Thursday, 13 October 2011

Pipit Dip

No sign of the Buff-bellied Pipit at Newhaven west beach this morning. Consolation in the form of a ring tailed Hen Harrier in off the sea, 40+ Curlew, 9+ Rock Pipits, 2 Wheatears and 5 Brent Geese on the sea.
A short stop at Beachy Head on the way home and at Chat Vale 30 Fieldfare and a Great Spotted woodpecker, with another 2 Fieldfare in the old trapping area.
Fieldfare, old trapping area, Beachy Head .

Chat Vale with Hodcombe and Belle Tout in the background

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Tree Sparrows

Tree Sparrows Boulderwall Farm

The Tree Sparrows at Boulderwall Farm at the entrance to Dungeness RSPB are now very easy to see as they are using the feeder by the road at the front of the farm.
From the fishing boats this morning very quiet compared to recent days with just 2 Arctic Skuas, 4 Guillemots, 28 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Kittiwake, 6 Common Terns, 5 Sandwich Terns, 20+ Gannets, The Glaucous Gull, a Northern Wheatear, 4+ Lesser Redpoll over, 50+ each of Goldfinch and Linnet and 1 Raven.
At the ARC from Hanson 6 Snipe, 3 Dunlin, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Golden Plover, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Bittern, 2 Water Rail, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 50+ Swallows and House Martins, 2 Merlin, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Marsh Harriers and 1 of our American friends.

Monday, 10 October 2011

More Bonxies

Bonxie from my archive as todays were rubbish

From The Point today from 0815-1430 I recorded:
Great Skua:  100E
Arctic Skua : 16E
Sooty Shearwater: 1E
Shearwater sp: 3E (Probably Balearic)
Red-throated Diver: 6W
Brent Geese: 139W
Sheduck: 3W
Wigeon:  5W
Teal: 3W
Common Scoter: 18W
Kittiwake: 150+
Gannet:  700+
Common Tern: 30+
Sandwich Tern: 30+
Grey Plover: 3W
Linnets and Goldfinches: 1200W
Swallow: 150+W
House Martin: 30+

At the ARC from Hanson the Goosander, 1 Peregrine, 2 Marsh Harriers, 9 Snipe, 1 Dunlin and the usual widfowl. 

Sunday, 9 October 2011


After yesterdays brilliant sea watch from The Point I did not have any real expectations for today. After a long lay in this morning I arrived at 10.15. DW and TG were already there and told me that once again c100 Great Skuas had already been seen along with a Sooty and Balearic Shearwater, a few Arctic Skuas and a few hundred Brent Geese.
My totals from 10.15-13.00 are as follows:
Balearic Shearwater: 1
Great Skua: 76
Arctic Skua: 25
Pomarine Skua: 2
Red-throated Diver: 3
Gannet: 400+
Brent Geese: 1781
Common Scoter: 115
Teal: 11
Wigeon: 78
Pintail: 3
Knot: 3
Dunlin: 12
Kittiwake: 54
Sandwich Tern: 36
Common Tern: 28
Arctic Tern: 2
2w Glaucous Gull: 1 in roost.
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 in roost
Siskins: Several heard not seen
Redpoll: Several heard not seen
Crossbill: 2+ Heard
Gold Finch: Several seen and heard
Rock Pipit: 3 Heard
Driving across Walland Marsh on my home there were 2 Common Cranes, 40+ Tree Sparrows and 2 Marsh Harriers.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Unexpected Passage

After watching the rugby this morning, enough said I went to the ARC. Walking the track to Hanson a couple of small flocks of Redwing passed over. From the empty hide only 3 Grey Plovers, 3 Dunlin, 8 Snipe, 7 Little Egrets and the Goosander. Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Gadwall and Teal numbers are still building. The track to the Water Tower held 6 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcaps and a large mixed Tit flock. Also 3 more small parties of Redwing flew over and 2 Marsh harriers were hunting.
With a north westerly blowing i was not expecting much on the sea as i drove down the concrete road to The Point. TG and DW were already watching and told me that 100 Bonxies had already passed.
I watched from c13.30-17.00when the passage appeared to die completely in that time i recorded:
Great Skua: 91
Arctic Skua: 31
Pomarine Skua: 1
Kittiwake: 194
Meditteranean Gull: 3
Balearic Shearwater: 1
Common Scoter: 16
Wigeon: 8
Teal: 3
Merlin: 1 in off
Marsh Harrier: 1 in off
Gannets : No count but numerous
Auk sp: No count but numerous
Common and Sandwich Tern: a few of each
Grey Seal:1
Harbour Porpoise: c10
A very good and most unexpected sea watch.

Brent Geese, Bonxie and Guillemot

Balearic Shearwater

Friday 07/10/2011 Cap Gris Nez

View from sea watching position
 We met at Greatstone with a North Westerly blowing to go to France for a days sea watching at Le Clipon at 03.00 to get the 04.20 ferry which was delayed till 05.40 a bad start. After a full engish on the ferry dawn started to break so we went up on deck to stare into the gloom, where we rewarded with a few Gannets, 6 Sooty Shearwaters, 2 Manx and 3 Balearic, 1 Red-throated Diver, 4 Bonxies and 1 Arctic Skua and as we docked a few Meditteranean Gulls.
After disembarking we quickly made our way to Le Clipon about 2 miles from site we were stopped by security who told us Le Clipon is now out of bounds unless you have special permission because of building a refinery there. Our second set back of the day!
A decision was quickly made to move on to Cap Gris Nez and as Tony and Chis had been there before by 09.00 they had got me and Paul threre.
After climbing down the grassy cliff below the view point(which was easy. Its climbing back up thats hard!) we were quickly being amazed by the number of birds passing and the quality of the ligh. While there we had totals of:
Bonxie: 171
Arctic Skua: 71
Pomarine Skua: 13
Long-tailed Skua: 9
Balearic Shearwater: 32
Manx Shearwater: 29
Sooty Shearwater: 22
Red-throated Diver: 9
Black-throated Diver 5
Gannets: 1000+
Little Gull: 31
Common Scoter: 725
Kittiwake: 55
Comic Terns: 200+
Sandwich Terns: 100+
Black Tern: 1
Auk sp: 500+
Grey Wagtail: 1
Dunlin: 8
Oystercatcher: 1
Brent Goose: 1
Medditteranean Gull: numerous
We know we missed loads birds that were just to close under the cliff, lots more that were just to far out to ID,  those that went passed while we being mesmerised ,staring through our scopes at the huge spoons on some of the Poms the quality of the light on summer plumaged Divers was awesome and the general spectacle of this tremendous passage.
A brilliant sea watch. Who knows what the totals would have been had we not lost the first 2 hours of light.

Juvenile Long-tailed Skua

Arctic Skua

Superb adult Pomarine Skuas still with spoons

Pomarine Skua

Balearic Shearwater

Tony, Chis and Paul
In the fields behind Cap Gris Nez we saw Hen Harrier, 2+Common Buzzards, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel 2 and 200+ Meditteranean Gulls. On the drive back to the port we added a Marsh Harrier and Lapwing and a Merlin which I missed.
Darkness was falling rapidly as the ferry left for home but we still managed to see :
Leach's Petrel 1 at the harbour entrance.
Bonxie: 18
Arctic Skua 6
Manx Shearwater: 2
Shag: 1 in the harbour.
A fantastic days birding in great company. A special thanks to Tony for organising the trip and doing all the driving.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

All at Sea

A few hours spent sea watching from the fishing boats produced, 10+ Arctic Skuas, a steady stream of Gannets, a few Common and Sandwich Terns, 1+ Arctic Terns, 2 Common Scoter, 20+ Guillemots, 10+ Razorbills, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, a flock of 50+ Knot, 35+ Great-crested Grebes and a juv.Red-necked Grebe. Also a Merlin came in with some Mippits and a few Swallows and House Martins went out. On the beach the Yellow-legged Gull and Glaucous Gull.
The ARC was disappointing with 2 Dunlin and 10+ Snipe.

A poor heavily cropped record of a juv.Red-necked Grebe off shore

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Autumn is back

I spent the morning on the reserve and at the ARC where the highlights were a very obliging Common Sandpiper infront of Makepiece, a Pectoral Sandpiper that suddenly appeared on an island at Dengemarsh from the hide and disappeared just as quickly, also there the Great White Egret which was being intimidated by 500+ Greylag Geese, also seen 18 Chiffchaff, 3 Northern Wheatears, 4+ Marsh Harriers, lots more Pintail around, the Goosander and 2 Kingfishers (Burrowes & ARC).
An hour at the fishing boats lunch time produced 1 Balearic Shearwater, 3 Arctic Skuas, 200+ Gannets, 40+ Comic Terns and Sandwich Terns, 20+ Guillemots, a Red-throated Diver off shore, a steady stream of Swallows moving out across the channel. On the beach Yellow-legged Gull, Glaucous Gull and 4 Wheatears.   

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Sandhill Crane

I finally cracked and twitched the Sandhill Crane today a superb bird. Left home at 04.45 and was on site at 07.00 with the bird already showing distantly in the gloom. Fortunately better views were had later in the morning. The bird was calling constantly, probably realising it should not be on its own. Other birds seen on site were 20+ Crossbills, 6+ Northern Wheatears, 3 Little Egrets, numerous Skylarks and Meadow Pipits, 4+ Common Buzzards and a Marsh Harrier.
Thanks to Matt Eade for finding the Willow Emerald Damselfly.

Record shot of Willow Emerald Damselfly

Monday, 3 October 2011


This afternoon at the ARC was still fairly quiet. A vocal Cetti's Warbler infront the Hanson hide and  Wigeon numbers are building up as are Shovelor and Teal, a single Garganey and Pintail were present, also a few Golden Plover and Dunlin, a few Swallows over and 2 Marsh harriers from the car park.
From the fishing boats the 2w Glaucous Gull was patrolling the beach as was the Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Arctic Skuas chasing a few Sandwich and Common Terns also a couple of Arctic Terns and few Guillemots and Gannets off shore. 

2w Glaucous Gull

2w Glaucous Gull

2w Glaucous Gull

Yellow-legged Gull

2w Glaucous Gull and Yellow-legged Gull on fishing boat