Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Great Reed Warbler!

 Great Reed Warbler
A walk around the point in the fog this morning saw just 1 new migrant a Swallow, back at the observatory a Spotted Flycatcher was caught in the Moat processed and released. Then DW received a message from some of yesterdays visitors that thought they'd seen a Great Reed Warbler at the ARC. Most of the locals soon gathered at the ARC and before long the Great Reed Warbler had been confirmed. Initially this morning the bird was quite elusive but this afternoon it showed feeding and singing virtually non stop, much to the delight of all its admirers.  
The Rosy Starling had moved to the entrance to the estate and was twitched by all comers. 
 Great Reed Warbler

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Singing Rosy!

The Rosy Starling singing this morning
The Rosy Starling was performing very well at times this morning, sitting on the top of the Sallows singing, then dropping back into them to feed on the abundance of caterpillars and frog hoppers. I thought last nights rain may have dropped other migrants but all I saw were 2 Swallows.
A late morning/early afternoon visit to The Midrips was as usual disappointing, the highlights being 24 Avocets, 21 Dunlin that flew out to sea, a Whimbrel, 2 Redshank and a Yellow Wagtail with a beak full of food.
I went to the fishing boats after and met AJG leaving, he'd seen just 4 Gannets in 45 minutes, needless to say I didn't stay. I went to Burrowes where from Dennis's 5 Sanderling, a Dunlin and a few Common Terns were the highlights. 

This Puss Moth was the best from the Plodland MV today

Monday, 28 May 2018

Rosy Starling!

 Rosy Starling
As I left home for the beach a Cuckoo was calling from the wires in the field opposite, and a couple of Yellow Wagtails were chasing around. The early morning sea watch was very slow with just a few each of Sandwich and Common Terns, Gannets and Common Scoter, also 8+ Harbour Porpoises.
From Dennis's a couple of Grey Plovers, 3 Sanderling and 3 Little Gulls were the highlights.
While emptying the moth trap at home mid morning DW called telling me he'd just seen a Rose-coloured Starling fly from West Beach into the trapping area. AJG and SO were already in the trapping and had relocated the bird just before I arrived. It spent most of it's time deep in the Sallows devouring the many Caterpillars and Frog hoppers. The only other migrant I saw was a Spotted Flycatcher.

 A Mother Shipton by the observatory
52 Plutella xylostella in the Plodland MV today

Sunday, 27 May 2018

A Slow Drowning!

05.30-09.30 many thanks to AJG for collating the numbers:
Wigeon: 8E
Common Scoter: 165E
Fulmar: 7E
Gannet: 67E
Bar-tailed Godwit: 13E
Arctic Skua: 1E
Mediterranean Gull: 4E
Kittiwake: 8E
Sandwich Tern: 80E
Common Tern: 283E
Black Tern: 14 in
Swift: 1 out
Swallow:2 IN
Harbour Porpoise 4+
A Serin was seen and heard near the new lighthouse by OL but disappeared as quickly as it appeared which is usually the case with this species at Dungeness.
Little Gull in the late afternoon sunshine
A mid morning and a late afternoon visit to Burrowes today produced of note a Garganey, 4 Little Gulls, 9 Sanderling, 15 Curlew, a Whimbrel, 4 Turnstone,  2 Knot, 2 Grey Plover, 4 Dunlin, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Redshank, 4 Ringed Plover and several Oystercatchers.
Highlight this afternoon was a Carrion Crow that had the temerity to try and take a Herring Gull chick, it is now an ex Crow, one of the adult Herring Gulls got hold of it and drowned it quite slowly.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Last Few days!

 Black Terns from Dennis's Thursday evening
It's been a generally quiet the last  few days around Dungeness. The elusive Bee-eater wasn't seen today as far as I know so presumably it has departed. Late Thursday afternoon a superb flock of 17 Black Terns graced Burrowes Pit for a few hours, though the Terns were completely overshadowed by the finding of  Broad-billed Sandpiper by Stephen Message at Rye Harbour, causing most of the Dungeness locals to decamp to Rye for this super scarce bird on the south coast. Excellent telescope views were had by all, but photographic opportunities were some what limited, as shown by my rather poor effort below.  
 The best I could get of the Rye Harbour Broad-billed Sandpiper
 Spotted Flycatcher at the observatory yesterday
Friday's highlight was a small arrival of Spotted Flycatchers on the peninsular, though the Bee-eater made 2 very brief visits. On the reserve there was the usual assortment of waders and up 6 Little Gulls and a 2nd cal yr Glaucous Gull dropped in for bath. 
 Fox by the Long Pits yesterday
 4 Little Gulls from Firth last night
 Reed Bunting singing on the reserve today
Today was even quieter, the usual waders on the reserve and 3 Little Gulls. With no Tern rafts being put out on Dengemarsh for some inexplicable reason, there is little of interest avian wise to be seen there by the casual visitor.
P:63B Great Black Backed Gull probably colour  ringed in Portland Harbour 
A couple of hours at the fishing boats this afternoon was rather slow, with the above colour ringed Gull being the highlight.

Friday, 25 May 2018

The Somme!

 Earlier this week I joined AJG and Jacques on a day trip tho the Somme, the weather wasn't brilliant but we still had a great time with lots of birds, though overall numbers appear to be lower than usual.
At our first stop at Bonnelle Turtle Doves were purring and Song Thrushes were singing as we got out the car, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap  & Garden Warbler were also singing, as were Sedge, Reed, and Cetti's Warbler. As we walked the track a Marsh Harrier chased off a Hen Harrier, then  AJG spotted a gorgeous male Red-backed Shrike flying in and landing fairly close, at the same time we spotted the first of 6 Bluethroats we found at this site. Further along we found Stonechat, White Stork, Great White Egret, Avocet, Black-winged Stilts, Greenshank, more Turtle Doves and Warblers and another Red-backed Shrike that was being mobbed by 2 Bluethroats. Nearby lovely male Black Redstart in the usual garden, 2+ Marsh Warblers were singing from the roadside Sallows and Nettles.
Red-backed Shrike
Distant Bluethroat 
Red-backed Shrike being mobbed by 2 just about visible Bluethroats
 Black-winged Stilts

Honey Buzzard
En route to a site near St Valery we spotted a large raptor which turned out to be a Honey Buzzard that obligingly flew over head. There we found more Black-winged Stilts, Channel Wagtails, more Egrets and Storks, several Spoonbills flew through and best of all though very distant a Purple Heron.
At another nearby site there was more of the same, also a Savi's Warbler and a showy Garganey.
By the time we got into Crecy forest it was raining, even so we managed to locate 2 singing Melodious Warblers and another Marsh Warbler. From a view point over looking Crecy forest a large raptor appeared distantly, as it got nearer we could see it was a Black Kite, an excellent way to end a brilliant day out in great company, many thanks to AJG for doing the driving.
 White Stork

An elusive Marsh Warbler

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Another Bee-eater Finale!

As I was driving round the Lydd roundabout early this morning, a very tatty Red Kite flew low from the allotments over Lydd Wood heading down towards Dengemarsh.
The sea was apparently very quiet this morning so I went to the reserve where 5 Little Gulls were showing well from Firth Hide, but in appalling light conditions. My visit was cut short by a call from DW saying a Bee-eater was flying around the observatory. On arrival at the observatory needless to say the Bee-eater had departed, in compensation a Honey Buzzard was heading away from the observatory towards the Open Pits with 2 Red Kites and a Common Buzzard for company, I cant remember ever seeing the 3 species in the same field of view before.

Very high Honey Buzzard (a bit of imagination required) heading away from the observatory.
The Bee-eater mad several more appearances around the peninsular but managed to elude me, even though I plodded all round the area for a couple of hours.
This afternoon back at the reserve the adult Little Gulls had gone but the 3 immature birds were still present along with an adult Mediterranean Gull. On the islands a Whimbrel joined 13 Curlews, one of which was a colour ringed individual, also 5 Turnstone, 3+ Sanderling, 5+ Ringed Plovers, a Greenshank and a few Dunlin.
 Little Gulls from Firth Hide this afternoon

 1 of 2 adult Little Gulls at Firth this morning
Mediterranean Gull fro Firth
Whimbrel with Curlews on Burrowes this afternoon
 Bee-eater finale again
Thanks to a call from Owen this evening I finally managed to catch up with the/another Bee-eater today, which was flying around his house and roosted in nearby trees in Station Approach, Littlestone. It doesn't matter how many I see I still get a huge buzz from seeing them.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Kentish Plover!

I went to the reserve first thing this morning where I joined GP in Firth Hide, he pointed out 3 Common Scoter which are unusual on the pits, on the islands at least 4 Greenshank, 4 Redshank, 4 Turnstones, 2 Common Sandpipers, several Dunlin and Sanderling. We moved up to Makepiece as the Scoter appeared to be heading that way.
 1s Little Gull from Makepiece grabbing an insect

Common Scoter from Makepiece
Common Scoter from Makepiece

Common Sandpiper from Makepiece
Distant Kentish Plover
While making our way back to the centre I received a call from Liz Hunter saying she thought she had a Kentish Plover from Dennis's Hide, a couple of minutes later I was in Dennis's looking at a Kentish Plover, a Dungeness tick for me, many thanks to Liz.
 Bittern from the screen hide
As news of the Kentish Plover spread very quickly the hide filled up very quickly, so I moved out and went up to the screen hide, hopefully to see the Bitterns and maybe yesterdays Bee-eater which was seen very early this morning. One of the Bitterns obliged, while over the lake House and Sand Martins, Swallows and Swifts hawked.  
A lunchtime sky watch from by Cooks Pool saw 3+ Hobby's 3+ Marsh Harriers and 2 Common Buzzards. A Bittern gave a nice fly by and a Herring Gull ate a Cootling.
 A Herring Gull swallowing a live Cootling, no doubt getting in practice for the Common Tern chicks
The Hoopoe was present on and off all day till dusk, but after the early morning excitement things were fairly quiet.