Friday, 31 October 2014

Poms in the sun!

1 of 3 Black Redstart at West beach 
Sea watching today 06.30-07.50 + 09.00-10.00 + 13.00-16.00 with at various times AJG, DW, BM, MH, PT, DB and family.

Brent Goose: 127 W
Wigeon: 3 W
Shoveler: 3 W
Eider: 2 W
Red-breasted Merganser: 5 W   1 E
Red-throated Diver: 2 W
Gannet: 14 W
Grey Phalarope: 1 came from in from East landed on sea by boats and drifted back East with tide.
Turnstone: 7 on beach
Great Skua: 3 W    1 E
Pomarine Skua: 12 W
Mediterranean Gull: 200+ off shore
Little Gull: 27 W
Kittiwake: 170 W/on sea
Sandwich Tern: 15 around/W
Common Tern: 3  W
Guillemot: 8 W/on sea
Razorbill: 10 W/on sea
Auk sp: 126 W
Short-eared Owl: 1 out
Skylark: 14 out   1 in
Rock Pipit: 1 over
Starling: 13 in
Goldfinch: 32 W
Siskin: 1 over
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Pomarine Skua chasing a Mediterranean Gull

A pleasant half hour mid morning on the mound at Hookers with MH saw only a Kinfisher of note before we retired to the cafe for a Bacon Bap.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

A good day at Dungeness despite the rain!

First thing this morning the mist was so thick at the fishing boats I struggled to see the sea. A wander around the Lighthouse area, Station Gorse, West Beach and Lloyds found 6 Black Redstarts probably all local birds, 2 Goldcrests, 3 Chiffchaffs, a Song Thrush and few Blackbirds, then the rain really set in.
At the ARC from Hanson a Great White Egret, Little Egret, a single Golden Plover, a Water Rail which showed briefly and couple of others squealing, on the lake all the usual water fowl.
A wander around the Willow Trail found 5 Chiffchaff and 3 Goldcrest of note.
Over the road by the entrance track to the reserve an adult Caspian Gull in the roost and an adult Yellow-legged Gull. From Boulderwall the Cattle Egret still but distant.  
 Adult Caspian Gull taken in torrential rain
  Adult Caspian Gull taken in torrential rain
Another excellent late afternoon watch from the fishing boats with DW saw as follows:
Brent Goose: 409 W
Wigeon: 2 W
Common Scoter: 10W
Red-throated Diver: 3W
Turnstone: 8 on beach
Pomarine Skua: 2W
Arctic Skua: 1W
Skua sp: 2W
Mediterranean Gull: 19+ around/W
Little Gull: 320 W
Kittiwake: 172 W
Sandwich Tern: 11 around/W
Common Tern: 1 W
Guillemot 1 on sea
Auk sp: 14 W
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
Adult Mediterranean Gull by the fishing boats

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A good start with a better finish!

Sitting in the front garden early this morning drinking coffee while waiting for the plumbers to arrive, 2 Ravens flew over towards Scotney, 100s each of Corvids and Starlings, c400 Greylag and Canada Geese, joined by Wood Pigeons, Stock Doves, Collared Doves all dropped into the field opposite to feed, a Marsh Harrier hunted the ditches and a few Skylarks and Meadow Pipits flew over, 4 Grey Herons and 3 Little Egrets flew out to the reserve from the roost, as did a Common Buzzard also a party of 8 Goldfinches and 2 Chaffinches came onto the Plodland feeders. A very pleasant start to the day!
 Cattle Egret from Hanson
Mid morning at the ARC with most the islands now submerged, there were no waders to seen from Hanson. A Great White Egret paddled around in front the hide, 2+ Water Rail were squealing and a Cetti's Warbler was chattering in the reed bed by the hide. On the lake 100s of Common Wildfowl, including several superb drake Pintail but still no Goldeneye.  
The Long-tailed Tit flock in the Willow Trail held at least 4 Chiffchaff. a Goldcrest and the usual Great and Blue Tits. 
The Cattle Egret was still at Boulderwall Farm though distant. In the Gull roost halfway down the track to the visitor centre I could only find 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls of any note.
 Chiffchaff in the Willow Trail
A sea watch from the fishing boats late afternoon with MH was very productive:


Gannet: 67 W
Great Skua: 2 E
Pomarine Skua: 3 W
Arctic Skua: 3 W
Mediterranean Gull: 18 W  + 7 on sea with the Kittiwake flock
Kittiwake: 84 on sea + 59 W
Little Gull: 25 W
Sandwich Tern: 1 W
Common Tern: 6 W
Arctic Tern: 4 W
Guillemot: 4 W
Razorbill 1 on sea
Auk sp: 22 W

Monday, 27 October 2014

Blue Skies!

 Brent Geese at Scotney
A late start today due to domestic stuff, fortunately a call from AJG reassured me I had missed nothing as the sea passage was non existent. I decided to have a look at Scotney where from the layby I could see c1,000 Gold Plover were roosting on the grass and spit, also 2 Redshank, 4 Dunlin, 1 Ruff and 3 Ringed Plovers. From the double bends the 100+ feral Barnacle Goose flock and 2 Marsh Harriers patrolling the ditches on the far side of the lake. At the Sussex end 300+ Brent Geese resting on the lake though c50 of them flew off west while I was there.   
 Part of the 1,000 strong Golden Plover flock at Scotney
A walk from Springfield Bridge to the viewing mound at Hookers was very pleasant, the hayfields all have some water in them and look excellent for attracting water fowl and waders, though I saw very little in them today. Water Rails seemed to be squealing from just about every patch of reeds, being joined by shouting Cetti's Warblers and calling Bearded Tits. I spent a while on the mound and in Dengemarsh hide in the company of MH, from the hide 2 Kingfishers were the highlight, but no Great White Egrets, from the mound a couple of Little Egrets and a couple Marsh Harriers while sitting soaking up the warm sun was very pleasant. A wander down to Christmas Dell saw another Kingfisher and 2 Stonechats of note.
 Marsh Frog sunbathing at Dengemarsh
An hour late afternoon at the beach produced 2 Arctic Terns, 2+ Common Terns, a few Sandwich Terns, an Arctic Skua, and some Kittiwakes and Gannets, 15+ Mediterranean Gulls and few Auks on the sea and flying by, also 3 Shoveler and 2 Brent Geese flew west.
Red-line Quaker one of the few moths in the trap this morning.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Little Gulls and a Phalarope!

 Excellent visibility this morning. On the left hand side of the above image, the small aerial is in fact the French equivalent of Nelson's Column the 53 mt high Napoleons Column at Wimille near Bolougne.
As I drove past Boulderwall Farm this morning the Cattle Egret was sitting on it's favourite fence, on the New Diggings a Great White Egret was also in it's usual place.
Shortly after arriving at the fishing boats I was joined by AJG and DW where we enjoyed an excellent passage of Little Gulls(Not quite on the scale of Cap Gris Nez). A first for me in the form of a summer plumaged Grey Phalarope. AJG spotted a wader coming towards us, but it was flying like a Phalarope, fluttering with short glides and almost settling on the sea, but it wasn't grey and white, DW realised first that it was a summer plumaged Grey Phalarope and eventually it did settle on the sea and disappeared in the troughs.    
Brent Goose:53 W                                                
Wigeon: 1 W                                                      
Common Scoter: 3 W   10 E                                    
Red-throated Diver: 1 W  + 1 on sea                        
Manx Shearwater: 1 W                                            
Gannet: 376 W                                                        
Turnstone: 12 around                                                
Grey Phalarope: 1 ad summer plumage W
Great Skua: 2 E + 1+ around
Mediterranean Gull: 6 E/around
Little Gull: 236 W
Kittiwake: 17 W
Sandwich Tern: 56 W
Common Tern: 4 W
Arctic Tern: 2 W
Guillemot: 3 on sea
Razorbill: 11 W/on sea
Auk sp: 104 W
Skylark: 16 in
Starling: 371 in
Goldfinch:30 over
Linnet: 10 over
 Arctic Tern at the fishing boats this afternoon
Before having another sea watch, I spent a bit of time this afternoon enjoying the gulls attracted by fish heads, fish guts, pop corn and loaves of bread put out by Mick and Richard.
14.45-15-45 from the fishing boats
Brent Goose: 32 W
Red-throated Diver: 1 W
Gannet: 47 W
Arctic Skua: 3 around
Mediterranean Gull: 6 around
Little Gull: 8 W
Kittiwake: 21 around
Sandwich Tern: 4 W
Arctic Tern: 2 W
Guillemot: 5 W
Razorbill: 4 W
Auk sp: 16 W
 JU900 Great Black Backed Gull
 JT605 Great Black Backed Gull
A couple of moths from last nights meagre catch of 16 moths of 12 species!
 Green-brindled Crescent
Cypress Carpet

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Red Breasted Flycatcher

 As I had to go to West Sussex yesterday I took the opportunity to hopefully see the ad male Red Breasted Flycatcher that has graced the old trapping area for the last few days. I arrived to find just 1 birder present who left after informing me the flycatcher was still present, giving me the opportunity of having it to myself. The bird was calling frequently and showing intermittently, the weather unfortunately was definitely not in my favour, being quite misty at times when it wasn't raining and very dreary. This required high ISO settings to get any worth while shutter speeds which did not help to do this superb little bird justice. Eventually as more birders arrived it became more elusive. Also seen there 2 Ring Ouzels and couple of seemingly ever present Ravens.
 A stunning bird despite the weather

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Another Big White Thing!

Down in one!
08.00-10.15 from the fishing boats with DW, a much quieter watch from recent days.

Brent Goose: 299 W      22 E
Shelduck: 2 W
Common Scoter: 32 W   27 E
Red-breated Merganser: 1 W
Red-throated Diver: 2 W
Gannet: c50 off shore
Turnstone: 15 around
Curlew: 1 over
Ringed Plover: 1 over
Great Skua: 3 E
Arctic Skua: 2 around
Mediterranean Gull: 6 around
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 ad on sea
Kittiwake: 85 around
Sandwich Tern: 4 W
Common Tern: 1 W
Guilemot: 2 around
Razorbill: 2 around
Auk sp: 14 W  17 E
Swallow: 1 in
Rock Pipit: 1 over
Harbour Porpoise: 1
After a message from MH (his speciality is spotting big white things) that a Spoonbill had dropped into either the New Diggings or ARC. As I was driving down the causeway I could see 2 Great White Egrets on New Diggings when the Spoonbill overtook me flying alongside and then over me, I quickly stopped, stumbled out the car and fired a few shots with the wrong settings, watched it gain height flying towards the power station then lost to view over the ranges. I could see it was colour tagged but none of the images showed them well enough.
Down Dengemarsh road c1,000 Golden Plover were on the stubble field but I could find nothing different among them.
A slow wander from Dengemarsh down past the Gully to the watch tower was pleasant, but the birds were thinly scattered with a Chiffchaff being the highlight.
This afternoon on the reserve several colour ringed Lesser Black Backed Gulls but all to far to clinch the details in the windy drizzly conditions. From Dennis's hide a Greenshank, and a Black-necked Grebe were the highlights and 3 Tree Sparrows at the entrance to the hide.

                             Badgers demand human cull to prevent spread of Ebola

Increasingly concerned at the impending threat of the Ebola virus, badger community leaders have called for the introduction of a human culling programme.

“We’re proposing an initial pilot programme,” Furry Rita told us yesterday, “by having marksmen to shoot the pilots of the planes that seem to be bringing in the virus into the country. The pilots may not have Ebola themselves, but they are obviously carriers so need to be eliminated for the good of everyone else.”

“Of course we’ve no idea how much humans spread Ebola,” continued Rita, the co-leader of the Harold Woods badger colony, “but vaccinations are too much hassle, so it’s much easier to shoot some as an experiment and then we can see what effect this has on the rest of the population.”

Fellow badger leader Manky Kevin warned that further slaughter may be necessary, but on the plus side he stressed that it would be scientific and humane.

“Moving on, we’re proposing a broader cull but can assure people that it will be conducted scientifically,” he said, stereotypically wisely. “So we suggest that the cull is restricted to a geographical region around Heathrow, let’s say Middlesex to start with. Once we’ve wiped out a couple of million, we can take stock.”

“The cull will have no real significant impact on human population numbers as there are millions of them out there. In the long run I’m sure they’ll thank us.”

Cpoyright of Stan

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A Brilliant Cap Gris Nez Sea Watch!

Pomarine Skua
08.30- 15.00:  A fabulous days sea watching in good company, despite a later than planned start due to P & O breakdowns and a senior moments by myself and AJG.
Observers: AJG, BM, MC on the cliff face and MH and CP braving the wind on top.
Pomarine Skua

Brent Goose: 1,745 + 2,730 from the boat past Calais harbour entrance early evening.
Shelduck: 28
Pintail: 2
Velvet Scoter: 3 on sea
Common Scoter: 1,658
Red-breasted Merganser: 1
Red-throated Diver: 32
Black-throated Diver: 2
Great-crested Grebe: 6
Manx Shearwater: 12
Sooty Shearwater: 16
Gannet: c1,300
Kestrel: 2
Oystercatcher: 4
Sanderling: 12
Dunlin: 780
Great Skua: 85
Pomarine Skua: 28
Arctic Skua: 84
Long-tailed Skua: 10
Mediterranean Gull: 100+
Little Gull: 4,744 This time last year we saw 2,400 there
Kittiwake: 500+
Sabine's Gull: 5
Sandwich Tern: 36
Common Tern: 8
Auk sp: 858
Siskin: c100
Chaffinch: c50
Grey Seal: 2
It's hard to believe that Cap Gris Nez is only c40 miles across the channel from Dungeness as the Skua flys!
Also a covey of 15 Grey Partridge flew across the road as we left.
 Pomarine Skua
 Pomarine Skuas
Pomarine Skua
Velvet Scoters

 Brent Geese
This picture of a few Little Gulls does not do the fantastic spectacle of today's amazing passage justice.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


5AA1 a regular on the beach
07.00- 11.00 from the fishing boats with AJG
Brent Goose: 9 W
Common Scoter: 1 W
Great-crested Grebe: 25 around
Gannet 139: W
Dunlin: 1 W
Merlin: 1 in
Great Skua: 7 W
Arctic Skua: 4 W/around
Yellow-legged Gull: 2 ads in roost
Mediterranean Gull: 3 W
Sandwich Tern: 90 W
Common Tern: 1 W
Swallow: 5 in
At the ARC the islands have all but disappeared, so no waders but plenty of the common wildfowl, along with a Great White Egret, 2 Little Egrets and a Cetti's Warbler in front the hide. 2 Great White Egrets on New Diggings from the causeway but no sign of the Cattle Egret in short search.
Back at the beach this afternoon there was very little passage on the sea. A check of Trektellen shows that Cap Gris Nez had quite a good day to day, even without the North Westerlies forecast for tonight and tomorrow, so hopefully we will have a very good day there tomorrow. 

Monday, 20 October 2014

White Winged Black Tern!

An uninspiring watch from the boats this morning, counting the Gannets kept me busy. Hopefully the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo will pep things up tomorrow at The Point and at Cap Gris Nez on Wednesday.
07.05-08.15 from the fishing boats in the company of AJG:
Brent Goose: 35 W
Common Scoter: 3W
Red-throated Diver: 1W
Gannet: 508 W
Turnstone: 12 on beach
Arctic Skua: 2 around
Kittiwake: 27 W
Sandwich Tern: 5 around
Auk: sp: 16 W
An hour on the top of The Moat produced another 12 Brent Geese, 3+ Sparrowhawks, 3 House Martins, 5 Swallows, 40+ Jackdaws a few Stock Doves and a few Sky Larks over.
 White Winged Black Tern
I gave in to temptation and left the peninsular for a few hours with AJG to see the White Winged Black Tern at Castle Water, Rye. It was on show the moment we arrived at the hide sitting on one the islands. After a short while it began hawking up and down the lake showing very well in the glorious sunshine. While we were there we also saw 2 Little Stints, a Ruff, 2+ Marsh Harriers, A Ring Ouzel and 8+ Clouded Yellows. 

 At Scotney c2,000 Golden Plover but no sign again of the American Golden Plover, the feral Barnacle Goose flock was still present.
Another sea watch 15.20-16.20 with BM was also uninspiring:
Red-throated Diver: 1 E
Great Crested Grebe: 23 on sea
Gannet: 112 W
Sanderling: 1 W
Greenshank: 1 out
Great Skua: 1 W
Arctic Skua: 1 around
Kittiwake: 12 W   42 in flock on sea
Auk sp: 8 W
Harbour Porpoise: 3

Only 14 moths of 6 species in the Plodland trap this morning. A Delicate provided the quality.

Sunday, 19 October 2014


The usual watch from the boats this morning was some what of an anti climax compared to the last few days, though the Gannets were impressive early morning. 
 Brent Goose: 7 W
Common Scoter: 18 W
Red-throated Diver: 1W
Gannet: c1,000 off shore
Arctic Skua: 3 around
Kittiwake: 9 W
Sandwich Tern: 37 W
Common Tern: 1 W
Razorbill: 3 W
Auk sp: 12 W
Starling: 250 in
Goldfinch: 95 W
Chaffinch: 41 in
Linnet: 30 W
Common Seal: 1
Despite there being several 100s of Gulls in the roost beside the entrance track to the reserve, I was unable to find any unusual ones among them. There were several colour ringed individuals present, but they were to faraway to read in the heat haze despite using the 60x zoom. The bushes beside the track held 3+ Ring Ouzels and the Cattle Egret showed fairly well.
The south end of the ARC held 5 Little Egrets and a Great White Egret with another on the New Diggings.
An hour on the beach this afternoon was very disappointing with few Gulls and virtually no passage off shore.  

Saturday, 18 October 2014

All at Sea!

 Sunrise over the Water Tower from Plodland
From the Fishing Boats 07.00-10.10 AJG,CP,MH,MB,DW,PW,PT,MC
Brent Goose: 4 W      9 E
Wigeon: 15 W
Teal: 10 E
Common Scoter: 51 W    3E
Red-breasted Merganser: 1 W
Red-throated Diver: 1 on sea
Gannet: 672 W
Common Snipe: 2 W
Grey Phalarope: 1 W
Great Skua: 1 W
Arctic Skua: 3+ around     2 W
Mediterranean Gull: 8 W
Little Gull: 1 W
Kittiwake:182 W
Sandwich Tern: 46 W
Common Tern: 2 W
Guillemot: 15 W
Razorbill: 24 W
Auk sp: 182 W
Skylark: 29 W/in
Swallow: 193 out/W
House Martin: 5 out/W
Rock Pipit: 2 over
Meadow Pipit: 26 W
Alba Wagtail: 33 W
Starling: 300 in
Goldfinch: 1920 W
Greenfinch: 7 W
Linnet: 164 W
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
1w Mediterranean Gull at the Fishing Boats
Around the peninsular a Yellow-browed Warbler on the edge of The Desert(AJG), 3+ Great White Egrets, The Cattle Egret and Glossy Ibis still present.
From the Fishing Boats 14.30-16.30 MS,MC(Chiddy), RB,RS, MC
Teal: 4 W
Red-throated Diver: 1 W
Black-throated Diver: 1 W
Great-crested Grebe: 31 on sea
Red-necked Grebe: 1 W  @15.48
Gannet:  352 W
Turnstone: 4 on beach
Great Skua: 1 W
Pomarine Skua: 1 W
Arctic Skua: 2 around  1 W
Mediterranean Gull: 7 W
Yellow-legged Gull: 2   1 x 1w + 1 x 2w
Little Gull: 5 W
Kittiwake: 121 W
Sandwich Tern: 62 W
North Thames Herring Gulls: T9BT   &   NX9T
Norwegian G.B.B.G    JT286

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Beardies at the Long Pits!

07.00 to 08.30 from Fishing Boats with AJG who collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 22 W
Common Scoter: 15 W
Gannet: 235 W
Kestrel: 1 out
Arctic Skua: 1 W
Mediteranean Gull: 1 W
Yellow-legged Gull: 1ad on beach
Kittiwake: 7 W
Sandwich Tern: 16 W
Auk sp 2 W
Swallow: 102 W
Meadow Pipit: 111 W
Grey Wagtail: 2 W
Alba Wagtails: 64 in and W
Linnet: 55 W
One of 2 Bearded Tits at the top of the Long Pits
A wander around the Long Pits and Desert including the Lighthouse area and beach saw of note, 2 Bearded Tits, a Yellow-browed Warbler heard only, c22 Ring Ouzels, a Woodlark, 8 Wheatears, 3 Black Redstarts, a Common Redstart, 4 Stonechats, 39 Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest, 3 Blackcaps, 30+ Robins, a Water Rail heard and a Marsh Harrier that went out to sea. 
Woodlark still around today
Another watch from Fishing Boats with AJG 15.15-16.15:
Brent Goose: 30 W
Common Scoter: 6 E   3 W
Gannet: 89 W
Red-throated Diver: 1 W
Arctic Skua: 1 E
Kittiwake: 131 W
Sandwich Tern: 4 W
On the reserve the Cattle Egret and Glossy Ibis still present also 8+ Ring Ouzels and 2+ Great White Egrets per MH.
Rusty Dot Pearl the best from last nights meagre catch