Sunday, 23 April 2017

Pomarine Skuas!

 One of todays magnificent Pomarine Skua's
 An Excellent days sea watching at Dungeness:
05.45-09.15 + 10.00-11.00 + 14.00-18.00 + 19.10-20.15 with AJG, LG, SO RW, DW et al.

Brent Goose: 7 up
Shelduck: 10 up
Garganey: 2 up
Common Scoter: 668 up   225 down
Velvet Scoter: 22 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 5 up
Red-throated Diver: 6 up 1 on
Black-throated Diver: 6 up
Fulmar: 15 up
Gannet: 47 up  28 down
Oystercatcher: 21 up
Dunlin: 2 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 162 up
Whimbrel: 81
Great Skua: 34 up
Pomarine Skua: 25 up
Arctic Skua: 12 up
Mediterranean Gull: 67 up
Iceland Gull: 1 x 1w still at The Patch
Little Gull: 65 up
Kittiwake: 104 up  8 down
Sandwich Tern: 152 up  22 down
Commic Tern: 284 up
Little Tern: 13 up
Black Tern: 1 up
Auk sp: 25 up  3 down
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 5+
Pomarine Skua times: 3 @ 15.00, 1 @ 15.15, 4 @ 15.34, 2 @ 15.39, 3 @ 16.04, 4 @ 16.30, 2 @ 17.09, 1 @ 17.12, 1 @ 17.17, 1 @ 17.20, 1 @ 17.41, 2 @ 19.50.
Many thanks to Matt Eade for the heads up that the Poms were on there way.
This Fox was on the beach in front of the sea watch hide this afternoon taking no notice of the gallery of sea watchers

Saturday, 22 April 2017

An excellent wander around the ARC before the sea watch started with a Cuckoo calling as I climbed out of the car, followed by a Bittern booming, a Nightingale singing in deep cover competing with Sedge, Reed and Cetti's Warblers, Common and Lesser Whitethroats. Near the tower a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling from some Sea Buckthorn.
05.40-07.40, 10.00-11.00, 14.00-17.30 with AJG, SO, RW.

Brent Goose: 14 up
Shelduck 1 up
Gadwall: 4 up
Garganey: 1 up
Common Scoter: 515 up
Red throated Diver: 10 up
Great-crested Grebe: 17 around
Gannet: 134 down
Cormorant: present n/c
Oystercatcher: 7 up
Ringed Plover: 2 up
Grey Plover:18 up
Knot: 2 up
Dunlin: 24 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 16 up
Whimbrel: 126 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 7 up
Great Skua: 5 up
Arctic Skua: 5 up
Mediterranean Gull: 10 up
Iceland Gull: 1x 1w at The Patch
Kittiwake: 1 up 13 down
Sandwich Tern: 125 up
Commic Tern: 273 up
Black Tern: 1 up
Guillemot: 1 on
Razorbill: 1 on
Auk sp: 4 up
Swallow 2 in
Carrion Crow: 1 in

After looking at Cap-Gris Nez totals for today on Trektellen I don't know why we bother sea watching.


This evening the reserve was deserted, the Lesser Yellowlegs was still on Burrowes unfortunately on the distant islands, also there a Turnstone, a Sanderling, a Greenshank, 4 Whimbrel and a Bar-tailed Godwit. The Ring-necked Duck was also still on Burrowes.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Although the sea has very quiet the last couple of days the land has been quite productive. I managed to jam in on a fly over Serin while having a cup of tea at the observatory yesterday, while at Scotney 42 Whimbrel, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits and Ruff were showing well on the sward. Around Scotney Farm 12 Yellow Wagtails, 10 Corn Buntings and a Little Owl, on the back lakes 30 Avocet, a Greenshank, a Little-ringed Plover, 10 Dunlin and a Peregrine. Last night I joined Nick G in an excellent walk around Romney Marsh where we came across 3 Short-eared Owls and heard a Long-eared Owl.
 1 of 3 on Romney Marsh last night
 Bathing Redstart
Today there were plenty of common migrants around probably 3 figure numbers of Willow Warblers, 25+ Wheatears, smaller numbers of Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Garden Warblers, Lesser and Common  Whitethroats, 2+ Whinchats, 5+ Redstarts, 1+ Grasshopper Warbler, a Wood Warbler and 10+ Whimbrel around The Desert. Many thanks to LG for the calls and tweets and a special thanks to Dave & Sheila Bunney for allowing me into there home for really superb views of all the birds in there garden which was positively jumping with birds.
 Soggy Redstart
 Willow Warbler
 Soggy female Redstart
 Blackcap
 Willow Warbler
 Redstart at the observatory
1 of 2 Whinchats in The Desert

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

A bitterly cold morning saw a slight improvement in the early sea watch:
05.40-08.40 from the sea watch hide with AJG,LG & DW.
Common Scoter: 45 up
Red-throated Diver: 8 up  1 on
Great-crested Grebe: 17 around
Fulmar: 10 up
Gannet: 21 up   58 down
Cormorant: 89 around
Oystercatcher: 12 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 27 up
Whimbrel: 21 up
Arctic Skua: 8 up
Great Skua: 4 up
Kittiwake: 135 up
Iceland Gull: 1 x 1w at The Patch
Sandwich Tern: 264 up
Arctic Tern: 37 up
Commic Tern: 101 up
Guillemot: 10 up   2 on
Razorbill: 3 up
Auk sp: 111 up
Harbour Porpoise: 4

 Cetti's Warbler at Denge Marsh
I could only see 1 Slavonian Grebe on the New Diggings this morning in a brief look. The Ring-necked duck was still missing from Cook's Pool but seen on Burrowes by CT. A pleasant walk around the reserve saw 2 Garganey from Firth plenty of warblers including at least 4 Lesser Whitethroats, the White-fronted Goose still present, as is the Hooded merganser. A Bittern was booming from the ramp and 4+ Whimbrel were around the reserve.
 Red-breasted Mergansers past the fishing boats this afternoon
12.50-17.00 from the fishing boats joined by AJG:
Common Scoter: 68 up   3 down
Red-breasted Merganser: 7 up
Red-throated Diver: 3 up
Black-throated Diver: 1 up
Great-crested Grebe: 11around
Gannet: 17 up  
Bar-tailed Godwit: 21 up
Whimbrel: 85 up
Arctic Skua: 2 up
Great Skua: 4 up
Kittiwake: 24 up
Sandwich Tern: 76 up
Common Tern: 25
Arctic Tern: 11 up
Commic Tern: 147 up
Guillemot: 1 up  
Razorbill: 1 up
Auk sp: 6 up
Swallow: 5 in
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 4+
 Whimbrel  past the fishing boats
Grey Seal ripping a Harbour Porpoise calf apart after killing it!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

 The highlight of this mornings sea watch!
Another very slow sea watch this morning with AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
06.00-08.00 from the sea watch hide:
Mute Swan: 2 drifted down channel
Brent Goose: 1 down
Shelduck: 3 down
Common Scoter: 17 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 3 down
Red-throated Diver 4 up
Great-crested Grebe: 7 around
Fulmar: 4 down
Gannet: 71 down
Oystercatcher: 8 up
Curlew 1 up
Whimbrel: 3 up
Arctic Skua: 1 up
Iceland Gull: 1 x 1w at The Patch
Kittiwake: 21 down
Sandwich Tern: 202 up
Common Tern: 17 up
Mediterranean Gull: 1 on patch
Auk sp: 21 down
Willow Warbler: 5 behind hide
Wheatear: 1 behind hide
 1w Iceland Gull at The Patch
 Chiffchaff at Lloyds
Around the old lighthouse, station Gorse, Lloyds and West Beach 10 Willow Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Black Redstart and a Wheatear.
 Willow Warbler at West Beach
On New Diggings c50 Swallows, 4 Sand Martins, 2 Slavonian and 2 Black-necked Grebes.
 Garganey from Firth
No sign of the Ring-necked Duck or Water Pipits today on Cook's Pool. On Burrowes a Garganey still, along with a Pintail, Goldeneye and Little Ringed Plover of note.
 Sandwich Tern at the fishing boats
A much better sea watch this afternoon from the shelter of fishing boats basking in the sun:
14.00-16.45 joined by MH & AJG.
Pintail: 4 up
Common Scoter: 59 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 3 up
Red-throated Diver: 2 up
Great-crested Grebe: 16 around
Gannet: 3 up   18 down
Bar-tailed Godwit: 111 up
Whimbrel: 153 up
Mediterranean Gull: 5 up
Kittiwake: 2 down   1 up
Sandwich Tern: 36 up    19 down
Common Tern: 5 up
Auk sp:  4 down
Harbour Porpoise: 8+
 Whimbrel past the boats
 Mediterranean Gull past the boats
 Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit past the boats
 Pied Flycatcher
Late afternoon in the Old Lighthouse Garden another Pied Flycatcher, a Common Redstart, 3+ Willow Warblers and 2+ Chiffchaffs.
Terrible image of a male Redstart
Highlights from the MV last night a Pebble Prominent, a Pine Beauty and 10 Tawny Shears,

Monday, 17 April 2017

With a cold northerly wind blowing I gave the early morning sea watch a miss today, which after talking to AJG was the right choice.
A Willow Warbler in the lighthouse garden and 2 Wheatears by the Experimental Station were the highlights. Th 1w Iceland Gull was still at The Patch per PT. 
 Garganey from Firth
On the reserve the Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool and the Long-eared Owl still at the Dipping Pool. From Firth hide on a wind swept Burrowes a drake Garganey was showing well as were 2 lingering Pintail, a few Swallows were over the lake but no waders on the islands 
 Pintail from Firth
 Goldeneye from Makepiece
In the sheltered area of water by Makepiece a lingering Goldeneye and a Water Rail. The walk up to Denge Marsh produced a Lesser and Common Whitethroat, plenty of Sedge and Warblers, also several Cetti's Warblers.
 Distant Garganey Denge Marsh
From Denge Marsh hide another distant Garganey, a Great-white Egret, a Greenshank, a Whimbrel the White-fronted Goose also a Bittern with a weak stuttering boom. At the back of the hide another Lesser Whitethroat and a cacophony of Sedge Warblers despite the cold miserable weather. The Hooded Merganser was still on the first pool on the footpath to Lydd and 3+ Marsh Harriers there.
Early afternoon a walk from Springfield Bridge down the track to Denge Marsh Gully and back found, 2 Corn Buntings, a single Blackcap, a Stonechat, 2 Willow Warblers, a Cetti's Warbler and a Wheatear.
While at home having a warming cup of tea a message from MP about 2 Water Pipits at Cook's Pool gave me the reason to brave the cold again. On a arrival at Cook's Pool a Bittern was showing clambering up the reeds. As I have never seen a Bittern from my garden can I count this one as my house can be seen in the background of the image below? One of the Water Pipits was also showing , eventually the 2 Water Pipits were seen with 2 Yellow Wagtails there. My visit was cut short by message from SO about a Pied Flycatcher showing well in the Gorse at West beach.
 Bittern Cook's Pool (garden tick????)
 Pied Flycatcher West Beach
 Pied Flycatcher West Beach

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Another poor early morning sea watch in the company of AJG who kindly collated the numbers.
06.00-07.45 from the sea watch hide:
Shelduck: 2 up
Common Scoter: 36 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 5 down
Red-throated Diver: 2 up
Great-crested Grebe: 17 on
Gannet: 32 around
Cormorant: present n/c
Oystercatcher: 5 up
Whimbrel: 1 up
Great Skua: 2 up
Arctic Skua: 1 up
Kittiwake: 2 up
Sandwich Tern: 191 up
Common Tern: 14 up
Auk sp: 3 down
Alba Wagtail: 1 in
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
Grey Seal: 1
A walk around the trapping area and The Desert saw few new migrants, just the odd Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Swallow. The resident male Peregrine put on a fine display chasing off an interloping male.
 Willow Warbler
Parking at Springfield Bridge I wandered down the edge of the Gully to the sea, on the way 2 Corn Buntings were feeding with Linnets and Reed Buntings in the old Sunflower field, a Cetti's Warbler was singing at the top of the gully, a Willow Warbler was picking insects from the glorious display of Gorse in the gully, 2 Wheatears were at the bottom, c30 Swallows flew up the gully and Denge Marsh Road during my walk.
The walk round to Denge Marsh hide saw little of note as the hay fields are now dry, so not sure how the nesting Lapwings will get on.
From the hide a Great White Egret, a White-fronted Goose was consorting with the feral Geese, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Common Buzzard drifted over. 
 Great-white Egret
On my way to the back of Hookers, my first Lesser Whitethroat of the year was singing in it's usual spot on the bend in the track, the Hooded Merganser was showing well, it's origin may be dubious but it is still a very smart looking bird. Opposite the Corral 3 Whimbrel among the sheep. Arriving at Cook's Pool the Ring-necked duck was asleep half down the pool. 2 Chasers were hawking over the reeds so hopefully there will be more for when the Hobby's arrive.  Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers seemed plentiful all around the reserve.
Hooded Merganser
As I made my way to Burrowes the wind had picked up with more or less solid cloud cover, a Stonechat at Christmas Dell and the Long-eared Owl at the Dipping Pond were the only notable birds seen. A long but very pleasant walk.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Another very slow sea watch today 06.00-08.00 in the company of AJG and SO. Small numbers of Common Scoter, Gannets and Sandwich Terns, a single Great Skua and 2 Arctic Skuas, 3 Razorbills, a few Kittiwakes a Swallow in and the 1w Iceland Gull at The Patch.
Around the bushes 2 Wheatears, a few Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Whitethroats and Blackcaps, 7 Swallows over and the highlight a Song Thrush.
Wheatear in the Desert 
Around the reserve, The Ring-necked Duck still, a different Great White Egret from the other day as this one still has a yellow bill, plenty of Common Whitethroats, Sedge and Reed Warblers around, a couple of Whimbrel from the entrance track also 2 Pintail on Burrowes.
A mid afternoon sea watch from the fishing boats saw more Harbour Porpoises than birds. A late afternoon wander around the ARC found little of note.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

1w Iceland Gull over The Patch
07.30-08.30 at The Patch:
Common Scoter: 24 up
Great-crested Grebe: 7 on sea
Fulmar: 1 up
Gannet: 14 up    c20 feeding off shore
Iceland Gull: 1 1w feeding
Common Tern: 3 up
Sandwich Tern: 27 up
Swallow: 4 in
Carrion Crow: 5 in
Harbour Porpoise: 4
The bushes around The Point were very quiet this morning just a single Chiffchaff in the lighthouse garden and a Willow Warbler at the station.
The 2 Slavonian and single Black-necked Grebe were still on the New Diggings this morning.
Marsh Harrier by the access track
The Ring-necked Duck was still on Cooks Pool today shadowing a female Tufted Duck. Further down the access track a Marsh Harrier put on a superb display.
Greenshank from Firth
On Burrowes 3 Dunlin from Dennis's Hide, an Avocet and a Greenshank from Firth. Around the reserve it was generally quiet, except for Sedge Warblers and Cetti's Warblers which seemed to be singing from every bit of scrub, the White-fronted Goose was in the field behind Denge Marsh.
Little Owl at Scotney
An early afternoon walk at Scotney found a single Brent Goose on the sward, a Little Owl hiding in the barns, 24 Avocets and 2 Mediterranean Gulls on the islands on the back pits, a few Corn Buntings but unusually not a single Yellow Wagtail.
A short sea watch from the turning circle 14.15-15.00:
Gannet: 1 up     7 down
Great Skua: 1 up
Kittiwake: 4 down
Sandwich Tern: 2 down
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Long-eared Owl showing well this afternoon
Late afternoon back on the reserve the LEO was showing well, 4 Garganey flew from under the Cormorant roost towards Christmas Dell, 2 Mediterranean Gulls flew over, 5 Dunlin and a Ringed Plover on Burrowes.
Common Gull on a purpose built nest box
A Little Owl was showing at Lydd Camp. On Galloways a Rubicola Stonechat was the highlight.
A busier night in the MV. 
Broad-barred White first of the year
Powdered Quaker
Chinese Character

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Todays early morning sea watch was possibly one of the poorest I have witnessed, highlights being parties of 4 & 8 Carrion Crows coming gives you some idea how poor it was.
A walk around the trapping area wasn't much better, a couple each of Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap, a Swallow and a Green Woodpecker. One of the regular Peregrines was performing over the power station. 
The Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool's. From Denge Marsh hide very little of note in the cold NW wind, though several Sedge Warblers were singing at the back of the hide.
Denge Marsh Gully held 2 Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff and a Wheatear, 2 more Wheatears out by the converter station. A 2nd cal yr Great Black Backed Gull was a victim of the power lines by the gully. 
2nd cal yr Great Black Backed Gull under the Denge Marsh Gully power lines.
Late afternoon a Black-necked Grebe and 2 Slavonian Grebes all in near summer dress on the New Diggings viewed from the footpath causeway also 6 Swallows over the pit. Hopefully the wind will drop away tonight and make for a better day tomorrow.
The MV still very slow with just 9 moths of 4 species last night.
The 2nd cal yr Iceland Gull was at The Patch again today per Phil B.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

With the wind still in a NW vector today's early morning sea watch was predictably poor. A few each of Gannet and Sandwich Tern, a couple of Red-throated Divers and Common terns were the highlights.
A walk from the observatory to the top of the Long Pits and back with AJG found 3 Common Whitethroats, c6 Blackcaps, c10 Chiffchaffs, 3 Willow Warblers, 3 Swallows, a Cetti's Warbler and 2 Peregrines of note.
At Cook's Pool the Ring-necked Duck was showing particularly well and glowing in the sunshine while pursuing a female Tufted Duck. 
 Ring-necked Duck glowing in the morning sun
I joined MH at the viewing ramp where on arrival several Sedge Warblers and a couple of Cetti's Warblers were in full song, also our first Reed warbler of the year. In the field behind Denge Marsh the White-fronted Goose was associating with the Greylags, a couple of Marsh Harriers were high over Hooker's also a Common Buzzard.
This afternoon the Little Owl was in it's usual Elder at Lydd Camp. At Galloways a superb Rubicola Stonechat was the highlight of otherwise very quiet walk there. A single Wheatear at the bottom of Denge Marsh Gully, 3 more Wheatears and a Raven out by the Converter Station.     
Ring Ouzels in The Desert
Mid afternoon Lee found 2 male Ring Ouzels in The desert, both of which were very well behaved and showed nicely to all the grateful locals.
This evening 4 Swallows on the wires at Wraxhalls and another 8 at the chicken sheds, my walk around the hay fields was cold and unproductive.