Monday, 17 April 2017

With a cold northerly wind blowing I gave the early morning sea watch a miss today, which after talking to AJG was the right choice.
A Willow Warbler in the lighthouse garden and 2 Wheatears by the Experimental Station were the highlights. Th 1w Iceland Gull was still at The Patch per PT. 
 Garganey from Firth
On the reserve the Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool and the Long-eared Owl still at the Dipping Pool. From Firth hide on a wind swept Burrowes a drake Garganey was showing well as were 2 lingering Pintail, a few Swallows were over the lake but no waders on the islands 
 Pintail from Firth
 Goldeneye from Makepiece
In the sheltered area of water by Makepiece a lingering Goldeneye and a Water Rail. The walk up to Denge Marsh produced a Lesser and Common Whitethroat, plenty of Sedge and Warblers, also several Cetti's Warblers.
 Distant Garganey Denge Marsh
From Denge Marsh hide another distant Garganey, a Great-white Egret, a Greenshank, a Whimbrel the White-fronted Goose also a Bittern with a weak stuttering boom. At the back of the hide another Lesser Whitethroat and a cacophony of Sedge Warblers despite the cold miserable weather. The Hooded Merganser was still on the first pool on the footpath to Lydd and 3+ Marsh Harriers there.
Early afternoon a walk from Springfield Bridge down the track to Denge Marsh Gully and back found, 2 Corn Buntings, a single Blackcap, a Stonechat, 2 Willow Warblers, a Cetti's Warbler and a Wheatear.
While at home having a warming cup of tea a message from MP about 2 Water Pipits at Cook's Pool gave me the reason to brave the cold again. On a arrival at Cook's Pool a Bittern was showing clambering up the reeds. As I have never seen a Bittern from my garden can I count this one as my house can be seen in the background of the image below? One of the Water Pipits was also showing , eventually the 2 Water Pipits were seen with 2 Yellow Wagtails there. My visit was cut short by message from SO about a Pied Flycatcher showing well in the Gorse at West beach.
 Bittern Cook's Pool (garden tick????)
 Pied Flycatcher West Beach
 Pied Flycatcher West Beach

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Another poor early morning sea watch in the company of AJG who kindly collated the numbers.
06.00-07.45 from the sea watch hide:
Shelduck: 2 up
Common Scoter: 36 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 5 down
Red-throated Diver: 2 up
Great-crested Grebe: 17 on
Gannet: 32 around
Cormorant: present n/c
Oystercatcher: 5 up
Whimbrel: 1 up
Great Skua: 2 up
Arctic Skua: 1 up
Kittiwake: 2 up
Sandwich Tern: 191 up
Common Tern: 14 up
Auk sp: 3 down
Alba Wagtail: 1 in
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
Grey Seal: 1
A walk around the trapping area and The Desert saw few new migrants, just the odd Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Swallow. The resident male Peregrine put on a fine display chasing off an interloping male.
 Willow Warbler
Parking at Springfield Bridge I wandered down the edge of the Gully to the sea, on the way 2 Corn Buntings were feeding with Linnets and Reed Buntings in the old Sunflower field, a Cetti's Warbler was singing at the top of the gully, a Willow Warbler was picking insects from the glorious display of Gorse in the gully, 2 Wheatears were at the bottom, c30 Swallows flew up the gully and Denge Marsh Road during my walk.
The walk round to Denge Marsh hide saw little of note as the hay fields are now dry, so not sure how the nesting Lapwings will get on.
From the hide a Great White Egret, a White-fronted Goose was consorting with the feral Geese, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Common Buzzard drifted over. 
 Great-white Egret
On my way to the back of Hookers, my first Lesser Whitethroat of the year was singing in it's usual spot on the bend in the track, the Hooded Merganser was showing well, it's origin may be dubious but it is still a very smart looking bird. Opposite the Corral 3 Whimbrel among the sheep. Arriving at Cook's Pool the Ring-necked duck was asleep half down the pool. 2 Chasers were hawking over the reeds so hopefully there will be more for when the Hobby's arrive.  Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers seemed plentiful all around the reserve.
Hooded Merganser
As I made my way to Burrowes the wind had picked up with more or less solid cloud cover, a Stonechat at Christmas Dell and the Long-eared Owl at the Dipping Pond were the only notable birds seen. A long but very pleasant walk.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Another very slow sea watch today 06.00-08.00 in the company of AJG and SO. Small numbers of Common Scoter, Gannets and Sandwich Terns, a single Great Skua and 2 Arctic Skuas, 3 Razorbills, a few Kittiwakes a Swallow in and the 1w Iceland Gull at The Patch.
Around the bushes 2 Wheatears, a few Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Whitethroats and Blackcaps, 7 Swallows over and the highlight a Song Thrush.
Wheatear in the Desert 
Around the reserve, The Ring-necked Duck still, a different Great White Egret from the other day as this one still has a yellow bill, plenty of Common Whitethroats, Sedge and Reed Warblers around, a couple of Whimbrel from the entrance track also 2 Pintail on Burrowes.
A mid afternoon sea watch from the fishing boats saw more Harbour Porpoises than birds. A late afternoon wander around the ARC found little of note.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

1w Iceland Gull over The Patch
07.30-08.30 at The Patch:
Common Scoter: 24 up
Great-crested Grebe: 7 on sea
Fulmar: 1 up
Gannet: 14 up    c20 feeding off shore
Iceland Gull: 1 1w feeding
Common Tern: 3 up
Sandwich Tern: 27 up
Swallow: 4 in
Carrion Crow: 5 in
Harbour Porpoise: 4
The bushes around The Point were very quiet this morning just a single Chiffchaff in the lighthouse garden and a Willow Warbler at the station.
The 2 Slavonian and single Black-necked Grebe were still on the New Diggings this morning.
Marsh Harrier by the access track
The Ring-necked Duck was still on Cooks Pool today shadowing a female Tufted Duck. Further down the access track a Marsh Harrier put on a superb display.
Greenshank from Firth
On Burrowes 3 Dunlin from Dennis's Hide, an Avocet and a Greenshank from Firth. Around the reserve it was generally quiet, except for Sedge Warblers and Cetti's Warblers which seemed to be singing from every bit of scrub, the White-fronted Goose was in the field behind Denge Marsh.
Little Owl at Scotney
An early afternoon walk at Scotney found a single Brent Goose on the sward, a Little Owl hiding in the barns, 24 Avocets and 2 Mediterranean Gulls on the islands on the back pits, a few Corn Buntings but unusually not a single Yellow Wagtail.
A short sea watch from the turning circle 14.15-15.00:
Gannet: 1 up     7 down
Great Skua: 1 up
Kittiwake: 4 down
Sandwich Tern: 2 down
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Long-eared Owl showing well this afternoon
Late afternoon back on the reserve the LEO was showing well, 4 Garganey flew from under the Cormorant roost towards Christmas Dell, 2 Mediterranean Gulls flew over, 5 Dunlin and a Ringed Plover on Burrowes.
Common Gull on a purpose built nest box
A Little Owl was showing at Lydd Camp. On Galloways a Rubicola Stonechat was the highlight.
A busier night in the MV. 
Broad-barred White first of the year
Powdered Quaker
Chinese Character

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Todays early morning sea watch was possibly one of the poorest I have witnessed, highlights being parties of 4 & 8 Carrion Crows coming gives you some idea how poor it was.
A walk around the trapping area wasn't much better, a couple each of Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap, a Swallow and a Green Woodpecker. One of the regular Peregrines was performing over the power station. 
The Ring-necked Duck was still on Cook's Pool's. From Denge Marsh hide very little of note in the cold NW wind, though several Sedge Warblers were singing at the back of the hide.
Denge Marsh Gully held 2 Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff and a Wheatear, 2 more Wheatears out by the converter station. A 2nd cal yr Great Black Backed Gull was a victim of the power lines by the gully. 
2nd cal yr Great Black Backed Gull under the Denge Marsh Gully power lines.
Late afternoon a Black-necked Grebe and 2 Slavonian Grebes all in near summer dress on the New Diggings viewed from the footpath causeway also 6 Swallows over the pit. Hopefully the wind will drop away tonight and make for a better day tomorrow.
The MV still very slow with just 9 moths of 4 species last night.
The 2nd cal yr Iceland Gull was at The Patch again today per Phil B.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

With the wind still in a NW vector today's early morning sea watch was predictably poor. A few each of Gannet and Sandwich Tern, a couple of Red-throated Divers and Common terns were the highlights.
A walk from the observatory to the top of the Long Pits and back with AJG found 3 Common Whitethroats, c6 Blackcaps, c10 Chiffchaffs, 3 Willow Warblers, 3 Swallows, a Cetti's Warbler and 2 Peregrines of note.
At Cook's Pool the Ring-necked Duck was showing particularly well and glowing in the sunshine while pursuing a female Tufted Duck. 
 Ring-necked Duck glowing in the morning sun
I joined MH at the viewing ramp where on arrival several Sedge Warblers and a couple of Cetti's Warblers were in full song, also our first Reed warbler of the year. In the field behind Denge Marsh the White-fronted Goose was associating with the Greylags, a couple of Marsh Harriers were high over Hooker's also a Common Buzzard.
This afternoon the Little Owl was in it's usual Elder at Lydd Camp. At Galloways a superb Rubicola Stonechat was the highlight of otherwise very quiet walk there. A single Wheatear at the bottom of Denge Marsh Gully, 3 more Wheatears and a Raven out by the Converter Station.     
Ring Ouzels in The Desert
Mid afternoon Lee found 2 male Ring Ouzels in The desert, both of which were very well behaved and showed nicely to all the grateful locals.
This evening 4 Swallows on the wires at Wraxhalls and another 8 at the chicken sheds, my walk around the hay fields was cold and unproductive. 

Monday, 10 April 2017

The sea watch this morning was a complete non event, just a few Brent Geese, Sandwich Terns and Gannets.
 Willow Warbler at the observatory
At the observatory Willow Warblers and lesser numbers of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were dropping into The moat nets and Heligoland traps, later they were being caught in the trapping area. A Redwing and Goldfinch found there way into one of the nets, over a 100 birds were ringed the majority being Willow Warblers. A male Redstart was seen in the trapping area by OL with another being found late afternoon at the experimental station.
Pied Flycatcher by Scott Hide
The reserve was quiet, though the Ring-necked Duck was still on Tanners Pool, a nice male Pied Flycatcher was found by Pete and Pam by Scott hide and was the pick of the birds on the reserve.
Early evening 9 Swallows and 2 Sand Martins were on the wires by the Chicken sheds.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

An Excellent Sea Watch!

1w Glaucous Gull disappearing into the gloom towards France!
An excellent sea watch today with good numbers of birds passing, the numbers would undoubtedly have been much higher if the fog hadn't been hampering the visibility all day.
06.00-12.30 & 14.45-16.30 with AJG who kindly collated the numbers, also PT,LH,PH and LG. 
Greylag Goose: 2 in
Brent Goose: 982 up
Shelduck: 19 up
Mallard: 1 up
Gadwall: 2 up
Shoveller: 25 up
Teal: 33 up
Scaup: 6 up
Common Scoter: 1,709 up
Velvet Scoter: 36 up
Goldeneye: 4 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 7 up
Great Northern Diver: 3 up
Black-throated Diver: 8 up
Red-throated Diver: 31 up
Great-crested Grebe: 5 on sea
Fulmar: 7 around
Gannet: 102 up
Cormorant: 88 around
Grey Heron: 2 coasting down
Oystercatcher: 5 up
Curlew: 1 up
Whimbrel: 18 up
Great Skua: 6 up
Arctic Skua: 2 up
Little Gull: 8 up
Kittiwake: 2up  13 down
Glaucous Gull: 1 1w at The Patch then flew out to sea.
Little Tern: 1 up
Sandwich Tern: 515 up
Auk sp: 1 up
Carrion Crow: 2 in
Harbour Porpoise: 8+ around
Whimbrel passing close inshore
It would appear that the reserve was relatively quiet this weekend, the Ring-necked Duck and Long-eared Owl still present, as was the Hooded Merganser, many Sedge Warblers singing around the reserve but few waders present, exacerbated by the dryness of the hay fields, appaently no more water can be pumped onto them as the current abstraction allowance has been used up.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

06.00-11.00 from the sea watch hide with So,SM,AF & AJG who collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 191 up
Shelduck: 10 up
Pintail: 15 up
Shoveller: 13 up
Common Scoter: 238 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 11 up 1 down
Red-throated Diver: 11 up
Fulmar: 5 up
Gannet: 87 up
Cormorant: present n/c
Oystercatcher: 6 up
Curlew: 10
Great Skua: 2 up
Arctic Skua: 4 up
Mediterranean Gull: 3 up
Kittiwake: 19 up
Common Tern: 11 up
Sandwich Tern: 281 up
Guillemot: 3 up
Auk sp: 4 up
Sand Martin: 1 in
 Black Redstart in the lightouse garden  + Willow warbler there.
Brent Goose showing a white trailing edge this afternoon
14.20-16.20 from the fishing boats joined by AJG, EW and SO.
Brent Goose: 54 up
Shelduck: 4 up
Pintail: 1 up
Common Scoter: 48 up
Red-throated Diver: 5 up
Great-crested Grebe: 5 on
Fulmar: 4 up
Gannet: 5 up
Oystercatcher: 3 up
Curlew: 1 up
Whimbrel: 1 up
Great Skua: 1 up
Mediterranean Gull: 2 up
Sandwich Tern; 37 up     9 down
Harbour Porpoise: 8+

Northern France!

As a NW wind was forecast for Friday AJG and myself  decided on a day out in Northern France. We picked Trevor up in Dover and caught the 04.20 ferry to Calais.
At 07.00 we were in Crecy Forest where we were greeted by a cacophony of bird song, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were positively abundant, joined by Robins, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Chaffinches, Blue and Great Tits, Nuthatches, also seen Firecrests, Green, Great and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Yellowhammers, Common Buzzards and more.
 Crested Tit at Marquanterre
We next visited a reed bed between St Valery and Le Crotoy where we saw 3 Bluethroats, 3 Savi's Warblers, numerous Sedge Warblers, Bearded Tits and Water Rail were calling, overhead  a flushed Jack Snipe was chased by a Hobby but got away, several Great White Egrets and Little Egrets were on the marsh also several White Wagtails. 
At La Basse pools 4 Garganey, a photogenic Scaup, 3 Cattle Egrets, 6 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, and the usual wild fowl.
Next stop Marquanterre an excellent reserve with lots to see and is always busy. Spoonbills, White Storks, Great White, Little and Cattle Egrets are easy to see here, Avocets were plentiful as were Pintail, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Garganey. Sedge Warblers were singing all over as were Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, another Bluethroat was seen and more. The only downside to this reserve is the dire design of the hides. 
White Stork Marquanterre
This one of the better hides at Marquanterre, most have much narrower viewing slits than this one!
Coming back we just had time for a quick look at Oye Plage where we found 8 Whimbrel, a Red-crested Pochard, Black-necked Grebe, Sandwich Terns and Avocets. As we boarded the ferry to come home we had managed 90 species, on the crossing we added, Common Tern, Turnstone, Fulmars, Great Skua, Kittiwakes, Gannets, Guillemots, Common Scoter and a Sooty Shearwater finishing on 99.