Thursday, 17 May 2012

Late Again

After a family day in the midlands yesterday (42 Red Kites on M40) I had a short lay in this morning. So no surprise that I missed the best birds on the sea watch (1 Pomarine Skua E, 2 Arctic Skua's E and 3 Black Terns) in fact the most interesting thing I saw on the sea was the above ship.
I could find no migrants around the point just the resident Black Redstarts, Stonechats and Wheatears.
At the ARC Pit and New Diggings squadrons of Swifts hawking along with a few Swallows, House Martins, Sand Martins and 4+ Hobby's. Also a single Greenshank flew around and disappeared towards Lade.
At Scotney 2 Dunlin and some Ringed Plovers, also 2 Bar-headed Geese.
Opposite Lydd Gold Club the Turtle Dove was back on the wires and further along the road the Little Owl was on the derelict sheds, 2 Hobby's hawking over the Rape and a Marsh Harrier.
The best I can say about the Bee-eater is I missed it by a few minutes.
With favourable E to SE winds forecast, a car load off us are off to Breskens, Holland tonight for a dawn start hoping for some spectacular vis mig. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Black Kite

With a cold north wind blowing in very heavy hail and rain showers, the sea was once again unproductive. In a 30 minute sea watch there were a few Gannets and Common Terns off shore, 6 Common Scoter moved east, also a Common Seal and 2 Harbour Porpoises off shore.
At the back of the hide on the power station wall a Black redstart trying to gather enough insects to feed its young. Nearby 2 male Wheatears displaying.

With seemingly no new migrants on The Point I went to the south end of the ARC Pit which held 2 Little Ringed Plovers and scores of Swifts hawking over the causeway and the pits. From there I moved on to the reserve where the car park was empty. Many more Swifts and a few each of Swallow, House and Sand Martin hawking over Burrowes Pit but little else of note. At Christmas Dell the Lesser Whitethroat still singing along with Common Whitethroats, Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers. At Dengemarsh hide met MH and RP who were on there way out trying to dodge to weather. Once inside the hide the heavens opened and for the next half hour I was marooned there. The new Tern raft seems to be success by attracting more Terns and 2 Marsh Harriers braved the deluge. On the return trail 2 Hobby's and 2 Cuckoo's but little else of note.
Back at the ARC Pit half hour in Hanson Hide having lunch and seeing little. As I was walking back to the car park a large raptor passed me. Initially I ignored it assuming it was a Marsh Harrier I lifted my bins and **** Black Kite. I watched it flying towards Lydd before I put my brain in gear and lifted my camera, hence the very poor heavily cropped images. After dashing to Cockles Bridge to see if I could see it again I went back to Boulderwall Farm, where fortunately an RSPB working party had also seen the Kite.
Another half hour spent at the Water Tower hoping the Kite might come back found up to 6 Hobby's hawking over the pits.
Very poor heavily cropped image of a Black Kite

Monday, 14 May 2012


Once again very little sea passage at Dungeness (c150 Commic Terns and Sandwich Terns off shore and a few Gannets, also 4+ Harbour Porpoises)
On the land a few resident Common Whitethroats and Wheatears and the only new migrant was a Chiffchaff in the lighthouse garden.
 With a strong westerly blowing I made my way to the slightly sheltered Tower Pits where I was entertained by 14+ Hobby's for a couple of hours before the clouds came in.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sunny Dungeness

As the sea was flat calm and unproductive this morning (15 Common Scoter E, and c150 Common Terns off shore and at The Patch) I plodded along the front of the power station to c200yds short of Denge marsh Gully and back. Highlights were a newly arrived Chiffchaff , 4 Wheatears (3 singing, 2  Black Redstarts (1 singing), a pair of Ringed Plovers, a single Redshank on the beach and 2 Mediterranean Gulls loafing with the Herring Gulls in the sun.

 At the south end of the ARC Pit 1 drake Garganey and 3 Dunlin were the highlights there.
A very pleasant plod around Orlestone Forest this evening found at least a dozen Nightingales, several Garden Warblers, a Hobby and most of the usual woodland birds.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Out and about

The sea was very quiet this morning just a handful of Gannets, Commic Terns and a few Swifts and swallows coming in. The highlight being to the 2 local Peregrines coming back in presumably after hunting out at sea. Very few migrants around The Point apart from Hirundines.
A small raptor passage observed from the obs involving 3+ Common Buzzards,1 Hobby,1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Kestrel.
At the south end of the ARC Pit 2 Little Ringed Plovers and little else due to the high water levels.
Yellow Wagtail in Rape Field
 A look around Appledore for the 2 White Storks drew a blank, but several Yellow Wagtails in the Rape a Hobby hunting over the field and a Wood Sandpiper on the flood which held the Storks last night. Nearby 2 Red-legged Partridges were foraging in the middle of the road until a Sparrowhawk appeared overhead.
Watching Sparrowhawk overhead
 A plod around the woods found another 5 Nightingales singing though all just outside my Tetrad and a Woodcock flushed.
A very full ARC Pit from The Screen Hide

Friday, 11 May 2012


05.00 in Orlestone Forest counting Nightingales. 2 extra territories found today, 23 singing males in the 2 Tetrads. Also seen on my plod around the tetrads 10+ fly over Crossbills, 2 Turtle Doves purring, 2 cuckoo's, several Garden Warblers, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker calling and a Tawny Owl.
After finishing in the forest I made the short drive to Rye Harbour NR. Most the waders have moved on though it was low tide, Plenty of Common and Sandwich Terns, Black-headed Gulls, Mediterranean Gulls on Ternery Pool and 3 newly arrived Willow Warblers by the hide. 8+ Little Terns on The Quarry and at least 3 Avocet chicks on the new flood.

Newly arrived Willow Warbler Rye Harbour
At Scotney 2 Curlew, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Grey plover, 8 Dunlin and c20 Ringed plover.
 Back at Dungeness at the ARC Pit 8+Hobbys, Cetti's,Reed and Sedge Warblers but little else probably due to the very high water levels, even Stilts would need stilts.
 By the entrance track to the reserve centre a very confiding Wheatear a superb bird. On the reserve much the same as the ARC Pit  plus a Spotted flycatcher, 2 Lesser Whitethroats. Hopefully the new Tern raft on Dengemarsh will attract more breeding Terns.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Rain, Wind and Birds

Black-tailed Godwits over Dengemarsh

Sea watching this morning was slow but relatively productive:

Black-throated Diver: 1E
Fulmar: 2E
Gannet: 71E
Common Scoter: 58E 64W
Pomarine Skua: 2E
Arctic Skua: 4E
Great skua: 5E
Black Tern: 1E
Commic Tern: 81E
Arctic Tern: 5E
Sandwich Tern: 20+ off shore
Kittiwake: 3E
Auk sp: 9E
Swallow: 51 in off
Swift: 16 in off
Lesser Whitethroat: 1 newly arrived feeding on power station wall.
At the ARC Pit water levels are very high so no waders. 5+ Hobby's hawking along the railway line bank and many Swifts and Swallows over the pit also over the New diggings.
On the reserve water levels also very high so very few waders. On Dengemarsh 7 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Redshanks, 4 Oystercatchers, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit over and 3 Lapwing (All the Lapwing nests have been predated inside the anti predator fence) a steep learning curve. On a brighter note a new Tern raft at least 3x the size of the existing rafts has been launched on Dengemarsh and already some of the 30+ Common Terns were mating and displaying on it. Also there many Swifts and Hirundines up to 5 Hobby's, 2 Garganey, 2+ Bearded Tits, a Bittern booming, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Wheatears, 4 Yellow wagtails and a Turtle Dove on the Chicken shed roof. At the viewing ramp 3+ Hobby's giving super displays of agility catching insects and the one below alighted on the Brambles in front of me. All around the reserve Reed, Sedge, Common Whitethroats and Cetti's Warblers singing and with decent weather will be even more vocal. Also at least 2 singing Lesser Whitethroats 1 at Hookers and 1 at Christmas Dell.
Despite the weather a quality selection of birds seen today.

Hobby by the viewing ramp

Great Crested Grebe on Dengemarsh

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Just to late

07.30-08.45 the sea watch hide with (TG,DR,PT) very little moving:
Fulmar: 3W
Gannet: 85E
Common Scoter: 29E
Guillemot: 1W
Arctic Skua: 5E
Arctic Tern: 4E
Commic Tern: 46E
Bar-tailed Godwit: 20E
A short visit to the observatory where resident Common Whitethroat and Wheatears were seen, also a Willow Warbler.
Back to the hide 09.35-10.45(TG,DR) Black Redstart on Power Station Fence.
As we opened the hide slats 2 Pomarine Skuas flew past very close well inside the bouy. If only we were 30 seconds earlier I am sure excellent photographs could have been obtained.  Apart from 26 Brent Geese very little of note passed. So when we heard the Red-rumped Swallow was back at Greatstone we quickly made our way there. After 30 minutes of scanning the Swallows no Red Rumped but 9 Black-tailed Godwits over.
Next stop Scotney. Most the waders have departed leaving 9 Whimbrel, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 5 Grey Plover and 2 Dunlin.
At Pigwell the water level has risen so much that no waders at all there and then the rain started again. 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A quieter day all round

A much quieter day at Dungeness. On the the sea just 1 Pomarine Skua, a few Scoter, Terns and Barwits and a Hobby in.
With news that the Red-rumped Swallow was still at Greatstone sewage works myself, TG and DR went to see if we could get views than we had yesterday. When we got there most of the Hirundines had gone along with the Swallow. We went to Lade to check the pits there but no Hirundines there either.
Back at Dungeness a Stone Curlew had been reported in The Desert, but no one new anything about it and despite a search by a group of us nothing was found.
Another hours sea watch was not very productive except for 2 Eider and adult and imature drake at C13.30. These were probably the 2 seen from Birling Gap by John Cooper et al. Also 2 Eider were recorded at Selsey Bill this morning by Bernie Forbes, Dorian Mason and Dave Smith. It would be interesting to know if these were the same birds and the time they were seen.   

 A walk along the canal at Warehorn this afternoon found the 3 Nightingales still singing, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Yellowhammers, a Bullfinch, a Cuckoo, a Hobby and this handsome Song Thrush finding lots of worms for its young.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Mow the Lawn miss the Lark

After spending the best part of 7 hours sea watching at Dungeness today, I was on my way to have lunch out with Sally when I got a call from young David that a Crested Lark had been found at Lloyds. 10mins later I was there but no Lark, it had flown into the power station compound. Half hour later and DW had got permission to go into the compound to find it. Unfortunately a thorough search of where it was seen to land drew a blank. Now 2 hours late for lunch I went home  to make amends and mow the lawn. As I got the mower out I got a call from DW to say the Lark had been relocated. Conscience got the better of me and I mowed the lawn then drove back to Dungeness. I parked up and was a couple of minutes walk from the Lark when TG phoned to say it had flown off towards the Lighthouse ****. As a small recompense a Red-rumped Swallow was located at Greastone sewage works and showed well all be it distantly. Maybe the Lark will be on show tomorrow!
Sea watch totals 06.10-12.50
Black-throted Diver: 35E
Fulmar: 15E
Manx Shearwater: 1E
Grey Heron: 1 in off
Brent Goose: 18E
Common Scoter: 334E
Shelduck: 8 out to sea
Gadwall: 2E
Peregrine: 1 around
Merlin: 1 coasting E
Hobby: 1 in off
Whimbrel: 32E
Bar-tailed Godwit: 12E
Grey Plover 2E:
Sanderling: 10E
Avocet: 4E
Pomarine Skua: 16E
Arctic Skua: 4E
Great Skua: 2E
Mediterranean Gull: 4E
Little Gull: 1E
Kittiwake: 21E
Sandwich Tern: 82E
Common/Commic Tern: 340E
Arctic Tern: 89E
Little Tern: 76E