Friday, 16 October 2020

Pallas`s Warbler

 Lade - cool, cloudy, ne 2 - Plenty of common passage migrants about the local patch this morning with Goldfinches seemingly everywhere, including 20 or so around the garden bird feeders, plus two Swallows over the lake, Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests and Stonechats in the bushes and a trickle of Skylarks, Siskins and Redpolls over calling. Later in the day a flock of 150 Brent Geese flew over the cottage, while two juvenile Brents were busily cropping the grass playing field at Littlestone Green earlier, completely oblivious to nearby dog-walkers.

                                  Brent Geese, Littlestone Green

  A circuit of the bird reserve yielded plenty more finches, Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests and a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the car park scrub, two Glossy Ibis and Great White Egrets at Cook`s Pool, Grey Plover, Dunlin and Redshank on Burrowes and a Ring Ouzel from the access road by the bee hives. As I was leaving site news came through of a Pallas`s Warbler in the nets at the Obs, the first such eastern sprite of the autumn.

                                  Common or Mealy Redpoll
                                  Pallas`s Warbler

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Red-flanked Bluetail

 Wed - cool, cloudy, n3 - A check of the local patch at Lade revealed very little apart from a few tardy Swallows on their way south, plus incoming Goldfinches, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and a Grey Wagtail. A scattering of Chiffchaffs were in the bushes by the ponds with Goldcrests calling from the pine trees around the caravan park.

                                 Red-flanked Bluetail, Dungeness

  News from Dungeness commenced in the morning with the location of a treecreeper found by Stephen Message that was eventually confirmed as a Short-toed Treecreeper and showed on and off throughout the day in the old lighthouse garden, and was the fourth this year here following three in spring. However, that was soon eclipsed when in the afternoon Sam Perfect found the bird of the autumn so far in the gorse scrub by the Polish war memorial, a stunning Red-flanked Bluetail which was much appreciated by local and visiting birders alike. The last one was ten years ago along Dengemarsh Road. Check the DBO website and Ploddingbirder blog for photographs.

Monday, 12 October 2020

Red-backed Shrike

Sunday - cool, sunny, nw 2 - A belated post for yesterday in company with CP saw us pay homage to a most confiding juvenile Red-backed Shrike at the car park end of Littlestone golf links, found by SG late on Saturday. The shrike was actively feeding on insects beside the road and from the garden wall and fence of a nearby house, oblivious to the many dog-walkers out enjoying the autumn sunshine and a couple of worried Stonechats that cautiously mobbed it! As is often the case when an influx of birders move into an area to twitch a rare bird others are sometimes found, in this case two Lapland Buntings during the afternoon.

                                  Red-backed Shrike, Littlestone

  We then moved onto Walland Marsh and Scotney where it was apparent that a large scale movement of thrushes was underway comprising many hundreds of Redwings and lesser numbers of Fieldfares and Song Thrushes, as confirmed by other sightings across the Marsh. The usual large flocks of feral geese were on the front sward along with Lapwings, Golden Plovers and Redshanks, Meadow Pipits and Linnets. Outback there was more of same, including winter thrushes, plus several Marsh Harriers, Buzzards and Kestrels, Little Egrets, Shelducks, Wigeon, five Ruff and a Dunlin.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Long-eared Owl

 Lade - fine, dry and sunny, W2 - Its not unusual down here to wake up to the chatter of Magpies in the fir trees opposite the cottage. However, their cacophony level this morning was off the scale with eight birds being joined by a couple of crows ensuring a right old racket and suggesting to me that `something was up`.  Eventually I got myself together for our daily circuit of the local patch and investigated. One Magpie, bolder than the rest, was in the vanguard lunging at a `brown blob` in the canopy which turned out to be an owl; and not any old owl but a superb Long-eared Owl that for a brief moment showed its erect ear tufts and bright orange irids before flying silently off towards the south with the mob in pursuit. This is only the second Long-eared Owl I`ve seen hereabouts, also in October and similarly located due to being mobbed by corvids in a fir tree.

  Elsewhere on the local patch: two Wheatears and six Stonechats on the desert, two Swallows and a Black-necked Grebe on south lake, while the scrub by the ponds was jumping with up 30 Chiffchaffs snapping up insects in the sun trap. A few Goldfinches, Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Siskins, Redpolls, Skylarks and a Grey Wagtail passed overhead. Also seen today locally: two Pink-footed Geese at Scotney, four Cattle Egrets and a Glossy Ibis at Boulderwall, Dartford Warbler at Dungeness and a Red-backed Shrike at Littlestone Golf Links.


Monday, 5 October 2020

Ring Ouzel

 Lade - cool, cloudy, w 2 - A pretty decent couple of hours on the local patch with the highlight being our first Ring Ouzel of autumn inadvertently flushed from the scrubby hollow by the cattery, which then flew high inland calling, towards the airfield. There was a supporting cast comprising several Wheatears and at least one Whinchat on the desert along with a number of Meadow Pipits and a late Yellow Wagtail (DS reported a Short-eared Owl earlier, while another was seen by CP at Littlestone golf links this morning). The bushes around the ponds held a few Chiffchaffs, while a Black-necked Grebe was amongst the ducks, grebes and Coots on south lake, plus 100 House Martins. Overhead passage was light but did include a few Goldfinch, Linnet, Chaffinch and Siskin, plus Skylark and Grey Wagtail.

  Of note over the weekend were two Lapland Buntings south along the beach and two Little Terns on the sands amongst the Sandwich Terns being harassed by a light phase Arctic Skua. 

Friday, 2 October 2020

Weekly roundup

 Lade - wet and mild, e 5 - On the local patch this week there has been a noticeable increase in finches passing overhead early morning, particularly Goldfinches and Siskins and even a few Redpolls. Grey Wagtails and Meadow Pipits have also been noted in good numbers. At low tide the bay continued to attract up to 100 Sandwich Terns and small flocks of Wigeon and Shelducks amongst the usual waders. On Thursday a White Stork dropped in behind the `mirrors`. Elsewhere this week an American Golden Plover was briefly located within the Golden Plover flock on ARC, while several Cattle Egrets and two Glossy Ibises graced the fields at Boulderwall. Flyover Lapland Buntings were reported in the week and a Yellow-browed Warbler proved elusive in the trapping area today. With wet and windy weather from the south forecast for the weekend, seawatching may prove worthwhile.

Monday, 28 September 2020

Slim pickings

 Dungeness - cool, cloudy morning, nw 3, warm and sunny afternoon - A day in the field with Andrew and Andrea commenced with a seawatch from the hide where at least three Arctic Skuas were operating offshore against the Sandwich Terns, plus Common Scoter, Kittiwake and a few passing Gannets. Two Black Redstarts showed well by the Patch hide, while 10 House Martins hawked for insects in the lee of B Station. Plenty of Chiffchaffs were in the bushes around the moat, plus Stonechats, two Wheatears and a Song Thrush. At the Obs staff were busily ringing Meadow Pipits, and a male Peregrine sat atop one of the pylons. Moving onto Lade where the usual wildfowl and grebes were complemented by a small flock of roosting Bar-tailed Godwits and Knots. On the bay from the Tavern viewpoint hundreds of Oystercatchers, Curlews, Bar-tailed Godwits, Black-headed and Common Gulls on the sands, plus four Grey Plovers, 10 Shelducks, Sanderlings, Dunlins, Ringed Plover and 50 Sandwich Terns.

                                 Grey Plovers and Redshank, Burrowes

  On the bird reserve the circular walk is now open seven days a week from 10am - 5pm and the shop open until 4pm. There was very little on Burrowes with two Grey Plovers and a Redshank the highlight amongst the usual wildfowl, gulls and Cormorants. The new track from the access road to the New Diggings viewpoint yielded a Marsh Harrier and Black-necked Grebe, while on ARC a flock of 150 Golden Plovers was the highlight. Also noted around the reserve plenty more Chiffchaffs, vocalising Water Rail, Cetti`s Warbler and Kingfisher, two Great White Egrets, eight Pintails, Garganey, several Kestrels, Green Woodpecker and a Clouded Yellow butterfly.