Saturday, 31 August 2013

A Lazy Day

On my way to The Midrips I stopped at Scotney and was surprised to see 400+ Yellow Wagtails on the grassy field, but less surprised to see 1000+ Greylag and Canada Geese there.
The Midrips was disappointing again with just 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 7 Dunlin, 1 Avocet, 3 Wheatear and sprinkling of Swallows and Sand Martins.
While checking Scotney again the Yellow Wagtails had moved on but 2 Ruddy Shelduck flew in.
A quick look at Galloways saw 6+ Wheatear and 5+ Whinchat, but the Wryneck did not show for me but was seen on and off all day for others.
A few hours at home in the garden was fruitful with a new garden tick in the form of 3 Crossbills over, also a steady trickle of Yellow Wagtails, Swallows and Sand Martins over. Over newly cut fields a Hobby and 2 Marsh Harriers, but despite a text from OL and intensive scanning I was unable to pick up the Honey Buzzard he saw flying south over Littlestone towards my house.
1 of 2 Egyptian Geese on the newly flooded hayfield
Late afternoon/early evening I parked at Springfield Bridge and walked around the reserve. The 2 Great White Egrets were still on Dengemarsh, 2 the Egyptian Geese were on the newly flooded hayfield. From Firth hide 3 Black-necked Grebes, a Garganey, a Greenshank, a Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Common Sandpipers. All round the reserve there was a steady trickle of Sand Martins and the Marsh Harriers were much in evidence.  

Friday, 30 August 2013

Not a bad day!

At The Patch this morning 4 Black Terns in the melee of Commic Terns and Gulls. Offshore 3 Arctic Skuas chasing the Terns.
Very little of note in the bushes around The Point just 3 Wheatears, 2 common Whitethroats and a Willow Warbler.
On the ARC Pit viewed from the causeway, a Black-necked Grebe, 2 Marsh Harriers, c 60 Golden Plover, 150+ Lapwing and 150+ Sand Martins.
Whinchats 4 of 10 at Galloways 
 At Galloways with MH 10 Whinchats, 10 Wheatears, 7 Common Whitethroats, 4 Stonechats and the elusive Wryneck.

Uncooperative Wryneck

 This evening from Firth hide 2 Ruff, 2 Common Snipe, a Greenshank, a Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpipers and a Garganey.
Garganey 1 of 3 on Burrowes this evening

Black-necked Grebes Burrowes pit
From Makepiece 2 Black-necked Grebes showing well, also 2 Garganey, my first Pintail of the Autumn, 7 Little Egrets and many Sand Martins over the pits. 

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Late Wryneck

This morning from by the sea watch hide 2 Black Terns and a Greenshank were of note, a few Terns and Gannets off shore and 5+ Harbour Porpoises.
A plod around the Lighthouse, West Beach, Lloyds, Station Gorse, The Desert and southern Long Pit was not rewarding. The highlights were a single Redstart, 7 Willow warblers, 7 Common Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat, 55 Sand Martins and 59 Swallows.
Common Buzzard over the garden this afternoon
 A couple of hours working in the garden this afternoon, but still had superb views of a Common Buzzard, a Sparrowhawk over and c20 Yellow Wagtails over.
 At the ARC late afternoon from Hanson 4 Greenshank, c50 Golden Plover, c150 Lapwing, a Redshank, 2 Common Snipe, a Common Sandpiper, a Green Sandpiper, a Garganey and a Black-necked Grebe.
Water Rail with 1 of at least 6 chicks
 From the Screen this evening the Water Rail and her chicks showing well occasionally also 2 Marsh Harriers and a party of c200 Sand Martins that appeared to go straight through to the sea.
 I'd just got home from the ARC (19.10) when I got a call from Tony and Brenda to say they were watching a Wryneck by Galloways Road just a 2 minute drive away. Needless to say minutes later I was there trying to photograph a very jumpy Wryneck in the rapidly failing light. I did manage the worst images that I have ever taken of a Wryneck shot at 2000 iso and long range. Many thanks to Tony and Brenda for the call.

This painted pebble is in the Screen Hide, if you go there please pick it up and admire the lovely art work but please LEAVE IT in the hide when you leave.  

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Another Glorious day at Dungeness

90 minutes from the seawatch hide with AJG this morning produced c300 Commic Terns, 7 Black Terns, 2 Little Gulls, 4 Wigeon and 2 Teal west. A few Gannets fishing  offshore, 2 Harbour Porpoises and the bull Grey Seal. 
Reed Warbler in The Moat
A walk AJG around The Moat, West Beach, Lloyds, The Lighthouse, The Desert and south end of the trapping area found:
Hobby: 1
Sparrowhawk: 4
Willow Warbler: 9
Chiffchaff: 1
Common Whitethroat: 9
Reed Warbler: 2
Sedge Warbler: 1
Whinchat: 3
Wheatear: 9
Spotted Flycatcher: 1
Pied Flycatcher: 3
Yellow Wagtail: 9
Swallow: 31
Sand Martin: 33
At Galloways another Pied flycatcher, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Whinchat and 3 Common Whitethroats. While there I got a text from Patrick to say he had found a Wryneck at the Long Pits, despite searching with several local it could not be relocated.
Greenshank from The Screen
 This evening at the ARC the Water rail with 2 Chicks still but elusive, 2 Ruff,1 Green Sandpiper a Black-necked Grebe and 5+ Greenshank one of which gave a superb fly by in front The Screen.
In the bushes 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Common Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warblers, 3 Reed Warblers and a Cetti's Warbler.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Yellow Wagtails

First thing this morning I walked the track from Lydd to Hookers and then had a wander around Galloways. Yellow Wagtails were quite numerous but other migrants were few and far between with only 4 Whinchats, 5 Wheatears, 7 Common Whitethroats, 2 Reed Warblers and 2 Willow Warblers.
A visit to The Midrips found 10 Avocet, 1 Greenshank, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Common Whitethroat, 6+ Wheatears, c100 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Peregrines, a few each of Sand Martin and Swallow and 2 Clouded Yellows.
At 1000+ Greylag Geese, 100+ Canada Geese, more Yellow Wagtails and the 2 Ruddy Shelduck still present.
Water rail
 A couple of hours spent at the ARC this evening saw 2 Marsh Harrier, 4 Little Egret, 3 Ruff, 6+ Greenshank, a Knot, 2 Redshank, 2 Snipe, 3 Ringed Plovers, a Common Sandpiper, a Garganey among the other dabblers, 2 Black-necked Grebes and in front the Screen a Water rail with 2 fluffy black chicks and Reed and Sedge Warblers.
Water Rail Chick

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Pied Flycatchers

In several stops today at the south end of the ARC 5 Greenshanks, 2 Dunlin, a Common Sandpiper, a Black-necked Grebe and 3 Little Egrets.
Greenshanks at south end of the ARC
 At The Patch 6+ Black Terns (100+ recorded early morning past) 1 Little Gull, 20+ Commic Terns, a distant dark phase Arctic Skua and 3 Balearic Shearwaters west (c15 recorded today).
Another hour from the fishing boats this afternoon saw only 1 pale phase Arctic Skua of note.
From Hanson just 1 Whimbrel and 2 Ringed Plovers though a couple of Marsh Harriers had spooked just about everything.
Pied Flycatcher Galloways
 My totals of passerine migrants for The Point, ARC, The reserve including walking the track from Hookers to Lydd, Galloways, Dengemarsh and Scotney today:
Willow Warblers: 25+
Chiffchaff: 2
Common Whitethroat: 25+
Lesser Whitethroat: 2
Garden Warbler: 3
Whinchat: 14 (25+ reported)
Stonechat: 2
Pied Flycatcher: 3
Redstart: 1
Yellow Wagtail: 80+
Sand Martin: 100s
A call from DW doing his WEBs  about 2 presumably escaped Ruddy Shelducks at Scotney at the back of the lake immediately west of concrete road to Bretts.
Pied Flycatcher Dengemarsh
 Returning to Galloways this evening with no one around the Pied Flycatchers were very obliging for the camera.
Pied Flycatcher Galloways

Sand Martins over the garden

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Migrants in the rain

An hour at the fishing boats in the rain was uninspiring. A few Terns and Gannets feeding off shore, the only birds moving were 22 Teal and 2 Wigeon west.
At the south end of the ARC 2 Black-necked Grebes and 2 Little Egrets, from Hanson another Black-necked Grebe, 1 Greenshank, 1 Green Sandpiper,1 Common Sandpiper and a few Sand Martins over the pit. Round the hide and in the bushes by the track to the pines in a short let up in the rain c20 Common Whitethoats, c15 Willow Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Sedge Warblers, 6 Reed Warblers, 3 Cetti's Warblers and 6+ Yellow Wagtails.
 In a morning and afternoon visit to Galloways and Dengemarsh 2 Common Redstarts, 4 Whinchats, 6 Wheatears, c 30 Common Whitethroats, 2 Stonechats, 4 Yellow Wagtails, a few Swallows. Also a Pied flycatcher per Neil Burt.
 Late morning round the observatory, Lloyds, West Beach and the Lighthouse 2 Pied Flycatchers (my first of the year), the juvenile Cuckoo still by the Heligoland trap, 9 Willow Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs and 6 Common Whitethroats.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Thin Fare

Very little of note on the sea this morning, the same dark phase Arctic Skua that has been around for some time chasing a few Terns that were moving up channel along with a few Gannets.
A walk up to the north end of the Long Pits including The Moat, Lloyds, West Beach and The Lighthouse found 34 Willow Warblers, 25 Common Whitethroats, 8 Reed Warblers, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, a Whinchat, the Cuckoo for its fourth day and 6 Swallows.
Another sea watch this evening from the fishing boats was poor, with just a few Terns, Gannets, 20+ Common Scoter and the same Arctic Skua,  especially as Tony and Brenda had seen 11 Balearic Shearwaters from there earlier.
After the sea watch I went back to the ARC where the only waders were a single Greenshank and 4 Oystercatchers. Not a single Lapwing or Golden Plover. 3 Green Sandpipers flew over towards the reserve and the Black-necked Grebe could be seen.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Nothing new but still plenty to see

The last couple of days at Dungeness have been very quiet. Little or no sea bird movement, most of the waders from the ARC have cleared out, very few new passerines except Hirundines around the peninsular.
But if you visit Dungeness you can still find Great White Egret, Little Egrets, Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Peregrine, Black-necked Grebe, Garganey, Willow, Sedge, Reed and Cetti's Warbler, Common and Lesser Whitethroats to name a few species. Also with a change of weather on the way a look at the sea could well be worthwhile.    

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

A Bird in the Hand

I spent the most the morning sitting in the garden sky watching while waiting for the carpet fitters to arrive. In that time up to 8 Common Buzzards and 4 Marsh Harriers were over the fields with numerous Corvids, also a single Hobby, a Grey Heron, a Little Egret, 2 Yellow Wagtails, a steady trickle of Swallows and Sand Martins and a couple of Goldfinches. Not a bad haul from the garden. 

 Once the carpets were done I visited the observatory where 2 Pied Flycatchers had been seen. While I was there a juvenile Cuckoo was trapped in the Heligoland Trap, a superb looking bird.
Once the bird was released I made way round The Moat, Lloyds, The Lighthouse and The Experimental Station seeing 1 Whinchat, 1 Redstart, 5 Wheatears, 6 Willow Warblers, 6 Common Whitethroats, 1 Chiffchaff but still no Pied Flycatchers.
A late afternoon visit to The moat and the Cuckoo was perched on the Heligoland.

 This afternoon at the ARC still at least 1 Black-necked Grebe, c50 Golden Plover, 1 Curlew, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 4 Common Sandpipers, 1 Knot, 8 Dunlin and 2 Ringed Plovers. By the track to the pines 5+ Common Whitethroats, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and 4+ Willow Warblers.
A short watch from the fishing boats was very quiet, the highlight being 8 Turnstone on the beach.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Watching the Sea!

 First stop this morning Dengemarsh Gully with MH where there was 7 Willow Warblers, 6 Common Whitethroats, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Wheatears, 4 Yellow Wagtails and a Hobby of note.
At Dengemarsh the Great White Egret, still a few Terns left on the rafts, a juvenile Green Woodpecker, a Bittern Flew over and 7 Clouded Yellows.
On Burrowes a Little Gull, 1 Black-tailed Godwit the 2 Egyptian Geese among the usual wildfowl.
By the entrance track another Hobby and a Marsh Harrier.
In 2 visits to the ARC 3 Black-necked Grebes, 2 Ruff, 50+Golden Plover with c150 Lapwing, 2 Green Sandpipers, 6 Common Sandpipers, 2 Greenshanks, 2 Dunlin, 2 Snipe, 6 Ringed Plovers and Garganey, with the usual Marsh Harriers and Sparrowhawks spooking everything occasionally.
Part of a flock of 11 past the fishing boats
45 minutes at the fishing boats this afternoon was unproductive, with only a flock of 11 Shelduck  west and the usual 1st summer Little Gull. 

Sunday, 18 August 2013


08.30-09.30 from the fishing boats:
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: n/c
C Scoter: 9E
Arctic Skua: 1W
Little Gull: 1 off shore
Kittiwake: 1W
Black Tern: 23W
Commic Tern: 265W
Harbour Porpoise: 2 

 At the ARC of note 2 Black-necked Grebes, 2 Avocet, a Greenshank, a Green Sandpiper, 6 Common Sandpiper, a Ruff.
 On Burrowes of note a Peregrine dashing past Firth Hide, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Little Gull and the 2 Egyptian Geese. The great white Egret still on Dengemarsh.
a party of 5 Balearic Shearwaters (Some imagination required)
Another seawatch from the fishing boats with AJG and DW
Fulmar: 2W
Balearic Shearwater: 30W
Gannet: n/c
C Scoter: 18W
Kittiwake: 2W
A Skua: 1W
Black Tern: 10W
Commic Tern: 453W
Sandwich Tern: n/c
Harbour Porpoise: 3+

Grey Seal

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Shearwaters, Skua's and Terns

2 Balearic Shearwaters with 2 Arctic Skuas
 Being tied with domestic stuff most of the day and being told by AJG that the sea passage was pretty good,  it was good to get to finally get to the fishing boats this afternoon.
15.00-16.30 when passage appeared to stop with the rain arriving.
Balearic Shearwater: 4W
Fulmar: 1W
G.C.Grebe: 2 on sea
Gannet: 87E
Turnstone: 4 on beach
Arctic Skua: 4+ off shore
Black Tern: 17W
Commic Tern: 428W
Sandwich Tern: 37W
Roseate Tern: 2W
Kittiwake: 1W
Little Gull: 1W
Swift: 4W
Balearic Shearwaters: Note the individual plumage variations!

Black Tern

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Just a Golden Plover!

First thing this morning I went to the ARC to see if the Golden Plover sp was still present, but no sign of it. A good selection of waders could be seen up to 8 Common Sandpipers, 2 Green Sandpipers, 4 Greenshanks, a Ruff several Dunlin, Ringed Plovers, Little Ringed Plovers, Black-necked Grebe, a Garganey among the many other eclipse wildfowl, Marsh Harriers, a Hobby, Little Egrets and 100s of Sand Martins. 
Water rail at the Screen
 Around The Point very little of note. A couple of Willow Warblers in the lighthouse garden and a couple more in The Moat. The Patch was swathed in fog so little was seen there except the 2 Black Redstarts behind the hide.
Late morning at the ARC the Golden Plover sp. reappeared eventually flying showing a clean whitish underwing confirming it as a Eurasian  Golden Plover. I guess I was seeing what I wanted to see rather than what was actually there.
Garganey from Hanson
An hour at the fishing boats late afternoon was only good for sun bathing!  

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Not Happy!

First stop this morning was the observatory where Patrick was busy processing Willow Warblers.
A plod around the point found a minimum 50 Willow warblers, 40 Common Whitethroats, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, a Redstart, a Golden Plover and flock of 19 Redshank over the obs. 
In 2 visits the ARC a good selection of waders, 16 Black-tailed Godwits, 8 Common Sandpipers, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpipers, 2 Ringed Plover, 5 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Greenshank, 7 Knot, 11 Dunlin, c10 Oystercatchers, c50 Lapwing, a Golden Plover with a Garganey and Black-necked Grebe. Also the Golden Plover sp that I am not happy with. See the poor images below.  
 I saw this bird from the Screen and it immediately struck me as being slender, long legged and with dark spangling even at the c300 mt range. I watched it for a while then went back to the car to look at a field guide. After looking at the guide I was not completely happy but started towards Hanson. The more I thought about the bird the less happy I became, so turned round and went back to the Screen. Spending the next 3hrs watching the bird. I was joined by other Dungeness regulars. In 3hrs the bird only flew 3 times when flushed by a Marsh Harrier and was watched in flight for no more than a few seconds, only showing the underwing once which did appear pale, but this was in strong sunlight and I cannot honestly say I could see its feet protruding from the tail. The undertail did have black spotting/barring. The Tertials appeared quite long but detail was very difficult to make out at the range and heat haze. When only CT and myself were left watching the bird a Golden Plover  flew in. The difference was striking as the new bird was very dumpy in comparison and basically a bog standard Golden Plover. The bird was regularly harassed by Lapwings but more often than not fought back instead of running.
Many thanks to Tony for letting me put my camera on his 600mm lense.

Knot dropping into the ARC