Tuesday, 8 April 2014


Arriving at an empty car park by the power station did not bode well. Either BB and AJG had been and gone or decided not to bother, the latter being the case.
07.25-08.30 from the sea watch hide joined by PT:
Red-throated Diver: 1E
Fulmar: 4E 1W
Gannet: 58E
Brent Goose: 6E
Common Scoter: 3E
Mallard: 2E
Shoveller: 2E
Sandwich Tern: c10 o/s
Common Tern: 2E
Comic Tern: flock of 70 that spiralled up high and disappeared E
Mediterranean Gull: 2E
Harbour Porpoise: 2+ o/s
A Black Redstart was at West Beach. In the trapping area I heard and caught glimpses of the Hume's Leaf Warbler, which is now getting very hard to see with all the leaves and buds on the Sallows, also there 2 Chiffchaffs.
At Scotney 18 Avocets and the 2 Egyptian Geese on the back pits, a Common Buzzard over, 6 Yellow Wagtails and 4 Corn Buntings around the farm and a Swallow through, but no sign of the Long-tailed Duck,the Little Ringed Plover was still on the turf but elusive.
A late afternoon walk from Springfield Bridge around the reserve was more in hope than expectation. As passed the top end of Hay field 3 an adult Spoonbill flew towards me from Christmas Dell and looked as if it would settle in the hay field but attention by Crows persuaded it to turn and head in the general direction of the observatory. A few minutes later I saw it circling over the visitor centre, it then dropped onto the causeway between Christmas Dell and New Excavations. Little else of note was seen during the rest of my visit.  
Adult Spoonbill over Hay field 3
Spoonbill Christmas Dell from the hide

Sunday, 6 April 2014

A trickle of migrants

As I drove onto the Dungeness Estate road first thing this morning a Swallow on the overhead wires. From the end of the concrete road in the persistent mizzle a disappointing sea watch, a few each of Sandwich Terns, Common Terns and Gannets feeding off shore, 3 Fulmars, 30+ Brent Geese past and couple of Harbour Porpoises.
In the Lighthouse Garden 1 each of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff.
Stopping on the causeway to scan the New Diggings, the first bird I saw was a superb summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe, unfortunately apart from the Grebe little else of note there.    
 My pic of the Black-necked Grebe taken in the poor weather conditions does do it justice!
On the reserve with the mizzle still falling 3 Swallows from Makepiece, c10 Sedge Warblers around the trails, c9 Little Egrets around, the Slavonian Grebe still on Dengemarsh, from the viewing ramp 2 Bearded Tits, 2 Marsh Harriers and the Bittern booming the first time I have heard it this year.
On the boardwalk on the return trail several what look like tiny Common lizards.
Lunchtime from Plodland 2 Mediterranean Gulls over, 2 Marsh Harriers, a Common Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk.
This afternoon with weather brightening up up I went to Scotney where 2 Avocets were at the Sussex end of the main pit, 8 more Avocets were on the new back pits. On the turf 2 Egyptian Geese, 2 Grey Plover, 14 Dunlin, 16 Ringed Plover, 2 Redshank and a Little Ringed Plover.
 Egyptian Geese
 The LRP came a little closer briefly
 On the pit to the east of the main pit the Long-tailed Duck re-appeared today, further up the track 10+ Yellow Wagatils, 4 Corn Buntings and 2 Mediterranean Gulls over.

This evening as I walked from Springfield Bridge to Dengemarsh, hide a pair of Garganey flushed out of Dengemarsh Flood but settled back on Dengemarsh. From the hide with the wind strengthening the Slavonian Grebe still and 4 Swallows of note.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

A Foggy Start!

First thing this morning, the fog was so thick at the sea watch hide the sea was obscured, a few Meadow Pipits were seen and heard coming in. A fog bow formed a phenomenon I don't recall seeing before. The partial clearance of the fog when 32 Brent Geese flew along the shore was brief.
MB and myself decided to have a look at the trapping area, we heard a Willow Warbler and saw and heard the Hume's Leaf Warbler, which is very mobile and camera shy.
By now the fog had cleared so we made our way back to the sea. Another 50 Brent Geese were seen, 25 Common Scoter, 12 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Common Terns, 2 Red Throated Divers and 5 Gannets, c10 Sandwich Terns were feeding off shore as were 2+Harbour Porpoises. While we were in the trapping area 5 Velvet Scoter flew east and 2 Swallows came in.
At 10.00 I went back home for breakfast, as I ate it a Spoonbill flew over(that will teach me to leave my phone in the car).
Late morning at Scotney of note 36 Ringed Plover, 14 Dunlin, 1 Grey Plover, 6 Redshank, 4 Curlew and an Avocet,
 The Midrips
A plod along the green wall at The Midrips/Wicks  saw a single Brent Goose on the beach, 4 Pintail, 4 Teal, 2 Shoveler, 11 Mallard, 38 Shelduck, 11 Coot, 2 Ringed Plovers, 6 Redshank,16 Oystercatcher, 2 Avocet, 2 Mediterranean Gulls and a few each of Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Reed Bunting.

A late afternoon/early evening walk around the reserve saw 4 Marsh Harriers, 6+Sedge Warblers, a Slavonian Grebe but little else as the weather deteriorated.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Brents on the move!

I joined BB at 07.00 in the sea watch hide, when he left at 08.00 I was joined by BH, OL and The Joker till 10.00 when passage fizzled out.

Red-throated Diver:      14E
Black-throated Diver:      1E
Fulmar:                          7E
Gannet:                      202E
Brent Goose:             4623E
Shelduck:                       1E
Shoveler:                        2E
Wigeon:                          6E
Common Scoter:          790E
Red Breasted Merganser: 12E
Oystercatcher:                 12E
Curlew:                          19E
Peregrine:                        1 around
Sandwich Tern:               32E
Common Tern:                253E
Little Gull:                       21E
Mediterranean Gull:           2E     1 Around

Kittiwake:                        2 around
Glaucous Gull:                the usual 1w bird
A wander around the Lighthouse with BH saw just a Chiffchaff in the garden and a Redwing in the research station.
On Dengemarsh a Slavonian Grebe in transitional plumage and a few Sedge Warblers singing.
Another sea watch from the concrete road at lunch time was a non event. On the ARC from the causeway 3 Common Terns and a Little Gull of note. 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Wild Goose Chase!

Loooking out of the patio window having my early morning coffee a Wheatear dropped onto the lawn then onto the neighbours shed roof, a first for the garden.  
 Sorry Steve, but is the first for the Plodland garden!
 Flocks of Gannets are stunning!
07.20-08.20 from the sea watch hide I joined BC and BB:
Red-throated Diver: 2E
Fulmar: 1E
Gannet: 46E
Brent Goose: 31E
Common Scoter:  69E
Peregrine Falcon: 1 around
Arctic Skua: 1E
Sandwich Tern: 1E
Common Tern: 1E   my 150th for the year on the local patch.
Kittiwake; 1E
Harbour Porpoise: 2+ o/s
At least 6 more Wheatears around The Point and a Black Redstart singing. A plod around the trapping area found a couple of singing Blackcaps and a Willow Warbler of note, although I did not see or hear the Hume's Leaf Warbler it is still present per BC.

This fisherman never even saw the Bonxie as it flew over him and along the beach!
I was back at Plodland, when Twitter alerted me to the news that Dorian Mason had seen the Red Breasted Goose go past Selsey Bill at 09.30 at 11.13 Matt Eade saw it at Splash Point. At 11.30 I was back at the sea watch hide, joined by DW,BC,The Joker et al. We estimated that it would take about 90 minutes to reach us from Splash Point, right on cue at 12.40 a flock of 40+ Brents came by but no Red Breasted Goose, at 14.30 we gave up. We did see c190 Brent Geese, 200+ Common Scoter, 8 more Common Terns and the 1w Glaucous Gull. Also while we there a Bonxie landed on the beach for a minute before flying back out to sea.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Meagre Fayre!

A very meagre 50 minute sea watch from the concrete road 07.10-08.00. 
Fulmar: 1E
Gannet: 17E
Brent Goose: 14E
Common Scoter: 62E
Red Breasted Merganser: 2E
Sandwich Tern: 6E
Kittiwake: 1E

Harbour Porpoise: 1+ o/s
Next stop the sea watch hide where a Gannet, a couple of Mediterranean Gulls, c20 Great Crested Grebes were off shore, the undoubted highlight was a Swallow that coasted east along the tide line, a Black Redstart was singing in the power station.
On the beach near the fishing boats the hybrid/aberrant Herring Gull still present but very camera shy, unlike the 1w Glaucous Gull which I resisted photographing again.
I was unable to locate the Black Throated Diver on the New Diggings. The south end ARC held 4 Little Egrets, a few each of Shoveler, Teal, Gadwall and Pochard, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler and a Cetti's Warbler could be heard in the bushes there.
A walk around the reserve this afternoon was fairly quiet, but 2+ Sedge Warblers, several Cetti's Warblers, 6 Little Egrets, 4 Marsh Harriers and a Raven were noted.  

Monday, 31 March 2014

All at sea!

Another day where the main interest was the sea passage. It would appear that I should have stayed by the sea, instead of looking for non existent passerines around the area, as from Midday for a couple hours it seems off shore passage was heavy.
07.00-10.45                                        14.20-15.20
Red-throated Diver:     54E      8W             3E
Black-throated Diver:    2E
Black-necked Grebe:     2 drifted E
Fulmar:                        5E
Gannet:                      25E
Greylag Goose:                                         2 drifted E
Brent Goose:              767E                      21E
Shelduck:                       1E
Wigeon:                         1E
Shoveler:                      15E                       9E
Pintail: 19E
Teal: 9E
Eider: 11E
Common Scoter:       1,161E                      12E
Red-breasted Merganser: 32E                       2E       1W
Curlew:                           1E
Great Skua:                      1E
Sandwich Tern:              64E                      17E
Kittiwake:                        3E
Wheatear:                        2 around
Redpoll:                           2 in

Harbour Porpoise:         12+ off shore

The Black-throated Diver is still on the New Diggings, at Scotney the Long-tailed Duck still present along with 2 Avocet but little else of note. The Hume's Leaf Warbler and 1w Glaucous Gull still present per DW.
An evening wander around the Hayfields at Dengemarsh can best be described as disappointing.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Steady Sea Watch

07.40-10.40 from the end of the concrete road with The Joker and JC:
Red-throated Diver:            97E     7W
Black-throated Diver:            4E
Fulmar:                                5E    2W
Gannet:                              43E
Brent Goose:                     494E
Shelduck:                              2E
Teal:                                    21E
Garganey:                              5E
Red-breasted Merganser:       23E
Common Scoter:                816E
Velvet Scoter:                       5E
Merlin:                                 1+ hunting off shore giving a spectacular display.
Curlew:                              22E
Oystercatcher:                      7E
Ringed Plover:                      1E
Sandwich Tern:                  56E
Kittiwake:                            5E
Little Gull:                           1E
Mediterranean Gull:             5E
Glaucous Gull:               usual bird on beach
Auk sp:                              3E     2W
Harbour Porpoise:              2+ off shore
Long-tailed Duck, Scotney.
Early afternoon at Scotney 2 Little Ringed Plovers at the new pit, the Long Tailed Duck was on the first pit east of the main pit, 3 Black-necked Grebes, an Avocet, 7 Redshank, 8 Ringed Plovers and 3 Little Egrets on the main Pit.
Mid afternoon ½hr watch from the concrete road was slow with just 30 Common Scoter E, Red Throated Diver 4E 2W, 6 Sandwich Terns feeding off shore and 65 Brent Geese E as I finally left the beach. 

The 1W Glaucous Gull was once again performing impeccably this afternoon as I chatted with Mick and Richard. I now have 100s of images of this bird, I just cant resist taking more as it shows so well. Pity the Wheatears aren't so obliging.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Sea Watching

                                1w Glaucous Gull posing again at the fishing boats today!

Most of my time today was spent sea watching from the end of the concrete road: 07.00-10.00 & 15.00-17.00:

R T Diver:             41E    5W
Fulmar:                   4E
Gannet:               172E
Brent Goose:       253E
Teal:                     16E
Garganey:               4E
Shoveler:              35E
Pintail:                  12E
Common Scoter:  286E
Eider:                     2E
R B Merganser:     14E
Curlew:                  6E          
Barwit:                   1E
Oystercatcher:         1E
Sandwich Tern:     65E
Little Gull:             13E
Kittiwake:               2E
Med Gull:               2E
Common Gull:     274E a bit desperate counting these!
Glaucous Gull:     the usual 1w up and down the beach

Guillemot:              2E
Harbour Porpoise: 2+ off shore
The Hume's Leaf Warbler is still in the trapping area per O.L.   

Friday, 28 March 2014

Repairing the Sea Watch Hide

I spent all day yesterday in London and hopefully I will never have to go back there again, I once again realise how lucky I am to live down on the marsh. 
This morning the Black-throated diver was still on the New diggings as I made my way to the beach. On arrival DW and PT were were already on site. Before I arrived DW had seen 2 Garganey and 13 Avocet go through, but on my arrival things quietened down rapidly.
I spent the rest of the morning assisting DW to re felt the roof of the sea watch hide, so with any luck it should now be weatherproof. While we were working we noted 500+ Brent Geese, 400+ Common Scoter, 20+ Red-throated Divers a Black-throated Diver, a Greylag Goose and the 1w Glaucous Gull gave frequent fly bys, also 2+ Harbour Porpoises.
Late this afternoon I joined the Joker at the end of the concrete road for an hour where 10+ Sandwich Terns moved east, 14 Common Scoter, 75 Brent Geese, 5 Red-throated Divers and the Glaucous Gull again giving fly bys.