Saturday, 7 July 2012

Quiet Times

Mid morning at the South end of the ARC Pit little of note, just the usual eclipse ducks and feral geese, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Ringed Plovers and 2 Oystercatchers. This afternoon 150+ Swifts round the Tower.
At The Patch late morning 2 Mediterranean Gulls and 1 Kittiwake among the hundreds of Black-headed Gulls(very few juveniles still) and Herring Gulls (3 colour ringed North Thames birds) 4 adult Sandwich Terns with 1 juvenile. Off shore a few Gannets and Kittiwakes and 2+ harbour Porpoises.

 On the reserve from Dengemarsh hide a few Tern chicks on the rafts along with 1 Oystercatcher chick. Over the reeds 2+ Marsh Harriers and a Hobby. On Burrowes from Makepiece another Oystercatcher family posing for the camera but little else of note. 

Friday, 6 July 2012

Dodging Showers

At The Patch this morning my first juvenile Lesser Black Backed Gull there this year, a single Mediterranean Gull, 2 colour ringed Herring Gulls which were flushed with the rest of the Gulls before I could read them by a fisherman with very embarassed and apologetic wife.
Round The Point no passerine migrants nor any where else.
The south end of the ARC Pit held the usual wildfowl, also 1 Green and 1 Common Sandpiper.
From Hanson Hide a few islands are starting to appear as the water level drops attracting 2 Little Ringed Plovers, a few Lapwing and Oystercatchers, in the reeds the usual warblers. 3 Hobby's hawked  around the Tower and 2 Marsh Harriers hunted the reeds.
On the reserve the most notable bird was a Bar-headed Goose. Islands are starting to appear in front of Firth Hide attracting loafing Gulls.  

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Back to Birding

With the Heligoland Trap now complete and already at least 6 Common Whitethroats trapped its time to start birding again. On the way to The Patch a Black Redstart was singing on the power staion and a female was on the perimeter wall. At The Patch 5+ Mediterranean Gulls including CR 36P5 among the usual Gulls, a Fulmar E, a few Gannets mainly moving E, and 20+ Common Scoter W and little else of note.
Plodding back along the top of sea wall towards the seawatch hide 4 Common Sandpipers dropped onto the beach, Autumn migration has started.
3rd cal.yr Mediterranean Gull 36P5

4 Common Sandpipers
 After inspecting the finished Heligoland Trap a cup of tea in the obs garden where a Lime Green Hawk Moth was posing.
Lime Green Hawk Moth
 At the south end of the ARC Pit c350 Pochard, c100 Tufted Duck, c50 Gadwall, c30 Shoveller, 10+ Teal loafing on the shore and another Common Sandpiper.
Some of the 500+ duck at the south end of the ARC Pit
The track to The Tower found 2 Hobby's, 2 Marsh Harriers, Lesser and Common Whitethroats, Reed, Sedge, Cetti's Warblers a Cuckoo, 2 Green woodpeckers and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.
On the way home the Turtle Dove was on the wires opposite Lydd Golf Club.

Turtle Dove opposite Lydd Golf Club

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Little Swift?

Spent most the day working on the Heligoland Trap. Although it looks finished there are some fiddly jobs left to be done, hopefully in the next couple of days it will fully operational. Work came to an abrupt halt with news of a Little Swift at The ARC Pit. We were on site in minutes but no sign of the Little Swift in the flock of c300 Common Swifts and a few House and Sand Martins, but a Bittern flew from the ARC to the Tower Pits. 
Reed Warbler
Later this afternoon at the ARC Pit all the Swifts had dispersed, 2 Hobby's hawking round the tower, 1 Marsh Harrier, 2 little Ringed Plovers and from Hanson Hide Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers. 

Monday, 2 July 2012

Getting There!

While working on the Heligoland Trap today a much depleted band of volunteers (mainly OAPs) saw 30+ Swifts fly south and a Peregrine flying by. By the end of today 90% of the netting was up, leaving just some fiddly bits and seam stitching which we hope to be more or less complete tomorrow weather permitting. At the south end of the ARC Pit this afternoon 1 Little ringed Plover and the Pochard flock now up to c250.
Now with 90% of the netting done

Yellow Vetch
 Yellow Vetch is a very rare wild flower, Dungeness is one of the very few places in the British Isles it can be found.
Yellow Vetch

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The new Heligoland at D.B.O.

The first upright going in at 10.00 hrs yesterday

Saturday morning myself and c18 others started work reconstructing the Heligoland Trap in The Moat. Fortunately the forecast rain did not arrive and by the end of the day most of us had a small amount of sun burn. We were ably martialled by Wez who designed it and with his, Chris and Sams construction know how started to build it.
18.00 hrs yesterday

At 18.00 hrs Saturday 95% of the frame had been erected and we got the call that the barbeque was ready and a superb spread was laid on by Gill. 

The final spar is fitted and Ray arrives with tea

This morning the rain held off but a strong wind made things interesting. The final spar was put in place and we started fitting the netting, a job which was more difficult than anticipated consequently taking much longer. By 16.00 hrs only c40% of it had been done. Hopefully over the next few days we will complete the trap. I thoroughly enjoyed this weekend, most of us came through it with only a few nicks and splinters except P.T. who got a lump on his head from a piece of wood that I dropped on him. Sorry Paul!
16.00 hrs this afternoon and 40% of the netting in place

Friday, 29 June 2012

Sheltering in the Woods

As the wind was once again howling this morning I went to Orlestone forest to find vsome shelter and hopefully see some birds and plants.
Round the car park lots of young Great Tits mainly and a family of Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Along the rides Blackcaps, Garden Warblers and Chiffchaffs still singing, plus some young calling, also a Turtle Dove purring. Further along the tracks by an old bomb crater c30 Crossbills flew in also a Treecreeper and a Nuthatch. Further on I came across an old Green Woodpecker nest taken over by Bee's. Even further into the forest I came across a beautiful meadow full of Common Spotted Orchids and many other plants as yet unidentified, also there a Nightingale calling, another Turtle Dove purring and more Blackcaps and Garden warblers. 
Part of a flock of c30 Crossbills

The Bee's have taken over and old Woodpecker nest

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Now you see it?

 At The Patch this morning the 1st summer Little Gull still and 3 Meditteranean Gulls were the pick of the gulls there and just a single Sandwich Tern.
At the Observatory the old Heligoland Trap has been dismantled, the wire put in a skip and  the old timber burnt. Hopefully this weekend a new one will be erected by a group of willing volunteers.
A couple of hours at the fishing boats this afternoon enjoying the glorious weather saw 4 Meditterranean Gulls, c20 Gannets, c15 Sandwich Terns, c10 Common Terns, 5 Common Scoter, 3+ Harbour Porpoises and a Seal.
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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Rye Harbour

Spent the day at Rye Harbour enjoying the summery weather and a few birds and wild flowers. Several pairs of Avocets with a few young, Also Dunlin, Ringed Plovers, Oystercatchers, Redshanks and a Turnstone.
On the Ternery Pool plenty of young Black-headed gulls, but very few Meditteranean Gulls, what looks like good numbers of Common Terns and Sandwich Terns. Also seen on the reserve 2 Wheatears and at least 8 Little Terns but not sure if they are breeding, good numbers of Skylarks singing, plus Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers, Common and Lesser Whitethroats and Linnets.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Still waiting for Summer

At The Patch bathed in sunshine this morning the 1st summer Little Gull still present along with 8 Meditteranean Gulls, c50 Common Terns, 1 Portlandica Type Tern and the usual Gulls. Off shore c300 Gannets per DW and several Harbour Porpoises.
At the south end of the ARC Pit the usual mix of ducks, 3 Ringed Plovers including 1 juvenile and a Hobby.
At the Water Tower a family party of 6 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Hobby's, 2 Marsh Harriers, 1 Cuckoo, 2 Green Woodpeckers and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Lesser Whitethroat
 A very pleasant plod, in now cooler cloudier conditions, from Boulderwall farm to springfield bridge and back found 4+ Hobby's, 3+Marsh Harriers, 2 Cuckoo's, 1 Green Sandpiper, a flock of 19 Black-tailed Godwits flew over, a flight view of a Bittern and the usual Common Whitethroats, Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers, along with many Reed buntings. At Dengemarsh on the Common Tern rafts at least 2 abandonded clutches but still at least 18 sitting birds.

Common Terns (Note the abandoned clutch of 3eggs)