Sunday, 29 June 2014


Guessing that the beach would be busy with fisherman this morning I had a lay in then made my way down to Dengemarsh via Springfield Bridge. Soon after arriving a tweet from DW alerted me to a Honey Buzzard he had seen fly north over the observatory. I scanned around and eventually picked it up a long way off. Thanks Dave. Hayfield 3 held 3 Little Egrets and 3 Grey Herons along with the Crows but will soon be totally dry, hopefully the pump will be put to use to provide a feeding station for southward bound migrants??? Up to 3 Hobby's and a Common Buzzard were also seen over the fields.

 At Dengemarsh the Common Terns appear to be doing well on the rafts. Bearded Tits seem to have done well with several family parties in the ditches and reed beds.

Just after midday the 737 came across in front of Plodland and into Lydd airport. In truth it was not particularly intrusive, the Army Helicopters are far noisier as are the Spitfire and Hurricane that are regularly in and out, as for the Meteor (I think that's what it is) another regular that is positively deafening at times. As for disturbance to the birds, only a few Pigeons and Crows took flight briefly as the legions of Foxes, Badgers and Crows have eaten or killed everything else.
This evening the Glossy Ibis was at the bottom of Hayfield 3, otherwise no change from this morning.     

Friday, 27 June 2014


 Mid morning the Glossy Ibis was in Hayfield 3 then flew over to the ARC and appeared to land near the Screen Hide. Met up with The Joker on the mound(He's threatened to buy a new joke book) where a couple of Marsh Harriers, a Bearded Tit, Reed Warblers, House Martins, 3 Swifts and Common Terns returning with food for there young on the rafts could be seen. From Dennis's hide a Little Ringed Plover on one of the visible bits of island. Early afternoon the Garganey was still present at the south end of the ARC among the all the Lapwing and other eclipse dabblers.
The young Swallows have left the nest in the Screen Hide but have only move to the other end of the hide. A very noisy family of Green Woodpeckers were at the back of the hide but very little else of note to be seen here.
A rather attractive L-album Wainscott in the Plodland trap last night.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Return Of The Ibis!

Hummingbird Hawk moth
At The Patch this morning still 10+ Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Common Terns over the boil with c100 each of Herring and Black-headed Gulls, also a flock of c70 Common Scoter flew west.  A Hummingbird Hawk Moth was sunning itself on the power station perimeter wall.
The eclipse drake Garganey was again at the south end of the ARC with c30 eclipse Gadwall. On the New Diggings a flock of c200 Pochard and Tufted Duck.
This afternoon at Scotney 2 Egyptian Geese including the leucistic individual, 3 young Avocet, 1 Ringed Plover and a Clouded Yellow.
Late afternoon at Dengemarsh the Glossy Ibis flew into Hay field 3 after a 2 week absence, it was joined by 2 Little Egrets, but little else was seen.
A rapidly drying out Hay field 3

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Swallows and a Bittern!

I joined DW at The Patch this morning where 30+ Mediterranean Gulls could be seen, at least 1 of which was sporting a green colour ring, also there were at least 2 North Thames colour ringed gulls there as well. Only 1 Common Tern over the boil and a handful of Sandwich Terns feeding further out.
2 of the 30+ present at The Patch this morning
At the south end of the ARC at least 1 eclipse drake Garganey among the other moulting dabblers and 150+Lapwing with 5 Little Egrets.
Eclipse drake Garganey
From Hanson hide still a couple of Reed Warblers singing in front the hide, also 100+ Coot and 2 Little Egrets strutting around on what will hopefully in a few weeks be an island. 
Taken at 3200 ISO
In the Screen hide the 4 Swallow chicks must surely fledge in the next day or so. The confused adult came to the nest carrying mud, realised its mistake and added to the start of a new nest a few feet away.
Bittern over the ARC car park
I was just getting back into the car when I heard the bark of a Bittern and just managed to catch it as flew up towards the Tower.
Lunch time I had a couple of hours watch/snooze from Plodland seeing the regular pair if Marsh Harriers, a Common Buzzard and a Little Egret of note. On the feeders Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Chaffinches, House Sparrows, Starlings, Jackdaws and Rooks. 
A late afternoon visit to Scotney saw a Curlew and an Avocet of note. 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Cypress Carpet

Very quiet at The Patch this morning not aided by beach fisherman there. c100 Hering gulls over the boil with a few Black-headed gulls, though 40+ Mediterranean Gulls there this evening per DW. 
Cypress Carpet of note in the Plodland trap today.
A pleasant walk around Dengemarsh and surrounds saw the usual Marsh Harriers, 6 Little Egrets and the usual Reed bed birds, a Common Buzzard but no Hobby's today.
This afternoon around Scotney main pit 2 Avocet, 2 Ringed Plovers, a Yellow Wagtail and the usual dabblers most looking very scruffy as they go into eclipse.  

Monday, 23 June 2014

Lazy, Sunny Days!

After going through the Plodland moth trap I joined DW and AJG at the observatory this morning, where we whiled away an hour or so chatting and scanning from the mound. A Red Kite that was spotted a long way off was the highlight. 
Barred Yellow in the Plodland trap this morning.
After snoozing in the late morning sun, I took a stroll around the hay fields and Dengemarsh this afternoon. Bearded Tits are still much in evidence in the surrounding dykes. The hay fields are drying out rapidly, unless we have loads of rain they will be completely dry by the time the return migration gets underway, leaving the waders nowhere on the reserve to feed up for their long flights south. I would like to believe that the water will be pumped onto the fields from Dengemarsh, but I can't honestly see that happening. On a brighter note the Tern rafts look like being a success, there are already a few chicks shuffling around on them, so lets hope the weather is not to unkind to them and the parents can catch enough food for them. 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Tawny Owl!

This weekend birding has been very quiet at Dungeness, fortunately for me sorting through and photographing the moths in the Plodland trap has kept me busy. (Many thanks to David Walker for his help). At The Patch a couple of Mediterranean Gulls have been seen despite much disturbance from fisherman. A Garganey was still in residence at the south end of the ARC this morning. Late afternoon at Dengemarsh a couple of Bearded Tits by Springfield Bridge, a brief flyby Bittern and 2 Hobby's.
This evening I had go to Woodchurch but on the way back on the Appledore to Brenzett road  I spotted a silhouette of an Owl perched on a road sign, I slowed down and drew alongside, much to my surprise it just sat there staring at me for a magical c10 seconds, even more surprising it wasn't the expected Barn Owl but a Tawny Owl the first I have seen on the marsh.
A few of the more colourful Moths.
Barred Red apparently quite a good moth for Dungeness
Burnished Brass
Peppered Moth
Privet Hawk moth

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Northern France!

Another brilliant day trip to Northern France in the company of AJG and SO. Driving down the motorway to Sailly Bray 2 Spoonbills flew over and in the nearby village of Bonnelle a superb male Black Redstart sang from a TV aerial. As soon as we got out the car at Sailly Bray our ears were assaulted by bird song, Turtle Doves purring, numerous Blackcaps, Song Thrushes, Blackbirds, Wrens, Stonechats and a Grasshopper Warbler. The only slight disappointment was that the farmer was cutting the grass right in front of where the Bluethroats are usually seen. However we still saw Reed and Corn Buntings, Reed, Sedge and Ceetti's Warblers, a Mediterranean Gull, a Marsh Harrier, 2 Common Buzzards, 4 Turtle Doves, 16 Black-winged Stilts, a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and heard a Marsh Warbler and only 3 Crows one of which was in Larson Trap and no Magpies, so missing a Bluethroat was not a problem.   
 Next stop Le Crotoy where 100s of nesting Black-headed Gulls and Lapwings, White Wagtails, 3 Cattle Egrets, a Great White Egret, several Little Egrets and a White Stork.
 Next stop Marquanterre where White Storks, Spoonbills, Cattle, Little and Great white Egrets, Spoonbills and Grey Herons were seen, also 4+ Crested Tits performed admirably, unfortunately not well enough for the camera.
Chateau at our Honey Buzzard stop

 Our usual stop Honey buzzard stop on the D938 to Crecy-en-Ponthieu was once again a great success. The first Honey Buzzard appeared  within 2 minutes, in the next 15 minutes 3 more appeared. These were bettered when we wandered into the grounds of a Chateau, a Honey Buzzard flew low around us giving us stunning views.

 Next we drove north to Guinnes Marsh but were unable to find the boardwalk (lack of forward planning) however we still managed to find a singing Icterine Warbler.
We decided to go to Oye Plage where we came across a Little Tern colony on the beach. From the hides on the nature reserve we saw nesting Black-necked and Little Grebes, 100+ pairs of Avocets and numerous Lapwings nesting and not a predator proof fence to be seen, what we didn't see was Crows and Magpies and I am pretty sure that Foxes and Badgers are controlled. We also saw a flock of 17 Mistle Thrushes there, Song Thrushes and Blackbirds.
A couple of miles further along the coast we found at least 8 Kentish Plovers and some young and at another site found another pair also even more nesting Lapwings. Along the coast we did see a few Crows and Magpies but not the clouds of them that you see here. We stopped to check out a possible site for wintering Snow Buntings and Shorelarks and another singing Icterine Warbler, a superb end to a brilliant days birding in great company, many thanks to AJG for doing the driving.
Kentish Plovers

Thursday, 19 June 2014

A Moth day!

At The Patch this morning another north Thames colour ring Herring Gull H8FT, a 2nd summer Mediterranean Gull among the usual Gulls, but not a single Tern. The highlight being 3 Mute Swans flying up channel. 
Mute Swans flying past The Patch
 Still 2 drake Garganey at the south end of The ARC.
2nd summer Mediterranean Gull
I ran my moth trap last night for the first time ever, so the rest of the day was spent trying to identify the catch. I managed most of the macro's in the end but did not attempt the micro's. 
Images of just a few of the very easy ones.
Buff Tip

Elephant Hawk Moth

Poplar Hawk Moth

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Back at Dunge!

As I wandered down to The Patch this morning I met PT and Barney on their way back. They reported that there was little of note to be seen but I was going there anyway. Over the boil no more than 10 Common Terns among c70 Black-headed Gulls, and 50 Herring and Lesser black Backed Gulls. A Curlew flew west and a handful of Gannets moved up channel, also an adult Mediterranean Gull flew through The Patch. On the walk back a juvenile Black Redstart was feeding on the perimeter fence and the Pied Wagtails were mating ready for a second brood.
 Mediterranean Gull The Patch
A short stop at the south end of the ARC found 3 drake Garganey, among the Gadwall and Pochard. Also a Marsh Harrier came over from New Diggings flushing everything temporarily. 
 2 of the 3 Garganey at the south end of the ARC this A.M.
Met The Joker at the reserve where we spent a little time in Dennis's hide, the highlight being a Ringed Plover on one of the little bits of island that are beginning to reappear.
From the ramp up to 7 Hobby's could be seen, a couple of Bearded Tits and 2 Marsh Harriers. 
Late this afternoon/early evening several Bearded Tits could be seen by Springfield Bridge, Hayfield 3 had 7 each of Grey Heron and Little Egret and a Curlew, but it and the other hay fields are now drying out rapidly. Plenty of Common Terns could be seen on Dengemarsh also the Marsh Harriers. As I wandered past the entrance path to the hide an Oddie and film crew got out there car to do some filming (I didn't see a disabled sticker on their car) While they were in the hide  a 1st summer Hobby put on terrific display over Hookers with Cuckoo calling in the background. 
 1st summer Hobby

Monday, 16 June 2014

Short-toed Eagle!

 I had a brilliant day in the company of AJG at Ashdown Forest seeing the Short-toed Eagle that has been present there for a few days. While waiting for it to leave its roost a couple of Woodlarks were singing, also some Tree Pipits, Willow Warblers were constantly singing and seemed numerous, there were a few flyover Redpolls and some Coal Tits the first I have seen this year(I must get off the marsh more often). The bird eventually left its roost site near Long car park soon after 10.00 A.M. flying around for a few minutes before disappearing over the horizon towards Gills Lap, where it was relocated and put on a fine display for the best part of a couple hours, hovering high over the valley, sometimes dropping towards the ground and on at least one occasion catching what appeared to be a small snake. A Buzzard drifted in and harried and tussled with the eagle showing the obvious size difference.
It was great to see so many familiar faces and catch up with some of my old Sussex birding friends.
This afternoon we dropped into Old Lodge where we found a couple of Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Redstarts, 7+ Woodlarks, Blackcaps and more Willow Warblers.
 Tussling with a Common Buzzard!
The Short-toed Eagle was most of the time fairly distant and the light was awful!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Half hour sheltering in front the sea watch hide from the NE wind this morning yielded little of note. A few Gannets, Common and Sandwich Terns feeding off shore and party of c45 Common Scoter. A Black Redstart was singing from inside the compound. As I walked back to the car a flock of 11 Grey Herons came in off the sea by the old lighthouse and flew in over the observatory towards the reserve.(This evening 13 Grey Herons were feeding on Hayfield 3). By the fishing boats a pair of Wheatears with 2 fledged young also a leucistic Starling with a flock of c50 Starlings.
juvenile Wheatear
No sign of any Garganey at the south end of the ARC, but a very young Little Egret there presumably from the Lydd heronry.
Cycling past Scotney this afternoon there was no sign of any Avocets at the Kent end, so I fear the worst for the 3 non flying chicks. At the western end 3 fully fledged young with 2 adults that were giving a Grey Heron a serious hard time.
Approaching  Jurys Gap an adult male Marsh Harrier flew across the road in front of me also a stunning male Yellow Wagtail on a fence post just a few feet from me.
Along the Midrips 21 Avocets and at least 2 chicks, 7 Redshanks, 8 Oystercatchers, 20+ Shelduck but no ducklings, probably all taken by Foxes and Badgers, another male Marsh Harrier and a Grey Partridge flushed from the side of the track just before Galloways, while offshore 4 Little Terns and 6 Sandwich Terns. Cycling up the bridleway through the Gorse at Galloways I spotted another Grey Partridge on the track c50mts ahead of me, I pulled up to watch it and just kept walking towards me picking up insects, it eventually got to around 5 metres away where it looked at me then carried on feeding for another few minutes before wandering off into the Gorse. Because I was on my bike I had no camera, as after a few minutes of cycling with it on my shoulder I am in agony, if I had it in the camera bag on my back I can last a little longer, but by the time I have taken the bag off and unpacked the camera anything I wanted to photograph would be gone. I need to come up with some way of fixing the camera to the handlebars with a quick release system so the frame takes the weight hmmm!
This evening at Dengemarsh in a strong NE wind and grey overcast skies apart from the Herons on Hayfield 3 there were 3 Hobby's, 2 Marsh Harriers and 8 Swifts over the lake.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

A Grey Day!

A thoroughly grey and cool wander down to The Patch this morning a 3rd summer Yellow-legged Gull, also the first juvenile Black-headed Gull. Over the boil again just a handful of Common Terns with the Black-headed Gulls. Off shore just 2 Gannets and 15 Common Scoter.
A short stop at the south end of the ARC produced 2 eclipse drake Garganey hiding in the Crassula with a handful of Shoveler and Gadwall. I missed the 2 Red-crested Pochard that were there.
I cycled out to Scotney and out along the back of the farm where Corn Bunting, Skylark and Yellow Wagtail seem quite plentiful and couple of Hobby's entertained. At least 4 pairs of Avocets still sitting on the Island. Once I was past the lake the sheep fields were birdless apart from an overflying Marsh Harrier. At the Sussex end of the main pit the the 3 pairs of of Avocets appear to have lost all there chicks. At the Kent end 2 chicks have fledged and the other 3 are well on the way.
This evenings wander around Dengemarsh found the now usual eclipse ducks, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Redshanks on the Hay fields. The Common Terns were particularly noisy this evening  when the sun finally broke through.   

Friday, 13 June 2014

Summer Doldrums

At The Patch this morning in the company of BH a 2s Mediterranean Gull among the Black Headed, Herring and Lesser Black Backed Gulls. Over the boil a few Common Terns and a couple of Gannets off shore.
In a stroll around The Desert I barely lifted my bins it was that quiet.
This evening around Dengemarsh the usual Greylag families, Little Egrets, Grey herons joined by juveniles, plenty of eclipse Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveller and Teal but no sign of the Glossy Ibis. The ditches still hold Reed and Sedge Warblers, Reed Buntings and the odd Cetti's Warbler.   

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

RIP Pete Neatherway!

 Wandering down to The Patch this morning there were 2 Hummingbird Hawk moths on the perimeter wall, 1 still present when I came back. At The Patch there were plenty of gulls but I could find nothing interesting among them. 30 Common Scoter flew up channel and handful of Gannets were off shore. A dental appointment and other domestic stuff my ploddings were seriously curtailed today.
I have just heard the sad news that my friend and lovely guy Pete Neatherway has passed away today. Pete and his wife Mim were Beachy Head stalwarts for many years right up until Pete's untimely death. My thoughts are with Mim who is still recovering from serious illness.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Saved by a Gent!

This morning I stepped out of the front door to the sight and smell of sewage flowing out of the manhole in my drive. Fortunately I know Chris, a lovely guy who came straight away with his drain rods and quickly established that the blockage was in my neighbours man hole. He then quickly and efficiently cleared the blockage. Very many thanks Chris, me and Sally can't thank you enough.  
Eventually I made down to Dengemarsh where the Glossy Ibis was in Hay Field 3 and up to 6 Hobby's were catching Dragonflies. At the Dengemarsh hide I met the Joker and we spent some time chewing the fat, seeing a Black-tailed Godwit over a couple of Marsh Harriers and the raft nesting Common Terns.
Some of yesterdays Orchid images 
Lizard Orchid

Bee Orchid

Pyramid Orchid

Monday, 9 June 2014

Colour Ringed Gulls!

This morning at The Patch it was all about colour ringed gulls. The tide was nearly up and all the gulls were right in front the hide, with no fishermen or dog walkers to disturb them. I spent the best part of 2 hours there trying to read and photograph the North Thames colour ringed birds. Over the boil c50 Common Terns of note.
 FZ7.T a Dungeness regular
 P1BT a Dungeness regular
This afternoon I cycled to Camber to see the  Lizard Orchids. On the way I stopped at Scotney where the 5 Avocet young at the Kent end are doing well. At the East Sussex end the 3 pairs of Avocets now have at least 4 young. Over the lake a Hobby was  catching Dragonflies. I will hope to post images of the Orchids tomorrow as my card reader is playing up.
This evening the Glossy Ibis was on Hayfield 3 with 8 Little Egrets, a Cuckoo flew over and 2 Bearded Tits were by the gate.