Sunday, 11 May 2014

Another day of gales!

06.45-08.15 from the sea watch hide saw of note 4 Manx Shearwaters, 16 Fulmars, 2 Little Terns along with a few each of Gannets, Common and Sandwich Terns. Also 6 Swifts and 5 Swallows in.
A blustery walk around the reserve saw only the Black-winged Stilt and 2 Marsh Harriers of note.
In 2 visits to Scotney, morning and afternoon highlights were 2 Little Terns, c 30 Common Terns, 41 Dunlin, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Ringed Plover and 2 Egyptian Geese.
Lunchtime a wander down to The Patch found c150 Common terns over the boil but nothing else of note.
At Galloways 6 Stonechats and presumably yesterdays Spotted Flycatcher still in the same place.
Another very blustery walk around the hay fields from Springfield Bridge found the Stilt still performing in hay field 1, also 3 Whimbrel and a Geenshank.

Friday, 9 May 2014


An hour in The Patch hide this morning where c150 Common Terns were over the boil, off shore 1 Red Throated Diver flew east, as did a Fulmar and a few Gannets were fishing.
At the observatory a Cuckoo was in The Moat and a couple of Greylags flew over.
The ARC from Hanson is still a bit like a watery avian desert.
At Scotney the Herring Gull island was being swamped by the waves caused by the high wind, 4 Turnstones were unusual with 42 Dunlin, 16 Ringed Plover, 2 Avocet, a 1s Little Gull and 5 Barnacle Geese were new.
 Turnstones and Dunlin at Scotney.
 I spent most of the afternoon around Dengemarsh where the Black Winged Stilt was showing well from time to time, by the ramp several Common Lizards were basking on a log pile, a Hobby was hawking over the reed beds, also 2 Marsh Harriers, and 20+ Swifts but most birds sensibly had there heads down out of the gales.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Rained Off!

 From the sea watch hide 07.45-08.45 when visibility was virtually non existent:
Fulmar: 1 up
Gannet: 9 down  2 up
Common Scoter: 31 on sea
Hobby: 1 in
Sandwich Tern: c10 o/s
Common Tern: 23 up in one tight flock + c15 o/s
Swift: 2 in
Swallow: 5 in

Common Whitethroat: 1  New in sheltering behind the hide.
At Scotney 32 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover, 1 Sanderling, 1 Whimbrel, 2 Avocet, c50 Swallows, c10 House Martins, 4 Sand Martins and c30 Swifts.
The weather wrote off the rest of the day.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Nightingales and Turtle Doves!

An hour 07.30-08.30 at the sea watch hide this morning was as expected in strong south west winds slow but reasonably entertaining: 
Fulmar: 1 up
Gannet: 22 down 8 up
Shelduck: 2 down
Common Scoter: 24 up
Peregrine: 2 chasing Terns
Arctic Skua: 1 up
Sandwich Tern: c20 o/s
Common Tern: c30 o/s
Swallow: 26 in
Swift: 2 in
On the land a Chiffchaff in the lighthouse garden and Black redstart on the power station. At the observatory DW had had a fruitless early morning in the trapping area, convincing me and AJG that our walking the area would have the same result. As neither of us had caught up with Nightingale yet we decided on a trip to Park Wood where at least 4 birds were singing along with several Blackcaps and Song Thrushes but little else in the windy conditions. On the way back we stopped at the canal at Kennardington where we found more Blackcaps, Common and Lesser Whitethroats, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaffs, Yellowhammers, Mistle Thrushes, House Martins, Sand Martin, Swallows and Swifts.
Coming across the marsh we saw 2 Cuckoo and 2 Turtle Doves!
This evenings walk around the hayfields was uneventful, not surprising in the near gale force wind, but you never know! 

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Singing Yellow-browed Warbler.

After yesterdays excitement things were back to normal on the morning sea watch. Thanks to AJG for collating the numbers.
Gannet 23 up
Fulmar 5 up
R t Diver 1 up
Scoter 223 up
Brent Goose 2 up
Whimbrel 8 up
Oystercatcher 24 up
Guillemot 2 up
Great Skua 1 up
Pom Skua 1 up at 0650, 3 up at 0705
Kittiwake 1 up
Arctic Skua 2 up
Common Tern 232 up
DW found a singing Yellow-browed Warbler in the trapping area this morning, it was silent when I arrived, but with a short wait it started singing and calling again, but was very elusive giving only the briefest of glimpses.
Another hour and quarter in the sea watch hide was fairly productive with an Arctic Skua, 6 Little Terns, 151 Commic Terns, 12 Brent Geese and a few each of Gannet, Sandwich Tern and Scoter.
At the south end of the ARC the drake Garganey was still paddling around. Once again I was moved on by the police. The excuse this time was that there have been a number of accidents caused by birders parking there and that the verge is an SSSI!!!!  I held my tongue!
 Queueing up for Lapwing eggs in the Hay field
 Bar-tailed Godwits in the Hay field
 An evening stroll around the Hay fields this evening found 4 Redshank, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Wood Sandpipers, 6 Dunlin, 3 Lapwing and a Grey Plover. 50+ Crows were either in or on the fence posts around the fields, so the chances of any waders successfully fledging aren't good.
Grey Plover dropping into the Hay field

Monday, 5 May 2014


Sea Watching today 05.15-18.45
Red Throated Diver: 11E
Black-throated Diver: 7E
Great Northern Diver: 1E
Fulmar: 15E
Gannet: 69E
Brent Goose: 9E
Common Scoter: 1,185E
Tufted Duck: 4E
Pintail: 7E
Teal: 5E
Shoveler: 6E
Peregrine: 3 around
Turnstone: 13E
Bar-tailed Godwit: 27E
Whimbrel: 9E
Oystercatcher: 103E
Dunlin: 7E
Sanderling: 24E
Great Skua: 4E
Arctic Skua: 17E
Pomarine Skua: 97E 
Black Tern: 37E
Little Tern: 25E
Commic Tern:995E
Sandwich Tern: n/c
Little Gull: 1E
Auk: 37E
Swallow: 6 in
Black Redstart: On fence behind hide

Bar-tailed Godwits and Oystercatchers
Drake Garganey at the south end of the ARC on my way home.
Yesterday a good garden tick in the form of a Spoonbill high over the field in front of Plodland, also a Red Kite, 2 Common Buzzards, 2 Marsh Harriers and 4+ Hobbys.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Hard Work

 Glossy Ibis's Dengemarsh
Hooded Crow The Desert

Friday, 2 May 2014

Another Purple Heron and the first Red-rumped Swallow.

As I entered the sea watch hide first thing this morning, AJG who was already there shook his head and said don't bother. Fortunately before I could settle, a message from OL Purple Heron on the reserve, it was the excuse we needed to leave the sea. As we turned into the ARC car park BP was in the entrance and pointing towards the water tower where the Purple Heron was flying away from us with a Grey Heron in pursuit.
Over the ARC a few each of Swallows Sand Martins and Swifts, a wander to the hayfields produced Marsh Harriers, Bearded Tits, a Hobby, the usual warblers and 5 Whimbrel. At Hookers to pairs of Great Crested Grebes had no holds barred territorial battle.
 Squaring up!
 Let battle commence!

 At Scotney 3 first summer Little Gulls, a Common Sandpiper, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, 26 Avocets, 20+ Yellow Wagtails, 6 Corn Buntings and more Hirundines and Swifts.
 Swallows and Sand Martins at Scotney.
 Poor images of the Red-rumped Swallow at Lade this afternoon.
Late afternoon PT found a Red-rumped Swallow at Lade among c50 Hirundines and Swifts. It performed fairly well and was my 180th marsh tick for the year. Unfortunately the light was awful, thats my excuse for such poor images.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Long-billed Dowitcher and a Chiffchaff???

The early morning sea watch from the hide was very quiet with nothing notable. Another watch this afternoon produced of note 3 Arctic Skuas, 1 Great Skua, a Fulmar, 30 Common Scoter and the usual comings and goings of Commic and Sandwich Terns with a few Gannets.
An 18.00-18.45 watch failed to produce a single bird of note.
A call this morning from SB about a possible Dowitcher sighting at Hayfield 3, was fortuitous in the fact that I was at the top of Dengemarsh Road and able to be on site in minutes. The bird had flown to the bottom of the field and landed out of sight, its identity not yet established. I was at the top of the field with BP scanning the bottom flood for the bird, but could only see a Greenshank that had flown there with the possible Dowitcher. A couple of Ravens flew over but did not flush it.
A few minutes later it flew back towards us landing c50mts away in the terrible light. As soon as I got my scope on the bird it was obviously a Dowitcher. I took some record images and made some phone calls, while BP chased after SB who was using a noisy mower near Springfield Bridge.
Unfortunately before anyone arrived the 2 local Peregrines flashed across the flood spooking it and the Greenshank and the both disappeared high west calling. Not being familiar with the calls of either Dowitcher species its identity was still not known to me. While waiting for BP to return a Bearded Tit entertained me. BP returned having listened to Dowitcher calls on SB phone, confirming it as Long-billed Dowitcher. As soon as I got home I listened to the calls on Xeno Canto which confirmed it for me.      
A poor image of the Long-billed Dowitcher

Iberian Chiffchaff ???
At the observatory this morning DW caught a couple of Chiffchaffs in the Heligoland trap. One of which had the characteristics of Iberian Chiffchaff but unfortunately no song was heard. Other land migrants were non existent, though my first 4 Swifts of the year were over the causeway.
            Common Chiffchaff                                                Iberian Chiffchaff???
Iberian Chiffchaff???

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Fog Bound!

A desperate day at The Point, in 3 separate watches including a fog free one this evening all I could manage was 10 Whimbrel, 2 Curlew, 60+ Common Scoter the now usual Sandwich and Commic terns tooing and froing in the gloom. The only notable bird was the superb male Black Redstart on the power station fence. With the reserve fog bound I went home and sulked.