Sunday, 11 June 2017

Yellow Wagtails, Corn Buntings and a Squacco Heron!

 Yellow Wagtail
This morning despite the wind and cloud I spent 5 hrs wandering around Scotney counting birds. I was not expecting much but was amazed at the number of birds around the fields and ditches. 57 Corn Buntings, 40+ Yellow Wagtails, Skylarks seemed to fill the sky in some of the fields and Linnets bouncing around all over. However despite plenty of suitable habitat no Partridges of any description were seen or heard and only 3 Pheasants. 3 pairs of Tree Sparrows were located, also 2 pairs of Little Owls. The wet ditches held Reed and Sedge Warblers, Reed Buntings and even a couple of Cetti's Warblers were shouting from cover, Whitethroats were well represented and several Brown Hares were seen.
 Little Owl 
 Tree Sparrow
 Corn Bunting
 Yellow Wagtail
 Yellow Wagtail
 Brown Hare
 Yellow Wagtail
This afternoon a call from PT informing me that a day visitor  to the reserve had reported seeing a Squacco Heron at Hookers. I joined MH there and Sue Capewell from Middlesex showed us the Heron roosting well hidden inside the Sallows, apparently it had been perched on the outside of the bushes when she found it. The bird eventually roused itself and showed briefly before flying off towards Denge Marsh and becoming very elusive.
 Squacco Heron

 Squacco Heron

 First Evergestis limbata of the year for me
Pine Hawkmoth

Friday, 9 June 2017


First thing this morning I took a walk around Scotney out to the wind turbines, the strong winds made birding near impossible. The Avocets on the back lake seem to have suffered badly in the gales, there were at least 18 pairs either with eggs or young, there are now no sitting birds and I could only find 3 well grown young birds and 1 very recently hatched bird. The rest of the walk was very quiet due to the wind.
Leaving Scotney I went to Galloways which was equally windswept, just a family of Stonechats, a Red-legged Partridge and few Whitethroats. I stopped at Lydd Camp to check on the Little Owls which were both showing and taking food to the nest, as I pulled away the unmistakable silhouette of a Bee-eater landed on telegraph wires some 50 yds in front of me, I grabbed my camera off the passenger seat leaned out of the window and took a couple of record images, then pulled the car a bit nearer and took some images from the car as it flew high grabbed a Bee and returned to the same spot, after eating the Bee it flew to the wire across the road showing its beautiful colours to full effect in the bright sun light. After alerting a few locals and tweeting the news out I watched the bird for a few minutes as it hawked off the wires inside the camp, just as BH pulled up it flew over the pines in the camp not to be seen again despite searching.  


Little Owl with prey
Most of the rest of my day was taken up with domestic stuff, though I did manage an hour at the fishing boats this evening, where it seems the Storm Petrel influx has petered out.
Fulmar: 2 down
Gannet: 28 down       7 up
Oystercatcher: 1 up
Kittiwake: 1 down
Sandwich Tern: 12 down
Common Tern: 2 up
Swift: 1 in

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Storm Petrels and Manx Shearwaters!

 Some of yesterdays Manx Shearwaters

 Storm Petrel from today (a little imagination required)
A minimum of 26 Storm Petrels past The Point last night with another 34 today making an excellent total of 60 so far from this influx.
A long and productive days sea watching from the Fishing boats with AJG who collated the numbers,MH & DW.  04.30-12.30 & 14.30-17.30
Common Scoter: 231 up  10 down                                
Great-crested Grebe:  13 around                                
Fulmar: 78 down                                                              
Manx Shearwater: 33 down                                            
Storm Petrel: 34 down                                                    
Gannet: 947 down    45 up                                                        
Cormorant: 95 around
Oystercatcher: 3 up
Hobby: 1 behind beach
Kestrel: 1 behind beach                                                
Great Skua: 2 down    
Arctic Skua: 2 up                                                    
Mediterranean Gull: 1 around                                      
Kittiwake: 95 down                                                    
Sandwich Tern: 88 down
Common Tern: 7 down                                                
Guillemot: 35 down
Razorbill: 5 down
Auk sp: 33 down
Swift: 4 out    5in
Swallow: 1 out
Skylark: 1 singing behind beach
Pied Wagtail: 2 around
Raven: 1 behind beach
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
1 of many Swifts over the New Diggings at lunchtime
 Little Owl Lydd Camp
A quick stop at Lydd Camp at lunchtime saw 2 Little Owls enjoying the sunshine, hopefully soon they will joined by their owlets.
Hare Dungeness Beach
As we left the beach this evening a Hobby flew over the beach and AJG spotted a Hare which is becoming a rare sight around The Point.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Manx Shearwaters!

With strong wind being SSW 7-9 early this morning I had high hopes of a very productive sea watch and possibly a Storm Petrel or 2, but as is often the case I was wrong and very poor visibility didn't help. When the rain stopped I tried again and the first hour was quite productive, then the wind veered to westerly and visible passage seemed to cease.
05.25-07.25 &11.10-14.00 with AJG & MH

Common Scoter: 15 up
Fulmar: 20 down
Manx Shearwater: 44 down
Gannet: 67 down       122 up
Cormorant: 12 around
Kittiwake: 4 down
Sandwich Tern: 31 down
Common Tern: 11 down
Auk: 2 down
Swift: 37 out
The strong winds continued all day making general birding virtually impossible. Over the lakes 100s of Swifts and House Martins also 2 Spoonbills put in a brief appearance on the ARC and Burrowes.

Monday, 5 June 2017

0545-0845 from the sea watch hide with AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Common Scoter: 61 up
Great-crested Grebe: 3 up
Fulmar: 5 down
Manx Shearwater: 12 down
Gannet: 284 up
Peregrine Falcon: 2 around
Oystercatcher: 1 up
Ringed Plover: 5 up
Black-headed Gull: c60 at The Patch
Herring Gull: c350 at The Patch
Lesser.B.B.Gull: 5 at The Patch
Great.B.B.Gull: 16 at The Patch
Kittiwake: 30 up
Sandwich Tern:  34 around
Auk sp: 14 up
From the southern end of the ARC scanning over Lade to Lydd Airport and the reserve c800 Common Swifts most of which seemed to move south, also c100 House Martins and c50 Swallows.
From Hanson hide of note 6 Hobby's, 2 Marsh Harriers, a Ringed Plover, a Little Ringed Plover, 51 Lapwings, 6 Oystercatchers, 3 Cuckoo's and a Little Egret.
Apart from the Swifts the rest of the reserve was very quiet with most birds keeping there heads down in the strong wind, though 2 Cattle Egrets were reported as being in the hay fields but despite several locals looking for them the report was unsubstantiated, just Little Egrets seen.
A pleasant waste of time at the fishing boats this afternoon 13.30-16.00 joined by MH and RW:
Great-crested Grebe: 3 around
Gannet: 79 down    18 up
Cormorant: 16 around
Oystercatcher: 1 up
Black-headed Gull: c20 around
Mediterranean Gull: 1 down 1st summer 
Herring Gull: c20 around
Great Black Backed Gull: c10 around
Kittiwake: 1 down
Sandwich Tern: 10 around
Common Tern: 4 around
Swift: 32 out
Skylark: 1 singing behind boats
Pied Wagtail: 2 around
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 2

Sunday, 4 June 2017

 Bittern over Boulderwall
First thing this morning as I drove into the reserve a Bittern flew over Boulderwall and 2 Cuckoo's flew over the entrance Track. From Dennis's many Swifts and House Martins could be seen over Burrowes, New Diggings, ARC and Lade. On Burrowes 2 Avocets still and 2 Ringed Plovers, in the Sallows, Reeds and scrub Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers were singing along with Common and Lesser Whitethroats.
 Bearded Tit Denge Marsh
At Denge Marsh a family of Bearded Tits were by the path, the Common Terns could be heard screaming as they dive bombed the Herring Gull that is on the Tern raft. Around the hay fields breeding Redshanks, Oystercatchers and Lapwings gave me a hot reception.
 Redshank by the hay fields
I have tried enlarging the image to read the ring.

 Oystercatcher by the hay fields
 Common Tern at Denge Marsh
Around the ARC 10+ Hobby's, the usual Marsh Harriers and 1+ Little Ringed Plover along with all the warblers that can be seen all over the reserve.
 1 of 2 Little Terns feeding off shore this afternoon
15.00-16.15 from the fishing boats with AJG:

Great-crested Grebe: 2 around
Gannet: 15 up   12 down
Arctic Skua: 1 up  pale phase
Little Tern: 2 feeding off shore
Sandwich Tern: 12 feeding off shore
Common Tern: 4 down   6 feeding off shore
Grey Seal: 1
Birds Wing from today's catch

Saturday, 3 June 2017

A couple of more images of The Midrips Stilts.
After emptying the Moth Trap this morning I took a stroll around Scotney. The main lake and sward were quiet, just the usual feral Geese, on the back lake islands, 30+ Avocet with at least 7 young, a single pair of Common Terns and 4 pairs of Herring Gulls. In the fields plenty of Yellow Wagtails, Skylarks and Corn Buntings.
Common Tern Denge Marsh
The Burrowes was quiet, though 7 Avocets there was new, the usual Reed, Sedge and Cetti's could be seen and heard all round the reserve as could Common and Lesser Whitethroat. At Denge Marsh the Common Terns were still trying to move the Herring Gulls off the raft. The Herring Gulls eggs will be hatching very soon, I guess the Terns nests will be wiped out by them. Hobby's were showing well from the ramp.
On the ARC many House Martins and Swallows with a few Swifts were hawking very high over the lake, also a few more Hobby's there and a Little Ringed Plover. 
Hobby from the ramp
After an excellent spring of sea watching (228 Pomarine Skuas) we are now in the summer doldrums, so this afternoon at the fishing boats it was no surprise that there were just a few Common and Sandwich Terns feeding off shore along with a few Gannets, at least 4 Harbour Porpoises and a Grey seal were there.
Whimbrel taken at The Midrips
Barred Red
The MV has been bulging in the last couple of days but little of note was found.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Rosy Starling & Black-winged Stilts!

Barn Owl by the entrance track to VC Thursday
Hobby over the ramp Thursday
Turtle Dove, Dengemarsh Thursday
Rosy Starling Thursday evening behind the Corrall, it took me most of the day to find it. 
 Dungeness first for me, not a single bird over The Patch this morning!
After visiting an avian free Patch this morning seeing of note just a single Swallow resting on the power station fence, I went to the reserve where the Avocets were still in front of Firth but little else. From the ramp 3+ Hobby's a family of Bearded Tits but no sign of yesterdays Rosy Starling. Apart from another Bee-eater seen by a lucky few, me not included the peninsular was very quiet.
A visit to The Midrips this afternoon however provided an unexpected bonus in the form of 2 Black-winged Stilts, most of the locals managed to see them despite the difficulties gaining access to this site. Also there 14 Avocets, a Whimbrel, several Mediterranean Gulls, and a couple of broods of Shelducklings.