Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Don't Panic!

After going through this mornings disappointing moth catch, a Kent Black Arches being the highlight I drove to the observatory, where after a chat with DW I went out to the trapping area without any expectations. I spent about half an hour looking around and was making my way back to the observatory, when I flushed an Owl from a bush right beside me. I swung my camera up nearly strangling myself, fired off a series of very panicked shots as the Owl disappeared behind a bush, as is usual in such situations it did not come out the other side of the bush. I quickly moved a few yards forward so the bush was not obscuring my view, just in time to see it land briefly c50mts away in a sallow, allowing me to fire off a couple more record shots before it moved deeper into the trapping area. I did see it again even more briefly as I walked the Pilots path and flushed it again. 
 The product of a panicked shot!
A distant shot of the L.E.Owl showing its characteristic ear tufts!
12.00-13.30 sea watch from The Point, it was not exactly riveting but was just brilliant soaking up the sun sitting right on the waters edge in cool sea breeze. 
Common Scoter: 45E
Gannet: 19E  5W
Cormorant:  6E  3W
Sandwich Tern: c30 feeding along the colour change
Common Tern: 2E

Monday, 29 June 2015


After emptying a disappointing catch from the Plodland moth trap, I drove the short distance to the beach for an hours sea watch.
 One of the closer flocks of Gannets this morning.

08.35-09.40 from The Point.

Common Scoter: 12 E
Great-crested Grebe: 2 on sea
Gannet: 218 W   including flocks of 58 & 43   also 24E
Cormorant: 3W
Oystercatcher: 2E
Ringed Plover: 1 on beach
Mediterranean Gull: 1 ad E
Sandwich Tern: 47E  38W
Common Tern: 21W        3E
Swift: 3 in
Skylark: 1 on beach
Pied Wagtail: 3 on beach
Harbour Porpoise: 1
At the ARC  a Cuckoo in the Willow Trail also a Water rail squealing, the first I have heard here for a while. From Hanson the Lapwing numbers are building nicely c150 today, many eclipse Gadwall, Pochard, Tufted Duck and Shoveler could be seen along with hordes of Coot and c50 Mute Swans.
 Little Owl sunbathing
A late morning stroll around the Scotney complex found one of the Little Owls in its usual spot on the barn, Yellow Wagtails and Corn Buntings feeding young, 5 Little Egrets and the 2 Spoonbills in their usual pose. The remaining Avocets were still sitting tight, as were the Black-headed Gulls in their small colony. 2 Egyptian Geese and 2 Barnacle Geese still present along with many Greylag and Canada Geese.
2 distant Spoonbills
A disappointing watch this afternoon 13.35-15.00 from the fishing boats:
Great-crested Grebe: 2 on sea (same 2?)
Fulmar: 1E
Gannet: 2E  8W
Cormorant: 1E  2W
Mediterranean Gull: 1 2nd S  E
Sandwich Tern: 8W
Fisherman trying to find new ways of wasting the Dungeness lifeboatmen time this afternoon. Appears not to be wearing a life jacket.
This evening a short walk around Walland Marsh saw the usual Tree Sparrows, Yellow Wagtails, Turtle Dove, Common Buzzards, Marsh Harriers and a Barn Owl but I did not hear any Quail 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

A quiet day!

It's good to see islands rapidly growing on the ARC from Hanson even if they are occupied by Coots and Mute Swans. The Reed Warbler chicks are now out of the nest I have been watching, but evading the camera. A Cuckoo flew past the hide as did an Egyptian Goose, little else was seen there today.
From Dennis's hide 2 Little Ringed Plovers and a Ringed Plover were the highlights.
A wander around Dengemarsh saw the usual reed bed Warblers and 2 Marsh Harriers.
In this evenings stroll around the Scotney complex a family of Little Owls entertained me. Further on the usual Yellow Wagtails, Corn Buntings and Tree Sparrows all of which I am so lucky to be able to see daily just a couple of minutes drive from home, indeed I can see Yellow Wagtails daily from my garden. On the back lake the 2 Spoonbills still, the Avocets appear to have been predated as there are now only 6 sitting birds and not a chick to be seen, 9 sitting birds less than yesterday. All the missing birds are from the island closest to the causeway, it wouldn't surprise me if 1 of the many Badgers around the area swam out and predated the eggs. 
 Adult Little Owl
 Juvenile Little Owl
 Photo bombing the Avocet
 2 of the 3 Small Mottled Willows in the Plodland trap this morning
 Shore Wainscot another surprise this morning
Swallow-tailed Moth always nice to one these in the Plodland trap 

Saturday, 27 June 2015


After emptying a full moth trap this morning and finding nothing unusual, I took a long pleasant walk around the Scotney complex and the wind farm. As usual good numbers of Yellow Wagtails and Corn Buntings were seen, it seems the Tree Sparrows have done well here as well as at Baynham Farm, 4+ Marsh Harriers were hunting the fields but no sign of AJGs male Montagu's Harrier from yesterday. 2 Barn Owls were out hunting and 3 Little Owls, a Peregrine was terrorising the Wood Pigeons and Stock Doves, a party of 12 Sand Martins flew west. On the back lakes I could not find any Spoonbills, the Avocets are still sitting surrounded by c150 eclipse Pochard and c500 Greylags. 
 Yellow Wagtail
 Reed Warbler
 In an hour this evening at the fishing boats c100 Gannets mainly moving west, a mixed party of c25 Sandwich and Common terns were fishing along the colour change, 5 Kittiwakes flew west, 4 Great-crested Grebes off shore and 3+ Harbour Porpoises. 
A well marked Willow Beauty from this mornings catch

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Calling Quail!

I had just finished emptying the moth trap when DW tweeted a Bee-eater at the observatory, a few minutes later I was there, sadly the Bee-eater wasn't. From the top of The Moat we scanned all around seeing a large female Peregrine and several Swifts, sadly we didn't see the flock of 10 
Bee-eaters flying west over Boulderwall Farm, I am getting a sense of deja vu or paranoia probably both.
By the entrance track to the reserve 2 Hobby's, from Dennis's hide 2 Little Ringed Plovers and 2 Ringed Plovers of note.
Another wander around the Scotney complex saw 4 Little Owls(thanks to Tony and Brenda), the 2 Spoonbills still insitu along with Avocets and still plenty of Yellow wagtails and Corn Buntings to be seen. 2 Barnacle and 3 Egyptian Geese among the Greylag and Canada Geese. 
 Little Owl Scotney
A brief outing this afternoon to the RSPB visitor centre where an Ice cream was enjoyed in the company of MH, saw more Hobby's, the 2 Little Ringed Plovers and another Peregrine. 
Quail calling this evening on Walland Marsh
This evening a wander around Walland Marsh found plenty of young Tree Sparrows, 2 Turtle Doves, a Cuckoo, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Common Buzzards, a Barn Owl, 2 more Little Owls and a calling Quail that refused to show its self.
 Tree Sparrow
A Rosy Wave in the Plodland trap yesterday.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Yellow Wagtails in the sun!

 A pleasant but short wander around the trapping area this morning found just a handful of Common Whitethroats and a Chiffchaff of any note, while  at West Beach 2 Black Redstarts collecting food for young.
From the entrance track to the RSPB visitor centre 5+ Hobby's and 2 Marsh Harriers. From Dennis's hide a single summer plumage Dunlin among the building numbers of Lapwing.
In the screen hide at the ARC the Swallow family has fledged and new nest is under construction. Nearby a Corn bunting carrying food at Cockles Bridge.
After a blank hour sitting in the sun sky watching from Plodland, I took a  wander out to the back of Scotney, where the 2 Spoonbills were still present as were the 15 pairs of Avocets, 3 Marsh Harriers and the usual Yellow Wagtails, Corn buntings and Tree Sparrows.
 Yellow Wagtail Springfield Bridge
Mid afternoon from Springfield Bridge a male Yellow Wagtail was taking food to a nest, so at least 1 pair nested on the reserve. Of note over the flood 3 Hobby's hawking Dragonflies, 2 Marsh Harriers over Dengemarsh and a Bittern gave a brief flight view.
1st summer Hobby's Dengemarsh Flood
Last nights haul of moths was fairly unimpressive, though I think a Rosy Wave is among the catch and would be new for me, the moth lords will decide.


After emptying the moth trap this morning and finding very little to get excited over, I went to the sea watch hide. Looking towards The Patch not a ripple from the boil also no Terns or Gulls, but 13 Great-crested Grebes were enjoying feeding in the calm at The Patch. Personally I can't wait for the reactor to be switched back on. 
2 Spoonbills at Scotney
In 2 visits to Scotney GP today 2 Spoonbills were roosting on an island on the back lake, also there 15 pairs of Avocets, a single pair of Common Terns, 3 Ringed Plovers, a Little Ringed Plover, 5 Little Egrets and the usual wild fowl. Over the fields numerous Swifts, while in the fields Yellow Wagtails and Corn Buntings calling all around, several Tree Sparrows at the Sussex end and 3+ Marsh Harriers. An Egyptian Goose was on the main lake, but little else of note.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Turtle Dove

A half hour sea watch from The Point in the rain this morning was not particularly rewarding, a Little Egret flew west as did a party of 15 Gannets, c8 Common Terns and 4 Sandwich Terns were feeding up and down the beach and a bedraggled Pied Wagtail kept me company. 
At the ARC with the rain came c200 Swifts with smaller numbers of Swallows and House Martins over the lake. 2 Cuckoo's were chasing around the Willow Trail, a Marsh Harrier there and the usual reed bed warblers.
I started to walk down to Scotney Farm but turned back as the rain got heavier, driving towards the double bends I spotted a Turtle Dove, I pulled up, took a couple of quick shots as I could see a police car in my rear view mirror. Most of the rest of my day was taken up with domestic stuff, at least I shouldn't have to go to London any more. 
 Turtle Dove
A few images of last nights moth catch.
 Bird's Wing
 Barred Red
Burnished Brass

Friday, 19 June 2015


Swallows in the Screen yesterday.
At last yesterday evening was calm and warm, just right for a stroll around the Scotney GP complex. As I walked through the farm a Spoonbill appeared from a creek in the NE corner, it's probably the bird I saw there a few days ago. In the paddocks running around among the cows and sheep several Yellow and Pied Wagtails were collecting food for nestlings. Several more Yellow Wagtails were in the crop fields along with Corn Buntings. On the islands a minimum of 15 sitting Avocets and a single pair of Common Terns. While wandering out near the wind turbines scanningf for Barn owls, I picked up a party of 4 Great White Egrets heading SE. Also 3 Barn Owls and a Little Owl were seen.

 The Viper's Bugloss along the causeway is superb at the moment.
 Barely a ripple at The Patch this morning meant no birds, hopefully the power station will soon have boiling again. 2 Black redstarts were singing in compound and 2 Hummingbird Hawkmoths were sunning on perimeter wall. 2 Cuckoo's and 5 Hobby's could be seen around the ARC, along with usual Warblers ans Wildfowl.
 Whats left of the old farm house at Dengemarsh 
 Alder Moth fairly rare down here.
A Dark Sword-grass was the best of the 32 species of macro moth last night, though not very photogenic.
 Privet Hawkmoth

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

A summers day at last!

At The Patch this morning with AJG an adult and 1st summer Mediterranean Gull, c25 Common Terns and the usual Black-headed and large Gulls. We next walked around the Trapping area and southern Long Pit, noting 2 Blackcaps, 2 Reed Warblers, a Cetti's Warbler and several Common Whitethroats singing.
Next stop the Willow Trail where the trees and bushes were absolutely dripping with Cuckoo Spit, also a Grasshopper Warbler had been reported there earlier, sadly all I could find was a family of Wrens, Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings and another Cetti's Warbler.   
 Juvenile Wren in the Willow Trail
Lunch time at the ARC car park a Hobby flashed over and Cuckoo was calling, in the screen hide the Swallows were feeding 4 young,

 This afternoon at Scotney of note a Spoonbill on the eastern back lake viewed from the conveyor belt, also good numbers of Yellow Wagtails were feeding young still in the nests as were several pairs of Corn Buntings. On the back lake there appears to be at least 15 pairs of Avocets trying again on a different island, after a complete failure first time round due to unknown causes. At least 2 pairs of Little Ringed Plovers there and 6 feeding Little Egrets.

 This evening on the marsh of note a distant Barn Owl, 3 Little Owls, a Turtle Dove, 2 Cuckoo's, a Sparrowhawk and a Marsh Harrier.
An Eyed Hawk Moth from last nights catch of a miserly 13 species.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Flaming June!

After emptying the moth trap, I took a stroll around the hayfields, the NE force 4-5 wind made an uncomfortable walk and totally unproductive stroll.
Over the Willow trail a flock of c70 Swifts were making light of the conditions. 
An hour sea watch from The point was not a great deal more productive, but at least it was sheltered and warm in the car.
Common Scoter: 4W
Gannet: 51E   11W
Sandwich tern: c20 o/s
Common Tern: c30 o/s
Guillemot: 4E
Auk sp: 11W
Swift: 8 in
Swallow: 1 out
This afternoon from Hanson some islands have at last appeared and a Hobby was chasing Mouse Martins. A coot was trying to build another nest infront the hide, the last 2 being washed away. In the Screen hide the Swallows are feeding 4 young, nearby the Green Woodpeckers are feeding young. 
 From the entrance track to the VC 2 more Hobby's entertaining a few visitors, from Dennis's a Ringed Plover and a Little Ringed Plover.
 Shark, 1 of 23 species of macro in this mornings catch.
Another one just for you Steve. 

Sunday, 14 June 2015

A few Moths

This mornings haul of 32 macros and 7 micros, plus some unidentified as yet from the moth trap was the biggest so far this year for me, although very modest against some of the catches elsewhere today.
Unfortunately most of my day and evening was spent in London, not a place I willingly go to. 
 Pine Hawkmoth
 Bordered Straw
Iron Prominent

Saturday, 13 June 2015

I have been tied up the last few days with domestic stuff and probably will be for a few more days. 
Once again today the relentless wind dominated the birding. although thankfully not cold it was still uncomfortable.
The post/non breeding duck flock at the south end of the ARC is building up though I could find the drake Garganey, there were plenty of Swifts and Swallows over the lake and Cuckoo calling there. 
Hobby over Hookers ramp
This afternoon a walk from Springfield Bridge round the Hayfields to Hookers and Burrowes was disappointing with the wind keeping most birds tucked in the bushes. 5+ Hobby's and 50+ Swifts were high over Dengemarsh and Hookers. There appears to be 4+ pairs of Common Terns on one of the rafts, the other 2 occupied by Common Gulls. Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Common Whitethroats and Cetti's Warblers were all singing unseen despite the wind.
Last nights moth catch at Plodland was the best so far this year with 26 species of macro and several micros including another Small Mottled Willow, 2 Bordered Straws and 15 Plutella xylostella. 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Hudsonian Whimbrel (just)!

 Swift over the Willow Trail
With N.E.wind still blasting over the peninsular this morning, it took only a couple of minutes to empty the over night catch of 9 moths of 7 species from the trap.
I then decided to give The Patch a miss and went straight to the ARC where at least 100 Swifts were tearing around doing what Swifts do, along with a few House Martins and Swallows. A SAparrowhawk mad a half hearted attempt to catch a Swift and a Cuckoo flew through. A few Reed Warblers, a Sedge Warbler and 2 Cetti's Warblers were singing in the shelter of the Willow Trail, but most things appeared to be hunkered down sheltering from the wind.
Burrowes held less Swifts, apart from a nesting gulls, couple of Lapwings, Oystercatchers and a Ringed Plover the emerging islands were empty.
Swift over Dennis's Hide
 As I had go to London this afternoon, I took the opportunity afterwards to go to Pagham Harbour to try and see the Hudonian Whimbrel. I drove into a very full Church Norton car park about 17.30 ,thinking that with so many birders present the Whimbrel would be pinned down, wrong! I was quickly informed that it had not been seen since 14.00 when it had flown to the centre of the harbour, the tide was fairly high and there was still at least another hour to high tide, also the wind was blasting across the harbour into our faces, things weren't looking good.I found a position to scan the harbour that afforded a little shelter, after nearly an hour and half the Whimbrel gave a distant fly past, but was harried by a Gull and flew a little closer before landing back in the middle of the harbour. I managed some very hurried flight shots that are just about recognisable as Hudsonian Whimbrel. As I am staying in West Sussex tonight I will probably try to to get a better view tomorrow if it stays.
 Husonian Whimbrel (not going to win any photographic prizes)

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Blasting N.E. Wind!

 Mediterranean Gull in the melee.
Walking to and from the The Patch this morning I felt seriously under dressed even though I was wearing a T shirt, a sweat shirt and a fleece, as the NE wind blasted along the path to the hide.
While there an adult and 1st summer Mediterranean Gulls were the highlights, with up to 10 Sandwich Terns moving into Rye Bay and 12 Gannets moving east, also 3+ Harbour Porpoises off shore.
100s of Swifts, Swallows and House Martins were feeding over the lakes on the peninsular with at least 15 Hobby's. At the ARC c100 each of Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard and Coot, presumably non or failed breeders, also at least 2 Cuckoo's there.
Azure Tit, Kazakstan 2007
With the wind spoiling the day I spent a few hours transferring old photographs onto my new laptop.