Sunday, 30 September 2018


Again this morning Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps made up the majority of birds trapped and processed while I was at the observatory, a Sparrowhawk found the nets after I left.
The Patch is still looking in a sorry state making barely a ripple, consequently no Gulls on the beach there and seem s as though it will remain in this state for a few more weeks. On the rocks behind the hide 3 Black Redstarts, a Wheatear, 6 Meadow Pipits and c50 Linnets, also 6 Swallows over.
 1 of 3 Black Redstarts on the rocks behind The Patch
Wheatear on the Patch Hide
 Bittern posing in front of Hanson Hide
A mid morning visit to Hanson Hide paid dividends, as the Bittern that seems to have performed to everyone bar me was out in the open stalking a Marsh Frog. On the islands, 5 Dunlin, a Ruff, a Garganey and a colour ringed Lapwing. Very little other news from the reserve. At Scotney the Buff-breasted Sandpiper is still in its favoured field in East Sussex giving poor distant views.
 Stalking a small Marsh Frog
 Eating the small Marsh frog

An hour watching from the garden late morning saw of note a Common Buzzard, a Great White egret, 2 Cattle Egrets and c30 swallows.
AJG did a sea watch from the fishing boats 14.30-16.30:
Common Scoter: 5E
Red-throated Diver: 1W
Gannet: 168W
Ringed Plover: 12E
Sanderling: 15E
Great Skua: 2W
Pomarine Skua: 1W
Arctic Skua: 4W
Mediterranean Gull: 17 around
Kittiwake: 5 around
Great White Egret coming into roost
This evenings Egret roost in the company of DS saw 22 Great White Egrets, 6 Cattle Egrets and 13 Little Egrets roost at the ARC.
5 of the 6 Cattle Egrets coming into roost

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Egrets and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper!

A walk around the Desert and Long Pits with AJG and SO this morning saw 14 Stonechats, 2 Whinchats, 3 Wheatears, a Blackcap, several Chiffchaffs and few Swallows over. A firecrest was trapped and processed, still plenty of Kestrels around but a fairly quiet morning.
I spent a long time at Scotney and was rewarded eventually with good views of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, also there 2 Yellow Wagtails, 100+ Golden Plover, a Greenshank, a Little Stint, a Redshank and 8 Dunlin. The Greylag population must now be 2,000, also 160+ Barnacle Geese, 46 Egyptian Geese, a Bar-headed Goose and Canada Geese there.
 Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Scotney today

Great White Egret coming into roost this evening
A Dungeness record count of 23 Great White Egrets came into the ARC this evening with 16 Cattle Egrets and 14 Little Egrets.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

 Once again Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs made up the bulk of birds ringed at the Observatory this morning, overhead smaller numbers of Hirundines than yesterday and very little else was moving.
At Scotney a Greenshank, 100+ Golden Plover, 2 Redshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwits but no sign of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper.
A walk along sea wall at The Midrips saw 3 Curlew, a Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin on the pools but not a single duck was seen. 3 Clouded Yellows were seen and 5 Turnstones were by the guard house.
On the ARC from Hanson very few waders, of note 2 Ruff, 2 Black-tailed Godwits and 1cy Black-necked Grebe.
 Cattle Egret on a Sheep at Boulderwall this afternoon
13.30-16.30 with AJG, DS, MH, JTM & DW
Common Scoter: 19E
Red-throated Diver: 1E
Gannet: 46W
Sanderling: 1 around
Common Sandpiper: 1 over heard only
Great Skua: 1W
Arctic Skua: 3+ around
Sandwich Tern: 38W
Common Tern: 2W
Arctic Tern: 1W
Guillemot: 4 around
Swallow: 233 out
Sand Martin :11 out
 Another victim of careless fisherman by the fishing boats this afternoon
The hook has pierced the web
1 of 2 Convolulous Hawk Moths from the Plodland MV last night 

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

All a bit distant!

Swallows, Sand Martins House Martins by the observatory
 Arctic Skua
Another morning of Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Hirundines with an attendant Hobby. A good number made their way into the nets to be ringed at the observatory. Though ringing came to an abrupt end as news of a Beluga Whale in the Thames at Gravesend broke. I probably should have joined the others and gone, but when I see one I want it to be in the Arctic. (If it's still around tomorrow I might crack)
13.30-16.30 from the fishing boats with AJG who kindly collated the numbers, joined by MH & ML.
Brent Goose: 3W
Pintail: 2W
Common Scoter: 32W
Red-throated Diver: 1E
Black-necked Grebe:1 around but distant
Gannet: 47W
Oystercatcher: 1E
Grey Phalarope: 1 present all afternoon but distant, a different bird from the weekend.
Arctic Skua: 12W
Mediterranean Gull: 8W
Kittiwake: 5 around
Sandwich Tern: 31W
Common Tern: 2W
Guillemot: 1 around
Swallow: 351 out
Harbour Porpoise: 5+
 1cy Black-necked Grebe, I did say it was distant
1cy Grey Phalarope Honest! even more distant
Late afternoon at the ARC from Hanson Hide, 60+ Golden Plover,2 Ruff, 2 Dunlin all among c200 Lapwing, also seen there a Cattle Egret, 2 Great White Egrets, a Hobby, a Merlin, a Water Rail and the usual wild fowl including an albino Egyptian Goose. While there around 18.00hrs I got a call from Marcus Lawson letting me know that he was watching the Buff-breasted Sandpiper at the back of Scotney in Sussex.. I immediately headed off to Scotney, when I was about 100yds from him the rescue helicopter based at Lydd flew over flushing everything, fortunately after a few minutes for me Marcus picked it out again, also there  a Little Stint, Common Snipe, c15 Dunlin, 3+ Ruff and a Greenshank. Out by the wind turbines as sun set 100s possibly 1,000s of Hirundines were swarming over a Maize field presumably preparing to roost.   
 Carrying on the rubbish distant images, spot the Buff-breasted Sandpiper!

Monday, 24 September 2018

 Pied Flycatcher in the nets this morning
Early morning a Pied Flycatcher was caught and ringed, also there were good numbers of Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Meadow Pipits many of which were caught and ringed.
 Immature Spoonbill being flushed by army Helicopters
Early afternoon on the ARC from Hanson An Immature Spoonbill, 261 Golden Plover, 200+ Lapwing, 7 Dunlin, 3 Common Snipe, a Ruff, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 40 Shelduck (a good count here), a Garganey, a Hobby, a Marsh Harrier and the usual wildfowl and Egrets, all were flushed as 2 army helicopters flew low down the middle of the lake then over the airport. 4 Common Buzzards were over the car park.
At Boulderwall 6+ Cattle Egrets still.
Immature Spoonbill coming back in
 Immature Spoonbill
13.00-15.00 from the fishing boats with JTM & AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 5W
Wigeon: 6 in
Gannet 78 down
Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Dunlin: 2E
Grey Phalarope: 1 around c100yds off shore
Great Skua: 1W
Arctic Skua: 7W
Mediterranean Gull: 1W
Kittiwake: 1W
Guillemot: 1 on
At Scotney this afternoon many feral Geese including 156 Barnacle Geese and 46 Egyptian Geese as well as the usual Greylag and Canada Geese, a Common Sandpiper was feeding along the shore and 3 Common Buzzards there.
Chiffchaff from Makepiece
Late afternoon on the reserve 8 Great White Egrets from Dennis's Hide, another 24 Golden Plover, a Dunlin and a couple of Norwegian ringed Great Black Backed Gulls. From Firth Hide a single Avocet and the Egyptian Goose family still insitu.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

An Excellent Day Despite The Weather!

 Grey Phalarope
This mornings sea watch 06.15 to 09.15 then 10.40-11.40 with AJG who kindly collated all the numbers also SO & OM.
Common Scoter: 11E    6 on
Red-throated Diver: 1W
Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Gannet: 108W
Kestrel: 1 out
Turnstone: 4 around
Grey Phalarope: 1 around
Arctic Skua: 38W
Mediterranean Gull: 13+ around
Kittiwake: 1W
Sandwich Tern: 657W
Common Tern 49W
Arctic Tern 4W
Auk: 1E
Meadow Pipit: 436W
Swallow:11 out
 Grey Phalarope

Common Terns
1cy Mediterranean Gull
 Tree Pipit 
While we were at the observatory having a cup of tea Dave Bunney called to say that an Osprey was currently heading round The Point, we all ran to the top of The Moat where we could see all the Gulls alarming and then Osprey appeared from behind the lighthouse and headed off West, many Meadow Pipits were flying around the observatory and many were caught in the Crow trap and processed, also a Tree Pipit dropped onto the wires by the observatory.
 5 Spoonbills on Burrowes, 1 is tagged but to distant to read
A very poor image of the Pectoral Sandpiper that made a brief visit to Firth at lunchtime
Egyptian Geese with a late brood of 5 young on Burrowes
1 of at least 8 Cattle Egrets at Boulderwall today
 Cattle Egrets
On the ARC from Hanson early afternoon, 3 Great White Egrets, a Knot, 4 Dunlin, 4 Black Terns, 2+ Arctic Terns, 3+ Garganey, a Bittern (just), also good numbers of Hirundines over the lake.
Great White Egret not enjoying the rain
Spot the Bittern
 I went back to the reserve early this evening mainly to see if the Pectoral Sandpiper had returned, it hadn't but the Little Stint was still present and the Spoonbills had moved closer and enabled me to discern the colour ring and flag combination. Checking on the web this evening it looks like it is a German bird denoted by the black flag, I look froward to receiving the full data from the ringing team.
 The Spoonbills weren't impressed by the Greylag Geese coming in to roost.
Flag and colour ring combination just about discernible