Monday, 30 September 2013

Grasshopper Warbler makes my day!

No posts over the weekend more due to tardiness than the fact that the birds present on Friday were still about at the weekend. In fact there was not much change today today.
45 minutes from the sea watch hide produced:
Balearic Shearwater: 1W
Brent Geese: 147
Wigeon: 128
Teal: 32
Arctic Skua: 2 off shore
Common Tern: 1 off shore
Sandwich Tern: c10 off shore
Meadow Pipit: c100E
Swallow: c300E
Pied wagtail:16E
Wheatear: 4 on beach

In the Desert 10 Song Thrushes were probably continental birds.
While I was plodding around The Desert,a Penduline Tit flying south over the trapping area(DW) probably flew over me, but with my hearing no chance. 
Sunrise over the ARC from Plodland this morning.

 I'd like to be able to say I took the above shot today at the ARC, but in fact about the best I will get there is one the below of the 2 Pectoral Sandpipers. I took the one above on October 7th 2007 at Pagham Harbour.
2 Pectoral Sandpipers
 A couple of visits to the ARC  saw 2 Pectoral Sandpipers, 3 Little Stints, a Curlew Sandpiper, 5 Greenshank, 3 Ruff, 3 Curlews, and a Red-crested Pochard  were of note.
At the end of the Willow Trail I flushed a Grasshopper Warbler(very scarce at Dungeness) from the damp grass at the side of the path, it flew up into the Sallows allowing a few seconds viewing with the bins before dropping into the Juncus.
Stock Doves behind the pines
Making my way to The Pines I received a text from SB that a Ring Ouzel was there. In the short time it took me to get there it had disappeared. Fortunately SB relocated it albeit distantly.
While there a flock of c100 Stock doves was flushed by a Marsh Harrier, there was also a few Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Lesser Whitethroat.
15.30-17.00 from the fishing boats:
Brent Geese: 2E
Gannet: n/c
Common Scoter: 12E
Arctic Skua: 2 off shore
Little Gull: flock of 6W and 1E
1w Mediterranean Gull: 1W
Sandwich Tern: n/c
Trickle of Swallows east
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
Not the best 90 minutes sea watching. Had that total been a few years ago in Shoreham West Sussex  where I used to live I would have been delighted.

Friday, 27 September 2013


As the sea was very quiet this morning with just a few Teal and Brent Geese moving, 2+ Arctic Skua's chasing Terns and a distant Bonxie, I didn't stay to long.
On the ARC from Hanson in 2 visits, 2 Pectoral Sandpipers, 4 Curlew Sandpipers, a Little Stint, 4 Ruff, a Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Knot, 8 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plovers, 2 Greenshank, c100 Golden Plover, c200 Lapwing, 3 Marsh Harriers, a Hobby, a Red-crested Pochard and a Black-necked Grebe. 20+ Chiffchaffs around the pines and Willow Trail.
Great White Egret from Firth
This afternoon from Firth hide the Great White Egret, a Knot, 3 Ruff, a Black-tailed Godwit and a Little Gull.  

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Colour Ringed Gulls

07.30-09.00 from the sea watch hide:
Gannet: c50 fishing
Brent Geese: 181W  49E
Common Scoter: 12W
Teal: 113W
Wigeon: 121W
Pintail: 2W
Curlew: 1W
Sparrowhawk: 1 in
Arctic Skua: 4+ off shore
Sandwich Tern: c50 off shore
Commic Tern: c10 off shore
Little Gull: 1 over the boil
Meadow Pipit: 78 in
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
A wander around the trapping area found 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Wheatear, 1 Whinchat, 11 Chiffchaffs, 6 Blackcaps, 1 Common Whitethroat and 26 Swallows.
Spotted Flycatcher
 Early afternoon at the ARC from Hanson: 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, 3 Curlew Sandpipers, 3 Ruff, 1 Little Stint, 2 Greenshank, 4 Common Snipe and a Marsh Harrier.
1w Mediterranean Gull

 This evening from the fishing boats with DW:
Brent Goose: 75E  96W
Mediterranean Gull: 4+
Arctic Skua: 3+
99L Great black Backed Gull
 On the beach after the discarded waste pieces off fish colour ringed 99L probably rung in Normandy and VRB probably rung in Felixstowe area.
VRB Herring Gull

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Skua's, Balearics and Pecs

A wander around the bushes this morning found only a few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps with a few Meadow Pipits and Linnets over head.
A sea watch from the fishing boats this morning with AJG was slow but the marauding Arctic Skuas kept us amused for an hour, also seen:
Wigeon: 122 w
Teal: 120 w
Common Scoter: 30 w
Brent Goose: 5w 3E
Razorbill: 1 on sea
Bar-tailed Godwit: 2
Sanderling: 3w
Curlew: 1E
Arctic Skua: 2 around
2 Seals and several Harbour Porpoises off shore
Who is chasing who? at the fishing boats this morning.
At the ARC from Hanson:
Pectoral Sandpiper: 2
Curlew Sandpiper: 2
Dunlin: 6
Ruff: 2
Black-tailed Godwit: 2
Common Snipe: 21
Golden Plover: 150+
Lapwing: 300+
Spotted Redshank: 1 at the south end
Great White Egret: 1 along with all the usual wildfowl.
Balearic Shearwaters 
A surprise in another sea watch this evening with DW in form of a party of 5 Balearic Shearwaters moving west. Off shore 4+ Arctic Skua's were beating up the Sandwich Terns, 30 Teal moved west as did 81 Brent Geese. Several harbour Porpoises still off shore.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Twitching a butterfly

The Patch was quiet this morning with just 1 Arctic Tern and 1 Little Gull among the few Common Terns and Black-headed Gulls. On the perimeter fence behind the hide 3 Chiffchaffs, 3 Black Redstarts and a Whinchat. A wander around the bushes with AJG was also quiet, just a hand full of Chiffchaffs, another Whinchat, 2 more Black Redstarts, a Wheatear and in stark contrast to yesterday just 11 Swallows.

Long Tailed Blue Kinsdown
 A long with DW, GH and AJG I spent a few hours at Kingsdown admiring the Long Tailed Blue butterfly's which showed quite well. While there a Peregrine dashed through.

Peregrine Kingsdown

Arctic Skua at the fishing boats this evening
 This evening at the fishing boats with DW 5+ Arctic Skuas were terrorising the Sandwich Terns and 17 Brent Geese flew west.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Hirundines and Chiffchaffs

06.55-07.25 a superb half hour at the fishing boats with in excess of 10,000 Swallows out towards France creating a marvellous spectacle. The French  coast was as clear as I have ever seen it and the sea was like a mirror, as the Swallows and smaller numbers of Martin's came over the beach they flew very low over the sea towards the french coast some picking insects off the surface as they went. As far as I could see in all directions there were Hirundines making there way south. Also seen were 12 Sandwich Terns, 1 Common Tern, 2 Common Scoter, 3 Teal, 1 Turnstone on the beach and c100 Meadow Pipits coasting west. 
A plod around the Desert and the bushes around The Point found:
Chiffchaff: 91
Blackcap: 18
Common Whitethroat: 9
Lesser Whitethroat: 1
Reed Warbler: 2
Stonechat: 2
Whinchat: 4
Wheatear: 4
Spotted Flycatcher: 3
Robin: 8
Blue Tit: 6
Great Tit: 7
Meadow Pipit: c100
Linnet: c70
Marsh Harrier: 1
Hirundines: 1,000s more
At the observatory many more Chiffchaff and Blackcaps, with at least 1 Garden warbler and 2 Reed Warblers.
Chiffchaffs seemed evenly spread across the peninsular there must have been 1,000s of them here today. The Swallows were seen in large numbers across Walland Marsh as well as the peninsular probably totaling 10s of 1,000s.
In a couple of visits to the ARC 6 Ruff, 8 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Avocet, 3 Curlew Sandpipers, 2 Little Stints, 6 Dunlin, 8 Common Snipe, c100 Golden Plover. The track to Hanson and the Willow trail were full of Chiffchaffs.
At the pines early evening 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Redstart and 50+ Chiffchaffs with Swallows still moving south.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Another day of Hirundines

07.30-09.30 I did the WeBs count at The Midrips and Wicks it was very disappointing, if it had not been for all the Hirundines and Meadow Pipits it would have been a very long walk. On the bright side I managed a year tick in the form of a Rock Pipit (scarce at Dungeness) by the security block house.
Next stop The Patch where 2 Little Gulls, an adult Mediterranean Gull, 3+ Arctic Terns among the Common Terns, 26 Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua could be seen. On the perimeter fence 5 Chiffchaffs and 3 Wheatears. 
The bushes from the ARC car park up to the pines held c40 Chiffchaffs, 5 Blackcaps, 4 Common Whitethroats, 2 Reed Warblers, 2 Cetti's Warblers and 2 Spotted Flycatchers. Overhead masses of Hirundines. From the screen hide 3 Curlew Sandpipers, a Little Stint, 4 Ruff and 5 Dunlin.
 In 2 visits to Hanson early afternoon and this evening 2 Little Stints, 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 6 Ruff, 31 Knot, 6 Dunlin, 8 Ringed Plover, 1 Redshank, 2 Grenshank, c100 Golden Plover, 15 Curlew, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, a Peregrine a Marsh Harrier, a Water Rail and 2 Egyptian Geese.
31 Knot flushed by a Peregrine
 On Burrowes this evening 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Dunlin, 8 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Ruff, a Great White Egret, 2 Marsh Harriers and 4 Black-necked Grebes.
3 of the 4 Black-necked Grebes present this evening,

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Black-necked Grebes, Hirundines and Chiffchaffs

This morning as I came out of the house and scanning across the fields towards the power station the air was thick with Hirundines.  The whole peninsular was alive with birds there must have been 1000s. On the reserve 2 Black-necked Grebes from Dennis's hide and from Firth 5 Ruff, 3 Dunlin and 50+ Golden Plover. 
Black-necked Grebes from Dennis's Hide
 From Makepeace 4 more Black-necked Grebes, Great White Egret, 2 Marsh Harriers and more Hirundines. The bushes by the track to Scott hide held 10+ Chiffchaffs, 4+ Reed Warblers, 3 Sedge Warblers, 2 Cetti's Warblers and Hobby dashing among the Hirundines overhead.
Black-necked Grebe from Makepeace
          Surprisingly the the bushes at Christmas Dell held only 2 Chiffchaffs and a Whinchat.
Bearded Tit Dengemarsh
 The reed fringe at Dengemarsh held a party of 12 Bearded Tits, a Bittern, 4+Reed Warblers and 4+ Sedge Warblers. The Copse at Hookers held c20 Chiffchaffs, a Spotted flycatcher, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 6 Common Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Reed Warblers, 2 Cetti's Warblers and behind the copse another party of 10 Bearded Tits and 2 Marsh Harriers. The return trail held another Whinchat, a Stonechat and 4 Common Whitethroats.
Late afternoon at the south end of ARC another Black-necked Grebe 3 Ruff and 8 Black-tailed Godwits.
Great White Egret from Makepeace
 This evening on the reserve the 2 Ruddy Shelduck from Makepeace and a Great White Egret roosting near Scott Hide.
Ruddy Shelduck from Makepeace this evening

Sand Martin from Makepeace this evening

Thursday, 19 September 2013


Went straight to The Patch this morning, on the walk there 100s of House Martins and Sand Martins with a few Swallows seemed to be coasting west, there were 2 Wheatears and 6 Chiffchaffs on the perimeter fence, on the way back 2 Ravens were upsetting the local feral Pigeons.  At The Patch a single Black Tern, 1 Little Gull, 4+ Arctic Terns and 30+ Common Terns with the usual Gulls.
A plod around the Lighthouse, Station Gorse, The Desert, Lloyds and West Beach saw 35 Chiffchaffs, 6 Blackcaps, 5 Common Whitethroats, 6 Wheatears, c100 Meadow Pipits and c100 Linnets.
At the south end of the ARC the Pectoral Sandpiper with 3 Ruff and a Bar-tailed Godwit.
From the Screen just 2 Little Stints as reed cutting work was being carried out in front of Hanson.  
Spoonbill from Firth in the rain this evening.
This afternoon from Hanson where excellent views of the islands can now be obtained thanks to the hard work of the volunteers. 2 Little Stints with 14 Dunlin, 40+ Golden Plover and a Black-necked Grebe were the highlights.
This evening on Burrowes in the driving rain a Spoonbill was new in, the Pectoral Sandpiper had relocated to Firth and from Makepeace 4 Black-necked Grebes and a Black Tern.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Quiet on the sea!

En route to The Point first thing this morning I stopped at the south end of the ARC where the Pectoral Sandpiper was happily feeding and was still there this evening.
Sea watching from the concrete road was poor, so myself and AJG made our way to The Patch. Along the perimeter fence 5 Black Redstarts, 4 Wheatears and c30 Linnets. 
Over The Patch 7+ Black Terns, 3+ Arctic Terns and 2 Little Gulls among the Common Terns and Black-headed Gulls. Offshore 2+ Arctic Skuas and a Few Gannets.
Pectoral Sandpiper at the south end of the ARC
Around the reserve of note 3 Ruff, 3 Black-necked Grebes, a Great White Egret, a Peregrine, 2+Hobby's, 2+ Marsh Harriers, up 7 Common Buzzards, 6 Common Whitethroats, a Whinchat and still good numbers of Sand Martins.
In couple of visits to the ARC 150+ Golden Plover, 9 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Greenshanks, 6 Ruff, a Hobby, 15+ Dunlin and a Little Stint. In the bushes a few Chiffchaffs.
An afternoon visit to Pigwell was disappointing even though the water levels look good for waders.
At Scotney still 14 Egyptian Geese, a 1000+ Greylags and 300+ Canada Geese not a pretty sight!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Another Sandpiper!

07.20-08.20 in the sea watch hide was a very long hour:
Gannet: 6E
Bar-tailed Godwit: 2W
Arctic Skua: 2 around
Sandwich Tern: 8 around
Commic Tern: c20 around
Black Tern: 1+ could be seen over The Patch
Swallow: c20 out
Meadow Pipit: c30 coasting
                                            Pectoral Sandpiper from Firth Hide
A text from AJG about a Pectoral Sandpiper on Burrowes thankfully put an end to a miserable sea watch. As I walked into Firth hide a few minutes later I got the inevitable you should have been here 30 seconds earlier its flown off!
We moved up to Makepiece hide and quickly relocated the Pectoral Sandpiper albeit distantly, though it did show fairly well  from Firth hide before it relocated to the ARC Pit. Also seen on Burrowes were 3 Black-necked Grebes, a Little Gull, a Garganey, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Sparrowhawks, 3 Greenshank, 15 Black-tailed Godwits, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Ruff, 15+ Dunlin, 3 Egyptian Geese and this evening 4 Little Stints at least 2 Merlins over the reserve, a Great White Egret but no sign of yesterdays peep.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Terns and Waders and another Peep?

Sea watch 06.15-08.15:
Shearwater sp: 3W (Manx or Balearic) 
Gannet: 77W
Bar-tailed Godwit: 4W 
Merlin: 2 in off
Arctic Skua: 22W
Kittiwake: 1W
Commic Terns: small number off shore
Sandwich Tern: 46W
A good selection of Terns at The Patch this morning:
Black Tern: 5
Little Tern: 1
Arctic Tern: 2+
Commic Tern: 75
Little Gull: 2
 At the ARC round the car park and the Tower Pits 10+ Blackcaps, 6 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Common Whitethroats, 1 Willow Warbler, 20+ Chiffchaffs, 2 Reed Warblers, 2 Cetti's Warblers 4 Yellow Wagtails, a Hobby and 2 Marsh Harriers.
From Hanson a Black-necked Grebe, 20 Golden Plover, a little Stint, 2 Dunlin, 2 Common snipe, 2 Ruff and 2 Greenshank.
Dengemarsh Gully  found just 3 Chiffchaffs. On Dengemarsh 1 Great White Egret, 12 Pintail, 2 Marsh Harriers and 4 Yellow Wagtails of note.

 From Firth Hide this afternoon another good selection of waders:
Black-tailed Godwit: 29
Bar-tailed Godwit: 1
Ruff: 6
Greenshank: 4
Redshank: 1
Golden Plover: c50
Lapwing: c100
Common Snipe: 3
Little Stint: 3
Dunlin: 10+
Ringed Plover: 6+
Also 2+ Sparrowhawks, a Marsh Harrier and another Peep? (see below)

After the problems with Stints and Peeps lately, any one who is interested can make there own minds up on todays bird!  

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Not the best weekend!

A lazy start on Saturday after a full English I went to the reserve. Not long after arriving news of a domestic disaster involving a washing machine took up most of my day and the early part of this morning.
Reg by the visitor centre
When I did get out this morning I was just settling myself in the Screen hide when a call from DW alerted me to an Ortolan Bunting found by SM and apparently seen very briefly early morning by SO. When I arrived the bird had gone missing  and after a while I wandered further down the Gully and stood with NB and CT scanning the scrub which held Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps. I saw in the distance DW arrive in the company Mr Chidwick. Shortly after he arrived DW was indicating  that the bird was in front of him on the other side of the Gully, being at the far end of the Gully by the time I and NB along with CT arrived the bird had disappeared never to be seen again. (I'm sure Mr Chidwick tried to throw his scope at it lol).
With all 4 Skua's and Shearwaters being reported, I went down to the concrete road to stare at the sea and only managed 3 Arctic Skua's chasing Terns, probably the same 3 birds that have been around for several weeks. Another watch early evening in the rain saw the same Skua's with the addition of 36 Common Scoter going into Hythe bay.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Semi P reappears

 I joined AJG at The Point at 07.15, the look of boredom on his face said it all, after 15 minutes of seeing a couple of Arctic Skuas that have been around for several days beating up a couple of Sandwich Terns, we headed for the observatory. On arrival we were told a Pied flycatcher had been ringed but little else.
I made my way to the reserve centre and wandered up to Firth hide and found BP already there. From the hide 7 Ruff, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Greenshank, 2 Common Snipe, 4 Dunlin, 2 distant Little Stints and 3 Sedge Warblers in front the hide. We were joined by a Sandwich Bay birder and The Joker We all moved to Makepiece where the birder from Sandwich Bay relocated the 2 Little Stints, I started to scope the island for the Stints and the first bird I saw was the Semipalmated Sandpiper in the company of 2 Little Stints. We quickly put the news out and the bird showed almost continually albeit distantly (so no pictures) till about 14.30 when all 3 birds disappeared. 2 Black-necked Grebes were also visible from Makepiece.
At lunch time from Plodland 6 Yellow Wagtails over, 30+ Meadow Pipits and a Hobby.
After lunch I went to Hanson where 2 Garganey, a Black-necked Grebe, 11 Black-tailed Godwits and 2 Ruff could be seen. From there back to the reserve where I learned the the Semi P had gone missing. Fortunately PT of relocated it on the ARC pit from the Screen Hide. I made my way there and while there got a call from DW, who was in Firth hide that he was watching a very distant Osprey that was over The Pilot PH. As the screen hide looks directly in that direction I managed to find the Osprey being heavily mobbed, it did eventually come a little closer but appeared to move off west.
The Semi P was still present from the screen hide at 17.30 when I left.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Around the area!

Sea Watch from the fishing boats with AJG and DW 07.00-09.00
Gannet 64 E
Teal 5 W
Wigeon 13 E
Scoter 2 W
Ringed Plover 2 in
Dunlin 1 in
Curlew 2 E
Turnstone 4 W
Arctic Skua 14 W
Arctic tern 1 W
Common tern 6 W
Sandwich Tern 34 W
Auk Sp 4 W
Hobby 1 in
Wheatear: 1 on beach
Swallow 7 E
Sand Martin 2 E
Grey Wagtail 3 over
Meadow Pipit 3 over

At the south end of the ARC of note:
Black-necked Grebe: 2 
Ruff: 5 
Greenshank: 2 
Yellow Wagtail: 2
Sand Martin: c300 over the lake

At Galloways with MH and BP: of note
Whinchat: 9
Wheatear: 1
Stonechat: 2

The ARC from Hanson: of note
Black-necked Grebe: 2
Little Egret: 4
Hobby: 1
Black-tailed Godwit: 9
Dunlin: 2
Common Snipe: 1
Golden Plover: c50
Marsh Harrier: 1
Cetti's Warbler: 2

On  Burrowes Pit: of note
Great White Egret: 1
Little Egret: 2
Hobby: 2
Marsh Harrier: 1
Ruff: 3
Common Snipe: 2
Greenshank: 1
Bar-tailed Godwit: 1
Dunlin: 12
Ringed Plover: 4
Golden Plover: c30

One again The Midrips looked so good yet delivered little:
Culew: 3 
Dunlin: 11
Sanderling: 1
Ringed Plover: 8
Golden plover: c20 on shingle ridge
Hobby: 1
Sandwich Tern: 3

Scotney still holds the 2 Ruddy Shelduck, the Egyptian Geese along with 100s of Greylags and Canada Geese.

This afternoon From The Fishing Boats 13.45-15.45 with DW:
Common Scoter: 10W
Whimbrel: 1 in
Dunlin: 3 on beach
Ringed Plover: 1 on beach
Arctic Skua: 10W  6E
Kittiwake: 2W
Little Gull : 1 the usual bird
Guillemot: 2W
Auk sp: 7W
No Counts mad of Gannet, Sandwich Terns and commic Terns.
Arctic Skua from the fishing boats

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Deja Vu!

Yesterday morning in the rain, I was in Firth hide when a small wader appeared in front of me. I fired off a few quick shots in the gloom and it flew to a distant island then disappeared. I thought it was probably a Stint but had some suspicions about it. After a while the rain stopped, the bird had not reappeared so I went sea watching and  completely forgot about it.
When I got home in the evening I downloaded the days pictures to my laptop while I ate my dinner.
After dinner I started looking at the pictures. As the first one opened I uttered an expletive and quickly sent a couple of shots to DW and phoned him to let him know they were coming. He shortly called me back and was calm and more or less speechless, but my ears were definitely burning with what he wanted to call me.  
This morning I went to Firth Hide as soon as the gate opened finding 2 of the locals already there. They had seen a Stint on a distant island but had lost it in the poor light. Fortunately I relocated the bird quite quickly and put the news out that there was a Semipalmated Sandpiper there. 
The bird showed quite well on and off all day but never really close and was quite mobile.
Semipalmated Sandpiper with Dunlin

 Other birds seen from Firth were 5 Ruff, 8+ Ringed Plover, 14+ Dunlin, a Greenshank, 50+ Golden Plover, 5 Common Snipe, a Black Tern, a Black-necked Grebe, 2+Hobbys, 2 Marsh Harriers, 8 Little Egrets and a Great White Egret. Also 2 Spoonbills flew west OL,DW.
Semipalmated Sandpiper alighting
 The south end of the ARC held a Little Stint and another Black-necked Grebe, from Hanson 10 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Ruff and 2 Garganey of note.
Palmations visible
The following Limerick is courtesy of The Joker!

There once was a birder named Plod
Found a wader that seemed very odd
His claimed Little Stint
That had made his eyes glint
Was a Semi P- the clever old sod!