Friday, 22 September 2017

First Siskin!

Lade - 0700hrs - misty start, warm and sunny later, nw 2 - We flogged around the local patch for little reward first thing apart from a Siskin overhead in the murk, which I later realised was a year tick! A few Mipits and Swallows also drifted over, plus a Grey Wagtail. Around the willow swamp several Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap, two Cetti`s Warbler, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a tit flock.  There was nothing new on the lakes with a family party of Common Terns still present.
  The garden mv yielded up a dozen species of macros, but was mostly full of Large Yellow Underwings, although several L-album Wainscots and an Angle Shades livened the catch up a little.

                                Angle Shades and L-album Wainscot

Dungeness - Called in to Hanson hide around midday where four Black Terns were hawking insects over the lake. On the islands pretty much the same as yesterday with three Little Stints, a Curlew Sandpiper, 20 each of Blackwits and Dunlins, two Great White Egrets and a glimpse of a Water Rail.

                                  Grey Heron and Great White Egret from Hanson hide

An afternoon scan of Dengemarsh from Springfield Bridge was notable for distant views of the local Osprey over towards the water tower. On the marsh a mixed flock of Golden Plovers and Lapwings, plus two Ruffs.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Little Stints

Dungeness - mild, cloudy, ssw 3 - A wander around the Trapping Area and Desert this morning confirmed there had been a clear out of migrants overnight as only a few Chiffchaffs were heard and a trickle of Swallows over. The sea wasn't much better with just the usual distant Gannets and Sandwich Terns.
 A high tide visit to ARC was, however, far more profitable. From Hanson hide there were three Black Terns over the water and five Great White Egrets on the islands. Waders included 25 Blackwits, 20 Dunlins, three Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper and a Ruff. Also had brief views of a Water Rail in front of the hide.
  An afternoon visit to Lade pits was notable for a flyover Merlin and a Black Tern on north lake.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps

Dungeness -mild, cloudy, light airs - The perfect morning for a few grounded migrants you might think and while there were plenty of commoners on show such as Mipits, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps there was nothing of real quality. Hirundines were numerous and the Obs staff were kept busy ringing Swallows caught in the moat. Also noted around the point a scattering of Pied Wagtails, Robins, Linnets and Stonechats, plus singles of Goldcrest, Sedge Warbler, Wheatear and Grey Wagtail.
A cursory glance at the sea revealed a few passing Gannets and a flock of 13 Common Scoters.
Lade - Plenty of grebes here along three Common Terns, four Redshanks and more Chiffchaffs in the willows.
  We finished a most enjoyable three day Birdwatching Break for Clare and Peter with 102 species of birds and a typical range of September migrants.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

House Martins

Dungeness - warm, dry, sunny, nw 2 - A cracking morning to be out and about in the field, and what better way to start the day than with a host of House Martins swarming around the old lighthouse and settling on overhead wires, as ever a superb sight. Infact, throughout the day thousands of hirundines passed over the peninsula and out to sea. There were plenty of Chiffchaffs in the bushes around the point, a few Mipits overhead and a showy Whinchat on the power station fence, plus a Clouded Yellow by the Patch wall.

                               Some of the many House Martins seen today

                                Starling feeding on blackberries

                                Whinchat, power station fence

                                Wheatear, Greatstone beach

Moving onto the bird reserve and on Burrowes the highlights were several Great White Egrets, three Avocets, five Shelducks (first since the moult), a Common Sandpiper, two Ravens over and close views of a Lesser Whitethroat in front of Dennis`s hide. Two late Swifts flew over ARC while from Hanson hide a flock of 25 Blackwits and 10 Knots were new, plus yesterdays Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stints and Dunlins. I had brief views of a Water Rail from Hanson hide while more Chiffchaffs, Blackcap and Cetti`s Warbler were noted in the willow scrub. At least 10 Common Buzzards drifted over amongst the usual Kestrels and Marsh Harriers, and a Stonechat and Whinchat were seen in the Kerton Road triangle.
  Early afternoon from the Tavern viewpoint delivered hundreds of Curlews, Oystercatchers, Dunlins, Knots, Barwits and Sanderlings scattered across the sands, plus 50 Sandwich Terns, two Mediterranean Gulls and a Wheatear on the foreshore. Offshore at least four Grey Seals were noted following the receding tide for fish.
  We finished off at the fishing boats where a trickle of Sandwich Terns, Gannets, two Arctic Skuas, 12 Common Scoters, four Brents (first of the autumn) a Guillemot and hundreds of outward bound hirundines rounded off a decent days birding for the guests.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Chiffchaffs and waders

Lade - cool, cloudy, nw 2 - Chiffchaffs seemed to be all over the place this morning with birds scattered across the site and in garden shrubbery. On south lake a Ruff, several Common Terns and the usual flypast of hundreds of Greylags. Around 300 Curlews flew to roost on the Desert along with 20 Barwits, 10 Knots and five Redshanks.
Birdwatching Break - Picked up Clare and Peter from Ashford just after midday who`re down from London for a three day break.
Kennardington - We headed for lunch beside the canal followed by a walk east towards Warehorne. The bushes were alive with flocks of Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Chiffchaffs and single figures of Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Goldcrest. Also noted, Kingfisher, Common Buzzard, Kestrel and Little Egret. Butterflies in the sun traps included Comma, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood.
Scotney - On the front fields the usual mixed Barnacle Goose flock, 60 Curlews, 10 Barwits and a Ruff. Also five flyover Avocets, 20 Wigeon, Yellow Wagtails, Linnets, Sand Martins and Swallows.
Dengemarsh - From Springfield Bridge plenty of Lapwings and Golden Plovers on the islands,  several Marsh Harriers over, a Hobby hawking dragonflies, a Great White Egret, four Ruffs, five Snipes, a Sedge Warbler, Yellow Wagtails, Meadow Pipits, Reed Buntings and Linnets.
We finished the day at ARC where three Little Stints and a Curlew Sandpiper were amongst 20 Dunlins and all the usual wildfowl and Lapwings.  

Friday, 15 September 2017

Red-necked Grebe

Friday - Dungeness - Cool, sunshine and cloud, w 2 - A wander down to the Patch delivered a juvenile Little Gull and Yellow-legged Gull over the boil. On the beach several Sandwich and Common Terns amongst a mix of Black-headed, Herring and Black-backed Gulls. Plenty of Gannets and terns offshore, although mostly distant with Arctic Skuas, and at least one Bonxie, chasing the terns. Black Redstarts have been thin on the ground this summer so it was good to see a flock of five, plus a Robin, feeding along the shingle bank by the sea defence blocks, where also a few Mipits and a Wheatear.
  On Burrowes this afternoon a juvenile Red-necked Grebe showed distantly from Dennis`s hide. Also over the lake two Black Terns and the long staying Little Stint from Firth hide.

                                Black Redstart, Dungeness

Lade - The Osprey was seen again late morning from the aerial ramp over Kerton Road pit. On north lake a Black Tern and Black-necked Grebe. There were several Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests in Plovers garden this morning.

Saturday - Lade - cool, cloudy, nw 2 - A nippy start to the day with few moths in the garden MV totalling a meagre 12 species. The island on south lake however was far more interesting with a party of Common Terns and two each of Ruff and Redshank. Yet again there were few ducks on the waters but plenty of grebes and a Black Tern over north lake. The passerine count was, as expected, pitiful with a score of Swallows and Sand Martins over the Desert and a just a few Chiffchaffs in the willow swamp. However, spectacle of the day went to the 800 or so Greylags that noisily flew over the site heading towards the bird reserve.

                                Standing room only on south island

                                Two Ruffs

                                Greylags over Lade

Dungeness - Had a run out this afternoon where the juvenile Red-necked Grebe (rare here) was still over the far side of Burrowes from the viewpoint by Dennis`s hide. There was very little else of note on Burrowes though apart from four Great White Egrets, five Pintails, three Ruff and a Ringed Plover.
At the point a brief seawatch from the boats was terminated by a heavy rain shower, but little was on the move apart from four Wigeon down Channel and a steady trickle of hirundines out. The usual Gannets, Sandwich Terns and Arctic Skuas were performing offshore.
The Osprey was seen again today across the peninsula and four Spoonbills dropped onto Dengemarsh late afternoon.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Meadow Pipits

Lade - 0700hrs - cool, sunny, nw 3 - A chilly start to the day with little notable passage apart from a trickle of Meadow Pipits and a few Sand Martins. Some of the Mipits were grounded and feeding along the main track beside the Desert - a classic September migrant. On south lake six Redshanks and a Ringed Plover on the island and a Grey Plover over calling.

                                Mipits remain a numerous passage migrant

An afternoon visit to north lake delivered flight views of the Osprey heading towards Lydd and a Black Tern over the lake. There was a few Chiffchaffs in the willow scrub but little else of note.
News from Dungeness concerned a Grey Phalarope still present along the foreshore and a Red-necked Phalarope briefly at Scotney.