Friday, 12 May 2017

Woodchat Shrike!

I made the mistake of stopping off at the ARC on my way to the beach this morning, although the Bittern was booming and a few warblers were singing, they didn't make up for missing the Puffin that flew by the sea watch hide. I did see another 8 Pomarine Skuas today bringing my total this spring to 225, also Roseate Tern at very extreme range.
 1st summer Little Gull from Firth
A visit to the reserve mid morning saw Little and Iceland Gull, 3 Grey Plovers, a Turnstone, Common Sandpiper, 3 Dunlin, the pairs of Pintail and Wigeon. Some of the Common Terns seem to have paired up now and are looking for nesting islands.
1w Iceland Gull from Makepiece
 This Grey Heron got a hot reception from the Gulls as it flew over The Patch this afternoon
This stunning beauty was behind the sea watch hide late afternoon.
 Late this afternoon on my way to the reserve Dave Bunney called me about a Woodchat Shrike he had found opposite his, a couple of minutes later I was watching this beauty.  Many thanks Dave.
 Woodchat Shrike
The Shrike was still present at 20.20 this evening per Dave Bunney.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Back to Sea Watching!

After a day out in Holland yesterday it was back to the sea watching today, not a bad day unfortunately I arrived to late to see the Cattle Egret. Also a great pity the Long-tailed Skua never made it to Dungeness but probably not that surprising.
06.15-17.15 from the sea watch hide with AJG,LG,SM,DW,MH, MF et al.
Brent Goose: 1 up/down seven times!
Common Scoter: 927 up
Long-tailed Duck: 1 up
Red-throated diver: 1 up
Black-throated Diver: 10 up
Great-crested Grebe: 9 around
Fulmar: 3 around
Gannet: 83 up
Cormorant: present n/c
Cattle Egret 1 up( per Steve Mansfield before 06.15)
Little Egret 1 up
Oystercatcher: 10 up  8 down
Grey Plover: 3 up
Sanderling: 47 up
Dunlin: 20 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 4 up
Whimbrel:  23 up
Pomarine Skua: 13 up,1 @ 0702; 4 @ 0737, 1 @ 0852, 6 @ 0950, 1 @ 11.17
Arctic Skua: 6 up
Little Gull: 1 up ( 1st summer)
Kittiwake: 35 up
Little Tern: 6 up
Sandwich Tern: 52 up
Arctic Tern: 3 up
Common Tern: 531 up
Black Tern: 9 up
Guillemot: 8 up
Auk: 19 up
Swallow: 22 in

Monday, 8 May 2017

Tree Pipit!

A much quieter sea watch this morning than of late.
05.00-07.45 with AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 7 up
Shelduck: 1 up
Common Scoter: 100 up
Great-crested Grebe: 21 around
Gannet: 15 around
Cormorant: present: n/c
Oystercatcher: 5 up
Ringed Plover: 1 in
Grey Plover: 3 up
Sanderling: 4 up
Dunlin: 5 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 60 up
Whimbrel: 37 up
Little Tern: 1 up
Commic Tern: 29 up
Mediterranean Gull: 3 up
Kittiwake: 18 up
Iceland Gull: 1 1w at The Patch
Auk sp: 5 up
Swallow: 4 in
Harbour Porpoise: 4+
At the observatory a Tree Pipit was caught and processed also an interesting Chiffchaff.
 Tree Pipit

Chiffchaff sp.
On the reserve 100s of Swifts over the lakes, 7+ Hobby's over Burrowes,  on the islands 6+ Turnstone, 20+ Dunlin, 4 Grey Plover, 3+ Ringed Plover and a couple of Whimbrel, a pair each of Pintail and Wigeon were still present today. A Peregrine caused panic when it came into the islands to bathe. I was unable to find the Ring-necked Duck today, it's been missing for several days now.
At the ARC another 4 Hobby's, a Little Ringed Plover, a Bittern booming in the Tower Pits and all the usual reed bed warblers.
In a  late afternoon visit to Galloways a Whimbrel walked across the road in front of me  and proceeded to feed on the verge, also 2 Wheatear there of note. 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Good Sea Watch on a Northerly!

05.00-11.00 & 14.15-17.00 with AJG,LG,DW et al
Shelduck: 11 up   3 down
Common Scoter: 56 up
Eider: 2 up   1 at The Patch
Great-crested Grebe: 13 around
Fulmar: 2 up
Manx Shearwater: 1 up
Gannet: 378 up      64 down
Hobby: 1 in
Oystercatcher:  3 down
Avocet: 1 in
Grey Plover: 1 up
Sanderling: 64 up
Turnstone: 4 up
Dunlin: 5 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 138 up
Whimbrel: 83 up
Curlew: 1 in
Pomarine Skua: 12 up 1@ 07.12, 1 @ 07.40, 6 @ 08.08 1 @ 15.34,  3 @ 15.43.
Arctic Skua: 9 up
Mediterranean Gull: 2 up   1 1st summer around
Little Gull: 4 up
Kittiwake: 52 up
Iceland Gull: 1 1w still at The Patch
Little Tern: 90 up
Sandwich Tern: 35 up
Arctic Tern:76 up
Commic: 4,142 up
Black Tern: 84 up  20 at The Patch
Auk Sp: 148 up
Swift: 2 in
Sand Martin: 1 in
Swallow: 22 in
House Martin: 1 in
Black Redstart: 1 singing on power station                                                                                             Carrion Crow: 1 in
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 6+                                                                                                                               
A lunchtime visit to the Lydd camp saw both the Little Owl and the Ring Ouzel.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Another day of mainly sea watching on a very wind swept peninsular. My tardiness this morning meant I missed the first 3 Pomarine Skuas, so I still want to see another 6 this month to bring my personal total to the magic 200 this spring.
04.45-08.15 +12.45-16.15 with AJG,SO,LG,DW,PT et al
Shoveller: 4 up
Common Scoter: 2 up
Black-throated Diver: 2 up
Great-crested Grebe: 16 around
Fulmar: 16 up
Gannet: 103 up
Cormorant: present n/c
Oystercatcher: 8 up
Grey Plover: 33 up
Knot: 18 up
Dunlin: 6 up
Sanderling: 12 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 10 up
Whimbrel: 28 up
Pomarine Skua: 17 up 3 @ 05.02, 1 @ 06.50, 2 @ 12.56, 11 @ 15.32
Arctic Skua: 2 up
Yellow-legged Gull: 1 around
Iceland Gull: 1 the 1w still at The Patch
Kittiwake: 50 up
Little Tern: 6 up
Sandwich Tern: 31 up
Common Tern: 640 up
Guillemot: 7 up
Razorbill: 6 up
Auk sp: 5 up   5 down
Swift: 3 in
Sand Martin: 2 in
House Martin: 12 in
Swallow: 39 in
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 4+

Friday, 5 May 2017

Surprise Poms!

 Distant Pomarine Skuas
Waking up to a blasting North Easterly wind I certainly wasn't expecting a decent sea watch, waders were trickling through as soon as I arrived and then some magnificent Pomarine Skuas, 14 in all bringing my personal tally for the spring to 180.
06.00-11.30 & 13.50-16.15 with AJG,LG,DW,MH et al.
Common Scoter: 6 up
Eider: 1 on
Red-breasted Merganser: 3 up
Red-throated Diver: 2 up
Fulmar: 15 around
Gannet: 308 up   14 down
Oystercatcher: 9 up
Grey Plover: 224 up
Knot: 265 up
Sanderling: 44 up
Turnstone: 45 up
Dunlin: 47 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 104 up
Whimbrel: 33 up
Redshank: 4 up
Greenshank: 2 up
Pomarine Skua: 14 up 4 @ 0715, 2 @ 0730, 2 @ 0740, 3 @ 0755, 1 @ 08.20, 2 @ 14.05, 
Arctic Skua: 6 up
Little Gull: 1 1st summer
Kittiwake: 50 up
Little Tern: 22 up
Sandwich Tern: 93 up
Common Tern: 1,133 up
Black Tern: 7 up
Guillemot: 5 up
Auk sp: 10 up  27 down
Swallow: 43 in
Swift: 5 in
Harbour Porpoise: 4+

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Roseate Tern!

Another poor image of a quality bird, a tailless Roseate Tern
Early this morning I had just got in the car when AJG called to say BC had found a Roseate Tern at The Patch, fortunately it hung around for the few minutes it took me to get from home to The Patch, by 07.00 it had moved off East.
1 of 5 Wheatears around the area
I joined AJG in a disappointing walk from The Moat to the top of the Long Pits and back we saw/heard 3 Cetti's Warblers, 9 Reed Warblers, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap, several Common Whitethroats and 5 Wheatears.
 part of a flock of 47 Whimbrel past The Patch
10.15-10.45 at The Patch
Oystercatcher: 2 up
Grey Plover: 2 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 8 up
Whimbrel: 53 up
Mediterranean Gull: 1 1st summer around
1w Iceland Gull
Commic Tern: c200 around
Black Tern: 1
Porpoise: 3+
 1w Iceland Gull still at The Patch
 Common Crane near the Open Pits
At lunchtime I had just come out of the polling station when a message cam through of a Common Crane flying over the trapping area in the general direction of my house, I dashed home and set the scope up scanning towards the power station hoping to pick up the Crane, but to no avail. After a short while MH phoned to say it had dropped down by the Open Pits. Biting the bullet I walked out along the causeway between the New Diggings and Burrowes, as I crested the bank at the southern end of the causeway I could see the Crane at about c300 mt range. I managed to get a little closer using available sparse cover, enabling me to get a record image. After about 30 minutes the bird took off and flew high north over the sea. The Slavonian Grebe was on the New diggings and 30+ swifts were screaming around over it.
Common Crane on its way
Hobby over the Tower Pits
A minimum of 5 Hobby's were hunting over the Tower pits this afternoon.
A late afternoon sea watch from the fishing boats 16.20-17.20
Great-crested Grebe: 8 o/s
Fulmar: 3 down
Gannet: 3 down
Cormorant: present n/c
Oystercatcher: 1 up
Sanderling: 3 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 3 up
Sandwich Tern: 17 up
Comic Tern: 15 up
Auk sp: 5 down
Swift: 1 in
Harbour Porpoise: 2

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Golden Plover!

Today's early morning sea watch was very slow, just 2 Arctic Skuas, 2 Whimbrel, a Shelduck and small numbers of Commic Terns. The watch was livened up when myself Anna & Charles picked up a wader out at sea flying in straight towards us, we could make out a black belly and from the size deduced it was a Grey Plover, as the bird came in dropped exhausted on the shore where to our surprise we could it was a summer plumage Golden Plover, it sat motionless for about 20 minutes in the rain, no doubt trying to recover it's strength, then it gradually made it's way up the beach towards the hide where it was picking up insects from the Kale. Shortly after reaching the hide it gave a brief alarm call as a Peregrine swooped in. A stooping Peregrine against a very tired Golden Plover was no contest and was over very quickly.
 Golden Plover
 Golden Plover
The inevitable was only a split second away, pity I couldn't get a focus lock!
On the reserve on Burrowes Pit, 5 Turnstone, 20+ Dunlin, 5 Grey Plover, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Whimbrel, a Redshank, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Ringed Plovers, 3 Hobby's, the now ever present Ring-necked Duck, also the 1w Iceland Gull had commuted from The Patch to bathe in the lake.
Slavonian Grebe
On the new diggings late afternoon a summer plumage Slavonian Grebe and 100s of Hirundines but nothing unusual among them.
While I was scanning through the Hirundines I got a text from Lea about a Short-eared Owl in the trapping area, I drove a short distance further down the road where I could view the trapping area, very quickly the Owl made a brief appearance before dropping back into the area. I went back to the Hirundines, where I received another message from Lea this time about a Stone Curlew he had accidently flushed in the The Desert which he had now pinned down. A few minutes later I was viewing the Stone Curlew a very scarce bird here now though once a fairly common breeder. Many thanks to Lea Gregory all the messages.
 Stone Curlew in The Desert

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

 1w Iceland Gull after feeding in the scum at The Patch
04.45-09.45 & 11.30-13.00 from the sea watch hide with ML and AJG who collated the numbers, joined by PT et al:

Brent Goose: 6 up
Common Scoter: 66 up   3 down
Surf Scoter: 1 immature up 
Red-breasted Merganser: 2 down
Red-throated Diver: 3 up
Black-throated diver: 2 up
Great-crested Grebe: 39 around
Fulmar: 1 up    1 down
Gannet: 9 up     95 down
Cormorant: 94 around
Oystercatcher: 3 down
Sanderling: 7 up
Knot: 1 up
Dunlin: 6 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 23 up
Whimbrel: 21 up
Curlew: 1 up
Arctic Skua: 1 up
Mediterranean Gull; 4 up
1w Iceland Gull at The Patch
Little Tern: 17 up
Sandwich Tern: 14 up
Arctic Tern: 21 up
Commic Tern: 952 up
Black Tern: 14 up
Guillemot: 2 up
Auk sp: 1 down
Swallow: 9 in
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
Fox: 1
The Surf Scoter past by with some Common Scoters outside of the bouy, it was quickly picked out of the flock by all present in the hide as something different, but it took Marcus Lawsons quick thinking to realise what it was. I did manage to get my camera onto the flock of Scoters but it was to far out to get any useful images.
1w Iceland Gull feeding in the scum at The Patch

Late afternoon at the ARC a Nightingale singing by Hanson Hide, a Bittern booming from the Tower Pits, a Cuckoo, 2 Hobby's, Sedge, Reed and Cetti's Warblers singing joined by Lesser and Common Whitethroats and Blackcaps.

Monday, 1 May 2017

A Few More Poms!

1 of today's Pomarine Skuas 
05.00-11.30 from the sea watching hide with AJG,MB,ML,AL,DW,PB et al

Brent Goose: 11 up
Common Scoter: 158 up
Velvet Scoter: 5 up
Eider: 18 up
Red-throated Diver: 1 up
Great-crested Grebe: 18 around
Fulmar: 24 up  3 down
Manx Shearwater: 1 up
Gannet: 658 up
Cormorant: present n/c
Marsh Harrier: 1 out     1 in c1hr later
Oystercatcher: 4 up
Little Ringed Plover; 1 up
Grey Plover: 2 up
Sanderling: 4 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 4 up
Whimbrel: 2 up
Great Skua: 18 up   2 down
Pomarine Skua: 11 up
Arctic Skua: 32 up
Mediterranean Gull: 7 up
Little Gull: 6 up
Kittiwake: 51 up
1w Iceland Gull: still at The Patch
Little Tern: 15 up
Sandwich Tern: 68 up
Arctic Tern: 7 up
Commic Tern: 862 up
Black Tern: 7 up
Guillemot: 4 up
Auk sp: 17 up  2 down
Swallow: 4 in
Harbour Porpoise: 4+

                              Pomarine Skua Flocks and Times
3 @ 06.10,  1 @ 06.40,  2 @ 07.30,  2 @ 08.10,  1 @ 08.34,  2 @ 10.25
 Great Skua
a flock of 18 Eiders, a rare sight these days at Dungeness.