Sunday, 20 May 2018

Kentish Plover!

I went to the reserve first thing this morning where I joined GP in Firth Hide, he pointed out 3 Common Scoter which are unusual on the pits, on the islands at least 4 Greenshank, 4 Redshank, 4 Turnstones, 2 Common Sandpipers, several Dunlin and Sanderling. We moved up to Makepiece as the Scoter appeared to be heading that way.
 1s Little Gull from Makepiece grabbing an insect

Common Scoter from Makepiece
Common Scoter from Makepiece

Common Sandpiper from Makepiece
Distant Kentish Plover
While making our way back to the centre I received a call from Liz Hunter saying she thought she had a Kentish Plover from Dennis's Hide, a couple of minutes later I was in Dennis's looking at a Kentish Plover, a Dungeness tick for me, many thanks to Liz.
 Bittern from the screen hide
As news of the Kentish Plover spread very quickly the hide filled up very quickly, so I moved out and went up to the screen hide, hopefully to see the Bitterns and maybe yesterdays Bee-eater which was seen very early this morning. One of the Bitterns obliged, while over the lake House and Sand Martins, Swallows and Swifts hawked.  
A lunchtime sky watch from by Cooks Pool saw 3+ Hobby's 3+ Marsh Harriers and 2 Common Buzzards. A Bittern gave a nice fly by and a Herring Gull ate a Cootling.
 A Herring Gull swallowing a live Cootling, no doubt getting in practice for the Common Tern chicks
The Hoopoe was present on and off all day till dusk, but after the early morning excitement things were fairly quiet.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Bee-eater Finale!

An early morning message from Dave Bunney alerted me to a fine male Whinchat behind his house on The Point. A short sea watch just a few each of Gannet, Common and Sandwich Tern, 3 Common Scoter, the usual few Great-crested Grebes  and a few Harbour Porpoises. A single Chiffchaff was the highlight in the lighthouse garden.
A walk around The Desert saw just a few Common Whitethroats, a couple of Reed Buntings but little else of note. 
4+ Common Buzzards and a pair of Peregrines were hunting were over the trapping area where a Garden Warbler was singing as were Blackcaps, Lesser and Common Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs.
From the garden 6 Common Buzzards, 4 Marsh Harriers and 2 Hobby's were over the fields.
SG ( called offering me a lift to Rye to see the Terek Sandpiper, an offer I couldn't refuse. The bird was showing all the time I was there, sometimes quite well, a Curlew Sandpiper was also seen as was Little Ringed Plover, Avocets and numerous Mediterranean Gulls. Rye Harbour NR is a superb reserve, I must make the effort to visit more often as it is so close to my home.  
Terek Sandpiper
Terek Sandpiper
 Terek Sandpiper
Terek Sandpiper
Terek Sandpiper
Terek Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper shot into the sun
This evening I thought I'd see if I could get better images of the Hoopoe at Dengemarsh seeing as it is literally only a 2 minute drive from my home, on arrival at Springfield Bridge the Hoopoe was busy eating caterpillars it found in the stonecrop at the side of the road. Even though i was the only person there it was still wary, another birder turned up and offered to let me use his passenger seat as a hide, I'm sorry I did not get your name but many thanks are due to you, he slowly drove down the road allowing me to get some good images. 
While I was still at Springfield Bridge I met Barry Wright, another birder turned up and quite matter of factly mentioned that he had just come from the ARC where he had seen a Bee-eater and thought it might still be there, needless to say Barry and myself were at the Arc a few minutes later, while he checked the track to the pines I went towards Hanson where I spotted the Bee-eater perched up in the Sallows. Barry quickly arrived as did most of the locals. A superb end to another excellent day around the shingle.

Friday, 18 May 2018


As the sea was very quiet with just a handful of Sandwich Terns, Gannets and a marauding Arctic Skua off shore, I went down to The Patch with JTM. c75 Common Terns were over the boil, 4 Mediterranean Gulls and 4 Pitsea ringed Herring Gulls (all have been previously recorded at The Patch) were on the beach, most unusual was a Shelduck in the Gull roost. 
Hoopoe disappearing onto the ranges
As we were leaving The Patch the range safety boat passed us, which meant Galloways would be open for me to check out.
Little Owl Lydd Camp
 I stopped off at the Little Owl at Lydd camp then went to Galloways, 4 adult Stonechats were seen along with a few Common Whitethroats, near the car park at the bottom 2 Corn Buntings were unusual as were 2 Red-legged Partridges, there was no sign of any breeding Wheatears there though. Driving slowly back up I flushed a Hoopoe from the side of the road, by the time I had stopped and untangled seat belt and camera strap the bird was lost to sight some 50 mts out on the ranges. A few calls were made and first to arrive were MH & SG, shortly after there arrival the Hoopoe flew out of cover and disappeared into the distance on the ranges. A couple of Hobby's and Common Buzzards were noted over the ranges.
After lunch I went to the ARC screen hide to see if the Bitterns were showing, in the very short time I was there a drake Garganey could be seen but not the Bittern. My visit was cut short by a call from OL telling me the Hoopoe was showing in Dengemarsh Road. As far as I know the bird was still in the area at Dusk.
Drake Garganey at the ARC
 The Hoopoe in Dengemarsh Road

Thursday, 17 May 2018

North Wind Still Blowing!

When I woke up early this morning I could hear the north wind howling outside so I turned over and went back to sleep for a couple more hours, which turned out to be a mistake as AJG later informed me I missed a Pomarine Skua, 5 Arctic Skua's and a Great Skua, as well as a few Manx Shearwaters.
Common Scoter:2E
Red-throated Diver: 1E
Diver sp: 1W
Great-crested Grebe: 12 around
Fulmar: 1E
Gannet: 13E  5W
Bar-tailed Godwit: 5E
Great Skua: 1W
Arctic Skua: 1E
Mediterranean Gull: 4E all adults
Kittiwake: 2E
Little Tern: 2E
Sandwich Tern: 12E   53W
Common Tern: c100 around
Auk: 2E
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Porpoise: 4+
Late morning at the reserve on Burrowes 13 Curlew, 4 Turnstone, an Avocet, a Sanderling, a Whimbrel, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and 2 Little Gulls, several Swifts were feeding high over the lake, also the Common terns mating and looking for nest sites.
Chiffchaff in the lighthouse Garden this afternoon was the only migrant on The point I could find.
14.30-17.00 in the company of SG
Common Scoter: 19E   6W
Red-throated Diver: 2W
Fulmar: 2E
Gannet: 38E  6W
Cormorant: 26 around
Oystercatcher: 4E
Bar-tailed Godwit: 4E
Whimbrel: 16E
Arctic Skua: 1W
Kittiwake: 29E
Sandwich Tern: 69E    23W
Common Tern: 16E
Auk sp: 7E
Swallow: 4 in
Grey Seal: 1 
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
At least 2 Bitterns were reported as showing well from the screen hide today.
Common Terns

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Quiet Day!

The sea was as expected very quiet this morning, the highlight being a Black Tern with c70 Common Terns at The Patch.
One of two Spotted Flycatchers at the top end of the Long Pits this morning
I joined AJG in walk around the trapping area and Long Pits. Common and Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler and Cetti's Warbler were all seen or heard, the undoubted highlight was 2 Spotted Flycatchers at the top end, a party of 9 Whimbrel flew over the area, also a handful of Swallows and Swifts.
A raptor watch at lunchtime from the garden was very disappointing with just a single Common Buzzard being seen
15.00-16.00 from the boardwalk
Great-crested Grebe: 26 around
Gannet: 9E    4W
Kittiwake: 12E    4W
Sandwich Tern: 37E    18W
Common Tern: 24E
Grey Seal: 1
For the first time in a while no Porpoises seen!
 Bitterns from the Screen hide early this evening
An early evening visit to the ARC saw 2 Bitterns from the Screen hide, also seen several broods of Mallard ducklings feasting on hatching of insects that carpeted the surface of the lake, otherwise it was very quiet.
A quick look at Lydd camp saw one of the Little Owls perched on the rusty posts.

Monday, 14 May 2018

 A resident male Wheatear
After hearing from AJG the highlight of a 90 minute early morning sea watch which was 2 Hobby's I decided to walk down to the switching station where there were the resident Wheatears a few Linnets and Crows, not really worth the effort but if you don't look you wont find. A stop at The Patch on the way back found colour ringed Herring Gull K7LT which I first saw 18/11/2016, 7 Common Terns over the boil and a few Gannets feeding out at sea. A Greenland Wheatear came in off the sea as did 9 Swallows.
 Herring Gull K7LT not quite got the hang of mating
 Hairy Dragonfly
Mid morning around the trapping area found the resident Common and Lesser Whitethroats, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs but no new migrants. In the sheltered warmer spots a few Hairy Dragonfly's, a couple of Grizzled Skippers and many more Small Coppers. 
Grizzled Skipper
Early afternoon at Dengemarsh Gully absolutely no new migrants. From Springfield Bridge 2 Hobby's battling the near gale force northerly wind. On the reserve on Burrowes 4 Turnstones, 2 Curlew, 4 Dunlin, 2 Sanderling a Redshank and 40+ Common Terns.
At the ARC a 1s Little Gull and 2 more Hobby's. While I was in the screen hide I heard Gulls alarming behind me, I turned round to see a Spoonbill heading low towards Dengemarsh.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Red-backed Shrike!

When I finally crawled out of bed this morning I decided on a wander around the reserve starting at Springfield Bridge. It was quite depressing at how few Reed and Sedge Warblers were singing from the ditches and Reed beds, also how few Swallows, Martins and Swifts were seen, I'm still hoping there are more yet to arrive. On the bright side there seemed to be plenty of Lesser and Common Whitethroats also Cetti's Warblers. I watched a couple of Hobby's hawking insects over Dengemarsh hopefully more of them to come. Burrowes had a good selection waders on show Redshank, Sanderling, Dunlin, Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwits, Knot and Common Sandpiper.
 All round the reserve today there many wriggling masses of Lackey Moth caterpillars, so plenty of food for the Cuckoo's that were calling.
At Hookers the leucistic Rabbit that has been around for a couple of years was still present.
I was only half way round the reserve, when I received a call from Richard W saying he and Graham P had found a Red-backed Shrike by the Long Pits. I was a 20 minute walk away from my car which gave me time to call all the other locals all of which arrived before me. It was very elusive and while looking for it I saw my first Whinchat of the year.
 Red-backed Shrike at the Long Pits
  Red-backed Shrike at the Long Pits
I joined AJG who kindly collated the numbers in short sea watch this afternoon
Great-crested Grebe: 18 around
Gannet: 19E
Great Skua: 1E
Pomarine Skua: 2E at 1420
Kittiwake 13 up, 11 down
Sandwich Tern 77 up
Swallow 4 in
After the sea watch I went back to get more views of the Shrike being hassled by Common Whitethroats.
Chocholate-tip the highlight of last nights moth catch

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Tern Raft!

A shame to see the expensive shiny new Tern Raft on Burrowes Pit already has a pair of Herring Gulls mating on it, hopefully they will moved so as to avoid a repeat of last year, when a pair Herring Gulls nested on a Tern raft at Dengemarsh with 14 pairs of Common Terns, the Gulls seemingly waited for Terns to hatch then used the Tern chicks as a fast food restaurant wiping out all of them. Most of the islands on Burrowes have already been taken by Herring Gulls so it would be a tragedy to let them take the purpose built Tern raft.

05.00-07.30 & 14.15-15.45 with AJG who kindly collated the numbers also RW & OL.
Common Scoter: 72E
Red-throated Diver: 1E
Great-crested Grebe: 15 around
Fulmar: 1W  1E
Manx Shearwater: 1E  1W
Gannet: 17E   8W 68 around
Hobby: 1 in
Oystercatcher: 7E
Dunlin: 9E
Sanderling: 8E
Ringed Plover: 1E
Great Skua: 1E
Pomarine Skua: 2E  @ 06.10
Arctic Skua: 3E
Sandwich Tern: 517E
Common/Arctic Tern: 343E
Auk sp: 2E. 1w
Harbour Porpoise: 10+ around
Grey Seal: 1
From Dennis's Hide 11 Curlew, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Grey Plover, 2 Redshank and a Little Gull.
Later a drake Garganey was found at Makepiece, while Dengemarsh hosted 4+ Hobby's.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Roseate Tern & A Few More Poms!

04.50-09.00 &11.15-18.15 thanks to AJG for collating the numbers JC,RO et al
Common Scoter: 203E  29W
Red-throated Diver: 7E
Black-throated Diver: 1E
Great-crested Grebe: 16 around
Fulmar: 14E  9W
Manx Shearwater: 40+ around
Gannet: 667E   38W
Oystercatcher: 17E    4W
Dunlin: 7E
Sanderling: 15E
Turnstone: 2E
Grey Plover: 6E
Bar-tailed Godwit: 3E
Whimbrel: 6E
Curlew: 1E
Great Skua: 3E
Pomarine: Skua: 6E
Arctic Skua: 14E
Kittiwake: 75E
Little Tern: 14E
Sandwich Tern: 497E
Common/Arctic Tern: 1,915E
Arctic Tern: 16E
Roseate Tern: 1E   @18.00
Guillemot: 1E
Auk sp: 119E    5W
Swallow: 2 in
Harbour Porpoise: 10+
Grey Seal: 1
Harbour Seal: 1
Thanks to Matt Eade for for letting us know that 4 more Pomarine Skuas were on there way, though this year very few of the Splash Point flocks have reached Dungeness, the lure of 4 very close Poms made at least 4 of us stay till 17.51 when they arrived, though sadly a long way off shore, but 9 minutes later a lovely Roseate Tern came past with a small flock of Common Terns.
It seems once again land birds were few and far between on the peninsula in this continuing poor spring for migrants. 2 Bee-eaters flew around the fishing boats watched by OL while I was few100s yards away at the sea watch hide this afternoon, normal Bee-eater misses resume.

Thursday, 10 May 2018


 1 of todays Grasshopper Warblers
I joined CP,MH and PT on a trip to Northern France today, we visited various sites all within a 10 mile radius of Calais. Without any effort we racked up 100+ species including 12 species of Warbler including Marsh Warblers and super singing Icterine Warbler which evaded my lens. A Honey Buzzard which appeared to be carrying a food/prey item gave a very brief view as it flew over a ride in the forest. On one of the beaches 5 Kentish Plovers were seen, though their chances of breeding success didn't look good as holidaymakers strolled through the breeding area along with kite buggies.
It was a great day out and actually seeing loads of birds in great company. 
 1 of todays Grasshopper Warblers
1 of todays Grasshopper Warblers
 Kentish Plover
 Kentish Plover
Kentish Plover
Kentish Plovers
Honey Buzzard which appears to be carrying a food item
Shy Common Redstart
Grey Partridge
 Lady Orchid
Roe Deer