Friday, 11 October 2013

Glossy Ibis

Back to The Point this morning where the only similarity to Cap Gris Nez was that it was windy!
07.15-10.15: I was joined by DW.
Balearic Shearwater: 1W
Shearwater sp. : 3W
Gannet: 28E  16W
Brent Geese: 227W   48E
Common Scoter: 15E
Wigeon: 12W
Great Skua: 5W
Skua sp. : 4W
Kittiwake: 3W
Little Gull: 24W   7 off shore
Arctic Tern: 1 off shore
Sandwich Tern:  c10 off shore
Razorbill: 1 on sea
Auk sp. : 24E
Rock Pipit: 1 on beach
Common Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 2
 The ARC from Hanson held 3 Greenshank, 1 Redshank, 3 Curlew of note among the common wildfowl.
Late morning on the reserve I only visited Dennis's hide and the VC due to the rain. From Dennis's 7 Great White Egrets and 6 Little Egrets could be seen, from the VC a Little Stint, 8 Dunlin, 2 Ruff, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Grey Plover, a juvenile Little Gull and 11 Avocets that flew in and eventually settled in front of Firth, also 3 Spotted Redshanks flew through. 
Glossy Ibis in front of Firth hide
 Mid afternoon I had just started another sea watch at the fishing boats when a call from DW alerted me to a Glossy Ibis that had just flown in to Firth hide. A few minutes later I arrived had a brief view of it as it walked into cover, fortunately it soon reappeared and showed well before flying off towards Dengemarsh. Also seen there 3 Chiffchaffs, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Knot, 2 Marsh Harriers. As we were leaving the first flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing flew over.
Avocets from Firth

Thursday, 10 October 2013

What a Difference 25 miles of Sea makes!!!

Cap Gris Nez
 Myself, DW, AJG, CT and BP (AKA King Squacco) deserted Dungeness today. I picked them up at 03.00 and caught the 04.20 ferry to Calais them made the short drive to Cap Gris Nez arriving at c06.30 where the NW wind was blowing hard.
Bonxie 1 of 772 logged !!!!!
 By 07.00 we had got our selves in position and settled on a ledge near the bottom of the cliffs(not  for the faint hearted) with expectations running high. The first 20 minutes saw little activity and I was wondering if we had made the choice, then a few minutes later WOW! the flood gates opened, streams of Skua's. Our totals for 07.00-15.30 are listed below.

Little Gull 1 of 2,440 logged !!!!!
Red-throated Diver: 15
Great crested Grebe: 1
Sooty Shearwater: 5  another 5 from the return ferry.
Manx Shearwater: 3
Balearic Shearwater: 23
Leaches Petrel: 3     another 2 from the return ferry
Gannet: c1,500
Brent Geese: 1630
Wigeon: 12
Teal: 8
Common Scoter: 584
Red-breasted Merganser: 4
Peregrine: 1
Oystercatcher: 2
Bar-tailed Godwit: 1
Curlew: 12
Pomarine Skua: 2
Long-tailed Skua: 4
Arctic Skua: 117    another 6 from return ferry
Great Skua: 772   another 20 from he return ferry   Amazing!!!!
Little Gull: 2,440  another 50+ from the return ferry
Sabines Gull: 1
Kittiwake: 40
Common Tern: 2
Arctic Tern: 4
Sandwich Tern: 12
Auk sp: 26

A brilliant days sea watching just c25miles from Dungeness as the Bonxie flys!!!!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013


With little movement on the sea myself and AJG covered from the observatory to north end of the Long Pits and back. Pick of the bunch was a Ring Ouzel also 14 Siskin, 4 Brambling, 8 Reed Buntings, 7 Swallows, 3 Blackcaps and 27 Chiffchaffs a very meagre return.
On the ARC the usual wild fowl and little else. While on Burrowes 2 Little Stints, 5 Great White Egrets and 5 Black-necked Grebes were the highlights.
A very poor image of the Scotney  Dotterel
With the colder weather coming I was tidying the garden when a text from PT Plovers Blog  alerted me to a Dotterel with the Golden Plover at Scotney GP, a couple of minutes later I was watching it. It was still present when I left at 16.15. Also there the feral Barnacle Goose flock with the 4 of the Heinz 57 that accompany them, a Ruff and 4 Yellow Wagtails.
Going to Cap Gris Nez tomorrow as strong North Westerlies forecast for tonight and tomorrow. 

Monday, 7 October 2013

A foggy start

A foggy morning on The Point precluded any chance of a sea watch. In the lighthouse garden 6+ Chiffchaffs and 2+ Blackcaps flitting around. By the station a Wheatear basked in a briefly before the fog closed in again. A wander around The Desert found c15 Chiffchaffs another Blackcap, c20 Swallows 2 House Martins and a Greylag Goose over.
Wheatear basking in a brief moment of early morning sun.
 Early afternoon at the ARC from Hanson a Great White Egret, 3 Greenshank, 4 Dunlin, c20 Golden Plover and the usual wildfowl. Also in the newly cut reeds in front the hide a Water Rail and a Cetti's Warbler.
3 of the 5 Black-necked Grebes from Scott Hide
 On the reserve another 4 Great White Egrets from Dennis's hide and 3 Black-tailed Godwits. From Firth a Ruff, 2 more Black-tailed Godwits and a Grey Plover of note. From Scott Hide 5 Black-necked Grebes, a Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler. Along the tracks, Christmas Dell and Hookers another c30 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps, 7 Yellow Wagtails, a Stonechat, a mixed Tit flock containing 10+ Long-tailed Tits and 2 Marsh Harriers.
Common Tern
Late afternoon at the fishing boats was disappointing, a distant Arctic Skua, a Common Tern, a few Sandwich Terns and a Little Gull.

Sunday, 6 October 2013


Didn't make the sea watch this morning, but apparently I missed very little. In the lighthouse garden 6+ Chiffchaffs and 2 Blackcaps. Trapping in The moat caught at least 40+ Chiffchaffs, a Garden Warbler some Blackcaps and a Redstart. A wander around The Desert found a few more Chiffchaffs, 100+ Meadow Pipits and a few Hirundines trickling out.
At the ARC from Hanson 14 Dunlin, 4 Common Snipe, 100+ Golden Plover 150+ Lapwing a marsh harrier and the usual Wildfowl. The Willow Trail and Track to The Pines held another 40+ Chiffchaffs, a Firecrest, 10+ Blackcaps, 4+ Cetti's Warblers calling along with a Water Rail, 2 Marsh Harriers over and a Common Buzzard of note.
Yellow Wagtail
Mid afternoon at the fishing boats found the usual 2 Arctic Skua's chasing Sandwich Terns.
Late afternoon on the reserve still at least 5 Great White Egrets, 4 Black Necked Grebes, a Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Little Stints, 2 Ruff, a Black-tailed Godwit and rising numbers of wildfowl. In the bushes at least another 10 Chiffchaffs calling along with another 3 Cetti's Warblers and a party of 7 Yellow Wagtails in the cattle field adjacent to Dengemarsh hide. No sign of the Glossy Ibis while I was there.

Saturday, 5 October 2013


One of 3 seen near the water tower
 A wander around the Water Tower this morning found 3 Ring Ouzels, 6 Continental Song Thrushes, c30 Blackcaps, 2 Common Whitethroats, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 2 Green Woodpeckers.
On the ARC pit seemingly an overnight clear out leaving just c20 Dunlin, c50 Golden Plover and the usual wildfowl.
Colour ringed Great black backed Gull JP579
Late this afternoon by the entrance track to the reserve just a few gulls in the roost but a new for me colour ringed Great black backed Gull JP579 also Lesser Black Backed Gull SHB.
No sign of the dark backed pink legged gull!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Still quiet on the sea!

Highlights of this mornings watch from the concrete with AJG, DW and MH were: 211 Common Scoter, 1 Merlin out, 5 Arctic Skuas, 46 Sandwich Terns, 2600+ Swallows out and 50+ Meadow Pipits out.
On the ARC from Hanson 3 Little Stints, 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Greenshank, 12 Dunlin, 2 Common Snipe and 2 Ringed Plovers plus the usual wildfowl. Still many Sand Martins over the lake.
On the reserve still 6 Great White Egrets and 4 Black-necked Grebes per (BP). Along the entrance track 4 Wheatears and an adult Yellow-legged Gull.
Highlights from another sea watch this afternoon from the fishing boats with MH, PT, CT and BH are as follows: 
Balearic Shearwater: 4 West
Arctic Skua: 2 off shore
Black Tern: 1 off shore
Little Gull: 1 off shore
Mediterranean Gull: 2 off shore
Swallows: 250+ out

Thursday, 3 October 2013


Arriving at the end of the concrete road at 07.15 AJG was already there but looking inland and not at the sea. 100s of Swallows, Meadow Pipits and Linnets with smaller numbers of House Martins, Reed Buntings, Pied Wagtails, Gold and Greenfinches were streaming out to sea a brilliant spectacle.
Great White Egrets on Burrowes 
 On the reserve all 6 great white Egrets were showing on Burrowes pit along with 11 Little Egrets, 5 Black-necked Grebes, a Little Stint, a Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Black Tailed Godwits, 50+ Golden Plover, 11 Dunlin, 2 Ruff, a Marsh Harrier and all the usual wildfowl.
Black Necked Grebe on Burrowes
 A wander around The Pines failed to locate any of the 5 Ring Ouzels seen earlier(BP)  but 10+ Blackcaps were some compensation. From the Screen 7 Dunlin, 2 Little stints, 5 Greenshank and a Pectoral Sandpiper were the highlights before the rain arrived.
Dark backed  pink legged Lesser Black Backed gull?
 As I drove down the entrance track to the reserve early this evening DW was parked up scanning the Gull roost. I pulled up beside him and he indicated a colour ringed Lesser Black Backed Gull also a dark backed Lesser Black Backed Gull? with pink legs which looked interesting. As we were scanning more gulls came in including an adult Yellow-legged Gull and a colour ringed 2w Caspian Gull. Once again reading the ring was difficult due to the range it appeared to be VKKK. I moved my car to a better position as did DW, just as he was about to photograph the bird my car alarm went off horn and sirens blasting out, in my panic I could not find the smart key and by the time I did all the Gulls were gone leaving a less than impressed DW!

Yellow ringed 2W Caspian Gull appeared to be VKKK but not definite.

Lesser Black Backed Gull SHB possibly a Felixstowe bird

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Try again Tomorrow!

With a light south easterly blowing after early morning rain, I was hoping the sea would produce the goods, once again it was not to be. In 3hrs  just 2 Bonxies, 2 Arctic Skuas, 300+ Brent Geese,  and c50 Gannets, c80 Sandwich Terns. Overhead c800 Swallows,  c100 Meadow Pipits and the first 4 Fieldfare of the Autumn. At the fish dump another colour ringed Great Black Backed Gull, still no Caspians!
Great Black backed Gull JY907 at the fishing boats

Great black backed Gull with a dodgy eye at the fishing boats.
At the ARC from Hanson a Pectoral Sandpiper still present until flushed by 2 Peregrines, also 4 Greenshank, 2 Ruff and a Black-tailed Godwit.
Near the Tower 2 Ring Ouzels, 20+ Blackcap, 20+ Chiffchaffs, a Red-crested Pochard and 2 Marsh Harriers.
On Burrowes up to 6 Great White Egrets, 4 Black-necked Grebes, 8 Little Egrets, 13 Egyptian Geese, 2 Little Stints, 2 Ruff and a Dunlin among the common wildfowl.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Eastern Type Lesser Whitethroat?

I joined AJG at the fishing boats for a sea watch, but after a short while of little passing at sea we turned 180 degrees and started watching the impressive vis mig. During the morning we counted c5000 Swallows and several hundreds each of House Martin and Meadow Pipits and 10s of Linnet, Goldfinch and Pied Wagtail. These numbers were undoubtedly the tip of the iceberg. We wandered around the trapping area which was seemingly virtually devoid of avian activity until a call from DW alerted us to a Lesser Whitethroat that was caught in the Heligoland trap. The bird was processed, photographed and released into The Moat, while doing so a few breast feathers came out and were retrieved for DNA. It appears to be of one of the eastern races Halimodendri perhaps? I am sure others will have there own opinions. Hopefully DNA results will be conclusive.

Eastern type Lesser Whitethroat?

                                                                 Eastern type Lesser Whitethroat?
                                                             Eastern type Lesser Whitethroat?
                                                                   Eastern type Lesser Whitethroat?
This afternoon on the reserve highlights were a Spoonbill which was new in, 3 Great White Egrets, 4 Black-necked Grebes, a little Stint, a Ruff, 2 Marsh Harriers  and a Rock Pipit which is probably rarer here than Spoonbills. By the entrance track near Boulderwall Farm a Common Redstart, 2 Stonechats, a Whinchat and a Wheatear and at the farm 10+ Tree Sparrows. At the south end of the ARC another Great White Egret and still good numbers of Sand Martins.
Late afternoon at the fishing boats a Yellow-legged Gull at the fish dump along with numerous other gulls but no Caspian in sight!
                                         Brent Geese past the fishing boats this afternoon.
                                                   Feeding time at the fishing boats for LY8T