Sunday, 7 June 2015


A quick stop off at the south end of the ARC on my way to The Point saw a drake Garganey virtually buried in the New Zealand Pygmy Weed. From by the sea watch hide in a 20 minute watch:
Great-crested Grebe: 4 o/s
Gannet: 1E
Cormorant: 5 o/s
Oystercatcher: 4E
Mediterranean Gull: 1ad at The patch
Sandwich Tern: 5 o/s
Common Tern: 1 at The Patch
Black Redstart: 1 singing behind hide.
Harbour Porpoise: 3
Grey Seal: 1
 Between the hide and the car park at least 7 Hummingbird Hawkmoths feeding on the Valerian by the wall.
 A Weasel ran across the road to the observatory by Lloyds
 Now where's that Green Woodpecker!
 How this Rook managed to fly over the ARC is a mystery to me.
On the ARC the islands will soon showing if this dry windy weather continues, Lapwings are already managing to use them. 3 Hobby's were hunting over the tower pits, Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers were all to be seen around the lake, as well as a Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Swifts, Swallows and House Martins.
 From Springfield Bridge this afternoon up to 23 Hobby's over Dengemarsh, though most were stratospheric. 22 Common Terns were vying for position on the the only raft not occupied by Gulls.
On Burrowes 3 Greenshanks and 2 Avocets per MH.
 Another Bordered Straw in the Plodland trap this morning
One of several Plutella xylostella from last nights catch.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Spoilt by the wind!

The avian highlight this morning was a flock of 5 Herons that flew west low over the sea as I made my way to The Patch, where c30 Gannets moved east, 9 Swifts flew west, 3 Mediterranean Gulls were around but not a single Common Tern there. A Black Redstart was singing behind the hide, at least 10 Hummingbird Hawkmoths 2 of which were mating were around the car park and Lighthouse, also 3+ Painted Ladies.  
The strong wind today made birding very difficult today, consequently little of note was seen around the reserve or Scotney.
 Yesterdays Small Mottled Willow in the Plodland trap. 
 Hummingbird Hawkmoths mating!
A pair of Eyed Hawkmoths mating in the Heligoland trap yesterday.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Pas de Calais!

Yesterday I met AJG and TM at silly o-clock to catch the ferry to Calais. Surprising the on board breakfast was hot, usually tepid at best. On arrival we drove straight to Bonelle arriving around 07.00. As we got out of the car 2 Turtle Doves flew over and added to the cacophony of bird song, Song Thrushes, Blackcaps, Garden Warblers, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Skylarks, Yellowhammers, Sedge Warblers as well as Wrens, Dunnocks and Robins and more. Scanning the tussock grass we located 4 Bluethroats and several Stonechats, a Cattle Egret foraged among the cows and on a small pool Black-winged Stilts and Avocets were nesting. Also there were singing Marsh Warblers a Strutting White Stork and several White Wagtails. We found Song Thrushes seemed to be abundant at every place we stopped. 
 Black-winged Stilts

 White Storks

 White Wagtail
 Cattle Egrets
A La Basse pools the Black-headed Gull colony was full of young gulls, also a few Mediterranean Gulls there. Several Cattle Egrets were foraging around the ponies, 2 Little-ringed Plovers, More Storks, several Common Buzzards, White Wagtails and another Marsh Warbler. 
 Mediterranean Gull
 At our usual raptor watch point at Crecy Forest we had to wait a whole 10 minutes before the first of several Honey Buzzards appeared, along with the usual Common Buzzards, Hobby's, a male Hen Harrier, and a flock of 62 Mediterranean Gulls flew over.

 In the forest Firecrest, Crested Tit, Melodious Warbler, Marsh Warbler and many more passerines were seen and heard as well as superb low flying Honey Buzzard. A tick for me in the forest was a Broad Bordered Bee Hawkmoth.

 Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoth

 Spoonbills at Oye Platier
At Oye Platier 11 Spoonbills, 5 Black-winged Stilts, c100 Avocets, a Common Sandpiper, a Ruff, a Greenshank and a Long-tailed Duck.
 Kentish Plover eggs
On a beach near Calais 10+ Kentish Plovers and c50 Little terns were nesting, the Kentish Plover eggs we found had been layed below the high water mark so stand little chance of success.
 Kentish Plover
 Long-tailed Duck at Oye Platier
Do you want use this picnic table!
Good to see Calais local authority have a sense of humour placing the picnic table beside the leaning pill box. Another brilliant day out across the channel in great company and super warm weather.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Hobby's,Swift's and a Puffin!

Very quiet on the sea this morning with just a handful of Gannets seen and 3 Swallows in.
Several hours spent around the reserve failed to find anything unusual. There were still many Swifts and smaller numbers of Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins, at least 9 Hobby's were present. I spent a while photographing them and the Swifts with limited success.
 AT the ARC a Cuckoo, 2 Marsh Harriers and all the usual reed bed Warblers, also plenty of Reed Buntings. Chffinches, Greenfinches, Goldfinches and Linnets were all present. While on Burrowes a single Ringed Plover, a Little Ringed Plover and a Turnstone. In the Hayfields I could only find a single Lapwing chick, hopefully the others were well hidden. Good to see water being pumped onto an almost dry Hayfield 3.
 This evening Owen Leyshon showed me a partially oiled dead Puffin that was found on Greatstone Beach, one day i'll see a live one at Dungeness. Another day trip to France tomorrow mainly to look at some sites that look good on the map.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015


07.00-11.00 from The Point, cold, constant drizzle, gusting 8-9 enjoyable!
Great-crested Grebe: 19+ o/s
Manx Shearwater: 33W  3E
Fulmar: 10W
Gannet: 47W
Oystercatcher: 1E
Arctic Skua: 2E
Sandwich Tern: c10 o/s
Common Tern: c20 o/s
Auk sp: 3W
Guillemot: 1W
Swift: 42W

Manx Shearwaters
At the south end of the ARC the drake Garganey still also 2 Cuckoo's, while from Hanson c500 Swifts, c200 Swallows, c30 House Martins and 10+ Sand Martins.
Another hour this afternoon at The Point saw nothing in dense fog accompanied by the fog horns. 

Monday, 1 June 2015


From the seawatch hide this morning as expected very quiet with just a handful of Gannets and Common Terns feeding offshore, also 3 Great-crested Grebes and a Black Redstart singing behind the hide.
A walk around the trapping area and Long Pits with AJG found of note a Spotted Flycatcher, Willow warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, several Common Whitethroats and Reed Warblers, also another Black Redstart by Lloyds.
At the ARC 100s of Swifts, with smaller numbers of House Martins and Swallows, 5+ Hobby's, the usual Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers, Common Whitethroats and 2 Lesser Whitethroats, also 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Cuckoo's also a Garganey at the south end per DW.

Hobby at the ARC
 I disturbed this Fox from its midday slumber at the pines.
 A walk around the windswept reserve this afternoon saw, 100s more Swifts, 2 Sanderling, a Dunlin, a Turnstone, a Ring Plover and the local Oystercatchers all on Burrowes. Still at least 3 Lapwing chicks, a Redshank and dozens of feral geese in the hayfields, though No.3 is virtually dry. On Dengemarsh a pair of Herring Gulls have taken up residence on 1 of the Tern rafts with pairs of Common Gulls on the other 2, 3 Marsh Harriers were over the reed bed as were a couple more Hobby's. 
1 of at least 3 Lapwing chicks.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Sanderling Surprise!

The blue sky and sunshine on this mornings walk to The Patch was once again deceiving with a march like chill in the air. From the hide c80 Common Terns, a 1st summer Mediterranean Gull,27 Gannets flew west and 6 Sandwich Terns. Walking back a Black Redstart was singing and 3 Swallows came in off over the bund and rested on the perimeter fence. Another Black Redstart was singing by the car park with another near the observatory.
Following a report of a Dusky Warbler in Dengemarsh Gully, myself and AJG made our way there meeting MH there but there had been no further sign of the bird for at least an hour, indeed there were very few birds there, just a couple of Common Whitethroats, Linnets and the usual Wrens and Dunnocks to be seen.
As most of my day was taken up with domestic stuff, this evening I did the circuit from Springfield Bridge via Christmas Dell, the visitor centre and Hookers back to the bridge.  
 In the hayfields still at least 4 Lapwing chicks, 2 pairs of Egyptian Geese, 1 pair of Shoveller and hordes of feral Greylag and Canada Geese. A Bittern was booming at a windswept Dengemarsh and a couple of Marsh harriers were making half hearted attacks on a pair of Coot. While scanning the islands from Makepiece a flock of c60 Sanderling flew in briefly alighting before heading off towards the ARC, probably the largest wader flock I have seen this spring. The return via Hookers was uneventful apart from a family of Foxes.

Friday, 29 May 2015


 Superb rainbow in front of Plodland this evening. (a slightly wider angle lense needed)
Hat,Gloves and winter coat were needed for the walk to and from a very quiet Patch this morning. Still 80+ Common Terns present, an adult Mediterranean Gull not yet in summer plumage,  2 Fulmars flew west, while 10+ Gannets and 15+ Sandwich Terns were feeding off shore and north Thames colour ringed Herring Gull T9DT a regular on the beach. Behind the hide a Black Redstart was singing and another near the car park.
 Ad.Mediterranean Gull
 Herring Gull T9DT
 One of the resident Wheatears along the approach road
At the ARC 100+ Swifts over the lake along with a mixed flock of c100 Swallows, Sand Martins and House Martins with a single accompanying Hobby. A chiffchaff singing in the Willow Trail, also a Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler. With the wind picking up even more and rain forecast I got some domestic stuff done. Once again the Plodland Moth trap gave slim pickings this morning.
Tree Sparrows are easy to see at Boulderwall.