Saturday, 31 March 2012

Grey Partridges on The Point

A grey drizzly morning at The Point found a thin scattering of migrants including my first Willow Warblers (2) of the year, several Chiffchaffs, 4 Northern Wheatears, 2+ Black Redstarts, with singles of Brambling, Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush. A Ring Ouzel was reported. Best of all 2 Grey Partridges now very rare on the peninsular flushed from behind the railway station. Thanks to everyone keeping me updated on the Spoonbill, due to prior commitments I was unable to see it, hopefully tomorrow.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Brents Keep On Coming

Brent Geese are still moving east in good numbers making the bulk of the sea watching records. Where are they all coming from?
Dungeness Sea Watch Hide 0715-1000:                Fishing Boats 1415- 1600
Red-throated Diver: 9E 2w                                     Red-throated Diver: 28E
Gannet: 54E                                                            Black-throated Diver: 1E
Brent Geese: 226E                                                  Gannet: 9E
Shelduck: 2E                                                           Brent Geese: 444E
Mallard: 5E                                                             Common Scoter: 14E
Shoveler: 6E                                                            Red-breasted Merganser: 5E
Common Scoter: 33E                                              Curlew: 6E
Red-breasted Merganser: 9E                                   Sandwich Tern: 83E
Sanderling: 14E                                                       Common Tern: 1E
Mediterranean Gull: 4E
Sandwich Tern: 14E
The reserve was an avian desert today apart from the Long-tailed duck and 4+ Marsh Harriers also little of note on the ARC Pit.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

A brilliant walk in the woods

A very poor sea watch from the hide 0715-0830 produced:
Red-throated Diver: 12E
Gannet: 32E
Mallard: 1E
Common scoter: 27E
Mediterranean Gull: 2E
Sandwich Tern: 8E
6+ Harbour Porpoise off shore.

 A look around the Lighthouse revealed just the RubicolaStonechat. Next stop the obs where Ray Turley's memorial has been erected in the front garden.
 As not much avian movement around the obs TG and myself decided on woodland walk in Orlestone Forest. As we walked out of the car park we met BH and CT who joined us on our ramble through the woods. A lesser Spotted Woodpecker was heard but not seen where I saw them a couple of weeks ago, we eventually saw one c1 mile further on. Also seen were Great and Green Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Treecreepers, Blue, Great, Long-tailed and Coal Tits, Bullfinches, Goldcrests, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, 2 Woodcocks, Thrushes and Corvids, Tawny Owl and Common Buzzards were heard as were Redpolls and CT saw a Brambling. Also a Wood Mouse, a Weasel, 6+Brimstones, several Peacocks an Orange Tip, also several Orange Underwings

 On the way back to to the beach we saw a Little Ringed Plover(First for the year) at the south end of the ARC Pit.
An hour watching the sea this afternoon:

Brent Geese: 217E
Sandwich Tern: 58E
5+ Harbour Porpoises off shore.

Harbour Porpoises

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

First Swallows

White Wagtail
In between sea watches today 2 Black Redstarts and  a Chiffchaff around the lighthouse, the Long-tailed Duck still on Burrowes Pit, 3 Snipe, 3 Goldeneye and White Wagtail at the southern end of the ARC Pit.
0800-1000 from the sea watch hide:                      1415-1700 From fishing boats:
Red-throated Diver: 6E                                           Red-throated Diver: 9E
Gannet: 15E                                                            Gannet: 9E
Brent Geese: 231E                                                  Brent Geese: 595E
Shelduck:5E                                                            Fulmar: 2E
Mallard: 4E                                                             Common Scoter: 29E
Teal: 5E                                                                   Red-breasted Merganser: 2E
Common Scoter: 32E                                              Curlew: 3
Merlin: 1 in off.                                                       Sandwich Tern: 151E
Curlew: 12E                                                            Common Tern: 7E
Oystercatcher: 6E                                                    Little Gull: 10E
Guillemot: 2 on sea                                                 Barn Swallow: 1 in off
Barn Swallow: 1 in off                                            Harbour Porpoise 3+
Harbour Porpoise: 5+

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Back to Sussex

On the way to West Sussex to visit mum I made a short stop a Newhaven to have another look at the 2w Iceland Gull which was posing on its usual post. Unfortunately early morning is not the time to photograph it as it is straight in to the sun,

On the way home I stopped off at one of the commons to have a look for some Woodlarks. They were very easy to find right beside the car park. I was unable get near them as they were constantly flushed  by all the dog walkers. Over the road in the castle grounds a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker  drumming and calling, c10 Crossbills over, a couple of Siskins over and 2 Common Buzzards. Nearby at Coldwaltham 2+ Short Eared Owls, 3 Common Buzzards and 5 Little Egrets.   

Monday, 26 March 2012

Back to the Woods

Dungeness sea watch hide 08.00-10.20:
Red-throated Diver: 6E 2w
Gannet: 8+ fishing off shore
Merlin: 1 in off
Brent Geese: 34E
Common Scoter: 10E
Curlew: 8E
Dunlin: 4E
Kittiwake: 5E
Mediterranean Gull: 2E
Great Skua: 1E
Sandwich Tern: 32E 17W
Small number of Meadow Pipits and Linnets in off.
2+ Harbour Porpoise.
With few grounded migrants and cold NE wind blowing across The Point I moved inland to Orlestone Forest where it was at least 10c warmer and I spent a few hours plodding around 2 hours of which was spent watching a pair of Nuthatches nest building. It appeared that one of the pair did all the building while the other kept guard and called encouragement. At one point it called frantically while the other bird dived into the nest cavity as a Sparrowhawk dashed through. I still cant find any Marsh Tits there nor the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker today. Good numbers of butterflies were on the wing Brimstones, Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and a Comma.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

First Arctic Skua of the year

08.30-10.00 from the sea watch hide:
Red-throated Diver: 23E 2w
Gannets: 12E
Merlin: 1 in off
Brent Geese: 34E
Shoveler: 7E
Common Scoter: 41E
Shelduck: 1E
Red-breasted Merganser: 10E 4w
Oystercatcher: 2E
Curlew: 2E
Mediterranean Gull: 1E
Arctic Skua: 1E
Razorbill: 1E
Harbour Porpoise: 6+ off shore
Around the lighthouse 1 Northern Wheatear, 1 Black Redstart, 2 Chiffchaff and a few Meadow Pipits and Linnets. With the birding so quiet today an early finish to do the garden chores and collect Brownie points.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Melecta Albifrons

Many thanks to Roger Haggar for enlightening me on the id of yesterdays Bee's. Roger tells me they are a Melecta Albifrons a species of Cuckoo Bee that use the nests of the Flower Bee ( Anthophora Plumipes).
Today from sea watching hide  07.30-11.30:
Red-throated Diver: 1w                                      Shoveller: 30E
Gannet:  47E                                                       Tufted Duck: 3 in off
Greylag Goose: 4w                                             Common Scoter: 15E
Brent Geese: 868E                                              Red-breasted Merganser: 11E
Shelduck: 5E                                                      Oystercatcher: 6E
Wigeon: 12E                                                       Bar-tailed Godwit: 1E
Teal: 38E                                                             Curlew:: 6E
Mallard: 20E                                                        Mediterranean Gull: 5E
Pintail: 6E                                                            Kittiwake: 4E
1 Skylark and a few Meadow Pipits and Linnets in off.
Round the lighthouse 2 Chiffchaffs and a Black Redstart. Also 3 Small Tortoiseshells and 2 Peacock butterfly's. Not much else probably in part due to the sheer number of birdwatchers around (two huge parties) the area. 
Newly arrived showing the black Olive Tree  pollen

At south end of the ARC Pit 1 Curlew, 3 Common Snipe, 2 Oystercatchers, 1 Little Egret and 2 Goldeneye.
A stroll from the ARC car park to the pines produced 13 Tree Sparrows, 100+ Golden Plover over, 2+ Marsh Harriers, 2 Chiffchaffs and 3 Cetti's Warblers.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Showing my ignorance!

Dungeness sea watch from the hide 08.00-11.30:
Red-throated Diver: 14E
Gannet: 42E
Fulmar: 1E
Brent (dark bellied): 576E
Brent (pale bellied): 1E
Shelduck: 7E
Pintail: 1E
Wigeon: 3E
Common Scoter: 36E
Eider: 2E
Red-breasted Merganser:  6E
Oystercatcher: 5E
Curlew: 13E
Sandwich Tern: 71E 23W
Common Buzzard: 1 in off.
3+ Harbour Porpoises off shore.
Lighthouse Garden held 1 Chiffchaff and 1 Black redstart. A Raven was on the pylons.
At the south end of the ARC Pit 1 Avocet and 1 Curlew.
Curlew ARC Pit

Wood Mouse
On the reserve 4 Goldeneye seen from the centre, but billions of midges round Burrowes Pit again made the walk to Scott Hide uncomfortable. 40 Golden Plover over Christmas Dell, 3+ Bearded Tits and 2 Marsh Harriers from Hookers Viewpoint and a Wood Mouse on the return trail were of note.  Showing my ignorance, on the sandy bank beside the path to Dennis's Hide, 100s of some kind of what i think may be a Miner Bee sp. (see images below). I would be grateful if anyone can enlighten me.
Miner Bee sp. ???

In burrow entrance

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Dunge then Rye

From the sea watching hide 08.00-08.40:

Red-throated Diver: 2E
Gannet: 108E
Sandwich Tern 4E 3W
Merlin in off.
With very little of note in the way of migrants to be seen at Dungeness today, I made the short drive to Rye to see the improvements that have been made to the reserve.
The walk along the bank towards the Ternery Pool once a dry partially arable field is now a mass of channels and pools that will soon be alive with birds. Already today Avocet, Redshank, Lapwing and Ringed Plover were busy feeding and soon probably nesting.
The Ternery Pool with its newly built up islands and extra islands already hold c200 Sandwich Terns, several hundred Black-headed Gulls,  c50 Mediterranean Gulls(probably alot more), c200 Oystercatcher, 4+ Little Grebes, 6 + Tufted Duck, 2 Ringed Plover and the nesting season has not even started yet.
The Quarry has also had more islands put in and looks excellent for nesting Terns and Gulls. Now that the water levels can be regulated by the new sluice, I am sure the reserve will just get and better and is a credit to the wardens and all those who have contributed to the improvements to it.
I know I will be regular visitor in the future.

Sandwich Terns, 2nd year Mediterranean Gull and Oystercatchers

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Fog and Sun

Very slow sea watch 08.00 till the fog rolled in at 08.35 from the sea watch hide:
Red-throated Diver: 9E
Gannet: 8E
Common Scoter: 4W
Kittiwake: 3E 2W
Sandwich Tern: 9E 6W
Harbour Porpoise 2
Due to the fog I moved to the ARC Pit which was also very quiet with 1 Little Egret, 12 Goldeneye, 3 Cetti's Warblers, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Water Rail, 1 Marsh Harrier.
On the reserve also quiet but very warm with huge swarms of midges round Burrowes Pit, where a Ruff was on one of the islands, the seemingly ever present Long-tailed Duck and a Common Buzzard stirring up the Gulls. A pleasant hour at Hookers viewing ramp enjoying the warm sunshine listening to the Bittern booming and another fly through, Bearded Tits pinging, Water Rails squealing, a pair of Great-crested Grebes in front the mound, Cetti's Warblers in full voice, up to 4 Marsh Harriers displaying, a Sparrowhawk dash through, 4 Curlews over and 7 feral Snow Geese that flew into Dengemarsh fields.
Having problems uploading images today.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Bits and Pieces

Slim pickings at The Point this morning where I could only find 2 Northern Wheatears, 1 Black Redstart, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Stonechats and 2 Sparrowhawks.
Moving on to the ARC Pit 5 Dunlin, a Curlew and 4 Avocets over at the south end. 2 Bearded Tits by the path to Hanson Hide, 2 Marsh Harriers over and 3 Goldeneye from the hide. 2 Chiffchaffs in the Willow Trail also 2 Cetti's Warblers, a squealing Water Rail and a Common Lizard cloud bathing on the boardwalk.

 On the reserve on Burrowes Pit 4 had become 5, 3 Goldeneye, 2 Marsh Harriers , 5 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plover and the Long-tailed Duck.

Monday, 19 March 2012

A lazy day in the sun

On arrival at The Point I was advised not to waste time looking at the sea as that is all I would see.
A plod around the research station and both lighthouses found just 1 female Northern Wheatear, 1 Black Redstart, the Rubicola Stonechat and its mate and 2 Chiffchaffs. In the Gorse behind the railway station another Chiffchaff and photogenic Firecrest. Moving out across The Desert to the trapping area found another Firecrest and a Sparrowhawk displaying overhead.
At the southern end of the ARC Pit 2 White Wagtails with a couple of Pied and little else of note.
From the track to Hanson hide 5 Common Buzzards, 3 Marsh Harriers displaying and 2+Cetti's Warblers singing. From the hide still 4 Goldeneye but nothing else of note.
With most of the winter birds gone and summer ones not yet arrived I spent several hours plodding around the reserve enjoying the beautiful spring weather. From the picnic site the Long-tailed Duck, 22 Bar-tailed Godwits and 3 Goldeneye. From Makepiece 6 Ringed Plovers and a Sandwich Tern. The 3 fields inside the predator proof electrified fence (I can vouch for that) have now been partially flooded and look excellent for migrant waders, dabblers and wagtails. They should also provide a relatively safe nesting area for Lapwing and Redshank a pair of the latter were already displaying there today. An hour at the viewpoint raced by watching up to 4 Marsh Harriers displaying, a pair of Great-crested Grebes displaying, 2 Bearded Tits, a Bittern booming occasionally and several Cetti's Warblers singing.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Sunny Dunge!

Still a few migrants around The Point today, 7 Wheatears and 2 Black Redstarts between the new lighthouse and research station. In the Old Lighthouse Garden 2+ Chiffchaffs and 1+ Black Redstart.
In The Moat 4 Firecrests, 1 Chiffchaff and a Woodcock flew over. In the nearby Gorse another 2+ Firecrests and 2 Chiffchaffs. At the fishing boats 2 more Wheatears and another Black Redstart.
 At the southern end of the ARC 5 Dunlin and a Marsh Harrier. From Hanson Hide 4 Goldeneye, 16 Curlew and a fly past Bittern.
 In Dengemarsh Gully 3+ Wheatears, 4+Chiffchaffs, 2+ Goldcrests, 1 Firecrest, 3 Meadow Pipits, 3 Linnets and a Black Redstart.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Playing catch up!

Being otherwise occupied yesterday, I missed all the migrants at Dungeness, so I was delighted when I pulled up at The Point this morning to see 2 Wheatears feeding by the car park. On the way out to the sea watch hide 2 more Wheatears and a "Rubicola Stonechat".
08.30-09.30 Sea Watch
Red-throated Diver: 3W
Fulmar: 1E
Brent Geese: 478E
Common Scoter:   4E
Red-breasted Merganser: 7E
Sandwich Tern:  12E   3W
Also a few Gannets and Kittiwakes tooing and froing.

 On shore around The Point 8+ Wheatears, 6+ Firecrests, 3+ Black Redstarts, 6+ Chiffchaffs and then the rain came. At the southern end of the ARC Pit at least 1 White Wagtail in a party of c25 Pied Wagtails and a very bedraggled Rock Pipit probably Scandinavian flushed by a Marsh Harrier.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Time to pave the garden!

Doing chores today cost me an excellent sea watch this morning and an Iceland Gull this afternoon.
09.00-10.00 from the sea watch hide the highlights were 545 Brent Geese and 3 Sandwich Terns east (TG had already had the best part of 4,000 and 60+ before I arrived).
In the Lighthouse Garden 2 Chiffchaffs newly arrived with sticky black pollen on there foreheads and bill, 2 Song Thrushes and 2 Black Redstarts with at least 2 more around the Research Station.
At Boulderwall plenty of Tree Sparrows around the feeders, the drake Garganey was still on the first pool and 2 red head Smew were on the adjacent pool. With the spring arrival of BP the next couple of hours or so was spent by the pools chatting and watching Marsh Harriers and more chatting. As I had promised to mow the lawn this afternoon  I came home early, in doing so I missed an adult Iceland Gull at the fishing boats see

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Plastic Geese

This morning 07.50-08.30 from the fishing boats there was no sea passage of note: just a few Gannets, Kittiwakes and Red-throated Divers tooing and froing and 2+ Harbour Porpoises.
The New Diggings held 1red head Smew, 3 Godeneye and the Great White Egret.
At the south end of the ARC Pit 2 summer plumaged Black-necked Grebes but always distant, while watching them a Bittern flew across the pit and 15 Avocet flew over towards Burrowes Pit  but ended up swimming in the middle of the ARC.
On the reserve the Long-tailed Duck was in its usual corner from Deniss's Hide. As I missed the Taiga Bean Goose yesterday I made my way to the viewing ramp to hopefully locate it. On arrival Owen was there and pointed out an Egyptian Goose in among the Greylags and Canada Geese but no Bean. Several Marsh Harriers were displaying and couple of Bearded Tits called. A plod around the back of Hookers and along the path towards Lydd found many more Greylags and Canada's but still no Bean. A lunch stop followed by stop at Boulderwall Farm pools produced the drake Garganey distantly. Back on viewing ramp now in the sun a Bittern was booming and the Harriers still performing but no Bean Goose. A late afternoon visit to Scotney found a party of 6 Snow Geese, quite probably the group that had been seen at Beachy Head earlier in the day, also a single Snow Goose with some Greylags. 

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Cold and Gloomy Dungeness

In a cold easterly wind a short sea watch from The Point this morning, 09.00-09.30 produced: 71 Gannets E, 6 Kittiwakes E, 2 Guillemots E, 2 Great Crested Grebes E, 1 Red-throated Diver E.
On New Diggings 2 red head Smew, 3 Goldeneye, 1 Great White Egret and 2 Little Egrets.
On the ARC Pit  6 Goldeneye,  all the common dabblers, 2 Marsh Harriers displaying over the tower, 1 Chiffchaff in the Willow Trail and 4+ Cetti's Warblers singing.
On the reserve a fine drake Garganey on the first pool after Boulderwall Farm, the Long-tailed Duck still from Dennis's Hide, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits on Burrowes, it or another Great White Egret at the back of Hookers Pit with  4+ Marsh Harriers, also a Bittern booming there but no sign of yesterdays Taiga Bean Goose which was apparently associating with Canada Geese, but it reappeared this afternoon per CT.
At Scotney little of note but 1Snow Goose(unknown origin) and 2 more Marsh Harriers.
On Walland 20+ Tree Sparrows in the bushes adjacent to the feeders, 20+ Yellow Hammers and 10+ Corn Buntings by the rubbish pile in Tickers Lane.


Monday, 12 March 2012

A Plod In The Sun

In glorious spring weather very little of note today. Yestersdays Stonechat was still singing but had now moved to the power station perimeter fence. The sea was very quiet with nothing moving, even the Glaucous Gull eluded me today. On the New Diggings the Great White Egret with 2 Little Egrets and 1 red head Smew.
At the ARC still plenty of the common wildfowl, 2 singing Chiffchaffs, several Cetti's Warblers and 4 Marsh Harriers displaying high over the Tower Pits.
On the reserve a Snow Goose(unknown origin) flew over the car park and settled on Burrowes Pit for a few minutes before moving off east.
From Dennis's Hide the Long-tailed Duck and 48 Bar-tailed Godwits. A Great White Egret was at Christmas Dell, 5 Marsh Harriers and a Common Buzzard were high over Hookers Pit. 

Sunday, 11 March 2012


On a flat calm sea at Dungeness this morning very little of note: 300+ Great-crested Grebes and just a few Auks and Red-throated Divers. Off shore a few Gannets and Kittiwakes with just 6 Brent Geese moving east.
Met PT at the obs who told me about a singing Stonechat with a very white rump near the research station. On arrival the chat was soon located and the record images below taken clearly showing a particularly white rump and some bling. The bird was still singing and hunting in the company of its mate.  Any comments will be gratefully received. 

Nearby a single Black Redstart but no other migrants.
On New Diggings the Great White Egret, 2 Little Egrets and 1 red head Smew.
On the reserve the Long Tailed Duck, 38 Bar-tailed Godwits, 5+Marsh Harriers, 1 Common Buzzard and the Great White Egret flew into Dengemarsh.
On my way to the Harrier roost on Walland Marsh 2 Little Owls on the chicken sheds. Only 1 Marsh Harrier roosted in the reed bed I was monitoring, though there were a minimum of 9 in the area. A superb adult male Hen Harrier flew through at 16.50 and returned at 18.00 to roost in adjacent reed bed. Also seen at the roost 3 Common Buzzards, 4 Corn Buntings, several Water Rails squealing.
A big thank you to the lady who handed in my telescope that I left at the viewing ramp. Its becoming a habit.