming until a family of Great spotted Woodpeckers appeared.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A bit more Botany

I spent this morning around The Point where at The Patch there was 100s of Gulls but very few juveniles(only 5 juv Black-headed Gulls) among them, it was the same story with the Terns.
On the land a single Wheatear 6 Skylarks a few Meadow Pipits and Linnets but no sign of the Serin.
This afternoon GH and DW gave me another Botany Lesson. Primarily we went to see the Green -flowered Heleborine which may need a few more days of fine weather to be at its best. The Yellow Bird's-nest was a very good bonus find by DW.
Yellow Bird's-nest

Green-flowered Heleborine

Monday, 16 July 2012


A sea watch from the fishing boats 08.40-11.10 Produced 5 Manx Shearwaters W, 6 Common Scoter W, 2 Curlew W, among the usual Gannets and Common and Sandwich Terns, a Wheatear on the approach road also 185 Swifts flew south.
At the ARC Pit myriads of Swifts at least 1000+ with Hundreds each of House Martins and Sand Martins and luckless juvenile Peregrine making repeated stoops at them.
On the few islands 2 Ruff my first of the autumn, 5 Dunlin, 3 Redshank, 1 Little Ringed Plover and 2 Common Sandpipers.
2 Ruff and a Dunlin with some of the 100s of House and Sand Martins
 On the reserve a Bittern over the entrance track, another at Denge Marsh and more Swifts.
At Scotney more Swifts and the 2 Bar Headed Geese.

Sunday, 15 July 2012


Spent a few hours at the ARC Pit today, although it was relatively quiet it was rewarding. As I walked up the track towards the Water Tower 2 Crossbills flew over chip chipping, still a few Reed and Cetti's Warblers singing around the pits, 2+ Marsh Harriers flushing the eclipse ducks 8 Wigeon among them. 4+ Hobby's hawking over Tower Pits also a Peregrine through. From Hanson 6 Redshank 5ads 1 juv, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1ad Dunlin, 2 Little Egrets, 3 Shelduck 1ad 2juvs, 1 eclipse Garganey and 2 Ravens over the car park. 

Friday, 13 July 2012

Hard Work

08.40-09.40 from the seawatch hide:

Fulmar; 2W
Gannet:  21E  59W
Common Scoter: 7E  12W
Curlew: 1W
Peregrine: 2 juvs around power station
Mediterranean Gull: 1E
Common Tern: 52W
Sandwich Tern: 5E  11W
Auk sp: 4W
Harbour Porpoise: 3+ off shore
Common Seal: 1 off shore

At The Patch in very windy conditions 2 Mediterranean Gulls among 500+ Black-headed Gulls, 50+ Common Terns and the usual large Gulls.

At the ARC Pit 100s of Swifts with smaller numbers of House Martins and Sand Martins, a juvenile Peregrine was causing havoc among the hundreds of eclipse ducks and feral geese. 2 Hobby's hunting over the Tower Pits. With the wind making birding very difficult I washed the car ready for the wedding I have to attend tomorrow Oh Joy! 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Sunshine but no Serin

Again I spent the best part of this morning trying to catch up with the very elusive and wide ranging  Serin. It was heard at the fishing boats, near the obs and in the trapping area and while looking for it 2 Black Redstarts and Wheatear were seen but not the Serin.
An hour and half sea watch sitting in the glorious sunshine with french coast line clearly visible was not really worth the effort, with a few Gannets, Common and Sandwich Terns, 8 Common Scoter W, 4 Kittiwake W, 6+ Harbour Porpoises off shore and a Hummingbird Hawk Moth came in off the sea. 
Little Egret Screen Hide
 At the ARC Pit no Sandpipers visible today, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Little Egrets, 3+ Marsh Harriers, 2 Hobby's and still 200+ Swifts, House and Sand Martins over the pit. On the banks by the track to Hanson Hide a very colourful display of Restharrow
This afternoon  on the reserve little of note on Burrowes Pit, at Christmas Dell a juvenile Peregrine made several attempts on a feral Pigeon but went hungry. On the Dengemarsh tern rafts several birds apparently still sitting on eggs but only 1 chick visible. Also there 2 more Marsh Harriers and a Bittern flew over. Then the rain came again. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Elusive Serin

Storm over the ARC Pit from Hanson this afternoon
I spent most the morning trying to see a very elusive Serin at The Point this morning. It had been heard several times but only seen once in flight. After a short while looking around The Point I got a call from DW saying that it was calling near him. As I made my way over I could see he was looking at something in flight which enabled me to pick up the Serin briefly before it disappeared behind some buildings. We made our way to where we thought the bird landed and we heard it again but did not see it. I then spent most the rest of the morning trying to relocate it without success.
As I walked out to Hanson Hide the rain started. After a short while it eased so I took the opportunity to get back to the car and call it a day. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Tough life for fledglings

The Patch was full of birds this morning though mostly Black-headed Gulls only a very few of which were juveniles. The wind made viewing difficult and uncomfortable(bring on the new hide). A few Sandwich and Common Terns with some Gannets off shore.
Plodding back to the car park 3 newly fledged Pied Wagtails were being fed, as I was photographing 1 of them, another a few feet further along the wall was taken by Kestrel, amid the very vocal protests of its parents, who chased the Kestrel a short way before losing interest to concentrate on feeding the remaining 2. It's a harsh life for a young bird. 

A tough short life for fledglings 

Kestrel with juv Pied wagtail
 An hour at the fishing boats was very disappointing with just 1 Curlew W, 2 auks W, 4 Common Scoter W and a few Gannets and Terns off shore.
 On the ARC pit i counted 500 Pochard before giving up. Also 150+ Swifts with a sprinkling of House Martins and Sand Martins. On the Islands 2 Wood Sandpipers (a juvenile and washed out adult), 3 Green Sandpipers, 3 Common Sandpipers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers  and 2 Ringed Plovers. I spent an hour watching 2 Hobby's over The Tower Pits that were giving a superb display as they took and plucked Dragonflys, 2 Marsh Harriers also hunted there. A Fox cub was paddling in front of the screen hide.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Very Quiet

At the south end of the ARC Pit 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers,  1 Dunlin, a Green Sandpiper put in a brief appearance before disappearing on to the New Diggings and the usual eclipse wildfowl. When the showers came through early afternoon 100+ Swifts appeared with them and disappeared just as quickly when the sun came out.
The Heligoland Trap was offically opened today. I would have posted pictures of the cutting of the ribbon, but unfortunately the compact flash card in my camera some how got corrupted and all the pictures were lost.
A plod down to The Patch was not very rewarding due to an over load of fisherman although 2 Mediterranean Gulls were feeding over the boil. On the power station a Black Redstart was singing. The Turtle Dove was on the wires opposite Lydd golf club on my home.

Annual Toadflax
 Thanks to GH for telling me about the Toadflax today, just hope I have labelled them correctly.
Common Toadflax