Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Horsham Waxwings

Seen in a quick visit to Horsham between meetings. Always a pleasure to see.  

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Not One But Two Serins

 At the ARC Pit this morning from the road the 2 Little Ringed Plovers were still present and 3 Goldeneye with little else of note. On to the Light House garden area where 5+ Black Redstarts an 3+ Wheatears were present. A Half hour sea watch produced 40+ Sandwich Terns , 132 Common Scoter, 8 Shovellor, 12 Teal, 4 Red Breasted Mergansers, 4 Red Throated Divers, 64 Brent Geese,  30+ Gannets, 5 Kittiwakes and 6 Meadow Pipits in off. A walk up to and around The Moat was far from inspiring the best being a Peregrine beating up the Pigeons on the Power Station. As i walked back i saw a small group of birders scoping intently by the Experimental Station only to see the scopes go down as i arrived and told that there had been a male Serin on the path and had flown off. Fortunately Dave Walker and myself walked off after the Serin and soon relocated it on some Chickweed. It was very flighty and never allowed close approach but nearly always found patches of Chickweed on to feed which made refinding it easier each time it flew off.  After a couple of hours it went missing for twenty minutes and when i refound it there was a female with it.   

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Black Redstart Fall at Dungeness

 Although it was a misty start at the point it was obvious from all the seeps and peeps as i got out the catthe car that many migrants were around. The first one i saw was a Black Redstart then another and another with a day total of 14, with 5 together in the Lighthouse Garden at one time. Also in the garden were 6 + Chiffchaffs some with black faces which i am reliably informed is Olive pollen with many more around the point, 2 Willow Warblers in the garden, 2 flyover Redpolls, 8 Siskins and a Brambling with more flyover Siskins as i walked the Point. The Gorse was alive with frantically feeding Goldcrests and 6+ Wheatears were around. A short misty sea watch produced 500+ Brent Geese, 14 Sandwich Terns, 102 Common Scoter and 2 Red Breasted Mergansers. 
 The Glaucous Gull was still at the fishing boats. At the ARC Pit The 2 Little Ringed Plover were still in residence and avery showy Curlew was with them. A Bittern flew over the path to Hansen Hide and 4+ Marsh Harriers were hunting the reed beds over the pit 6 Sand Martins and a Swallow were my first for the year

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Tribute to Ray

A late afternoon visit to the ARC Pit found 2 Little-ringed Plovers, 2 Slavonian Grebes, 2 Little Egrets, 2 Marsh Harriers, 4 Goldeneye, 2 Cetti's Warblers and a mixed flock of Pied Wagtails, Meadow Pipits and Reed Buntings all from the road. In the screen hide a moving tribute to Ray Turley.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Garganey Surprise

A nice surprise in a short visit to Dunge on the way home, in the form of 7 Garganey including 4 drakes on Burrowes Pit but always very distant (unlike the ones above) and in and out of the bushes, feeding on the myriad of newly hatched flies that were being blown across the pit.  

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Scandinavian Rock Pipits

 The sea and The Point were dead this morning, even the Glaucous Gull eluded me. I pulled up behind Dave Walkers car on the road at the ARC Pit and could see he was trying photograph something. Soon i was watching and trying photograph 3 Scandinavian Rock Pipits which was surprisingly difficult to do as they were in the short dense scrub. Also seen from the car was a Slavonian Grebe and a couple of Goldeneye. From Hansen Hide a red head Smew and a pair of Goldeneye were performing close to the hide  and a Bittern flew in.       

Saturday, 19 March 2011

 A Foggy start with a fairly brisk North Easterly breeze meant looking for grounded migrants which consisted of a single Wheatear and 2 Redwings also at the point 3 Stonechats. With the fog lifting on the sea there 57 Red Throated divers east, 6 West, a Black Throated Diver, 2 Sandwich Terns, 6 Common Scoter and a Porpoise. At the ARC Pit from the road 9 Dunlin, a Curlew, 2 Smew, 1 White Wagtail and 2 Marsh Harriers. In the Willow Trail 6 Goldcrests 3 Cetti's Warblers, 8 Chaffinches,2 Chiffchaffs, 6 Reed Buntings and Peacock butterfly. Between the carpark and the Water Tower 16 Reed Buntings, 2 Green Woodpeckers and little else.
Around the reserve 6+ Marsh Harriers, breif flight view of a Bittern and 4 Bearded Tits at Hookers showing well. The Firecrest still at Christmas Dell but little else of note.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

A Few Spring Arrivals and a stunning Black Redstart

A dull damp start at Dunge this morning started with an hour and half sea watch which produced 356 Brent Geese, 12 Pintail, 8 R.T.Divers, 1 B.T Diver, 6 Diver sp, 46 Common Scoter, 1 Fulmar , 3 Kittiwake, 6 Auks sp, 50+ Gannets  and a Sparrowhawk in. Behind the seawatching hide a Meadow Pipit(ringed) sang from the wire. In the scrub 4 Stonechats new in and in the lighthouse garden a Firecrest. The Glaucous Gull was in its usual spot on the beach. On the ARC Pit from the road 2 Slavonian Grebes starting to  get there summer plumage. From Hansen hide 5 red head Smew, 1 of which was very confiding fishing in amongst the reeds so close that i could not focus on it, along with a drake Pochard. Also present 12 Goldeneye, 4 of our American friends and 2 Marsh Harriers. As i walked up towards the screen hide a Bittern was flushed by a Harrier and flew into the reeds on the fishing lakes. In the bushes near the Water Tower a Firecrest was singing and whilst unsuccessfully trying to photograph it a stunning male Black Redstart appeared and was far more obliging. In the same bushes were 2 singing Chiffchaffs and 6 Reed Buntings. No sign of any Bewick Swans on Walland  presumably on there way to Russia. 

Saturday, 12 March 2011

March Hope

Not the hoped for Alba
The forcast was good for migrants but no one told the birds. The seawatch was more of the same 200+ Brent Geese, 100+ Common Scoter, 11 Mallard, 22 Teal, 2 Red-Breasted Mergansers, 12 Red Throated Divers, 3 Kittiwake, 14 Auks, the 1w Glaucous Gull, a female Wheatear on the beach near the lighthouse, a Perigrine round the power station and 2 Merlins along the beach. On the ARC from the road 5 Red Head Smew, 8 Goldeneye and a Ruddy Duck. Down Denge Marsh road 2 Ravens tucking into a dead lamb and a Stonechat. A walk round the reserve with very high water levels at least 9 different Cetti's Warblers, a flighty Firecrest at Christmas Dell, 4 Marsh Harriers and 30+ Reed Buntings.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Brilliant Sunny afternoon at Dungeness

Started the afternoon at the fishing boats where the Glaucous Gull was still on the beach and a large female Peregrine flew over, on the sea still large numbers of Great-crested Grebes but little else. At the SE end of the Arc pit a Curlew was posing on the shore out on the pit 2 Avocets were bobbing about the  whole length of the pit. From Hansen hide the Penduline Tit had been reported. It eventually appeared in the busses beside the hide and then flew into the Phragmites and was frustratingly elusive until it came out onto the Bullrushes infront of the hide where it showed quite well for 20 or so minutes before disappearing into the Willow Trail. Also from the hide a young drake Smew moulting, 16 Goldeneye, 3 Marsh Harriers, a Green Woodpecker and the 2 Avocets took from the water and flew towards the reserve calling. I was told of a Wheatear on the approach road to the reserve which was easy to find in its spring finery. Back at the Hansen Hide a Red Head Smew was very confiding.    
Moulting to adult drake

A confiding duck
First of the year

Monday, 7 March 2011

Pett Whitefronts

In a short early afternoon stop at Pett Levels i came across 5 Greater Whitefronted Geese with Greylags, also present on the levels were 400+ Wigeon, 100+ Teal, 300+ Curlew, 2 Marsh Harriers and 2 Common Buzzards. The sea was surprisingly choppy and all i could find was 50 + Great-crested Grebes.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

More of the same

This mornings hour long sea watch from the shelter of the fishing boats was a little more productive than yesterday with 30+ Red-throated Divers, 13 Brent Geese, 16, Common Scoter, 100+ Auks, a constant stream of Gannets and a few Kittiwakes all moving east also the 1w Glaucous gave a fly by. At the ARC Pit on the mossy turf near to the path to Hansen Hide 20+ Pied Wagtails, 14 Reed Buntings and 3 Rock Pipits at least one of which was (Littoralis). From the hide 4 Smew(1 drake), 12 Goldeneye, 3 + Marsh Harriers and 2 Pintail the first for a while. Many of the dabblers appear to have moved away from this pit presumably due to high water levels. I could not find a single Gadwall. On the Willow trail 4+ Cetti's Warblers and 2 Chiffchaffs.  

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Stubby Tail
 At a cold overcast Dungeness this morning a short desperate sea watch produced just a few Gannets and a couple of Red-throated Divers. At least stubby tail was still posing as was Great Black Backed Gull.
At the ARC pit just 5 Smew and 3 Marsh Harriers around with the high light being 2 fly over Ravens. Scotney was very quiet and on Walland the Bewick Swan herd has diminished to 56+ and the Tree Sparrows were still showing well by the feeders. 

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Bitter Reculver

 By juggling a couple of meetings i managed to be able spend my lunch hour-ish at Reculver. The car park was virtually empty and when i got out of the car i realised why. The NE wind was bitter, it was high tide and spray was coming over the car park wall . Walking along the sea wall there were a dozen Sanderling, 6 Ringed Plover, 2 Grey Plover and 20+ Turnstone roosting on the beach but nothing moving on the sea apart from a lone Brent Goose. On the beach mound by Coldharbour Lagoon i located the 3 Shorelark which did there utmost not to be photographed and when they did allow a shot or 2 they stood facing the wind with there backs to me. The walk back produced a lone Marsh Harrier over the fields.