Thursday, 31 October 2013

Beaten by the weather!

With a fairly strong westerly wind and light rain my expectations were not high. Arriving at The Point at c07.30 DW and AJG were already there watching from their cars I stuck it out till c09.15 combined totals: all west unless stated.
Red-throated Diver: 1
Great-crested Grebe: 28  +  9 o/s
Gannet: 86
Brent Goose: 4
Common Scoter: 165
Velvet Scoter: 1 (which I missed)
Red-breasted Merganser: 3
Sandwich Tern: 24
Kittiwake: 17
Little Gull: 13  (2 parties of 7 and 6)
Mediterranean Gull: 1 o/s
Auk sp: 5
Starling: 1085 in
From the causeway 1 Great White Egret and 5 Little Egrets could be seen on New Diggings.
On the ARC from Hanson the Glossy Ibis still running around the fast disappearing islands, 4 Little Egrets, 8 Common Snipe, a Dunlin, a Goldeneye and 2 Marsh Harriers were the highlights. The common wildfowl numbers seem to have diminished since the storm.
At a very wet and windswept Scotney GP small numbers of the common dabblers and diving duck. Nothing of note among the feral geese.
Early afternoon on the reserve I got a soaking on my way to Makepiece, from there 3 Great White Egrets, 5 Little Egrets and a Black-necked Grebe were all I could see of note through the rain, an early day beckoned.  

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Rough Legged Buzzard

07.15-07.45 from the fishing boats a very poor return with 1 Arctic Skua, 6 Sandwich Terns, 4 Gannets and 8 Common Scoters.
With news that the Pallas's Warbler had been seen in The Willow Trail I made my way there but no luck despite numerous attempts today. A look in Hanson saw the Glosssy Ibis doing its usual thing, 3 Greenshank of note. I had just left the hide when SB called me back to see a juvenile Rough Legged Buzzard spotted by Roi Crabier over the Tower Pits. It moved down the railway line to Kerton Road then headed towards the lighthouses, then out over the trapping area/Open Pits, then back out over Lade towards Littlestone where I lost it, but was seen by others back near the tower and back of the airport. By driving down towards The Point, I managed to catch up with it near the lighthouse when it was in the company of a Common Buzzard, then again as it crossed the road near The Gantry. 
                                                Juvenile Rough Legged Buzzard

Crossing the road overhead by The Gantry!
1 of c300 Stock Doves over the ARC area today
Around the ARC today a late Hobby, 6 Sparrowhawks, a Merlin, 2+ Marsh Harriers, a Bittern, a Great White Egret, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps, 6 Swallows, c300 Stock Doves, 6 Tree Sparrows, 6+ Siskins, 2+ Redpolls and c300 Golden Plover.
This afternoon a visit to Galloways and Dengemarsh Gulley with MH saw 7 Stonechats, 2 Wheatears and a male Black Redstart of note.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Disappointment after the storm!

First thing this morning with the wind still howling, bringing along the occasional shower I parked up on the beach near the fishing boats for some sea watching. The sea was relatively calm on this sheltered side of The Point looking into Lade and Hythe Bay. Sea watching was precisely all I did as apart from a few Gulls and Cormorants nothing of note was moving at sea.
Marooned in the ARC car park
After the disappointment of the sea watch I pulled into an empty ARC car park to find a 1w Great Crested Grebe stumbling around it. After a bit of chase I managed to catch it, then released it into the nearest Tower Pit, where it promptly dived, then surfaced c15mts away and started preening seemingly none the worse for its adventure.
During this visit to Hanson The Glossy Ibis was still present feeding in the choppy waters, also 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Greenshanks, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Bittern. I spent some time in the Willow Trail trying to locate the Tit flock and hopefully yesterdays Yellow Browed Warbler with no luck just 2 Redwings flushed from the path. 
A stormy ARC from Hanson
 On Burrowes 4+ Great White Egrets, 10 Little Egrets, a fly by Bittern  and very obliging Great Crested Grebe from Scott Hide.
Calmer waters in front of Scott Hide
Mid afternoon another attempted sea watch was mercifully cut short with news from Marcus Lawson that he had found an elusive Pallas's Warbler in the Willow Trail. After much staring into bushes and straining of my deaf ears without success and the light starting to go, Marcus waved me over and I managed the briefest of views of the bird. In all honesty though all I really saw was a small phylloscopus warbler, hopefully better views tomorrow in lighter winds. While looking for the Pallas's Warbler, the Penduline Tit was heard but not seen several times by those present who aren't acoustically challenged (which means I didn't hear it). 

Sunday, 27 October 2013

A Bit of a Blow!

An hours sea watch from the fishing boats this morning was very slow, seeing of any note 27 Sandwich Terns, 1 Little Gull, 2 Turnstones and c200 Goldfinches over. Many Gannets could be seen very distantly.
At Scotney very little of note in the strong winds. The feral Barnacle Goose flock was still present and several hundred Wigeon were hunkered down.
A squall at the ARC today (spot the Glossy Ibis)
On Burrowes from Dennis's hide 2 Great White Egrets and 8 Little Egrets in a sheltered spot.
In 2 visits to the ARC the Glossy Ibis still strutting around the islands, also present the long staying Curlew Sandpiper, a Grey Plover, a Greenshank, a Dunlin, 2 Goldeneye, a Red-crested Pochard, 2 Marsh Harriers and a Great White Egret. As I was about to go into the hide a second time, a Long Tailed Tit flock came across the path with a 2 Chiffchaffs and a Yellow Browed Warbler, disappearing into the Willow Trail. I relocated the Yellow Browed Warbler further down the Willow Trail but promptly lost it again in the gale blown Sallows.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Deja vu!

I spent most the morning tidying the garden and securing anything that could move in the predicted gales. While doing this a  new bird for Plodland popped up on the fence, a superb male Black Redstart, but disappeared very quickly, also 4 Swallows flew over.
An hour late morning at the fishing boats saw a single Arctic Skua, a Little Gull, 37 Sandwich Terns, a few Gannets, 1 Guillemot and 4 Swallows out.
This morning 2 Penduline Tits were reported from the reserve with a very vague location and nobody seemed to know anything about them, also a Red-necked Grebe seen on Burrowes this afternoon could not be refound.
A Great White Egret on New Diggings also 2+ more on the reserve. The Glossy Ibis still strutting around the islands in the ARC among all the usual wildfowl.
Another hour late afternoon from the fishing boats was very disappointing, seeing 3 Curlews west and just a few Gannets and Sandwich Terns.    

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Not a Great Day!

Very disappointing watch this morning from the fishing boats:
Brent Goose: 8W
Common Scoter: 16W
Arctic Skua: 1W
Great Skua: 1W
Sandwich Tern: 9W
Swallow: 2 out
Goldfinch: 120W
Linnet: 50W
Not a single Gannet seen in the hour!

In 3 Visits to the ARC the Glossy Ibis still, 4 Greenshank, 5 Grey Plover, c400 Lapwing, c300 Golden Plover, 10 Curlew, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 8 Common Snipe, 4 Dunlin, a Curlew Sandpiper, an Oystercatcher, 2 Goldeneye among the common wildfowl. In the reeds and bushes,  4+ Water Rail, 3+Cetti's Warblers and 4 Chiffchaffs.
The best 2 birds of the day a Penduline Tit and a Red-necked Grebe. Even though the Penduline was showing for an hour and despite being only minutes away I and all the other locals missed it due to slow dissemination of information.    
On the reserve 5 Great White Egrets, 8+Little Egrets, 2 Black-necked Grebes, a Ruff, 6+ Common Snipe, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 6+ Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Swallows, 3 Marsh Harriers and 3 Bitterns(BP).

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Crossbills Revisited!

From the fishing boats 07.20-08.50 with AJG and DW:
All west unless stated otherwise.
Gannet: 114 
Common Scoter: 819 
Velvet Scoter: 2 
Wigeon: 4 
Merlin: 1 around
Curlew: 1 
Razorbill: 1 on sea
Arctic Skua: 3
Great Skua: 1
Sandwich Tern: 132 
Little Gull: 4 
Rock Pipit: 1 
Pied Wagtail: 3 around 
Swallow: 8 out
Goldfinch: 270 
Linnet: 159 
Starling: 15 in
Thanks to AJG for collating the numbers.
On the ARC from Hanson an obvious overnight clear out and another increase in the water levels. The Gloss Ibis was still doing its thing around the islands, the Red Crested Pochard was asleep on an island as were 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a Dunlin, only 6 Golden Plover among c50 Lapwing and 4 Common Snipe trying to like rocks. Only a few dabblers present today. 
Two Barred crossbill
 This afternoon I visited Hempstead Forest with DW and GH, which was a spectacular success with superb views of the Two Barred Crossbill and great scope views of at least 7 Parrot Crossbills, also many Common Crossbills, a few Siskins a Redpoll and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Two Barred Crossbill

Parrot Crossbills

Common Crossbill

Common Crossbill

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Waders and Wildfowl!

I joined DW at fishing boats this morning and later joined by RS: All West unless otherwise stated.
Balearic Shearwater: 1
Manx Shearwater: 1
Gannet: c150
Common Scoter: 265
Velvet Scoter: 2 (Minutes before I arrived)
Long-tailed Duck: 1
Wigeon: 39
Merlin: 1 around
Arctic Skua: 3+
Great Skua: 5
Little Gull: 1
Kittiwake: 2
Mediterranean Gull: 1
Sandwich Tern: 155
Guillemot: 2
Razorbill: 2
Auk sp: 12
Swallow: 52 out
Grey Wagtail: 1 out
Goldfinch: c1,800 out
Linnet: c150 out
Siskin: c20 out 

At the ARC from Hanson the Glossy Ibis still wandering around the islands, joined by a Curlew Sandpiper, 8 Dunlin, 5 Grey Plover, 2 Greenshanks, a Redshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Turnstone, 6 Common Snipe, c100 Golden Plover and c150 Lapwing. A Bittern gave a close fly by view, a Red-crested Pochard was roosting on and island along with good numbers of dabblers being occasionally flushed by a Marsh Harrier.  
 By the track to the reserve a Wheatear, 2 Stonechats and in the gull roost a colour ringed Great Black Backed Gull and a colour ringed Herring Gull both too distant to read.
On Burrowes Pit, 2+ Great White Egret, 9 Little Egrets, 4 Black-necked Grebes, a Little Stint, a Ruff, a Greenshank, 4 Common Snipe and all the usual wildfowl and Marsh Harriers.
Late afternoon at Scotney very few birds, the exception being the feral Barnacle Geese and a Marsh Harrier.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Another day at Dunge!

07.30-09.30 From the fishing boats:
Red throated Diver 1 W
Balearic Shearwater 5W
Gannet 118 W
Scoter 425 W
Wigeon 3 W
Sandwich Tern 52 W
Kittiwake 3 W
Little Gull 3 W
Arctic Skua 2 W
Guillemot 2 W
Razorbill 1 W
Auk sp 8 W
Merlin in around
Curlew 1 W
Rock Pipit 1
Swallow 37
Goldfinch 357 W
Brambling: 1 in
linnet 135 W
 At the ARC from Hanson the Glossy Ibis still wandering around the islands despite being flushed several times by a Marsh Harrier, along with c50 Golden Plover, c150 Lapwing, 4 Dunlin, 6 Common Snipe, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, and good numbers of dabblers. In the bushes round the hide 4 Chiffchaffs and 1+ Cetti's Warbler.  
Flushed by the Marsh Harrier

Yellow-legged Gull
 In the Gull roost by the track to Burrowes a Yellow-legged Gull probably 4cy. On Burrowes 2 Black-necked Grebes, 4+ Great White Egrets, 10 Little Egrets, a Ruff, a Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Dunlin and a Ring Plover of note among the many Dabblers.
Another watch from the fishing boats 14.10-16.10 was some what disappointing:
Gannet: 24W
Sandwich Tern: 45W
Little Gull: 6W
Swallow: 1 out
Harbour Porpoise: 2
Goldfinch waiting its turn on the Plodland feeders.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Plastic Wildfowl!

From the fishing boats this morning 2 Arctic Skuas, a Little Gull, a few Common Scoter, 80+ Gannets, a few Sandwich Terns, a Merlin, a few parties of Finches and few Swallows out. 
Black-necked Grebe from Makepiece
On Burrowes Pit the highlights were 2 Black-necked Grebes, 4 Great White Egrets, 7 Little Egrets, a Peregrine and a Marsh Harrier.
At the ARC from Hanson the Glossy Ibis, a Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Greenshank, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Grey Plover, 7 Dunlin among the usual wildfowl. In the bushes and reeds several Chiffchaffs and a Water Rail also a Bittern flew over to the tower pits.
At Scotney 400+ Golden Plover, 4 Egyptian Geese, 2 Ruddy Shelduck, c300 Greylag Geese, c150 Canada Geese and 85 Barnacle Geese with its attendant 6 Heinz 57s.
This evenings Harrier roost count was at least consistent with last winters with no Harriers roosting in the reed bed I watched. 

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Jack Snipe

With the rain falling steadily, a lay in, followed by a full English was the best way for me start my day. Mid morning I drove to Scotney where c500 Golden Plover, 9 Ruff, a Redshank and the feral Barnacle Goose flock could be seen. A walk around the outside of the camp looking for Crossbills, was damp and drew a blank.
Late morning I visited the ARC Hanson hide where a very obliging Jack Snipe could be seen bobbing and was still present after my second visit at 17.00. Also seen there the Glossy Ibis, a Bittern, a Curlew Sandpiper, a Greenshank, a Ruff, 12 Dunlin(1 with a colour ring) c250 Golden Plover, 3 Grey Plover, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2+ Water Rail squealing, 2 Cetti's Warblers calling, also many Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall Shovellor present. 

 At the reserve on Burrowes Pit 7 Great White Egret, 9+ Little Egrets, a Ruff, 4 Grey Plover, a Little Stint, a Marsh Harrier, 3 Black-necked Grebes, 12+ Chiffchaffs, 2 Rock Pipits, a Wheatear, and 2 Goldeneye among the common wildfowl.

Thursday, 17 October 2013


07.40-08.25 from The Point:
Gannet: N/C
Brent Goose: 8W
Common Scoter: 12W
Wigeon: 9W
Hen Harrier: 1 in off
Arctic Skua: 1E
Little Gull: 1 off shore
Sandwich Tern: 6 off shore
Swallow: 17 in of
Chiffchaff Lighthouse garden
 In an hour spent looking into the Lightouse garden I managed several brief views of the Yellow Browed Warbler, a Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff. With news that the Two Barred Crossbill was still at Hempstead forest saw myself, DW, BP and DR make our way there. On arrival we were making our way up the track towards the gathered birders who started waving at us as the Two Barred Crossbill was showing. We hastened our walk a little and were soon getting good scope views of the bird, but no good for photography.
Distant Two Barred Crossbill
 We were told on arrival that 2 Parrot Crossbills had been seen, so we waited and after a while the male was picked out on distant conifer, a few moments later it and 2 other Crossbills flew towards us and landed in the trees above the drinking pool. Once again great scope views were had but much to far for me tom get any decent photographs. I believe some good phonescope shots were obtained by others, I am sure over the next few days other good ones will be obtained.
                                                          Parrot Crossbill
Left to right:  Common Crossbill, female type Parrot Crossbill, Male Parrot Crossbill.

Male Parrot Crossbill
This afternoon back at Dungeness the Glossy Ibis could again be seen from Hanson along with all the usual wildfowl. At the Lighthouse the Yellow Browed Warbler was still not behaving itself.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013


I went straight round to the lighthouse garden this morning, within minutes a Yellow Browed Warbler appeared along with a couple of Chiffchaffs and a couple of Goldcrests.
From the fishing boats 09.30-10.00:
Brent Goose: 4E
Common Scoter: 12E   2W
Gadwall: 9W
Wigeon: 7W
Teal:  8W
Grey Heron: 1 out
Sandwich Tern: 6 off shore
Swallow: 22 out
Meadow Pipit: 9 out  
 At the ARC the Glossy Ibis was still performing distantly, also 2 Greenshank, 1 Redshank, 1 Ruff, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 24 Dunlin, c100 Golden Plover, c150 Lapwing, my first Goldeneye of the autumn, a Marsh Harrier, good numbers of Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Shovelor, Gadwall, 2 Water Rails, 8 Swallows through, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Cetti's Warblers and a Peregrine.
 This afternoon from Firth Hide the highlights were a Rock Pipit of undefined race, a Ruff, 4 Dunlin, 22 Common Snipe, 2 Black-necked Grebes, 6 Great White Egrets, 6 Little Egrets and a Wheatear.
Late afternoon after the rain had passed and the sun came out, at the Lighthouse Garden The Yellow Browed Warbler was still present and a little more showy than this morning. 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Yellow Browed Warblers and Red Breasted Flycatcher!

Driving out to the fishing boats just after 07.00 I met AJG coming away shaking his head. While turning at the end of the concrete road a Merlin came in off the sea and flopped onto the beach and a Chiffchaff was picking around in a patch of Sea Kale.
From the observatory I walked out into The Desert and around the southern end of the trapping area seeing 6+ Ring Ouzels, 5 Song Thrushes, 12 Redwing, 1 Brambling, 1 Sparrowhawk, 13 Chiffchaffs, 34 Swallows and 9 House Martins. Arriving back at the observatory I was met by AJG with the news that a Yellow Browed Warbler had been trapped, he had phoned and text me but some how I had turned the sound on my phone off!  
YBW trapped at the Obsevatory

 After viewing the YBW at the observatory, myself and AJG went to the lighthouse to look in the garden, where we found another Yellow Browed Warbler which promptly left and visited nearby gardens ending up back in the lighthouse garden.
YBW in garden of Studio 2

YBW in garden of Studio 2

YBW in the experimental station
 OL found a Red-breasted Flycatcher in the trapping which eventually gave me and a couple of others very brief views before disappearing.
Water rail from Hanson
 On the ARC from Hanson a Water Rail showed well in front the hide, the Glossy Ibis showed well on the islands albeit distantly. Also there a Great White Egret, 50+ Golden Plover, a Greenshank, 6 Dunlin, 8 Common Snipe, the juvenile Little Gull and all the usual wildfowl.
Brambling under the reserve feeders
 A short visit to the reserve late afternoon saw the Brambling still by the feeders, 4 Great White Egrets from Dennis's Hide, another from Firth Hide, c25 Common Snipe and a Chiffchaff in front the hide.
Chiffchaff from Firth hide

Monday, 14 October 2013


This morning around the ARC 2+ Ring Ouzels, 10s of Redwing and Song Thrush, 8+ each of Chiffchaff and Blackcap, 2+ Cetti's Warblers, 6 Common Snipe over, a Common Buzzard and 2 Marsh Harriers. On the pit the Glossy Ibis could be seen from the Screen and Hanson, 2 Greenshank, 4 Dunlin, 60+ Golden Plover, a Ruff and the juvenile Little Gull. 
Wood Sandpiper
 A plod around the reserve found 2 more Ring Ouzels, a few more Redwing, Fieldfare and Chiffchaffs, 17 Swallows over and Peregrine over. On the small pool on Hayfield 1 the Wood Sandpiper still present, also 2 Black-necked Grebes, 4+ Great White Egrets and a Bittern.

Part of the view from Firth
 Another visit to the reserve late afternoon I headed straight to Firth Hide. From the empty hide, the late afternoon sunshine added to the Mediterranean feel, as 6 Great White Egrets, 8 Little Egrets and 9 Grey Herons fed in the shallows along with several Cormorants, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, a Ruff, 10 Common Snipe, 3 Dunlin,  c50 Lapwing and an obliging Pintail.    

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Brambling at last!

With heavy rain forecast for most of the day I had a lay in and a leisurely breakfast this morning followed by some domestic stuff. Mid morning scanning the fields from upstairs window, a Ring Ouzel flew into the hedge opposite along with a couple of Song Thrushes.
Early afternoon following a text from DB I went to the south end of the ARC where the Glossy Ibis was wading around the most southerly island, also the Juvenile Little Gull was still present.
By the feeders on the reserve a male Brambling, my first of the year on the marsh (213) was feeding with few Chaffinches. 
 With the rain still falling I went to Scotney and scrutinised the Golden Plover flock, but found no Dotterel, the 2 Ruddy Shelducks were still present as was the feral Barnacle Goose flock.
Back at the ARC from Hanson apart from the usual wildfowl highlights were a Redshank, 8 Common Snipe, 2 Dunlin, a Peregrine over the track, a Water Rail Squealing and a couple of Cetti's Warblers chattering.
 Late afternoon on the reserve 5 Great White Egrets could be seen from Firth Hide, along with a Black-tailed Godwit, a Ruff, 5 Dunlin, 6 Common Snipe, a Grey Plover, a Black-necked Grebe and 4 Little Egrets as well as usual wildfowl.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Ring Ouzels!

It was no surprise to find The Point awash with Thrushes this morning, but the numbers of Ring Ouzels was a surprise. With estimates of 130+ around The Desert and Moat, another 60+ at Galloways, 50+ reported from Dengemarsh and dozens more reported from the reserve and the ARC.  
One from the Heligoland Trap
No mystery to the exact location of this bird!
Late morning a very short watch from the fishing boats as nothing apart from Brent Geese was moving.
Mid afternoon a walk around the reserve saw another surprise a late Wood Sandpiper on the flood behind Dengemarsh hide. In the bushes c20 Chiffchaffs, 5 Blackcaps and more Ring Ouzels, Redwings and Fieldfare. From Makepiece a Little Stint, a Ruff, 2 Black-tailed Godwits and 2 Black-necked Grebes. Still 6+ Great White Egrets around Burrowes. A juvenile Little Gull on the ARC and a Bittern briefly near the tower.