Sunday, 30 October 2016

Caspian Gull!

Once again despite reasonable conditions on the peninsular migrants were non existent. I started by looking around the lighthouse area where 6 Skylark, a couple of Redpoll and Siskin over were the highlight and a Chiffchaff in the Heligoland trap. 
Another walk around The Desert, the beach area and the trapping area in the company of Steve Gale   ( was very pleasant in the warm sunshine but completely bird less.
Mid afternoon I joined Mick and Richard at the fishing boats shortly after a superb adult Caspian Gull had dropped in giving excellent views.
 Adult Caspian Gull
 Adult Caspian Gull
 Adult Caspian Gull

Expensive Bird Table

Saturday, 29 October 2016

First thing this morning at The Point conditions seemed perfect for some grounded and overhead migrants, so it was very disappointing to see just 3 Fieldfares, a Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest and a few Blackbirds in a wander around the bushes and then drizzle started in earnest. 
North Thames CR Herring Gull on the beach this afternoon.
As the sea was flat calm I was a little surprised when AJG called me to say there was some movement off shore. I quickly joined him in the sea watch hide.
Numbers collated by AJG.
Brent Goose: 291W
Shelduck: 1 in
Wigeon: 12W
Teal: 1W
Red-breasted Merganser: 6W
Common Scoter: 76W
Great-crested Grebe: 4W
Sooty Shearwater: 1W
Red-throated Diver: 1E
Black-throated Diver: 1W
Great Northern Diver: 1W
Great Skua: 5W
Arctic Skua: 1W
Mediterranean Gull: 38 down
Kittiwake: 164W
Guillemot: 5 around
Razorbill: 8 around
Auk sp: 19E
Skylark: 16 in
Starling: 167 in

Friday, 28 October 2016

Sea Watch Surprise!

For a change first thing this morning I went to a cold windswept Dengemarsh Gully, where the virtually the only bird I saw was a Swallow heading towards the power station, the gully apart from a Robin and a Wren was an avian free zone.
At Dengemarsh the Linnet flock was still in the Sunflower field, 2 Marsh Harriers quartered the reed bed and a Great White Egret was in the shallows.
 Black Redstart 
I joined AJG in walk around The point which was also very disappointing, a single Black Redstart in the lighthouse garden, 2 Stonechats by the Britannia, a couple of Siskins and Redpolls over, a Redwing, a Green Woodpecker and a couple of Chiffchaffs. We arrived back at the observatory just as Great Spotted Woodpecker was about to be released, which was also the highlight of the meagre total of birds ringed there today. 
At Scotney nothing of note unless you include Egyptian Geese,
A surprising sea watch in the company of AJG this afternoon from the fishing boats. In benign weather we recorded a totally unexpected 668 Mediterranean Gulls, which is the highest count I have had at Dungeness.
Common Scoter: 3E
Great-crested Grebe: 6 around
Gannet: 49E   12W
Cormormant: present n/c
Oystercatcher:  5W   1E
Grey Plover: 3 on beach then E
Turnstone: 4 around
Dunlin: 33 on beach then E
Arctic Skua: 1 chasing off shore then W
Kittiwake: 506W
Mediterranean Gull: 668W
Black-headed Gull: present n/c
Common Gull: present n/c
Herring Gull: present n/c
Great Blck-backed Gull: present n/c
Sandwich Tern: 23W    2E
Guillemot: 8 around
Razorbill: 2 around
Auk: 15E    7W
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
Common Seal: 1

Thursday, 27 October 2016


 A bedraggled Sparrowhawk in the fog this morning
In the lighthouse garden first thing this morning a Firecrest popped up briefly then disappeared in the fog which even completely obscured the power station. As the fog started to lift I made my way to the observatory where another firecrest was in the Moat.
I joined Steve G in a wander around The Desert and beach. We saw very few grounded birds and overhead migration was very thin with just a few Siskin, Meadow Pipits, Goldfinches, Redpolls and Skylarks, however we did find a nice female Dartford Warbler which gave us great hope of other goodies to be found. A little further on 2 Firecrests and a Chiffchaff were flitting about in a small lone tree. The walk along the beach drew a blank on any Wheatears but we did find a Black Redstart by the Britannia.   
 Dartford Warbler
 As we arrived back at the observatory a Pallas's Warbler was trapped in The moat which unusually gave good views after release.
Pallas's Warbler

Another wander around the Desert and trapping area this afternoon with SG failed to live up to this mornings highs, though a Marsh Harrier hunting the trapping area was nice.
Late afternoon from the causeway 9 Great White Egrets and 7 Little Egrets were feeding on the New Diggings also a red head Goosander there. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Maybe Tomorrow?

Maybe tomorrow seems to be the mantra on the Dungeness Peninsular lately.
This morning a dawn walk around The Desert saw 2 Common Snipe and 4 Swallows with single figures of Siskin, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting and Skylark over. The only grounded migrants were 2 Ring Ouzels that have been present for a few days. Even with all the nets open nothing of note was caught.
I joined SG in a stroll from the observatory along the front of the power station where we barely saw a bird until we reached the switching station where a flock of c80 Meadow Pipits were feeding, on the way back we did see a Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest and the local Peregrine a very poor return for our efforts.
This afternoon in an hour at the fishing boats;
Brent Goose: 67W
Wigeon: 10W
Eider: 2W
Gannet: c20 feeding
Turnstone: 3 on beach
Mediterranean Gull: 2 feeding
Black-headed Gull: c500 feeding
Guillemot: 3 around
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
Yet another walk around and through the sea containers not a single passerine.
Late afternoon I joined SG in another wander down to the The Patch, no passerines apart from a few Pied Wagtails.
Despite our best efforts down here on the shingle we just can't find any of those birds that have allegedly made this one of the best autumns ever!
12 Great White Egrets, 21 Little Egrets and a Merlin at the ARC roost this evening.
Maybe tomorrow!

Monday, 24 October 2016

A dull windy morning on the peninsular with little avian activity. As I drove across the causeway a Merlin dashed across the road, further down at the eastern end of the New Diggings 12 Great White Egrets and 13 Little Egrets. A walk along the front of the power station to the switching station found 2 Black Redstarts and few Linnets, among the rocks 3 Song Thrushes and a Goldcrest which were presumably newly arrived.
As I approached The moat 2 Ring Ouzels appeared and another Song Thrush.
I joined SG in a wander around the trapping area, along the Pilot path a large Tit flock contained 6+ Chiffchaffs of note, a Black Redstart was unusual in the area, a few Blackbirds and Song Thrushes dropped in, also a Marsh Harrier flew over and out to sea a little way before returning over the lighthouse.
Another Black Redstart opposite Jarmans.
This afternoon at the fishing boats 100s of feeding Gulls presumably feeding on the small fry that the Mackerel were chasing, the fisherman were pulling in the Mackerel 4 at a time. Among the commoner gulls were 25+ Mediterranean Gulls, 25+ Kittiwakes, 7+ Little Gulls, a Great Skua, small numbers of Guillemots and Razorbills, 3 Common Scoter flew east with a Tufted Duck for company. On the beach an adult Yellow-legged Gull and a Caspian Gull seen before I arrived by DW.
Late afternoon on the reserve a Black-tailed Godwit, an adult Yellow-legged Gull and the usual wildfowl and Egrets. On the roof of the VC another Black Redstart.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Blasting Easterlies!

With an easterly wind blasting across the peninsula this morning I wasn't expecting big things today.
07.00-08.30 from The Point with AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Common Scoter: 5E
Gannet: 69E
Arctic Skua: 1E
Sandwich Tern: 16E
Razorbill: 28E
Guillemot: 7E
Auk sp: 96E
Swallow: 6 out
I joined AJG in a stroll around the trapping area, highlights were 15 Siskin, a Brambling, 2 Swallows and 6+ Chiffchaffs.
Late morning 8 Great White Egrets could be seen on the ARC from the causeway.
 Great White Egrets
This afternoon at the fishing boats a 1w Caspian Gull came into the gull scrum, also an adult Yellow-legged Gull was also present. Offshore c40 Gannets feeding, 3 Mediterranean Gulls and few Auks tooing and froing.
 1w Caspian Gull

Gull scrum at the fishing boats

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Weasel Encounter!

Very quiet at Dungeness this morning with apparently no grounded migrants and virtually no overhead migration. I wandered down to The Patch seeing 8 Pied Wagtails and a party of 23 Swallows on the way, over the boil c150 Black-headed Gulls with a few Herring and common Gulls and a single Mediterranean Gull.
Wandering further down the beach towards Denge Marsh Gully a movement caught my eye, on closer scrutiny just the head of a Weasel was sticking out of hole under a large yellow metal container. I stood motionless for what seemed ages  before the Weasel came out, it was very wary and kept on dashing back to the safety of it's hole. Eventually it came right out under the fence and ran along the wall over my feet grabbed a Beetle and dashed back to it's hole. It came out again, after about an hour of it entertaining me it dashed to the power station buildings and disappeared into a cable duct, despite waiting a further half hour I never saw it again. 
Always check those big yellow containers!
Cute Assassin!

 It ran along the wall and over my foot!
Just before it disappeared into a cable duct.
This afternoon on the sea a few Gannets, Mediterranean Gulls, Guillemots and a couple of Brent Geese.
This evening at the ARC Egret 14 Great White Egrets and 19 Little Egrets came into the roost.
Cypress Carpet
The Plodland MV has been very poor lately, so this Cypress Carpet was a nice surprise.

Friday, 21 October 2016

This morning at The Point very little in the way of grounded migrants but there was some vis mig, with my poor hearing the following totals will only be a part of what was seen and heard by others
Brent Geese: 15 
Common Snipe: 1
Common Buzzard: 1
Short-eared Owl: 2
Swallow: 4
House Martin: 1
Black Redstart: 2
Pied Wagtail: 47
Mistle Thrush: 2
Fieldfare: 2
Song Thrush: 11
Blackbird: 12
Skylark: 96
Meadow Pipit: 46
Chiffchaff: 6
Goldcrest: 2
Starling: 7,950
Tree Sparrow: 1+
Siskin: 31
Chaffinch: 460
Brambling: 2
Linnet: 90
Goldfinch: 140
 1 of 2 behind The Patch
Russian Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov
This afternoon I joined AJG who collated  at the fishing boats 15.10-16.10:
Brent Goose:  9E     28W
Gadwall: 3 in
Eider: 1W
Gannet: 138E
Great Skua: 1E
Mediterranean Gull: 8E
Kittiwake: 6E
Guillemot: 64E
Auk sp: 311E
Skylark: 6 in

Thursday, 20 October 2016


At the weekend this juvenile Gannet joined the Gull throng at the fishing boats.

 Once the Gannet caught this Plaice it did not know how to eat it and eventually had it stolen.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Spurn & Dungeness

An excellent day trip to Spurn for the Siberian Accentor with DW, AJG, OL and GH who did all the hard work driving us there and back. The Accentor was on show from the time we arrived though frustratingly it was in the gas terminal feeding along the fence line in heavy shade for most of the time before flying deeper into the terminal. As news of an Isabelline Wheatear nearby came through we left the Accentor hoping that it would come back. The Isabelline Wheatear was a bonus also a Yellow-browed Warbler, Bean Geese, Brambling, Tree Sparrows, Ring Ouzels and birds in every bush and every field and on return to the gas terminal the Accentor was back on show.  
 Siberian Accentor

 Isabelline Wheatear

Brambling & Tree Sparrow
Back at Dungeness this morning I joined AJG in a wander around Trapping area and Desert where we saw Yellow-browed Warbler with a Tit flock along the Pilot Path and there was up to 3 Ring Ouzels present but very little else. Normally I would have been very satisfied seeing a Yellow-browed Warbler but after yesterdays avian extravaganza at Spurn I found it difficult to motivate myself. I did spend more time looking among the sea containers seeing just a Wren. The sea was very unproductive though not surprising given the wind direction. Dengemarsh Gully held just a Wheatear of any note, on Burrowes from Dennis's Hide 8 Great White Egrets and another from Hanson Hide on the ARC but very quiet in general. 
With North West winds forecast for tomorrow I'm off to Cap Gris Nez with most of the Dungeness regulars to hopefully have a good sea watch, time will tell. 

Saturday, 15 October 2016

More Ouzels, an Osprey, a Caspian Gull and a couple of Owls!

 Some of the Ring Ouzels around The Point today
 A tardy start this morning at the Old lighthouse where 2 Ring Ouzels flew out of the garden as I got of the car, a few Goldfinches, Linnets and Swallows flew over as I wandered around the bushes which contained a few Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest and more Ring Ouzels which popped up onto the fence posts right in front of me. A quick look at the sea saw plenty of Gannets but little else.
This one found it's way into the Heligoland Trap
 Osprey over Lade south 
 After a trip to the garage for new tyre I dropped into Lade just as BB tweeted that the Osprey was fishing over Lade south. Although I have seen it several times it has always been very distant, so it was nice to get good views of it , pity about the awful light. While I was there a Great White Egret flew in, c20 Swallow were seen, a Kingfisher flashed across north lake, a few Chiffchaffs and Cetti's Warblers were in the Sallows, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Common Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk were also seen.
Wheatear among the sea containers, not what I was hoping to find.
2 visits to the sea containers failed to find a Siberian vagrant, no doubt I'll try again tomorrow.
 Polish ringed 1w Caspian Gull at the fishing boats
A message from the gull boys Mick and Richard alerted me to a Polish ringed 1w Caspian Gull that was performing well at the fishing boats. Fortunately I was only a few hundred yards away and was there in a couple of minutes, while there an adult Yellow-legged Gull came into the beach.
Late afternoon just as the first spots of rain started I joined Steve G to hopefully see the 3 Short-eared Owls he found in the Desert earlier. 2 of the birds were located just as the rain started in earnest and sought the shelter of my car. 

Yellow-legged Gull at the fishing boats

Friday, 14 October 2016


07.20-09.05 with PW and AJG who collated the numbers:
Teal: 2W
Pintail: 3W
Wigeon: 30W
Common Scoter: 2E
Red-breasted Merganser: 1E
Gannet: 71E
Grey Plover: 6E
Dunlin: 1E
Pomarine Skua: 1W
Mediterranaen Gull: 3+ around
Razorbill: 3E
Guillemot: 1 on sea
Auk sp: 51E
Swallow: 124 out
Sand Martin: 3 out
Pied Wagtail: 51E
Grey Wagtail: 1E
Linnet: 44E
Goldfinch: 20E
Ring Ouzel 1 of c30 around today
Around The Point this morning c 30 Ring Ouzels over and in the bushes also a few Song Thrushes, a steady trickle of Linnets, Goldfinches and Meadow Pipits over, 18 more Swallows, a few Skylarks but little else. A Black Redstart was by the Station and a Firecrest was in the Lighthouse Garden. Another wander around late afternoon found nothing extra. 
A 45 minute sea watch this afternoon:
Brent Goose: 10E
Wigeon: 40W
Gannets: c20 around
Little Egret: 1E
Mediterranean Gull: 4+ around

Thursday, 13 October 2016


A slow sea watch first thing this morning in the company of AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 6W   1E
Shelduck: 2E
Teal: 1W
Wigeon: 17E
Red-throated Diver: 3E
Peregrine: 1 flew out to sea
Sandwich Tern: 8E
Arctic Tern: 1E
Mediterranean Gull: 11E
Razorbill: 11E  2W
Auk sp: 5W
Pied Wagtail: 2E
Swallow: 10 out.
A flock of c200 Fieldfare flew North over The Point towards Lade.
Great White Egrets viewed from Hanson Hide
At the ARC 15 Sand Martins and 6 Swallows over the car park several Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests and Cetti's Warblers were alongside the track to Hanson also a Bearded Tit. From the hide 10 Great White Egrets and 2 Snipe but no sign of yesterdays Jack Snipe.
At Scotney c500 Golden Plover and 2 Ruff along with all the usual feral Geese.
Another c100 Golden Plover in fields opposite Herons Park entrance, Dengemarsh Road, also the injured Ruff still present, a Mistle Thrush over and 8 Swallows.
At Dengemarsh the Linnet flock and some Reed Buntings still in the Sunflower field despite the attentions of 2 Kestrels, a Sparrowhawk and a Ring Tail Hen Harrier, also there up to 4 Marsh Harriers, 2 Common Buzzards, a Raven and another Mistle Thrush.