Saturday, 16 July 2016

Mainly Moths!

Cynaeda dentalis a stunning micro!
Last night was the best night of the year so far for moths in the Plodland MV. It took me the best part of the morning to go through them all, then take those I couldn't ID to the observatory for DW to enlighten me.
A wander around the reserve this afternoon was typically quiet for the time of day and year, A few islands on Burrowes attracted a Little Stint, 3 Dunlin, 3 Redshank including a partial albino juvenile, 3 Ringed Plovers and a Turnstone. Elsewhere on the reserve a Hobby 3 Marsh Harriers, 5+ Little Egrets and few singing warblers.
This evening at Scotney, 7 Common Sandpipers, 23 Curlews, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Little Owls, a distant Barn Owl, a few pulses of Sand martins heading west, a few each of Yellow Wagtails and Corn Buntings and 3 Marsh Harriers.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Barn Owls!

One of this evenings Barn Owls at Scotney
 Commom Terns at Dengemarsh
After being tied up with domestic stuff for the best part of a month it was good to get out today and return to some semblance of normality.
First thing this morning I walked from Springfield Bridge around the hay fields to Dengemarsh and Hookers. Among the Cows on Dengemarsh Flood, 30+ Yellow Wagtails mostly juveniles were busy feeding along with a few Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails and Reed Buntings. A family of Bearded Tits were in the adjacent ditch. No sign of the Glossy Ibis or Cattle Egret but 4+ Little Egrets in hay field 3 with regular pulses of Sand Martins heading into the NW wind. On Dengemarsh the Common terns were busy feeding chicks, while over the reed bed 2 Marsh Harriers were hunting. From the viewing ramp another party of Bearded Tits, lots of Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings, also a couple of Cetti's Warblers could be heard chacking as could a couple of squealing Water Rails.
Goldfinches taking advantage of fresh water at Plodland
 2nd year Great Black Backed Gull with an anglers discard.
Another uneventful sea awtch this afternoon 15.00-16.15 from the fishing boats,
Common Scoter: 12W
Gannet: 17E       8W
Cormorant: 7 around
Oystercatcher: 11W
Dunlin: 1E
Black-headed Gull: 23W
Common Gull: 4W
Herring Gull: N/C
Great Black Backed Gull: N/C
Sandwich Tern: 7W
Common Tern: 3W
Late afternoon at the ARC some islands are almost appearing so hopefully no rain in the near future. The Swalllows have started laying in the Screen Hide hopefully they will be successful again.
 This evening I decided to cycle to Scotney and around the tracks at the back of the lakes. Yellow Wagtails were every where, also a few Corn Buntings, 2 Common Sandpipers, a Greenshank, a Curlew and a Whimbrel. 2 Barn Owls gave superb views and a Little Owl was in the usual spot. The island in the western back lake was bird less, I would like to think that all the Avocets, Oystercatchers and Black-headed Gulls have fledged there young, but in reality I believe the Badgers have swum out and taken them all as they did last year.
 Stunning views of the Barn Owls

 Corn Bunting
 Little Owl
Whimbrel coming in to roost at last light

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Ibis again!

This morning I had a walk around the hay fields, over Dengemarsh at least 150 Sand Martins and 30 Swifts were feeding over the lake,  as I reached Springfield Bridge the Glossy Ibis flew across Dengemarsh and settled in hay field 3. A couple of minutes later as I arrived at the entrance to the field the Ibis was busy feeding with a Little Egret in the open water near the gate. I took a few images but as the light was  awful I moved on to Dengemarsh hide where at least 10 Tern chicks were seen on the raft. Walking back to the car the Ibis was still in hay field 3 though the weather was closing in as the drizzle started.
 Glossy Ibis. In one end out the other!
 Feeding well despite its injured leg.
 Glossy Ibis and friend
 Common Terns at Dengemarsh
As the drizzle cleared I joined MH at the fishing boats for a sea watch. Both of sitting in our chairs in the middle of July in fleeces, hats and gloves.
Great-crested Grebe: 1 o/s
Gannet: 49W   3E
Cormorant: 11 around
Kittiwake: 1W
Black-headed Gull: 16W
Sandwich Tern: 14W       4 o/s
Swift: 52S
Skylark: 1 singing behind beach
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
Hummingbird Hawkmoth: 1 in
Below a few images of Moths from last nights catch at Plodland.
 Pine Hawkmoth
Catoptria pinella
Ethmia bipunctella

Saturday, 9 July 2016


While I was sea watching at The point this morning, I was mercifully saved from what was  a very boring watch by the arrival of  DW and GH  who suggested we go to Sandwich Bay to see the Marsh Heleborine's.  
 100s of Marsh Heleborine's at Sandwich Bay
 Marsh Heleborine
 5 Spot Burnet, Sandwich Bay
 Small Copper, Sandwich Bay
 Marbled White, Sandwich Bay
The Plodland MV  was quite busy this morning
 Oncocera semirubella
 Argyresthia brockeella

Friday, 8 July 2016

1st Yellow-legged Gull of the Summer!

Had a very frustrating morning waiting in for the delivery of my new camera, whilst knowing that the elusive Glossy Ibis was showing well in the hay fields just a few minutes away. The camera duly arrived just before lunch. Without unpacking the new one I grabbed my old camera jumped on my bike and started off towards the hay field. By the entrance to the go cart track the bike juddered to a halt with a puncture in the rear wheel! I pushed the bike back home acquired a new inner tube and fixed the bike ready to have another try. Fortunately AJG pulled up and saved me from myself by driving me to the hay field.
 The Ibis duly showed quite well enough for us to be able to see that it's leg was injured. Around Dengemarsh a couple of Hobby's were hawking, A Marsh Harrier over the reed beds and some Common Terns feeding young on the Tern raft.
 Glossy Ibis hobbling around the field
 In Dengemarsh Road a Grass Snake slithered across the road in front of us, AJG caught it giving us a chance to view it up close.

Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull 1st one this summer
 14.30-16.00 from the fishing boats with MH & AJG,

Gannet: 3E      14W
Cormorant: 7 around
Whimbrel: 4W
Kittiwake: 4W
Mediterranean Gull: 8 feeding along the colour change
Black-headed Gull: 13W (2 juveniles)
Yellow-legged Gull: a single juvenile
Herring Gull: 6 around
Great Black Backed Gull: 4 around
Sandwich Tern: 13W
Auk sp: 1E
Swift: 18S
Sand Martin: 3S
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
 Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull
Lime Hawk Moth in the MV last night

Thursday, 7 July 2016

At The Patch this morning very few birds, not a single Common Tern and just 1 Sandwich Tern noted passing off shore, 2 Mediterranean Gulls on the beach were the only of notable Gulls.
On the reserve all the usual eclipse wildfowl. 2 Common Sandpipers on Burrowes later on per MH.
A Glossy Ibis was seen in Hayfield 2 but there was no sign late afternoon when I was looking for it. Dengemarsh seems to be awash with young Greylags and Canada Geese, lets hope all the birds have done as well. 
An hour mid afternoon at the fishing boats in the company of MH, was probably the slowest sea watch I have had at Dungeness. Just 3 Gannets, 11 Common Scoter that flew east and were probably nearer Cap Gris Nez, 13 Black-headed Gulls flew west and just 2 Sandwich Terns.
1 of several Goldfinches visiting the Plodland feeders.
The MV was much fuller of late but contained nothing unusual.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Mediterranean Gulls!

A short watch at The Patch this morning:
Common Scoter: 8W
Gannet: 16W    2E
Cormorant: 14 around
Mediterranean Gull: 3  (1ad + 2  3rd cal yr)
Black-headed Gull: c150    6 juveniles
Herring Gull: c200
Lesser Black Backed Gull: 5
Great Black Backed Gull: 26
Sandwich Tern: 2 o/s
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
 Dunnock collecting nesting material in front of Dennis's hide yesterday
Yesterday afternoon I spent a little time in Hanson hide with MH. At the moment just the old Cormorant Island has any exposed beach, hopefully this weather will continue for a while and help more islands to appear in time for the autumn wader passage. While we there the lake was covered in Coots, Gadwall, Mute Swans, Tufted Ducks and eclipse Pochard, the highlight was nice views of a Bittern flying across the lake. 
This afternoon 14.30-16.00 I joined MH at the fishing boats where we sat soaking up the glorious sunshine while having an unexpectedly interesting sea watch. Mediterranean Gulls are relatively common at Dungeness, 23W is very unusual especially as we only had a single Black-headed Gull go west.
Gannet: 28W   3E
Cormorant: 13 around
Dunlin: 2 in
Kittiwake: 1W
Mediterranean Gull: 23 W   ( 19 ad  + 4   3rd cal yr)
Black-headed Gull: 1W
Herring Gull: 4 on beach    ( c40  at the fish hut)
Great Black Backed Gull: 2E     (8 at the fish hut)
Sandwich Tern: 4 o/s
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
Grey Seal: 1
 2 of this afternoons Mediterranean Gulls
Late afternoon at Scotney, 5 Black-tailed Godwits over was the highlight. To visit Scotney, park just off the main road inside the entrance to Scotney farm on the strip off rough ground on the right hand side of the concrete road immediately in front of the old wheel wash.  
Evergestis limbata in the Plodland trap this morning
Although the weather has warmed up I am still getting very low numbers of moths in the MV. 

Sunday, 3 July 2016

A quiet Weekend

A very quiet weekend bird wise. Yesterday I parked up at Jury's Gap and walked along The Midrips to Galloways and back in the vain hope of locating some Grey Partridges. It seemed a good idea at the time even though the wind was rather stronger than I anticipated. Avian wise it was a very poor with just 2 Wheatears seen both adults, 7 Avocets, 6 Redshanks, 2 Curlew and 4 Ringed Plovers. Meadow Pipits with beak fulls of caterpillars were frequent along the sea wall and a couple of Skylarks were seen, off shore a few Sandwich and Common Terns feeding. I'm sure had I been into wild flowers it would have been a very rewarding hike, but as my knowledge of wild flowers is very limited it was lot of effort for a very poor return.
After yesterdays disappointment I dusted of my bike and cycled down to Dengemarsh, where 3 Hobby's were hawking dragonflies, Marsh Harriers were quartering the reed beds, a few Swifts and Swallows were over the hay fields, a Bittern flew over the reed bed the first I've seen in a while and 2 Yellow Wagtails were at Springfield Bridge. Reed Buntings seem to have had a good year as there appears to be plenty of youngsters around.
Early afternoon I cycled out to Scotney then out towards the wind turbines. No sign of the Spoonbill today nor yesterday, at the back of Scotney plenty of Yellow Wagtails, Corn Buntings and Reed Buntings. A pair of Tree Sparrows were seen also a Barn Owl, Little Owl, 2 Common Buzzards, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Little Egrets and all the usual feral Geese.
Good to see the Gull boys (Mick & Richard) back at Dungeness today, the Yellow-legged Gulls cant be far away.
Early evening at the fishing Boats 17.40-18.40 very quiet:
Great Crested Grebe: 1 o/s
Gannet: 4E    29W
Cormorant: 3 around
Sandwich Tern:  3 o/s
Common Tern: 1 o/s

Friday, 1 July 2016

Sponbill on the Scotney causeway today
Most of my morning was taken up with domestic stuff, though I did brave the wind and drizzle to look at Scotney where the Spoonbill is still in residence along with the Cormorants and feral geese, over the lakes c150 Swifts hawking insects.
Driving across the causeway at the ARC a Cuckoo flew across the road towards the reserve, also many Swifts hawking over the ARC and The New Diggings.
With the weather so poor sea watching was the only viable option, though by the time I arrived I had  already missed c500 Gannets and 20+ Manx Shearwaters.
12.45-15.45   with AJG & MH:
Manx Shearwater: 10W
Gannet: 293W      42E
Cormorant: n/c
Oystercatcher: 1W
Whimbrel: 1W
Kittiwake: 2W
Common Tern: 4 around
Sandwich Tern: 9 around
Auk sp: 2W
Swift: 69 out
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
Grey Seal: 1

18.10-19.10 from the fishing boats
Great Crested Grebe: 1 around
Gannet: 32W    26E
Oystercatcher: 2E
Arctic Skua: 1 pale phase chasing Terns
Kittiwake: 11W
Sandwich Tern: 6 around
Harbour Porpoise: 6+

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Balearic Shearwaters and Swifts!

 A cool breezy SW ind this morning at The Point.

Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Balearic Shearwater: 8W   (5 at 07.48  +  3 at 08.02)
Gannet: 51E   47W
Cormorant:  8 around
Marsh Harrier: 1 over beach then NW
Oystercatcher: 3E
Arctic Skua: 1W
Mediterranean Gull: 1W   3rd cal yr  
Black-headed Gull: 17W
Herring Gull: present n/c
Lesser Black Back Gull: 2 on beach
Great Black Backed Gull: 19W   6 around
Swift: 7 in
Sand Martin: 3S
Stock Dove: 2 on Beach
Wood pigeon: 5 on beach
Linnet: 4 on beach

 The first 5 Balearic Shearwaters (a little imagination needed)
and 3 makes 8
Where's those Shearwaters!
This afternoon I joined MH, CP & PT in the shelter of the fishing boats arriving just after 2 Manxies went through but in time to see swarms of Swifts going south.
14.30- 16.30 from The Fishing boats. With MH, CP & PT.
Manx Shearwater: 2W
Gannet: 32W     5E
Kittiwake: 1W
Common Tern: 3 o/s
Sandwich Tern: 6 o/s
Swift: 1,764 out

This evening at Scotney the Spoonbill was sheltering from the strong westerly wind below the causeway bank, as 100s of Swifts were moving towards the sea.
Looking out of my window now at 20.45 I can see many more Swifts heading south through the driving drizzle.