Sunday, 31 March 2019

First Common Terns of the Year!

 A strong and quite cool NE wind made sea watching the best option today, producing my first Common terns of the year. The only other news on the peninsular was that 2 Cattle Egrets were at Cooks Pool per EH.
Common Terns past the fishing boats this afternoon
06.45-11.00 & 15.00-16.15
Brent Goose: 483E
Teal: 6E
Garganey: 1E
Pintail: 2E
Shoveler: 3E
Common Scoter: 507E   8W
Eider: 1W female
Red-breasted Merganser: 6E
Red-throated Diver: 12E   1 on
Great-crested Grebe: 7 on
Fulmar: 2E
Gannet: 285E.   22W
Cormorant: Present n/c
Oystercatcher: 5E
Curlew: 1E
Kittiwake: 21E     7W
Sandwich Tern: 90E
Common Tern: 5E
Guillemot: 36E  3 on
Carrion Crow: 2 in
Brent Geese past the fishing boats this afternoon
2nd cal year Great Black-backed Gull 15W ringed as a pullus in Normandy
Herring Gull W4VT today which I last saw on the beach on 04/03/2019

Saturday, 30 March 2019

First Good Spring Sea Watch of theYear!

1 of 7 Guillemots on the sea today
Most the day was spent sea watching. There was a little interest on the land with a few Firecrests Black Redstarts, Wheatears and Chiffchaffs, while on the reserve at least 1 Water Pipit still and a Garganey, I heard no news on the Cattle Egrets and the Whooper Swans appear to have gone.
05.45-07.30 & 8.45-12.45 & 13.30-16.00 with AJG, SO, OL, RW & JTM:
Brent Goose: 678E
Shelduck: 4E
Teal: 6E
Gadwall: 3E
Wigeon: 26E
Garganey: 14E
Common Scoter: 1,006E     2W
Velvet Scoter: 1E
Red-breasted Merganser: 17E
Red-throated Diver: 42E
Black-throated Diver: 1E
Great-crested Grebe: 11 around
Fulmar: 4E
Gannet: 218E
Cormorant: c40 around
Oystercatcher: 16E   4W
Ringed Plover: 1 around
Curlew: 1E
Little Gull: 21E
Mediterranean Gull: 3E
Common Gull: 143E
Kittiwake: 30E
Sandwich Tern: 132E
Guillemot: 7 around
Harbour Porpoise 15+
 The above 2nd calendar year male in The Moat had not yet been trapped by Jacques, unlike the adult male below.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Garganey and first Arctic Skua!

A strange but quite birdy day in overcast flat calm conditions, 11 Garganey 4 on ARC all drakes, 4 more on Burrowes 2 drakes and 3 more on this afternoons sea watch 1 drake. Water Pipits seemed to be arriving all morning at Dengemarsh with 3 birds becoming 18. My first Arctic Skua of the year flew east this afternoon.
Garganey over the ARC
It was very quiet on The Point this morning, so a call from CP saying there were 4 drake Garganey on the ARC from Hanson was very welcome and saved AJG and myself from a fruitless wander around the trapping area. While watching the Garganey up to 16 Sand Martins were hawking over the lake and 3 Goldeneye could be seen. While checking the New diggings from the causeway a party 9 Ruff flew over, presumably part of the flock of 27 that were at Cooks Pool. 
Ruff over the ARC
Great White Egret on its way to France
While chatting to DB & OL at The Point a Great White Egret cruised over us and out to sea to France.
Beareded Tit at Dengemarsh
Another walk from Springfield Bridge around the hay fields saw at least 4 Bearded Tits and many Reed Buntings, also 3 Water Pipits that quickly became 6 Water Pipits and apparently became 18 Water Pipits by early afternoon.
A wander out the back of Scotney found 3 Avocets, 4 Corn Buntings and 10 Tree Sparrows of note but little else was seen.
A quick check of the Gulls on Burrowes found a Normandy ringed G.B.B.Gull 62V and 4 more Garganey. 
Back at the screen hide at the ARC the 4 drake Garganey could still be seen and a Bittern was booming behind the hide.
Truly awful image of 3 Water pipits on the Hayfield
One of the many Reed Buntings at Dengemarsh
A sea watch from the fishing boats this afternoon in flat calm conditions with OL, JTM and AJG:
Brent Goose: 1 W
Garganey: 3E
Red-breasted Merganser: 4E
Red-throated Diver: 14E
Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Gannet: c20 around
Arctic Skua: 1E
Mediterranean gull: 1 around
Sandwich Tern: c10 around
Guillemot: 3 on
Harbour Porpoise: 35+
2 of at least 35 Harbour Porpoises off the fishing boats this afternoon
Lambs at Dengemarsh 
Lead coloured Drab
Early Thorn
Early Grey

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

A much quieter day migrant wise than of late, 2 Willow Warblers were seen, but I managed to miss both.
06.15-07.45 from the sea watch hide with AJG who collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 130E
Teal: 2E
Wigeon: 2E
Common Scoter: 68E
Red-breasted Merganser: 6E  1W
Red-throated Diver: 11E
Great-crested Grebe: 6 around
Gannet: 37 around
Oystercatcher: 9E
Mediterranean Gull: 2E both 2w
Kittiwake: 4E
Sandwich Tern: 39 around
Auk sp: 5E
Carrion Crow: 3 in
Harbour Porpoise: c20 around
Grey Seal: 1
Hare on the shingle
A walk around the trapping saw little of note. Around The Point there were a scattering of Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests, Black Redstart and Wheatear.
3 Cattle Egrets were opposite Green Hop Farm
Brent Geese and Wigeon passing the fishing boats this afternoon
13.45-16.00 from the fishing boats joined by P & LH, JTM
Brent Goose: 521E
Shoveler: 9E
Wigeon: 5E   2W
Common Scoter: 32E
Red-throated Diver: 41E   3W
Great-crested Grebe: 11 around
Gannet: 36E   9W
Cormorant: 23 around
Curlew: 3E
Kittiwake: 2E
Sandwich Tern: 18E   9W
Harbour Porpoise: c20 around
Grey Seal: 1
My daily Wheatear snapped near the lifeboat station late afternoon
Pine Beauty first of the year for me last night

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

A few more Wheatears!

A dire sea watch this morning.
07.00-08.30 from the sea watch hide:
Greylag Goose: 2 in
Brent Goose: 8E
Mallard: 1E
Common Scoter: 14E   33W
Red-throated Diver: 2E
Great-crested Grebe: 1E    3 on
Gannet: c25 feeding o/s
Cormorant: c40 around
Mediterranean Gull: 2W both 1w
Kittiwake: 2W
Sandwich Tern: 37E   73W
Guillemot: 1 on
Harbour Porpoise: 10+
At the observatory Jacques was kept busy trapping a fresh batch of Wheatears and Black Redstarts. There were a few new Chiffchaffs but little else. The 2 Peregrines were on the pylons again.
 From the causeway a summer plumage Black-necked Grebe could be seen on the New Diggings, opposite on the ARC a Great White Egret.
An hour sky watching from home saw c12 Common Buzzards, 2 Marsh harriers and a Raven, a Cetti's Warbler singing near by made on to the from the garden list.
Bearded Tit by the hay fields
A walk from Springfield Bridge round to Dengemarsh round to Dengemarsh Hide saw 4 Bearded Tits, a brief view of a Bittern, plenty of Reed Buntings, a Marsh Harrier and another Raven of note.
Dengemarsh Gully was very quiet, a few each of Chiffchaff, Meadow Pipit, Linnet and Reed Bunting.
Female Wheatear
The rest of my afternoon was spent looking for the Large Tortoiseshell Butterfly that was re-found by OL, but to no avail.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Early morning 3 Cattle Egrets were in the sheep field opposite Green Hop Farm, as I drove to the reserve on this bright but chilly day to do the WEBs count there. A notable count was 400+ Shoveler still on Burrowes, also 2 Goldeneye, 2 Ruff and the 2 Whooper Swans at Dengemarsh.
Meadow Pipit by the lighthouse
A few Wheatears, Black Redstarts and Chiffchaffs could be found around The Point this Morning, but far fewer than of late. A Ring Ouzel was seen on the east side of the trapping area, the first of the year also a couple of Willow Warblers reported but generally quiet.
The Great Black-backed Gull was again at the fishing boats this afternoon but obviously struggling with its burden.
12.30-14.00 from the fishing boats very thin fare:
Brent Goose: 21E
Common Scoter: 6E
Red-throated Diver: 7E
Great-crested Grebe: 1E  3 on
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 11E    12W
Cormorant: present n/c
Kittiwake: 2E   8W
Sandwich Tern: 3E    14W
Guillemot: 2E    1W    1 on
Auk sp: 1E  2W
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
Wheatear opposite Jarmans.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Kentish Plover to finish the day!

A bright sunny morning with a light NW wind made for a very poor and cold sea watch.
06.15-07.45 with AJG who collated the numbers:
Shoveller: 8E
Garganey: 1E
Common Scoter: 27E
Red-throated Diver: 14E
Great-crested Grebe: 14 on
Gannet: 101E
Kittiwake: 3E
Sandwich Tern: 4W   2E
Guillemot: 1 on
Wheatear by the lighthouse early morning
A Chiffchaff was on the perimeter wall as we left the sea watch hide, round the old lighthouse 3 Wheatears, but the garden was devoid of migrants. 
 Between The Moat and the power station perimeter fence a smart male Black Redstart with 2 more female type birds, a White Wagtail inside the fence and the 2 Peregrines high up on the pylons. A couple of Chiffchaffs in the Heligoland that Jacques duly processed.
A wander around The Desert found a couple more Wheatears and the usual Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Stonechats.
 Dartford Warblers
Elsewhere on the Peninsular the Whooper Swans are still present as are the 3 Cattle Egrets, Common Buzzards were displaying out by the airport and the wintering Dartford Warblers there will soon be leaving. 

 I had just arrived home this afternoon when Owen called to say he was watching a Kentish Plover on Greatstone Beach, so a few minutes later I joined getting very nice views of this increasingly scarce smart little wader.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Another Day of Wheatears and Chiffchaffs!

 1 of a minimum of 10 Wheatears at Dengemarsh Gully this morning
First thing this morning I had a walk around the hay fields from Springfield Bridge to Xmas Dell.  A Bittern was booming, several Bearded Tits were flitting around the reeds by the path refusing to be photographed, probably just as well as the light was appalling, Reed Buntings appeared to be all around, 4 Common Snipe flushed from Hayfield 3 with a Redshank, but no hoped for Garganey and Scandinavian Rock Pipits. There are still plenty of Shoveller around but most winter duck seem to have gone, a couple of Marsh Harriers were around and a Raven flew over.
At Dengemarsh Gully and surrounding area a minimum of 10 Wheatears, 20+ Chiffchaffs, 3 Black Redstarts, 6 Stonechats, more Reed Buntings, a Peregrine and Raven flew over.
 A nice pose
 Showing his White arse
Lots of Chiffchaffs in and around the Gully this morning
Brent Geese past the fishing boats this afternoon
Kittiwake at the fishing boats this afternoon
Sea Watch
10.20-12.30 & 13.45-15.45  RW, JTM, SO & AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 272E
Teal: 1E
Mallard: 6E
Shoveler: 9E    17W
Wigeon: 6E   2W
Common Scoter: 190E   10W
Red-breasted Merganser: 3E
Red-throated Diver: 54E   2W
Great-crested Grebe: 10E   1W.  3on
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 237E   142W
Oystercatcher: 1E
Grey Plover: 17E
Dunlin: 2E
Curlew: 3E
Arctic Skua: 1E
Little Gull: 1E
Mediterranean Gull: 4E   2W
Kittiwake: 21E.   8W
Sandwich Tern: 143E    36W
Guillemot: 11E
Auk sp: 9E    62W
Linnet: 7 in
A lingering probably painful death awaits this Great Black-backed Gull 
Another Wheatear from Dengemarsh

Friday, 22 March 2019

More of the same!

A cold, with limited visibility and thoroughly miserable day on the peninsular.
07.30-09.00 from the sea watch hide with CP joined by OL:
Brent Goose: 78E
Common Scoter: 82E
Red-throated Diver: 14E   1W
Great-crested Grebe: 9 around  (34 off fishing boats this PM)
Gannet: 38E
Oystercatcher: 1E
Great Skua: 1W
Kittiwake: 3E
Sandwich Tern: 7E    9W
Auk sp: 2W
Harbour Porpoise: 6+
Common Seal: 1
The first Wheatear of the day by the old lighthouse
Another day of Wheatears, Black Redstarts and Stonechats but seemed to be less Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests and Firecrests but more Meadow Pipits.
No prizes for guessing where this Wheatear was
The ditches around the hay fields were teeming with Reed Buntings, with a couple of Cetti's Warblers, a Great White Egret, a couple of Marsh Harriers and a Raven over. 2 Pintail were on Dengemarsh also a Ruff with the usual Lapwing and feral Geese. So far the hay fields which look in really good condition have failed to produce the birds but I'm sure they will.
 Black Redstart Dengemarsh Gully
In and around Dengemarsh Gully at least 4 Black Redstarts, 4 Wheatears, 8 Stonechats, several Chiffchaffs, 2 Firecrests, a Goldcrest, a Raven and a Peregrine.
Black Redstarts by the Dengemarsh Gully track
Wheatear out near the power station
 Meadow Pipit
By Jarmans this afternoon lots of Meadow Pipits, at least another 4 Wheatears, a couple each of Skylark and Stonechat. 
 Meadow Pipit
 Meadow Pipit
Yet another Wheatear opposite Jarmans
Herring Gull F6MT in the roost behind the Fish Shack this afternoon.