Friday, 31 March 2017

This mornings sea watch was very poor by recent standards with a single Eider, a few Red-throated Divers, Common Scoter, Sandwich Terns and Gannets. As the bushes at The Point by all accounts were devoid of migrants, myself AJG and LG went to Rye Harbour for a change of scenery. On the way LG spotted a Red Kite over the fields north of Northpoint GP.
At Rye Harbour Grey Plovers, Dunlin, Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, Avocets, Ringed Plovers, Mediterranean gulls, Sandwich Tern, Skylarks, Wheatears and more.
 Red Kite nr Northpoint GP
 Wheatear at Rye
 Sandwich Tern at the Ternery Pool
 Mediterranean Gull at the Ternery Pool
 Yellow Wagtail at Scotney
Early afternoon at Scotney my first 3 Yellow Wagtails of the year, 6 Avocets, 4 Mediterranean Gulls, 4 Ringed Plovers, 2 Common Buzzards, 2 Marsh Harriers, several each of Skylarks and Corn Buntings.
 Ringed Plover at Scotney
Mid afternoonThe Ring-necked Duck was on Tanner's Pool. On Burrowes a Black-necked Grebe and 3 Goldeneye were the highlights. 2 more Black-necked Grebes and a Slavonian Grebe still on the New Diggings.  
White-fronted Goose at Springfield Bridge
Late afternoon no sign of any Water Pipits on the hay fields, but the White-front was  still showing well at Springfield Bridge.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

An interesting watch this morning with a good range of species:
06.45-09.45 from the sea watch hide in the company of BB,BC,LG,DW and AJG.
Brent Goose: 64 up
Gadwall: 2 up
Pintail: 11 up
Shoveler: 8 up
Common Scoter: 264 up
Velvet Scoter: 2 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 4 up
Red-throated Diver: 98 up
Great Northern Diver: 1 up
Great-crested Grebe: present n/c
Fulmar: 4 up      1 down
Gannet: 39 up     4 down
Cormorant: present n/c
Osprey: 1 up
Merlin: 1 out
Great Skua: 1 up
Arctic Skua: 2 up
Mediterranean Gull: 4 up
Iceland Gull: 1 1w over The Patch
Little Gull: 9 up
Kittiwake: 7 up   5 down
Sandwich Tern: 144 up
Guillemot: 1 up
Auk sp: 11 up
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
The White-fronted Goose was still at Denge Marsh this morning. A Water Pipit was seen on hay field 1, a bird that I have not managed to see at Dungeness before, so I was very happy when it was still present when I arrived albeit but very elusive in the long grass. Another visit this evening found 3 Water Pipits there, but they were all still very elusive. I only managed to get a terrible record image.
 The smudge is a Water Pipit
Another sea watch from the fishing boats this afternoon was very pleasant in the warm sunshine, although not much was passing:
4.15-16.00 from the fishing boats with AJG & MH
Shoveler: 2 up
Common Scoter: 9 up
Red-throated Diver: 6 up
Great-crested Grebe: 6 around
Gannet: 1 up  3 down
Turnstone: 3 on beach
Sandwich Tern: 113 up
Skylark: 1 singing behind beach
Late afternoon on the New Diggings 2 Black-necked Grebes and a Slavonian Grebe. On Tanners Pool the Ring-necked Duck still and a Sedge Warbler there. At Cook's Pool a Water Rail present along with usual wildfowl.
Sunset at Dengemarsh
This evening's walk around Denge Marsh found the Whitefront still and the 3 Water Pipits, also 2 Common Buzzards over  and the usual Little Egrets and Marsh Harriers.
2 Little Owls were showing at Lydd Camp.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

This morning from the sea watch hide with LG, BB, JHRC and AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 71 up
Pintail: 1 up
Teal: 1 up
Common Scoter: 76 up    17 down
Velvet Scoter: 2 down
Red-Throated Diver 63 up
Great-crested Grebe: 12 around
Fulmar: 1 up
Gannet 43 up
Cormorant: present n/c
Oystercatcher: 1 up
Mediterranean Gull: 1 up
Sandwich Tern: 24 around
Auk: 1 up
At least 1 Black-necked Grebe still on the New Diggings. The Ring-necked Duck was still showing at the far end of Tanners Pool. One of the Long-eared Owls was showing very well behind the Dipping Pool. On Burrowes 5 Goldeneye were the highlights but the islands are starting to look good for migrant waders, there is even mud in front of Firth Hide.
 Long-eared Owl showing well at the Dipping Pool
A pleasant but slow afternoon  sea watch from the fishing boats with MH & AJG,
Brent Goose: 1 down
Mallard: 2 up
Common Scoter: 8 up    4 down
Red-throated Diver: 25 up
Great-crested Grebe: 14 around
Gannet: 3 up     1 down
Cormorant: present n/c
Turnstone: 2 on beach
Mediterranean Gull: 1 up
Sandwich Tern: 18 up
Sand Martin: 1 in
Meadow Pipit: 1 in
Grey Seal: 1
Russian White-fronted Goose at Springfield Bridge this evening
A stroll around the hay fields this evening which appear to be drying out very quickly, saw a White-fronted Goose of note at Springfield Bridge, a Raven over, the usual Marsh Harriers and Little Egrets, 10 Lapwings on No.3 and 4 on No.2. At least 3 pairs of Great-crested Grebes were displaying on Denge Marsh.
9 moths of 5 species in the MV last night, 2 Powdered Quakers, 2 Common Quakers, a Small Quaker, 2 Double Striped Pugs and 2 Hebrew Characters.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Another excellent Sea Watch!

Most of the Brent came through at this height and distance
The worst of the mist lifted around 08.15 leaving a murky sea for most of the rest of the morning. 
08.30-12.00 from the sea watch hide with AJG,LG,BB,DW,

Brent Goose: 1,923 up            3 down
Shelduck: 1 up
Shoveler: 3 up
Pintail: 9 up
Eider: 1 on
Common Scoter: 1,060 up
Velvet Scoter: 32 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 9
Red-throated Diver: 178 up
Black-throated Diver: 1 up
Great-crested Grebe: 5 up
Fulmar: 5 up
Gannet: 55 up
Oystercatcher: 5 up
Avocet: 1 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 1 up
Great Skua: 1
Mediterranean Gull: 14 up
Iceland Gull: 2 x 1wat The Patch
Little Gull: 31 up
Kittiwake: 7 up  3 down
Sandwich Tern: 162 up        18 down
Guillemot: 1 up
Auk sp: 17 up
Grey Wagtail: heard over hide
Harbour Porpoise: 7+
Last nights catch in the MV comprised 3 Hebrew Character's, a Common Quaker and a Powdered Quaker.
A serious accident closed the causeway for most of the day making the reserve difficult to get to so I took the opportunity get some domestic stuff done, hoping that I'll be out all day tomorrow.

Monday, 27 March 2017

06.50-08.10 from the sea watch hide with BB:
Brent Goose: 330 up
Teal: 19 up
Pintail: 26 up
Shoveler: 23 up
Tufted Duck: 5 up
Common Scoter: 22 up
Red-throated Diver: 11 up
Great-crested Grebe: 9 around
Gannet: 23 up
Cormorant: Present n/c
Curlew: 1 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 2 up
Iceland Gull: 1w flew towards The Patch
Kittiwake: 4 up
Sandwich Tern: 17 up         3 down
Harbour Porpoise: 7+
3 Red-crested Pochard at Scotney
Today the builders finished putting in 2 bathrooms for me and a superb job they have done. Since early January the house has been a mess and my time seemed not to be own, from tomorrow I can get out and about without thinking about the house.
Spoonbill over Cook's Pool
A first for me was a superb drake Smew, a drake Garganey and a Spoonbill all in the same scope view on Tanners Pool.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

A good day despite the wind!

1w Iceland Gull with a colour ringed 1w Mediterranean Gull H9V7 (probably Hungarian)
A reasonable sea watch from The Patch this morning despite the howling NE wind:
Myself and DW, joined by PH & LH.
Pintail: 10 up
Shoveler:  44 up
Wigeon: 1 up
Teal: 9 up
Common Scoter: 12 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 1 up
Red-throated Diver: 14 up
Black-throated Diver: 1 up
Great-crested Grebe: 9 around
Fulmar: 5 up   1 down
Gannet: 302 up      4 down
Cormorant: Present n/c
Oystercatcher: 3 up
Ringed Plover: 1 up
Grey Plover: 1 up
Dunlin: 1 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 4 up
Great Skua: 3 up
Mediterranean Gull: 2+ around
Little Gull: 2 up
Kittiwake: 16 up   3 on beach
Iceland Gull: 2 x 2nd cal yr
Sandwich Tern: 32 up    24 down    1 on beach
Guillemot: 2 up   4 on sea
Auk sp: 9 up
Meadow Pipit: 2 in
Carrion Crow: 3 in
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
1w Iceland Gull at The Patch
Chiffchaff in the Lighthouse Garden
In the Lighthouse Garden a Chiffchaff and at least 1 Firecrest, with 3+ more in the surrounding Gorse though very uncooperative photographically.
New Diggings still holds at least 2 Black-necked Grebes and a Slavonian Grebe and the Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool.
Some of the 16 Avocets at Scotney
An afternoon walk around the back of Scotney saw my first Little-ringed Plover of the year, also there 16 Avocets, 6 Oystercathers, 2 Redshank, a Dunlin and 2 Ringed Plovers. On the sward the feral Barnacle Goose flock has returned.
2 Red-legged Partridges and 2 Stonechats were the highlights of a late afternoon visit to Galloways.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Swallows and Martins!

A howling cold easterly wind which veered North Easterly by 09.00 greeted me this morning at The Point.
07.15-08.15 from the relative comfort of my car:
Brent Goose: 14 up
Common Scoter: 28 up   2 down
Red-throated diver: 3 up
Fulmar: 2 down
Gannet: 44 up  7 down
Ringed Plover: 1 up
Little Gull: 1 up adult
Kittiwake: 12 up
Sandwich Tern: 27 up
Auk sp: 4 up
Wheatear: 1 on beach
Harbour Porpoise: 3+ 
The Ring-necked Duck was showing well and still cosying up to a female Tufted Duck on Cook's Pool this morning, a few Wigeon, 2 Little Egrets and a Curlew also there.
 Ring-necked Duck on Cook's Pool
 Look forward to some interesting Ducklings!
 First Swallow of the year
From Dennis's Hide I spotted my first Swallow of the year, followed quickly by a House Martin. In the comfort of the visitor centre I counted 6 Swallows and 4 House Martins. After I had done a circuit of the reserve 2 Sand Martins had joined them. No sign of Long-eared Owl this morning but I didn't try to hard as it was impossible to keep the scope still in the wind. A drake Smew landed in front of Makepiece, also 4 Goldeneye there of note. The rest of the walk round the reserve was uneventful, a couple of Chiffchaffs and Cetti's Warblers singing, I was also unable to find the Hooded Merganser.
Wheatear at West Beach
At West Beach this afternoon 2 Firecrests in the Gorse, also a smart male Wheatear there.
On the sea from the turning circle c6 each of Sandwich Tern and Gannet tooing and froing.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

I joined AJG, LG, PT, BC and BB in the sea watch hide with a strong SSE blowing 06.10-08.15:
Brent Goose: 447 up
Pintail:  31 up
Shoveler: 9 up
Common Scoter: 322 up
Red-throated Diver: 15 up      1 down
Great-crested Grebe: c20 around
Slavonian Grebe: 3 on sea
Fulmar: 9 up  34 down
Gannet: 151 up       19 down
Cormorant: many present n/c
Oystercatcher: 1 up
Great Skua: 1 around
Mediterranean Gull: 2 up
Kittiwake: 34 up  14 down
Sandwich Tern:  187 up
Guillemot: 4 up
Razorbill: 2 up
Auk sp: 18 up  7 down

With my house full of builders not much else done today, but managed an hour at the turning circle this afternoon.

Brent Goose: 6 up
Common Scoter: 14 up
Red-throated Diver: 5 up
Great-crested Grebe: present n/c
Gannet: 8 up       22 down
Cormorant: present n/c
Kittiwake: 1 up    11 down
Sandwich Tern: 7 up  16 down
Razorbill: 2 down
Auk sp: 7 down

Monday, 20 March 2017

Horrible morning with a strong SW wind and drizzle which lasted most of the day. I did at least manage to get out for a couple of hours before spending the rest of my time on domestic stuff:
06.20-08.00 with LG.
Brent Goose: 220 up
Teal: 2 up
Common Scoter: 7 up
Red-throated Diver: 5 up     2 down
Great-crested Grebe: 9+ around
Fulmar: 3 up    19 down
Gannet: 19 up   37 down
Cormorant: present N/C
Mediterranean Gull: 1 up
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 flew towards The Patch
Caspian Gull: 2 flew  towards The Patch
Kittiwake: 1 up   7 down
Sandwich Tern: 2 around
Auk sp: 4 down
Meadow Pipit: 12 down
Harbour Porpoise: 3+

The Ring-necked Duck was on Cook's Pool cosying up to a female Tufted Duck. One of the Long-eared Owls was sitting out in the open at the Dipping Pool, a Black-necked Grebe was in front of the visitor centre, also 3+ Goldeneye.

Saturday, 18 March 2017


1w Glaucous Gull
08.30-10.00 from The Patch:

Brent Goose: 417 up      8 down
Common Scoter: 6 up
Great-crested Grebe: 23 around
Fulmar: 5 down
Gannet: 8 up   4 down
Great Skua: 1 around
Iceland Gull: 1 x 1w around
Glaucous Gull: 1 x 1w briefly
Sandwich Tern: 1 on beach
Harbour Porpoise: 4+
 1w Iceland Gull
1.45-17.00 from the turning circle
Brent Goose: 212 up
Common Scoter: 3 up
Gannet:  14 up   2 down
Dunlin: 9 on beach
Sanderling: 17 on beach
Turnstone: 4 around
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 x 2w
Caspian Gull: 2 x 1w
Iceland Gull: 1 x 1w
Kittiwake: 5 down
 1w Iceland Gull

 Distinctive 1w Caspian Gull
 Strikingly pale Herring Gull
Colour ringed A + C Herring Gull (possibly rung in Bristol)

Friday, 17 March 2017


06.15-08.15 from the sea watch hide with BB & AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 171 up
Common Scoter: 47 up
Red-throated Duver: 19 up
Great-cressted Grebe: 12 around
Fulmar: 2 around
Gannet: 46 up
Cormorant: present n/c
Oystercatcher :2 up
Meiterranean Gull: 1 at The Patch
Iceland Gull: 1 x 1w at The Patch
Kittiwake: 1 down
Oystercatcher 2up
Guillemot: 1 on
Carrion Crow: 3 in
Harbour Porpoise: 5+
A walk around the area with AJG saw an arrival of Chiffchaffs with 50+ being seen, also an old dog Fox. On the beach 3 Wheatears and 20+ Meadow Pipits.
 Chiffchaff at the Old Lighthouse

Northern Wheatear near the lifeboat Station
On Tanners Pool the Ring-necked Duck and 2+ Smew still in residence were joined by a drake and duck Garganey.
By midday Scotney was fairly windswept, consequently there was little to be seen.
This afternoons sea watch from the turning circle:
13.45-15.00 joined by AJG who woke me up! It was rather slow.
Red-throated Diver: 7 up
Great-crested Grebe: 8 around
Gannet: 27 up
Great Skua: 1 around
Guillemot: 1 on sea

Auk sp: 1 up
The mv still attracting moths. This morning Clouded Drab, Small Quaker and early Grey all new for the year. 
 Clouded Drab
Small Quaker

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Fog Bound!

I opened the curtains at dawn, looked at the dense fog and got back into bed for another hour. 
Eventually I made my way to The Point where the fog was even thicker so did not hang around. New Diggings could have held 100s of Grebes and no one would have been able to them. 
Corn Bunting in the fog at Denge Marsh
I decided on a walk from Springfield Bridge to the bottom of Denge Marsh Gully in case the odd migrant had found it's way there. Apart from a few Linnets, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Chaffinches and Reed Buntings little was to be seen there, however 2 Corn Buntings were good, a Chiffchaff and a Peregrine which appeared out of the gloom and disappeared just as quickly.
The rest of the day was a write off with the fog lingering all day.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Abysmal is the best that could be said about today's early mornings early sea watch. 
Myself and LG relocated to The Patch where both the 2nd cal yr Iceland Gulls were still present along with a 2nd cal yr Caspian Gull and 3rd cal yr Yellow-legged Gull. 
 Before the anglers arrived
 Flushed from the beach by anglers
A short wander around the lighthouse area found just a Chiffchaff of note.
3 Black-necked and a Slavonian Grebe was still on the New Diggings and the Ring-necked Duck was  still on Tanners Pool.
 Looks like a full crop of placenta
As the day warmed up raptors started to be in evidence. An hour sky watching from home saw a kettle of 7 Common Buzzards, 2 displaying Marsh Harriers, a Peregrine and a Raven.
2 Little Owls were again showing at Lydd Camp.
At Scotney a walk out to the back lakes found 6 Avocets of note but little else.
This afternoon AJG joined me in very slow sea watch at the fishing boats. Comfortable chairs and warm sunshine made it pleasantly bearable.
Common Scoter: 8 down
Red-throated Diver: 1 up
Great-crested Grebe: 9 on sea
Gannet: 1 up
Turnstone: 11 on sea
Kittiwake: 1 up
Sandwich Tern: 4 up
Guillemot: 1 on sea
 Guillemot at the fishing boats this afternoon
 First Early Thorn of the year
 Pine Beauty new for my trap.
Plutella Xylostella in the trap this morning

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

A slow morning Sea watch:
06.20-08.20 with AJG,BB & LG.

Brent Goose: 144 up
Common Scoter: 6 up  1 down
Red-throated Diver: 13 up  3 down
Great-crested Grebe: 17 around
Fulmar: 7 up   1 down
Gannet: 48 up
Cormorant: present n/c
Mediterranean Gull: 1 up    1 down
Iceland Gull: 1w at The Patch
Kittiwake: 27 up
Guillemot: 3 on sea
Auk sp: 4 up
Alba Wagtail: 2 in
Harbour Porpoise: 3+ around
A short walk around the Lighthouse found no migrants.
At Scotney the only avian interest on the main lake was the Herring Gulls on the islands that were squabbling with each other for nest sites. The feral Barnacle Geese have gone and no sign of any grey geese.
The Little Owls were just about showing at Lydd Camp today.
 Very poor image of 2 Little Owls at Lydd Camp
 2 of 3 Black-necked Grebes on New Diggings
A wander along the causeway gave views of 3 Black-necked Grebes, a Slavonian Grebe and 4 Goldeneye, in the bushes Reed Buntings, Linnets and 2 Green Woodpeckers.
Linnet at the Open Pits
Late afternoon on the ARC from Hanson 8 Goldeneye were the highlights among the Pochard and Tufted Ducks.
Dark Sword-Grass in the MV this morning

Monday, 13 March 2017

Very quiet on the sea this morning with just a handful of Red-throated Divers, Common Scoter, Gannets and Wigeon. A Grey Wagtail was feeding on the power station filter bed. At the Patch the 2 1w Iceland Gulls still in residence also a 1w Caspian Gull there among the usual Gulls.
Around the Lighthouse 3+ Black Redstarts, a Goldcrest and a Wheatear of note.
 The 2 Slavonian Grebes were still on the New Diggings, apparently at least 2 Black-necked Grebes were present but not seen by me.
A pleasant walk around the reserve where every bush seemed to hold a singing Reed Bunting, several Cetti's Warblers were calling and a Raven was one of the highlights, 3 Smew including a drake could be seen from Christmas Dell hide. Denge Marsh was disappointing but held the usual wildfowl. Marsh Harriers were displaying high over Hookers along with a couple of Common Buzzards. At the back of Hookers the Hooded Merganser was still present but distant.

Hooded Merganser
This afternoon in Denge Marsh Gully a Firecrest and another Goldcrest, the Raven was seen again but otherwise quiet.
The Sunflower field at Springfield Bridge held c100 Linnets, c40 Reed Buntings, c30 Chaffinches and 6+ Greenfinches.
2 Hebrew Characters and Common Quaker were my first moths of the year last night.