Friday, 30 September 2016

Chiffchaffs and finches

Lade - warm, dry, cloudy, w 2 - Superb morning with birds everywhere including our first decent overhead movement of Skylarks, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Chaffinches and Mipits, plus our first two Siskins of the autumn. Also over a few Yellow Wagtails, hirundines and two Grey Wagtails. Grounded Chiffchaffs totalled at least 50 along with a scattering of Reed Buntings, Linnets, Stonechats and Wheatears. The Merlin was seen again, plus two Sparrowhawks and five Kestrels.

                                Chiffchaff on the Heligoland trap, DBO

Dungeness - Plenty more of the same across the point with many more hirundines attracted to the tape lure around the moat and a cracking male Black Redstart on the power station fence.
  The main news this afternoon concerned a Manx Shearwater found on ARC lake (PB).

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Lade Raptors

Lade - 1500hrs - humid, cloudy, w 2 - With rain clearing by mid-afternoon we ventured out over the local patch to see if anything had dropped in. There was a few migrants around such as Sand Martins and Swallows over the lake, Mipits and several Stonechats on the storm ridges and a couple of Yellow Wagtails overhead, but the main interest was provided by a host of raptors.
  Birds of prey do not like the rain, as it affects their ability to hunt, and generally they just hunker down looking fed up until it clears. So, this afternoon they were out in force. Most obvious were six hovering Kestrels across the Desert and behind the `mirrors`, where three Marsh Harriers and a Buzzard were also on the hunt. A Sparrowhawk nipped over south lake, but best of all was a Merlin chasing Linnets out over the Desert. I watched this struggle for life or death for several minutes as the falcon barrelled after three different finches, but all to no avail, before finally flopping down on a shingle ridge for a breather.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Cattle Egret and Glossy Ibis

Dungeness/Lade - warm, sunny, sw 5 - First off we started at the seawatch hide where up 50 Gannets were fishing offshore along with a few Sandwich Terns and at least one Arctic Skua.
News came through from Boulderwall that the Cattle Egret and Glossy Ibis had been seen on the fields by the pool and eventually we saw both; a flyover view of the egret, and the ibis probing about on the turf. We finished off at a breezy Lade where two Buzzards soared overhead while Little Grebe and Green Woodpecker were added to the list. The Curlew flock of 600 birds put on a fine show for the guests as they left their roost site and flew out to feed on the bay.
  And a fitting end to the three day bird tour during which we clocked up 97 species the highlights of which were: Cattle Egret, Glossy Ibis, Garganey, large flocks of Sandwich Terns and Gannets, Arctic and Great Skuas, Peregrine, 16 species of waders, Little Owl, Yellow Wagtail and Corn Bunting.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

820 Sandwich Terns!

Dungeness - mild, cloudy, sw 4 - 0915-1030hrs - A decent enough seawatch for the guests from the hide delivered scores of fishing Gannets and Sandwich Terns, plus 10 Kittiwakes, 20 Common Scoters, 10 auks, three Arctic and one Great Skua. A trickle of Swallows headed out over a choppy sea where Grey Seal and six Porpoises were noted.
  Very quiet on the land with just two Wheatears on the beach, but terrific views of a male Peregrine sallying forth from the pylons by the power station and stooping on a pair of `cronking` Ravens.
Greatstone Beach -  Superb session from the Tavern viewpoint on a falling tide yielded the full suite of ten species of waders, the highlights being 150 Knots, 50 Barwits and loads of close Dunlins, Sanderlings, Ringed Plovers and a Grey Plover. Best of all though was a record count of 820 Sandwich Terns on the sands where also note three Brents, and 10 Common Terns.

                               Part of the huge tern flock on Greatstone beach

                                Snipe, Little Egret and Little Stint from Firth hide

Burrowes/Dengemarsh - The afternoon was spent on the bird reserve where we had good views of Snipe, Dunlin, Ringed Plovers, Common Sandpipers and two Little Stints from Firth hide. All the usual egrets, raptors and wildfowl were logged, plus two Kingfishers and a Garganey on Dengemarsh and a flock of 50 Goldfinches over the sunflower field. The Cattle Egret remained elusive on the Boulderwall fields.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Glossy Ibis

Scotney - 1330hrs - mild, cloudy, sw 2 - We started a three day bird tour for four birders from Kent in grand style this afternoon with a crop of farmland birds around the barns and paddocks, including 10 Yellow Wagtails, two Corn Buntings, 30 Linnets and a Little Owl. Common Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Hobby and Kestrel were also noted out back, while a Black-necked Grebe was on the front lake along with all the usual feral geese and ducks.

                                Little Owl, Scotney

Boulderwall  - After failing to find both Tree Sparrow and Cattle Egret we were surprised by two flight views of a Glossy Ibis near the main pool, courtesy of the SAR helicopter which briefly flushed it from a ditch. I guess this is the bird that`s been in the Dungeness/Rye/Pett area for much of the year.

                                Great White Egret, ARC

ARC - Pretty quiet here with just two Golden Plovers and a Ruff amongst a couple of hundred Lapwings, plus two Great White and five Little Egrets, four Pintails, 100 Wigeon, all of which were flushed by a passing Sparrowhawk. The bushes around the car park were full of Robins and Chiffchaffs, plus several Greenfinches and a Blackcap.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Mediterranean Gulls

Saturday - Dungeness - 0730hrs - humid, dry, s 4 - With a warm plume of southerly air off the Continent we joined several other hopefuls in the seawatch hide where plenty of Gannets and Sandwich Terns were blown close to shore amongst hundreds of gulls. Also in the mix at least half a dozen Arctic Skuas and two Bonxies causing mayhem with the terns.
  A wander along the beach opposite Jarman`s delivered a steady flow of hirundines heading south into the stiff breeze and a couple of grounded Wheatears and a Chiffchaff around the sea containers.
The Warren, Folkestone - Spent most of the day with the family on the beach mooching amongst the weedy rock pools and searching for fossils in the crumbling, clay cliffs for our grandson. Reverting to childhood can be such great fun. There were plenty of Chiffchaffs, Robins, tits and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, calling away in the scrub along the sloping cliff path, while hirundines continued to trickle along the coastline throughout the day.  
  As we made our way round to the Harbour Arm, towards the Folkestone Beer Festival, the rising tide pushed upwards of 200 Mediterranean Gulls off the rocks at Copt Point, a fantastic spectacle as they rode the air currents below the Coastguards Lookout. A Grey Wagtail was noted in the harbour opposite the Burston hotel.

Sunday - RSPB - warm, cloudy, w 3 - A spin round the bird reserve this morning revealed much the same birds that have been present all week. The Cattle Egret posed at the far end of Boulderwall pool; Whinchats, Stonechats and Wheatear on the return trail; Ruff, Little Stint and two Goldeneyes on Burrowes; a couple more Ruff on ARC with the Golden Plovers and Lapwings; and the usual Great White Egrets and Marsh Harriers elsewhere.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Chiffchaffs and Swallows

Lade - warm, dry and sunny, light airs - Everywhere we went today Swallows and House Martins were on the move in large numbers. Likewise, Chiffchaffs, with at least 30 around the ponds at Lade, but not a sniff of a `stripy`.
Scotney - No sign of the Spoonbills here but plenty of feral geese, Wigeon, Shelduck, diving ducks, gulls and the like. Out back up to 10 Yellow Wagtails, Linnets, Pied Wagtails, Mipits, Wheatears, Reed Bunting, Raven and a Common Buzzard.
Midley - A run out to the drying barns and nearby feeders delivered a Yellowhammer, five Tree Sparrows, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and a few Mipits but little else.
Greatstone Beach - From the Tavern viewpoint on an incoming tide a decent selection of shorebirds included 150 Knot, 500 plus each of Curlew and Oystercatcher, 200 Sanderling and Dunlins, 50 Barwits and five Grey Plovers. The tern count was 320 Sandwich and 10 Common, while offshore a flock of 100 Wigeon and four Grey Seals noted. Hundreds of Swallows heading south along the beach and the waders flying to roost provided a superb spectacle for Lew.
Dungeness - We finished the bird tour at the fishing boats with a seawatch where the usual Gannets, terns and Arctic Skuas performed offshore, plus 10 porpoises.
  Over the two days 94 species of birds were recorded with the highlights being the hirundine migration and the two Ospreys.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Ospreys and House Martins

Dungeness - 0830hrs - warm, dry, sunny, sw 2 - With Lew down from north Kent for a couple of days birding we kicked off in spectacular style as well over a thousand House Martins sat atop and swirled around the working lighthouse, with hundreds more martins and Swallows along the beach and over the power station; infact, there was probably nearer 2,000 hirundines in the general area, a terrific sight, viz mig at its best. In the bushes a few Chiffchaffs, Stonechats, Robins, two Black Redstarts and another cracking male on the power station fence, plus a Wheatear opposite Jarman`s, Mipits overhead and five Kestrels. Whilst at the Obs we jammed in on a recently trapped Firecrest, always a delight to see in the hand.
  A half hour scan of the sea from the hide delivered more hirundines streaming south, several Arctic Skuas, Gannets and plenty more Common and Sandwich Terns, porpoises and a seal.

                               House Martins swarming around Dungeness light

                               Chiffchaff and Firecrest, DBO

RSPB - We spent the rest of the day on the bird reserve where along the access road Tree Sparrows, five Whinchats, four Stonechats, Common Whitethroats and Blackcap were noted. Burrowes held seven Great White Egrets, three Little Stints, three Ruffs, 11 Snipe, Common Sandpiper and Ringed Plover amongst all the usual eclipse ducks, grebes, gulls and the like. On the raptor front a Hobby snatched a hirundine over the lake, while several Marsh Harriers, Sparrowhawk, Merlin and up to 10 Kestrels noted. On ARC, 200 Golden Plovers, Lapwings, another Little Stint, Grey Plover, two Snipe and 10 Chiffchaffs in the bushes by the willow trail. Also noted around the reserve, Green Woodpecker, Cetti`s Warblers, Wheatears,Yellow Wagtails and a constant stream of southbound hirundines of all three species.

                                Common Lizard, Scott hide

                                Osprey - a rare sight, perched at Dungeness

Ospreys - Passage Ospreys have a hard time down here, mostly from the numerous gulls and corvids that keep them on the move. While I`ve seen them just about annually I have never seen one here perched before, until today that is. Our first Osprey sighting was at 1500hrs when one came in over the water tower heading towards us on the return trail. Everything got up over ARC, along with roosting gulls on the shingle as it eventually passed over our heads towards Dengemarsh. With gulls and two Marsh Harriers for company we watched it disappear towards Rye.
  About an hour later another different bird came in over Lade (it probably flew over Plovers!) as we were sat in Hanson hide and after being `greeted` by a crow plonked itself down on one of the power line cross-trees on the Desert. We then moved round and parked by the railway gantry for a better look and, predictably, it  wasn't long before we were joined by the armed power station police checking us out for terrorists! Luckily I knew one of them and we were soon chatting away and showing them our quarry through telescopes, both the cops having never seen this magnificent raptor before.
  When we left site at 1715hrs the Osprey was preening and looking settled on its artificial `tree`.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016


Lade - humid, hazy, light airs - 0700hrs - Plenty of grounded migrants on the shingle ridges this morning comprised chiefly Mipits, at least 100, plus a supporting cast of 50ish Reed Buntings, Linnets and two Wheatears. The willow swamp by the ponds was alive with birds and it took an hour to check through the 30 or so Chiffchaffs to make sure a Yellow-browed hadn't dropped in overnight. Also in the mix Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits, Robins, Dunnocks, Blackbirds, Reed Buntings, a Greater pecker, two Spotted and one Pied Flycatcher.
ARC - The willow trail held decent numbers of Chiffchaffs and several Blackcaps, a couple of Cetti`s Warblers, a Water Rail and the usual tits. Speckled Wood butterflies were also enjoying the autumn sunshine. From Hanson hide 150 Golden Plovers and Lapwings, three Ruffs, two Snipe and all the expected wildfowl, while the Cattle Egret put in a brief appearance.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Lesser Whitethroats

Lade - mild, cloudy, ne 2 - Yet again, despite perfect overnight weather conditions, the moth trap failed to deliver with just 30 macros of 11 species. However, new for the year was a cracking Frosted Orange and a couple of L-album Wainscots.

                                Frosted Orange and L-album Wainscot

Dungeness  - 0800hrs - We worked the northern end of Long Pits where the bushes held a good number of Chiffchaffs, several Blackcaps, Common and Lesser Whitethroats, plus a large tit and Chaffinch flock. A Common Redstart was lurking in the willows down the spine, along with more Chiffchaffs and a few Reed Buntings, while singles of Whinchat and Stonechat were noted on the edge of the Desert. The Rosy Starling continued to tag along with the Starling flock near the Obs and two Black Redstarts flitted on and off the power station fence.

                                Lesser Whitethroat, a bird of great beauty

ARC - Not much on the islands in front of Hanson this morning apart from Lapwings, five Snipe and all the usual eclipse wildfowl, although by mid-afternoon it had attracted a host of Knot from the beach at high tide and a Cattle Egret. The walk down to the pines was notable for more passage warblers, including up to 10 Lesser Whitethroats feasting on sweet, juicy blackberries, one of the smartest warblers around. Also noted a Peregrine on the water tower, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers on the power line poles, Kingfisher, Water Rail and Great White Egret from Screen hide.

                                Two sleepy Spoonbills

Scotney - The two long-staying Spoonbills were asleep on the causeway by the farm entrance pit along with a range of feral geese, gulls and ducks. On the grass by the main lake more feral geese, plus a few Curlews, Lapwings, Goldies, Dunlins, Ringed Plovers, a Whimbrel and a flock of 200 Wigeon on the water.
Fishing Boats - 1430-1530hrs - A pleasant enough hour watching Common and Sandwich Terns milling around offshore was enlivened by a Guillemot on the water, close views of an adult pale phase Arctic Skua and a Balearic Shearwater.

                                Guillemot off the fishing boats

Lydd in Bloom 2016 - Came as a bit of a surprise when we received 1st prize in the Lydd in bloom  coastal business category, presumably for our roses, window boxes and hydrangeas, which sadly are all now well past their best.


Monday, 19 September 2016

Rose-coloured Starling

Dungeness - warm, dry, cloudy, n 2 - 0730hrs - A few more migrants about the place than of late with hundreds of hirundines and Mipits along the beach between the lifeboat station and the lighthouse, plus 10 Wheatears and five Yellow Wagtails grounded and a Merlin chasing pipits. A few Goldfinches and Grey Wagtails drifted over calling, while at least 20 Chiffchaffs and five Common Whitethroats were in the bushes around the point and the southern end of the Trapping Area. A brief look at the sea revealed the usual Sandwich Terns along the shore, a few Gannets and porpoises and two Arctic Skuas chasing the terns.

                                Meadow Pipit, one of hundreds on the beach this morning

1300hrs - A juvenile Rosy Starling found in a Starling flock by TG necessitated a return to the point this afternoon. The flock was fairly mobile as they moved between the Obs and the power station pylons, occasionally dropping down to feed on the turf, and conveniently perching on overhead wires by West Beach to allow a couple of record shots. Rosy Starlings are rare in these parts and this was only my fourth since moving here almost 11 years ago. A typically pale juvenile individual with contrasting dark wings and yellowish base to the bill, and a welcome bit of quality at last.

                                Rosy Starling juvenile, Dungeness

Lade - More Chiffchaffs continued to move through the peninsula this afternoon with at least 30 birds around Lade and in the garden. This evening, whilst walking Barney, I watched one come to grief in the talons of a Sparrowhawk.
  Conditions seemed perfect this evening for moths, being still, humid and overcast, so on went the mv...

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Egrets and a Bittern

Lade - warm, dry and sunny, n 2 - Following two days of enforced inertia due to the wind and rain normal service was resumed today. A scattering of Wheatears and Whinchats remained on the Desert with a trickle of Mipits, Yellow Wagtails and hirundines moving overhead, but there was only one or two Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap in the willow swamp bushes.
Dengemarsh - Mrs PT joined us for a circuit of the marsh this morning where every harrier was carefully scrutinised following yesterdays sighting of a juvenile Pallid Harrier;  several Marsh Harriers, two Common Buzzards, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were noted however. We also had protracted flight views of a Bittern at Hooker`s, a Garganey on the lake amongst hundreds of Teal, Wigeon,  Pintail and feral geese, Bearded Tits, a Whinchat on the fence by hayfield 3, a Cattle Egret and Great White Egret in Boulderwall fields, 20 Knots and four Grey Wagtails overhead, six Wheatears on the battery sheds along Dengemarsh Road and our first Clouded Yellow butterfly of the autumn by the Corral. Throughout the walk a steady trickle of Yellow Wagtails, Mipits, Reed Buntings and hirundines passed overhead, so all in all a productive couple of hours.
Galloways - Further scanning for raptors from the range road delivered very little apart from a few more Wheatears.
ARC - A scan from the causeway road on the way home delivered three Avocets on the island, a Black-necked Grebe on the water another Great White Egret on the margins.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Warblers, chats and waders

Lade - warm, dry, sunny, ne 2 - A pretty decent couple of hours birding the local patch delivered a scattering of Wheatears, Mipits, Yellow Wagtails, two Whinchats, Black Redstart and a Skylark grounded on the Desert, while hundreds of hirundines, mostly House Martins, crowded onto the power lines twittering away merrily. Around the willow swamp at least ten each of Chiffchaff and Blackcap, plus several Reed Warblers, Common and Lesser Whitethroats, a Kingfisher and a brief glimpse of a Water Rail on the bare mud now showing around the margins. A Golden Plover flew over calling forlornly, two Marsh Harriers quartered the back fields and a steady flow of Sandwich Terns came off the bay. On south lake a flock of 30 Wigeons was noteworthy.

                               A parched Desert

                                Hirundines preparing to head off south

   Considering how humid it was last night the only downer was the lack of moths in the garden trap with a paltry 15 species of macros present, including Square-spot Rustic, Lunar Underwing new for the year, plus Chinese Character and Snout.

                                        Lunar Underwing

ARC - 1130hrs - There was plenty of interest on offer from Hanson hide with a large flock of Golden Plovers and Lapwings on the stony islands. Within the throng were 10 Barwits, six Blackwits, six Snipe, two Grey Plovers, Knot, Ruff and Greenshank, several Pintails and a Garganey. Also present, a Great White Egret, two Marsh Harriers and a Kingfisher, plus hundreds of hirundines on the move. More common passage warblers were in the bushes around the car park and along the willow trail.

                                Godwits and Greenshank

                                Juvenile Knot

                                Grey Plover and Lapwing

Greatstone Beach - 1400hrs - On a falling tide the sands was packed with gulls, terns and eight species of shorebirds. I didn't have too long but a count of 120 Barwits was notable along with 250 Sandwich Terns and a Black Tern.
  Another superb day of migrants across the Dungeness NNR.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Back in the birds

Dungeness - 0730hrs - warm, dry, sunny, s3 - After the birding wastelands of Norway it was good to get back amongst the birds on home turf. Opposite Jarman`s five Wheatears, two Black Redstarts, two Mipits and two Yellow Wagtails were the best of the grounded migrants, along with several more Black Reds on the power station fence, two Robins and a Grey Wagtail, plus a Chiffchaff in the lighthouse garden. Down at the Patch the expected common gulls, plus 20 Sandwich and 10 Common Terns.

                                Wheatear and Black Redstart

RSPB - 1000hrs - Along the willow trail a few Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap noted amongst a tit flock. From Hanson hide a group of ten shorebirds included several Barwits, Knots and Dunlins and two Turnstones, plus a single Blackwit and two Snipe nearby. On the islands all the usual eclipse ducks including a Garganey.

                                First Goldeneye of the autumn

  A guided walk around the circular route was notable for a decent clutch of waders on Burrowes with Lapwings, Common Sandpipers, Dunlins, Ringed Plovers, two Little Stints, a Curlew Sandpiper and a Ruff. Also present, a Great White Egret, 20 Wigeons and, just to remind us that winter isn't too far away, our first two Goldeneyes of the season. Elsewhere around the circuit a steady overhead passage of Swallows was underway, along with a trickle of Mipits, Yellow Wagtails and Sand Martins, plus Chiffchaffs and Common Whitethroat in the bushes. Several Marsh Harriers showed well along with Kestrel, Buzzard, four more Great White Egrets, two Egyptian Geese, Dabchicks, `pinging` Bearded Tits and a Cormorant having trouble swallowing an enormous eel. Probably the most unusual sighting of the morning though was a cracking close adult Bar-tailed Godwit on the edge of the Dipping pond, where we also had good views of a grass snake. On the drive out the long-staying Cattle Egret showed briefly in the Boulderwall fields near the cows, while five Buzzards thermalled above the water tower in the hot sunshine.

                                Adult Bar-tailed Godwit

Tuesday, 13 September 2016


North Sea - We`ve just returned from a trip to Norway aboard the MV Balmoral and whilst not specifically a birding trip, as always, there were one or two bits and pieces of interest along the way. The ship sailed from Dover and the first day out in the North Sea amongst the gas and oil rigs proved to be the most productive with Gannets, Guillemots, Kittiwakes and Fulmars regularly noted, plus two Puffins, two Sooty Shearwaters and a Bonxie. 

                                Gannet - the most numerous seabird

                                Kestrels aboard the MV Balmoral

  However, much of the birding interest that first day was provided by a `flock` of raptors that accompanied the ship comprising five Kestrels and two Sparrowhawks. At times they followed in the ships wake like a flock of petrels, occasionally swooping down just above the waves to pick off insects, presumably blown off the superstructure; on one occasion I noticed a butterfly being taken.  
  But during the afternoon we were visited by a small fall of passerines (several each of Willow Warbler, White Wagtail, Siskin and singles of Grey Wagtail and Wheatear) after which the raptors moved aboard and created havoc chasing their prey about the deck fixtures and fittings and in between the sun-bathing guests! I saw a Kestrel kill and eat a White Wagtail and a Willow Warbler, and once the passerines were finished a female Sparrowhawk was reported to have killed and ate a Kestrel.
  Day two at sea was deadly dull apart from a few of the aforementioned common seabirds.

                               White Wagtail - the most numerous passerine ashore

Norwegian Fjords - We then spent five days in and out of the fjords stopping off at various places and going ashore to marvel at spectacular snow-capped mountains, alpine plateaus and meadows, waterfalls, rivers and glaciers. All very nice, but mostly birdless with a few Siskins,White Wagtails and Hooded Crows the only obvious species along the valley bottoms. The only summer migrants seen were a handful of Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Swallows. At two locations Dippers of the dark-bellied race showed well in river rapids and Crested Tits were present amongst tit flocks.
  The mountain lakes were devoid of birds, although a few Eiders, Common Scoters and Red-breasted Mergansers were noted at the seaward end of the fjords, plus Dunlins, Golden Plovers and Whimbrel. Most of the gulls were Common, Lesser and Great Black-backed and the largest concentration of Hooded Crows was around the harbour in Bergen; where much to Mrs PT`s delight (a life long Man City fan) we managed to watch the Manchester derby in a sports bar, surrounded by shirt-wearing Norwegian Man Utd fans, a surreal experience indeed!

                                Briksdal Glacier

                                Dark-bellied Dipper, Oldendalen River

                               Hooded Crow, Bergen harbour

North Sea - The return sea crossing to Dover was largely uneventful except for the surprise appearance of a spanking adult Sabines Gull that crossed the stern and proved some compensation for six hours of seawatching. The only other noteworthy, on the final morning approaching Dover, was what I initially thought to be a petrel following the ship that eventually morphed into a small bat!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Red-necked Phalarope

ARC - 0630 - 0900hrs - sunny, light airs - Yesterday evenings juvenile Red-necked Phalarope was still present this morning viewable from the causeway road. `Spinning` like a good `un on the mirror calm lake it motored about a fair bit feeding in open water, at times amongst the diving ducks. Last autumns bird was a week earlier, but better late than never and always a real treat to see any species of phalarope.

                               Red-necked Phalarope, ARC

  First thing the lake was smothered in thousands of Sand Martins. Numbers were difficult to establish as birds kept coming and going, but there must`ve been 5,000 plus at times, so quite a spectacle. From Hanson hide three Little Stints and six Common Sandpipers were the pick of the waders, plus two Garganeys, a Kingfisher and several Great Crested Newts crawling across the path in the heavy dew.
  Around the car park scrub a few Common and Lesser Whitethroats, two Blackcaps, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Reed Buntings, Wrens, Blackbirds, Dunnocks and an increase in Robins. Down to the pines more of the same, plus several Willow Warblers, two Sedge Warblers, a Garden Warbler, Green Woodpecker and two Wheatears by the water tower.
  We then wandered over the road and joined a couple of locals scanning the fields at Boulderwall where the Cattle Egret showed intermittently near the cows. The near reedbed attracted several Reed Warblers in the sunshine and a `pinging` Bearded Tit. Several hundred Greylags flew over and a couple of birders reported three Wood Sandpipers on Hayfield 3.
Dungeness - 1500-1630hrs - A seawatch from the fishing boats this afternoon was notable for the number of terns feeding/moving offshore, including 500 Sandwich, 100 Common and 20 Black Terns, 20 Gannets and two dark phase Arctic Skuas. As usual there was much lively banter from the local seawatchers,
  This is the last post for a while as we`re off to Norway for a short break.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Wall Brown

Lade - 0700hrs - mild, cloudy, sw 3 - Another poor catch in the garden moth trap yielded just 15 species of macros. With a blustery wind the prospect did not look good on the local patch and so it proved with the only grounded migrants being two Wheatears. However, 20 Yellow and a Grey Wagtail went over calling, while a steady procession of Sand Martins and Swallows pushed on south over the Desert towards Dungeness.

                                Great White Egret - now a common sight on the bird reserve

RSPB - Yesterdays Cattle Egret showed intermittently and distant around the cows in the Boulderwall fields alongside several Little Egrets and Grey Herons, plus passing Marsh Harriers and Common Buzzard. On Burrowes up to five each of Great White Egret and Common Sandpiper, plus several Dunlin, Little Ringed and Ringed Plovers and a Ruff.

                                Wall Brown - a scarce butterfly in these parts

  However, the undoubted highlight for me concerned my first sighting of a Wall Brown butterfly since I`ve lived here, basking in the sunshine atop a plant in front of Dennis`s hide. This once common butterfly has taken a bit of hit in recent times, so it was a pleasure to see, even if (a bit like me) it was past its prime.
  Over the road on ARC several each of Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed and Ringed Plovers, Little Stint, Garganey, Pintail and the usual eclipse ducks.
ps: Late news this evening concerned reports of a Red-necked Phalarope at the south end from the causeway road.  

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Chats and warblers

Lade - warm, dry, sunny, light airs - En-route to Mockmill at least 10 Wheatears and two Whinchats on the Desert. The sewer scrub was alive with birds including 20 each of Reed Bunting, Linnet and Common Whitethroat, plus a scattering of Lesser Whitethroats, Willow Warblers and two Sedge Warblers, while a pulse of Sand Martins and Swallows overhead attracted the attention of a Hobby.

                                Wheatear and Whinchat on the Desert at Lade

ARC - 1200hrs  - A decent selection of waders on the shingle ridges comprised mainly Golden Plovers and Lapwings, plus four each of Snipe, Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers, Little Stint and Dunlin.
  Whilst in Hanson hide I had an interesting natter with bird tour guide Malick Suso from the Gambia who was visiting Dungeness. He is a regular on the Gambian Experience stand at Bird Fair and is the guide used by Chris Packham on his birding holidays to this bird-rich west African country, details of which can be found on:
Dungeness - 1530-1630hrs - A seawatch from the fishing boats this afternoon was predictably quiet with just a trickle of feeding Sandwich and Common Terns offshore, a westbound Fulmar and a pulse of 30 Sand Martins striking out across the briny. Several Harbour Porpoises and a Grey Seal also noted.