Thursday, 19 April 2018

Not My Day!

I started off missing all 4 Continenal Coal Tits, while looking for them I missed the only Black-throated Diver of the day, I then missed a Red Kite that had all the Gulls going ballistic but it was on the other side of the power station to me, I missed the 3 Hawfinches that dropped into the reserve briefly, I missed the Goshawk that was circling around the Water Tower then I missed the 18 Manx Shearwaters that feeding of the fishing boats this afternoon because I was at the sea watch hide. On the plus side I did record my highest ever count of Harbour Porpoises, a brilliant 57, OL looked round into Lade Bay and found a magnificent 88!
Newly arrived Wheatear behind the sea watch hide
07.30-08.00, 09.25-13.30, 15.00-17.00 from the sea watch hide with OL,MH & SG
Brent Goose: 1 up
Shelduck: 2 up
Gadwall: 1 up
Common Scoter: 184 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 3 up
Red-throated Diver: 10 up. 1 down
Black-throated Diver: 1 up per OL
Great-crested Grebe: 14 around
Fulmar: 1 down
Manx Shearwater: 18 feeding off the fishing boats per MH & SG
Gannet: 47 up
Cormorant: present n/c
Marsh Harrier: 3 in    1 per MH & SG
Oystercatcher: 1 up
Whimbrel: 64 up.
Great Skua: 2 up
Arctic Skua: 12 up
Black-headed Gull: present n/c
Mediterranean Gull: 1 up
Herring Gull: present n/c
Great Black-backed Gull present n/c
Little Gull: 116 up  All beween 15.10-16.20
Kittiwake: 17 up
Sandwich Tern: 271 up
Common/Arctic Tern: 169 up
Arctic Tern: 32 up
Auk sp: 2 up
House Martin: 1 in
Wheatear: 1 behind hide
Harbour Porpoise: 57+ around

Wednesday, 18 April 2018


A quick stop in the dark at the southern end of the ARC on the way to the sea watch hide heard a Cuckoo, Cetti's Warblers, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs but not the hoped for Nightingale.
05.30-08.30 with CP from the sea watch hide                               
Brent Goose: 21 up
Shelduck: 20 up  2 down
Eider: 1 down
Common Scoter: 288 up                         
Red-breasted Merganser: 1 up
Red-throated Diver: 12 up                           
Great-crested Grebe: 11 around
Fulmar: 4 up
Gannet: 136 up                                           
Cormorant: present n/c
Peregrine: 1 around
Oystercatcher: 5 up  4 down                         
Whimbrel: 1 up                                             
Knot: 1 up
Great Skua: 3 up                                             
Arctic Skua: 8 up                                             
Black-headed Gull: present n/c
Mediterranean Gull:                                         
Herring Gull: present n/c
Great Black-backed Gull present n/c
Little Gull: 2 up                                               
Kittiwake: 3 up
Sandwich Tern: 679 up                                   
Common Tern: 185 up                                     
Little Tern: 3 up                                                 
Auk sp:
Swallow: 1 in
Crow: 1 in
Harbour Porpoise: 20+
AS I walked back to the car from the hide a Serin flew over and spent a couple of minutes flying around The Point before departing.
The rest of the morning was taken up with domestic stuff.
14.00-17.00 at the fishing boats basking in the glorious sunshine with very few birds passing but lots of chat and laughter in the company of SG,MH,OL & PT.
Red-throated Diver: 2 up
Gannet: 16 up
Oystercatcher: 22 up
Whimbrel: 14 up
Great Skua: 2 up
Arctic Skua: 2 up
Mediterranean Gull: 2 up
Little Gull: 2 up
Sandwich Tern: 85 up
Common Tern: 13 up
Little Tern: 2 up
Harbour Porpoise: 20+
Wheatear at The Midrips
At The Midrips this evening 18 Avocets, 7 Whimbrel, 54 Shelduck and 2 Wheatears were the highlights.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Excellent Sea Watch!

Some of the 15 Eider past The Point today
Another excellent days sea watching being joined at various times through the day by CB,DW,JTM,SM,BB, SG, MH et al
Brent Goose: 168 up
Shelduck: 2 up
Shoveler: 2 up
Teal: 2 up
Garganey: 4 up
Eider: 15 up
Common Scoter: 711 up
Velvet Scoter: 8 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 7 up
Red-throated Diver: 80 up
Black-throated diver: 4 up
Great-crested Grebe: 32 around
Fulmar:19 up.  3 down
Manx Shearwater: 11 up   27 down
Gannet: 229 up
Cormorant: present n/c
Merlin: 1 up/in
Oystercatcher: 5 up
Grey Plover: 2 up
Sanderling: 1up
Dunlin: 1 up
Whimbrel: 141 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 65 up
Great Skua: 82 up
Arctic Skua: 28 up
Black-headed Gull: present n/c
Mediterranean Gull:
Common Gull: present n/c
Herring Gull: present n/c
Great Black-backed Gull present n/c
Little Gull: 125 up
Kittiwake: 33 up  18 down
Sandwich Tern: 891 up
Common/Commic Tern: 831
Arctic Tern: 62 up
Guillemot: 3 up
Auk sp: 42 up     17 down
Swallow: 4 in
Harbour Porpoise: 8+
Dolphin sp: 4+ 
From the various reports I received today it would appear that there was very little new on the land today.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Eider past the sea watch hide
06.30-10.00 & 12.45-17.00 from the sea watch hide:                                               
Brent Goose: 75 up
Shelduck: 2 down
Eider: 5 up
Common Scoter: 537 up                                   
Red-breasted Merganser: 1 up
Red-throated Diver: 44 up.  1 down                 
Great-crested Grebe: 10 around
Fulmar: 7 up    2 down                                       
Manx Shearwater: 1 up
Gannet: 274up                                               
Cormorant: present n/c
Oystercatcher: 6 up
Great Skua: 22up                                               
Arctic Skua: 8 up                                                 
Black-headed Gull: present n/c
Mediterranean Gull: 5 up
Common Gull: present n/c
Herring Gull: present n/c
Lesser Black-backed Gull: present n/c
Great Black-backed Gull present n/c
Little Gull: 9 up                                               
Kittiwake: 23 up       5 down
Sandwich Tern: 151 up                                         
Common Tern: 36 up                                           
Guillemot: 1 on
Auk sp: 9 up                                                       
Swallow: 6 in                                                       
Crow: 9 in
Linnet 11 in
Harbour Porpoise: c20 around
A walk around Scotney late morning saw 2 Yellow Wagtails by the farm, the usual Little Owl, the Mallard still sitting on its nest on the hay bales, 4 Corn Buntings, 5 Avocets on the back lakes but very little else.
On the peninsular still only small numbers of the common migrants.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

All at Sea!

ZA5Z & X2NT at the fishing boats this afternoon
When I woke at 05.30 the peninsular was again shrouded in fog, so I had a lay in till 07.00 to find the fog all gone, and message from OL saying the sea passage was good.
07.45-11.00, 14.00-17.00, 18.30-19.30
These totals are my own sightings , for full days totals click on DBO Web Site
Brent Goose: 1,020 up
Shelduck: 11 up
Shoveler: 1 up
Eider: 2 up
Common Scoter: 3,216 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 16 up
Red-throated Diver: 101 up   2 down
Black-throated Diver: 3 up
Great-crested Grebe: 14 around
Fulmar: 4 up  1 down
Gannet: 419 up
Cormorant: 19 up
Peregrine: 1 around
Oystercatcher: 5 up
Whimbrel: 1 up
Avocet: 2 down
Great Skua: 4 up
Arctic Skua: 30 up
Black-headed Gull: present n/c
Mediterranean Gull: 1 up
Common Gull: present n/c
Herring Gull: present n/c
Great Black-backed Gull present n/c
Little Gull: 70 up
Kittiwake: 72 up
Sandwich Tern: 179 up
Common Tern: 93 up
Guillemot: 9 up
Auk sp: 39 up
Swallow: 3 out  1 in
Harbour Porpoise: 10+
Talking to locals it appears that there was very little new on the peninsula today.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Fog lifts at last briefly!

 Harbour Porpoises
Another morning waking up to find the Peninsular cloaked in fog, at least it did clear today for a couple of hours this afternoon before rolling back in.
14.00-16.30 from the fishing boats with LH,PH,RW,DW,JTM & GH.
Brent Goose: 80 up
Shoveler: 1 up
Common Scoter: 205 up
Red-breasted Merganser: 2 up
Red-throated Diver: 31 up   1 on    1 down
Great Northern Diver: 1 on
Fulmar: 1 up     1 down
Gannet: 39 up      11 down
Oystercatcher: 34 up
Curlew: 1 up
Great Skua: 2 up
Arctic Skua: 3 up
Mediterranean Gull: 1 up
Kittiwake: 2 up
Sandwich Tern: 68 up   19 down
Common Tern: 14 up
Guillemot: 2 on
Harbour Porpoise: 15 +
Highlights of the last couple of days have been few and far between due to the peninsular being constantly shrouded in fog, which also made sea watching impossible, a Short-eared Owl was a welcome though brief sight, a Spoonbill that graced Dengemarsh for a couple hours and a very few common migrants in the bushes. 7+ Bramblings at the feeding station in the trapping area and few Firecrests and Black Redstarts around the lighthouse.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Short-toed Treecreeper!

07.15-08.30 when the fog rolled in with OL & DS
Brent Goose: 44 up
Greylag Goose: 2 out
Shelduck: 1 up
Shoveler: 5 up
Garganey: 2 up
Common Scoter: 317 up
Red-breasted Merganser:  26 up
Red-throated Diver: 8 up.  1 on
Great-crested Grebe: 5 around
Fulmar: 8 up
Manx Shearwater: 1 up
Gannet: 84 up
Cormorant: present n/c
Oystercatcher: 6 up
Whimbrel: 1 up
Dunlin: 12 up
Arctic Skua: 1 up
Black-headed Gull: present n/c
Mediterranean Gull: 2 up
Common Gull: present n/c
Herring Gull: present n/c
Lesser Black-backed Gull: present n/c
Great Black-backed Gull present n/c
Kittiwake: 4 up
Sandwich Tern: 48 up
Common Tern: 11 up
Guillemot: 1 on
Auk sp: 3 up
Carrion Crow: 1 in
Blackcap in the lighthouse garden 
After abandoning the sea watch I went to The Patch, I had just got myself settled in the hide scrutinising the few Gulls that were roosting there, when Mark H called on the radio saying he had seen a Treecreeper sp briefly in the lighthouse garden.
Arriving on site shortly after, I then with DW, OL and JTM spent the next 8 hrs there seeing the bird 5 times for a total of less than 20 seconds (DW spent another 2 hrs after I left). The bird was calling fairly frequently and seemed to be a Short-toed Treecreeper, but we wanted to get better views and images of the bird. The bird was still present at dusk.
 Short-toed Treecreeper

 Also in the lighthouse garden 2 Firecrests, several Chiffchaffs, 2+ Black Redstarts, Song Thrush and a Blackcap, a Rock Pipit and several Redpolls and Siskins flew over, also a Peregrine and Marsh Harrier over.

Great White Egret at the southern end of the ARC also an Avocet there

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Fog Bound!

 07.15 abandoned at 08.30 due to fog from the sea watch hide with OL:
Shelduck: 1 up
Shoveler: 2 up
Garganey: 1 up
Common Scoter: 4 up
Velvet Scoter: 2 up
Red-throated Diver: 11 up
Gannet: 57 up
Oystercatcher: 2 up   6 down
Kittiwake: 2 up
Sandwich tern: 38 up
Swallow: 1 up
Brambling in the trapping area
A walk around the area saw and heard several each of Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps, 4 Black Redstarts, 2 Firecrests, 2 Goldcrests, 2 Brambling, a female Bullfinch but it was generally quiet in the dense fog that lasted all morning.
Early afternoon a very elusive Ring Ouzel in an otherwise empty Dengemarsh Gully, Galloways was open to today, apart from a couple of pairs of Stonechats there was little there to be seen.
Early evening on the reserve A Little Ringed Plover, a Green Sandpiper and 2 Mediterranean gulls on Burrowes also a Peregrine and Raven over.
Little-ringed Plover
Green Sandpiper

Monday, 9 April 2018

Hawfinch at Last!

At last I have finally caught up with a Hawfinch at Dungeness. With Hawfinches being seen in large numbers all around the country this winter there will probably never be a better chance in my lifetime to see on at Dungeness, so I was very excited to get a call from Owen to say that one was flying around the top end of the Long Pits, at the time Owen called me I had just arrived at the observatory having been watching The Patch, I quickly got back in the car, as I drew up a couple minutes later I could see the bird perched high in bush with 8 Fieldfare. As I stopped it flew off before I could get out the car back to the top end again. I met Owen who saw roughly where it went, a couple of minutes later it flew over me and landed deep in the bushes allowing me take a quick snap before it flew out the back. Also seen around there were 14 Redwing, 16 Fieldfare, 2 Brambling, 5 Song Thrushes, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and 2 Swallows. Many thanks to Owen for the quick call.
Rubbish image of my first Hawfinch at Dungeness 
 juvenile Glaucous Gull at The Patch
Visibility at The Patch today was very poor, the few Gulls that were there were on the beach did include the Glaucous Gull and a Yellow-legged Gull along with several colour ringed ones which were all readable, so not too bad there in 2 visits. Behind the hide my first female Wheatear of the year, a Black Redstart, a Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler.
3w Yellow-legged Gull at The Patch
female Wheatear at The Patch
 Brambling in the trapping area
Firecrest in the lighthouse garden
There were still several Firecrests around today, with at least 3 in the lighthouse garden along with a couple of Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap.

Black-winged Stilt at Rye Harbour this afternoon
With the weather deteriorating this afternoon I went to Rye Harbour with JTM & RW to see the newly arrived Black-winged Stilts. The Stilts were still present though rather distant, also there Mediterranean Gulls seemingly calling all around, numerous Avocets and Sandwich Terns, a Knot, Black-tailed Godwits, 14 Brent Geese, 3 Whimbrel over, even another Brambling of note. On Flat Beach a male Peregrine was tearing what looked like a Black-headed Gull apart being totally ignored by the 100s of other birds around them.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Scotney & Woodlark in The Desert!

A some what damp and quiet morning at The Point, the conditions seemed good for migrants but they were sadly lacking apart from a few Firecrests and Chiffchaffs. The smart male Black Redstart was still opposite the lifeboat station
 Black-headed & Mediterranean Gulls on the sward
A brief visit to Scotney this morning found 4+ Mediterranean Gulls on the sward with 10 Brent Geese, the feral flock of Barnacle Geese and a couple of Curlews.
 Yellow Wagtail
Another visit to Scotney and the fields at the back of the farm this afternoon in brighter conditions, found 2 Black Redstarts still around the farm along with the Little Owl and Mallard still on its nest on the hay bales. A party of 22 Yellow Wagtails just beyond the cottage brightened up a dull day, also 4 Corn Buntings and 6 Pied Wagtails there.
On the back lake 6 Avocet but no LRP, a Marsh Harrier and a Common Buzzard flew over.
A bathing Yellow Wagtail
 c100 Linnets and a Corn Bunting
Out towards the wind turbines plenty of Skylarks singing more Corn Buntings a flock of c100 Linnets and at least 8 Tree Sparrows. In a tiny patch of Sallows a Firecrest (a first for me out there) also a Chiffchaff and a belligerent Mute Swan on its nest. 
 Tree Sparrows 
Late afternoon/early evening I managed to catch up with the Woodlark that Jacques found, a scarce bird at Dungeness.