Thursday, 22 August 2019

Grebe fest

Lade - warm, dry, sunny, sw - 4 - The garden moth trap continues to be disappointing with few in both numbers and variety coming to light. Over the back the main event was a three figure count of Great Crested Grebes at 102 (including juvs) across all waters, plus 23 Little and one Black-necked Grebe as well as 365 Pochards. In contrast warbler numbers were disappointing by the ponds. Around the Willow Swamp, six Little Egrets and a Green Sandpiper.

                                Juvenile Great Crested Grebe

  Called in at Hanson hide mid-morning where five Greenshanks, two Wood Sandpipers, three Ruffs, Common and Green Sandpipers, Dunlin, Blackwit, Water Rail and six Garganeys the highlights. Elsewhere, a Pied Flycatcher was noted in a garden at Dungeness (DB).

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Junior birder

Dungeness - warm, dry and sunny, SW 2 - With lighter winds it felt much warmer today from the off following a cool night. This afternoon we road-tested a pair of Puffin bins that our nine year old grandson Albert had for his birthday. A two hour session from the hides overlooking ARC and Burrowes did the trick where we rattled up 52 species, the highlights being two cracking Spotted Redshanks from Hanson, plus Wood and Green Sandpipers, two Ruffs, two Snipes, three Garganeys, two Little Gulls, Sparrowhawk, Sandwich Tern and Great White Egret from Hanson and Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwit from Firth hide.

                                Spotted Redshanks

                         Junior birder armed with notebook (as it should be!) and new bins

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Garden Sparrowhawk

Lade - warm, dry and sunny, w 4 - The day started in fine style with the appearance of a juvenile Sparrowhawk (judging from the size and close barring on the breast a female) that landed atop the back garden bird table scattering the Sparrows and Starlings. It then sat for all of five minutes enjoying the warm sunshine in the lee of the leylandiis, but always alert and nervous, gazing around with those piercing yellow eyes looking for trouble. The good news was that it allowed our guests to enjoy close views of this stunning raptor, and for me to fire off a few pics.

                                Sparrowhawk atop the back garden bird table

  Also in the garden this morning five Willow Warblers, a Tree Pipit over (our first of the season), but very few moths in the trap. During the afternoon loads of Painted Ladies and Migrant Hawkers were active around the buddleias and pond.
  Out back plenty of warblers continue to filter through the ponds, mostly Willow Warblers, Common Whitethroats, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Blackcaps and at least two Lesser Whitethroats. A kettle of six Common Buzzards thermaled on high over towards the airport, while Kestrel, Marsh Harrier and Sparrowhawk all noted, plus a Grass Snake by the ponds.
                                Work got underway today on our leaky roof

 Called in the bird reserve around midday where more scrub bashing in front of Hanson hide has resulted in a clear view of the islands; well done to all concerned. Two each of Wood Sandpiper, Dunlin and Ruff soon flew back in along with Black-tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, three Garganeys, two Little Gulls and a Hobby over. On Burrowes, two Black Terns, two Greenshanks, Wood and Common Sandpipers and Dunlins the highlights.

                                Probable Honey Buzzard from Sunday over Springfield Bridge

 On Sunday mid-morning at Springfield Bridge three Buzzards came through in quick succession and headed out over the Ranges, with another laggard that I saw late and briefly, but did think at the time that it looked more like a Honey on shape alone. Anyhow, I managed to get a few poor record shots off with the bridge camera and going through the pics today confirmed what I thought originally, a probable Honey Buzzard - note the relatively long, rounded tail, protruding head, wing width equal to the tail length and lack of carpal bend. 

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Butterflies and waders

Lade - cool and cloudy, sw 3 - Saturday - Working around the garden yesterday butterflies seemed to be everywhere when the sun briefly broke through the cloud cover. Mostly it was Painted Ladies on the buddleia and basking on shingle, but also a number of Small Whites, Red Admirals and Holly Blues.
  An evening visit to the bay at low tide resulted in a decent number of waders feeding close to shore comprising at least 100 Dunlins, 20 Ringed Plovers and 15 Knots, most of the latter being  juveniles. There was no change to the wildfowl and grebe numbers on south lake.

                                Painted Ladies and Holly Blue

                               Dunlins and Knot, Lade bay

Sunday - We kicked off at Scotney first thing before the wind got going. On the front fields hundreds of gulls, ducks and feral geese comprised an impressive bulk of biomass along with Cormorants, several Grey Herons and Little Egrets. Closer inspection around the margins and on the wet fields revealed 10 Common and one Green Sandpiper, 10 Curlews, five Redshanks, five Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin, plus several grounded Yellow Wagtails and Wheatears. Outback more of the same, plus Common Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Little Owl, Corn Bunting, Linnet, Skylark, Mipit and Tree Sparrow.
  At Dengemarsh, from Springfield bridge, hundreds of Sand Martins swarmed over the wetlands while three Common Buzzards flew west and two Great White Egrets noted. On ARC from the two hides several Garganey, Wigeon, Wood and Common Sandpipers, Ruffs, Greenshank, Snipe, LRP and two Little Gulls amongst plenty of common wildfowl and Common Terns. Willow Warblers, Common and Lesser Whitethroats in the bushes down to the pines. On Burrowes more Common Sandpipers and Dunlins, the usual Common Terns, two Black Terns, Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard. An Osprey went through the reserve at around 1040hrs (ROR) and back towards Lade during the afternoon.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Weekly Summary

Lade - cool and cloudy, sw 4 - Another breezy morning with rain on the way. The garden moth trap had a reasonable catch of common species including several Jersey Tigers, Common Wainscots, Flounced Rustic and an Archers Dart.

                                Common Wainscot and Archers Dart

                                First Wheatear of autumn

                                Sparrows and Starlings are everywhere at the moment
  On south lake 54 Great Crested Grebes and 320 Pochards counted, plus plenty of Sand Martins and Swifts through. Warblers were few in number around the ponds although the first two Wheatears of autumn sat atop the broom scrub out on the shingle ridges.
  A visit to the bird reserve resulted in the usual birds on ARC from Hanson where some of the reeds have been cut back in front of the hide. Several each of Wood Sandpiper, LRP and Ruff present, plus 50 Lapwings, two Snipe, Redshank, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, five Garganey, two Wigeon and Little Gull. From the access road 30 Golden Plovers roosted on the shingle amongst a large flock of Lapwings and mixed gulls. Burrowes was smothered in more Sand Martins and Common Terns. From Firth hide, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper and a smart juvenile Knot with a peachy wash on the underparts.

                                Juvenile Knot from Firth hide

  Elsewhere this week, Great White and three Cattle Egrets have been noted around Dengemarsh, a few Arctic Skuas on the sea, Yellow-legged Gulls at the fishing boats and a steady trickle of waders through the bird reserve and Lade bay. Common migrants on the move include plenty of Sand Martins and Swifts over water, Willow Warblers and Lesser Whitethroats in scrub and Yellow Wagtails on open ground.

                                Juvenile Kittiwake, fishing boats

   A brief seawatch from the fishing boats this afternoon delivered a steady flow of fishing Sandwich and Common Terns, two Black Terns and Gannets further out. Seven Common Scoters rounded the point and a dark phase Arctic Skua parasitised the terns. Scores of gulls feeding on shellfish along the foreshore included several Yellow-legged Gulls and a Kittiwake,

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Warbler and tit flocks

Lade - cool, cloudy, rain at times, sw 3 - A weather front sweeping in off the Atlantic made for yet another wet morning. The main centre of attention on the local patch was a large mixed flock of tits and warblers in the shelter of the ponds. Comprising mainly Willow Warblers, but also several Common Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Sedge, Reed and Cetti`s Warblers, a couple of stunning Lesser Whitethroats and a Garden Warbler, a bird I rarely see here. The tits were mostly Blue and Long-tailed with one or two Great Tits. At least 10 Little Egrets were around the lakeside margins.

                                One of 10 Little Egrets around the Willow Swamp

                                Willow Warbler and Long-tailed Tit by the ponds

Dungeness - On Burrowes this morning a nice collection of Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers, Dunlins and Common Sandpipers amongst the usual Common Terns and Black-headed Gulls in front of Firth hide, where also another mixed warbler and tit flock akin to one earlier. Also two Black Terns over the lake along with hundreds of Sand Martins and a few Swifts in the rain.
  From Hanson hide Ruff, Little Ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper, two Little Gulls that came and went and all the usual wildfowl including at least two Garganeys.
  Other news concerned a superb Sabines` Gull off Dungeness (MC) this afternoon (whilst I was in Folkestone!).

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Odds and ends

Lade - cool, cloudy, w 2 - Not much change from yesterday with 34 and 19 Great Crested and Little Grebes respectively counted on south lake, plus three Little Egrets and a Common Sandpiper around the margins and a few Swifts and Sand Martins over the water.
  A Dungeness seawatch this morning produced a trickle of Gannets, Sandwich and Common Terns, Kittiwakes, Med Gulls, three Common Scoters and a Tufted Duck rounding the point. On the land a few Willow Warblers and Whitethroats in the bushes, plus Yellow Wagtails, Meadow Pipits, Wheatears and Stonechat in the open scrub.
  A visit to the bird reserve resulted in similar fare to last week at ARC and Burrowes; so Wood Sandpipers, Little Ringed Plovers, Greenshank, Ruff, Common Sandpiper, Great White Egret, Little Gull and Black Tern.
NB:  Please note that work is taking place this Thursday to cut back the vegetation in front of Hanson hide.