Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Woodlark, Black Brant, Yellow-browed Warblers and a stunning moth!

 Woodlark a Dungeness tick for me!
10 minutes first thing this morning from the concrete road was enough to know very little was moving off shore.
News from the trapping area that at least 2 Yellow-browed Warblers had been heard calling, prompted AJG and myself to venture out there, we had not gone far when we received a call that a Yellow-browed Warbler had found a mist net and would be on show at the observatory. While at the observatory viewing the warbler a flock of c350 Brent Geese flew over. 
AJG and myself then walked a circuit of The Point seeing on the way 4 Ring Ouzels, 3 Black Redstarts, 2 Stonechats, 3 Wheatears, 6+ Chiffchaffs, several Skylarks over, another flock of c300 Brent Geese and good numbers Swallows and House Martins. Back at the observatory a Ring Ouzel was caught in the Heligoland Trap and a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a few Robins, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs had been caught in the trapping area. A net was opened in The moat to catch House Martins, 25 of which dived into the net. Whilst the House Martins were being processed, PT who was scanning numerous Meadow Pipits  found a Woodlark in The Desert a new bird for Dungeness for me, it showed quite well but was surprisingly flighty.   
 One of at least 2 Yellow-browed Warblers in the trapping area
 After lunch I went back to the observatory where another Yellow-browed Warbler was located in The Moat, it showed well for a while before flying off into the trapping area.
Yellow-browed Warbler in The Moat
An afternoon watch from Fishing Boats 14.45- 16.15 produced:
Brent Goose: 524 W
Black Brant: 1 W   at 14.58 only the second Dungeness record.
Common Scoter: 42 W
Gannet: 35 W
Arctic Skua: 1 around
Mediterranean Gull: 10 W  2 X 1w, 5 x 2w, 3 x ad.
Little Gull: 8W
Kittiwake: 14 W
Sandwich Tern: 9 W
Auk sp: 2 W
Unfortunately I was very slow in picking up the Black Brant, by the time I had grabbed the camera and got out of my chair it was to late!

I ran the moth trap last night, the first time for a few nights and was delighted to find the stunner below in it. 
 A stunning Merveille du Jour very scarce on the peninsular.
Blair's Shoulder-Knot

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Another Brilliant Day at Dungeness!

07.00-09.00 with AJG and DW:
Brent Goose: 12 W
Common Scoter: 4 E
Gannet: 344 W
Purple Sandpiper: 1 on beach
Great Skua: 1 W
Pomarine Skua: 3 W
Arctic Skua: 1 W
Sandwich Tern: 33 W
Common Tern: 1 W
Swallow: 17 W
Rock Pipit: 1 over
Goldfinch: 9 W
 Wheatear: 1 of 6 among the fishing boats
A walk from the fishing boats to the Lifeboat and back produced another 80 Brent Geese west, 17 Turnstone, a Little Egret on the beach, 6 Wheatears, 15 Swallows and 5 House Martins of note.
Around the lighthouse another 2 Wheatears and 6 Swallows, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Black Redstarts, and 4 Stonechats.
 Little Egret on the beach
Cattle Egret
Driving to the ARC I spotted the Cattle Egret that has not been seen for a few days perched on a fence at Boulderwall. A walk up to the Water Tower produced 17 Ring Ouzels, 5 Chiffchaffs, 2 Great White Egrets and 2 Cetti's Warblers of note.
 Part of a flock of c70 Ring Ouzels
 At the Obsevatory Ring Ouzels could be seen wherever you cared to look, with a day total probably in excess of 500. 2 found there way into the Heligoland trap and were duly processed, on the down side a local cat managed to catch a Ring Ouzel with predictable results.

 Just after the Ring Ouzels had been processed I went back to the Heligoland Trap to oil the hinges on the flaps, as I walked into the trap I spotted a superb Yellow-browed Warbler, DW quickly arrived and duly caught and processed it.  
 Yellow-browed Warbler

Yellow-browed Warbler
16.15-17.00 at the fishing boats with AJG:
Brent Goose: 60 W
Gannet: 297 W
Great Skua: 3 W
Pomarine Skua 1 W
Arctic Skua: 1 W
Sandwich tern: 9 W
Harbour Porpoise: 5+

Monday, 13 October 2014

Leach's Storm Petrels!

 Leach's Storm Petrels very heavy crop.
A long but rewarding sea watch today 07.30- 16.45:
Brent Goose: 678 W
Shelduck: 2 W
Pintail: 31 W
Shoveler: 1 W
Wigeon: 47 W
Teal:39 W
Common Scoter: 708 W     16 E
Red-throated Diver: 1 W   1 on sea
Black-throated Diver: 1 W
Great-crested Grebe: 12 on sea
Sooty Shearwater: 1 W    
Leach's Storm Petrel: 5 W
Gannets: 987 W
Merlin: 1 out
Sanderling: 2 W
Turnstone: 5 on beach
Dunlin: 62 W
Curlew: 1 W
Great Skua: 50 W     1 E
Arctic Skua: 27 W     9E  3+ around  Make what you will of these numbers David.
Mediterranean Gull: 14 W
Yellow Legged Gull: 1ad on beach + 1ad in roost
Caspian Gull: 1 x 1w around
Little Gull: 6 W
Kittiwake: 46 W
Sandwich Tern: 509 W
Common Tern: 8 W
Guillemot: 4 W
Razorbill: 1 W
Auk sp: 7 W
Skylark: 3 W
Swallow: 7 out
Starling: 50 in
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
 1w Caspian Gull

 2w Mediterranean Gull
Arctic Skua

Sunday, 12 October 2014

American Golden Plover

This morning at the fishing boats plenty of Gannets, a few Sandwich Terns, 3+ Arctic Skuas, a Great Skua and a few Swallows.
Round the observatory area a Ring Ouzel, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 20+ Chiffchaffs in The moat along with a few Blackcaps.
Most of the rest of the day was spent trying to catch up with the American Golden Plover found yesterday by SM at Scotney. I eventually got reasonable scope views for a couple of minutes early afternoon with CT and DB and family from the layby, we had been looking through the the flock of c500 Golden Plover which were frequently spooking for about 30 minutes before we spotted it. It's incredible that such a striking bird could be so invisible in the flock. Also there up to 4 Marsh Harriers by the windmills, several Yellow Wagtails, 9 Ruff (4 on the turf and 5 on the Herring Gull island), also at least 1 Greenshank around. I was supposed to be doing the Harrier count today, but staring into the heavy rain driven by a strong easterly wind I probably wouldn't have seen anything, so I wimped out. 

Saturday, 11 October 2014


From the fishing boats this morning a  steady trickle of Sandwich Terns moving west and few each of Brent Geese and Common Scoter, also 2 Sooty Shearwaters before I arrived. On the land Swallows streamed out in front of the heavy showers and 5 Stonechats by the beach. In The Moat a Ring Ouzel, 3 Black Redstarts, 2 Stonechats, a Wheatear, a couple of Song Thrushes, several Chiffchaffs and a Jay over. In The Desert 15+ Blackcaps, several Chiffchaffs, 3 Skylarks and a Common Whitethroat the first I have seen for a while.
A Great White Egret at the south end of the ARC and 2 on the New Diggings from the causeway.
This afternoon at Scotney no sign of the Golden Plover flock but 6 Ruff there, the Barnacle Geese have increased to 103, 6 Yellow Wagtails on the grass, 2 Marsh Harriers over. A Short Eared Owl landed by the lake briefly before being chased off by the Lapwings and Crows and disappearing onto the ranges.

Red-line Quaker in a soggy Plodland trap this morning

Friday, 10 October 2014

A bit of Vis Mig!

AJG and myself 07.00-10.00                                  15.00-16.30 from the fishing boats
from the fishing boats:
Common Scoter: 12 W                                             Gannet: 10 W
Gannet: 153 W                                                        Great-crested Grebe: 10 on sea
Curlew: 2 W                                                            Arctic Skua: 8 W + 3 around
Merlin: 1 in                                                              Mediterranean Gull: 4 W
Great Skua: 1 W                                                      Kittiwake: 38 W
Arctic Skua: 14 W                                                    Sandwich Tern: 118 W
Mediterranean Gull: 7 W
Kittiwake: 5 W
Sandwich Tern: 261 W
Arctic Tern: 4 W
Common Tern: 9 W
Guillemot: 1 W 
Swallow: 228 out
Skylark: 3 W
Meadow Pipit: 124 W
Rock Pipit: 1 heard
Pied Wagtail: 31 W
House Sparrow: 15 W
Brambling: 1 heard
Goldfinch: 291 W
Linnet: 848 W
Greenfinch: 7 W
Reed Bunting: 2 W
Mid morning at the observatory this juvenile female Great spotted Woodpecker found its way into the Heligoland Trap.
At The Patch 5 Mediterranean Gulls, a Little Gull and 2 Common Terns among the many Black-headed and Herring Gulls. 
Eclipse Pintail from Hanson
Early afternoon the Cattle Egret was still at Boulderwall and the Glossy Ibis and 2 Great white egrets could be seen flying around Hookers. On the ARC from Hanson another Great White Egret, 6 Ruff, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, c150 Golden plover, 2 Water Rail, 2 Cetti's Warblers and the usual wild fowl.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


 Sooty Shearwaters off the fishing boats
An excellent day watching from the fishing boats 07.00-16.00 with CP,MH,AJG and DW
Brent Goose:  25 W
Common Scoter: 27W
Great Crested Grebe: 5 on sea
Manx Shearwater: 6 W
Balearic Shearwater: 1 W
Sooty Shearwater: 100 W
Gannet: 766 W
Turnstone: 2 on beach
Dunlin: 7 W
Great Skua: 16 W
Arctic Skua: 37 W
Mediterranean Gull: 6 W
Little Gull: 3 W
Kittiwake: 39 W
Sandwich Tern: 627 W
Common Tern: 119 W
Guillemot: 17 W
Auk sp: 21 W
Swallow: 14 out
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
 Fishing Boats at high tide
 A fly by Leucistic Herring Gull

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Mostly Sea Watching

Yellow-legged Gull in the roost
07.00-10.30 & 13.50-16.00 from the fishing boats
Brent Goose: 80 W
Wigeon: 2 W
Teal: 1 W
Common Scoter: 15 W
Great-crested Grebe: 4 on sea
Gannet: 524 W
Turnstone: 2 on beach
Dunlin: 1 W
Great Skua: 3 W
Arctic Skua: 4 around
Mediteranean Gull: 3 W
Yellow-legged Gull: 2 ads in roost
Little Gull: 2 W
Kittiwake: 9 W
Sandwich Tern: 102 W
Common Tern: 19 W
Swallow: 1 W
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Late morning at the ARC from Hanson Great White Egret, Black-necked Grebe, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Ruff, 3 Dunlin, c200 Golden Plover, c50 Lapwing, Water Rail, 6 Swallows through, 2 Marsh Harriers plus the usual wild fowl but no Garganey today. In the bushes several Chiffchaffs and Cetti's Warblers. Over the road by the entrance track the Cattle Egret still present.
Late afternoon on Burrowes Pit, a Greenshank, 3 Dunlin, 2 Common Snipe, a Great White Egret, 3 Little Egrets were the highlights. 
Amblyptillia acanthadactyla (Beautiful Plume) from the Plodland trap 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Sea Watching and a Soaking!

Great Skua
07.00-13.00 with AJG,CP,MH,DW,PT
Brent Geese: 94 W
Shelduck: 13 W
Pintail: 1 W
Shoveller: 2 W
Wigeon: 14 W
Teal: 1 W
Eider: 13 E
Common Scoter: 57 W     4E
Great Crested Grebe: 5 on sea
Gannet: 319 W
Little Egret: 2 E
Purple Sandpiper: 1 W
Turnstone: 4 on beach
Dunlin: 8 W
Great Skua: 6 W
Arctic Skua: 10 W
Mediterranean Gull: 47 W
Caspian Gull: 1 1w on beach
Baltic Gull: 1 1w on beach?
Little Gull: 5 W
Kittiwake: 7 W
Sandwich Tern: 150 W
Common Tern: 28 W
Guillemot: 2 on sea
Swallow: 18 out
Starling: 360 in off
Grey Seal: 2
Also several 1,000s of Black-headed, Common, Herring, Lesser and Greater Black-backed Gulls off shore.
Brent Geese (A distinct lack of juveniles) 
 Mediterranean Gull adult
 Mediterranean Gull 1w
 Mediterranean Gull 1w
 Mediterranean Gull 2w
                                                        Mediterranean Gull 1w
1w Baltic Gull?
Mid afternoon a very wet visit to the ARC, no surprise that I had Hanson to myself as most people wouldn't be stupid enough to get a soaking walking from the car park to the hide. From the hide a Black-necked Grebe, Great White Egret, Garganey, 9 Dunlin, 2 Water Rail and a Bittern dropped into the reeds beside the hide, plus the usual wildfowl and another soaking walking back to the car park.  

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Sea Watching!

0645 to 0745 + 09.50-10.35  + 14.20-16.50  many thanks to AJG for collating the numbers.
Red-Throated Diver: 1 around
Great Crested Grebe: 2 on sea
Gannet: c50 around
Brent Goose:  301 down    11 up
Wigeon: 25 down
Teal:  63 down
Marsh Harrier: 1 out
Avocet: 7 down at 0708   6 up at 09.55
Dunlin: 5 on beach
Ringed Plover: 1 on beach
Turnstone: 10 on beach
Common Scoter: 56 up
Arctic Skua: c6 around
Sandwich Tern: c50 around
Common Tern: c30 around
Little Gull 1 around
Kittiwake: 3 down
Mediterranean Gull: 4 2x 1w + 2 ads
Caspian Gull: 2w on beach
Auk sp: 5 down
Grey Seal: 1 
Harbour Porpoise: 2
 2w Caspian Gull
 2w Caspian Gull

This Herring Gull won't win any beauty contests, but you have to feel sorry for it with a fishing hook embedded in the top of its leg with the line wrapped round its leg.