Sunday, 30 September 2012

Back from summer break

A morning visit to Orlestone Forest found all the expected woodland species including a small party of Crossbills in the car park.
On arrival at the Dungeness Obs. to be told some Ring Ouzels had been seen had me plodding round The Moat out past Lloyds to SE corner of The Desert and up to the north end of trapping area and back down the western side of The Long Pits. Several small parties of Siskins, Goldfinches and linnets flew over, 21 Chiffchaffs were seen along with 5 Stonechats, 1 Whinchat, 1 Reed Warbler, 4 Sparrowhawks, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and a trickle of Hirundines but no Ring Ouzels.
Very little movement again on the sea from the fishing boats. The Yellow-legged Gull was posing there with some Great Black Backed Gulls.

 At the ARC from Hanson just a couple of Golden Plover and Dunlin among the usual ducks and 100s of feral Greylags, also a Hobby chasing the Hirundines and Migrant hawkers.
Back from there summer quarters
At Scotney the first signs of winter with the return of the 60+ Barnacle Geese flock and the accompanying hybrids, also 100+ Golden Plover there, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Curlew and 2 Marsh Harriers.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Barred Warbler

At The Point after a late start this morning very little sign of any sea passage. 2 Arctic Skuas were probably the same birds seen for the last couple of weeks and a few Gannets and Terns off shore. On the beach the adult Yellow-legged Gull in the small roost.
After parking in the ARC car park and plodding out to Denge Marsh, where the Great White Egret was in its usual place and a Whinchat was on the fence at Hayfield 3, I received a call from DB about a Barred Warbler trapped at the obs. I was a 20 minute walk from my car but fortunately SB was able to pick me up and get me to the obs before the bird was released. After the bird was released it showed after a while and was on show on and off most of the afternoon. Unfortunately most the time it was partly obscured by vegetation and I spent the rest of the afternoon filling 2 cards.  

Friday, 28 September 2012

The Patch

An hour at The Point looking at a virtually empty sea this morning. Although many 100s of birds were moving offshore 99% of them were Swallows. The rest were 2 of the virtually  resident Arctic Skuas a few Terns and Gannets. This afternoon things had not improved  

Dark winged juvenile Little Gull
2 visits to The Patch found 4 Little Gulls(3 Juvs and an adult) including the almost black winged  individual, 4+ Arctic Terns, 20+ Common Terns, 20+ Sandwich Terns and 3 Mediterranean Gulls among the usual Gulls. Behind the new Patch hide a Chiffchaff, a Wheatear and wren was unusual.  
 The bushes were much quieter today with just a few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps. At the ARC from Hanson the Pectoral Sandpiper still present with 5 Dunlin, the Black-necked Grebe, 2 Marsh Harriers, 8 Little egrets and 100s of Hirundines.
Arctic Tern

Thursday, 27 September 2012


A short sea watch this morning produced nothing of note on the sea. Overhead 2 Grey Wagtails several small flocks of Siskins, Goldfinches, Linnets and Meadow Pipits, also large numbers of Hirundines moving. 
One of many on the peninsular today
 In the bushes around The Point and Desert/trapping area 3 Firecrests (2 Lighthouse and 1 Lloyds), a Great spotted Woodpecker, 3 Redstarts, c25 Blackcaps, 3 Common Whitethroats, 1 Garden Warbler and at least 50 Chiffchaffs.
Aberrant Teal?
 On The ARC the Pectoral Sandpiper, 50+ Golden plover, 4 Dunlin, 2 Black Terns, a Black-necked Grebe, 1+ Garganey, an unusual plumaged Teal, a Peregrine and a Marsh Harrier. In the Willow Trail c20 Chiffchaffs, c15 Long-tailed Tits and a water rail. The track to and round The Pines held at least 100 Chiffchaffs, 10+ Blackcaps, 2 Common Whitethroats and Spotted Flycatcher.
Sunset at The Patch
At Scotney c200 Golden Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a Curlew. While there a call from DW about juvenile Sabines Gull at The Patch. Although I was on site a few minutes later the gull had moved on. Compensation in the form of 4 Little Gulls, 3+ Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Black Terns, 2+ stunning juvenile Arctic Terns and several Common Terns over The Patch. Also a brilliant sunset.  

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Sea Watching

This mornings sea watch from the Fishing boats was an improvement on yesterday.
TG,DW,BM,MH,MC  06.30-11.30 totals:
Gannet: 500+                                        Mediterranean Gull: 4 o/s 
Sooty Shearwater: 5W                          Kittiwake: o/s
Fulmar: 1W                                           Little Gull: 4W
Brent Goose: 2E                                    Sandwich Tern: 124W
Common Scoter: 68W                           Common Tern: 54W
Merlin: 2 in                                            Arctic Tern: 4W
Bonxie: 16W                                          Black Tern: 2W
Arctic Skua: 10W                                  Hirundines (majority Swallows): c3000 out

 At the ARC the 2 Spoonbills till approx 12.30 when flew high SW. The Pectoral Sandpiper was still present, easy to find as it was the only wader apart from a Lapwing. 2+ Black Terns over the lake along with 100s of mainly Sand Martins, a Marsh Harrier and 5+ Chiffchaffs around the hide.
Taken just before they departed
Another hour early afternoon from the fishing boats was riveting, so much so that one of the watchers fell asleep standing up. 

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Sheltering in Hanson

Seawatching from The Point this morning was again disappointing. With frequent squalls the visibility was sometimes very poor not that there was much to see.
Gannet: c60
Common Scoter: 15w
Arctic Skua: 3 o/s
Sandwich Tern: 28w
Common Tern: 15w
Auk sp: 9E
Hirundines mainly Swallows: 186 out 
 A few hours at the ARC Pit spent mainly in Hanson keeping dry and out of the wind. The 2 Spoonbills were still present as was the Pectoral Sandpiper along with 5+ Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, 17 Golden Plover, a Garganey among the regular wildfowl 7 Pintail, 32 Wigeon, a Black-necked Grebe, 3 Black Terns, a Common Tern, 8 Little Egrets, a Marsh Harrier, 2+ Sparrowhawks and numerous Sand martins and swallows over the pit. In the Willow trail 4+ Chiffchaffs, 2 Cetti's Warblers, 1 Green Woodpecker and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Another short watch at The Point this afternoon produced even less than this morning.

Monday, 24 September 2012


An early-ish start at the fishing boats expecting Skuas, Shearwaters and Petrels was some what disappointing with none seen on a flat calm sea. But 1000s of Hirundines appeared to be moving out. The gardens and bushes around The Point held at least 7 Firecrests and few Chiffchaffs and then the rain and wind came.

 About 13.00 the rain cleared and Gannets started to pour through east off shore, 581 in an hour but not much else. By 1500 3 Bonxies had moved east, 5+ Arctic Skuas were o/s, 2 Black Terns west with small numbers of Common and Sandwich Terns, 10 Brent Geese and 15 Wigeon.
Great Crested Newt
 Some Great Crested newts were crossing the track to Hanson Hide this afternoon. From the hide 2 Spoonbills hunkered down in the wind, the Pectoral Sandpiper, 3 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover were the highlights.
Spoonbills doing what Spoonbills do best!

Sunday, 23 September 2012


                 By the time I got my camera this Sooty was disappearing into Hythe bay
Watching from The Point this morning with BM expecting to see streams of Skuas and Shearwaters was not to be:
Red-throated Diver: 1E 1W
Leach's Petrel: 1 (BM only)
Sooty Shearwater: 2 E
Gannets: c50 o/s
Brent Goose: 52W  3E
Shoveler: 8E
Wigeon: c60W
Teal: 8W 
Common Scoter: c40W
Arctic Skua: 4+ o/s
Little Gull: 1Juv  o/s
Kittiwake: 7w
Sandwich Tern: c50 o/s
Swallows and Sand Martins: 200+ moving
The ARC from Hanson was rain lashed and windswept with just a few Dunlin and teal on the islands.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Some migrants

Even from my rubbish pictures the more I look, discuss and read, it would seem the stint was more than likely a Semi Palmated Sandpiper.
Plenty of migrants on the track to and at The Pines this morning(thanks Neil), mainly Chiffchaffs and Chaffinches and few Goldfinches over. This afternoon Neils Spotted flycatchers reappeared there.
The north end of trapping area held 30+ Chiffchaffs but little else.
Back at the ARC from Hanson the Pectoral Sandpiper, 100+Golden Plover, 4 Dunlin, a Snipe and up to 12 Little Egrets were the highlights.
Very little on the sea from the fishing boats this afternoon the highlight being a juvenile Little Gull, hopefully tomorrow will be much better.


Friday, 21 September 2012

Adult Little Stint or Semipalmated Sandpiper???

All these heavily cropped images were taken Monday 17th September 2012. Constructive comments will be very welcome.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Easterlies please

Low tide at The Patch this morning found 2 Black Terns, 1 Arctic Tern, 1 Common Tern, 18 Sandwich Terns, 1 Little Gull, among c50 Black-headed Gulls and the usual Herring and Black Backed Gulls. Off shore at least 3 marauding Arctic Skuas and trickle of Gannets moving west. Behind the new hide a Black Redstart on the perimeter fence . 
Arctic Tern
An unproductive plod  around The Station, Lighthouse and West Beach, just 1 Chiffchaff, 4 Robins, a few Hirundines mainly House Martins moving west and Peregrine over.
Black Tern
 At the ARC Hanson Hide was shut for habitat management(cutting back the vegetation blocking the view). A wander up to the pines produced a Marsh Harrier, 6 Chiffchaffs, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and little else. 
Black Tern
 At Scotney 16 Bar-tailed Godwits, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, c30 Golden Plover and 2 Marsh Harriers along with usual Geese and Ducks.
 Half hour at the fishing boats this afternoon was enough, with just 6 Sandwich Terns and 2 Common Terns, 8 Gannets and 2 Harbour Porpoises.
Little Gull

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Cap Gris Nez

Long-tailed Skua, 1 of 4 today
Cap Gris Nez 06.30-14.30 TG,JC,BM and myself.
Red-throated Diver: 8s
Black-throated Diver: 1s
Manx Shearwater: 17s
Balearic Shearwater: 4s 1n
Gannet: 1275s
Brent Goose: 2s
Shelduck: 5s
Wigeon: 3
Teal: 1
Common Scoter: 292s
Merlin: 1 around
Kestrel: 2 around
Oystercatcher: 11s
Avocet: 5s
Ringed Plover: 2s
Bat-tailed Godwit: 16s
Whimbrel: 1s
Pomarine Skua: 3s
Long-tailed Skua: 4s
Arctic Skua: 74s
Bonxie: 103s
Little Gull: 2s
Kittiwake: 11s
Mediterranean Gull: 13+ around
Sandwich Tern: 891
Commic Tern: 704
Black Tern: 20s
Little Tern: 1s
Guillemot: 13s
Auk sp.: 23s
Jay: Flock of 30 out to UK (Quite a sight)
Coal: 5s
Great Tit: 2s

In the small wood  by the former German Gun Emplacements:
Short-toed Treecreepers: 3
Crested Tit: 2

From the ferry home:
Bonxie: 27
Arctic Skua: 3
Another brilliant trip. Many thanks to TG,JC and BM.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Skuas and Wagtails

From The Point this morning:
Red-throated Diver: 1E 
Balearic Shearwater: 1W
Gannet: C 150W
Common Scoter: 11E  12W
Knot: 15W
Turnstone: 3 on beach
Kittiwake: 1 juv off shore
Arctic Skua: 11+W also 1 which landed on the beach
Sandwich Tern: c100Common Tern: c25
 At The Patch 1 Black Tern, 1 Little Gull, 2 Mediterranean Gulls among the usual Gulls and Wheatear on the sea wall on the way back.
 At the ARC from Hanson The Pectoral Sandpiper still present, 5 Dunlin, 1 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, c100 Golden Plover, 6 Little Egrets, a Bar-headed Goose among the Greylags, 1 Hobby and c300 Sand martins over the pit.
 Round the Tower Pits of note 20+ Chiffchaffs, 4 Common Whitethroats, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 100+ Sand Martins and 2 Marsh Harriers.
 At Dengemarsh of note 2 Marsh Harriers, a flock of c100 Linnets and 20 Greenfinches and 50+ Yellow Wagtails on the newly ploughed fields.
 The summer plumaged Red-throated Diver still on the pit behind the caravan park.
With north westerlies forecast for tonight and tomorrow an early start for the ferry to Calais and a sea watch at Cap Gris Nez tomorrow. 

Monday, 17 September 2012

A Little Better

Off shore from The Point this morning a minimum of 7 Arctic Skuas beating up the terns and a few more moved through west, along with a steady trickle of Gannets, Sandwich Terns and a few Common Terns, 3 Kittiwakes, a couple of Common Scoter and 7 Bar-tailed Godwits. Passerines were represented by 50+ Meadow Pipits, 6+ Yellow Wagtails, a steady movement south of Swallows and Sands Martins and a Sparrowhawk that probably came in.
 A plod around The Desert, Lloyds and West Beach was very disappointing, finding just 4 Common Whitethroats, 5 Chiffchaffs and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers.
A report of White-rumped Sandpiper on the reserve on Burrowes Pit at the moment seems to have been just that. Myself and CT were quickly at Burrowes and the only waders we could find were a juvenile Knot and a Ringed Plover. Also 2 Peregrines flew over.
 On the ARC from Hanson highlights were 2 Little Stints ad+juv, Pectoral Sandpiper, 4 Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper, 7 Pintail among the Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal and Wigeon, 6 Little Egrets, a distant Marsh Harrier and c200 Sand Martins.
Record of Pectoral Sandpiper and ad.Little Stint on the ARC 
 At Scotney the Red-throated Diver still on the small lake behind the caravan site.