16/09/21

A very light Sw and a warm sunny day. Another good day for Chiffchaff numbers, A single Willow ,1 Common Redstart, 2 Black red, 1 Tree pipit over East, a few Yellow Wags , 4 Whinchat, Reed bunting, 2 Wheatear and the highlight was 6 Tree sparrow, (2 over west at the lighthouse and 4 together dropped into bushes on lighthouse down 30 mins later)

Juv Tree Sparrows

A Green sandpiper (2nd of the autumn) flew over west y’day morning and was the only thing of note for me.

Green sandpiper

I am away with work for the next 12 days and following that I will be on St Agnes , Scilly for the following 3.5 weeks so no birding here till 26th Oct… Bit worried about what i’ll miss!

Rave on!

13/09/21

Light Easterlies, a clear blue sky first thing and a similar situation to yesterday although less birds. A lone Crossbill (my first since June) flew west over Foxhill down calling as did 2 Grey Wagtails and 3 Wheatears were present in the harbour field. The bushes in Langdon Hole were fairly empty beyond a few Lesser Whitethroat and Chiffies and today was my first day since early August not seeing a Whinchat. A lunch time skywatch produced 3 Golden Plovers, (2 landed in the ‘castle field’ and a single flew right over my head at Reach road.)

12/09/21

A Light WNW wind and a sunny start to the day, a noticeable increase in Chiffchaff with over 25 birds seen and only 1 Willow Warbler noted, A single Common Redstart, 6 juv Black Redstart, 3 Grey Wagtail, 4 Sparrowhawk, c100 Swallow and 25 House Martins West along with around 30 Meadow Pipits. 5 Whinchats were still around the farm and I counted 5 Wheatear and 15 Yellow wags across the patch. A call from Nigel J letting me know that a White stork was heading my way was appreciated although it seems the bird diverted west away from me. Later it seems the entire flock of Knepp birds decided to get up and fly around the Dungeness area, I was in place waiting for them to fly over but they never came.

Hobby

This smart adult Hobby was my bird of the day, It had 3 unsuccessful attempts at the goldfinch flock on Foxhill down before continuing East in the afternoon light.

Light Easterlies tomorrow…

11/09/21

Despite some switches in the wind over the past few days the numbers of migrants have fallen considerably on the headland, probably been abit too dry and clear at night. A notable clear out on the night of the 7th, the following day all that remained was a single Common Redstart and single Pied Flycatcher at the top of the Valley.

Pied Flycatcher

Having said this things like Chiffchaff have begun to grow in numbers, outnumbering Willows this am. Grey Wagtails have been notable migrants most days this month, as have Sparrowhawks and Ive also had a singles and a group of 3 Snipe fly east yesterday.

Juv Sparrowhawk

Occasionally a group of House martins or Swallows will go through and this morning there were 2 Hobbys hunting near fan bay, the only other thing of note for me were 2 Willow warblers, 10 Yellow wagtail west and 4 Whinchat. Mark ringed a Grasshopper warbler on the farm. Lesser and Common Whitethroats are still the most numerous warblers I think.

Common Whitethroat

06/09/21

Warm, light Easterly wind and bright sunshine today. A similar set of birds to the past week including 3 Common Redstart, 3 Black Redstart, 5 Willow, Single Reed and Sedge, Still good numbers of both Whitethroats, 30+ Yellow Wagtails, 6 Whinchats. Both Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, a Tree pipit on the deck was entertaining in the grass and bushes around the ‘pony Corrall’ at Langdon. Still no Wryneck!

Tree Pipit
Pied Fly

From about 11.30 onwards I could see large numbers of small gulls feeding over the Western end of the patch,On approaching I noticed they were mainly Mediterranean Gulls , with some Black Headed too and perhaps 600-800 in number at times, all feeding on flying red ants. Quite the spectacle. The harbour was also rammed with Med gulls this evening as we went for our swim.

Ad Med Gull
1CY Med Gull

05/09/21 Honey Buzzard

High pressure and a cloudless sky produced many Honey Buzzard sightings across the South East today, 11.50 am and minutes after receiving a text from Laurence P at Beachy Head declaring his finding of a nice male, I too was looking at a HB cruising East over the Castle, continuing over the Radar Station and lost to sight . My third of the year.

Female HB

Simon P tweeted a HB flying North over the Lighthouse 10 mins before my sighting 4km to the west, likely the same bird i guess.

ad f Pied Fly

I visited the headland 3 times today, early am, mid morning and early evening and counted 3 Common Redstart, 4 Willows, A single Pied Fly, plus 2 Hobbys and a few Swift among c300 Swallows East. A Green sandpiper (patch tick!)flew over calling first thing and there are many Yellow wags in with the cattle still.Glad to have the sun back.

m Redstart

04/09/21

The wind remains fairly strong and from the North east. Unbelievably there have been 5 Wrynecks (or up to 5 different birds) between South foreland valley and Langdon hole in the past week, none of which have I found or seen even!

Nevertheless, Ive been seeing migrants out and about each morning with fairly stable numbers although this morning seemed abit birdier with the first bird I put my bins on being a juv Black Redstart on the cliff above my house as I walked up.

Pied Flys

Today’s totals for me – Up to 4 Pied Flycatchers between Langdon and the valley, (2 at each end), Spot fly, Grasshopper Warbler (my first and only of the autumn!), 2 Tree Pipit East, 6 Yellow Wag, 4 Common Redstart, 2 Black Red, 5 Whinchat, 4 Wheatear, only 3 Willow warblers, many lesser and c’mon whitethroat, Grey Partridge, 1cy YLG east.

Grasshopper warbler

The above Gropper was flushed from grass on the farm today and waited patiently while I watched it. as I moved away it went back to the same spot, nice birds and not often I get to look at them.

Steve C & Julian R were out and about and could add Firecrest and Garden Warbler to the tally, as was Colin J who had Pied and spot flycatchers at Top wood.

I spent a couple hours skywatching y’day and had Hobby and 2 Swift plus Local Buzzards but nothing else. Waiting for the promising weather of next week before it goes SW…

26/08/21

The past 4 days have been fairly similar to one another, with the exception of the 23rd where some strong NE winds heeded some wader movement it seems – Greenshank, Ringed plover, Dunlin and Golden Plover were all heard and or seen flying over the headland.

Whinchat
Spotted Fly

Since then too an arrival of Whinchats has been noted, A single Spotted Flycatcher has been in a similar place near the radar station for a couple of visits, One or two Wheatears around, the juvenile Black Redstart party of 8 has been frequenting the lower cliff path at Langdon, Im bumping into 2/3 Common Redstarts (including the below bird just near my house) most visits Yellow wagtails are moving in all directions in small groups and Willow Warbler numbers seem pretty high; 15 – 20 ish.

juv Black Redstart
Common Redstart
Yellow Wagtail

Today I joined Rich B around lunch time, on my way up the cliff path I had a Cuckoo fly west, heading into cover near the castle.

Cuckoo west

Rich had seen a Pied Flycatcher, Tree pipit 6 Whinchats et al and we bumped into two Pied Flys during our walk together, likely the same plus another.

Pied Flycatcher

A Wryneck was seen in Fan bay on the 25th, I regretfully chose the farm over fan bay that morning!

Good numbers of common and lesser Whitethroats, singles of Reed, sedge and Garden warblers also noted.

22/08/21 Melodious Warbler

Last night LP and I drove up to Bempton cliffs RSPB, slept in the car park and were watching the Black-Browed Albatross after an hour or so of fog first thing. It was incredible, a once in a lifetime experience seeing it fly about the cliffs and we both throughly enjoyed it.

Black-Browed Albatross

Whilst we were swooning over it gracefully gliding back and forth Rich Bonser was on the patch bush bashing and turned up a showy Melodious warbler!Just beneath the radar station.

Melodious warbler (photo Rich B)

It seems to have pleased the crowds and a good few people saw it, unfortunately I was a little late returning from Yorkshire and got caught in a rain shower whilst looking for it so gave up. The place was crawling with birds though, the best of which were 2 Pied flycatcher, a Spotted flycatcher and good numbers of common warblers.

Pied Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher

In the days preceding Ive had smaller numbers of Willow wabrlers and the same 2 Common Redstarts up on foxhill down, 2 Wheatear and up to 8 Black Redstart (all juvs)

Common Redstart
Willow Warbler

Well done Rich, hopefully ill catch up with the Melodious tomorrow.

19/08/21 Juvenile Caspian Gull

The South westerly airflow continues and passerine migration seems pretty slow. 6 Willow, a Garden warbler and increasing numbers of juv Black Redstart (7ish) where all to remark at in the bushes up top first thing.

Garden Warbler

Numbers of Gulls have been moving westward along the cliff tops, some in long lines others in small groups but pretty consistently throughout the mornings. Today the noticeable number of Lesser black backs were punctuated by a large male juvenile Caspian Gull and 2 juv Yellow legged gulls.

1cy Caspian Gull

1cy Caspian Gull

Ive been hoping to see Caspian Gull in this scenario this month so there’s a target hit! The first calendar year YLG below is beginning to get that tawny look many do mid august, lots of scapulars replaced.

1cy Yellow-legged Gull
Looking east from the undercliff Langdon hole.

As I type this a Great green bush cricket can be heard stridulating from my garden!