Saturday, 31 May 2014


A wander around the desert and southern edge of the trapping area found as expected little of note, except a brazen Fox sunning itself, probably lost its way trying to find the hay fields.  
At the observatory DW came back with Cetti's Warbler a really scruffy adult male. 
 A lazy afternoon spent sky watching from Plodland started with a Honey Buzzard which flew high west over the ranges, up to 3 Common Buzzards at a time were over the fields, also up to 5 Hobby's, 3 Marsh Harriers, a Peregrine and several each of Little Egret and Grey Heron to and from the Heronry.
 A wander round the Hay fields to Dengemarsh, found 4 Avocet, 9 Black-tailed Godwits, a Redshank, a Ringed Plover, a Garganey and 6 Little Egrets on Hay Field 3, as I was leaving 8 Lapwings dropped in.
 By Dengemarsh Hide a Sedge Warbler was posing and a Cetti's Warbler was shouting out its song, a Hobby was over the reed bed as was 2 Marsh Harriers and Bittern was booming half heartedly.

Friday, 30 May 2014


07.00 at The Patch just 13 Common Terns over the boil with a few Black Headed and Herring Gulls with a few more Gulls on the beach including the Leucistic/worn Herring Gull.
Highlight of a wander around The Moat was a pair of Red-legged Partridges, the south enge of the trapping area and Desert were very quiet. 
At Springfield Bridge I was just about to wander down to the hay fields when The Joker pulled up and told me the wardens had just been walking around them and flushed most things again.
Adult sun bathing yesterday
A check on the Little Owl family saw an adult in the usual place but the 3 young were hiding.
At wander around Scotney in the NE breeze was not particularly pleasant. Avocets were much in evidence as were c200 Swifts and Corn Buntings but only 2 Yellow Wagtails.
 At Springfield Bridge this evening 6+ Hobby's and c50 Swifts, on hayfield 3 still at least 2 drake Garganey but no sign of yesterdays 3 Greenshanks, not surprising when the wardens keep checking the fence around it.
 On Dengemarsh the tern rafts are full of nesting Common Terns and are best watched in the mornings when the sun is behind you, a Cetti's Warbler was singing beside the hide.
Some of the gang in Hayfield 3 this evening!!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Blyth's Reed Warbler!

Very little of note on the sea this morning. At The Patch c200 Common Terns, a 1st Summer Little Gull and the leucistic/worn Herring Gull trying to look like an Iceland Gull.
At the ARC several 100s of Swifts, with smaller numbers of House Martins and Swallows, 2 Hobby's, a Cuckoo and the usual reed bed warblers. 
This mornings Honey Buzzard honest!
Late morning AJG eventually managed to contact me with news that he was listening to a Blyth's Reed Warbler that had been found by DW and was singing on the southern edge of the trapping area. Needless to say a few minutes later I was on site and soon heard it singing. It was very elusive giving only fleeting views from deep inside the bushes even when it was singing. Click on the link for an audio file of the bird complete with the whistle of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway. BLYTH'S REED WARBLER I spent most of the rest of the day there in the hope of getting an image to no avail. While there a Honey Buzzard gave distant views. 
Audio file was courtesy of AJG.  

Tuesday, 27 May 2014


some of the c300 Common Terns at The Patch
 On a thoroughly miserable day I spent an hour or so in The Patch Hide this morning for a change. Over the boil c300 Common Terns and at least 1 Arctic Tern picked out by DW, also a 1st summer Little Gull among the usual non breeding Black-headed Gulls and Herring Gulls. On the beach at least 4 North Thames colour ringed Herring Gulls, off shore c30 Common Scoter flew east and a handful of Gannets.
At the ARC a wander up to the pines saw 3 Cuckoo's, 2 unhappy Hobby's c100 Swifts with a few Swallows and the usual reed bed warblers.
At Scotney c 500 Swifts covering the lake, also of note 10 adult Avocets and 5 chicks and a Little Ringed Plover.
A cycle ride down Galloways this afternoon saw a Corn Bunting, a Cuckoo, 4 Stonechats, several Common Whitethroats, a Sedge Warbler, a Marsh Harrier and bumped into The joker on the way out. When I arrived at Springfield Bridge there were 5 very miserable looking Hobby's sitting on the security fence posts and another c150 Swifts. I was going to wander down to the hay fields but saw that the wardens were working in them which gave me the excuse cycle back home for a cup of tea.  

Monday, 26 May 2014

10-0 to the Bee-eaters!

Perhaps I'm being but paranoid, but just because you are there doesn't mean you see everything does it? As yet again I missed another sighting of a Bee-eater on the peninsular today, the 10th in four days despite being only minutes and in 2 of the sightings seconds away!!!
I thought I'd post the picture below just to remind me of what to look out for.  
This one I took in Cyprus in April 2005

Sunday, 25 May 2014


07.45-10.00 from the sea watch hide:
Fulmar: 3E 1W
Manx shearwater: 1W
Gannet: 95E 47W
Common Scoter: 149E 24W
Great Skua: 2E
Arctic Skua: 2E
Commic Tern: 53E
Sandwich Tern: n/c
Kittiwake: 2W
Guillemot: 3W 1E
Swallow: 8 in

 A couple of hours this morning spent by the screen hide trying photograph the up to 6 Hobby's there, also a couple of Marsh Harriers there with the usual reed bed warblers, a Cuckoo and 2 Mediterranean Gulls over.

I managed to miss another or the same group of 4 Bee-eaters at The Point lunchtime and another heard over the reserve this afternoon.
Early afternoon from Springfield Bridge 16+ Hobby's over Dengemarsh with c100 Swifts.
90 minutes staring out across the marsh from Plodland saw 3 Common Buzzards, 3 Marsh Harriers, 6+Hobby's, 2 Peregrines, a Raven and 2 Little Egrets of note.
This evening a wander around the hay fields with CT saw the drake Garganey still in 3 with several each Shelduck, Mallard and Gadwall, a Teal and the inevitable Crows also 5 black-tailed Godwits dropped in, with the wind dropping out completely c100 Swallows appeared with the Swifts over the fields feasting on the myriads of insects that were about tonight, the Bittern was booming half heartedly but a Cuckoo was in fine song.

Friday, 23 May 2014

I see no Bee-eaters!!!

 When I woke this morning I pulled back the curtain, just as superb adult male Marsh Harrier flew by not 20yds away, a great start to the day.
 With little moving on the sea this morning I wandered down to The Patch seeing the 2 resident Peregrines on the way. On the beach the leucistic/worn Herring Gull that is masquerading as an Iceland Gull and a regular colour ringed Herring Gull A3BJ was about all there was of note.
 The south end of the ARC held 3 Redshank and 2 Little Egrets.
 I spent an hour at Dennis's Hide where c50 Swifts were doing there best to give me photo opportunities. Several Swallows were with them and 20+ Common terns were over the lake.

 Next stop was Springfield Bridge. Plodding down to Hayfield 3, 2 Ravens flew over, 4 Hobby's were over Dengemarsh along with 2 Marsh Harriers. A tweet from BP about a Bee-eater over the Tower Pits had me scanning the horizons hopefully. I arrived at the Hay Field 3 to be told by another birder that a Bee-eater had just flown over Dengemarsh while I was watching the Hobby's! At the Hayfield a drake Garganey could be seen distantly and a Bearded Tit posed.
 Lunch time from Plodland 3 Marsh Harriers, 3 Common Buzzards, 2 Hobby's, 2+ Little Egrets, 3 Grey Herons and a Cuckoo which alighted briefly on the hedge opposite. Also I received a text from BM about 2 more Bee-eaters over the allotments.
A stupidly tame Red-legged Partridge at Jurys Gap
 This afternoon as the red flags came down early I went to The Midrips with no real expectations which was just as well. What looks like superb habitat held just 4 Avocets, 11 Redshanks, 4 Dunlin, 8 Ringed Plovers, a fly through Curlew and Grey Plover, 2 Gadwall and c30 Shelduck also at least 5 male Wheatears. When I was just about as far from the car as I could possibly be I got a call from The joker about a party of 4 Bee-eaters in a private garden on the marsh, I hadn't got far before he called back to say they had just flown off high NE. So I am now a member of a very exclusive club of people who have NOT seen a Bee-eater on the marsh in the past week.
Back at Jury's Gap a stupidly tame Red-legged Partridge let me get to within 1mt to snap him with my mobile phone.
A cycle ride around the marsh this evening found the overhead wires Bee-eater free zones.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Stormy Day!

A short sea watch 07.00-07.30 and early breakfast this morning as little was passing at sea and I had forgotten my coat.
At Scotney at the Kent end 6 adult Avocets with 5 young, a Redshank and 2 Ringed Plovers. At the Sussex end 5 adult Avocets, a Greenshank and 2 Little Egrets.   
Sedge Warbler at the top of hay field 3
1 of at least 6 Hobby's over Dengemarsh
Dengemarsh late morning a Garganey on Hayfield 3, Bearded Tits, Sedge and Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings by the gate. Over Dengemarsh 50+ Swifts and up to 6 camera shy Hobby's, which were probably new in as they disappeared as soon as the sun came out. From the viewing ramp 2 Cuckoo's and the usual Warblers and Marsh Harriers. 
Common Tern from Dennis's Hide
Thunderstorm over the VC
This afternoon I sat it out in Dennis's Hide while a couple of thunderstorms passed over. As the storm approached c100 Swifts were over Burrowes and New diggings, but quickly disappeared during the storm only to reappear as soon as it passed. A Black Tern on Burrowes was not as obliging as the c 40 Common Terns there,
Black Tern over Burrowes after the storm

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Common Terns

Common Terns moving east over mirror calm sea this morning. 
 Sea watch hide 07.10-09.10 with AJG and BC:
Red-throated Diver: 1E
Great Crested Grebe: 9 o/s
Gannet: 7E   2W
Shelduck: 3E
Common Scoter: 16E    8W
Oystercatcher: 9E
Sanderling: 3E
Dunlin: 1E
Arctic Skua: 1 o/s
Little Tern: 1E
Black Tern: 2E
Common Tern: 374E   800+ had already gone E before I arrived per BC
Roseate Tern: 1E    5 minutes before I arrived
Grey Seal: 1 o/s
Harbour Porpoise: 2+ o/s
A pristine Striped Hawk Moth trapped at Greatstone by BB
Greater Whitefronted Goose with Greylags and Canada Geese.
Late morning visit to the Scotney complex with AJG found of note, at least 17 adult Avocets with at least 9 young, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Ringed Plovers, 2 Whimbrel and Curlew over, 3 pairs of Oystercatchers, a family of Pied Wagtails, 20+ Yellow Wagtails, 5+ Corn Buntings, 4+ Skylarks, a Whitefronted Goose with Greylags and Canada Geese and c200 Mute Swans.
Mid afternoon at a drizzly Dengemarsh 2 Hobby's were showing well and 50+ Swifts were hawking over the marsh. I couldn't find any Garganey on Hayfield 3 but they may be tucked away in the reeds at the bottom of the field.
This afternoon at The Point with AJG:
Fulmar: 1E
Gannet: 9E
Arctic Skua: 1 o/s
Little Tern: 2E
Common Tern: 267E
Sandwich Tern: 84E

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Dolphins and Turtle Doves!

07.00-09.30 from the sea watch hide with DW and AJG:
Gannet: 6E
Shoveller: 1E
Common Scoter: 36E
Great Skua: 1E
Pomarine Skua: 1E
Black Tern: 3E
Mixed flock of Commic and Sandwich Terns feeding o/s c300
Kittiwake: 5E    2W
Mediterranean Gull: 2E
Swallow: 2 in
Black Redstart: on perimeter fence
Grey Seal: 1
White Beaked Dolphin: 5+ spotted by DW just west of The Patch for about 30 minutes.
Turtle Dove Walland marsh
A Bee-eater was spotted by PB heading towards the Power Station, but evaded me at The Point where the bushes were very quiet, the best being 2 Sparrowhawks.
Late morning a look around the marsh with AJG, in particular a wander along the canal at Kenardington saw several Yellow Hammers, Blackcaps, Common Whitethroats, Chiffchaffs, Green Woodpeckers, Song and Mistle Thrushes, a Hobby  and 3 Turtle Doves.
Coming back across the marsh brilliant views of 2 more Turtle Doves and a Marsh Harrier.
At Scotney this afternoon 5 Avocets on the spit with 3+ young, disappointingly I didn't see any other waders.
A plod around the reserve this evening was predictably quiet in the dreary conditions, of note 2 Marsh Harriers over Dengemarsh, 4 Garganey(3 drakes and a duck), 22 Gadwall and 32 Carrion Crows on Hay Field 3.

Monday, 19 May 2014

4G your joking! 3G would be nice!

5 of a flock of 6 Pomarine Skuas this morning
Arriving at the sea watch a little before 07.00, to find BM and some botanist bloke from Surrey had already seen 12 Poms fly east, I should have guessed it was going to be one of those days.
At 08.30 BM and the Surrey bloke went to the observatory to do some sky watching, leaving me an AJG at the sea watch hide. 09.20 a single Pom flew east, Great! At the same time it seems half of Dungeness were trying to contact us at the hide to tell us a Montagu's Harrier was behind us! No mobile service! B*****! at 09.45 a fine flock of 6 Poms majestically flew east, just as Bee-eater was perched up on the edge of the trapping area for ten minutes! once again no mobile service! double B*****! A plod around the trapping area and long pits failed to relocate it! I went home for lunch and with a visit to the dentist this afternoon not the best of days, but the Poms are brilliant birds. At least the North Downs and Beyond bloke connected with all the goodies today! Well deserved Steve!    

Sunday, 18 May 2014


 At Scotney this morning of note, 13 Avocets on the main lake, a Little Ringed Plover, 2 Shoveller, 2 Common Terns,several each of Yellow Wagtail and Corn Bunting and a Marsh Harrier over.
 Apparently The Point was an avian desert, as was much of the reserve, though the 2 Garganey and 8 Black-tailed Godwits were still on Hayfield 3, 2 Egyptian Geese and a booming Bittern at Dengemarsh plus several Bearded Tits, a Hobby and the ever present Marsh Harriers.
Galloways was very quiet this afternoon but the Rubicola Stonechat was still there.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Pas De Calais!

 I met AJG and BP at silly o-clock to catch the 04.20 ferry to Calais. On the way to Sailly Bray we saw several Grey Partridges Yellowhammers and Corn Bunting in the fields by the motorway. Arriving at Sailly Bray at 07.00 the air was full of bird song. Blackcaps, Garden Warblers, Song Thrushes, Cuckoo's, Reed, Cetti's and Sedge Warblers, a Grasshopper Warbler, 3+ Bluethroats, Marsh Warblers a Melodious Warbler, Rubicola Stonechats, Nightingales, 6 Turtle Doves, over the reed beds were Marsh Harriers, Great White and Little Egrets, White Storks, More Grey Partridges, Hares, nesting Lapwings, Black-winged Stilts, Avocets and more. No Magpies and only 4 Crows were seen and 2 of those were in a Larson Trap which helps to explain the profusion of birds at this site. It is a superb wetland site maintained for hunters with the up side of lots of breeding wading and song birds. A bit different to the Dungeness fields where the Crows and Magpies at least 50 tonight are left to plunder the nesting birds. The few that do manage to get as far as nesting are continually harassed by the Crows as they queue up to take the eggs and young.
 Next stop was St Valery where 40+ Great White Egrets, more Black-winged Stilts, Yellow Wagtails, Wheatears, another singing Bluethroat and more were seen.
 Next stop was Le Crotoy road side pools. Where 100s of noisy nesting Black-headed Gulls were seen, a pair of Garganey mating and another drake, several White Wagtails, 4 Cattle Egrets, more White Storks and Egrets and 2 Swallowtails.
Honey Buzzard near Wissant.
A brief visit to Marquanterre saw more White Storks, Spoonbills, Egrets, Grey Herons and Night Heron and Crested Tits.
A view point over Crecy Forest gave us distant views of 3 Honey Buzzards and a singing Golden Oriole.
On the way home as drove towards Blanc Nez a large raptor was spotted, we quickly pulled up and jumped out of the car to see a superb classic plumaged Honey Buzzard overhead, as it drifted away it did its roller coater display flight and then started wing clapping, a marvellous sight and great way to end a brilliant day seeing a respectable 106 species. 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


 A wander around Scotney GP this morning in the glorious sunshine and just a light breeze was quite rewarding. 26 Avocets were seen, including some young from birds that nested on the main lake. 4 singing Corn Buntings, 8 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Egyptian Geese, 2 Common Buzzards, a Hobby, a Marsh Harrier, 3 Whimbrel, and 2 Black Winged Stilts that flew in from the Sussex end as I walked back down the concrete road.
 Corn Bunting Scotney.
Gives you an idea of where the Black Winged Stilts were.
A wander around the Hay fields found 4 Dunlin, a Greenshank, 2 Peregrines, 2 Hobbys a Marsh Harrier and 3 Bearded Tits of note.
5 Spotted Flycatchers were at the north end of the Long Pits per CT.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Sunshine and Showers!

A very brief look at the sea this morning after another birder had spent an hour there and seen nothing.
A wander around the bushes saw at least 5 Spotted Flycatchers (2 at the south end of the Long Pits and 3 at the north end) 2 Willow warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps a Garden Warbler 10+ Common Whitethroats, 32 Swallows, 1 Sand Martin and 1 Hobby. At West Beach a pair of Black Redstarts.  
 Black Redstarts at West Beach

1 of at least 5 Spotted Flycatchers in the Sallows today 
 Yellow Wagtails Scotney
A brief look at the south end of the ARC saw the 2 roving Egyptian Geese drop in but little else of note.
Dengemarsh from Springfield Bridge 2 Hobbys and a Marsh harrier of note.
At Scotney a surprise in the form of a drake Garganey in the middle of the lake, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Avocet, 6 Ringed Plovers and 2 Yellow Wagtails.
An early evening visit to The Midrips saw 46 Shelduck, 6 Mallard, 2 Gadwall, 2 Coot, 2 Greylags, 4 Mute Swans, 4 Wheatears, 4 Meadow Pipits, 7 Swallows, 1 Whimbrel, 4 Ringed Plovers, 4 Avocet and 1 Grey Plover in its summer finery. Considering the habitat once again The Midrips disappoints, at least there was no wind battering me today.

Monday, 12 May 2014

A very quiet day!

House Sparrow sun bathing at the observatory a couple of days ago.
A slightly less blustery day started at the sea watch hide where little was moving. 9 Common Scoter, a Red-throated Diver flew west and the usual Gannets and Terns were fishing off shore.
A walk around the trapping area and Long Pits with AJG and BM found a few each of Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Reed Warbler and a Cetti's Warbler but best of all 2 Spotted Flycatchers, also a few 4 Spotted Chasers..
At Scotney still 2 Little Terns, also 3 Avocet, 6 Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plover of note. 
At the reserve no sign of the Black Winged Stilt but a Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew over. At Dengemarsh 2 Marsh Harriers, a Hobby, 3 Bearded Tits and a Raven of note.