Monday, 13 August 2012

Not Happening Yet

At The Patch the hide is still being built, though not much to see there today. The highlight being an adult Little Gull and steady up channel movement of Gannets.
The bushes around The Point were virtually bird less the best being 3 Wheatears.
After a chat at the obs myself and TG visited the ARC Pit where 3 common Sandpipers and 2 Little Egrets were at the south end. From Hanson 1 Little Stint, 2 Ringed Plovers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 3 more Common Sandpipers, 5 Dunlin, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 1+ Garganey, a flock c100 Sand Martins and a Raven over.
Near the screen 3+ Willow Warblers and a large Grass Snake swimming across the pit.
My first visit to the reserve for a week or two was uninspiring with 5 Tree Sparrows at Boulderwall, a single Grey Plover on Burrowes, a Common Sandpiper in front of the visitor centre and another with a Lapwing posing under Makepeace also at least 1 pair of Common Gulls were successful with at least 1 juvenile.  
An afternoon sea watch from the Fishing boats found a few Terns and Harbour Porpoises off shore and kept me so enthralled I fell asleep for an hour.
At Scotney c100 Golden Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Curlew, 2 Common Sandpipers and 2 Marsh Harriers.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Hung over

A very late start today after spending most of yesterday gambling and carousing at Lingfield races and becoming alcoholically challenged. Fortunately I was staying at the on site hotel and drove home this morning.
When I arrived at the ARC  there were 2 Little Stints at Hanson also 3 Green Sandpipers, 5 Common sandpipers, 2 Dunlin, 3 Little ringed Plovers, 2 Ringed Plovers, 1 Redshank, c50 Golden Plover, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and a Garganey. A plod up to the Water Tower  found 20+ Yellow Wagtails, 3 Willow Warblers a Peregrine , 4 Marsh Harriers and 3 more Garganey.
In a short visit to the obs the only bird of note was a Common Buzzard over the Open Pits.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Soaking up the Sun

1 of a party of 8 over the DBO
 The Little Owl was in it's usual place opposite Romney Farm and 2 Marsh harriers hunting the fields behind it.
The Patch was devoid of birds probably due to the abundance of fisherman on the beach, but a pale phase Arctic Skua was chasing the Terns off shore and 5 Common Scoter flew east.
Around The Point and The Moat 5 Wheatears, 1 Stonechat and a Common Whitethroat. A Peregrine was on the power station and a party of 8 Common Buzzards came over the obs had a look at the sea and decided to settle at the back of the power station.
Reed warbler from Hanson
 In 2 visits to the ARC the juvenile Little Stint was still present as was the moulting adult Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 4 common Sandpipers, 3 Little-ringed Plovers, 2 Ringed Plovers, 2 Golden Plovers, 5 Little Egrets, 4 Garganey 2+ Marsh Harriers and plenty of Reed and Sedge Warblers. By the track to the screen hide 9 Yellow Wagtails and a Redpoll over.
Kittiwake on a mill pond sea
 A couple of hours at the fishing boats enjoying the sunshine lunchtime saw a single Fulmar W, 2 juvenile Kittiwakes feeding along the shore and c30 Common Terns and 1 juvenile Arctic Tern feeding in a frenzy each time a Harbour Porpoise forced a shoal of fish to the surface.
Feeding frenzy of Terns over Harbour Porpoise

Thursday, 9 August 2012


This morning The Point was smothered in fog which lingered all day. I gave The Patch a miss and wandered around the bushes coming up with 14 Common Whitethroats, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 5 Willow Warblers.
The army aren't firing on the ranges this week so myself and TG drove the short distance to Jurys Gap and walked along the sea  wall overlooking The Midrips and ranges. It was a little disappointing as the pools look excellent for waders, but we did see 5 Avocet, 1 Common Sandpiper, 25+ Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plover, 1 Curlew, c50 Shelduck and 8 Wheatears. On the shore c50 Oystercatcher, 1 Curlew, 1 Grey Plover, 4+ Common Terns, 6+ Sandwich Terns and a flock of c100 Common Scoter off shore. Walking back on the sea wall a Weasel dived across the path.
In 2 visits to the ARC (late morning and late afternoon) 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint, 5 Dunlin, 4 Common Sandpipers, 2 Green Sandpipers, 2 Knot, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 5 Little-ringed Plovers, 3 Ringed Plovers, c70 Golden Plovers, c200 Lapwings, 5 Garganey 2 Marsh Harriers and 3 Little Egrets.
In a short sea watch still foggy from the fishing boats this afternoon 5 Grey Plover W, 46 Sand Martins out and a few Common and Sandwich Terns off shore, also 8+ Harbour Porpoises easy to see in the flat calm this afternoon.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


A surprise at The Patch this morning, EDF have started to put up a shiny new hide to replace the one that disappeared in a winter storm. They said they replace it in November so this is a nice surprise.
On the sea 1 Balearic Shearwater flew west, 2 Black Terns and a Little Gull over the boil, a few Common Terns, Gannets and 1+ juvenile Arctic Tern feeding off shore, 12 Common Scoter W, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull on the beach, 4 Willow Warblers on the sea wall and a Black redstart behind the sea watch hide. 
Unexpected surprise at The Patch
 In The Moat and Heligoland trap 5 Willow Warblers and a Common Whitethroat. 2 Willow Warblers at Lloyds and 2 more at West Beach.
Queing up for a ring in the Heligoland
At the ARC from Hanson 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 3 Common Sandpipers, 6 Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Ringed Plovers, a Dunlin, 2 Garganey among the 100s of eclipse duck, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Little Egrets and several Reed and Sedge Warblers. The Willow trail held 3+ Willow Warblers in the Tit flock.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Much The Same

No sign of yesterdays Sabine's Gull at The Patch today, but 2 adult Little Gulls and 1+ juvenile Arctic Tern. Off shore up to 180 Gannets fishing also 40+ Common Terns.
At the ARC still 3 Garganey, 2 each of Common Sandpiper and Little-ringed Plover, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and 100s of Sand Martins and Pochard.
Dengemarsh Gully held 2 Wheatears and Cuckoo.

 An hour at The Point this afternoon produced:
Common Scoter: 24E
Gannet: 64W 15E
Comic Terns: 246W 28E
Sandwich Tern: 18W 14E
Kittiwake: 6W all juvs + a colour ring bird feeding on the shore line.
Swift: 37 out
Sand Martin: 3 out
4+ Harbour Porpoises off shore

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Sabine's Gull

First stop this morning the ARC and a wander up to the pines where there appeared to be an influx of Sedge Warblers with a few Willow Warblers, Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat and Blackcaps. Still high numbers of Swifts and Sand Martins around the pit. From near the screen 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Common Sandpipers and a Black-tailed Godwit. As I got back to the car park I received a couple of messages about an adult Sabine's Gull near the sea watching hide (thanks guys). I found out how quick the Chelsea tractor is in twitch mode and was soon watching the bird which was slumped on the beach where it showed well in the heat haze, also flying back and forth along the beach to the patch When it disappeared. At the patch while waiting for the Sabine's to re-appear, 2 Little Gulls, an adult Mediterranean Gull were feeding. Off shore 12 common Scoter and few Gannets also a Peregrine put on a display round the power station. Then it was home to watch the Olympics.
Pity about the heat haze!

Compaison with Kittiwake

Saturday, 4 August 2012


At the ARC Pit mid morning after receiving a text from OL as I was leaving home after a lay in, telling me of a small fall of migrants there. As I made my way to the tower Willow Warblers were seen and heard by the track with more at the pines where Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat and Blackcap were seen, but no Cuckoo or Redstarts. With 100s of Swifts and Sand Martins round the pit I spent an hour trying to photograph the Swifts with limited success.   

 No sign of fall round The Moat, Lloyds and the Lighthouse Garden in fact an avian desert.
A hour and half at the fishing boats this afternoon, found good numbers of Common and Sandwich Terns and Gannets offshore, also a Juvenile Arctic Tern. c200 Sand Martins flew south.
I watched a Cormorant fishing just off shore take at least 14 fish all be it small ones, I can see why private fisheries dislike them. The one I was watching had an almost 100% catch rate per dive.
Back at the ARC car park it was good to meet some old friends from Sussex. From Hanson 3 Garganey, 2+ Common Sandpipers, 4+ Little-ringed Plovers, a Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit and a Mediterranean Gull.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Slim Pickings

At The Patch this morning among the usual gulls were 2 juvenile Arctic Terns c50 Common Terns over the boil and on the beach. Off shore c100 Gannets.
A couple of hours in the trapping area was hard work for a Blackcap, a Common Whitethroat and 2 Willow Warblers one of which was posing while sun bathing.
Willow Warbler
 Around the ARC Pit 5 Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Ringed Plovers, 4 Common Sandpipers, a Green Sandpiper, a Curlew Sandpiper (moulting adult), 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Golden Plover, 2 Garganey,  2+ Marsh Harriers. Over the pit c200 Swifts and c500 Sand Martins. The Willow Trail held 2+ Willow Warblers with another 5 at the pines.
Record of Curlew Sandpiper
 On the way home a little Owl was posing on the Walland chicken shed.
Little Owl on chicken shed

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Bits and Pieces

This morning a Manx Shearwater west past The Patch was of note. News of pallet with 1,000s of Goose Barnacles attached being washed up near the fishing boats was definitely worth seeing. The pallet must have come from warmer climes and been adrift for good while for so many of these beautiful filter feeding crustaceans to be attached.
Goose Barnacles

 Around the ARC Pit not much change from yesterday. With 2 Garganey, 6+ Common Sandpipers, 6+ Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Redshank, 1 Common snipe, c50 Lapwing and 3 Willow warblers.
Harbour Porpoise
 This afternoon a couple of hours from the fishing boats in the glorious Dungeness sunshine, c40 Common Terns feeding off shore, a few Sandwich Terns, 2+ juvenile Arctic Terns and a real south coast rarity nowadays a juv Little Tern, also 6+ Harbour Porpoises and a Grey Seal
Record of juvenile Little Tern