Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Rough-legged Buzzard!

Cold NW 5-7 with drizzle made for a somewhat slow watch. A drake Tufted Duck was quite unusual, also a Merlin c1mile off shore eventually caught a Finch/Pipit and returning to the beach with its prize.
07.00-09.00 from the fishing boats with AJG,OL,DS, CT
Brent Goose: 8E
Shelduck: 9E
Teal: 1E
Wigeon: 4E
Tufted Duck: 1W
Common Scoter: 2E
Red-throated Diver: 5E    1W    1on
Great-crested Grebe: 5+ around
Gannet: 176E
Cormorant: 320 flushed by range boat
Merlin: 1 around
Turnstone: 1 around
Dunlin: 15E
Mediterranean Gull: 4E
Kittiwake: 7E
Little Gull: 3E
Sandwich Tern: 9E
Guillemot: 6E
Razorbill: 1 around
Auk sp: 17E
Blackbird: 1 being chased by Merlin was eventually drowned by Great Black-backed Gull.
Harbour Porpoise: 2 around
A quick look at Boulderwall Fields as the rain set in saw at least 4 Cattle Egrets around the cattle.
As I was preparing to come back out, I received a call from Colin Turley telling me that a Rough-legged Buzzard was heading my way, I grabbed my binoculars and dashed outside, a quick scan enabled me to pick out the the bird being pursued by several Crows and watched them all disappear behind the Hookers Pit bushes. I quickly set my scope thinking I would see them come out the other side but they never reappeared. Colin was sure it had landed out in the fields but despite an extensive search by several locals it was not seen again until late afternoon, when it quickly disappeared again, so maybe it will show up again tomorrow. At least it is now on my garden list just.
1w Caspian Gull
 Back at the fishing boats this afternoon the sea was even quieter than this morning with very little off shore movement. A 1w Caspian Gull and an adult Yellow-legged Gull were the undoubted highlight.
 1w Caspian Gull

Adult Yellow-legged Gull

Monday, 29 October 2018

Sea Watching!

Some people consider sea watching every day a waste of time and effort, all to frequently I would agree with them, but sometimes the effort and tedium is proved to be worth while, this mornings watch was by no means a classic, there was a nice selection of birds passing, the icing on the cake being a ringtail Hen Harrier leaving our shores, sadly now a very scarce bird at Dungeness, this one being the first I have seen here this year.
06.30-10.00 from the fishing boats with AJG who collated the numbers & DS, OL, DW, JTM et al.
Brent Goose: 121E    46W
Shelduck: 33E
Teal: 20E
Wigeon: 36E   14W
Pintail: 1W
Common Scoter: 30E    6W
Velvet Scoter: 5E     7W
Long-tailed Duck: 1E
Red-breasted Merganser: 1E
Red-throated Diver: 12E    1 on
Great-crested Grebe: 59E
Gannet: 171E      6W
Hen Harrier: 1 Ringtail out
Peregrine: 1 around
Sparrowhawk: 1 in
Lapwing: 1E
Dunlin: 30E
Knot: 1E
Sanderling: 1E
Curlew: 1E
Skua sp: 1
Mediterranean Gull: 38E   277 in
Kittiwake: 3E   c30 in
Little Gull: 3E
Sandwich Tern: 15E
Guillemot: 2E
Auk sp: 1E
Skylark: 1 in
Starling: 730 in
Goldfinch: 70 over
Harbour Porpoise: 1
1 of the 100s of Mediterranean Gulls seen from the fishing boats today
A very slow and at times tedious afternoon watch, but we did manage the highest count of Little Gulls at Dungeness so far this Autumn.
13.00-15.30 from the fishing boats with NF, AJG, JTM & MH
Brent Goose: 5E    24W
Common Scoter: 2E
Great-crested Grebe: 6 around
Gannet: c25 around
Dunlin: 4E
Curlew: 2W
Mediterranean Gull: 72E    11W
Kittiwake: c30 around
Little Gull: 14E
Sandwich Tern: 3E
Razorbill: 1E
Guillemot: 3E
Auk sp: 3E
Starling35 in
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
Late afternoon on the reserve very few Gulls coming into roost, highlight being an adult Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Knot and 4 Dunlin.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

The Fishing Boats!

Shelduck passing the fishing boats this afternoon
06.10-09.15 from the fishing boats with AJG, MH, DW, RW, DS, OL, SO et al.
Brent Goose: 663E  788W
Shelduck: 39E
Teal: 4E
Wigeon: 63E
Common Scoter: 17E
Red-breasted Merganser: 7E
Great-crested Grebe: 4E
Gannet: c75 around
Dunlin: 79E
Knot: 2E
Curlew: 1E
Mediterranean Gull: 4 around
Sandwich Tern: 9E
Razorbill: 3E
Skylark: 6 in
Woodlark: 1 in
Starling: 467 in
2w Caspian Gull this afternoon at the fishing boats
12.30- 16.00 from the fishing boats RW, DS, DW, AJG, MH:
Brent Goose: 76E     2W
Shelduck: 7E
Teal: 1E
Wigeon: 2E
Gadwall: 2E
Common Scoter: 8E      15W
Red-breasted Merganser: 2E
Red-throated Diver: 2E   1 around
Great-crested Grebe: 1 around
Gannet: 18E    6W
Peregrine: 1 out
Grey Plover: 4E
Dunlin: 10E
Knot: 10E
Sanderling: 3E
Avocet: 1E
Bar-tailed Godwit: 2E
Curlew: 1E
Mediterranean Gull: 161E
Kittiwake: 47E
Little Gull: 1W
Caspian Gull: 2 around
Guillemot: 3E
Starling: 55 in
Harbour Porpoise: 1+
1w Caspian Gull at the fishing boats this afternoon
Great Black-backed Gull JC982 at the fishing boats this afternoon was ringed as a chick at Bremerholmen, Søgne, Vest-Agder, Norway on 26/06/2018 906 KM away
Also at the fishing boats this afternoon Great Black-backed Gull H103 which is probably a German bird, I am awaiting details.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

 Brambling at the observatory
A very cold morning and a distinct lack of birds. Walking around the area with AJG, RW & SO we saw a few each of of Song Thrush, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Siskin and Chaffinch, also a single Merlin. At the observatory a Brambling was hanging around.
The heat haze from the sea made poor photographs much worse as the camera refused to focus through the haze.
 A poor image of 1 of this afternoons Velvet Scoters
13.30-16.45 from the fishing boats with RW, SO, AJG
Brent Goose: 341W     37E
Teal: 1W
Gadwall: 2W
Wigeon: 17W
Common Scoter: 53W    17E
Velvet Scoter: 1W    1E
Red-throated Diver: 1 around:
Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Gannet: 27W   11E
Kestrel: 1 in
Dunlin: 12E
Curlew: 5 in
Bar-tailed Godwit: 1 in
Pomarine Skua: 1 juvenile around
Skua Sp: 2W
Mediterranean Gull: c50 around
Kittiwake: c100 around
Sandwich Tern: 12 around
Guillemot: 2 around
Razorbill: 1 around
Auk sp: 3W
Song Thrush: 1 in
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Grey Seal: 1
 Rubbish image of juvenile Pomarine Skua beating up Kittiwakes & Mediterranean Gulls
Wigeon and Brent Geese passing the fishing boats

Friday, 26 October 2018

Ring Ouzels and Gulls!

07.25-09.25 from the sea watch hide with AJG who collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 62W
Red-throated Diver: 5W   2E
Common Scoter: 7E   10W
Gannet: 184  around
Great Skua: 1W
Arctic Skua: 1E
Mediterranean Gull: 24 around
Kittiwake: 2W
Sandwich Tern: 53W
Razorbill: 2E
Guillemot: 2W
Auk sp: 11W    59E
Ring Ouzel
A mid morning wander up to the pines and along the railway at the ARC found 3 Ring Ouzels, several Song Thrushes and Blackbirds, 2 Marsh Harriers over but little else and with the onset of a persistent drizzle it was time for Brunch
At Scotney all the feral geese were still present but I was unable to locate the Greater White-fronted Geese.
 3rd cal yr Yellow-legged Gull at the fishing boats
13.15- 14.30 from the fishing boats joined by L & PH, AJG.
Brent Goose: 5W
Gannet: c50 feeding offshore
Mediterranean Gull: c15 offshore
Kittiwake: c40 offshore
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 around (3rd cal yr)
Sandwich Tern: c10 around
Auk: 4E  2W
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Grey Seal: 1
Sandwich Tern this afternoon
I have recorded this bird 13 times at Dungeness JC782  last time one the 21/03/2018
JC988 a new bird for me. It was ringed as a chick on 26/06/2018 at Lamholmtaren, Ålo, Søgne, Vest-Agder, Norway. 902 KM away from Dungeness.
1 of 2 1st cal yr Caspian Gulls on the reserve this afternoon
2 x 1st cal yr Caspian Gulls and 2 x adult Yellow-legged Gulls cam into the reserve this afternoon to roost, a Merlin flew out to the Open Pits, 6 Cattle Egrets flew towards the ARC and 14 Great White Egrets were seen.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Cap-gris Nez!

Yesterday I joined AJG, Jacques and Bethan on a trip to Cap Gris Nez. Conditions were by no means perfect as the wind was quite light and it is now getting late in the season. Had this sea watch been at Dungeness I would've been very happy.
Common Scoter: 37s     8n
Red-throated Diver: 4s
Great-crested Grebe: 1s
Fulmar: 1n
Sooty Shearwater: 1s
Gannet: 1,475s
Kestrel: 2 present
Hen Harrier: 1 ringtail out towards Kent
Great Skua: 1s
Pomarine Skua: 3s
Artctic Skua: 2s
Mediterranean Gull: Present n/c
Kittiwake: present n/c
Little Gull: 236s
Sandwich Tern: 4s
Arctic Tern: 2s
Auk sp: 2,150s
Rock Pipit: 1+ present

Thurday 25th
A cold morning on The Point today with a little ground frost in the sheltered parts of the trapping area. Very few birds around with a few thrushes and finches on the ground and over, in the bushes a few Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs including a greyish looking bird, the main event was a Dartford Warbler in The Desert.
 Greyish looking Chiffchaff this morning
 Goldcrest Lighthouse Garden this morning
Dartford Warbler in The Desert this morning

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

07.00-08.30 from the sea watch hide with AJG who also collated the numbers:
Brent Goose:6W
Shelduck: 8W
Wigeon: 6W
Red-throated Diver: 1W
Great-crested Grebe: 5E
Gannet: 93E
Merlin: 1 in
Arctic Skua: 1 around
Mediterranean Gull: 3E
Sandwich Tern: 11 around
Auk sp: 29E
By the car park we met JTM who had already done the bushes and seen nothing of note, nor seen much evidence of vis mig.
Spotted Redshank from Hanson
 From Hanson a Spotted Redshank, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 7 Dunlin and 2 Great White Egrets were the highlights.
An abysmal sea watch this afternoon13.15-14.45 from the fishing boats with AJG & JTM,
Great-crested Grebe: 1 around
Gannet: c20 around
Mediterranean Gull: c50 around
Kittiwake: c100 around
Sandwich Tern: 6E
Auk sp: 23E
Red Admiral: 26 in
Large White: 1 in
The Little Owl was sunbathing at Lydd Camp this afternoon,. At Scotney 2 Greater White-fronted Geese were consorting with the hordes of Greylags, Barnacles, Canada, Egyptian and lone Bar-headed Goose.

Monday, 22 October 2018

A very Slow Day!

An unsurprisingly poor sea watch in a stiff NE wind.
07.15-08.45 from the sea watch hide with JTM & AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Wigeon: 5W   2E
Common Scoter: 9E
Great-crested Grebe: 5E
Gannet: 126E
Arctic Skua: 2 around
Sandwich Tern: 28E  5W
Auk sp: 28E   5W
A walk around the trapping area, bottom Long Pit, The Desert and Lighthouse etc with JTM saw little of note.
At lunchtime c1,500 Mediterranean Gulls  & c200 Kittiwakes had gathered off shore from the power station.
The Geranium Bronze that Pete Burness caught in his Shadoxhurst Garden yesterday, that he kindly brought down to the DBO for us to see, before it was dealt with by the appropriate authorities. It is a South African species that has colonised the Balearic Islands and Southern Europe. It is considered to be a possible pest species, this one may have arrived on the recent southerly winds, or it may have come in on an imported plant or simply escaped from somewhere.

The highlight from the Plodland MV last night was my first Dotted Chestnut apparently only the 3rd Dungeness area record.
Palpita Vitrealis my 13th of the year
Clancy's Rustic 27th of the year

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Glorious Calm Day, Slow Birding!

Another beautiful autumn day on the peninsular, unfortunately the calm warm weather does not appear to provoke heavy bird migration. Early morning there were small numbers of Redpolls, Siskins, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Skylarks, Reed Buntings and a few Crossbills over, along with c4,000 Starlings. Some of the Redpolls and Reed Buntings made there way into the nets, as did a few Goldcrests and  Chiffchaffs, but by 10.00 all passage seemed to have stopped.
On the reserve the usual Egrets were still the main attraction.
A short sea watch with virtually no birds actually moving off shore in the calm conditions still produced amazing numbers of Mediterranean Gull loafing around offshore, also what a few years ago would have been an incredible sight of 3 Great White Egrets flying along just offshore.
14.00-14.30 with AJG, RW, P & L.H.
Wigeon: 3W
Common Scoter: 4E
Gannet: c40 around
Great White Egret: 3W
Great Skua: 1 around
Arctic Skua: 3 around
Mediterranean Gull: c2,000 around
Kittiwake: c200 around
Sandwich Tern: 4 around
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
Grey Seal: 1
The first Harrier count of the season this evening saw 3 Marsh Harriers come into the roost I was watching, but no Hen Harrier, indeed I have yet to see a Hen Harrier on the peninsular this year. A Bittern came in, a Merlin flew over and a distant Short-eared Owl was seen.

Friday, 19 October 2018

The Goldcrests have Arrived!

Yellow-browed Warbler
A chilly start to the day that heralded the arrival of Goldcrests, with c60 caught and ringed and many more being seen around the peninsular, a lone Yellow-browed Warbler was trapped in The Moat and a single Firecrest was caught out in the area. A few Skylarks and Meadow Pipits flew over, as did several Brambling and Lesser Redpolls, c25 of the latter were trapped and ringed along with several Robins that seemed far more numerous today, also several Reed Buntings and Chiffchaffs were caught.
 1 of c60 Goldcrest caught and ringed today
1 of c25 Lesser Redpoll caught and ringed today
This afternoon from Hanson 5 Avocet, c100 Golden Plover, a Goldeneye, a Black-necked Grebe and a Great White Egret were the highlights.
Late afternoon at Galloways 2 Fieldfare, a Dartford Warbler and a Jack Snipe.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Brent Geese on the Move!

An early morning walk around The Point and bushes in a cool brisk NE wind was very disappointing, a few each of Brambling, Siskin, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Skylark and Meadow Pipits flying over, along with 10 Wigeon and 8 Pintail flying over The Desert. On the ground a handful of Song Thrushes, Blackbirds and Chiffchaffs. Things livened up when following a call from DW saying that there were lots of Mediterranean Gulls off shore, I arrived at the sea watch hide to find that by lots he meant 1,900+ a fantastic number with good numbers of Kittiwakes and Gannets and a few Sandwich Terns.
It's a shame that there there is still no boil at The Patch, apparently this state of affairs is likely to continue to at least Christmas while urgent work is carried out on the power station. There were at least 3 Black Redstarts behind The Patch and a Rock Pipit flew over. 
 Brent Geese, at least 2 juveniles in the top image
13.00-17.15 from the fishing boats with AJG who collated the numbers, JTM, DS, PT & DM.
Brent Goose: 6,197W   183E  (most were seen between in a 2 hour period between 15.00 & 17.00 also most were several miles off shore)
Wigeon: 1W
Common Scoter: 23W   21E
Red-throated Diver: 3W   1E
Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Gannet: 38W
Great Skua: 1W
Arctic Skua: 1 around
Mediterranean Gull: many around
Kittiwake: Many around
Sandwich Tern: 13 around
Razorbill: 11W  2E
Guillemot: 12E
Auk sp: 12E   40W

Water Rail from Hanson yesterday afternoon
Garganey from Hanson yesterday afternoon
1 of 5 Gems caught in the last 2 nights
2 of 6 Delicates caught in the last 2 nights
 Dark Sword-grass
Golden Triangle which is apparently common but the first to grace my MV

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

A Slow Day!

A very quiet morning around The Point with a very elusive Yellow-browed Warbler in the lighthouse garden, a few each of Firecrest, Goldcrest and Chiffchaff in the bushes, while overhead small numbers of Siskins, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Skylarks, Reed Buntings, Meadow Pipits, a Rock Pipit and a Woodlark which I missed, also a handful of Swallows and House Martins.
At Denge Marsh the 6 Cattle Egrets still, also a Ruff, a Curlew, 3 Great White Egrets and a Wheatear of note.
 Cattle Egrets in the hay fields

A very slow sea watch this afternoon14.00-15.15 from the fishing boats with AJG:
Common Scoter: 37W
Red-throated Diver: 2W
Gannet: 6W
Mediterranean Gull: 16 around
Kittiwake: 42 around
Sandwich Tern: 9 around
Harbour Porpoise: 2
The Plodland MV held it's first Vestal of the year, also 2 more Palpita vitrealis, a Scarce Bordered Straw, a Udea ferrugalis and a few Xylostella's of note among the Lunar Underwings, Seataceous Hebrew Characters, Large Wainscots, Black Rustics and Feathered Brindles, also a single Sallow.
My first Vestal of the year
 Another 2 Palpita vitrealis last night
Udea ferrugalis