Sunday, 20 September 2015

Another good day!

 Goldcrest reluctant to leave the observatory
Another excellent mornings wander around The Desert:
Chiffchaff: 39
Willow Warbler: 2
Blackcap: 8
Lesser Whitethroat: 3
Common Whitethroat: only 2
Common Redstart: 1
Black Redstart: 1
Whinchat: 2
Wheatear: 3
Spotted Flycatcher: 2
Goldcrest: 2
Swallow/House Martin: 1,000s could be seen all day around the peninsular
Siskin: c100 most unseen over
Redpoll: 13 over
Skylark: 2 over
Grey Wagtail: 2 over
Meadow Pipit: c120 around
Tree Pipit: 1 over
Yellow wagtail: 5 over
Reed Bunting: 9 over
Wryneck: 1
Marsh Harrier: 2 out + 1 over
Sparrowhawk: 2 around
 The elusive Wryneck
 Willow Warbler
 Black Redstart at Lloyds
A couple of hours watching from the garden saw 5 Common Buzzards, 3 Marsh Harriers, a Hobby, more Siskins and Meadow Pipits over, 2 Yellow Wagtails over and numerous Hirundines.
15.30-16.30 from the fishing boats with RW:
Gannet: 27W
Turnstone: 2 around
Pomarine Skua: 1 around
Arctic Skua: 2 around
Black Tern: 2W
Sandwich Tern: 46W
Common Tern: 14W
Swallow: c200 out
Wheatear: 3 on beach
Convolvulus Hawkmoth
A good weekend in the moth trap with a Convolvulus Hawkmoth, 3 Scarce Bordered Straws, Dark Swordgrass, Pearly Underwing, 54 Noctuella and the first Feathered Brindle of the year in the trap hiding among 100s of Setaceous Hebrew Characters.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Wilson's Phalarope

Redstart at Lloyds
A bird filled walk around The Point this morning, every bush and piece of scrub seemed to have birds
in Chiffchaffs were everywhere closely followed by Common Whitethroats, Robins, smaller numbers of Willow Warblers, Blackcaps, Lesser Whitethroats and Wheatears A Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Sparrowhawks, a Common Redstart and 5 Black Redstarts, while overhead 100s of Swallows, House Martins, smaller numbers of Yellow Wagtails, Siskins, Meadow Pipits, 2 Tree Pipits.
A quick look at the New Diggings saw 100s of Sand Martins over the lake and Great White Egret on the western shore.
Redstart at Lloyds
Wilson's Phalarope Panel Valley Scrape
I was just about to go down to the fishing boats for an afternoon sea watch when I received a call from Brian Murray to say he had just found a Wilson's Phalarope on the Panel Valley Scrape. A very quick change of plans, as I missed the 1987 bird at Sidlesham Ferry due to being on holiday in the old Yugoslavia. Within the hour I was getting very distant views of the Phalarope, it did come a little closer though not much. I was surprised at the neglected state of this once excellent site, the islands were all overgrown and the height of the reeds made viewing difficult. While there 4+ Hobby's were seen, a Peregrine, 2 Marsh Harriers, a Common Buzzard, Barn Owl, Whinchat, 2 Stonechats and 100s of Hirundines. Thanks again for the call Brian.
A short video of the Wilson's Phalarope

Friday, 18 September 2015

Wash Out!

 Sooty Shearwater past the fishing boats this morning
08.50-10.05 from the fishing boats:
Common Scoter: 5W
Great-crested Grebe: 4 around
Sooty Shearwater: 1W
Gannet: 194W      21E
Cormorant: 9 around
Turnstone: 5 on beach
Arctic Skua: 6 around
Sandwich Tern: 124W    73E
Common Tern: 15W
Swallow:  500+ out
Yellow Wagtail: 5 on beach
Meadow Pipit: 27W
Wheatear: 2 on beach
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise 4+
Most of today was a wash out, giving me the chance to do some domestic stuff.
 Whinchat ARC
During a lull in the weather I made a quick visit to the ARC. The walk to the Pines found Chiffchaffs in every bush, also a few Common Whitethroats, Blackcaps and a Lesser Whitethroat, at the Pines a Whinchat more Chiffchaffs 2 Goldcrests and a constant stream of Swallows through, the islands on the lake have all but gone, though a few Lapwings were still roosting on what is left of them. Back at the car park a Spotted Flycatcher on the wires then the rain returned. The Great White Egrets and Cattle Egret were both reported as still being on the reserve today. The Wryneck was seen again today in the Gorse south of the trapping area.
A little better in the moth trap this morning with a Small Mottled Willow, Scarce Bordered Straw, 3 Noctuella's and 3 Silver Y.

Thursday, 17 September 2015


Whinchat, 1 of at least 9 around The Point
Despite no sign of the Wryneck there were still many birds around and over The Point this morning, including the beach up to the lifeboat station a minimum of 42 Wheatears, 9 Whinchats, 2 Stonechats, many Common Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs, smaller numbers of Reed Buntings, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap and Willow Warblers, lots of Siskins over though probably only 40-50 seen, many more Meadow Pipits, 3+ Tree Pipits, Grey and Yellow Wagtails, 100s of Hirundines, at least 3 Swifts, a Black Redstart, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2+ Sparrowhawks, a Hobby, a Goldcrest in the observatory garden.
 Wheatear, 1 of at least 42 around The Point
At the north end of the Long Pits at least 3 Spotted Flycatchers, many Sylvia Warblers and Chiffchaffs, a Cetti's Warbler, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Green Woodpecker, more Siskins, Meadow Pipits and Hirundines over, also another Hobby.
 Spotted Flycatcher north end of the Long Pits
At lunchtime Dengemarsh Gully was surprisingly quiet except for the steady stream of Swallows leaving for the continent. The hedges in Denge Marsh Road did however hold lots of Common Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs, in the fields more Wheatears, 2 more Whinchats and Yellow Wagtails. A short visit to Springfield Bridge saw the usual Marsh Harriers but not a single Egret, though Great White, Little and the Cattle Egret were seen by others around the reserve.
Juvenile Gannet passing the fishing boats
The main event this afternoon was the spectacle of countless Swallows streaming out to sea over and either side of me, as far as I could see. ere the main event this afternoon, I started counting them but could not keep up, so I sat back and enjoyed the spectacle.
14.20-16.20 from the boats:
Great-crested Grebe: 4 around
Gannet: 62W
Oystercatcher: 2W
Turnstone: 2 on beach
Knot: 1W
Arctic Skua: 1W
Mediterranean Gull: 1W (1stW)
Sandwich Tern: 492W
Common Tern: 15W
Auk sp: 1W
Swallows: 2,000-3,000 out (probably a very conservative estimate)
Harbour Porpoise: 3+

Turnstone on the beach this afternoon

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

A good day despite the weather!

Meadow Pipit resting on the beach this morning
Another thoroughly miserable day on the peninsular. In the partial shelter of the fishing boats with CP 08.05-10.45:
Common Scoter: 16E  1W
Great-crested Grebe: 3 around
Fulmar: 2W
Gannet: 41E  6W
Ruff: 1 in
Arctic Skua: 9E
Sandwich Tern: 165E   17W
Common Tern: 3E
Swallow: 31 out
Yellow wagtail: 4E
Meadow Pipit: 51E
Linnet: 22 around
Siskin: 32 out
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
Common Seal: 1around
Grey Seal: 1 around
I missed a Pomarine Skua and a Great Skua which were seen by AJG and BC who were in the sea watch hide.
I only left the boats because the rain was making viewing very difficult, also the lure of a hot cup of coffee and full English at home was irresistible. On the way back 2 Great White Egrets could be seen on the New Diggings, a brief look at the fields at Boulderwall saw the Cattle Egret through the gloom. 
After breakfast and a warm up at home, the rain eased around midday. I decided to go back to the beach, on the way DW tweeted a Wryneck at the south end of the trapping area, a few minutes later I was at the area where the Wryneck was last seen. The rain started up again, a Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Whitethroat were seen, fortunately I almost trod on the Wryneck so got a brief flight view of it as it disappeared into some Sallows. The rain was now very heavy so I wimped out and made my way back to the observatory.
A party of 4 Balearic Shearwaters off the fishing boats this afternoon
It was either go home, or go to the relative shelter of the fishing boats for another sea watch, the boats won!
13.45-17.00 joined later by PT, AJG and BM:
Brent Goose: 1W
Wigeon: 4W
Common Scoter: 3W
Great-crested Grebe: 5 around
Fulmar: 3W
Manx Shearwater: 1W
Balearic Shearwater: 12W
Gannet: 492W
Cormorant: 17 around
Dunlin: 8W
Great Skua: 5W
Arctic Skua: 10W
Kittiwake: 4W
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 on beach
Black Tern: 3 around
Sandwich Tern: 626 W
Common Tern: 25W
Swallow: 1,413 out
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise:  3+

Yellow-legged Gull on the beach this afternoon

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.