Saturday, 30 April 2016

Still Cold!

Another very cold morning on The point with very few migrants. This mornings sea watchers reported very little offshore movement again. A wander around The Desert and Broom with AJG was very disappointing, a single Siskin over 2 Wheatears, a Chiffchaff, a Blackcap and a very few Common Whitethroats. 2 Ring Ouzels around the Long Pits per Wes have probably been around a while.
A trip mid morning toThe Midrips with AJG and DC found 11 Avocets, 13 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Curlew, c20 Dunlin, a Greenshank, a Common Sandpiper, 4 Wheatears and a couple of Swallows through.
From the garden my first Hobby of the year high over the marsh.
Late afternoon seawatch from The Point 15.40-17.10 thanks to AJG for collating the numbers.
Red-breasted Merganser: 1E
Fulmar: 1E
Gannet: 47E
Whimbrel: 5E
Great Skua: 4E
Kittiwake: 1W
Little Tern: 5E
Commic Tern: 357E
Swallow: 8 in 

Friday, 29 April 2016

A cold return to Dungeness!

A shock to the system this morning arriving at a very cold sea watch hide after the warmth of Morocco. AJG had already been watching for 90 minutes for very scant reward, in the 30 minutes I was there with him just a handful each of Scoter, Brent Geese, Gannets and Terns moved east.
I joined him for a wander to the north end of the Long Pits and back where 8 Swifts and 2 House Martins were new for me at Dungeness this year, a male Ring Ouzel chacked before flying off towards The Desert, a few Common Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats and Reed Warblers were singing half heartedly, joined by 3 Cetti's Warblers but very little else and no sign of AJGs Purple Heron from yesterday.
Late morning at the ARC from the causeway a Wheatear and 2 Yellow Wagtails at the southern end, halfway along the causeway a summer plumage Black-necked Grebe was showing well and still there late afternoon.
At The Pines a Cuckoo was my first of the year also several more Swifts with Swallows, House and Sand Martins and plenty of singing Sedge and Reed Warblers.
 Whimbrel at Scotney.
An early afternoon hours sea watch from the fishing boats was a complete non event. At Scotney 1 of several Whimbrel was showing well, also 12 Ringed Plovers, 4 Dunlin and several Yellow Wagtails were flying around.
Dengemarsh Gully was bereft of avian life. Galloways was opened early but all I could find was a handful of Common Whitethroats.
Late afternoon a fine male Whinchat had joined the Wheatear at the ARC.
Whinchat at the ARC

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Bits and Pieces!

 A chilly start with a light frost and light northerly wind. An Iceland Gull probably a 1w was seen at The Patch early morning, by the time I arrived it was long gone. A Black Tern was  nice feeding over The Patch with 200+ Common Terns, a party of 13 Whimbrel flew east as did 4 Common Scoter, a few Gannets and several Mediterranean Gulls, but little else was moving off shore.
On the New Diggings the 2 Slavonian Grebes still, over the road on the ARC a few Sand Martins and Swallows.
Stoat by Hookers
A walk around the reserve with AJG and DC saw a few more Hirundines, a Black-necked Grebe on Burrowes along with the small numbers of common wildfowl, a Green Sandpiper was behind Christmas Dell, a Wheatear at Hayfield 3, also a Raven over, Great White Egret, Tundra Bean Goose and booming Bittern at Dengemarsh, Mediterranean Gulls could be heard all round the reserve. The scrub and ditches around the reserve held numerous Sedge Warblers and Reed Buntings, also Cetti's Warblers, Reed Warblers, Bearded Tits. Marsh Harriers could be seen all round along with several Common Buzzards and a Whimbrel was by the entrance track. A 90 minute sky watch from the front garden produced 4 very high displaying Marsh Harriers, 4+ Common Buzzards, a Peregrine, 2 Little Egrets and 2 Mediterranean Gulls over. 
Off to Morocco tomorrow so no more posts for a while.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Black Terns and Ouzels!

 Not surprisingly with a North West wind the sea was very quiet so 2 Black Terns feeding over The Patch with many Common Terns  were very welcome.
Black Tern over The Patch
Black Tern with Common Terns
A walk around the area found of note a few Wheatears, Chiffchaffs, a few Swallows coming in, a Raven over, a Black Redstart singing on the power station and several Goldcrests along the edge of the trapping area.
Plenty of Hirundines over the lakes today also Black-necked and Slavonian Grebes still present.
Dengemarsh Gully was very quiet, 4 Wheatears on the concrete vents and a Raven over were about it. 2 Common Whitethroats were singing by the gully entrance.
A wander around the hay fields found a few more Hirundines but little else of note.
 Ring Ouzel
When the rain cleared late this afternoon a text from SG alerted me to the presence of up to 4 Ring Ouzels in The desert 2 of which showed themselves to me.
 Ring Ouzel past the old lighthouse
Sparrowhawk in The Desert
 Mullein first of the year in the Plodland trap.
Early Thorn by the MV.

Friday, 15 April 2016

My first Sand Martins of the year!

A fairly slow watch today considering that it is mid April:
Brent Goose: 144E
Shelduck: 3W
Gadwall: 4E
Common Scoter: 139E
Red-breasted Merganser: 1E
Red throated Diver: 8E   1 on
Fulmar: 8E    2W down
Gannet: 12E  31 around
Oystercatcher: 25E  2W
Whimbrel: 1E
Curlew: 1E
Great Skua: 2E     1W
Arctic Skua: 9E    (8DP 1LP)
Little Gull: 1E
Kittiwake: 5E
Sandwich Tern: 316E
Commic Tern: 432E
Guillemot: 8E
Auk sp: 8W      8E
Swallow: 2 in
Bearded Tit at Hayfield 3
A walk from Springfield Bridge around the hay fields eventually produced my first 2 Sand Martins of the year, several Swallows, a couple of Bearded Tits, Marsh Harriers and Cetti's Warblers. The hay fields look as though they will hold several pairs of Lapwings and Oystercatchers, hopefully they will attract some migrant waders.
Female Wheatear Dengemarsh Gully
Dengemarsh Gully was very quiet apart from 3 Wheatears and 9 Linnets. I was unable to find any phyloscs there.
A wet walk to the pines in the rain produced a couple each of Chiffchaffs and Cetti's Warblers, while Reed buntings seem to be abundant. Over the lake c20 Sand Martins, c15 Swallows and 6 Common terns. 
A mid afternoon sea watch from the point was as expected in the rain very slow.
14.00-15.00 from the turning circle
Brent Goose: 44E
Common Scoter: 10E   5W
Red-throated Diver: 1E
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 6E
Ringed Plover: 2 on beach
Sandwich Tern: 4E
Common Tern: 5E
Wheatear: 7 on beach
A look at The new Diggings from the causeway saw 2 each of Slavonian and Black-necked Grebes of note.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Nice flock of Garganey!

05.50-10.30 from the sea watch hide. Many thanks to AJG for collating the numbers.
Brent Goose: 321E
Shelduck: 2E
Garganey: a flock of 8E
Common Scoter: 453E
Red-breasted Merganser: 8E
Red-throated Diver: 9E
Great-crested Grebe: present n/c
Black-throated Diver: 1E
Fulmar: 7E
Gannet: 71E
Cormorant: present n/c
Oystercatcher: 29E
Bar-tailed Godwit: 40E
Arctic Skua: 4E all DP
Little Gull: 28E
Kittiwake: 1E
Little Tern: 2E
Sandwich Tern: 807E
Common Tern: 1253E
Razorbill: 3 on sea
Auk sp: 7E
Jackdaw: 5 over
Harbour Porpoise: 10+
AJG and myself walked around the Desert seeing only a Sparrowhawk of note. We carried on up the West side of the Long Pits hearing only 2 Cetti's Warblers until we reached the north end where several Blackcaps, Lesser Whitethroats, Chiffchaffs and a Common Whitethroat were singing. On the walk back to the observatory just 2 Swallows of note were seen.
1 of 4 Wheatears at the fishing boats early afternoon
Brent Goose: 47E
Shelduck: 3E
Common Scoter: 29E  4W
Red-throated Diver: 4E
Black-throated Diver: 1E
Gannet: 6E
Oystercatcher: 1E
Whimbrel: 22E
Bar-tailed Godwit: 4E
Dunlin: 15 in
Sanderling: 1E
Grey Plover: 2 in
Great Skua: 1E
Arctic Skua: 11E  all DP
Little Gull: 6E   4 feeding off shore
Sandwich Tern: 54E
Common Tern: 70E     c70 feeding off shore
Swallow: 3 in
Wheatear: 4 on beach
Linnet: 5+ over
1 of 2 Grey Plover on the beach this afternoon.
A stop on the causeway on the way home saw 5 Little Gulls and 12 Common Terns on the ARC. Over the road on the New Diggings the 2 Slavonian Grebes were still present.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Grasshopper Warbler!

First thing this morning DW caught the Grasshopper Warbler below in the Heligoland Trap
In the lighthouse garden a Nightingale was singing half heartedly, also there several Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps.
When I eventually got to the sea it was much quieter than yesterday.
Brent Goose: 108E
Shelduck: 3E
Shoveler: 9E
Common Scoter: 258E   13W
Red-breasted Merganser: 2E
Red-throated Diver: 10E
Black-throated Diver: 1E
Fulmar: 1E
Gannet: 18E
Whimbrel: 1E
Great Skua: 1E
Arctic Skua: 6E  all DP
Mediterranean Gull: 2E    2W
Little Gull: 8E
Sandwich Tern: 81E
Common Tern: 87E
Auk: 2E
Green Tiger Beetle by the path to Dennis's hide
On the reserve from Dennis's Hide 2 Garganey made a short visit to Burrowes also a Black-necked Grebe there.
 Mediterranean Gull, Scotney
A wander around the back of Scotney found of note 4 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Common Buzzards, 2 Marsh Harriers, 8 Yellow Wagtails, 7 Corn Buntings, 3 Pintail and several Skylarks.
 Yellow Wagtail, Scotney
 At the north end of the Long Pits mid afternoon 3 Redstarts (2 males and female) and several Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps.
While scanning the ARC for non existent Sand Martins a party of 14 Little Gulls dropped in for a couple of minutes, they had a quick bath and a shake then they were gone. A black-necked Grebe was on the lake. Over the road on the New Diggings another Black-necked Grebe along with a Slavonian Grebe.
A walk from Springfield Bridge round the Hayfields late afternoon was rather disappointing, a Little Egret posing on Hayfield 3 also 4 Redshank and 6 Lapwing there, a couple of singing Sedge Warblers behind Dengemarsh Hide were of note. Walking back to the car a party of 12 Black-tailed Godwits flew over the hayfields.
Black-tailed Godwits

Monday, 11 April 2016

An excellent days Sea Watching at Dungeness!

Arctic Skua

0-5.50-12.00 & 13.30-18.00
Brent Goose: 339 9E
Shelduck: 8E
Gadwall: 14E
Pintail: 6E
Shoveler: 23E
Teal: 8E
Common Scoter: 2,018E     17W
Red-breasted Merganser: 65E
Red throated Diver: 65E
Black-throated Diver: 2E
Great-crested Grebe: present n/c
Fulmar: 14E
Manx Shearwater: 16E
Gannet: 517E
Cormorant: present n/c
Oystercatcher: 15E
Ringed Plover: 1 around
Grey Plover: 6E
Knot: 8E
Whimbrel: 11E
Bar-tailed  Godwit: 7E
Sanderling: 3E
Dunlin 6 up
Marsh Harrier: 1 in
Peregrine: 1 around
Great skua: 1E
Arctic Skua: 26E     (24 DP  2 LP)
Mediterranean Gull: 7E   1W
Little Gull: 77E
Kittiwake: 51E
Iceland Gull: 1 (1w flew west early morning then reappeared at The patch briefly early afternoon)
Little Tern: 1E
Sandwich Tern: 937E
Common Tern: 311E
Arctic Tern: 2E
Guillemot: 1 on sea
Razorbill: 3E
Auk sp: 18E   10W
Swallow : 1 in
Yellow Wagtail: 1 in
Linnet:21 coasting
A brief early afternoon look at the New Diggings saw the 2 Slavonian grebes and a Black-necked Grebe. The only news from the reserve was that the Tundra Bean Goose is still present and that there are plenty of Sedge Warblers now in. The Pied Flycatcher and Redstarts were still at the north end of the Long Pits today.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Pied Flycatcher!

 White faced Brent Goose!
With a South Easterly blowing the usual suspects and myself arrived early at the sea watch full of expectation, we weren't disappointed.
Brent Goose:  875E
Shelduck: 3E
Pintail: 7E
Shoveler: 23E
Teal: 4E
Common Scoter: 1,022E
Velvet Scoter: 2E
Red-breasted Merganser: 7E
Red-throated Diver; 7E  1W
Black-throated Diver: 1E
Great Northern Diver: 1E
Great-crested Grebe: present n/c
Fulmar: 7E
Gannet: 55E
Cormorant: present n/c
Kestrel: 1 male  out
Oystercatcher: 1E
Arctic Skua: 5E  all DP
Mediterranean Gull: 6E
Kittiwake: 1E
Sandwich Tern: 1,039E
Common Tern: 189E
Guillemot: 1E
Auk sp:  23E   5W
Linnet: 21 in
Harbour Porpoise: 7+
Grey Seal: 1
Pied Flycatcher north end of the Long Pits.
At north end of the Long Pits a superb Pied Flycatcher was found by Sean O'donnell, also there 2+ Common Redstarts, several each of Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, a Water Rail, Cetti's Warbler and a Stoat.
On the New Diggings still 2 Slavonian Grebes and a Black-necked Grebe. A White Stork flew over the reserve seen only by a lucky few. 
Another slower sea watch this afternoon 13.40-17.00 numbers kindly collated by AJG.
Brent Goose: 4E
Shoveller: 8E
Common Scoter: 321E   4W
Red-breasted Merganser: 2E
Red-throated Diver: 1E
Gannet: 12E    2W
Whimbrel: 4E
Sanderling: 5E
Dunlin: 2E
Knot: 1E
Great Skua: 1E
Mediterranean Gull: 3 around
Yellow-legged Gull: 1  2w around
Kittiwake: 2E
Sandwich Tern: 136E
Common Tern: 33E
Guillemot 1E
Auk sp 21 down
Swallow 1 in
Linnet 7 up

Saturday, 9 April 2016

A few Skua's!

A reasonable sea watch halted due to rain and poor visibility 07.40-09.10:
Common Scoter: 53E
Red-throated Diver: 3E
Fulmar: 14E  2W
Manx Shearwater: 2E
Gannet: 47E    23W
Great Skua: 6E
Auk sp: 5E
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
A stop off on the causeway found 2 Black-necked Grebes on the New Diggings but no Hirundines there or over the ARC.
Vauxhalls latest all terrain vehicle. Driven by plonkers!
12.40-16.30 from the sea watch hide with AJG & DC.
Brent Goose: 456E
Shoveler: 2E
Common Scoter: 67E       8W
Velvet Scoter: 3E
Red-breasted Merganser: 1W  Drake
Red-throated Diver: 5E      2W
Black-throated Diver: 2E
Gannet: 96E
Sanderling: 5E
Great Skua: 8E
Arctic Skua: 3E    2 x DP      1 x LP
Kittiwake: 1E    
Mediterranean Gull: 2W   ads
Sandwich Tern: 208E
Common Tern: 21E
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
Another late afternoon stop on the causeway and still no Hirundines.
At Galloways no sign of the Whinchat for me but a rubicola Stonechat present. 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Hooded Crow!

With the a West wind blowing I decided to have a look around the hay fields first thing this morning for Water Pipits, I found none just a couple of Meadow Pipits. Marsh Harriers were over the reed beds but little else of note was seen.
While I was there David Campbell text me to say a Hooded Crow had flown West past the sea watch hide. As I arrived at the sea watch hide AJG & DC left as virtually nothing was passing. I settled in for a slow watch, which was mercifully cut short by news from OL that the Hooded Crow or another was on the beach at the Lifeboat Station heading towards the fishing boats, which is where I caught up with it, also a Wheatear on the beach by the boats.   
An uncooperative Hooded Crow on the beach.
 Yellow Wagtail and Corn Bunting at Scotney.
Around Scotney of note 8 Avocet and 4 Mediterranean Gulls on the back lakes, several each of Yellow Wagtail, Corn Bunting and Skylark but no sign of the 1w Iceland Gull.
Late afternoon on New Diggings still at least 2 Black-necked Grebes nearby 2 red head Smew on the Boulderwall Pools. There were still a few Willow Warblers and Firecrests around the Peninsula per DW & DB.
 Black-necked Grebe

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

A few Willow Warblers!

A walk around the scrub on The point this morning saw 8+ Willow Warblers, 5 Chiffchaffs, 3 Firecrests, 2 Goldcrests, a Continental Coal Tit, a great spotted Woodpecker and 40 Brent Geese moving east.
Walking along the High Street in New Romney after mid morning trip to the barbers, the local Gulls alerted me to the presence of a Red Kite sailing over.
At the ARC a couple of Sedge Warblers singing along with several Cetti's Warblers, 2 Common Terns over the lake and a male Marsh Harrier displaying high over the Water Tower.
Late morning at the northern end of the Long Pits phyloscs seemed to be in every bush, 40+ Willow Warblers & 30+ Chiffchaffs are probably conservative numbers, also 3 Blackcaps, a Firecrest and several Goldcrests, but no sign of any of the Common Redstarts seen earlier by others.
I've seen plenty of Chiffchaffs with black pollen on there faces, but this is the first Firecrest
 Firecrest lighthouse Garden
 Common Redstart Lighthouse Garden.
Late afternoon in the Lighthouse Garden 3+ Firecrests, 2+Goldcrests and a very elusive Common Redstart that gave the briefest of views before disappearing back into centre of the garden.
A late afternoon stop at the New Diggings found 3 Black-necked Grebes and 2 Slavonian Grebes, nearby on the Boulderwall Pool 5 Smew including 1 drake. In the Boulderwall Garden 5 Tree Sparrows and a female Brambling.
No sign of the Water Pipit at Springfield Bridge this evening. On my return home a Swallow was on the wires outside, 
Swallow at Plodland this evening

Monday, 4 April 2016

A late start at the sea watch hide for me this morning but still a reasonable watch 08.15-09.50:
Brent Goose: 495E
Common Scoter: 194E
Eider: 3E
Red-breasted Merganser: 2E
Red-throated Diver: 37E
Black-throated Diver: 1E
Great-crested Grebe: present n/c
Fulmar: 1E
Gannet: 4E
Cormorant: present n/c
Arctic Skua: 1E
Kittiwake: 3W
Little Gull: 13E
Mediterranean Gull: 2 around
Sandwich Tern: 63E
Common Tern: 2E

On the New Diggings 4 Black-necked Grebes & 2 Slavonian Grebes. On the Boulderwall Pools still 3 Smew 1 drake, 3 Little Egrets and Great White Egret.
 1w Iceland Gull Scotney back pit. bird sat in middle honest!
At Scotney late morning 19 Ringed Plovers, a Dunlin, 3 Redshank, 3+ Yellow Wagtails, 7+ Corn Buntings, a Black Redstart and a 1w Iceland Gull of note.
 Yellow Wagtail, Scotney.
 Going for quantity not quality Steve!
An afternoon sea watch from the fishing boats was slow.
Brent Goose: 5E
Common Scoter: 5E
Red-throated Diver: 30E
Gannet: 7E     2W
Oystercatcher: 1E
Kittiwake: 2E    1W
Sandwich Tern: 24E
Linnet: 1 in
Harbour Porpoise:  2+
Herald moth my 1st of the year in the Plodland MV last night

Sunday, 3 April 2016

A stop off at the New Diggings on the way to the beach saw 3 Black-necked Grebes and a Slavonian Grebe among the Coot.
07.45-11.40 from the sea watch hide
Brent Goose: 681E
Shelduck: 7E
Pintail: 9E
Shoveler: 2E
Teal: 2E
Eider: 1E
Common Scoter: 413E    1W
Red-breasted Merganser: 20E
Red-throated Diver: 35E
Black-throated Diver: 7E
Fulmar: 6E
Gannet: 62E     2W
Great Skua: 1E
Arctic Skua: 7E
Kittiwake: 12E
Little Gull: 40E
Mediterranean Gull: 4E    +  2 x 1w on The Patch
Sandwich Tern: 131E
Common Tern: 17E
Auk sp:  11E
Harbour Porpoise: 4+

The reserve was busy but 5 Smew including 1 drake were still on the Boulderwall Pools as was 3 Little Egrets and a Great White Egret. 10+ Little Gulls were on Burrowes, also still 4+ Goldeneye hanging on.
Late afternoon 4 Wheatears opposite Jarmans.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

2 Excellent Sea Watches!

Great Skua past the hide
Combined totals for 2 excellent sea watches today: 06.15-10.30 + 13.40-15.40
Brent Goose: 654E   2W
Shelduck: 2E
Common Scoter: 896E
Velvet Scoter: 14E  (flocks of 8 + 6)
Red-breasted Merganser: 18E
Red-throated Diver: 71E    2W
Black-throated Diver: 4E
Great Northern Diver: 2E
Great-crested Grebe: 14 on sea
Fulmar: 10E   1 around
Gannet: 199E   5W
Oystercatcher: 4E
Great Skua: 4E
Arctic Skua: 4E
Kittiwake: 26E
Mediterranean Gull: 6E
Little Gull: 90E
Sandwich Tern: 532E
Common Tern: 42E
Guillemot: 1E
Auk sp: 5E
Wheatear: 2 on beach
Linnet: 2 out
Harbour Porpoise: 5+
Brent Geese past the hide
Keeping up the Wheatear count! 1 of 4 opposite Jarmans this afternoon.
Late afternoon at least 3 Black-necked Grebes and a Slavonian Grebe on the New Diggings.

Friday, 1 April 2016

 Still a few Firecrests around The Point and Long Pits today but not a great deal else, seemingly very little overhead migration. 2 Black-necked Grebes still on the New Diggings. At the ARC a male Brambling by the car park, 2 Chiffchaffs, several singing Cetti's Warbler, numerous Reed Buntings, 3 Marsh Harriers, also a Bittern booming regularly.
Black-necked Grebe
Brambling ARC car park
As the breeze picked up from a southerly vector I thought I'd try a sea watch this afternoon. At least it was warm sitting in the sunshine and the shelter of the boats.
14.00-16.30 From the fishing boats:
Brent Goose: 31E  (6+2+23)
Common Scoter: 7E
Red-throated Diver: 7E
Great-crested Grebe: 6 present
Gannet: 2E
Oystercatcher: 1E
Kittiwake: 3 present
Sandwich Tern: 12E
Harbour Porpoise: 4+ around