Sunday, 31 August 2014

A Day of Birds!

 As I left home a text from AJG at the fishing boats informing of a Montagu's Harrier coasting gave a hint of what might be today.
I decided to do the ARC and Tower Pits and surrounds. The track from the car park to the pines were alive with warblers, Reed, Sedge, Willow Warblers, Common and Lesser Whitethroats, as I approached the screen hide a ring tail Hen Harrier flew low across the railway disappearing behind the bushes. Perched around the rim of the Water Tower 200+ House Martins, over the lake c1,000 Sand Martins and 3+ Swifts. At the pines a large Tit flock containing 30+ Long-tailed Tits, with smaller numbers of Great and Blue Tits, and Warblers. Beside the railway 2 Common Redstarts, a Spotted Flycatcher many more Warblers, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Sparrowhawks and a Hobby. The shingle at the back of airport pits were covered in Yellow Wagtails, Wheatears and a few Whinchats.
Long-tailed Tit at The Pines
Yellow Wagtail airport pits
At Scotney many more Yellow Wagtails and Wheatears but little else of note.
The bushes and fields by the track to Dengemarsh Gully were full of birds, more Warblers, Wheatears, Whinchats also another Spotted flycatcher and Redstart.
In The Gully 3 Pied Flycatchers, 2+ Garden Warblers, 3+ Blackcaps, many Common Whitethroats including a leucistic individual. 2+ Sparrowhawks made brief forays into the gully, a Common Buzzard over, a Raven over Penn Bars and many more Wheatears and yellow Wagtails there. A Wryneck was also seen there per FC.
I walked The Galloways bridal path seeing 2 more Common Redstarts, many more warblers, several Wheatears, 2 Whinchats, 2 more Common Buzzards and 2 Hobbys. 

 At Galloways 2 Wrynecks showing distantly, several more Whinchats and Wheatears, Common and Lesser Whitethroats, Willow Warblers, a Hobby and another Common Buzzard and Raven.
One of the two Wrynecks at Galloways always distant.
A call from DB to say the Glossy Ibis was on Dengemarsh, minutes later I joined him and there, shortly after the Ibis had a fly around. Another Hobby put in an appearance there.
Hopefully better pics of the Glossy Ibis in the next few days.
Late afternoon at the north end of the Long Pits another Pied Flycather, a Spotted Flycatcher a Common Redstart, more Willow Warblers and at least 2 Chiffchaffs and a Kingfisher.
Hirundines behind the screen hide
 Early evening at the ARC still many Hirundines, 4+ Garganey, a Ruff, a Little Stint, Water Rail, smaller numbers of warblers and a Spotted Flycatcher.
Archers Dart the best of last nights catch

Friday, 29 August 2014

Another good day at Dungeness!

06.50-07.30 from the fishing boats was very quiet just 2 Arctic Skuas, and a handful each of Gannet, Sandwich Terns and Commic Terns. On the beach 100+ Yellow Wagtails and 300+ Hirundines out.
Next stop the ARC where the Red-necked Phalarope was still performing distantly along with 4+ Garganey and myriads of Sand Martins. The Willow Trail held just 1 Willow Warbler of note. 
BH and myself then went to Dengemarsh Gully, on arrival just a handful of birders were present with no sign of the Melodious or the Wryneck. We made our way along the eastern side of the Gully and soon located the Melodious Warbler and I took yet more images, shortly after BH found the Wryneck, which was extremely elusive and camera shy while we were there. Around the Gully several Common Whitethroats and Wheatears were present. 
Along Galloways 16 Whinchats, 20+ Wheatears and 4 Common Whitethroats, also a steady stream of Hirundines westwards.

13.00-15.15 from the fishing boats joined by MH. A busy watch until the sun came out and passage dried up. 
All down channel unless stated:
Fulmar: 7
Manx Shearwater: 1 up
Gannet: 87
Great-crested Grebe: 4 off shore
Common Scoter: 9     4 up
Turnstone: 2 on beach
Great Skua: 1
Arctic Skua: 13
Mediterranean Gull: 1
Kittiwake: 4
Sandwich Tern: 185
Commic Tern: 376
Swift: 22 out
Swallow/Sand Martin: 200+ out
Late afternoon early evening back at the Gully the Wryneck showed just long enough to get a very poor image. The Melodious was far more obliging, so yet more images were taken. The last image I took today, is the one below of the Melodious Warbler asleep on its roost branch in the Elder on the seaward side of the sluice. Certainly not the clearest or sharpest shot of the day but may well be the very last image of it.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Melodious revisited and Black-necked Grebe demise!

I aborted the early morning sea watch today as I could barely see the shore line through the drizzle. Though when it cleared 5 Balearic Shearwaters and some Arctic Skuas and Bonxies came past.
At Galloways 9 Whinchats, 14 Wheatears, 2 Stonechats and 4 Common Whitethroats, but no sign of the Wryneck.
In Dengemarsh Gully I virtually trod on a Wryneck which promptly disappeared though it was seen again on number of occasions through the day. The Melodious Warbler was still present and showed very well most the day, also there 2 Redstarts, 2 Garden Warblers, 6 Wheatears and Pied Flycatcher was reported. 

This afternoon an adult summer plumage Black-necked Grebe appeared in the Gully above the sluices showing extremely well, though it appeared to be a little sickly. As myself and some others present were photographing it a large Pike grabbed it, the Pike took it under and resurfaced with it briefly before taking it back under. Although eventually the Grebe did get away flailing into the reeds I cant honestly see it lasting long.
In the image below you can see the disturbed water behind the Grebe which is the Pike about to strike. 

 More shots of the Melodious Warbler

 On the ARC the Red-necked Phalarope was still present though distant, at least 3 Garganey and a Little Stint were the other highlights there.
A plod form the north end of the Long Pits down the east side to the Desert and back found 17 Common Whitethroats and 6 Willow Warblers with a trickle of south bound Hirundines over.
 Redstart Dengemarsh Gully

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Brilliant day around Dungeness.

The day started at the fishing boats where AJG and DW were already scanning the sea, more or less the first birds I saw were a party of 3 Balearic Shearwaters. 06.30-08.30 compiled by AJG below. All down channel unless stated.
 Fulmar: 4 up
Balearic S'water: 3 
Gannet: 138 
Scoter: 171 
Teal 147: 
Arctic Skua: 5 about
Common Tern: 68 
Little Tern: 14
Kittiwake: 4 
Oystercatcher: 4 up
Wheatear: 3 on beach
Yellow Wagtail: 16 over
My next stop was the Hanson Hide at the ARC Pit. As I opened the flap I could see that yesterdays deluge had raised the water level engulfing most of the islands. As I looked out to one of the few remaining islands I saw a juvenile Red-necked Phalarope spinning around by the island. I rattled a few a record shots, then started making phone calls and tweeting out the news. Unfortunately for me the bird never came close while I was there, leaving me with embarrassingly poor images to post. Also seen from Hanson a Marsh harrier trying to take a Coot, Garganey, 2 Avocets and a Black-necked Grebe.
 An embarrassingly poor record of the juvenile Red-necked Phalarope.
 Marsh Harrier, harrying a Coot.
After getting news from BB that there many Whinchats at Galloways I let AJG know. When he arrived at Galloways he found a Wryneck among the Whinchats. He let me know and I quickly made my way there, seeing the bird after a short wait. There were at least 12 Whinchats present, 4 Stonechats, 4+ Wheatears as well as Common Whitethroats, a Marsh Harrier and a Common Buzzard.
 This afternoon following a message from Stephen Message of a Pied flycatcher(getting to be a rare bird at Dungeness) in Dengemarsh Gully, I joined him there. A Redstart darted into an Elder but we were unable to re-find the flycatcher. A bird caught our eyes and in unison we both said Melodious Warbler. Images below.

Also in the Gully several Common Whitethroats a Willow Warbler and a migrant Robin On the shingle 2 Ravens and 3 Wheatears. 

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Torrential rain and a little passage.

A day of torrential rain with a brief respite early afternoon when most of the Tern and Skua passage took place.
07.40-09.40 + 10.40-11.30 + 12.35-16.50 from the fishing boats with AJG & DW.
All are down channel unless stated. 
Fulmar: 17
Gannet: 104
Great-crested Grebe: 6 off shore
Common Scoter: 240    6 up
Teal: 54
Mallard: 1
Whimbrel: 91 
Bar-tailed Godwit: 110 
Grey Plover: 70 
Ringed Plover: 3 
Redshank: 2 over
Turnstone: 6 around
Dunlin: 4 
Knot: 13 
Arctic Skua: 8     +5 around
Kittiwake: 12
Mediterranean Gull: 1 around
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 around
Sandwich Tern: c100 around
Common Tern: 1,032 
Arctic Tern 2 
Black Tern: 11 
Little Tern: 62
Wheatear: 2
Yellow Wagtail: 26
Sand Martin: c1650 West
Swallow: c750 West
Swift: 38 West
Clouded Yellow: 1 in
Harbour Porpoise: 2+ off shore
Thanks to AJG for collating the numbers.

Reed Warbler
Mid morning from the Screen hide a Little Stint, 2 Spotted Redshanks, Common Redshank, 2 Ruff, 5 Dunlin, 6 Golden Plover, 2+ Garganey, a Black-necked Grebe, 2 juvenile Water Rails, several each of Reed & Sedge Warbler with 1,000+ Sand Martins and 5 the juvenile Swallows still hanging around the hide.
juvenile Water Rail
Sedge Warbler
4 of the 5 juvenile Swallows
2 Little Ringed Plovers on puddles behind the hide
Spotted flycatcher ARC car park
Around the ARC car park a large mixed flock of Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits with several each of Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Sedge and Reed Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher.
Juvenile Lesser black Backed Gull  (V.X6J)
Colour ringed Lesser Black Backed Gull on the beach this afternoon.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Wash Out

07.10-09.30 from The Point and Fishing Boats, all are down channel unless stated:
Balearic Shearwater: 2
Fulmar: 1
Gannet: n/c only small numbers
Teal: 14
Common Scoter: 17
Grey Plover: 2
Bar-tailed Godwit: 6
Whimbrel: 4
Knot: 1
Dunlin: 3
Ringed Plover: 1
Turnstone: 4+ around
Arctic Skua: 6+
Black Tern: 2
Little Tern: 43+
Commic Tern: n/c estimate c200
Arctic Tern: 1 juvenile
Sandwich Tern: n/c estimate c250
Kittiwake: 3 juveniles
Swallow: 100 out
Sand Martin: c200 out
Wheatear: 2 on beach

Rain stopped play for the rest of the day!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Colour Rings

Around Galloways this morning 6 Whinchats, 9 Wheatears, 30+ Yellow Wagtails, 5 Willow Warblers, 4 Stonechats, numerous Common Whitethroats, 2 Sparrowhawks and 2 Common Buzzards.
I stopped off at Cockles Bridge to watch a Hobby chasing the myriads of Hirundines that were mostly very high, whilst doing so I picked up a Honey Buzzard that was even higher heading towards Lade and France no doubt.
At the ARC from Hanson and The Screen, 2 Spotted Redshanks, 11 Black-tailed Godwits, a Knot, a Redshank, 6 Dunlin, 12 Golden Plover, 5 Common Snipe and a Garganey among c200 Lapwing.
I spent the afternoon on the beach in the brilliant company of Mick, Richard, Mark, David and Andy watching, learning and photographing the Gulls that had been lured by numerous loaves of bread and a mixture of fish heads and shellfish. At least 4 Yellow-legged Gulls came in to feed. A 1w Caspian Gull tricked us all by coming onto the beach just to far for good photograhs, thinking it would come much closer attracted by all the food we held back, only to watch it promptly fly off out to sea and not return. A good selection of colour ringed Gulls came in to keep me happy. In the best part of 4 hours on the beach virtually nothing moved off shore. The Red-throated Diver that has been present for several weeks swam by, 2 1w Mediterranean Gulls flew west and 2+ Arctic Skuas were seen beating up the Terns.     
Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull

Gull melee!

5AA1 Great Black Backed Gull

JP281 Great black Backed Gull

532 Herring Gull

H8FT Herring Gull

R7HT Herring Gull

Thursday, 21 August 2014

More of the same!

A late start at The Patch this morning found many Gulls and Common Terns. Of interest among them just 2 juvenile Mediterranean Gulls and 2 juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls. Behind the hide a Willow Warbler, a Black Redstart, 2 Clouded Yellows and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth.
In the bushes at the point only 11 Willow Warblers and 2 Common Whitethroats. Around the trapping area and Long Pits c100 each of Willow Warblers and Common Whitethroats plus a few each of Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap and Reed Warbler per AJG.  
Reed Warbler from Hanson
Late morning and late afternoon visits to the ARC saw c1,000 Sand Martins, 3 Greenshanks, 1 Spotted Redshank, 5 Dunlin, 7 Common Snipe, 2 Common Redshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Ringed Plover, 5 Garganey, a Black-necked Grebe, a Red-crested Pochard and 2 Avocets one of which was colour ringed. Right Leg: Blue over Red over Black. Let Leg 3 x Yellow.
On the reserve on Burrowes this evening c500 Sand Martins was about the only notable sighting.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Pas de Calais and Dunge!

 Yesterday (19th) we spent the day in the Pas De Calais. The expected NW wind did not materialise so we cot short our Cap Gris Nez sea watch. We looked around the nearby wood but migrants were few and far between, though Spotted flycatcher, Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Common Whitethroats were seen. Also a Nuthatch which excited AJG (he doesn't get out much) as it it is the first one he has seen there in many visits over even more years.
Next stop was Tardinghen where the local council have put a view point over the ponds there. The ponds were nearly dry but still held 2 each of Common and Green Sandpiper and 2 Marsh Harriers. While scanning around I picked up 2 large raptors heading straight towards us on very flat wings, as they came towards us they separated, one swooped down and began wing clapping, Honey Buzzards! and displaying in mid August. I swung my scope 180 and I could see Dungeness Power station swing it back Honey Buzzards.
A brief look around Blanc Nez then onto nearby Guinnes boardwalk. Willow Tits were the stars here at least 4 heard and 2 seen plus Kingfisher.
As time was running out a quick visit to Oye Plage saw 7 Garganey, 3 Spoonbills, 4 more each of Green and Common Sandpipers and 2 Kentish Plovers. On the down side the shoreline and the dugouts were manned by many French Hunters. Sadly they do not seem to take much notice of the list of birds they can legally shoot. A list can be found Here    
This morning a plod around The Point, The Desert and part of the trapping area found 23 Willow Warblers, just 2 Common Whitethroats, 1 of the resident Black Redstarts, a juvenile Marsh Harrier spiralled up over The Desert and went out over  the fishing boats and a trickle of Hirundines headed south.
In 2 visits morning and early evening to the ARC, 4 Garganey, a Black-necked Grebe, a Water Rail, a Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Redshank, 4 Dunlin, 2 Ruff, 2 Hobby's, 100+ Sand Martins, 2 Swifts, 11 Willow Warblers, 2 Common Buzzards and 2 Marsh Harriers as well as all the usual wildfowl.  

Monday, 18 August 2014

Monty's again!

When I arrived at The Point AJG and DW were already there. After being told by them that little was moving off shore, I decided to go to the ARC. From Hanson 3 Dunlin, 2 Redshank, 5 Garganey and the Red Crested Pochard could be seen, the real highlight was number of Sand Martins which I estimated to number over 1,000. At the Screen 2 juvenile Marsh Harriers were flushing all the wild fowl, 2 Swifts flew through, in the hide the second brood of Swallows must surely fledge in the next couple of days. 
 Checking the fields at Cockles Bridge the juvenile Montagu's Harriers soon appeared, so I spent most of the rest of the morning with it. A short sea watch this afternoon saw a few Terns and Gannets moving but nothing else. As NW winds are forecast tonight and tomorrow morning Cap Gris Nez beckons.