Thursday, 17 October 2019

Little Gulls

Lade - mild, showery, light airs - A decent catch of moths in the garden trap last night comprised nine species including a Delicate. On the local patch a trickle of birds overhead, mostly Goldfinches, Linnets, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks, plus Stonechat and Wheatear on the Desert. Also noted Sparrowhawk, Reed Bunting, five Chiffchaffs and 10 Swallows over south lake.

                                Wheatear, Lade

  An afternoon seawatch from the boats with the regulars was notable for a passage of at least 50 Little Gulls in a strengthening westerly wind. Also, hundreds of west bound Gannets and Sandwich Terns, several Arctic Skuas, 20 Razorbills, 22 Common Scoters, 10 Kittiwakes, 10 Mediterranean Gulls, three Mergansers, two Guillemots and two Snipe!

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Thousands of Swallows

Dungeness - mild, overcast, showery, S veering SSW 3 - 0800-0900hrs - An hour at the boats with the regular seawatchers was memorable for land birds as a massive movement of hirundines, predominantly Swallows was underway along with a few House Martins. Birds coasting and outward bound into the murk numbered 1,000 plus, while hundreds more were seen on the bird reserve and Lade today. Hundreds of Goldfinches were also noted across the peninsula.

                                Arctic Skua off the boats

  As for seabirds a steady passage of Gannets and Sandwich Terns streamed west, some close to shore, along with up to 10 Arctic Skuas, 20 Little Gulls, 10 Kittiwakes, 10 Common Scoters, 15 Razorbills, four Brents and two Mediterranean Gulls.

                               Red-throated Diver on Burrowes


                                Juvenile Grass Snake, Makepeace hide

                               Fungi on wood, car park

  A guided walk for RSPB this morning concentrated on viewing from Burrowes and ARC hides due to the rain. On Burrowes the long staying Red-throated Diver showed well, plus a distant Goldeneye, a Raven over, three Marsh Harriers, two Common Terns, two Dunlins, two Wheatears, a Black Redstart in the car park and all the usual wildfowl on the lake, while the three Cattle Egrets were on the Boulderwall fields. From Hanson hide a juvenile Little Stint was the highlight, a bird in short supply this autumn, plus a juvenile Little Gull, Garganey, Snipe, six Black-wits, two Dunlins and a Water Rail.
  A late afternoon check of Lade revealed Swallows still passing south, four Great White Egrets on the lagoon and 10 Chiffchaffs around the ponds feeding on myriads of small flying insects.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019


Lade - mild, overcast, sw 2 - 0730-0900hrs - Tried a viz mig session this morning from the aerial ramp where the standout bird was a Yellowhammer, only my third site record; infact, over the years I`ve had many more Lapland Buntings overhead.
  All birds were heading south as follows: Skylark 11, Mipit 78, Swallow 83, House Martin 8, Sand Martin 5, Grey Wagtail 2, alba wagtail 21, Song Thrush 5, Chaffinch 53, Greenfinch 8, Goldfinch 254, Siskin 6, Linnet 118, Yellowhammer 1, Reed Bunting 23.
  Around the ponds 10 Chiffchaffs, two Goldcrests and three Blackcaps the best of the migrants. Also noted across the site: three Great White and 12 Little Egrets, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Stonechat and Cetti`s Warbler.

                               Robin, Lade ponds

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Leach`s Petrel and shearwaters

Lade - mild and wet - Following two days of near continuous rain, this morning it temporarily abated allowing some semblance of normal birding weather conditions. However, it is mild and despite the wet stuff the garden moth trap has been packed full of moths; last nights catch comprised 12 species of macros including two Delicates, L-album Wainscot and Mallow.
  There was no change on the local patch with up to four Great White and 12 Little Egrets present. A few Swallows, House Martins and Chiffchaffs were the only migrants on offer today. On the bird reserve the three Cattle Egrets were still going between ARC and Boulderwall fields and the three Little Gulls were present on ARC yesterday.

                                Great White Egret, Lade

Dungeness ssw 3  - 0930-1200hrs - Joined SM, MH, JH and CT at the fishing boats for a tidy seawatch in overcast conditions with the wind veering around to just west of south. Westbound Gannets, Sandwich Terns and auks (mostly Razorbills what I could see) numbered around 100 each, plus four Brents, two Common Scoters, 10 Little Gulls, 10 Mediterranean Gulls, 10 Kittiwakes, 10 Dunlins, 15 Knots, two Little Egrets!, 10 Arctic Skuas, a Bonxie, two Manx Shearwaters, Balearic and Sooty Shearwater (1130hrs), Black-throated Diver and a Leach`s Petrel (1000hrs) that stayed in view for a full 10 minutes before it eventually rounded the point. Several pulses of Swallows went out and larger flocks of Starlings totalling 150 came in.
  An afternoon tour of the bird reserve dodging the rain showers resulted in two Cattle Egrets amongst the Boulderwall herd, Red-throated Diver and Common Tern on Burrowes and a Black-tailed Godwit and Garganey on ARC where the Eastern type Common Tern was reported earlier.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Blue Tits

Dungeness - mild, sunny, w 4 - Another quiet birding day across the peninsula with just a few Goldfinches, Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Chaffinches, alba wagtails, Skylarks and Swallows on the move. There seemed to be an influx of Blue Tits with flocks of 20 or more at several local sites today. An hour staring at the sea produced five Arctic Skuas, 10 Mediterranean Gulls and plenty of distant Sandwich Terns, Gannets and Kittiwakes.
  A late morning check of the front fields at Scotney delivered the usual mixed feral Barnacle Goose flock, plus 100 Lapwings, 10 Golden Plovers, three Curlews, Ruff, Yellow Wagtail and Wheatear.
From Hanson hide on ARC more Lapwings, Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit and three Little Gulls, while on Burrowes plenty more Golden Plovers, two Garganeys and a Red-throated Diver.
 This afternoon on the low tide a check of the bay from Littlestone produced seven species of waders including 15 Ringed Plovers. A Ring Ouzel was seen this morning in Mockmill, Lade (DS).

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Quiet days

Lade - mild, cloudy, w 3 - We flogged around the local patch for little return this morning under leaden skies with rain clouds out over the Channel. A few Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, 10 Reed Buntings, five Chiffchaffs and 100 hirundines over south lake was the sum total of migrant birds. Also noted Kingfisher, eight Little Egrets, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier, Cetti`s Warbler and 20 Mediterranean Gulls on north lake.
  An afternoon seawatch from the fishing boats with the regulars produced up to four Arctic Skuas, a trickle of Gannets, Sandwich Terns, Kittiwakes and Swallows out. Harbour Porpoise and Grey Seal also present.
  Called in at the Kerton Road cafĂ© on the way home where the scarce migrant White-speck moth was on show.


Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Ring Ouzels and GW Egrets

Dungeness - 0800hrs - mild, cloudy, sw 2 - We walked the point this morning from the lifeboat station along the foreshore to the Obs and across the Trapping Area, returning via the Desert. Despite decent weather conditions there were few birds on the move apart from a steady trickle of hirundines, a few Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, alba wagtails and Reed Buntings. On the deck, 100 Linnets, Stonechat, Blackbird, Song Thrush, several Robins and Chiffchaffs, while at the Obs staff were busily ringing Mipits caught in the crow trap. At the southern end of the Trapping Area at least seven Ring Ouzels put on a good show clacking away and rising up from the scrub, flying around a bit calling and landing again; also a Merlin over. Yesterdays Wryneck was also seen earlier (OL).

                               Linnets feeding on bugloss seed

                               Ring Ouzel, Trapping Area

  Called in at Littlestone at low tide to check the beach from where the highlights were 150 Knots, 15 Grey Plovers, 500 Oystercatchers and 150 Curlews. Hirundines continued to trickle south, plus a late Yellow Wagtail.

                               Great White Egrets, Lade

  At Lade four Great White Egrets was a record count (for me) around the Willow Swamp along with 11 Little Egrets, five Grey Herons and a host of Cormorants and grebes; obviously `word` had gotten around about some easy fishing... Also noted, Kingfisher, two Chiffchaffs and more hirundines south.