Archive for October, 2007

31st October 2007, Wednesday

Birds on the river II (& butterflies)

Around midday, a careful count from Monkbretton Bridge to Union Channel and Star Lock revealed 10 Little Egrets. The Common Sandpiper and Kingfisher were still present, plus 2 Grey Wagtails as well as the Pieds. Almost November but a Red Admiral by the railway and a Speckled Wood near Houghton Green Lane.

30th October 2007, Tuesday

News from RSPB Dungeness

A busy day on the reserve with plenty of highlights. A party of six whooper swans flew along the back of Burrowes pit late afternoon with yesterdays redhead goosander (an immature male) present in front of Firth hide. A drake mandarin was a surprise new arrival to Denge Marsh, showing in the far right hand corner of the lake, though there was no sign of yesterdays reported smew. A ringtail hen harrier flew behind Burrowes pit early morning, heading towards Denge Marsh, and a female merlin showed from Hide 1. Caspian gulls were again present on ARC, along with single goldeneye and knot and a minimum of 33 common snipe. A jack snipe was flushed from one of the ditches behind Hookers pits. Both common buzzard and short eared owl flew over ARC and a group of at least eight redpolls were showing well early morning feeding on the dead willowherb in front of the bench just past denge Marsh hide.        

30th October 2007, Tuesday

Porruginous Duck

No, not a new species, but a hybrid between Pochard and Ferruginous Ducks. This individual has been on the Long Pit for a few days (and was probably present last winter). It resembles a male Ferruginous Duck, but has pale flanks and a yellowish eye.

Hybrid Duck

29th October 2007, Monday

Birds on the river

Another very high tide today, and at its peak I was surprised to find a Common Sandpiper, a Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail all near the railway bridge over the River Rother. Later in the afternoon, another Kingfisher and a late Wheatear on the riverbank at Northpoint.

29th October 2007, Monday

News from RSPB Dungeness

The bittern was seen again in flight early morning, flying from the back of hookers pits and dissapearing out of sight behind the viewing ramp, droping down either in the corner of Denge Marsh or carrying on to the reeds around New Excavations. A redhead goosander was seen from Makepeace hide and an early smew (another redhead) was reported from Scott hide, the earliest to be recorded on the reserve by a week. In contrast, the garganey was still favouring the islands in front of Makepeace, with remenants of summer also including a wheatear near the dipping pond and a group of six swallows over Burrowes pit.  

29th October 2007, Monday


At the viewpoint this morning I was surprised to find a female Migrant Hawker ovipositing and another pair in tandem this late in the season, several Common Darter were also powered up by the autumn sunshine. Also of interest was a group of 40 Blackening Waxcap (Hygrocybe conica) found in the nearby grassland. Bird highlights included, 8 Bearded Tit (3 male) from the viewing platform, 3 Tree Sparrow, Green Sandpiper, Kingfisher and 15 Snipe from the main pit.

rxblackening wax cap d.JPG

29th October 2007, Monday

Mute swans on the Marsh

This evening I watched a small group of 40 mute swans leaving an oil seed rape field on which they were feeding and fly to the White Kemp Sewer to roost. This is just one of the many “herds” of swans attracted to the oilseed rape fields of the area. Although it was recorded on WeBS as occuring on the Marsh in nationally significant numbers in 2006 (see Barry Yates entry for 9 October 2007) this recording scheme greatly under-estimates the numbers of birds present in the area because the birds occur in numerous herds dispersed across the Marsh, often feeding on arable fields well away from WeBS recording areas. If they do return to roost on counted sites they turn up late at dusk, sometimes after dark. The presence of this species in nationally significant numbers (1% of the British population) is important because it is one of the qualifying features for the Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay Site of Special Scientific Interest, and would also qualify the area as a Ramsar site for this non-migratory species. Only the roost sites (gravel pits, flooded fields, and the wider ditches that drain the Marsh) are currently considered for these designations as the feeding areas vary dependent on the agricultural crops grown in individual fields.
Mute Swans

28th October 2007, Sunday

Snow Bunting at Pett Level

A Snow Bunting on the sea wall at Pett Level, opposite the pools this morning at 08.40. Bird present for at least its second day.
Neil Burt from SOS website

27th October 2007, Saturday

Dungeness Bird Observatory

A calm morning with heavy overcast and occasional drizzle resulted in an excellent movement of finches dominated by at least 3000 Goldfinches and with 50 Chaffinches, 15 Bramblings, 50 Siskins and 120 Redpolls as support. Single Marsh Harrier and Merlin, 23 Skylarks and 18 Swallows were also seen.  Grounded migrants were pretty scarce, yet again, but a Yellow-browed Warbler was seen briefly in the trapping area and other birds included nine Goldcrests and a "continental" Coal Tit.

David Walker from DBO website

27th October 2007, Saturday

Pannel Valley NR

Overnight there had been a reasonable influx of Goldcrest and Chiffchaff. The bushes also held two Firecrest and several Blackcap. The highlight of the morning was a flyover Lapland Bunting (listen here). A small movement of birds continued throughout the morning and was predominantly made up of Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Lesser Redpoll and Siskin. Late morning a flock of 55 House Martin appeared and fed on insects above a group of poplars, this flock included at least one Swallow.