Friday, 14 August 2015

After the storm!

 A lone Grey Plover on an island from Hanson at the height of yesterdays storm
After yesterdays storms, today dawned foggy clearing into a very warm sunny day, even the breeze was very warm.
1 of 6 Common Sandpiper from Makepiece this morning
At Dengemarsh a Great White Egret, 3+ Marsh Harriers, some Bearded Tits and some Sand Martins moving through this morning a few common warblers but little else of note. During the day large numbers of Sand Martins could be found around the peninsular, also a couple of Hobby's.
In a couple of visits to the ARC today a Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper, 4+ Common Sandpipers, 6 Dunlin, a single Black-tailed Godwit, Black-necked Grebe and all the usual wildfowl. 
A sea watch from the boats this afternoon 14.45-16.05
Common Scoter: 11E  19W
Great-crested grebe: 3 around
Fulmar: 2W
Balearic Shearwater: 1W
Gannet: 31W
Turnstone: 1W
Dunlin: 5 on beach
Sanderling: 4 on beach
Great Skua: 1 on sea
Kittiwake: 1E  1W
Sandwich Tern; 87W
Common Tern: 22W
Sand Martin: 121 out
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 6+
 Grey Heron from Hanson late afternoon
 1 of 4 Garganey from Firth hide early this evening
Brown-veined Wainscot first for the Plodland trap

Wednesday, 12 August 2015


A very nice couple of hours this morning at the ARC, viewing from Hanson hide and another hour this evening saw a Temminck's Stint, Little Stint, 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 2 Wood Sandpipers, 3 Green Sandpipers, 6 Common Sandpipers, 17 Ruff, 4 LRPs, 4 Ringed Plover, 5 Golden Plover over, 23 Dunlin, 7 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, c280 Curlew over, a Whimbrel, c200 Lapwing, 3 Common Snipe, a Water Rail, a Merlin, 2 Marsh Harriers, a Garganey, 2 Red-crested Pochards, a Black Tern, Cetti's Reed and Sedge Warblers, 2+ Yellow Wagtails, 100s of Sand Martins and more.
 As usual most birds are to far for any good images. 2 Curlew Sandpipers with Dunlin from Hanson
 This afternoon a quick visit to Scotney where the 2 Spoonbills had moved to the causeway, the feral Barnacle Goose flock is back, I estimated that there were c1500 Greylag Geese there with c150 Canada Geese.
An hour at the fishing boats this afternoon with MH was very poor:
Great-crested Grebe: 5 around
Gannet: 8E    8W
Cormorant: 6 around
Oystercatcher: 1E
Sanderling: 1E
Kittiwake: 2E
Sandwich Tern: 20E
Common Tern: 8E
Harbour Porpoise: 4+
 This evening from Firth hide 2 Garganey and 6 Common Sandpipers were the highlights.
This mornings moth trap highlight was this Peach Blossom.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Not a bad Day!

3 sea watches today saw a steady trickle of birds moving west mainly Common Terns. Thanks to AJG for collating the numbers.
Teal: 3W
Common Scoter: 13W
Great-crested Grebe: 4 around
Manx Shearwater: 1W
Balearic Shearwater: 3W
Gannet:  209W
Oystercatcher: 4E
Turnstone: 1 on beach
Mediterranean Gull: 1W  juvenile/1w
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 juvenile around
Kittiwake: 12W
Little Tern: 2W
Sandwich Tern: 16W
Common Tern: c1550W
Arctic Tern: 3W
Black Tern: 24W
Swallow: 1 in
Wheatears: 2  behind the beach
On the ARC from Hanson, 1 Wood, 2 Green, 1 Common and  1 Curlew Sandpiper, 5 LRPs, 2 Common Snipe, c100 Lapwings, a juvenile Black Tern and the usual wildfowl. From the causeway the 2 Red-crested Pochards and a Black-necked Grebe. 
 A walk around the the southern part of the trapping area was fairly quiet, 10 each of Willow Warblers and Common Whitethroat, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Sparrowhawks and Green Woodpecker, the Peregrines were still active around the power station.
 First Jersey Tiger of the year in the Plodland trap
Scarce Chocholate-tip a Dungeness speciality and a first for the Plodland trap
Pine Hawkmoth also in this mornings catch

Monday, 10 August 2015

Harbour Porpoises!

A quietish day on the peninsular, a few Willow Warblers were in the trapping area and a Kingfisher flashed along the southern Long Pit. AJG had 8 Balearic Shearwaters from the sea watch hide early morning while I was emptying the moth trap. In 2 sea watches from the fishing boats 10.20-11.20 & 13.15-15.45 with AJG and MH.
Common Scoter: 3E
Great-crested Grebe: 5 around
Gannet: 2E   30W
Cormorant: 9 around
Oystercatcher: 1E 
Yellow-legged Gull: 2 juveniles around
Kittiwake: 4W
Black Tern: 10W
Sandwich Tern: 23W
Common Tern: 107W
Sand Martin: 24 out
Harbour Porpoise: 8+
Grey Seal: 1
A lunch time visit to the ARC found Wood, Green and Common Sandpipers, 5  LRPs, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Red-crested Pochards, a juvenile Black Tern, Water Rail, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Willow, Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers also Common and Lesser Whitethroats and more. Not  bad haul for a half hour visit. 
 Some of the Harbour Porpoises seemed quite playful, it is not often I see their faces. 
 A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull
 Leopard Moth a first for the Plodland trap this morning
Grey/Dark Dagger a very smrt moth

Sunday, 9 August 2015

A few birds and Moths!

After Fridays excitement with the Black Stork, the weekend has been a bit of an anti climax. Having said that, the last 2 mornings I have been assisting Barry Banson emptying the 2 traps on the reserve at Boulderwall Farm. On both days the 2 traps have been full of moths 70+ macro species over the 2 days, the best being a Scarce Chocholate-tip a Dungeness speciality, a Gem, several Small Mottled Willows. In the Plodland trap the plain straw yellow form of Dingy Footman was a first for me.  
 Dingy Footman(f.stramineola) in the Plodland trap
 Scarce Chocholate-tip in the R.S.P.B. trap
 Gem in the R.S.P.B.trap
The birding has been fairly quiet but some good birds can still be found on the peninsular, Spoonbills, Hobby's, Peregrines, Marsh Harriers, Bitterns, Great White Egrets, Tree Sparrows, Wood Sandpiper, Black-necked Grebe to name a few, it is very easy to be blase about these brilliant birds, just seeing those is a good days birding and you will always see more.
The sea has been very quiet this weekend with 2 Pomarine Skuas (AJG) the highlights.
An hour and half at the fishing boats was very slow, but we still managed to see a Black Tern, my first this year of an Autumn juvenile Arctic Tern, a Shearwater sp, a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, a few each of Common and Sandwich Terns, a few Gannets, Ringed Plovers and Turnstones and that is on a very quiet sea watch. 
Couldn't resist putting up another pic of this super bird.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Black Stork!

Another quiet night in the moth trap, 2 Small Mottled Willows the best. At the Observatory a few migrants were being caught in the trapping area, 3 Peregrines were around the power station but generally the birding was very quiet.
After having a very late breakfast at home, a tweet came through that a Black Stork had been seen moving west over Hythe.  I contacted some of the locals and let them know and we were all looking skyward at various locations around the Dungeness peninsular. While I was scanning for the Stork from the front garden, I saw 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Common Buzzards, a Hobby, Sparrowhawk, a Peregrine, c150 Swifts over Lydd Wood but no Black Stork. After about an hour Dave Brown who was at Dengemarsh, called me saying he thought he had seen the Stork flying over the ranges but it was lost to view. I dived into my car and sped down Galloways to the guard house in double quick time. I jumped out the car and scanned over the ranges almost immediately picking up the Stork way to the west, presumably over the Midrips. I fired off some terrible long distance record shots believing that was all I was going to get. Dave Brown and family arrived moments later, the Stork appeared to turn around and head straight back towards us. It kept circling but coming closer all the time, more frantic phone calls ensued. To both our astonishment it came quite low directly over us giving us fantastic views as it made its way towards Dengemarsh. We jumped in our cars and chased it to Dengemarsh where we watched it fly over the reserve and down to the light houses, then move off North along the peninsular towards Lade, eventually losing sight of it as it headed towards New Romney. I think all the locals that were on the peninsular saw the Stork, so many thanks to the Hythe lads for alerting us to the fact that the Stork was heading our way and to Dave Brown for calling me so promptly. I can only assume as it came from Hythe it went in land bypassing the peninsular.    

 Black Stork when I first saw it way in the distance probably over The Midrips thinking that this would be the best image I would get.
Acleris emargana new for the Plodland trap.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Whiskered Tern!

Emptying the moth trap this morning did not take long as numbers were disappointing low, though my 3rd Four-spotted Footman this year and 3 Small Mottled Willows were some bonus.
Juvenile Kittiwake at the boats
 The ARC was very disappointing this morning as I could find just a single Dunlin among the Lapwings, not a Sandpiper in sight while I was there.
The observatory area was also very quiet, a juvenile Cuckoo being the only migrant seen. I spent the rest of the morning at home listening to the Aussies collapse. At lunch I went to the fishing boats to spend the afternoon sea watching while continuing to listen to the cricket. Approaching the boats I could see Terns streaming past and wished I'd arrived earlier. As soon I realised that there was a movement happening I contacted some of the locals, which is easier said than done due to the poor mobile phone signal at Dungeness, I had to leave the beach to get a signal. While waiting for them to arrive, I carried on counting the Terns passing when I picked up a marsh tern with noticeably white cheeks, against a black cap, dark back and patchy dark belly and chest flying along the colour change, it was with 2 Black Terns among a party of Common Terns, realising that it was an adult Whiskered Tern I followed it in the scope until it flew out of my view, I briefly thought about trying to photograph it, but it was to far out to get a useful image even if I could find it in the view finder.

13.30-17.00 from the fishing boats joined by: AJG,DW,MH,CP,BM,AH and BH.

Shelduck: 2W
Common Scoter: 17E    14W
Great-crested Grebe: 3 around
Gannet:  26E         68W
Cormorant: 18 around
Ringed Plover: 2W
Sanderling: 11W
Redshank: 2W
Kittiwake:  3W     1 around
Little Tern: 1W
Sandwich Tern: 57W
Common Tern: 777W
Black Tern: 74W
Whiskered Tern: 1W
Swift: 4 out
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 2+

Four Spotted Footman in the Plodland trap this morning.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Quiet Days!

It has been a very quiet last couple of days, with long largely unproductive sea watches while basking in the gloriously warm sunshine, though today did produce a little quality in a single Sooty Shearwater early morning (AJG) and 4 Balearic Shearwaters mid morning with another 2 this afternoon, curiously though on a flat calm sea. As I sit on the patio typing (20.00) c40 each of Swifts and Sand Martins, along with numerous Starlings and Gulls are swirling high above snapping up the hordes of flying ants.
 Herring Gull with Whiting at the fishing boats

 Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull at the fishing boats
 Mute Swan  from the sea watch hide not often seen on sea watches!
Around the reserve it seems to be the same birds present for the last few days, Little Stint, Wood, Green and Common Sandpipers, Little Ringed Plovers, Greenshank and now 2 Great White Egrets (DB), Bearded Tits seem to be more in evidence at the ramp with the ever present Marsh Harriers and occasional fly pasts from Bitterns.
There was a just a handful of birds caught in the nets today, of note the first Garden Warbler I have seen in Britain this year. 
 Garden Warbler at the observatory
 Lime Hawkmoth
The Moth trap has been fairly busy, my first Lime Hawkmoth, a Four-spotted Footman, Small Mottled Willows, Privet, Poplar, Pine and Elephant Hawkmoths and few new for the trap micros.
Four-spotted Footman

Monday, 3 August 2015

On their way!

It only took a few minutes this morning to empty last nights meagre moth catch which contained nothing of note.
A short walk around the southern edge of the trapping area found it a migrant free zone, even with 8 nets up only a Blue Tit and Willow Warbler were caught. 
 Linnet track to Hanson
On the reserve from the viewing mound, a Green Sandpiper, several Bearded Tits, Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers, 2+ Marsh Harriers and a Little Egret, the Great White Egret was there yesterday so presumably hiding today. Burrowes was very quiet with little of note to be seen today, though the Little Grebe family were still performing well on the dipping pool. 
 Little Grebes on the dipping pool
From Hanson a Little Stint, 2+ Wood Sandpipers, a Common Sandpiper, juvenile Redshank, 4 Little ringed Plovers, 4 Dunlin among c150 Lapwing.
 3 Sanderling at the fishing boats yesterday.
 Juvenile Common Gull at the fishing boats today
An uninspiring sea watch today, though the warm sun and light wind made it a very nice way to while away a couple of hours.
14.15-16.30 from the fishing boats with AJG.

Common Scoter: 18E      3W   1 on sea
Great Crested Grebe: 6 around
Gannet: 5E   11W
Cormorant: 12 around
Peregrine: 1 juvenile out presumably on a hunting expedition
Dunlin: 1W
Whimbrel: 7W
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 juvenile around
Common Gull: 1 juvenile W
Kittiwake: 3W
Sandwich Tern: 3E  54W
Common Tern: 34W
Swift c250 out  
Sand Martin: 29 out
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
Grey Seal: 1

Hummingbird Hawkmoth feeding on the garden Buddleia this evening
This evening 1,000s of Swifts over the garden with a small number of Sand Martins and Swallows, all of which appeared to be heading south, also 2 Hobby's over.
Right now  (20.10) there are c200 Sand Martins over the garden heading south.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Migrants at the ARC

A walk around the southern edge of the trapping area produced a couple of Willow Warblers, several Common Whitethroats, whilst over head a small passage of Swifts and Sand Martins, around the power station a very noisy family of Peregrines.
 Sedge Warbler ARC
I joined PW in Hanson where a Wood Sandpiper, a Ruff, a Greenshank, a Redshank, 3 Little Ringed Plovers were the highlights among the Lapwing and wildfowl.
 Sand Martin and Swallow ARC
Leaving Hanson we walked to the pines and back, in the Sallows Willow Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers, Common Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats and Cetti's Warblers were all seen on the wires behind the screen Swallows and Sand Martins.
 Lesser Whitethroat ARC
 Cormorant about to swallow a huge Gurnard
The highlight of a very slow sea watch was watching a Cormorant  eventually manage to swallow a huge Gurnard.

Great-crested Grebe: 1
Gannet: 7E   24W
Cormorant: 14 around
Oystercatcher: 5E
Turnstone: 1W
Mediterranean Gull: 1W  juvenile
Kittiwake: 13W
Sandwich Tern: 9W
Common Tern: 29W
Sand Martin: 28 out
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 4+

Painted Lady on the garden Buddleia
The garden Buddleia was alive with butterflies late afternoon and joined by a Hummingbird Hawkmoth.