Thursday, 31 March 2016

Black-necked Grebe!

Much quieter around The Point today, but still a few Firecrests, Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests and Wheatears around. A Brambling flying over the observatory was my first for the year.
On the New Diggings 2 Slavonian Grebes and 2 Black-necked Grebes and a Swallow through. At the back of Scotney my first 2 Yellow Wagtails of the year, also of note a couple of Corn Buntings, some Skylarks, 2 Common Buzzards and Peregrine. On the walk back 2 more Yellow Wagtails flew over.
 Yellow Wagtails, Scotney.
An afternoon wander around Dengemarsh from Springfield Bridge saw of note, 2 Rock Pipits, a White Wagtail, 4 Bearded Tits, another Swallow and a Great White Egret.
Late afternoon following a tip off from Tony and Brenda I got superb views of a Black-necked Grebe on the reserve, also my 150th patch species this year a Merlin.

Keeping the Wheatear count up for Mr Gale!

Wednesday, 30 March 2016


First thing this morning as I came out the door this Swallow was flying round in front the house.
Firecrest 1 of an amazing 78 seen by me today!
An excellent morning spent plodding around the bushes at The Point and in the Desert also the very north end of the Long Pits. My personal total of Firecrests was an amazing 61, if only my hearing was as good as DW then I'm sure it would have been 100+. For the cumulative total of Firecrests seen in the DOB recording area see also seen were 37 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, a Continental Coal Tit, 4+ Wheatears, 4+ Black Redstarts, a Cetti's Warbler and a Sparrowhawk.
Black Redstart at Lloyds
1 of at least 37 Chiffchaffs in the recording area
Singing Wheatear opposite Jarmans
Small Tortoiseshell at the Long Pits
Partial Summer Plumage Slavonian Grebe
On the New Diggings 2 partial summer plumage Slavonian Grebes and a Black-necked Grebe. Nearby on the Boulderwall Pools a drake and duck Smew.
Bearded Tit ARC
A walk from the ARC car park to the pines saw another 2 Firecrests, 5 Chiffchaffs, a Swallow, 2 Bearded Tits which flew over the track and 2 more Black Redstarts around the water tower.
A distant Tundra Bean Goose 
Dengemarsh Gully and the road side gorse was positively jumping with birds, at least 15 more Firecrests, 40+ Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, a Blackcap, 2 Wheatears, a Raven and 2 Marsh Harriers. The Tundra Bean Geese was trying to distance itself from the Greylags in the fields opposite the chicken sheds.
Galloways was very disappointing with just a single Chiffchaff, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Stonechats and a Red-legged Partridge.
Possibly a victim of storm Katie.
Late afternoon at Scotney a Black-necked grebe on the main lake, 3 Brent Geese on the sward, along with 2 Redshank, a Curlew, 6 Oystercatchers, 7 Ringed Plovers and 23 Wigeon. By the cycle track fence the remains of a Barn Owl which may have been a victim of storm Katie by being blown into the fence.

Monday, 28 March 2016

As the Lydd to Dungeness road was closed between Cockles Bridge and the reserve entrance by fallen power lines for most of the day I visited Scotney. Storm Katie's was still blowing hard. The sward was virtually birdless apart from a few Wigeon and the wing shot Geese that cant get away. Herring Gull was awash, just a handful of Gulls were hunkered down on it.
 Unsurprisingly little to be seen at Scotney today!
My next stop was Galloways where at the bottom a mass of Gulls fed along tide line, though I couldn't find anything of note among them.  
1 of at least 3 Firecrests in Dengemarsh Gully.
Dengemarsh Gully did offer some protection from the wind, 3 Firecrests were seen along with 4 Linnets and the usual Dunnocks, Robins, Wrens.
This afternoon at Dengemarsh viewed from the Chicken Sheds, the Tundra Bean Goose wasn't doing its credentials any favours by associating with 2 Egyptian Geese, 7 Barnacle Geese, 6 Canada Geese and c40 Greylag Geese.
It would seem that there was an arrival of Sand Martins on the peninsula today, not that I saw any, though I'm sure by the end of July I may have seen 1 or 2.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

A couple of sea watches

Strong WSW wind this morning with occasional blustery showers didn't inspire me to an early start.
09.00-10.00 from The Point Dungeness:
Brent Goose: 440E
Red-throated Diver: 9E     1 on sea
Great-crested Grebe: present n/c
Gannet: 6E     3W
Cormorant: present n/c
Curlew: 2E
Great Skua: 1E
Sandwich Tern: 3E

Brent Goose: 23E
Red-throated Diver: 2E
Great-crested Grebe: present n/c
Gannet: 3W
Cormorant: present n/c
Kittiwake: 5W
Sandwich Tern: 12W  presumably back to Rye to roost.

On the reserve The Spoonbill, Great White Egrets, Smew, Bitterns, Black-necked Grebes, Tundra bean Goose and more all seen today.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Southerly Blow!

1w Iceland Gull past the sea watch hide this morning.
Brent Goose: 620E
Shoveller: 6E
Common Scoter: 429E
Velvet Scoter: 1E
Red-throated diver: 52E
Great-crested Grebe: 6E       13 on sea
Fulmar: 27E      6W
Gannet: 204E    11W
Cormorant: present
Oystercatcher: 5E
Arctic Skua: 3E
Kittiwake: 25E
Mediterranean Gull: 12E
Iceland Gull: 1 o/s
Yellow-legged Gull: 1   2w o/s
Sandwich Tern: 19E   1W
Guillemot: 6E
Auk sp: 6E
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
After an entertaining 4hrs in the hide I was numb with cold, so I went home for a warming cooked breakfast and coffee then promptly nodded off for an hour.
Early afternoon at Boulderwall the remaining Spoonbill was awake and had a little fly around, 6 Smew there including 2 drakes and 2 Little Egrets.
 Firecrest in the lighthouse garden.
In the lighthouse garden Firecrests were showing well, it seemed every bush or piece of scrub around the peninsula held at least 1 Firecrest. A text from BM telling of a Common Tern at The Patch, I arrived at the hide shortly after seeing 2 Common Terns there.
Another sea watch mid afternoon 15.45-16.45:
Brent Goose: 6E
Common Scoter: 10E
Red-breasted Merganser: 2E      1W
Red-throated Diver: 5E
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 65E
Great Skua: 1E
Kittiwake: 5E
Little Gull: 1E
Auk sp: 2E
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
Late afternoon 2 Black-necked Grebes and 2 Slavonian Grebes were on the New Diggings. A Tundra Bean Goose was in the fields behind Dengemarsh with 7 Barnacle Geese, 2 Egyptian Geese and several Greylag Geese.  
Early Grey from the Plodland MV this morning.

Friday, 25 March 2016

More Migrants!

 A bit of a lay in this morning as a light northerly wind was forecast. My first stop was the Boulderwall Pools to see if the Spoonbill was still present, as I scanned the pools I was pleasantly surprised to see 2 adult Spoonbills at the far end of the second pool, 5 Smew including 2 drakes(the first time I have seen 2 drakes here this winter) were swimming around in front of the Spoonbills. On the banks of the pools a Great White Egret and 3 Little Egrets also c40 Wigeon, 12 Curlew, a Common Buzzard was sitting on a fence post and 2 Marsh Harriers were hunting the ditches.
On the New Diggings 2+ Black-necked Grebes still.
 Firecrest feeding on the grass
In the lighthouse Garden 4+ Firecrests, 3 of which were feeding on the grass with 3 Chiffchaffs.
 Chiffchaff in the lighthouse garden
 Continental Coal Tit
While watching the Firecrests and Chiffchaffs 2 Continental Coal Tits appeared, stayed for a short while before apparently flying off south. In the lighthouse area 4+ Black Redstarts mainly around the research station. Around the rest of the scrub another 12+ Firecrests, 6 Chiffchaffs, 5 Goldcrests and another 2 Black Redstarts.
 Firecrest at Lloyds
A text from SO had me twitching my first Wheatear of the year, a female on the beach near Jarmans. The Gorse and Broom beside the entrance road held at least another 5 Firecrests and 2 more Black Redstarts. While wandering around the beach c270 Brent Geese flew east.
My first Wheatear of the year (picture for Steve Gale)
At Scotney still 2 Black-necked Grebes still and the Little Owl showed briefly otherwise very quiet there.
A scan of the fields in front of Plodland put Spoonbill on the house year list as it had a little fly around, also Great White Egret, 3 Marsh Harriers, Common Buzzard, Peregrine, Raven and 2 Red Legged Partridges.
A mid afternoon sea watch was very slow, 3 Red-throated Divers and 2 Gannets flew east in 30 minutes.
Late afternoon at the pines 2 more Black Redstarts but no sign of the male Wheatear seen by SO.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

A few Migrants!

Sea watching today 07.20-09.30
Brent Goose: 1,165E
Teal: 8E
Gadwall: 2E
Common Scoter: 43E
Eider: 1E
Red-throated Diver: 24E       1W
Great-crested Grebe: 4E          5 on sea
Fulmar: 2E
Gannet: 33E     3W
Cormorant: present
Oystercatcher: 5E
Kittiwake: 1E
Sandwich Tern: 1W
Auk sp: 2E
Carrion Crow: 2 in
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
1 of 3 Woodcocks flushed from the scrub
In the scrub and bushes around The Point some migrants at last, 12+ Firecrests, 5+ Goldcrests, 6+ Chiffchaffs and 3 Woodcocks. Several Wheatears were reported, I managed to miss them all.
2 Black-necked Grebes still on the New Diggings. On Dengemarsh a Great White Egret, a Bittern briefly and the usual Marsh Harriers, in the fields 7 Barnacle Geese and 2 Egyptian Geese and no sign of any of the Wheatears reported there.
This afternoon sea watch was very slow:
14.00-16.00 from the turning circle: with a merciful break to twitch a Spoonbill on Boulderwall Pool where 2 Peregrines were seen along with a red head Smew.
Brent Goose: 360E
Red-throated Diver: 4E
Gannet: 3E
Guillemot: 1E
The Plodland MV caught 6 Hebrew Characters and 4 Common Quakers.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Across the Channel!

Sea watching from the top of Cap Gris Nez.
Another brilliant day out in northern France with MH,CP and PT. We started with a surprisingly good sea watch at Cap Gris Nez in hazy, still, warm conditions.
Brent Goose: c150N
Garganey: 1N
Common Scoter: c100N
Red-breasted merganser: 7N
Red-throated Diver: 204N
Great-crested Grebe: c25 on sea
Fulmar: c30N
Gannet: c100N
Cormorant: present N/C
Curlew: 4N
Dunlin: 8N
Kittiwake: c100N
Mediterranean Gull: 5N
Little Gull: c30N
Sandwich Tern: 6N
Razorbill: 1N
Auk sp: 9N
Rock Pipit: several present
Yellowhammer: several present.
Harbour Porpoise: 4+
Grey Seal: 1
Several Grey Partridges seen in nearby fields.
Our next stop was Guinnes where in now gloriously warm sunshine we saw several each of Short-toed Treecreepers, Nuthatches, Marsh Tits, Long-tailed Tits a couple of Common Buzzards soared over the wood and Chiffchaffs were singing but woodpeckers were notable by there absence. Also 2 Hawfinches were seen by one of us, not me.  Nearby a Kingfish, Great-white Egret and more Short-toed Treecreepers and Chiffchaffs singing, a Water Rail scuttled along a ditch and others were calling. The ditches around the board walk held plenty of Toads and Frogs.
Next stop was Oye Plage, around the car park 5+ Chiffchaff, from the hide 5 Garganey and plenty of Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon, Pintail, and Mallard, c30 Common Snipe, 15+ Golden Plover, many Lapwing and Little Grebe. At The Escardines c70 Avocet, 2 Black-necked Grebes, 2 Spoonbills, c100 Pintail and more Wigeon, Teal and Shelduck.
 Another good day out in great company with a total of 100 species seen today.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Very little change in the birds around Dungeness in the last couple of days. The first Sand Martin appeared at the ARC this afternoon per BH, also this afternoon a Spoonbill flew around Dengemarsh being seen from the ramp by TH and from Springfield Bridge by RW. A Garganey was seen from the ramp per RO.
Slavonian Grebes and Black-necked Grebes can still be seen on the New Diggings,  5 Smew were on the Boulderwall Pools, also 2 Hares there and 3+ Great White Egrets could be seen. Yesterday by hayfield 3 7 Rock Pipits (4 Littoralis) a surprisingly scarce bird on the ground at Dungeness were feeding by the track. Bitterns, Bearded Tits and Cetti's warblers have been seen frequently around Dengemarsh, even some half hearted booming being heard. By Scott hide 4 Redpolls. 
While walking around Dengemarsh and Scotney today c500 Brent Geese moved east along the coast, 2 more Black-necked Grebes were on Scotney with 48 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plovers, 2 Redshanks and a Curlew.
Rock Pipit, Dengemarsh
This mornings sea watch 08.00-0845:
Brent Goose: 475E
Tufted Duck: 1E
Common Scoter: 36E   3W
Red-throated Diver: 21E
Great-crested Grebe: present N/C
Gannet: 16E    2W
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
Black-necked Grebe, New Diggings

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Yet another cold dull occasionally drizzly day in a brisk NE wind.
Still 2 Slavonian and 1 Black-necked Grebe on the New Diggings as I made my way to the beach this morning.
07.00-09.00 from the sea watch hide:
Brent goose: 1E
Common Scoter: 43E
Red-throated diver: 151E
Great-crested Grebe: present N/C
Fulmar: 12E  1W
Gannet: 64E
Cormorant: present N/C
Oystercatcher: 5E
Black-tailed Godwit: 7E
Mediterranean Gull: 1 around
Sandwich Tern: 4E
Auk sp: 5E
Starling: 1 in
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
After spending a few hours doing domestic stuff I joined SO at the fishing boats for another sea watch.
Probably the worst sea watch I have had at Dungeness:
Red-throated Diver: 1E
Great-crested Grebe: present N/C
Cormorant: Present N/C
Gannet: 7E
Oystercatcher: 3W
100+ Brent Geese moved east just before I arrived.