Sunday, 27 April 2014

Fleeting Dunge visit

Waking at 5am, I decided to get up and head for Dungeness. I was undecided whether to seawatch first or look for the Black Winged Stilts reported yesterday, as they would be a Kent tick for me. In the end I made the wrong decision and parked in the ARC car park and walked onto the reserve heading for the hayfields. I did see my first CUCKOO of the year and there were SEDGE WARBLERS and COMMON WHITETHROATS everywhere. I added RAVEN, 4 MED GULLS and several BEARDED TITS but there were no Stilts and in fact no waders at all on the hayfields. Eventually I headed for the sea stopping off on the causeway between ARC and New Diggings, there were good numbers of Terns. Among them was 1 LITTLE TERN, 2 BLACK TERNS and at least 1 ARCTIC TERN with the rest being COMMON TERNS, a really nice stop, before heading off to the sea news came through that the Stilts were back on the hayfield! I met up with Neil, Jan and Paul and enjoyed good views of the BLACK WINGED STILTS (2) plus a WOOD SANDPIPER and LITTLE RINGED PLOVER. In hindsight I could have seawatched for a couple of hours before looking for the Stilts but it was good to be out and about, away from the local patch for a change. A couple of shots from today.....
Sedge Warbler

Common Whitethroat

Common Whitethroat

Black Winged Stilts

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Another catch-up

It is still a struggle to find new arrivals here at the moment but they are still coming, COMMON WHITETHROATS (75) are now up to 4 and there are now 2 NIGHTINGALES in residence. SWALLOW numbers are also up a bit and finally at the weekend a pair look like they will stay. The best recent bird was on an early weekday walk with Pete, when a LITTLE GREBE (76) was seen being chased by a MOORHEN, it disappeared quickly and I haven't seen it since but it's the first one since 2010.
There were mixed fortunes at the weekend, an early walk Saturday was very quiet and I struggled to get to around 30 species. Yesterday improved with a couple of walks the first new bird for the year was a fine male WHEATEAR (77) which stayed around most of the day and after waiting patiently I managed a couple of pics. There were 87 WOODPIGEON on the fields with good numbers of Corvids and a few STOCK DOVE. Further around the walk a LESSER WHITETHROAT (78) was quietly moving through a mature hedgerow. Several butterflies were on the wing ORANGE TIPS, SMALL TORTS, PEACOCK, SMALL WHITE and the first SPECKLED WOOD of the year.
Still no Cuckoo, Garden Warbler or House Martin but still plenty of time, also no dragonflies yet although at home a couple of Hairy Dragonflies flew through the garden.
A few pics from recent visits.....


This Little Egret dropped by briefly


Pleasing to find a spring Wheatear and for the light to be good

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The last couple of weeks

It has been hard work inland with nothing changing much, until the last couple of days here, what was pleasing was a singing WILLOW WARBLER (71) that has now been singing in the same spot for around 10 days, it would be great if it found a mate as Willow Warbler hasn't bred here for at least 5 years maybe more. Things changed on Friday 11th when the first NIGHTINGALE (72) sang from one of the favoured spots, soon after hearing it 2 SWALLOWS (73) flew north. The morning was completed by a GREEN SANDPIPER (74) from the hide, a great hour before work!
This morning there were 2 NIGHTINGALES, 2 WILLOW WARBLERS and 13 SWALLOWS flew north in three groups. Otherwise a REED BUNTING was at the lake, the first for some time also seen this morning and not seen for while was a fine male KESTREL, I was starting to think both these birds had deserted the patch as I hadn't seen either of them for almost 2 months! SPARROWHAWK was also good to see after not being seen for a while. Below are a few pics from he last couple of weeks.


Amorous Jays

Great Tit



This mornings Sparrowhawk