Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Hard Work

I joined AJG this thoroughly unpleasant morning in the relative comfort and shelter of the sea watch hide 08.00-09.20, it was hard work with the hide shaking in the strong winds and visibility down to a few yards at times, when the frequent squalls came through driving the rain into the hide. Thanks to AJG for collating the numbers.  
Fulmar: 2W
Gannet: 79W
Grey Plover: 1W
Arctic Skua: 3E
Black Tern: 1W
Sandwich Tern: 33W
At Scotney the usual feral Geese joined by 3 Egyptian Geese, on the turf 21 Curlew and singles of Whimbrel, Redshank and Dunlin, also 6 Yellow Wagtails and c50 Linnets, in the bay a newly arrived flock of 50+ Wigeon. Over the lake many House Martins, Sand Martins and Swallows, a Marsh Harrier was struggling in the wind on the north bank.
 Whimbrel at Scotney
By Brett's another 8 Yellow Wagtails and a Whinchat and many more Hirundines over the lake.
A walk from Springfield Bridge to Hookers and back saw 20 Yellow Wagtails and 10 Meadow Pipits feeding around the Bull, the hayfields held 4 Snipe and 5 Lapwing though that was after a Marsh Harrier had made a low pass over the fields. I just made it to the hide before another squall came over. From the hide many more Hirundines, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Little Egrets and a Cetti's Warbler, little was seen around Hookers as it seemed most birds were keeping well hidden from the weather.
Sand Martin Dengemarsh
This afternoons sea watch 13.15-16.00 was a slow but you have to be there to see the goody, if the goody does come past.

Great-crested Grebe: 4 around
Balearic Shearwater: 1W
Gannet: 29E    16W
Cormorant: 8 around
Arctic Skua: 1 around
Sandwich Tern: 73E     581W
Commic Tern: 4E  25W
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
Common Seal: 1

Monday, 14 September 2015

Stormy Day

06.15-08.45 from the seawatch hide with AJG who collated the numbers.
Brent Goose: 40E
Teal: 1E  3W
Common Scoter: 14E   3W
Fulmar: 2W
Balearic Shearwater: 1W
Gannet: 466W
Great Skua: 3E
Arctic Skua: 7+ around
Kittiwake: 5W
Little Gull: 1E 
Black Tern: 1 out
Sandwich Tern: 428 out
Common Tern: 7 out

Swallow: 228W
At The Patch of note another Black Tern, a 1w Mediteranean Gull, a Wheatear and a Peregrine.
The ARC was again covered in many Sand Martins, a Greenshank flew over but with virtually no islands carried on west.
Denge Marsh Gully was very windswept, consequently I saw not a single bird there.
Black Tern Denge Marsh
A walk from Springfield Bridge to Hookers and back saw several Bearded Tits in the reedy ditches, 5 Yellow Wagtails in the field with the Bull, Hayfield 3 looks excellent for waders but only held 17 Lapwings. Over the Denge Marsh lake whilst sitting out a squall in the hide, a Black Tern was hawking, 3 Great White Egrets with 2 Little Egrets were sheltering under the reeds in one of the inlets, a constant stream of Sand Martins seemed to be moving west and 3 Marsh Harriers were seen.
A Cetti's Warbler was shouting by the hide though little else was seen or heard due to the wind and rain. 
At Scotney still 100s of feral Greylag Geese, Canada Geese and Barnacle Geese, 18 Curlew, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and the usual wildfowl.
This afternoon from the fishing boats 13.45-16.00 joined by AJG and BM.
Common Scoter: 4W
Great-crested Grebe: 3 around
Balearic Shearwater: 1E  1W
Gannet: 228W
Cormorant: 13 around
Arctic Skua: 18W
Mediterranean Gull: 1W
Black Tern: 1W
Sandwich Tern: 709W
Common Tern: 17W
Swallow: 111 out

Harbour Porpoise: 3+

Friday, 11 September 2015

1 out of 2!

 Short-toed Treecreeper in a private garden at Dungeness on Thursday evening 10/09/2015
Brent Goose past the fishing boats
Sea watch totals over the last 2 days have been abysmal. A few Arctic Skuas tooing and froing, a single Great Skua, 4 Common Snipe coming in from the continent was yesterday mornings highlight, I cant think of an avian highlight from today's sea watches, at least the Porpoises and Seals have given us something to look at, whilst spending the afternoons basking in the September sunshine with seemingly perfect wind conditions but no birds.  
1 of several Harbour Porpoises  that can be seen from by the fishing boats daily.
Migrant passerines have been scarce around peninsular, though c18 Wheatears this afternoon opposite Jarmans was good, 4 Firecrests, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Common Redstarts, 4 Whinchats, small numbers each of Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Common and lesser Whitethroat and Blackcap. The exception have been good numbers of Swallows, Sand Martins, Yellow Wagtails and Siskins. I missed Thursdays Ortolan seen and heard by DW by a few minutes, but was lucky enough to get brief views of the Short-toed Treecreeper just before dark.
Today at the ARC no sign of the White-winged Black Tern. On what is left of the fast disappearing islands 4 Ruff, 3 Avocets, c150 Golden Plover, c200 Lapwing and the usual wildfowl. I also missed a Stratospheric Honey Buzzard seen by SO over the south end of the ARC lunchtime.
Highlight from last nights moth catch was a single Vestal, 2 Silver Y and only 40 Setaceous Hebrew Characters.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Mostly sea watching!

06.10-09.10 from the fishing boats with AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Wigeon: 79W
Pintail: 9W
Common Scoter: 103W
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 7E
Sparrowhawk: 1 around
Oystercatcher: 3E
Dunlin 1 down
Pomarine Skua: 1 around
Arctic Skua: 10  around
Sandwich Tern: 172W
Common Tern: 6W
Arctic Tern: 6W
Little Tern: 10W
Black Tern: 2W
Guillemot: 1 around
Swallow: 138 out
Sand Martin: 5 out
Yellow Wagtail: 44 out
Grey Wagtail: 1 heard
A wander around The Moat produced of note a Whinchat, Stonechat, Wheatear, 4 Chiffchaffs and 2 Common Whitethroats.
Whinchat in The Moat
On the ARC from the causeway the White-winged Black Tern briefly before it towered away towards the power station, though I understand that it returned to the ARC this afternoon.
While emptying the Plodland MV Yellow Wagtails were calling over head constantly, a steady trickle of Swallows, a couple of Siskins and a Tree Pipit.
From Springfield Bridge a Great-white Egret, a Hobby and more Yellow Wagtails. It would appear from speaking to other birders that there was little in the way of grounded migrants on the peninsular.
This afternoon while sea watching I spotted a wader a long way out coming in, it seemed a bit erratic in flight and wasn't sure what it was until it came closer, it eventually landed in front of me on the waters edge, a small wave promptly bowled it over making me think it was tired after crossing the English Channel, I then realised that it's bill was open all the time so took some images of it and shortly after it flew off inland. On closer inspection of the images this evening it appears that the lower mandible may be broken, see the image below. 
Redshank with broken lower mandible?
Sea watch from the fishing boats 13.00-16.00 with AJG,BC. MH and PT.
Brent Goose: 4W
Shelduck: 2E
Teal: 1E   25W
Common Scoter: 27E
Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 9E
Cormorant: 6 around
Oystercatcher: 1E
Sanderling: 2W
Turnstone: 3 around
Redshank: 1 in
Curlew: 1E
Arctic Skua:  8E   4W
Sandwich Tern: 140E   27W
Common Tern: 8E
Guillemot: 1 around (different bird from this morning)
Swallow: 43 out
Grey Seal: 1
Common Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise:  10+

Burnished Brass always nice to find one of these in the MV

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

A Sooty Shearwater in the Sun!

06.50-08.40 from near the fishing boats, numbers collated by AJG:
Brent Goose: 4E
Teal: 66W
Common Scoter: 3E
Fulmar: 1E
Gannet: 48E
Arctic Skua: 6E
Sandwich Tern: 119E
Common Tern: 26E
Swallow: 338E
Around The Point migrants were very thin on the ground, in fact it was virtually bird less. On the reserve I could not find the Red-backed Shrike, though a Wheatear and a Whinchat were seen. The Cattle egret put in a brief appearance at Boulderwall Farm before disappearing in a distant ditch. From Springfield Bridge 2 Great White Egrets, 2 Yellow Wagtails, a Hobby, the usual Marsh Harriers and a couple of Siskins over.
A walk down Denge Marsh Gully and out to the power station saw 12 Wheatears, 2 Whinchats, 4 Common Whitethroats, a steady trickle of Swallows moving east but little else, though a huge rig being towed down channel was interesting.
 Probably the reason I saw very little in Denge Marsh Gully was the presence of the environment agency and their reed cutting boat/machine.

Sooty Shearwater
14.00-16.00 from the fishing boats with AJG and BM.
Brent Goose: 2W
Wigeon: 2E
Common Scoter:  3E   60W
Great-crested Grebe: 7 around
Fulmar: 1W
Sooty Shearwater: 1E
Gannet: 15E
Pomarine Skua: 1 juv E
Arctic Skua: 10E
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 juv/1w around
Mediterranean Gull: 1stW  E
Sandwich Tern: 67E
Common Tern: 9E
Swallow: 61E
Harbour Porpoise: 12+
Common Seal: 1
Grey Seal: 1

3 Harbour Porpoises, 1 on the surface 2 just under the surface.

Late afternoon at the ARC from Hanson the lake was carpeted with Sand Martins, c100 Golden Plover, c150 Lapwing, 7 Ruff, a Black Tern, a Black-necked Grebe and the usual wildfowl. There was no sign of the White-winged Black Tern seen earlier.
The Plodland MV continues to be dominated by Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 3 Vestals were the quality.

Monday, 7 September 2015

A morning at Dungeness!

This morning in front the power station I was unable to find the White-winged Black Tern, just 3 Common Terns over the boil and 1w Mediterranean Gull, also a few Gannets and Sandwich Terns off shore. On the beach 5 Wheatears, 2 Black Redstarts on the perimeter fence and 2 Grey Wagtails over.
Around The Point c150 Linnets in scattered flocks, an almost constant stream of Siskins and Yellow Wagtails over head for a while, a Spotted Flycatcher in the lighthouse garden, 2 Chiffchaffs and 2 Wheatears in the station gorse, 2 Common Whitethroats at West Beach, 3 Black Redstarts and a Willow Warbler  at Lloyds,. Round The Moat 4+ Common Whitethroats, a Blackcap, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff and 3 more Wheatears, also 2+ Peregrines and a Raven around the power station.
 Linnets at West beach
 Spotted Flycatcher in the lighthouse garden
 Migrant Hawker on the perimeter wall
 On the reserve the Red-backed Shrike was showing well from the entrance track along with 2 Stonechats, 2 Wheatears and several Common Whitethroats, overhead more Siskins and Yellow Wagtails and 2 Marsh Harriers.
 Red-backed Shrike

From the garden a party of 6 Common Buzzards flew S.E. A steady stream of Swallows with a few each of House and Sand Martin and a Swift flew S.E. also some Siskins and Yellow Wagtails over.
From Springfield Bridge 2 Great White Egrets, a Cattle Egret, 2 Little Egrets, more Hirundines and Yellow Wagtails and a Common Sandpiper.
A Red Underwing by the Plodland trap this morning

Sunday, 6 September 2015

A few Bits!

 Quiet at Denge Marsh Gully this morning, 2 Willow Warblers, 10+ Common Whitethroats, 2 Whinchats, 2 Wheatears, 14 Yellow Wagtails, 6 Siskin, a Raven and a Peregrine.
 Hobby at Denge Marsh
A Denge Marsh another 20+ Yellow Wagtails, 10 Meadow Pipits, a Merlin, 4 Common Buzzards, 3 Marsh Harriers, 2 Hobby's, 2 Great White Egrets, 2 Little Egrets, many Swallows, House and Sand Martins mainly stratospheric.
 Hobby over Denge Marsh
 At the top end of the Long Pits, a Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, 5 Common Whitethroats, 5 Blackcaps and 4 Yellow wagtails over.
At The Patch the juvenile White-winged Black Tern feeding along the scum line, 2 Mediterranean Gulls adult + 1w, an Arctic Skua chasing Terns off shore and a distant Great Skua west. 2 Black Redstarts inside the power station wall.
 This evening on the reserve the juvenile Red-backed shrike continues to show well, also 2 Whinchats, a Wheatear and 2 Stonechats.

Juvenile Honey Buzzard Pas de Calais 04/09/2015

Thursday, 3 September 2015

An average day at Dungeness!

Around the Desert area this morning 16 Common Whitethroats, 3 Blackcaps, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, 2 Whinchats, 3 Wheatears, 3 Black Redstarts, a Marsh Harrier, 2 Sparrowhawks and many Hirundines.

1 of 3 Black Redstarts at Lloyd
 Common Whitethroat
 House Martin over the Desert
A drive down the track to the visitor centre saw the Red-backed Shrike and another 2 Whinchats.
Late morning while emptying the Plodland moth trap the local Herring Gulls started kicking off, I looked up and saw to large raptors overhead, I ran to the car to grab my binoculars then remembered the keys were indoors, by the time I got my binoculars onto them the first one was disappearing into the sun, fortunately I got long enough views of the second bird to see that it was a Honey Buzzard. Knowing that MH was at Dengemarsh I phoned him, while speaking to him he saw both birds, confirming 1 bird as a Common Buzzard the other as a Honey Buzzard. 
 Cattle Egret
Midday at Springfield Bridge the Cattle Egret found by MH earlier popped up on top a bush in front of Dengemarsh hide for a few minutes before flying towards and around me. While there 3+ Hobby's could be seen along with a Peregrine, several more Common Buzzards,, 3 Sparrowhawks, 3 Kestrels, 3+ Marsh Harriers, 3 Great White Egrets, 3+ Little Egrets, 15+ Yellow Wagtails, 100s of Sand Martins and more, just another day at Dungeness.

Cattle Egret
A very worn Hobby
Yellow Wagtails
This afternoon from Hanson c100 Golden Plover, 7 Knot, 5 Ruff, 6 Dunlin, 2 Redshank c200 Lapwing all trying to cram in on what is left of the islands, another Hobby, a White-winged Black Tern, 100s more Sand Martins, House Martins and Swallows as well as all the usual wildfowl. Round the car park, a mixed flock of Tits joined by Willow, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Common Whitethroats and a Lesser Whitethroat, also a couple of Cetti's Warblers calling.
Tomorrow we're off to Cap Gris Nez hopefully for a good sea watch.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Barn Owl makes the day for me!

 First stop this morning was on the causeway to rescue a Mute Swan that was waddling down the carriageway, it was the third one this year I have rescued from the road. I think they land on it when it is wet thinking that it is a body of water.
Further down the causeway a quick look at the ARC saw one of the White-winged Black terns and 2 Black Terns.
I parked at the lighthouse and made my way to the obsevatory, seeing on the way 100s of Swallows, lesser numbers of Sand Martins and House Martins, a few Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Common Whitethroats, Blackcaps, a Whinchat and a Black Redstart.
 One of 2 Tree Pippits that alighted on the observatory roof
While I was at the obsevatory a Spotted Flycatcher and a few Willow Warblers were caught also 2 Tree Pipits landed on the roof.  
 My next stop was at the top end of the Long Pits which was quite busy with Willow Warblers, Common Whitethroats, Blackcaps, a couple of Chiffchaffs and 2 more Spotted Flycatchers. As I turned into the ride cut a couple of years ago by OL and his volunteers, I was amazed to see a Barn Owl asleep just a few feet in front of me, I fired off a couple of images and I guess the shutter noise woke the Owl which promptly flew away towards the trapping area. This is the first Barn Owl I have seen in the official DBO recording area.
 A Stunner!!!
 At lunch time just as I finished emptying the Plodland MVwhich contained a Large Thorn new for me and another 7 Vestals, also 133 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, I received a message from The Birding Gardener about a Wryneck at the southern edge of the trapping area he had found. I made my way there and got a brief flight viewbefore it seemed to disappear. While waiting for it to appear I got another message from PT this time about a Red-backed Shrike on the reserve, as my time was limited I gave up on the Wryneck and was very soon watching the Red-backed Shrike.
 Red-backed Shrike against a thundery background!

A distant White-winged Black Tern

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Not a bad day!

From the causeway this morning the 2 White-winged Black Terns and 3 Black Terns could be seen hawking, along with many House and Sand Martins and a few Swallows. 
Willow Warbler in the Station Gorse
A wander around the Desert area with AJG saw a few each of Willow Warblers and Common Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Redstart, a Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Whinchats, 5 Wheatears, c20 Meadow Pipits and 2 each of Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers. Overhead many House Martins and Swallows with a few Sand Martins and a few Yellow Wagtails.
At Lloyds a Firecrest and Black Redstart and a couple more Willow Warblers. Also between the obsevatory and the Old lighthouse I flushed 9 Vestals, 
 Wheatear in the Desert
In Dengemarsh Gully 4 each of Willow Warbler and Common Whitethroat, a Whinchat, my first Chiffchaff of the autumn, 2 Ravens and a Peregrine.
At Scotney 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Common Sandpipers, c10 Yellow Wagtails and the best part of 1,500 feral Geese but once again no sign of the Spoonbills.

A sea watch from near the boats 13.45-15.00:
Teal: 8W
Balearic Shearwater: 1W
Gannet: 6W
Turnstone: 1 on beach
Common Sandpiper: 1 on beach
Arctic Skua: 1W
Black Tern: 2 around
Sandwich Tern: 17W   c20 around
Common Tern: 22W  c20 around
Arctic Tern: 1W juvenile
Harbour Porpoise: 6+
Teal: 8W
Common Sandpiper from Firth
On the reserve the Icterine Warbler was seen again (not by me). 4 Black-necked Grebes, 3 from Dennis's and 1 from Makepiece, 4 Common Sandpipers, a large mixed flock of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, with several each of Reed, Sedge, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Common and Lesser Whitethroats and Chaffinches.
This evening from Springfield bridge 2 Great White Egrets, 4 Marsh Harriers and a Bittern of note before the rain came again. 
 Black-necked Grebes from Dennis's

 Another Jersey Tiger in the Plodland MV also 6 Vestals
Dytiscus sp. in the trap this morning