Thursday, 12 July 2012

Sunshine but no Serin

Again I spent the best part of this morning trying to catch up with the very elusive and wide ranging  Serin. It was heard at the fishing boats, near the obs and in the trapping area and while looking for it 2 Black Redstarts and Wheatear were seen but not the Serin.
An hour and half sea watch sitting in the glorious sunshine with french coast line clearly visible was not really worth the effort, with a few Gannets, Common and Sandwich Terns, 8 Common Scoter W, 4 Kittiwake W, 6+ Harbour Porpoises off shore and a Hummingbird Hawk Moth came in off the sea. 
Little Egret Screen Hide
 At the ARC Pit no Sandpipers visible today, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Little Egrets, 3+ Marsh Harriers, 2 Hobby's and still 200+ Swifts, House and Sand Martins over the pit. On the banks by the track to Hanson Hide a very colourful display of Restharrow
This afternoon  on the reserve little of note on Burrowes Pit, at Christmas Dell a juvenile Peregrine made several attempts on a feral Pigeon but went hungry. On the Dengemarsh tern rafts several birds apparently still sitting on eggs but only 1 chick visible. Also there 2 more Marsh Harriers and a Bittern flew over. Then the rain came again. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Elusive Serin

Storm over the ARC Pit from Hanson this afternoon
I spent most the morning trying to see a very elusive Serin at The Point this morning. It had been heard several times but only seen once in flight. After a short while looking around The Point I got a call from DW saying that it was calling near him. As I made my way over I could see he was looking at something in flight which enabled me to pick up the Serin briefly before it disappeared behind some buildings. We made our way to where we thought the bird landed and we heard it again but did not see it. I then spent most the rest of the morning trying to relocate it without success.
As I walked out to Hanson Hide the rain started. After a short while it eased so I took the opportunity to get back to the car and call it a day. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Tough life for fledglings

The Patch was full of birds this morning though mostly Black-headed Gulls only a very few of which were juveniles. The wind made viewing difficult and uncomfortable(bring on the new hide). A few Sandwich and Common Terns with some Gannets off shore.
Plodding back to the car park 3 newly fledged Pied Wagtails were being fed, as I was photographing 1 of them, another a few feet further along the wall was taken by Kestrel, amid the very vocal protests of its parents, who chased the Kestrel a short way before losing interest to concentrate on feeding the remaining 2. It's a harsh life for a young bird. 

A tough short life for fledglings 

Kestrel with juv Pied wagtail
 An hour at the fishing boats was very disappointing with just 1 Curlew W, 2 auks W, 4 Common Scoter W and a few Gannets and Terns off shore.
 On the ARC pit i counted 500 Pochard before giving up. Also 150+ Swifts with a sprinkling of House Martins and Sand Martins. On the Islands 2 Wood Sandpipers (a juvenile and washed out adult), 3 Green Sandpipers, 3 Common Sandpipers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers  and 2 Ringed Plovers. I spent an hour watching 2 Hobby's over The Tower Pits that were giving a superb display as they took and plucked Dragonflys, 2 Marsh Harriers also hunted there. A Fox cub was paddling in front of the screen hide.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Very Quiet

At the south end of the ARC Pit 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers,  1 Dunlin, a Green Sandpiper put in a brief appearance before disappearing on to the New Diggings and the usual eclipse wildfowl. When the showers came through early afternoon 100+ Swifts appeared with them and disappeared just as quickly when the sun came out.
The Heligoland Trap was offically opened today. I would have posted pictures of the cutting of the ribbon, but unfortunately the compact flash card in my camera some how got corrupted and all the pictures were lost.
A plod down to The Patch was not very rewarding due to an over load of fisherman although 2 Mediterranean Gulls were feeding over the boil. On the power station a Black Redstart was singing. The Turtle Dove was on the wires opposite Lydd golf club on my home.

Annual Toadflax
 Thanks to GH for telling me about the Toadflax today, just hope I have labelled them correctly.
Common Toadflax

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