Saturday, 30 May 2015

Sanderling Surprise!

The blue sky and sunshine on this mornings walk to The Patch was once again deceiving with a march like chill in the air. From the hide c80 Common Terns, a 1st summer Mediterranean Gull,27 Gannets flew west and 6 Sandwich Terns. Walking back a Black Redstart was singing and 3 Swallows came in off over the bund and rested on the perimeter fence. Another Black Redstart was singing by the car park with another near the observatory.
Following a report of a Dusky Warbler in Dengemarsh Gully, myself and AJG made our way there meeting MH there but there had been no further sign of the bird for at least an hour, indeed there were very few birds there, just a couple of Common Whitethroats, Linnets and the usual Wrens and Dunnocks to be seen.
As most of my day was taken up with domestic stuff, this evening I did the circuit from Springfield Bridge via Christmas Dell, the visitor centre and Hookers back to the bridge.  
 In the hayfields still at least 4 Lapwing chicks, 2 pairs of Egyptian Geese, 1 pair of Shoveller and hordes of feral Greylag and Canada Geese. A Bittern was booming at a windswept Dengemarsh and a couple of Marsh harriers were making half hearted attacks on a pair of Coot. While scanning the islands from Makepiece a flock of c60 Sanderling flew in briefly alighting before heading off towards the ARC, probably the largest wader flock I have seen this spring. The return via Hookers was uneventful apart from a family of Foxes.

Friday, 29 May 2015


 Superb rainbow in front of Plodland this evening. (a slightly wider angle lense needed)
Hat,Gloves and winter coat were needed for the walk to and from a very quiet Patch this morning. Still 80+ Common Terns present, an adult Mediterranean Gull not yet in summer plumage,  2 Fulmars flew west, while 10+ Gannets and 15+ Sandwich Terns were feeding off shore and north Thames colour ringed Herring Gull T9DT a regular on the beach. Behind the hide a Black Redstart was singing and another near the car park.
 Ad.Mediterranean Gull
 Herring Gull T9DT
 One of the resident Wheatears along the approach road
At the ARC 100+ Swifts over the lake along with a mixed flock of c100 Swallows, Sand Martins and House Martins with a single accompanying Hobby. A chiffchaff singing in the Willow Trail, also a Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler. With the wind picking up even more and rain forecast I got some domestic stuff done. Once again the Plodland Moth trap gave slim pickings this morning.
Tree Sparrows are easy to see at Boulderwall.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Back on the Peninsular!

 1st summer Mediterranean Gull
Another day of constant strong wind on the peninsular. While making my way to The Patch this morning 2 singing Black Redstarts, 1 at the car park the other behind the hide. while there a 1st summer Mediterranean Gull was over the boil and on the beach along with at least 137 Common Terns. 2 Shelduck flew north and a Guillemot flew west, 30+ Gannets moved east and 15+ Sandwich Terns were off shore.
 Common Terns
At the ARC a Bittern was booming in the Water Tower pits, 2 Marsh Harriers and 3 Hobby's were hawking there spooking the 80+ Swifts that were over the lake. In the screen hide the Swallows are sitting tight as is the Reed Warbler nearby.  
Hobby about to grab a Dragonfly
By the entrance track to the reserve another Hobby was putting a great display completely unseen by most the day visitors as they rushed to and from the visitor centre. From the centre a Dunlin and a Sanderling could be seen on the islands, on the the new Tern raft the pair of Common Gulls are sitting tight possibly joined by a pair of Oystercatchers but no Terns as yet.
One of the 40+ Swifts over Dengemarsh
Parking at Springfield Bridge this afternoon 3 Marsh Harriers and a Hobby were over the reed bed with 40+ Swifts. At Hayfield 3 a Linnet was bathing by the pump, a Little Egret posed by the gate, 4 Shelduck, 6 Gadwall and 2 Egyptian Geese were in the field.
Little Egret
1 of  5 Lapwing chicks I saw in the Hayfields

At Christmas Dell a Spotted flycatcher and Whinchat showed well, in the scrub Common Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat, Cetti's Warblers, Sedge and Reed warblers could all be seen despite the gale that was now blowing.

A fresh Light Emerald from this mornings meagre catch!

Sunday, 24 May 2015


Very quiet around the peninsular today. At the north end of the Long Pits, 5+ Common Whitethroats, a Blackcap, 2+ Reed Warblers and 3 Swallows over. At the ARC the usual host of Coot and Mute Swans on the lake, over the Tower Pits 13+ Hobby's, a Marsh Harrier, a kestrel and a Common Buzzard, also a Spotted Flycatcher near The Pines.
 At Dengemarsh another 8+ Hobby's, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Little Egrets but little else of note. The Plodland moth trap had only 8 moths of 6 species.
When I got home after visiting the ARC I noticed this little beastie on my arm.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Reed Warbler

At 05.00 this morning the sun was shining in a clear blue sky, when I finally decided to get up at 06.30 the clouds had rolled in and the wind was blowing. An uninspiring and cold wander around Dengemarsh produced a few Hobby's and Swifts, a couple of Marsh Harriers, a few Common Terns, Common Whitethroats and a Lesser Whitethroat of note.
 Reed Warbler
At the ARC the Reed Warblers were still working on their nest, a cuckoo was seen but a long way from the nest. Several more Hobby's were hawking over the Tower Pits with a few more Swifts. This afternoon a Marsh Harrier gave uncharacteristic close fly by, on the lake very little apart from many Coot and Mute Swans with a few Great-crested Grebes. A very poor day avian wise considering the date. At least the Plodland moth trap performed a little better but nothing of any note was found in it.
 Reed Warbler
 Marsh Harrier
Marsh Harrier

Friday, 22 May 2015

Baie De Somme Thursday 21/05/2015

Another excellent day out in Northern France with Tony,Chris and Trevor where we managed 109 species in a fairly laid back back trip, unusually most of today's sightings were fairly camera shy. 
Last of the Summer Wine at Le Crotoy!
We started off at Sailly Bray where as we got out of the car one of many Turtle Doves seen today flew over, Blackcaps, Garden Warblers, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaffs and Song Thrushes, were all singing, a Cattle Egret fed among the cows and a Marsh Harrier, Hobby, a Common Buzzard, White Stork and Wood Sandpiper were seen. A Leveret grazed by the track, further along a Savi's Warbler buzzed and Sedge and Reed Warblers sang in a reed bed, a pair of Stonechats perched fly catching, a Grey Partridge and Mediterranean Gull were seen in an adjoining field. On small pond 6 pairs of Avocets and 5 pairs of Black-winged Stilts were on nests while being serenaded by Nightingales and more Warblers including Marsh Warblers. 

Black-winged Stilt
From the sea wall near Le Crotoy the first of  20+ Great White Egrets seen today flew by, Little Egrets were abundant here, a White Stork strutted in the field by the wall before flying overhead. Several Yellow Wagtails and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were seen but the stars were the Savi's Warblers which were collecting food for there nestlings. The first Honey Buzzard of the day was seen distantly and some Bearded Tits were recorded. 
White Stork fly by
Savi's Warbler (heavily cropped)
Savi's Warbler
Icterine Warbler (heavily cropped)
At another site near Le Crotoy an Icterine Warbler was singing, competing with a nightingale and Garden Warblers. 
Icterine Warbler (heavily cropped)
A  stop off at La Basse pools was disappointing by its usual standards as not a single Garganey was seen (9 in last months visit) though a Cattle Egret, White Wagtails, Mediterranean Gulls a distant White Stork and another Marsh warbler were ample compensation.
Melodious Warbler (heavily cropped)
Our last stop was Crecy Forest, at our usual raptor viewpoint it took at least 5 minutes (usually quicker) before the first of at least 3 Honey Buzzards appeared though unusually they were all high and quite distant. While there, several Common Buzzards and 2 Hobby's were seen, also a super adult male Hen Harrier. In the forest proper, a fabulous woodland made up of towering ancient Beech and Oak Trees, Hornbeam, Birch, Pine, coppiced Hazel and  Broom which grows in the cleared areas and appears to be the favourite of the Melodious Warblers. Although it was mid afternoon and very warm when we were there, Garden Warblers, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers were all singing, as were 2 male Melodious Warblers, we had several sightings of Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, stunning Firecrests, Crested Tits and more. Where a small fresh water steam runs by the forest Grey Wagtail, Black Redstart and another Marsh Warbler were seen. All in all another fabulous day out in great company. Many thanks to Tony for doing the driving and the organising, also to Chris wife Carol for making the lovely Victoria Sponge. (retirement rocks)
Map Butterfly in Crecy Forest

Wednesday, 20 May 2015


Bittern over Dengemarsh
 At a chilly windy Dengemarsh this morning several Hobby's hawking over the hayfields, a Bittern put in a brief flyby with another booming regularly nearby. Overhead with the Hobby's plenty of Swifts, House Martins and Swallows, a pair of Marsh Harriers doing spectacular food passes. A pair of Egyptian Geese were on the flood and at least 2 Lapwing chicks in the hayfields, also a Black-tailed Godwit. 2 of the 3 Tern rafts have been commandeered by pairs of Common Gulls. At the ramp a Cuckoo calling unseen as were the Bearded Tits. The wind picked up as the clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped causing the Hobby's to settle on the fence posts and pose for the camera.
Reed Warbler
This afternoon I spent another hour watching the Reed Warblers build there nest, ripping Reed Mace apart to line it but no Cuckoo there today. A late afternoon walk to the Water Tower found another 6 Hobby's over the ARC along with 100+ Swifts. From the screen the Swallows are still sitting, Little and Great-crested Grebes, a Marsh Harrier were seen but little else of note.
Other news was of a Nuthatch seen briefly this afternoon near The point by one observer, representing the second record for the peninsular.
Just 2 moths last night including this Bordered Straw.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

It can only get better!

The last couple of days have been hard work around Dungeness, the high winds, cold and rain reminiscent of November, as for the early morning sea watches they have been dire and the bushes avian free zones.
 The Scotney Herring Gulls yesterday sitting tight despite the waves breaking over them!
I have spent several hours in the last couple of days scanning 100s of Hirundines for something unusual to no avail. Today in particular at the ARC, House Martins numbered in the 100s as did the Swifts little wonder that there were plenty of Hobby's in attendance. I watched a Reed Warbler building its nest showing amazing dexterity winding strips of reed around a reed stem. Very close by a Cuckoo was perched up, I will keep a close eye on this nest just in case the Cuckoo decides to use it as well. The Swallows in the Screen hide are now sitting on eggs, so please try not use that end of the hide, though I don't think they take much notice of people in there.  
A walk around the Hayfields and Dengemarsh today just about dodging the showers, found 9 Ringed Plovers and 2 Little Ringed Plovers of note on Hayfield 3, a Lapwing chick showed very briefly on Hayfield 1, hopefully it will avoid the hordes of predators and fledge. Sheltering from a shower in Dengemarsh hide a Bittern flew across the reed bed and 3+ Marsh Harriers could be seen. An unseen Cuckoo was calling and Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers were singing. The Tern rafts were more or less Tern free hopefully they were all out fishing. On the way back to Springfield bridge 2 Yellow Wagtails were with the cattle on Dengemarsh Flood and a cold Hobby posed on the anti predator fence.
As for the Plodland moth trap for last 2 nights nil points!
 Hobby Dengemarsh

Sunday, 17 May 2015


 A disappointing wander around the bushes on The Point this morning, no new migrants just a handful of Swallows over. 2 Black Redstarts were singing by the power station along with several Common Whitethroats.

 A check of Burrowes Pit found no sign of yesterdays Bonapate's Gull, just a Turnstone of any note.
At Boulderwall and the Tower Pits 20+ Hobby's and many Swifts spent several hours hawking mainly high over the lakes.
 While trying to photograph them a more distant raptor caught my attention, a Honey Buzzard cruised quickly in land.
A couple of hours spent sky watching for raptors from home saw at minimum of 10 Hobby's, 2 Peregrines, 2 Marsh Harriers, 3 Common Buzzards and a Raven of note, but no Kites.
A very windy Dengemarsh late afternoon, the Bittern was booming, 3+ Marsh Harriers, 40+ Common terns were screaming over the lake, a Ruff on the Hayfield along with 6 Ringed Plovers and 2 Little Ringed Plovers and 2 Black-tailed Godwits.
A Common Buzzard in the heat haze at Cockles Bridge.

Friday, 15 May 2015

White-winged Black Terns again.

05.45-08.45 Thanks to AJG for collating the numbers.
Brent Goose: 4E
Common Scoter: 52E
Red-breasted Merganser: 3E
Fulmar: 3W
Gannet: 76 W     
Little Egret: 1 in
Hobby: 2 in
Curlew: 1 E
Whimbrel: 5E
Dunlin: 6E
Sanderling: 15E
Oystercatcher: 2E
Guillemot: 2E
Auk sp: 7W
Arctic Skua: 2E
Mediterranean Gull: 1 around
Kittiwake: 4E
Sandwich Tern: 272E
Commic Tern: 981E
Little Tern: 5E
Swift: 1 in
Swallow: 2 in

On the reserve at Hayfield 3, 6 Ringed Plovers, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover and 6 Dunlin, also in the area 5+ Hobby's and the usual wildfowl and Warblers. On Burrowes the 2 White-winged Black Terns still performing but never really giving themselves up for the camera. On the islands 2 Grey Plovers, a Knot, a Turnstone, 2 Ringed Plovers, a Dunlin and a Greenshank over, also 2 more Hobby's over the lake and 100s of Swifts and Hirundines. This afternoon was taken up with domestic stuff, but another visit to Burrowes this evening found the WWB Terns still present to at least 19.00hrs. 
 White-winged Black Tern
 White-winged Black Terns.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

White-winged Black Tern!

A reasonable watch this morning which quickly petered out after 08.00.
Garganey: 1E drake
Common Scoter: 21E
Black-throated Dive:r 2E
Red-throated Diver: 2E
Fulmar: 3 around
Gannet: 46E
Sanderling: 16E
Dunlin: 25E
Whimbrel: 4E
Bar_tailed Godwit:1E
Arctic Skua:  6E (5 LP  1 DP)
Kittiwake: 6E
Commic Tern: 1304E
Sandwich Tern: 418E
Guillemot: 3E
Auk sp: 2E
Swallow: 47 in
After spending a while checking all the Hirundines hawking over the ARC I drove down to the visitor centre car park at the reserve. As I got of the car a Tern flew over a few feet above me and disappeared over the bank, my immediate thought was White-winged Black Tern, I went into the visitor centre and scanned Burrowes for a few minutes until I finally located not one but 2 summer plumage White-winged Black Terns. Most of the rest of the day was spent trying to get some images of the Terns with absolutely no success, mainly due to the Terns keeping as far from the hides as possible and the dull and very wet conditions.
While watching them 15 Dunlin put in a brief appearance as did a Grey Plover, 2 Ringed Plover and 2 Turnstone. 100s each of Swallows and Swifts could be seen over the lakes along with a couple of Hobby's.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Golden Oriole!

This mornings sea watch was indicative of this years Dungeness spring sea passage, very poor! A desperate lack of waders, dabblers, Terns not to mention Poms!
Mute Swan: 2W
Eider: 2E
Common Scoter: 29E
Gannet: 6E  2W
Oystercatcher: 9E
Sanderling: 10E
Bar-tailed Godwit: 10E
Kittiwake: 1E
Little Tern: 1E
Common Tern: c30 o/s
Sandwich Tern: c15 o/s
Swallow: 3in
Harbour Porpoise: c6
This mornings watch was mercifully bought to an end by news from SB of a Golden Oriole  at the Water Tower Pits. Arriving on site the Oriole had not been heard for a few minutes so I joined SB for a look around. A few minutes later the Oriole gave us a short flight few, followed by 2 more, the last one being as it towered away towards Lydd.
 Hobby's Dengemarsh
Early afternoon was spent on a fruitless search for a Purple Heron that had been reported on the reserve, while wandering around several Hobby's could be seen around Dengemarsh, along with 2 Cuckoo's, 2+ Marsh Harriers, good numbers of Sedge, Reed and Cetti's Warblers, a couple of Bearded Tits. Hayfield 3 held a White Wagtail, 5 Ringed Plovers, 2 Little Egrets and 2 Egyptian Geese of note.  
Another hours watch from the fishing boats saw just 16 Bar-tailed Godwits and few Common and Sandwich Terns.