Thursday, 30 June 2011

ARC - Passage Waders

ARC - cool, sunny start, cloudy later, nw2 - Dipped in a few times today as passage waders came and went. Best of all was a flock of 13 Blackwits from Hanson in the morning, followed by 6 Green Sands and 2 Greenshanks in front of Screen this afternoon. Three well grown juvenile LRP`s were probably from elsewhere, as I`ve not noticed any of our birds with chicks this year so far (too many gulls and crows etc); also of note, a drake Wigeon. The GWE remained at Dengemarsh and the Bittern was seen flying around.
On the moth front, Dun-bar was new for the year at Plovers, while Boulderwall had another brace of rare migrants in the shape of Splendid Brocade and Small Marbled.
                                         Juv LRP, ARC

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

North by North West

Lade - 0530hrs - cool nw2, sunny - Following two days of high humidity a much fresher feel to the weather brought about by the wind swinging round to the north-west. Still a glorious morning though with a sparkling light highlighting the French coast and White Cliffs across the bay, while from the point Beachy Head was clearly visible.
Another busy night of moths with The Miller new for the Plovers trap and Shore Wainscot new for the season. The Boulderwall trap had a gripper in the form of a Splendid Brocade.

The Miller, Plovers and Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Dungeness

Dungeness - 0900hrs Several Hummer moths noted at the point where Gullman had one pinned down (so`s to speak) on the power station wall. Offshore a few Gannets, half a dozen Med Gulls at the Patch, plus Harbour Porpoise and Grey Seal near the cardinal buoy. Bumped into the Joker at ARC who reported the  Green Sandpiper from Screen hide; Goosander still at the southern end.
Med Gulls continue to fly over the area, probably dispersing from Rye. Last night I had 30 at Lade north and another 10 today.
Shore Wainscot, Plovers - A coastal moth of sandy beaches and Marram grasses

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Moth Fest

Lade - 0530hrs - humid, cloudy, sw2, cooler thundery later - What a morning for quality moths. Took me ages to do the Plovers trap (good job I didnt put a 2nd one out!) as packed with goodies, including 3 new for the trap, a tatty Latticed Heath, a subtle Silky Wainscott and a stunning Silver Hook, the latter being quite scarce down here. Elsewhere around the peninsula, Lilac Beauty and Sussex Emeralds at the Kerton Road cafe, a smart Barred Red (the migrant green form, f.prasinaria) and a tatty Speckled Footman at the Obs, and a Sub-angle Wave at Boulderwall. Also, Hummingbird Hawk Moths reported from Lydd and Greatstone.
Checked out ARC a couple of times today. Wildfowl numbers continue to increase with a few more Teal and Shoveler joining the legions of Pochard; Wigeon and Goosander still present from the causeway, Cuckoo and Lesser Whitethroat from the Screen. Glaucous Gull at the boats and a steady stream of calling Med Gulls over Lade.

Silky Wainscott and Silver Hook, new for the Plovers trap.

Monday, 27 June 2011


Lade - 0600hrs - warm, dry, muggy, sunny, hot later, 26C - The two Plovers traps were chocker this morning with over 150 moths of 31 species. Nothing particularly rare but the first Swallow-tailed Moth of the season. Figure of Eighty hit the traps in good numbers as did hawk-moths, White-points and the dreaded Browntails. The DBO trap hit the jackpot with the 4th British record of Dusky Marbled Brown.
Returning waders over the pits included Greenshank and Whimbrel.
                                          Figure of Eighty, Plovers

Sunday, 26 June 2011


Lade - 0600hrs - cool, drizzle, misty, sw2 - A funny old day with the weather and all. Started off cool and misty and ended up warm (mid-20`s C) and sunny, but with a sea mist rolling in every so often sending the temperature plummeting. Anyhow, a decent catch with first Bordered Beauty of the season. Migrants included White-point and the years first Langmaid`s Yellow Underwing; the latter being a difficult moth to id as you have to grab hold of it (gently of course) to check the hind wing. Unfortunately, as I was about to re-pot it but devil gave me the slip, so no piccy.
Over the pits plenty of warbler activity along the main track with Reed and Sedge and Whitethroat feeding on insects and a pair of Cuckoos plundering the moth caterpillars.
Forecast looks good tonight with a light south-easter and 16C on the cards, so put out a second trap with the blue light. Watch this space...
                                          Scalloped Oak, Plovers

Saturday, 25 June 2011


Lade - 0600hrs - cool, wet, sw4, warmer, drier later - Another chilly night produced little of note around the traps, although the locally scarce Water Ermine was recorded along the coast. However, if the weather forecasts are to be believed (and they`ve not been reliable of late) the next few nights could be interesting as the wind is due to drop to a light southerly with night time temperature doubling into the high teens. So watch this space... (that`s sure to put the kiss of death on it!)
RSPB - Walked down to the ramp this morning and despite the buffeting wind several family parties of Beardies `pinging` and seen. The GWE gave its customary fly around and the 1st summer Little Gull was over Dengemarsh. The Goosander was at the south end of ARC and watched a Weasel moving its young across the access road.
Late afternoon from the Screen produced at least 12 Hobbies (my largest count this year so far) hawking insects by the railway line and a Green Sandpiper in front of the hide. Cuckoo and Sparrowhawk also noted.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Ringed Plovers

Lade - 0700hrs, cool, dry and sunny w2 - Remained cool overnight so not a great trap, although first Privet Hawk and Scalloped Oak of the season. Over the pits located a pair of Ringed Plovers with 3 well grown chicks. Watched as they dealt with a crow attack. The male led them away with the old broken wing display while she chivvied the juvs to the safety of a broom-clad ridge; at one point they were about 100m apart. Anyhow, the strategy worked and it was happy families again once the crows had departed. It does amaze me how these plucky little plovers replace their numbers, what with the odds all stacked against them. It seems that everything from Foxes, corvids, Kestrels, gulls to uncontrolled dogs are all out to get them. Also noted were Cuckoo, Dunlin, Sandwich Terns and Little Sue birding her way towards Boulderwall.
ARC - Had a look for the `pale heron` without success. First Wigeon for ages at the south end amongst the Pochards, plus 2 Hobbies and a Little Gull. Bumped into Lensman in Hanson where 5 Blackwits and a Dunlin on the shingle ridges.
The GWE was reported from Dengemarsh, and the Glaucous Gull was at the boats.
ps: following on from reports of the `yellow-bird-of-Greatstone`, Saxman texted to say he`d had a Yellow Wagtail in his garden (very unusual) and She-who-must-be-Obeyed proffered Weaverbird as a possibility...

                                           Privet Hawk Moth and Ringed Plover, Lade

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Sand Martins

Lade 0800hrs - mild, cloudy, sw3 - Walking across the storm beaches towards the pits this morning a party of ten Sand Martins zipped purposefully southwards. This tiny martin is something of a scarcity down here during the spring and none breed locally. However, come late summer it seems as though the entire British population decamps to Dungeness before heading out across the Channel by early September. The Lade 10 may have been the advanced party.
Have had three calls now concerning a yellow finch-like bird seen in gardens from Lydd-on-Sea to Littlestone, including one from Hobbits Mum, who noted a yellow rump, so it could be a Serin (and she`s seen a few), or an escaped Canary cage bird. Anyhow, more of which anon...
GWE still at Dengemarsh, plus a pale, heron-type-thing on ARC...

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Viper`s Bugloss

Lade - 0600hrs - cool, cloudy, sw5 - Despite the continuing poor weather a decent catch last night. Toadflax Brocade, White-point and L-album Wainscott being the pick of the migrant moths, plus first Straw Dot and Light Arches of the season and another Cypress Carpet.
Dungeness - 1100hrs - The recent deluge has certainly encouraged more plants to flower. One of the most obvious is Viper`s Bugloss which currently is giving a welcome splash of colour across the National Nature Reserve. By mid-afternoon the wind was gusting force 6/7 making for difficult birding conditions.
The GWEgret and a Wood Sandpiper were reported from the bird reserve

                                          Viper`s Bugloss, Dungeness .

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Mid Summers Day

Lade - wet start, then warm, dry, sunny, sw4 - Happy summer solstice to pagans everywhere! Watched the sun rise over Lade Bay. The dawn drizzle soon petered out and the wind got up again from the south-west. Nothing much of note in the Plovers trap apart from a couple of migrants in the shape of  L-album Wainscott and White-point.
Kerton Road Pit - 0800hrs - Checked out the traps at the Kerton Road Cafe but poor fare here too, (the moths, not the tea) apart from a smart Broom Moth which I`ve not recorded just down the coast. Walked down to the lake with islands to check on the Bhgs, but none present, so I assume the Herring Gulls had got the better of them. The place was alive with singing Skylarks and young of Lapwing, Oystercatcher, RP and LRP.
RSPB - 1400hrs - A Little Gull and at least 8 Hobbies over ARC, with 2 more down the access track. The Goosander was at the southern end of ARC and the GWE remained at Dengemarsh.

                                          White-point, Plovers

Monday, 20 June 2011

Bearded Tits

Lade - 0600hrs - cloudy, drizzle, se1 - The strong wind finally slackened off around 9pm last night and when I went outside to turn the moth trap on a couple of small bats were already hunting around the leylandiis. A goodish catch with first Wormwood Pug and Cypress Carpets of the season. The latter species was first recorded on Dungeness in 1999 as an alien, but now breeds locally and regularly comes to light.
Dungeness - 0900hrs Walked down to the Patch where a single Med Gull was the only bird of note; sadly though, several oiled gulls on the beach suggested some kind of spill out in the Channel. Also, singing Black Redstart on the power station and Mipit feeding young.
RSPB - 1000hrs The female Goosander was still at the southern end of ARC amongst the Pochards. Strolled down to the ramp where several glum-faced twitchers said it all - the Squacco had not been seen this morning. "Never mind lads", I said, "the rain has stopped, the sun`s out and more importantly there`s only a light zephyr rustling the reeds" (no reaction). "Travelled far, have you?" (an open question was sure to elicit a retort). "Midlands". Oh dear, I thought, better tread carefully... Anyhow, over the next hour or so the GWE showed on Dengemarsh, Hobbies zipped overhead, Marsh Harriers food-passed in mid air, a Cetti`s Warbler sat out in the open (and showed for all of 10 seconds), a couple of Med Gulls flew over and best of all Bearded Tits (fledged juvs included) were `pinging` everywhere. Beardies are not easy here; for a start off there aren`t many of them (20ish or so pairs) and the reed bed is huge and often battered by strong winds. But on this fine, still Dunge morning the world and his wife was up and showing off.
Tried to get the Brummies excited by the Reedlings but failed, I even mentioned the Glaucous Gull on the point and Goosander on ARC, but all to no avail, the poor chaps were really down in the dumps. I just hope they saw the Spoonbill, in the afternoon, as some compensation, or the heron made a late show...
                                         Cypress Carpet, Plovers

Sunday, 19 June 2011


Dengemarsh - 1100hrs - cool, cloudy, sw4/5 - Another chilly June day with a brisk wind and a few showers later on. Hardly anything in the moth trap last night due to the low temperatures.
Teacher-teacher joined us for a circular walk from Boulderwall to Dengemarsh via Springfield Bridge, along the lane and back past the farm to the corral. The Squacco eluded us again, although it was by the ramp earlier which seems to be its preferred routine (Ploddingbirder has some good pics about to go on his website). The GWE on the other hand was easy to see from the Dengemarsh hide where there was also a 1st summer Little Gull, the usual harriers and at least 6 Hobbies showing off, hawking insects low over the reed bed in spectacular fashion (they must be the avian equivalent of the Red Arrows!). Its a pity the hay field and fields at the southern end have not been flooded as I`m sure they would`ve attracted waders by now, what with Lapwings and Green Sands already on the move. The walk through the farmland produced Yellow Wagtails, Corn Bunting, Tree Sparrows, 3 Cuckoos and 2 Hares.
                                          Brown Hare, Dengemarsh

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Squacco Heron

Dungeness RSPB - 1100hrs - Attempted to photo the Squacco (4th day on site) again but by the time I arrived it had moved from its posing perch at the ramp to the back end of Dengemarsh, where it hunkered down out of the wind and sulked for the afternoon. Gave it an hour, in the teeth of a howling gale, before moving on. The GWE got up a couple of times before sensibly deciding to keep low in the reed bed. The usual, camera-toting local suspects on site, also hoping for the Squacco to perform, plus a trickle of twitchers (you can spot `em a mile away as they scurry around, nervously looking at pagers or mobiles, before mentally year ticking said heron, and onto the next location - can`t believe I used to be like that).
Nipped into the allotment next to pick strawberries. As it was Lydd Club Day the place was deserted. The  local wildlife was also aware that the gardeners of Lydd were elsewhere and were busily tucking into the produce. Barney set about the rabbits in the onion patch, while I sorted out the Frenchie; somehow a partridge had got into the fruit cage and nibbled me berries. There was much `chuckering` as I attempted to grab the fat blighter, but he eventually broke free and set off like a rocket towards the airport (mental note to send details to BB...).
Anyway, back to the birds. Plenty of activity on ARC with the highlight being a very obliging Green Sandpiper in front of Screen hide. Hundreds of Swifts and House Martins over the water, plus Hobby, Dunlin and the female Goosander at the south end. The Glaucous Gull remained at the fishing boats.
                                         Green Sandpiper, ARC


Lade Pits - 0530hrs - cool, sunny, w4 - Having neglected the local patch this week thought I`d continue with my breeding bird survey before the rain set in. The brisk westerly ensured most birds were around the willows where the margins were alive with juv Moorhens, Coots and grebes. Plenty of Cuckoo activity at the main reedbed with a female noted flying away with an egg (probably a Reed Warblers). On north pit the first juv Black-headed Gull (probably from Rye) of the season hawking insects like an old pro; also single Common Tern and Little Gull. On south pit c500 Pochards, Gadwalls, Tufted Ducks and Coots. Must`ve seen at least half a dozen foxes including 3 well grown cubs basking in the sunshine in front of the 200` `mirror`, plus one with a young Moorhen. The willow islands had 3 Little Egrets with a sleeping fox nearby. Marsh Harriers and Kestrels hunting over the back. In all 54 species noted and despite the recent cool weather and rain plenty of warbler chicks on the wing.

Fox and Little Egret, Lade

Friday, 17 June 2011

Flaming June...

Cool, cloudy, rain, s3 - More heavy rain today and decidedly cool for the time of year. Dropped off Bill and Anne at Ashford station, following a week when we saw just over 100 species. The highlights being a strange mix of southern herons, in the form of Great White Egret and Squacco Heron, contrasting with `winter` Glaucous Gull and Goosander. Park Wood turned up trumps with a variety of woodland birds including Nightingale, Garden Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher while, as always, the seabird colony at Rye Harbour was popular.
Dungeness - 1300hrs - Little Gull and 20 Ringed Plovers at the southern end of ARC, Great White Egret from Springfield Bridge and the Squacco Heron looking settled at Hookers. Also, hundreds of Swifts over the lakes.
ps: She-who-must-be-obeyed, trapped The Suspected two nights ago, which was only about the 6th Dungeness record of this locally distributed moth.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Great Dixter

Lade - 0700hrs First Sussex Emerald of the season in the trap last night.
ARC - 0930hrs -warm, cloudy, sw4 - From the southern end good views of the `redhead` Goosander on a shingle island with Pochards. Also Dunlin, LRP and Lapwing. From the Screen hide loads more common wildfowl, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Little Egrets and Green Woodpecker.
Great Dixter - 1100hrs Visited the gardens at Great Dixter where the flower meadows were in full bloom.
Rye Harbour NR - 1500hrs Drove down to the Crittal hide with Bill and Anne where we watched 2 Little Terns performing over Flat Beach. From the hide overlooking Ternery pool great views of Med Gulls, Sandwich and Common Terns, plus plenty of juv Black-headed Gull on the water. Also noted Avocets, Redshank,Curlew, Shoveler, Kestrel and Rock Pipit.

Sussex Emerald, Lade. Med Gull and juv Black-headed Gull, Rye Harbour

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Squacco Heron

Lade - 0700hrs A decent catch in the trap last night with the first Lackey, Sharp-angle Peacock and L-album Wainscott of the season. Best of all though was a superb Barred Yellow, new for the trap.
Dungeness - 0930hrs - warm, dry, sunny sw3 Spent the day with Bill and Anne on the peninsula, starting with a seawatch from the concrete road, which delivered a steady flow of Gannets, Kittiwakes, Sandwich Terns, 6 Med Gulls, Guillemots, Fulmar and Common Scoter. Old Faithful (aka Shortie the Glauc) was lanquishing by the boats, and having not seen it for a few weeks appears to have moulted and become much whiter. Also superb views of Skylark, Mipit, Wheatear and Stonechat elsewhere on the estate.
Moved to Dengemarsh at midday for the reported Squacco Heron, and we were not to be disappointed as had stunning views of it from the bench by Hookers, in the willows and in flight whereupon it transformed from buffy to snow white! Only my second since moving here and the 4th reserve record, so pretty rare, and found by the Lord of Hookers (who else!) early on. Locals noted during the afternoon included the Romney Twitcher, Gullmann, Marshman, Luddites, Sainsbury Kid, and, a real rarity - the Oldest Swinger in Town. Great White Egret, Hobby, `booming` Bittern and all the usual wetland birds noted around the reserve.

Record pic of Squacco Heron, Hookers. Oystercatchers, Dengemarsh

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


ARC - 1000hrs - warm, dry sunny, sw2 - A pit stop at the southern end produced a pair of Shoveler and 6 Shelducks amongst the scores of diving duck.
Park Wood, Appledore - 1030hrs - The wood was alive with song from Nightingales, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. Good views of Spotted Flycatcher with young, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens - 1145hrs Whilst Bill and Anne went round the gardens I did the surrounding woodland, lakes and farmland. Several Buzzards noted over the fields, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Yammer. On the lakes Emperor Dragonfly and 4 Beautiful Demoiselles by a shady brook.
Walland Marsh - 1600hrs Back on the Marsh we stopped off at a couple of spots for Tree Sparrows, Yellow Wags and Corn Bunting. Had a close Little Owl at Hawthorn Corner and several Med Gulls over.
ARC - 1700hrs A final look from the causeway revealed brief views of a `redhead` sawbill, which I took to be a Goosander, before it disappeared behind the willows; strange record...
                                         Sissinghurst Gardens

Monday, 13 June 2011

Wildlife and Gardens

Bill and Anne in from the West Midlands for the week doing wildlife and gardens.
Littlestone Beach - 1500hrs A few Curlews and Oystercatchers amongst hundreds of gulls on the beach. The red-brick building by the old lifeboat station had a small House Martin colony.
ARC - 1600hrs Met Old Norm and his `long suffering` on the Willow Trail boardwalk where we saw at least 6 Common Lizards and a Grass Snake, plus Red Admiral and a Silver Y Moth. Also, a caterpillar of the Drinker moth. From Hanson hide all the usual LRP`s, RP`s, Little Egrets, Teal, Common Tern and a 1st summer Little Gull. At least 6 Hobbies hunting along the causeway, along with hundreds of Swifts and House Martins.
Galloways and Dengemarsh 2000hrs - A trip out this evening yielded cracking views of Cuckoo, Stonechat, Mipit, and Little Owl. Marsh Harrier and several hundred Starlings coming to roost from Springfield Bridge.

Common Lizard and Drinker moth caterpillar, Willow Trail

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Turtle Dove

Lade - 0500hrs - warm, dry, sunny, S1 - Went to check the moth trap this morning and was greeted by a`purring` Turtle Dove atop the conifers, needless to say it was a `first` for the garden.
0800hrs - Monthly WeBS count of both pits produced large post breeding flocks of Pochard and Coot. Three Marsh Harriers hunting (one seen taking a baby rabbit) the farmland near the airport and several Cuckoos active around the main reedbed.
Dengemarsh - 1000hrs The Great White Egret could be seen from Springfield Bridge.
Eyed Hawk Moth, first of the season

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Black-tailed Godwits and the Red Arrows

Lade - 0700hrs - cool, sunny, sw 2 - Following heavy overnight rain and early morning sunshine there were millions of tiny white flies everywhere. The Starlings in particular were making hay.
Castle Water - 1000hrs Teacher-teacher joined us this morning for a jaunt over to Rye. The place was alive with activity. On the walk to the hide, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Cuckoo, Yellow Wagtail, Med Gulls and Corn Bunting all noted. From the hide 2 pairs of Avocets, LRP and Greenshank, plus the highlight, a party of 15 Blackwits that landed on the closest island given superb views.
ARC - 1600hrs A brief look from Hanson hide revealed a Dunlin amongst the plovers, 9 Little Egrets and a 1st summer Little Gull. The GWEgret was reported from Dengemarsh. A Spitfire and the Red Arrows (show offs!) flew across the Marsh en-route to a performance at Rye.

Blackwits, Castle Water and the Red Arrows over Lydd

Thursday, 9 June 2011


ARC - 1300hrs - Nothing much of note from Hanson except the usual waders and wildfowl, 100 Swifts and a Hobby. On the way to Lydd noticed a Spoonbill flying over Boulderwall heading towards the airport. Apparently it had been seen around the reserve in the morning. A Green Sandpiper was also reported from Screen hide - summers over then...

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Somewhere in Southern England...

Lade - 0600hrs - cool, cloudy, sw5 - First Peppered Moth of the season last night, a species I don't get very often, and a favourite of geneticists as melanistic forms have evolved in industrial areas ,`up north`. Elephant Hawk also new for the year last night, and yet another Looper.
Somewhere in Southern England... After a long drive across the southern lands, blind-folded and sworn to secrecy by an accomplice, we arrived at a stakeout for the Bee-hawk. As a scuddy wind piled up rain clouds it didn`t look promising, but after an hour the sun broke through, the temperature  rose and up came our quarry - a single distant, pigeon-headed, pinch-winged, long-tailed bird of prey with a distinctive flat-winged, soaring profile. Up and up it went and then in dramatic fashion the wings were raised like a `clapping` Nightjar - and he `sky-danced` several times. A breathtaking sight I`ve been privileged to witness many times before, but as thrilling today as my first in the New Forest over 40 years ago. An hour later he thermalled into the ether, but we didnt see him `dance` again. Truly, one of the great events in the birding calendar. My accomplice relented with the blind-fold on the long, return journey (taken by a different route to confuse me) and kept up a string of eye-watering jokes just in case I recognised the way. 

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Rannoch Loopers, Curlew Sandpiper and a Red-backed Shrike

Lade - 0600hrs - cool, sunny, sw3 - Two Rannoch Loopers in the trap this morning. Was kind of expecting this migrant moth from the Continent as others have been trapped locally of late. Both were a bit tatty, not surprising really when you consider they were probably blown over the North Sea on the recent north-easterlies.
The Midrips - 0800hrs A decent return on waders before I got asked to leave by range staff as they changed the shooting times. The highlight was a summer plum Curlew Sandpiper, also, 25 Dunlin, 21 Avocets, 30 Redshanks, 20 Lapwings, 12 Oystercatchers, 12 Ringed Plovers, 2 LRP`s and a Grey Plover. Wheatear and Mipit feeding young.
Rannoch Looper
Dungeness - 1130hrs - The Baitdigger strikes again with a male Red-backed Shrike seen flying over South View. By the time I arrived the Lord of Hookers and the Joker were also on site. We soon relocated the nervy shrike close by as it perched atop scrub a couple of times before heading out into the Desert. The second one of the spring.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Rain, at long last...

Lade - steady rain `til noon, drier brighter afternoon - The drenching continued for well over 12 hours, and boy was it welcome. An influx of non-breeding Pochards on south lake numbered around 100 where at least 15 pairs of Great Crested Grebes are breeding. In the afternoon much more warbler activity due to the sunshine with young of Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler on the wing.
ARC - 1000hrs At the south end a mixed flock of 20 Yellow and Pied Wagtails feeding on emerging insects from the wet mud. Hundreds of Pochards here too. Single adult Dunlin amongst the ringed plovers.

Sunday, 5 June 2011


Lade - cool, cloudy, nne 5 - 0900hrs - In contrast to yesterdays sunshine and warmth a much cooler day today with a strong onshore wind out of the north. Most of the wildfowl were sheltering amongst the sallows and within the common ducks was a pair of Garganey, perhaps the ones from ARC. The low cloud had also pushed down 50 odd Swifts to hawk insect over the water.
Nothing much in the trap last night, although Bird`s Wing was new for the year.

                                  Bird`s Wing, and a Buff Ermine from yesterday
RSPB - 1500hrs Following the long-awaited for heavy rain, around midday, decided to check out the bird reserve. On ARC at least 12 LRP`s scattered around the islands, which was something of an increase, and a couple of Dunlins. Also, 2 Hobbies and hundreds of House Martins and Swifts over the water. On Burrowe`s Common Sandpiper and 10 Redshanks. The GWEgret was reported from Dengemarsh.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Wader Day

Lade - 0600hrs - warm, dry, sunny, ne4/5 - New moths for the year last night in the Plovers trap included, Dark Tussock, Cloaked Minor and the delightfully named, Uncertain (I think...!). The only bird of note on the pits this morning was a pair of Shelduck.
ARC - 1000hrs A pair of Avocets was a surprise from Hanson hide, plus a migrant Dunlin and Greenshank amongst the LRP`s, RP`s, Redshank and Lapwings.
Littlestone - 1400hrs With the beach waders driven to either ends of Lade Bay, due to the kite surfers, some sought refuge here with 30 Dunlin, 20 Sanderling, 5 Ringed Plovers, 6 Turnstones and a handful of Oycs and Curlews.
Kerton Road Pit. 1700hrs - At least 3 Bhgs on nests on the island, plus 50 Curlews, 100 Oycs, 20 Barwits, 15 Knots and surprise, surprise 8 Black-wits a `wikkering` as they flew around (ok, so I inadvertently flushed them...) before settling down again.
In all, a decent wader day. 

                                          A pair of Avocets, ARC

Thursday, 2 June 2011


Lade - warm, dry sunny, ne1 - 0600hrs  - Had cracking views of the Raven family on the Desert this morning eating something gruesome. I presume it was the parents (tatty looking) and juv (pristine) from the nest on the Switch House.
It was very still first thing and the place was alive with millions of tiny, white flying insects which all and sundry were plundering, including, Whitethroats, Linnets, Hsparrows, Starlings, Swifts and House Martins. With the water level dropping fast and islands appearing across south pit the prospects for the return wader passage look good.
Was off the Marsh for most of the day but it doesnt sound as though I missed much as the Marsh Warbler decided to move on. A Honey Buzzard over the bird reserve and the GWE at Dengemarsh were the only birds of note.
Arrived back from London too late for BBC Springwatch, damm...

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Marsh Warbler

Lade - cool, dry, sunny, warmer later, sw2-3 - The first Small Elephant Hawk-moth of the year in the trap last night (who says moths are brown and boring...)
Dengemarsh - The Lord of Hookers strikes again, this time a Marsh Warbler (first one for ages) singing from cover near the ramp at, well, of all places - Hookers!! The said rarity was typically reluctant to show itself (fleeting views being the order of the day), but as it was only a drab old Acro it didnt really matter. The song was great however, with the usual mix of Reed and Sedge Warbler notes interspersed with Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Great Tit and a bit of Cetti`s. Whilst hanging around hoping for a show (with the Joker in full flow for entertainment) the Cranes put in an appearance, the Bittern `boomed`, Beardies `pinged`, a Med Gull went over calling and 6 Hobbies circled on high hawking insects. On Dengemarsh also had distant views of the recently arrived Great White Egret. So, all in all not a bad little session. First Painted Lady of the spring on the back track as well.

Two Cranes, Small Elephant Hawk-moth, Great White Egret and a Painted Lady, Dengemarsh

ps: Is it just me, or has BBC Springwatch got even worse this year? I tried watching last night, I mean after all, credit where it`s due, they had kicked Pensthorpe Pk, Norfolk into touch (a bird reserve attached to a zoo) and moved base camp to a cracking location on the Welsh coast at the RSPB`s Ynys-hir reserve. What could go wrong I asked myself? Should be good, what with breeding Goosander, Tripit, Whinchat, Wood Warbler, Redstart and Pied Flit on site, plus a nearby supporting cast of Kites and Choughs. Surely no time for any inane banter... And while they did show one or two clips of these and others the hour long show consisted of who amongst the presenters could be the most juvenile. She harped on and on and on about some badger sett that may or may not have had any animals in it, and then went on to talk over a wildlife cameraman (someone sensible) about the challenges of filming tree-top herons. In the end every time she giggled her way onto the screen I pressed the mute button. And then there was him!! It must be contagious, he never used to be like that, banging on about punk rock and the like, and having some stupid competition with a lady from the Midlands who`d spent a lifetime studying Adders. Incidentally, she was superb and should`ve been the star of the show, but no, she couldn't get a word in edge ways. After that I crumbled and turned off in disgust. I thought the BBC had hit dumbing down rock bottom with Kingdom Country, but no, from what I saw last night they`ve surpassed even that drivel. Let`s hope they never show up at Dungeness...
Phew, that`s better, off to have a lie down now ...