Wednesday, 24 May 2017

24th May 2017

Looks like it could be a raptor day. 12 Red Kites came in at Kingsdown, drifted over the school and headed out towards Bockhill just after 08.00. Shortly after they joined another group and there were approximately 25 over The Monument, although distant when watching from Kingsdown, that appeared to head out towards Dover.

The photo below was taken with my iPhone and shows 11 of the initial 12.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Monday, 22 May 2017

22nd May 2017

A Hornet flew around the house in Kingsdown this afternoon. No birds, but at least it's warm.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

21st May 2017

For a couple of hours Malcolm and I stood on the cliff-top and had nothing of note apart from a female Marsh Harrier in off the sea, 2 Shelduck upchannel and a steady trickle of Swallows SW.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

20th May 2017

Phil and I decided to get out at dawn and see if the birds would join us. We stood on the cliff top for five and a half hours in a light SW, which veered to WNW and strengthened. Jack joined us early in the morning. We were rewarded shortly after we started with a female Hen Harrier which came in at the Monument and headed off north. It's a less than annual species for us. Also passing through were a Hobby, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Marsh Harrier, 2 Yellow Wagtails and a Painted Lady. A couple of Bullfinches were in the area and out at sea there were 20 Common Scoters and 25 Gannets. Down in the Bay a Green Hairstreak briefly alighted.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

7 May 2017

From 09:00 to 10:30hrs Richard and I stood on the blockhouse and had 3 Eiders, 1 Shelduck, 21 Common Scoters, 16 Dunlins, 2 Turnstones, 7 Grey Plovers, 12 Whimbrels, 43 Bar-tailed Godwits and 4 Guillemots.
At 09:42 a single Pomarine Skua flew N followed by 2 more at 10:00.
Terns were moving most of the time and totalled 89 Commics and 7 Sandwich.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

6 May 2017

A one hour seawatch from 0615 in very poor visibility and NE winds produced 2 Shoveler, 1 Guillemot and 3 Sandwich Terns upchannel for Nigel, Jack and Phil. A long and chilly walk around the whole area also gave little reward with 1 Ring Ouzel, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Hobby and 4 leucorhoa Wheatears for our efforts.

5 May 2017

Richard and I did an hours seawatching before the lack of birds and the bitterly cold NE wind made us give up and retire to the café for coffee. There was a small movement upchannel of 17 Bar-tailed Godwits, 8 Whimbrel, 3 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling and 5 Turnstone. Apart from waders there was a Red-throated Diver, 6 Auk sp.(of which 2 were Razorbills) and 31 Gannets.

Monday, 1 May 2017

1 May 2017

Another seawatch this morning for Nigel, Jack and Phil in cold fresh SE winds. Visibility was good but the birds were poor. The best we could manage in 3 hours - 3 Pomarine Skuas at 0720 plus 4 Arctic Skuas, 3 Knot, 1 Black-th Diver, 111 Common Scoter and 2 Whimbrel moving upchannel.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

30 April 2017

With a fresh ESE wind predicted, we thought the birds might be few in number but perhaps close inshore. With this in mind, Nigel, Gerald, Jack, Phil and Richard gathered in St Margaret's Bay for our best seawatch of the spring. Between 0545 and 1130 we recorded 72 Pomarine Skuas (many very close, some with "spoons"), 12 Great Skuas, 17 Arctic Skuas, 1 Black-throated Diver, 2 Velvet Scoter, 6 Pintail, 260 Common Scoter, 22 Grey Plover, 13 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Dunlin, 5 Whimbrel, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 10 Med Gulls, plus Common and Sandwich Terns, Kittiwakes and Gannets all moving upchannel.

Pomarine Skuas (Nigel Jarman)

Saturday, 29 April 2017

29th April 2017

A change in the weather, warmer conditions with a light SSW wind, and Phil was out not long after dawn. Early highlights were a Hobby, a Common Swift, 2 Tree Pipits and 2 Ring Ouzels.

After spending seven hours in the field, with the wind increasing slightly, 65 warblers were recorded, mainly Whitethroats and, notable for us, a Garden Warbler. We also had two Whinchats and a Great Skua sitting on the rocks at Hope Point. Elsewhere were 31Wheatears which, we thought, at least 25 were of the Greenland race.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

23rd April 2017

It was a much quieter morning than yesterday. The highlight being a Turtle Dove seen by Gerald which could well be the first and last record of the year. With flat calm conditions in the Straits of Dover, we picked out a couple of Harbour Porpoises.

In the afternoon, supplemented by light SSE winds, Pomarine Skuas were being seen from various sites in West and East Sussex. When news came through from Dungeness, Jack, Nigel and I went down to St. Margaret's Bay to try and pick up a few. Visibility was was very good, the coast of France unobstructed. Approximately an hour and a half after passing Dungeness, our first 3 Pomarine Skuas came past. Over the next couple of hours we recorded 13. None of which were particularly close, just as well visibility was favourable, but the views were sufficient enough that we could pick out the 'spoon' like tail feathers on some birds and a couple of beautiful dark morphs as well. Also in The Bay we saw 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 5 Sandwich Terns, 7 Arctic/Common Terns and a Common Seal.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

22nd April 2017

Jack and Phil walked the entire area today and in a light northerly wind they recorded an impressive haul of 112 warblers. 26 Whitethroats, 15 Lesser Whitethroats, 24 Willow Warblers, 24 Chiffchaffs and 22 Blackcaps. In addition there were 10 Swallows, 2 House Martins, 6 Alba Wagtails (of which 2 were White Wagtails), 5 Whimbrels flying up channel and a Grey Plover.