Monday, 17 August 2015

White-winged Black Tern! (4th this year at Dungeness)

First thing this morning I assisted Barry Banson with the RSPB MV at Boulderwall Farm, a very good 60 species were identified mainly by Barry, but I am learning from him. 
I then went to Hanson where 2 Wood Sandpipers and 4 Dunlin could be seen among several 100s of Lapwing. Overhead 100s of Sand Martins and Swallows with a single Swift were feeding very high.
A walk up to the pines saw c20 Willow Warblers, 6 Common Whitethroats, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 8 Reed Warblers, 3 Sedge Warblers and 2 Cetti's Warblers.
At the north end of the trapping area 4 more Willow Warblers, 2 Common Whitethroats and a Cetti's Warbler.
 Poor heavily cropped images of this afternoons juvenile White-winged Black Tern

A relatively slow sea watch this afternoon was enlivened by a brief appearance of juvenile White-winged Black Tern and a Pomarine Skua.

13.50-16.00 from the fishing boats:
Common Scoter: 5E
Great-crested Grebe: 3 around
Gannet: 5W
Cormorant: 7 around
Dunlin: 4W
Pomarine Skua: 1E
Kittiwake: 2W
Little Gull: 1 juvenile around
Little Tern: 2 around
Sandwich Tern:  35W
Commic Tern: 30W
Arctic Tern: 1W juvenile
Black Tern: 1W
White-winged Black Tern: 1E  Rubbish pics.
Auk sp: 1W

Common Whitethroat ARC
Lesser Whitethroats ARC
Scarce Chocholate Tip in the Plodland MV this morning 
In the Plodland MV a good 185 macros of 50 species + 17 species of micro and still counting.
With the Scarce Chocholate Tip was 3 Small Mottled Willows, 2 Pine Hawkmoths, 9 Rush Veneer, 3 ferrugalis and  6 xylostella. 

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Tigers in the trap!

A net round with DW this morning found a Reed Warbler, a Wren, 2 Willow Warblers and the superb Lesser Whitethroat below.
 A superb juvenile Lesser Whitethroat at the D.B.O.
Next a walk with AJG  around the Lighthouse, Station, West beach and Lloyds saw of note 5 Willow Warblers, (2 more in the Heligoland) 2 Common Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat, a brief male Common Redstart and a Peregrine. 
On the ARC from Hanson 2 Wood Sandpipers, 2 Knot, 2 LRPs, c200 Lapwing, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Black-necked Grebe. Also many high flying Hirundines mainly Sand Martins and Swallows but 2 Swifts were seen.
 1 of c20 Yellow Wagtails opposite the watch towers in Galloways 
Driving down Galloways Road, c 20 Yellow Wagtails, 6 Pied Wagtails and c15 Linnets around the puddles. On the corner by the barrier a Common Buzzard could be seen being harassed by a Raven., also a Whinchat and Wheatear on the fence.
At Dengemarsh 2 Great White Egrets, a Cuckoo, a Hobby, another Whinchat and Wheatear, also 3 Willow Warblers in the road side hedge and many more Hirundines.
In the gully a spotted flycatcher, more Willow Warblers another each of Wheatear and Whinchat.   
 A sleepy juvenile Willow Warbler in Dengemarsh Gully, a bit like the photographer who also fell asleep there in the car, to be awoken by the appearance of Mr Brown. 
An hour at the fishing boats this afternoon produced 3 Black Terns,, 2 Little Gulls,a few Sandwich and Common Terns and  2 juvenile Little Gulls all feeding along the colour change.
 The Scotney Spoonbills viewed from the Camber road this afternoon
A quick look at Scotney where the Spoonbills seem to have a new roosting place on the causeway of the eastern lake, where they can easily be seen among the many 100s of feral Greylag, Canada, Barnacle and other Heinz 57 geese as you drive by if you feel so inclined.
These 5 Jersey Tigers were the highlights in the Plodland MV this morning

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Some Migrants!

At north end of the trapping area 2 Swifts and a Marsh Harriers I drove to the observatory. In the Desert Several Common Whitethroats and Willow Warblers, also a an elusive Pied Flycatcher, 2 Whinchats and a Spotted Flycatcher. At Boulderwall Farm a distant Cattle Egret could be seen seemingly becoming very regular at Dungeness.
 A poor image of the elusive Pied Flycatcher
From the Plodland garden 2 Marsh Harriers, a Hobby, a Peregrine and several Yellow wagtails of note.
A sea watch this afternoon 15.15-17.00 was much better than of late, with SO and AJG who kindly collated the numbers. 
Tufted Duck: 1W
Common Scoter: 14W
Great-crested Grebe: 3 around
Fulmar: 2W
Balearic Shearwater: 1W
Gannet: 71W 
Cormorant: 8 around
Oystercatcher: 4E
Turnstone: 2W
Great Skua: 1E
Arctic Skua: 4W
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 juvenile around
Kittiwake: 9W
Little Tern: 1W
Sandwich Tern: 24W
Common Tern: 194W
Arctic Tern: 2W
Black Tern: 53W
Late afternoon at the ARC from Hanson 2 Wood Sandpipers, 2 LRPs, c200 Lapwings and a Black-necked Grebe among the common wildfowl.
 Common Sandpiper from Makepiece
A late afternoon /early evening visit to the reserve saw the Cattle Egret still at Boulderwall. In the car park bushes another elusive Pied Flycatcher. From Firth an Avocet, 4 Common Sandpipers, 2 Little Egrets and 2 Garganey, from Makepiece 2 more Common Sandpipers, a Turnstone, a Ruff and a confiding Dunlin.
 Dunlin from Makepiece
At Christmas Dell a Whinchat, Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers, Common and Lesser Whitethroats. From Dengemarsh 2 Great White Egrets and a brief Bittern fly over. From the viewing ramp 2 Bearded Tits and 3 Marsh Harriers. 
 Leopard Moth in the Plodland MV
I got my new Robinson MV trap yesterday, it may be a coincidence but last nights moth haul was my best, in excess of 250 macros of 47 sp not including the 27 micro sp.
Coleophora sp. probably?

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.