Sunday, 25 June 2017

Wipe Out!

A week ago the above raft contained 14 nests of Common Terns some with chicks but most with eggs about to hatch, also a pair of Herring Gulls with 2 young chicks. Today not a single Common Tern chick or egg as predicted. The Herring Gulls wiped them out! Potentially 30 Common Terns have been sacrificed so that 2 Herring Gull chicks could survive. This could easily have been avoided if the Herring Gulls eggs had been removed when they were first laid, they would have nested again elsewhere and the Common Terns would have had a chance. Some times I think the RSPB as an organisation has completely lost its way.  A policy of non intervention has been cited as a reason, if that's the case why spends £1,000s on electric fences to keep out predators? why shoot foxes if they breach the fence? why kill Mink in the winter? why put down herbicides to kill some plants so others thrive? its all intervention.
On a brighter note I managed to catch up with the unseasonal Goldeneye on Burrowes thanks to Pete, Pam and Colin. Also on Burrowes 2 Avocet, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Dunlin, 2 Little-ringed Plovers, 2 Ringed Plovers and Black-tailed Godwit. On the ARC 3 Little-ringed Plovers at least 1 sitting on eggs, a Common Sandpiper and a Green Sandpiper.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

 A miserable day on the peninsular with strong winds and drizzle. Scotney was particularly exposed consequently there was little to be seen, though the Herring Gull chicks were struggling to stay on there feet, while being covered in spray and spume.
 1 of c70 Swifts at Dengemarsh
 Around the reserve Swifts filled the skies with probably 200+ around, a single Hobby and Cuckoo were seen from the entrance track. On Burrowes 1+ Little-ringed Plover,  2 Ringed Plovers, a Sandwich Tern was notable, 2 Avocets, plenty of eclipse Gadwall, Tufted Ducks and Pochard.
Common Tern from Makepiece
At Lydd Camp the adult Little Owls were both out showing but still no sign of the owlets.

Friday, 23 June 2017

First couple of hours this morning was spent trawling through another bulging MV but nothing unusual was found,
Driving to the Observatory this morning the sad sight of a dead Barn Owl in the road just a few 100  yds from Boulderwall Farm. 
AJG had been sea watching since early morning and had seen nothing to record for his efforts, its that time of year, but if you don't look you certainly wont see.
The reserve was predictably very quiet, made even more so by the strong wind today, Hobby's can still be seen and a few Swifts moved south, the Warblers are more difficult to see now they are busy feeding young or starting a second brood.
 Little Owl Lydd Camp
At Lydd Camp this afternoon the adult Little Owls were both sitting out but still no sign of the juveniles, it cant be long before they are all out.
Galloways was also very quiet, 2 broods of Stonechats and fleeting glimpses of Common Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler as they dive into their nests in dense cover.
On Scotney main pit lots of young Herring Gulls on the islands and several 100s of Greylag Geese there, a single Curlew on the sward.
 Stonechat at Galloways.
 Plutella xylostella have been found in good numbers in the MV
Grey/Dark Dagger, good numbers of these have appeared in the MV in the last 2 nights.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

During the very hot weather this week I have been a little lazy, not putting in the time especially in the mornings. I spent the afternoons on the beach at the fishing boats sea watching in the sun and the cooling sea breeze, not seeing a great deal today was no exception.
14.50-16.30 from the fishing boats joined by PT & MH

Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Gannet: 13 up    25 down
Cormorant: 4 around
Oystercatcher: 3 down
Black-headed Gull: 9 down
Mediterranean Gull: 2 up
Common Gull: 1 up
Herring Gull: c25 around
Great Black-backed Gull: 11 around
Kittiwake: 1 down
Little Tern: 2 down
Sandwich Tern: 6 up   42 down
Swift: 19 out
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 3
I have spent the evenings wandering around the fields at the back of Scotney hoping to hear some Quail without any success. However the Barn Owls have been showing well catching lots of voles for their young, also the Little Owls have been on show every evening, add to that Yellow Wagtails, Corn buntings, Skylarks, Avocets, Hares and a family of Foxes they have been very interesting evenings.
The warm weather has also kept me very busy in the mornings with a bulging MV, being still new to mothing, it takes me along time to go through the traps and as far as I know I have not found anything exceptional for the area. Barry Banson had a superb Splendid Brocade yesterday.
 Little Owl, Lydd Ranges.
 Common Buzzard, Lydd Ranges
 Barn Owl, Scotney farm
 Little Owl, Scotney Farm
 Obscure Wainscot
 Shore Wainscot
Shoulder-striped Wainscot

Monday, 19 June 2017

 Avocet at Scotney
It's been a very quiet the last few days in the glorious summer weather. I have spent a couple of evenings looking for Quail on the marsh without success, though a couple each of Barn Owls and Little Owls were nice. Around the reserve the resident species are getting on with breeding, Little Ringed Plovers look as though they may on Burrowes and the ARC. A young Redshank on the ARC this morning was probably hatched locally, also 6 Black-tailed Godwits there.
 Starling keeping cool in the garden.
Dungeness beach to myself this afternoon
A sea watch/sun bathe this afternoon from the fishing boats was predictably slow but very pleasant sitting in the cool on shore breeze.
14.00-16.00:
Common Scoter: 16 up
Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Gannet: 3 up   15 down
Cormorant: 3 around
Oystercatcher: 3 up   1 down
Black-headed Gull: 16 around
Mediterranean Gull: 1 x 1s up    3 x ad down
Common Gull: 2 down
Herring Gull: c50 around
Great black backed Gull: c10 around
Sandwich Tern: 6 up       32 down
Common Tern: 3 up
Grey Seal: 2
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
 White Spot an uncommon visitor to my MV
Moth numbers have much improved over the last few days and I am expecting large hauls over the next few days and hopefully a goody or two.
Barred Red a fairly frequent visitor

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Quiet Times!

A very quiet morning around the reserve with most the resident species busy with breeding, a Little-ringed Plover was on show from Firth, in the hay fields a pair of Redshanks had 3 young, a Lapwing and at least 1 chick also an Oystercatcher with a chick. Over the reed beds 5+ Hobby's feasting on a glut of Dragonfly's and Damselfly's, the Herring Gull on Tern raft now has 2 young so time will tell if they demolish the Terns, though the Terns were frequently white washing the adult Herring Gull.
The 3 Mediterranean Gulls
A sea watch from the fishing boats this afternoon 14.30-16.00 in the company of MH & PT:
Great-crested Grebe: 1
Fulmar: 1 down
Gannet: 40 down
Cormorant: 16 around
Black-headed Gull: 14 around
Mediterranean Gull: 3 down
Herring Gull: c50 around
Great Black Backed Gull: 10+ around
Kittiwake: 2 down
Sandwich Tern: 53 down
Common Tern: 2 down
Swift: 2 in
Harbour Porpoise: 4+
Grey Seal: 1
Beautiful Hook-tip a first for the Plodland MV last night

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

 Young Kestrels at Pigwell
This morning I  spent some time wandering around Pigwell and the eastern side of Scotney, a pleasant walk but nowhere near the amount of birds as the western side of Scotney where the farmer is more sympathetic to wildlife leaving 5 mt margins and several rough areas, whereas the farmer responsible for Pigwell and the eastern side of Scotney has  ploughed right up to the fences and sprayed the hell out of the fields. On the bright side in an old open barn a pair of Kestrels have 3 young in a box. In the quarry there are at least 7 House Martin nests on the weigh bridge offices.
An early afternoon walk from Springfield Bridge to the viewing ramp saw a couple of young Bearded Tits, a nearly fledged Lapwing and Oystercatcher. 7+ Hobby's were hawking over the reed beds some stratospheric, the Herring Gull on the Tern raft has 2 chicks so I guess the Tern eggs will rapidly disappear, all the usual warblers were just about seen though they are now getting elusive as they get on with breeding.
 Sandwich Tern at the fishing boats this afternoon
14.45-17.00 from the fishing boats:
Common Scoter: 4 up
Great-crested Grebe: 3 around
Fulmar: 1 down
Gannet: 118 up   17 down
Cormorant: 6 around
Kittiwake: 14 up
Sandwich Tern: 51 up    18 down
Common Tern: 11 up
Guillemot: 1 down
Harbour Porpoise: 4+
Grey Seal: 1
Cynaeda dentalis a gorgeous micro that is regularly found in my MV 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Elegant Tern!

Squacco Heron
An early morning visit to the reserve before going twitching found the Squacco Heron still present. 
 Elegant Tern
A day away from Dungeness yesterday twitching the Elegant Tern in Pagham Harbour in the company of DW,GH and AJG. The Tern was showing almost as soon as we arrived and showed relatively well on several occasions while we there. It was good to see an apparently thriving Little Tern colony alongside the Sandwich and Common Terns.
 Little Tern
 1s male Red-footed Falcon
On our way home we stopped off at Frensham Common to see the 1s male Red-footed Falcon which showed well, the heat haze there made any chance of decent images impossible. While there a Woodlark sung from atop a tree a pair of Common Redstarts were feeding young.

 Common Redstart
Silver Studded Blue on Frensham common

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Yellow Wagtails, Corn Buntings and a Squacco Heron!

 Yellow Wagtail
This morning despite the wind and cloud I spent 5 hrs wandering around Scotney counting birds. I was not expecting much but was amazed at the number of birds around the fields and ditches. 57 Corn Buntings, 40+ Yellow Wagtails, Skylarks seemed to fill the sky in some of the fields and Linnets bouncing around all over. However despite plenty of suitable habitat no Partridges of any description were seen or heard and only 3 Pheasants. 3 pairs of Tree Sparrows were located, also 2 pairs of Little Owls. The wet ditches held Reed and Sedge Warblers, Reed Buntings and even a couple of Cetti's Warblers were shouting from cover, Whitethroats were well represented and several Brown Hares were seen.
 Little Owl 
 Tree Sparrow
 Corn Bunting
 Yellow Wagtail
 Yellow Wagtail
 Brown Hare
 Yellow Wagtail
This afternoon a call from PT informing me that a day visitor  to the reserve had reported seeing a Squacco Heron at Hookers. I joined MH there and Sue Capewell from Middlesex showed us the Heron roosting well hidden inside the Sallows, apparently it had been perched on the outside of the bushes when she found it. The bird eventually roused itself and showed briefly before flying off towards Denge Marsh and becoming very elusive.
 Squacco Heron

 Squacco Heron

 First Evergestis limbata of the year for me
 Vapourer
Pine Hawkmoth

Friday, 9 June 2017

Bee-eater!

First thing this morning I took a walk around Scotney out to the wind turbines, the strong winds made birding near impossible. The Avocets on the back lake seem to have suffered badly in the gales, there were at least 18 pairs either with eggs or young, there are now no sitting birds and I could only find 3 well grown young birds and 1 very recently hatched bird. The rest of the walk was very quiet due to the wind.
Bee-eater
Leaving Scotney I went to Galloways which was equally windswept, just a family of Stonechats, a Red-legged Partridge and few Whitethroats. I stopped at Lydd Camp to check on the Little Owls which were both showing and taking food to the nest, as I pulled away the unmistakable silhouette of a Bee-eater landed on telegraph wires some 50 yds in front of me, I grabbed my camera off the passenger seat leaned out of the window and took a couple of record images, then pulled the car a bit nearer and took some images from the car as it flew high grabbed a Bee and returned to the same spot, after eating the Bee it flew to the wire across the road showing its beautiful colours to full effect in the bright sun light. After alerting a few locals and tweeting the news out I watched the bird for a few minutes as it hawked off the wires inside the camp, just as BH pulled up it flew over the pines in the camp not to be seen again despite searching.  

Bee-eater
Bee-eater

Little Owl with prey
Most of the rest of my day was taken up with domestic stuff, though I did manage an hour at the fishing boats this evening, where it seems the Storm Petrel influx has petered out.
18.30-19.30
Fulmar: 2 down
Gannet: 28 down       7 up
Oystercatcher: 1 up
Kittiwake: 1 down
Sandwich Tern: 12 down
Common Tern: 2 up
Swift: 1 in