Saturday, 12 April 2014

Bitterns and Beardies!

 Once the mist cleared the reserve this morning it resounded to the sound of numerous Sedge Warblers, Cetti's Warblers, Reed Buntings and Linnets blasting out there song, accompanied by several Bearded Tits and Chiffchaffs, a Common Whitethroat and a Blackcap. A flyover Green Sandpiper relocated briefly behind Christmas Dell and a pair of Marsh harriers did some food passes. A bittern was booming at Hookers and another at the ARC, 4 Swallows flew through, 4 Yellow Wagtails were in the fields by the path to Lydd, a Raven was back and forth taking food to its young and the Long-tailed Duck was on Burrowes.

 Sedge Warbler in song flight.
 At the Scotney complex this afternoon 4 Little Gulls on the main pit, 22 Ringed Plover, 18 Dunlin and 2 Curlew on the turf, round the farmyard 20 Yellow Wagtails, 2 stunning White Wagtails and 2 Corn Buntings. On the back pits 46 Avocets.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Redstarts, Ring Ouzels and a Gropper!

20 minutes at the sea watch hide was enough time to know that no sea passage was happening today although a few passerines were seen to come in. The highlight on the sea was 6 Gadwall drifting by, the Glaucous Gull was seen down by The Patch.
Around The Point a Black Redstart, 30+ Willow/Chiffs, 3+ Blackcaps, a male Redstart trapped in The Moat, 2 Ring Ouzels dropped into The Desert and a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling along the Pilot Path. The Hume's Leaf Warbler was seen again today along the Pilot Path. A Raven and 3+ Swallows flew over.
 Redstart held by DW.
 Ring Ouzels in The Desert.
 Early afternoon in Dengemarsh Gully highlights were a Wheatear and a female Redstart.
 Male Redstart Galloways.
Rubicola Stonechat Galloways.
Mid afternoon at Galloways, the highlights were 2 more Redstarts, 7 Stonechats including a Rubicola and 6+ Willow Warblers.
At Scotney 5 Little Gulls, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 8 Ringed Plovers, 14 Dunlin and 6 Curlew, the Long-tailed Duck was in its usual spot on the lake immediately east of the main pit. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

A few migrants

As I arrived at the car park this morning BB was driving away, which told me everything I needed to know about the state of the sea passage. I met SO and we had wander around the bushes and trapping area seeing c20 Willow Warblers, c15 Chiffchaffs, 1 Swallow and 2 Blackcaps along with the resident Wheatears and Black Redstarts. 
Black Redstart at the power station
At Scotney the Long Tailed Duck still present, 6 Ringed Plover, 14 Avocet, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Swallows, a Common Buzzard, 6 Corn Buntings and 6 Tree Sparrows.
A couple of hours this evening wandering around the deserted reserve was very pleasant, plenty of Sedge Warblers, Cetti's Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Little Egrets, Shelducks, Shoveler, Tufted Ducks with a few Teal, 3+ Marsh Harriers, a Raven, a Peregrine, 2 more Swallows and best of all a Bittern booming regularly and not another person to be seen. 2 more Swallow on the wires opposite Plodland tonight.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

At least the weather was good!

Sea watching from the point this morning was very poor with just a handful each of Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Brent Geese, Scoter and Sandwich Terns. A Serin was to high for me hear, though DW heard it at least twice.
A wander around the reserve with SB and BP saw a couple of Swallows through, a Raven over, a Wheatear and good numbers of Sedge Warblers.
At Scotney the Long-tailed Duck has reappeared on the pit immediately east of the main pit, by the farm 3 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Corn Buntings and c50 Linnets. On the back pit 16 Avocets and the 2 Egyptian Geese, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Common Buzzard over the fields.  
 Marsh Harriers from Christmas Dell this evening.
This evening a wander round Dengemarsh saw the Raven again taking food back to its nest while doing battle with a Peregrine but little else of note. 2 Marsh Harriers from Christmas Dell and a Water Rail squealing were the highlights there. 

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.