Thursday, 30 May 2013

Still Cold and Miserable

Another cold miserable day at Dungeness so much so that I never lifted the camera once. 20minutes spent in the rain early morning saw just a few Sandwich and Common Terns feeding off shore, 18 Gannets moving west and 4+ Harbour Porpoises.
A look around the Gorse bushes and the Lighthouse garden drew a blank.
At the ARC scores of Swifts and a few Hirundines, 3 Hobby's still at the Tower Pits, a Cuckoo and the usual reed bed warblers.
On the reserve from Dennis's Hide a single Sandwich Tern, 15+ Common Terns and many more Swifts.
This afternoon a cycle ride down Dengemarsh Road saw 2 Yellow wagtails and a Corn Bunting by the racing track entrance. Round the Hayfields a drake Garganey, 2 very hungry looking Hobby's hunched up on the perimeter fence,  but no sign of any of the Lapwing chicks. From Dengemarsh hide I counted 20+ sitting Common terns on the rafts with a single Oystercatcher and a pair of Common Gulls that have commandeered a raft to them selves,  the Bittern was still booming and 2+ Marsh Harrriers were quartering the reed beds.
There seems to be a fair number of well advanced Cormorant young in the bush nesting colony on Burrowes Pit also still many Swifts there.    

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Bits and Pieces

A complete reversal of yesterdays wet miserable conditions this morning. Round the point this morning bright sunshine and a chill breeze produced only 1 Willow Warbler at West beach, where a male and female Black Redstart hunted insects for there brood nearby. The only other migrants were 8 Swallows coming in low over the beach. 
 At the south end on the ARC many Swifts, House Martins and Swallows and also over New Diggings.
A walk up to the Pines saw 3 Hobbies including the one below in the Sallows, Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers were singing and a couple of Cuckoo's were chasing each other also the obligatory Marsh Harriers over the tower pits.
Early afternoon another Hobby and Cuckoo over the entrance track and still many Swifts with fewer Hirundines from Dennis's Hide. Also from the hide a Tree Sparrow, 1 Sandwich Tern, and 6+ Common Terns and a Little Egret.
Late afternoon a walk along The Midrips in the drizzle saw 2+ Wheatear, 6 Meadow Pipits, 4 Reed Buntings, another Cuckoo, 6 Avocet, 12 Dunlin, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Grey Plover, 3 Turnstone, 12 Oystercatcher, 8 Ringed Plovers, 2 Lapwing, c15 Redshank, c40 Shelduck, 4 Mediterranean Gulls over, 2 Sandwich Terns over with many more off shore and many more Swifts over the pools.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Enjoying the Sun

Early morning I cycled down to Dengemarsh. On the way a couple of Yellow Wagtails were opposite the racing track and a Corn Bunting a little further down, over the fields a Marsh Harrier hunted. Round the Hayfields no sign of any Lapwings (I hope they haven't all been predated), in hayfield 3 a Little Egret was the best I could see. From Dengemarsh Hide 2 of the rafts were a hive of activity with the nesting Common Terns, the third having been taken over by a pair of Common Gulls. The Bittern was booming every few minutes and the Harriers were busy over the reed bed.
 In the small copse at the start of the track to Lydd a Spotted flycatcher which I managed to get a record picture of. I would normally have deleted a picture like this but as they appear to be so scarce this year it might be the only one I get to snap.
 Making my way back to the viewing ramp a Hobby was perched on the viewing ramp bench. From the ramp 2+ Cuckoo's chased each other around, the Bittern repeatedly booming, Marsh Harriers coming and going, Common Terns fishing the pools infront, Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers singing along with Common Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Bearded Tits, 2 high flying Hobby's and a Pochard giving a fly by.

 A couple of hours sitting in the front garden BOP watching  saw up to 5 Hobby's and a Marsh Harrier over the Rape field, 2 distant Common Buzzards and a Raven.
Another cycle down to the viewing ramp this evening in the glorious sunshine produced more or lee a repeat performance of this morning.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Temminck's Stints

This morning I thought I would try The Midrips with the hope of re-finding the Terek Sandpiper.
I was not alone in this thought PT and CT turned up not long after me.
During the walk to the pools 3 Wheatears and a Yellow Wagtail were seen and a couple of Mediterranean Gulls flew by. At the furthest pool there was a good selection of waders present including one which was asleep and facing away from me. Although Redshank, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Grey Plover and Turnstone had all stood by or walked past the sleeping mystery wader I was still at a loss to its identity and imagining all sorts. So I was glad when PT turned up and I pointed the out the bird to him, only for him to be as stumped as myself and the result when CT turned up. Logic said that the it must be something common but what. Although there was a heat haze and it was fairly distant we all had a good scopes so that was no excuse. After what seemed like an age the bird eventually moved to reveal itself as Knot in a strange plumage and that's my excuse!
I had heard that there were a couple of Temminck's Stints at Rye Harbour but decided I did not want to fight my way through Camber and Rye to see some distant dots. Lunchtime I received a call from Tony to tell me that there were 3 Stints and they were showing very well. I took the plunge, less than an hour later I was watching and photographing them at close range. On the walk to the pools 2+ Cuckoo's were making sure everyone saw them, Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers were singing as were Common Whitethroats and a Nightingale sang half heartedly with numerous Mediterranean gulls mewing overhead. Plenty of Avocets and Terns were on show as was a Little Ringed Plover and a Whimbrel.
At Dungeness a Hobby was picked up dead in The Moat, a victim of the poor spring as it was very emaciated and believed to have starved to death per DW.

The only shot I managed with all 3 Temminck's Stints in.

Swimming from one island to another

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Terek Ends The day

 Thought I better go to The Point first thing this morning in case the Bee-eater was still present, as I missed it yesterday while visiting mum in West Sussex but no joy. In fact there was very little of note avian wise to be seen in the area. 2 adult Foxes were at the south end of the trapping area.
On returning home for breakfast the air ambulance created some excitement by landing in the Rape field a few yards from my garden. Hopefully the young lady who came off her bike in the Marshman's Triathlon wasn't to seriously injured. 

After breakfast I cycled down to Dengemarsh and around the reserve. On the way down several Yellow Wagtails were observed and 2 marsh Harriers, Hobby's were much in evidence with at least 6 birds being seen, also many Swifts (Another Red Rumped Swallow was reported from the ARC and PT saw one on Walland) 3 first summer Little Gulls were on Burrowes and a couple of Bearded Tits showed well on Hookers. Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers were singing along with Common Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat and many Reed Buntings. From the Screen Hide I watched A Grey Heron take a young Coot followed by 2 large Marsh Frogs before flying off towards the Heronry. 

This afternoon I cycled along to Scotney. A nice ride but little of note, the best being a Common Sandpiper, a Wheatear, a Yellow Wagtail, 5 Barnacle Geese and a Black Swan.
Late this afternoon I was on my way to the Midrips when news of a Terek Sandpiper at Rye harbour Ternery Pool broke. I quickly made my way there but was unable to find the bird. By chance I met a guy leaving the Quarry hide told me the the Terek was on another pool north of the Ternery Pool. In fact the bird had not been on the Ternery Pool at all as I found out when I met the finder Simon linnington, who had a point of telling the news services it was on the pool north of the Ternery Pool. Great find Simon. Also present several Avocets with young, Little Ringed Plover,   and the usual Terns and Gulls.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Turtles On The Marsh

Another cold day with frequent heavy showers blown in on a northerly wind. First thing at The Point not a migrant to be found not surprising considering the weather.
At the ARC Pit and New Diggings plenty of Swifts and Swallows with a few House and Sand Martins, 2 Cuckoo's, a Hobby and a few Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers singing. Also a Spotted Flycatcher in the Willow trail per BP.
On Burrowes from Dennis's hide 2 first summer Little Gulls and more Swifts and Hirundines with a Hobby in attendance
This afternoon out on Romney Marsh 8 Turtle Doves at 4 locations, several Tree Sparrows at 2 locations, 4 Marsh Harriers and 4 Yellowhammers. Lets hope the coming long weekend brings some warmer weather and some full days birding. 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Elusive Serin

Very poor record of a very skittish Serin.

A look around The Point this morning was not very productive with few birds showing in the cold  dull conditions. DW was in the trapping area trying to pin down the elusive Serin with some little success. As I joined him the bird called and alighted very briefly on a bramble before flying high down to the lighthouses where it was lost to sight. Despite a search of the area it was not seen again while I was there.
A cycle ride to Dengemarsh and Christmas Dell , found 4+ Hobby's, a Peregrine, 2 Cuckoo's, a Raven, 2 drake Garganey, a Ruff, a steady trickle of Hirundines and the usual reed bed Warblers. Moving on to Galloways the highlight was a Corn Bunting and another Cuckoo. 
Last night the sun came out at at 19.30 and immediately the birds started singing in the Rape field opposite my garden. 2 male Yellow Wagtails started displaying to 3 females, several male Reed Buntings appeared atop the stems singing, a Cuckoo flew through and in the ditch a Reed warbler started chuntering.  

Monday, 20 May 2013

Cattle Egret cheers the day

As I arrived at The Point at 07.00 the rain stopped enabling me to wander around all the bushes and the south end of the trapping area, just under 2hrs later I'd managed to find just 2 Chiffchaffs and a single Swallow desperate!
The south end of the ARC held nothing of note, a walk up to the pines found 2 very bedraggled Hobby's and a Cuckoo with a fed of the reed bed warblers singing.
Out on Walland a couple of Yellow Hammers, 2 more Cuckoo's, 4 Turtle Doves and 2 Marsh Harriers before the rain set in again and put an end to birding.
18.15 a text from SB,PP and CT about a Cattle Egret by the entrance track to the reserve, a few minutes later I was watching it on the back of Cow all be it distantly. One of the locals suggested I might be able to see it from my house, realising I probably could, I dashed home set up my scope and it was ticked on the house list. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Flighty Serin

My day started with a walk from the ARC car park to the pines and back. Of note the drake Scaup still from the screen, 2 Marsh Harriers, and the usual Warblers. At the south end of the ARC the only notable bird was a Redshank.
Ariving at the obs DW had seen and heard a very elusive Serin in the trapping area. I joined him for a walk around the area, during which we encountered the Serin several more times in flight but never managed to pin it down and saw precious little else. Around the lighthouse area the only migrant I could find was a Chiffchaff, the resident male Black Redstart showed well there.
A walk from Springfield Bridge to Scott Hide drew a blank on yesterdays Red-backed shrike. 2 Hobby's were again on the fence though not as obliging as yesterday, in Hayfield 3 still at least 2 Lapwing chicks.
 This evening I visited The Midrips, where the Highlights were, 58 Shelduck, 6 pairs of Wheatears, 14 Avocets, 12 Redshank, 12 Ringed Plovers, 6 Oystercatchers, 2 Curlew, 2 Dunlin, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Marsh Harrier.
                         Some of yesterdays Early Spider Orchids at Samphire Hoe.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

A Thrush, A Shrike and Hobby's

The best shot I was able to get.
 I returned a missed call to Sean O just after 06.15 and he said its still here, I said what is and was amazed when he told me he was watching a Dusky Thrush in Margate Cemetery. Soon after another call from DW asking if I'd like to go with him, GH and AJG. I jumped at the the offer which also gave me time to have a full English before we left.
On arrival as expected the cemetery was full of birders, all staring into some Sycamores and Ash trees where the Dusky Thrush was sitting deep inn cover giving tantalising glimpses and occasionally showing fairly well although still in cover. We spent about 5 hours looking into this small group of trees, the bird finally broke cover and flew around for a few minutes before being lost giving us a cue to leave. On the way back we stopped at Samphire Hoe to look at some Early Spider Orchids, not expecting to see the 100s that were there. (I am having trouble downloading the pictures from that camera )
 This evening on a walk around the Hayfields to Dengemarsh to look for the female Red Backed Shrike, there were 2 incredibly tame Hobby's on the posts and path.

 I walked down to Scott Hide where I found a Spotted Flycatcher my first of the year but no Shrike. I then returned back along the path and at the back of Dengemarsh Hide where I found the female Red Backed Shrike. Also seen there a Yellow Wagtail and 4 Whimbrel over with the Bittern still booming in the background.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Stunning Red-spotted Bluethroat

07.00 at the viewing ramp at Hookers with CT was very entertaining with Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers in full voice along with Common and Lesser Whitethroats. The Bittern was booming every few minutes and a couple of Bearded Tits calling, Common Terns were screaming overhead, 2 Cuckoo's were flying around and calling, up to 3 Hobby's were trying to find food in the cold north east wind and the Marsh Harriers were doing there usual thing.
In The Hayfields the Lapwings are still present as was a Yellow Wagtail but not much else of note.
A walk to the pines found the usual reed bed warblers, Marsh Harriers and 2 more Hobby's. Over the lake 100s of Swifts and smaller numbers of Hirundines.
While parked at the south end of the ARC looking through the Hirundines, I received a call from DW about a Bluethroat near the fishing boats, needless to say a couple of minutes later I was there watching a stunning male Red-spotted Bluethroat fairly distantly at first. After a while it hopped towards the crowd and jumped up on to a kerb in full view, it then flew a couple of hundred metres towards the fishermans hut. As I had got a great shot of it I was very happy. It was soon relocated and moved up to the containers on the beach where it performed superbly hopping towards me at times to close to focus. Needless to say I spent most the afternoon with the bird. Many thanks to Patrick the DBO assistant warden for finding this stunning bird,
This evening at the south end of the ARC a Little Ringed Plover the first one for some time.
 I make no apologies for the Bluethroat overload in this post