Saturday, 20 May 2017

 Swallows over the ARC early morning
A very quiet morning around Dungeness today. Early morning saw 100s of Swallows over the ARC though they dispersed very quickly as did 50+ Swifts hawking over Burrowes. 3 Avocets in front of Firth but little else of note. There are few puddles on the hay fields, a little late to attract migrant waders. A fox was upsetting the Shelduck  by the hay fields but seemed unable to get through the fence which is good. A couple of Lapwing were dive bombing it so I assume and hope they had at least 1 young bird nearby. 
 Avocets from Firth early morning
 eyeing up breakfast
Mid morning at the Observatory the Death's Head Hawkmoth was on display, a really impressive beauty. Apparently a sea watch by AJG this morning was very poor.
 Yellow Wagtail Scotney Farm
At Scotney this afternoon the usual Yellow Wagtails, Corn Buntings and Little Owl by the farm. On the back lake probably 17 pairs of Avocets some with young others still sitting, lets hope the Badgers don't get to the island this year. Also there a Bar-headed Goose.
 Avocet at back of Scotney
This evening on Burrowes and the ARC no change from this morning except someone having a swim. Only a pair of Common Gulls were disturbed briefly, though I fear the swimmer may be a little disturbed to even want to get into the very cold lake. 
Swimmer in Burrowes

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Common Scoter: 19 up
Great-crested Grebe: 27 around
Gannet: 11 up
Cormorant: present n/c
Mediterranean Gull: 2 x 1st summer at The Patch
Kittiwake: 2 up     2 on beach at The Patch
Sandwich Tern: c10 around
Common Tern: c20 around
Black Redstart: 1 singing on power station
Around the lighthouse area noisy juvenile Starlings are now much in evidence, a few Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails and Common Whitethroats.
 Lesser Whitethroat
At  the observatory of note a Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Tree Pipits were caught and processed.
 1 of 2 Tree Pipits processed today
 Painted Lady
In the Moat several Painted Ladies, a Brown Argus and my first Hummingbird Hawkmoth of the year.
 Hummingbird Hawk Moth
Flame Wainscot in my MV today.
14.10-15.10 from the fishing boats till the rain started:
Common Scoter: 2 up   7 down
Fulmar: 1 down
Gannet: 15 up      7 down
Hobby: 1 in
Ringed Plover:  2 up
Sanderling: 3 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 2 up
Arctic Skua: 1 up dp
Kittiwake: 6 up
Sandwich Tern: 14 up#
Swallow: 2 out
Harbour Porpoise: 5 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Turtle Dove!

 Meadow Pipit on power station wall
As I walked out to the sea watch hide for an early morning watch the local Meadow Pipit was posing on the wall and a Black Redstart was singing on the power station. The sea watch was very poor with very little noted.
 Wheatear in The Desert
A walk around The Desert and the southern end of the trapping area saw very little of note, 2 Swallows flew through, a single Wheatear and a few Common Whitethroats, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were heard.
 Common Whitethroat in The Moat
A visit to Burrowes with MH was disappointing, the only notable birds were the 2 Avocets.
 Grey Heron at Hookers
Walking in from Springfield Bridge to Hookers saw a pair of Corn Buntings by the bridge, a Cuckoo, 2 Hobby's, Sedge and Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings and the usual wildfowl, also several Hairy Dragonfly's.
 Hairy Dragonfly Dengemarsh
 Hobby over the garden
While emptying a full moth trap late morning I spotted a Hobby flying over the field straight towards me, by the time I grabbed the camera from the car it was directly overhead allowing only a very rushed shot. 
Another 2.5 hr sea watch from the in front the hide lunch time, where I was joined by BC who woke me up on his arrival was another very slow affair with just a dark phase Arctic Skua note, although were at least 8 Harbour Porpoises off shore. The Iceland Gull was apparently at The Patch per PT.
1 of 2 Turtle Doves on Walland this afternoon.
A visit to Walland Marsh this afternoon found 2 Turtle Doves, the usual Tree Sparrows, Common Buzzards and Marsh Harriers, also some Yellow Wagtails and a Great Spotted Woodpecker of note. 
 Turtle Dove
 Turtle Dove

 In a late afternoon visit to Galloways I saw 3 Stonechats, several Common Whitethroats, a Red-legged Partridge, a Hobby and a 5 Fox Cubs playing on the verge and in the road.

 The runt of the litter
My first Cream-spot Tiger of the year today

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Kite Surfing on Scotney!

An unexpectedly good sea wath this morning 07.45-10.15 from the sea watch hide with AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Common Scoter: 95 up
Black-throated Diver: 1 up
Great-crested Grebe: 9 around
Fulmar: 3 up
Manx Shearwater: 1 down
Gannet: 408 up    70 down
Cormorant: present n/c
Merlin: 1 female in (a late bird)
Great Skua: 4 up
Pomarine Skua: 3 up  (personal total 228)
Kittiwake: 2 up  1 down
Iceland Gull: 1w still at The Patch
Sandwich Tern: 15 up
Common Tern:  159 up
Guillemot: 2 up
Auk sp: 21 up
Another hour from the fishing boats this afternoon 14.30-15.30 saw just a single Great Skua of any note.
 Kite Surfers at Scotney
  Kite Surfers at Scotney
I don't know whether Kite Surfing is allowed on Scotney, it is certainly the first time I have seen it there, though DW did photograph a wind surfer there the other week. Details have been passed to relevant authorities.
There was still at least 15 pairs of Avocets on the back lakes.
 Grey Plover on Burrowes
In very windy conditions at least 10 Hobby's around the reserve today, most birds seemed to be hiding in shelter. 
 Sedge Warbler at Christmas Dell
 In the fight for a nest site on Denge Marsh there's only going to be one winner and it's not the Common Tern!
Leucistic Rabbit by Hookers

Friday, 12 May 2017

Woodchat Shrike!

I made the mistake of stopping off at the ARC on my way to the beach this morning, although the Bittern was booming and a few warblers were singing, they didn't make up for missing the Puffin that flew by the sea watch hide. I did see another 8 Pomarine Skuas today bringing my total this spring to 225, also Roseate Tern at very extreme range.
 1st summer Little Gull from Firth
A visit to the reserve mid morning saw Little and Iceland Gull, 3 Grey Plovers, a Turnstone, Common Sandpiper, 3 Dunlin, the pairs of Pintail and Wigeon. Some of the Common Terns seem to have paired up now and are looking for nesting islands.
1w Iceland Gull from Makepiece
 This Grey Heron got a hot reception from the Gulls as it flew over The Patch this afternoon
This stunning beauty was behind the sea watch hide late afternoon.
 Late this afternoon on my way to the reserve Dave Bunney called me about a Woodchat Shrike he had found opposite his, a couple of minutes later I was watching this beauty.  Many thanks Dave.
 Woodchat Shrike
The Shrike was still present at 20.20 this evening per Dave Bunney.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Back to Sea Watching!

After a day out in Holland yesterday it was back to the sea watching today, not a bad day unfortunately I arrived to late to see the Cattle Egret. Also a great pity the Long-tailed Skua never made it to Dungeness but probably not that surprising.
06.15-17.15 from the sea watch hide with AJG,LG,SM,DW,MH, MF et al.
Brent Goose: 1 up/down seven times!
Common Scoter: 927 up
Long-tailed Duck: 1 up
Red-throated diver: 1 up
Black-throated Diver: 10 up
Great-crested Grebe: 9 around
Fulmar: 3 around
Gannet: 83 up
Cormorant: present n/c
Cattle Egret 1 up( per Steve Mansfield before 06.15)
Little Egret 1 up
Oystercatcher: 10 up  8 down
Grey Plover: 3 up
Sanderling: 47 up
Dunlin: 20 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 4 up
Whimbrel:  23 up
Pomarine Skua: 13 up,1 @ 0702; 4 @ 0737, 1 @ 0852, 6 @ 0950, 1 @ 11.17
Arctic Skua: 6 up
Little Gull: 1 up ( 1st summer)
Kittiwake: 35 up
Little Tern: 6 up
Sandwich Tern: 52 up
Arctic Tern: 3 up
Common Tern: 531 up
Black Tern: 9 up
Guillemot: 8 up
Auk: 19 up
Swallow: 22 in

Monday, 8 May 2017

Tree Pipit!

A much quieter sea watch this morning than of late.
05.00-07.45 with AJG who kindly collated the numbers:
Brent Goose: 7 up
Shelduck: 1 up
Common Scoter: 100 up
Great-crested Grebe: 21 around
Gannet: 15 around
Cormorant: present: n/c
Oystercatcher: 5 up
Ringed Plover: 1 in
Grey Plover: 3 up
Sanderling: 4 up
Dunlin: 5 up
Bar-tailed Godwit: 60 up
Whimbrel: 37 up
Little Tern: 1 up
Commic Tern: 29 up
Mediterranean Gull: 3 up
Kittiwake: 18 up
Iceland Gull: 1 1w at The Patch
Auk sp: 5 up
Swallow: 4 in
Harbour Porpoise: 4+
At the observatory a Tree Pipit was caught and processed also an interesting Chiffchaff.
 Tree Pipit

Chiffchaff sp.
On the reserve 100s of Swifts over the lakes, 7+ Hobby's over Burrowes,  on the islands 6+ Turnstone, 20+ Dunlin, 4 Grey Plover, 3+ Ringed Plover and a couple of Whimbrel, a pair each of Pintail and Wigeon were still present today. A Peregrine caused panic when it came into the islands to bathe. I was unable to find the Ring-necked Duck today, it's been missing for several days now.
At the ARC another 4 Hobby's, a Little Ringed Plover, a Bittern booming in the Tower Pits and all the usual reed bed warblers.
In a  late afternoon visit to Galloways a Whimbrel walked across the road in front of me  and proceeded to feed on the verge, also 2 Wheatear there of note.