Friday, 31 July 2015

Eastern Promise unfullfilled!

 Red-legged Partridge, Cockles Bridge.
First thing this morning as I headed for the beach, as I pulled into Cockles Bridge to watch a couple of Marsh Harriers, a Red-legged Partridge landed on a shed roof remaining just long enough for me to grab the camera for a couple of shots, which is more than the Marsh Harriers did.
At The Patch a couple of juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls were over the boil, but not a single Tern or Mediterranean Gull.
The ESE wind did not bring the hoped for fall of migrants, in a walk around the trapping area found 7+ Willow Warblers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, a few Common Whitethroats, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Green Woodpecker, a Peregrine and couple of groups of Hirundines moving over.
 Little Grebes on the dipping pool
On the reserve a family of Little Grebes were showing well on the dipping pool, another juvenile Yellow-legged Gull  was over the lake and a Wood Sandpiper from Firth, which eventually showed well this evening. Also this evening the Great White Egret was on Dengemarsh ,also a Bittern and a couple of Bearded Tits. Across the road on the ARC another Wood Sandpiper, a Common and Green Sandpiper, a Little Stint and a 2 Little Ringed Plovers all from the Screen.

 Wood Sandpiper, Firth.
This afternoon while I was soaking up the gloriously warm sunshine, with a supply of cold drinks in my garden listening to England beating the Aussies, AJG was at the fishing boats and got his just rewards.
14.15-15.15 AJG
Common Scoter: 8W
Gannet: 3W
Pomarine Skua Light phase with partial tail: 1E
Yellow-legged Gull: 4 Juveniles W
Mediterranean Gull: 2W
Sandwich Tern: 3W
Back Tern: 1E

Small Mottled Willow
A quiet night for moths with Kent Black Arches and Small Mottled Willow the highlights.

Thursday, 30 July 2015


A very quiet day on the peninsular, where first thing it was much colder than of late. It took  just a few minutes to clear last nights poor moth catch, though a Brown-line Bright-eye was new and overdue. At the ARC  9 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Little-ringed Plovers, 2 Dunlin and Common Sandpiper were the highlights, among the usual Lapwing and wildfowl.
 Willow Warbler in The Moat
A walk around The Moat found just 2 Willow Warblers and another 4 in the trapping area also a Peregrine. A movement of Swifts and Hirundines today, c250 Swifts over the trapping area and 30+ Sand Martins.
 The windmills at Bolougne as seen from the fishing boats this afternoon.
The Swift movement continued this afternoon during a 90 minute sea watch from the boats where 300+ left for the continent. The visibility was amazing with french coast clearly visible, Napoleons Statute and Bolougne windmills could easily be seen, through the scope cars and lorries travelling on the A16 could be seen. The trouble with such good visibility there are usually few sea birds to be seen and today was no different, with barely a handful of Gannets and Terns. 
Hummingbird Hawkmoth in the garden
Late afternoon while sitting in the garden listening to the cricket, 1,000+ Swifts head south along with c400 Sand Martins and 150 Swallows. The Budleia attracted a Hummingbird Hawkmoth, several each of Painted Lady, Peacock, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Large White  and a large Skipper.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Bee-eater jinx broken!

First thing this morning I was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of moths in the trap, even more surprised to find my first Black Arches, a superb looking beastie and quite scarce on the peninsular.
First Black Arches in the Plodland trap
 A few seconds later and the Bee-eater was gone!
After clearing the moth trap I went straight to the ARC, I walked up to the pines finding my first 3 autumn Willow Warblers, several Lesser and Common Whitethroats, a Blackcap, a Chiffchaff, and 2 Marsh Harriers, in the screen hide the Swallows were busy feeding there second brood. I then made my way to Hanson, either side of the track several Cetti's Warblers were chacking and Reed Warblers chuntering. From the hide rather disappointingly just 2 Black-tailed Godwits, a little-ringed Plover and a Dunlin among c150 Lapwing along with usual wildfowl. As I got back to the car park I met Pete and Pam, while chatting I noticed a bird sitting on the wires the other side of the car park and said whats that, Pete who was not even looking in that direction said Bee-eater, I raised my binoculars and said it is a Bee-eater, I'm not sure who was more surprised. I raised the camera to get some record shots and saw it fly off as I looked through the view finder, a few seconds after spotting it and it was gone, but at least I broke my terrible run of missing Bee-eaters at Dungeness, 11 opportunities last year and 3 this year. We had look around for it seeing 2 Hobby's a Sparrowhawk, a Marsh Harrier and dead juvenile Kestrel.
Departing Bee-eater
My first Willow Warbler of the Autumn 
Sparrowhawk over the ARC
Painted Lady at the ARC
A lunchtime visit to Scotney found 3 Little Owls around the farm, the 2 Spoonbills were still present and were actually awake and feeding, also 6 Avocets, a Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Common Sandpipers, many Yellow Wagtails and Linnets a few Corn Buntings and some Skylarks.
A sleepy Little Owl
1 of the 2 Scotney Spoonbills awake at last
1 of many Yellow Wagtails at Scotney today
I joined AJG for a sea watch from the fishing boats this afternoon 13.45-15.15:

Common Scoter: 12E
Great-crested Grebe: 5 around
Gannet: 33W
Cormorant: 17 around
Sandwich Tern: 3W
Common Tern: 36W
Sand Martin: 27W

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Fish Fight!

First thing this morning at The Patch 3 juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls and 15 Common Terns among the usual Herring and Black-headed Gulls.
The ARC from Hanson saw 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Little Ringed Plovers, a Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper of note, a Reed Warbler was still singing in front the hide and a few Swifts and Sand Martins were over the lake.
On Burrowes another each of Little-ringed Plover, Dunlin and Common Sandpiper also 2 Knot.
 Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull
A sea watch this afternoon from the fishing boats 14.00-16.30 was very slow though a Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and Great Black-backed Gull gave me some entertainment in a one sided battle for a flat fish:
Common Scoter: 5E
Great-crested Grebe: 16 around
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 9E      61W
Cormorant: 21 around
Dunlin: 3W
Sanderling: 2W
Yellow-legged Gull: 3+ juveniles around
Kittiwake: 1W
Sandwich Tern: 3W
Common Tern: 15W
Swift: 7 out
Sand Martin: 3 out
Harbour Porpoise: 3+
 Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull
1st Summer Great Black-backed Gull the victor
Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull the vanquished.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

A few hours at the boats!

From the fishing boats:
07.45-10.00 when the rain closed visibility. 

Common Scoter: 9E   2W
Great-crested Grebe: 4 around
Fulmar: 16W
Manx Shearwater: 1W
Balearic Shearwater: 2W
Gannet: 89E   319W
Peregrine: 2 came in off together, probably returning from a hunting expedition. 
Dunlin: c100W
Sanderling: c50W
Arctic Skua: 1 Light Phase chasing Terns
Mediterranean Gull: 1 juv around
Yellow-legged Gull: 2+ juveniles around
Kittiwake: 12E
Black Tern: 3W
Sandwich Tern: 26W
Common Tern: 103W
Guillemot: 2W   1 on sea
Auk sp: 1E
Sand Martin: 97 out
Harbour Porpoise: 7+
Grey Seal: 1

 juvenile Peregrine coming in off the sea
At the ARC from Hanson no real change, the Little Gull still, 5 LRPs, 6 Dunlin, 3 Redshank, Green and Common Sandpiper.
Another watch from the fishing boats this afternoon when the rain cleared briefly was not as productive as this morning, though DW had 15 Black Terns and an Arctic Tern feeding there this afternoon.
13.10-15.30 with MH,  joined by AJG and PT:

Fulmar: 1W
Manx Shearwater: 1W
Gannet: 201W      76E
Yellow-legged Gull:  presumed same 2 juveniles
Kittiwake: 4W
Little Tern: 1E
Sandwich Tern:  36W
Common Tern: 35W
Swift: 44 out

 Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull
Last nights catch in the moth trap was average, with Buff Arches probably the best.
Buff Arches
Spruce Carpet

Friday, 24 July 2015

Balearic Shearwater!

 First thing this morning I once again assisted Barry Banson with the 2 Boulderwall Farm moth traps, both were very busy with the quality being yet another Splendid Brocade and 2 Small Mottled Willows. The Plodland trap was not as busy but did yield it's first Four-spotted Footman and a Short Cloaked Moth.
From Hanson a Wood Sandpiper, 3+ Green Sandpipers, a Common Sandpiper, Knot, Dunlin and 6 Whimbrel of note.
A short sea watch this morning was unproductive, another this afternoon until the rain arrived provided the first Balearic Shearwater of the autumn, 10s each of Gannets, Sandwich and Common Terns feeding, a Mediterranean Gull, c20 Common Scoter, a grey Seal and several Harbour Porpoises.
 First Balearic Shearwater of the Autumn off the fishing boats
 A superb Lowestoft sailing trawler past The point this afternoon
 The first Four-spotted Footman in the Plodland trap
The first Short-cloaked Moth in the Plodland trap

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Moths and a Gull!

An early start this morning to empty my moth trap, then join Barry Banson at Boulderwall Farm to assist him with the 2 traps on the reserve. I'm glad I didn't have to do them on my own because I'd still be there, 300+ macros of 69+ species, as for the micros!!!!!
While emptying the reserve traps Tree sparrows were chipping in the bushes, Marsh Harriers overhead and Hobby over. 
Over the road at Hanson hide a near summer plumage Knot, 5+ Little Ringed Plovers, 1st summer little Gull, Green Sandpiper, (3 this evening + 2 Black-tailed Godwits) a Water Rail was Squealing right outside the hide and a Reed Warbler was chuntering in front the hide. Burrowes was disappointing despite it looking really good for waders with the single long staying Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpipers, 4 Redshanks, 2 Dunlin(13 this evening) and 2 Ringed Plovers.
 At the back of Scotney the 2 Spoonbills still on the island at the Sussex end of the western back lake, 2 Little Owls on the barn, lots of Yellow Wagtails and Corn Buntings, 5+Avocets, 5 common Sandpipers, 3 Egyptian Geese and lots of Sand Martins.
Little Owl, Scotney.
Fishing line tangled around the wings!
While settling down for an afternoon sea watch I noticed a 2nd year Herring Gull in distress almost submerged at times, I knew instantly it was caught in an anglers line having seen this happen several times. As I went to help the bird another man was also trying to help it. The angler was more concerned with losing his weight and hook and actually put his foot on the Gulls head, which caused me and the other helper to threaten to do like wise to the angler, he backed off and we cut the line and untangled the gull, even saving the ignorant anglers weight and hook. I carried the Gull back along the beach away from his lines, checked it over and released it seemingly none the worse for its adventure.
Safe but some what bedraggled!
13.45-16.00 from the fishing boats joined by AJG and MH
Gannet: 12E     37W
Cormorant: 9 around
Oystercatcher: 1W
Dunlin: 9E
Whimbrel: 3W
Kittiwake: 5W
Sandwich Tern: 7E  29W
Common Tern: 19W
Sand Martin: 76 out
Grey Seal: 2
Harbour Porpoise: 6+

The usual view of a Harbour Porpoise
juvenile Redshank in the superb evening light from Firth Hide,
Platytes alpinella a new micro for the Plodland trap.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015


On Burrowes this morning a Greenshank was the only wader of note. A Hobby was along the entrance track and the usual Marsh Harriers were all over. Sand Martins once again were much in evidence probably numbering in there 1,000s over the whole of the peninsular.
 Opening the flaps at Hanson this morning just about the only wader to be seen was a lonely looking Avocet. The 1st summer Little Gull put in an appearance and 5+ Little Ringed Plovers could be seen. By the track a to the hide an Emporer Dragonfly was devouring a Damselfly sp.

A Dunlin and Sanderling at the fishing boats.
A 2 hour sea watch in the glorious sunshine this afternoon, in the company of MH and AJG had its moments.
14.00-16.00  From the fishing boats:
Common Scoter: 10E
Gannet: 27W   15E
Cormorant: 8 around
Whimbrel: 2W
Dunlin: 2 landed on beach briefly with the Sanderling then headed West
Sanderling: 28
Mediterranean Gull: 1 ad  E
Yellow-legged Gull: 2 juveniles around
Kittiwake: 3W
Sandwich Tern: 34W   7E
Common Tern: 21W
Sand Martin: 243 out
Grey Seal: 1 bull
Harbour Porpoise: 4+

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Sand Martins!

After going through a poor moth catch this morning I went straight to the ARC Hanson hide, where staring into the early morning sun a Little Stint, 7 Ringed Plovers, 2 Green Sandpipers could be seen among c100 Lapwing, also there the 1st summer Little Gull and 100s of Sand Martins which were abundant all day all around the peninsular. A late afternoon visit to Hanson added a Black-tailed Godwit and a Common Sandpiper.
 juvenile Little Grebe on the discovery pool
Between the VC and Firth I flushed a Green sandpiper from the discovery pool, also 2 juvenile Little Grebes there. From Firth hide another Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, a Wood Sandpiper, 4 Redshank and a Greenshank. Another Redshank showed well from Makepiece. At Dengemarsh a Hobby and the usual Marsh Harriers and myriads of Sand Martins. A Bittern flew over the return trail as did a Green Woodpecker. 
 A poor image looking into the sun of the Wood Sandpiper
 Redshank from Makepiece
 An hour spent sea watching lunch time from the fishing boats, where the highlights were a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, an adult Mediterranean Gull a couple of Porpoises but little else.
At Scotney in a very strong wind this afternoon, the 2 seemingly resident Spoonbills, plenty of Yellow Wagtails, a few Corn Buntings and a Little Owl.
Early evening from Firth just a Greenshank of note.

Monday, 20 July 2015

A trickle of waders.

After emptying the trap this morning I made my way to Hanson hide, where apart from plenty of Hirundines, a few LRPs and a Black-tailed Godwit little of note was seen. On Burrowes 2+ Green Sandpipers, a Common Sandpiper, a Little Stint, 13 Dunlin and a Greenshank but little else of note.
Another Little stint on the ARC and a Wood Sandpiper briefly on Burrowes this afternoon per MH.
Greenshank from Firth hide this evening.
At the observatory the fridge was full of moths, the Orache Moth, Splendid Brocade, Brussels Lace and Small Mottled Willows to name a  few.
An early after sea watch was very slow, only enlivened by 3 Harbour Porpoises.
13.30-14.30 from the fishing boats:
Fulmar: 1W
Gannet: 22W
Cormorant: 4 o/s
Mediterranean Gull: 3 o/s all adults
Kittiwake: 2W
Sandwich Tern: 10W
Common Tern: 1W
Swift: 1 out
Harbour Porpoise 3

A mid afternoon walk out to the back of Scotney was curtailed by the onset of heavy drizzle, though I did manage to see the 2 spoonbills and a Little Owl.
A trip to Burrowes this evening found no change from this morning.
 Twenty-plume Moth in the Plodland trap over the weekend
Orache Moth
Splendid Brocade

Saturday, 18 July 2015

White-winged Black Tern!

 A welcome in the ARC car park.
 While I was emptying the moth trap this morning, I received a message from Paul W saying that he thought there was a White-winged Black Tern on the ARC from Hanson. 5 minutes later I was watching said bird.
 White-winged Black Tern

While doing some gardening a Hummingbird Hawkmoth appeared on the Buddleia giving me an excuse to stop work and take some more photographs.