Thursday, 6 November 2014

Red-rumped Swallow

A flat calm sea with some mist at the fishing boats this morning when I arrived. AJG and BM were already there and had had a fly over Snow Bunting but little passage at sea.
AJG and BM decided to bird around the Long Pits while I wandered around The Point just in case yesterdays Great Grey Shrike was still around. In the lighthouse garden just a couple of Robins chasing each other and 2 Blackbirds, also an adult male Sparrowhawk flashed through the garden across the road seemingly leisurely putting out 1 leg and plucked a House sparrow from the air. I saw a Swallow land on the wires at West Beach, because of the relatively late date and the light was good I decided to take a couple of pictures of it, it allowed me to creep more or less underneath it. While snapping away at it 2 House Martins appeared and then a Red Rumped Swallow alighted on the wires right above me. I quickly took a couple of images of the bird then started making phone calls, all the time aware of just how close I was to it and trying not to spook it. I then took a few more images then tweeted it. While tweeting it, it flew off towards the observatory with the 2 House Martins and 2 Barn Swallows, losing my chance of a flight shot. Fortunately at least 6 of the local birders manged to see it. 
A wander around the boats and sea containers found another Robin and Black Redstart.
 Red-rumped Swallow
  Red-rumped Swallow
  Red-rumped Swallow
 Red-rumped Swallow
With the wind getting up another watch from the fishing boats with MH 13.50-14.55 joined by PT and SM:
Brent Goose: 107 W
Common Scoter: 11 W
Velvet Scoter: 1 W
Red-throated Diver: 1 W
Gannet: 37 W
Mediterranean Gull: 7 around
Kittiwake: c30 around
Little Gull: 3 W
Auk sp: 32 W
Late afternoon on the reserve from Makepiece Hide , a 1w Caspian Gull, at least 5 Yellow-legged Gulls, 4 Great White Egrets and 8 Dunlin. The 2 Cattle Egrets were still around today.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Great Grey Shrike!

Late afternoon, DW and BC spotted  a Great Grey Shrike that had probably just come in, opposite the entrance to the road to the fishing boats. It was fairly mobile, though did come up onto the wires quite close for a record image in the fast fading light against a leaden sky.  For me it was welcome Dungeness tick.

Monday, 3 November 2014


The morning was a total wash out which gave me a chance to catch up on some domestic stuff.
This afternoon a visit to The Point from 13.40-14.10 only produced of any note 11 Gannets W, 2 Little Gulls W and 2 Auks W.  
 At the South end of the ARC a Great White Egret with a Little Egret, another Great White Egret could be seen on the New Diggings from the causeway. I stopped on the entrance track to the reserve to have a quick look for the Cattle Egret and was pleasantly surprised to see 2 of them feeding among the Cattle.
I met MH at the VC and we made our way to Makepiece Hide where there was another Great White Egret in the bushes by Scott Hide, a Black-necked Grebe could be seen but little else. The Islands were virtually devoid of roosting Gulls. 
We made our way back to Firth Hide where yet another Great White Egret and Little Egret were seen in the late afternoon gloom, 3 Little Grebes swam in front the hide as did 3 Pintail.
 The 2 Cattle Egrets at Boulderwall Farm
 Great White Egret in the gloom from Firth
Little Egret in the gloom from Firth

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Sabines Gull

Sea watching today 07.30 - 11.00 & 13.30 - 16.20
The undoubted star was the juvenile Sabines Gull spotted by CP.
Myself, AJG & MB had packed up at 10.15 and had just reached our cars when CP shouted the Sabines Gull. The 3 of us ran back the c75 yds across the beach to the boats in response, I was last to arrive being total unfit to run, let alone across pebbles. Fortunately the Gull was still showing giving good scope views but was to far out for photo's.
Brent Goose: 18 W
Fulmar: 1 W
Gannet: c1500 W
Goldeneye: 1 W
Common Scoter: 2 W  1 E
Red-breasted Merganser: 2 W
Great Northern Diver: 1W
Red throated Diver 1 W
Grey Heron: 1 out
Merlin: 2 in
Great Skua: 1 W
Pomarine Skua : 5 W
Mediterranean Gull: c20 around/W
Kittiwake: 321 W
Sabines Gull: 1 juv lingering off shore for several hours
Little Gull: 25 W
Sandwich Tern: 15 W
Arctic Tern: 1 W
Common Tern: 2 W
Razorbill: 1 W
Auk sp: 43 W
Starling: 70 in
Goldfinch 30 down
Harbour Porpoise: 2+

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Another Pom day!

Firecrest at the observatory
Due to domestic stuff I was unable to spend all day watching the sea, so only managed to see 14 including one of the adults of the 50+ Pomarine Skuas past Dungeness today, also the 2 Great White Egrets which headed south west out to sea, plus several Mediterranean and Little Gulls and a Great Skua.
On the way to the observatory where a Firecrest was trapped and ringed a Black Redstart on the fence at West Beach. 
Early afternoon a few minutes after receiving a call from SB to say PB had found a Dartford Warbler at Galloways I was watching it (my 220th species on the peninsular this year).  
 Dartford Warbler Galloways
Late afternoon on the reserve whilst walking up to Makepiece hide a Bittern flew into the New Excavations. On Burrowes from Makepiece a Long-tailed Duck, 2 Black-necked Grebes, c100 Golden Plover, 22 Dunlin and a single Curlew Sandpiper. In the Cormorant roost the Cattle Egret a Great White Egret and 6 Little Egrets, while in the gull roosts 2+ Yellow-legged Gulls.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Poms in the sun!

1 of 3 Black Redstart at West beach 
Sea watching today 06.30-07.50 + 09.00-10.00 + 13.00-16.00 with at various times AJG, DW, BM, MH, PT, DB and family.

Brent Goose: 127 W
Wigeon: 3 W
Shoveler: 3 W
Eider: 2 W
Red-breasted Merganser: 5 W   1 E
Red-throated Diver: 2 W
Gannet: 14 W
Grey Phalarope: 1 came from in from East landed on sea by boats and drifted back East with tide.
Turnstone: 7 on beach
Great Skua: 3 W    1 E
Pomarine Skua: 12 W
Mediterranean Gull: 200+ off shore
Little Gull: 27 W
Kittiwake: 170 W/on sea
Sandwich Tern: 15 around/W
Common Tern: 3  W
Guillemot: 8 W/on sea
Razorbill: 10 W/on sea
Auk sp: 126 W
Short-eared Owl: 1 out
Skylark: 14 out   1 in
Rock Pipit: 1 over
Starling: 13 in
Goldfinch: 32 W
Siskin: 1 over
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Pomarine Skua chasing a Mediterranean Gull

A pleasant half hour mid morning on the mound at Hookers with MH saw only a Kinfisher of note before we retired to the cafe for a Bacon Bap.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

A good day at Dungeness despite the rain!

First thing this morning the mist was so thick at the fishing boats I struggled to see the sea. A wander around the Lighthouse area, Station Gorse, West Beach and Lloyds found 6 Black Redstarts probably all local birds, 2 Goldcrests, 3 Chiffchaffs, a Song Thrush and few Blackbirds, then the rain really set in.
At the ARC from Hanson a Great White Egret, Little Egret, a single Golden Plover, a Water Rail which showed briefly and couple of others squealing, on the lake all the usual water fowl.
A wander around the Willow Trail found 5 Chiffchaff and 3 Goldcrest of note.
Over the road by the entrance track to the reserve an adult Caspian Gull in the roost and an adult Yellow-legged Gull. From Boulderwall the Cattle Egret still but distant.  
 Adult Caspian Gull taken in torrential rain
  Adult Caspian Gull taken in torrential rain
Another excellent late afternoon watch from the fishing boats with DW saw as follows:
Brent Goose: 409 W
Wigeon: 2 W
Common Scoter: 10W
Red-throated Diver: 3W
Turnstone: 8 on beach
Pomarine Skua: 2W
Arctic Skua: 1W
Skua sp: 2W
Mediterranean Gull: 19+ around/W
Little Gull: 320 W
Kittiwake: 172 W
Sandwich Tern: 11 around/W
Common Tern: 1 W
Guillemot 1 on sea
Auk sp: 14 W
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
Adult Mediterranean Gull by the fishing boats

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A good start with a better finish!

Sitting in the front garden early this morning drinking coffee while waiting for the plumbers to arrive, 2 Ravens flew over towards Scotney, 100s each of Corvids and Starlings, c400 Greylag and Canada Geese, joined by Wood Pigeons, Stock Doves, Collared Doves all dropped into the field opposite to feed, a Marsh Harrier hunted the ditches and a few Skylarks and Meadow Pipits flew over, 4 Grey Herons and 3 Little Egrets flew out to the reserve from the roost, as did a Common Buzzard also a party of 8 Goldfinches and 2 Chaffinches came onto the Plodland feeders. A very pleasant start to the day!
 Cattle Egret from Hanson
Mid morning at the ARC with most the islands now submerged, there were no waders to seen from Hanson. A Great White Egret paddled around in front the hide, 2+ Water Rail were squealing and a Cetti's Warbler was chattering in the reed bed by the hide. On the lake 100s of Common Wildfowl, including several superb drake Pintail but still no Goldeneye.  
The Long-tailed Tit flock in the Willow Trail held at least 4 Chiffchaff. a Goldcrest and the usual Great and Blue Tits. 
The Cattle Egret was still at Boulderwall Farm though distant. In the Gull roost halfway down the track to the visitor centre I could only find 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls of any note.
 Chiffchaff in the Willow Trail
A sea watch from the fishing boats late afternoon with MH was very productive:


Gannet: 67 W
Great Skua: 2 E
Pomarine Skua: 3 W
Arctic Skua: 3 W
Mediterranean Gull: 18 W  + 7 on sea with the Kittiwake flock
Kittiwake: 84 on sea + 59 W
Little Gull: 25 W
Sandwich Tern: 1 W
Common Tern: 6 W
Arctic Tern: 4 W
Guillemot: 4 W
Razorbill 1 on sea
Auk sp: 22 W

Monday, 27 October 2014

Blue Skies!

 Brent Geese at Scotney
A late start today due to domestic stuff, fortunately a call from AJG reassured me I had missed nothing as the sea passage was non existent. I decided to have a look at Scotney where from the layby I could see c1,000 Gold Plover were roosting on the grass and spit, also 2 Redshank, 4 Dunlin, 1 Ruff and 3 Ringed Plovers. From the double bends the 100+ feral Barnacle Goose flock and 2 Marsh Harriers patrolling the ditches on the far side of the lake. At the Sussex end 300+ Brent Geese resting on the lake though c50 of them flew off west while I was there.   
 Part of the 1,000 strong Golden Plover flock at Scotney
A walk from Springfield Bridge to the viewing mound at Hookers was very pleasant, the hayfields all have some water in them and look excellent for attracting water fowl and waders, though I saw very little in them today. Water Rails seemed to be squealing from just about every patch of reeds, being joined by shouting Cetti's Warblers and calling Bearded Tits. I spent a while on the mound and in Dengemarsh hide in the company of MH, from the hide 2 Kingfishers were the highlight, but no Great White Egrets, from the mound a couple of Little Egrets and a couple Marsh Harriers while sitting soaking up the warm sun was very pleasant. A wander down to Christmas Dell saw another Kingfisher and 2 Stonechats of note.
 Marsh Frog sunbathing at Dengemarsh
An hour late afternoon at the beach produced 2 Arctic Terns, 2+ Common Terns, a few Sandwich Terns, an Arctic Skua, and some Kittiwakes and Gannets, 15+ Mediterranean Gulls and few Auks on the sea and flying by, also 3 Shoveler and 2 Brent Geese flew west.
Red-line Quaker one of the few moths in the trap this morning.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Little Gulls and a Phalarope!

 Excellent visibility this morning. On the left hand side of the above image, the small aerial is in fact the French equivalent of Nelson's Column the 53 mt high Napoleons Column at Wimille near Bolougne.
As I drove past Boulderwall Farm this morning the Cattle Egret was sitting on it's favourite fence, on the New Diggings a Great White Egret was also in it's usual place.
Shortly after arriving at the fishing boats I was joined by AJG and DW where we enjoyed an excellent passage of Little Gulls(Not quite on the scale of Cap Gris Nez). A first for me in the form of a summer plumaged Grey Phalarope. AJG spotted a wader coming towards us, but it was flying like a Phalarope, fluttering with short glides and almost settling on the sea, but it wasn't grey and white, DW realised first that it was a summer plumaged Grey Phalarope and eventually it did settle on the sea and disappeared in the troughs.    
Brent Goose:53 W                                                
Wigeon: 1 W                                                      
Common Scoter: 3 W   10 E                                    
Red-throated Diver: 1 W  + 1 on sea                        
Manx Shearwater: 1 W                                            
Gannet: 376 W                                                        
Turnstone: 12 around                                                
Grey Phalarope: 1 ad summer plumage W
Great Skua: 2 E + 1+ around
Mediterranean Gull: 6 E/around
Little Gull: 236 W
Kittiwake: 17 W
Sandwich Tern: 56 W
Common Tern: 4 W
Arctic Tern: 2 W
Guillemot: 3 on sea
Razorbill: 11 W/on sea
Auk sp: 104 W
Skylark: 16 in
Starling: 371 in
Goldfinch:30 over
Linnet: 10 over
 Arctic Tern at the fishing boats this afternoon
Before having another sea watch, I spent a bit of time this afternoon enjoying the gulls attracted by fish heads, fish guts, pop corn and loaves of bread put out by Mick and Richard.
14.45-15-45 from the fishing boats
Brent Goose: 32 W
Red-throated Diver: 1 W
Gannet: 47 W
Arctic Skua: 3 around
Mediterranean Gull: 6 around
Little Gull: 8 W
Kittiwake: 21 around
Sandwich Tern: 4 W
Arctic Tern: 2 W
Guillemot: 5 W
Razorbill: 4 W
Auk sp: 16 W
 JU900 Great Black Backed Gull
 JT605 Great Black Backed Gull
A couple of moths from last nights meagre catch of 16 moths of 12 species!
 Green-brindled Crescent
Cypress Carpet