Sunday, 8 June 2014

The Sky Is On Fire!

First thing this morning I wandered down Culver Lane opposite Plodland. There were a minimum of 3 pairs of Yellow Wagtails in the cereal fields, several each of Reed Warblers and Reed Bunting singing in the ditches, the usual splendid male Marsh Harrier being harried by the countless Corvids.
A visit to the observatory was uninspiring bird wise but the Moths were interesting, I dare say before long I will be converted and invest in a Moth trap.
I then spent a few hours cycling around Walland Marsh where I was pleasantly surprised by the number of Lesser Whitethroats singing, they seemed almost numerous, Common Whitethroats were plentiful and 3 Blackcaps were heard. I came across 6 Turtle Doves in 4 different locations, Tree Sparrows in the usual spots, 6 singing Yellowhammers, 2 Corn Buntings, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Common Buzzards and 2 Marsh Harriers.
Arriving back at Plodland early afternoon all I was fit for was relaxing in a sun chair sky watching for raptors and snapping some unwelcome and welcome guests on one of my feeders. The only raptors seen, were the usual Marsh Harriers and a Common Buzzard while I was awake.    
 No wonder my feeder empties so quickly!!!
 Waiting for the Rooks to spill the Sun flower seeds!
 A more welcome visitor!
This evening I went back out onto Walland Marsh looking for Owls but took the car this time. A Barn Owl showed well and I found 5 different Little sites, I like to think the images of the Little Owls have an aesthetic quality rather than record shots! The hoped for LEOs didn't materialise in the areas I had thought likely but I will try again. 

A fiery sunset over Walland Marsh tonight!

Friday, 6 June 2014


This mornings look around the point and the sea found no new migrants and nothing passing offshore, it would seem that spring migration is over for another year. hopefully June will throw up one or two more overshoots.
At Dengemarsh all of yesterdays Swifts were gone but the sky seemed full of Hobby's, the ditches seemed full of young Bearded Tits and Reed Buntings, the Glossy Ibis was on Hay Field 1 with 6+ Little Egrets, a curlew in Hayfield 3 and a Greenshank flying around unseen.  
I spent the afternoon cycling around Walland Marsh, lots of Common Whitethroats and Reed Warblers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Little Owls, a family of Mistle Thrushes, 5+ Turtle Doves, 2 Common Buzzards, 2 Marsh harriers, 2 Hobby's and several Tree Sparrows of note.  

Thursday, 5 June 2014

A windy Dungeness!

Highlights at The Patch this morning were 5 Mediterranean Gulls (2 x 1s + 2 x 2s + 1 ad) and  c40 Common Terns.  Offshore 50 Common Scoter flew east, also a 8 Gannets.
 A stroll round to Dengemarsh from Springfield Bridge found the Glossy Ibis dropping into Hayfield 3, also an eclipse drake Garganey, Black-tailed Godwit there and 100s of Swifts. From Dengemarsh the bittern was booming regularly and a couple of Hobby's could be seen.

 Kamikaze Glossy Ibis!
A cycle ride to very windy Scotney saw 27 Avocets around the complex including 7 young, 3 Egyptian Geese, 8 Yellow Wagtails and 9 Corn Buntings of note.
Swift at Dengemarsh
This evening the Glossy Ibis had relocated to Hayfield 1 and still many Swifts hawking over the fields.  

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Glossy Ibis

Another very quiet wander around The Desert with a singing Chiffchaff the highlight. At The Patch just a handful of Common terns with a few of the usual Gulls. 
 Cream Spot Tiger at the observatory 
A scout around a few fields containing cattle found no sign of any Cattle Egrets. Many Swifts around the peninsular today and 5+ Hobby's.
 Early afternoon at the south end of the ARC a Glossy Ibis rooting around in the Crassuls Hemsii for leaches, before being chased off by a Crow but returning late afternoon.

 Hobby from the Screen hide
At Scotney still 5 rapidly growing Avocet chicks, 50+ Swifts over the lake but little else of note,
This wander around Dengemarsh again found no sign of any Cattle Egrets but a minimum of 9 Little Egrets, 2 Garganey, 2 Black Tailed Godwits, 4 Bearded Tits and the Bittern still booming.  

Monday, 2 June 2014

A superb day at Dungeness!

07.00 I wandered down to The Patch with OL. From the hide sheltering from the light rain c50 Common Terns over the boil with small numbers of the usual gulls, off shore a few Gannets. OL went off to work and I stayed a while longer but nothing new came in. I spent the next 2 hours wandering around the point and Desert in the drizzle for very little reward, the highlight being 2 House Martins over. 
 I then went to Springfield Bridge and wandered down to Hayfield 3 where the highlight was 2 Black-tailed Godwits. I didn't go any further as the farmers truck was parked a little further on, thinking that he was in Hayfield 1 with his cattle, I decided to go back to Plodland for coffee, Big Mistake! A few minutes after settling down with coffee and Muffins I got a message that there was a Cattle Egret on Hayfield 1. I immediately started back there, getting another message that there were now 2 Cattle Egrets, then another message 3 Cattle Egrets.
As I approached Hayfield 1 I could see PB looking from Dengemarsh towards me but I could see no Cattle Egrets, I walked a little further and spotted 1 through the rushes, as I put my scope on it, it spotted me and took flight and took another hitherto unseen bird with it. They flew down towards Burrowes and disappeared over the Oppen Pits. Moments later another unseen bird flew to the bottom of the field. Shortly after it flew back to the top of the field but always looked wary and a little later it flew off towards Boulderwall Farm.  

 A very wary Cattle Egret distant and manual focus through the reeds.
 Making my way round to Boulderwall via Plodland to grab my Muffins DB called to say that the Egret was indeed at Boulderwall. It soon became apparent that there was 3 Cattle Egrets there, presumably the other 2 birds had doubled back unseen. While watching these and generally chatting with the other locals present a Bittern flew into a small reed bed a couple of hundred yds down the track, another flew into a ditch a few yds from us quickly melting into the reeds. As I looked for the Bittern a shape above me caught my eye, A Honey Buzzard taking me completely by surprise I grabbed the camera even the light was awful.

 Shortly after the Honey Buzzard disappeared over Lydd, the Bittern that we thought was in the ditch jumped out of the field about 20ft from the ditch, it had crept through the tall grass completely unseen.
2 Cattle Egrets flew from Boulderwall and was lost to view over the Hay Fields follew shortly by another. A few minutes later 2 flew from Boulderwall and were lost to view over the airport pits, so possibly 5 birds were involved.
 Myself and CT made our way to the VC then down to Makepiece where another call alerted us to a Black Kite over the VC. We looked round and saw it over the Oppen Pits heading towards the Power Station where it was lost to view.
A very distant Black Kite!
2 Summer plumaged Black-necked Grebes were on Burrowes and up to 8 Hobby's were seen. We walked round to Hayfield 3, on the way back a Cattle Egret flew into 1 briefly before flying off and lost to view over Burrowes Pit.

Sunday, 1 June 2014


Very quiet on a flat calm sea today, best being 4+ Harbour Porpoises. The flies around the hide were so numerous they made sea watching impossible. Walking back to the car I noticed and Emperor Dragonfly basking on the perimeter wall. 
 I was just climbing out of the car back home when I got the news of 2 Bee-eaters at The Point. Now the time it took DB to phone DW who then tweeted the news meant I must have been driving past as they came in off the sea B***** 11-0 to the Bee-eaters.
While at the Screen hide in the company of OL, SB and BP hoping the Bee-eaters would come our way, I got a call from CT telling me that a Honey Buzzard was flying around the old lighthouse, we quickly located a dot being mobbed by gulls. We drove down to Kerton road and obtained better views of the bird, then back to Boulderwall where the bird flew inland over us and over Plodland.
The Small Planet Boeing 737 photographed from Plodland
 I spent most the afternoon scanning out from Plodland for the arrival of the first of weekly flight to Italy from Lydd. It took me a little by surprise when it came in as it literally cme in directly over head the house. I have to say though that it was not as noisy the army helicopters that regularly put in an appearance. When it took off just over an hour later it flew directly over the fields between Boulderwall Farm and Plodland and although not overly intrusive, had a flock of Greylags or Canada Geese that regular fly around the fields been sucked into an engine???
While waiting for the plane I saw 2 Common Buzzards,3 Marsh Harriers, a minimum of 15 Hobby's, a Kestrel and 2 Sparrowhawks, along with the usual Little Egrets and Grey Herons coming and going to the heronry.
 This evenings plod around the hay fields found 2 drake Garganey on No3 and 2 Hobby's (25+ seen there early afternoon), at Dengemarsh a Bittern booming regularly and not so good 3 fox cubs beside Hay field 1.
1 of 3 by Hayfield 1

Saturday, 31 May 2014


A wander around the desert and southern edge of the trapping area found as expected little of note, except a brazen Fox sunning itself, probably lost its way trying to find the hay fields.  
At the observatory DW came back with Cetti's Warbler a really scruffy adult male. 
 A lazy afternoon spent sky watching from Plodland started with a Honey Buzzard which flew high west over the ranges, up to 3 Common Buzzards at a time were over the fields, also up to 5 Hobby's, 3 Marsh Harriers, a Peregrine and several each of Little Egret and Grey Heron to and from the Heronry.
 A wander round the Hay fields to Dengemarsh, found 4 Avocet, 9 Black-tailed Godwits, a Redshank, a Ringed Plover, a Garganey and 6 Little Egrets on Hay Field 3, as I was leaving 8 Lapwings dropped in.
 By Dengemarsh Hide a Sedge Warbler was posing and a Cetti's Warbler was shouting out its song, a Hobby was over the reed bed as was 2 Marsh Harriers and Bittern was booming half heartedly.

Friday, 30 May 2014


07.00 at The Patch just 13 Common Terns over the boil with a few Black Headed and Herring Gulls with a few more Gulls on the beach including the Leucistic/worn Herring Gull.
Highlight of a wander around The Moat was a pair of Red-legged Partridges, the south enge of the trapping area and Desert were very quiet. 
At Springfield Bridge I was just about to wander down to the hay fields when The Joker pulled up and told me the wardens had just been walking around them and flushed most things again.
Adult sun bathing yesterday
A check on the Little Owl family saw an adult in the usual place but the 3 young were hiding.
At wander around Scotney in the NE breeze was not particularly pleasant. Avocets were much in evidence as were c200 Swifts and Corn Buntings but only 2 Yellow Wagtails.
 At Springfield Bridge this evening 6+ Hobby's and c50 Swifts, on hayfield 3 still at least 2 drake Garganey but no sign of yesterdays 3 Greenshanks, not surprising when the wardens keep checking the fence around it.
 On Dengemarsh the tern rafts are full of nesting Common Terns and are best watched in the mornings when the sun is behind you, a Cetti's Warbler was singing beside the hide.
Some of the gang in Hayfield 3 this evening!!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Blyth's Reed Warbler!

Very little of note on the sea this morning. At The Patch c200 Common Terns, a 1st Summer Little Gull and the leucistic/worn Herring Gull trying to look like an Iceland Gull.
At the ARC several 100s of Swifts, with smaller numbers of House Martins and Swallows, 2 Hobby's, a Cuckoo and the usual reed bed warblers. 
This mornings Honey Buzzard honest!
Late morning AJG eventually managed to contact me with news that he was listening to a Blyth's Reed Warbler that had been found by DW and was singing on the southern edge of the trapping area. Needless to say a few minutes later I was on site and soon heard it singing. It was very elusive giving only fleeting views from deep inside the bushes even when it was singing. Click on the link for an audio file of the bird complete with the whistle of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway. BLYTH'S REED WARBLER I spent most of the rest of the day there in the hope of getting an image to no avail. While there a Honey Buzzard gave distant views. 
Audio file was courtesy of AJG.  

Tuesday, 27 May 2014


some of the c300 Common Terns at The Patch
 On a thoroughly miserable day I spent an hour or so in The Patch Hide this morning for a change. Over the boil c300 Common Terns and at least 1 Arctic Tern picked out by DW, also a 1st summer Little Gull among the usual non breeding Black-headed Gulls and Herring Gulls. On the beach at least 4 North Thames colour ringed Herring Gulls, off shore c30 Common Scoter flew east and a handful of Gannets.
At the ARC a wander up to the pines saw 3 Cuckoo's, 2 unhappy Hobby's c100 Swifts with a few Swallows and the usual reed bed warblers.
At Scotney c 500 Swifts covering the lake, also of note 10 adult Avocets and 5 chicks and a Little Ringed Plover.
A cycle ride down Galloways this afternoon saw a Corn Bunting, a Cuckoo, 4 Stonechats, several Common Whitethroats, a Sedge Warbler, a Marsh Harrier and bumped into The joker on the way out. When I arrived at Springfield Bridge there were 5 very miserable looking Hobby's sitting on the security fence posts and another c150 Swifts. I was going to wander down to the hay fields but saw that the wardens were working in them which gave me the excuse cycle back home for a cup of tea.