September 2021

151 species so far this year

152 species by the same time last year

15th

Cloudy, cooler, moderate northerly wind. Ten Wigeon and 15 Teal flew west, there were 40+ Common Scoters offshore and a duck Eider flew east. Five Gannets flew east, four Grey Herons flew west, and another two flew north, five Arctic Skuas and six Black Terns flew west, a Guillemot flew west and a Razorbill flew east. Waders included 41 Ringed Plovers and 56 Turnstones on the beach and eight Bar-tailed Godwits flew west. There were 21 Pied Wagtails on the football pitch and a single Grey Wagtail was noted.

Grey Herons – Geoff Burton

14th

Cloudy with a light easterly wind. Waders included a Little Stint which dropped onto the shoreline by the Obs at 10 am and four Bar-tailed Godwits. An adult pale phase Arctic Skua was close inshore and two Arctic Terns were also seen.

13th

Light cloud, light NE wind. There were six Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool. Waders included 40 Oystercatchers east, 30 Sanderlings on the beach and two Spotted Redshanks flying high west over the sea. Other birds noted included Hobby, two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, one Sand Martin east, six Meadow Pipits, two Grey Wagtails, 26 Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, two Lesser Whitethroats and two Common Whitethroats in the scrub, a Willow Warbler, two Jays, a Greenfinch on the football pitch with the wagtails and a Reed Bunting.

Common Whitethroat – Geoff Burton

11th

Cloudy, cooler, light SW wind. The adult breeding plumage Little Grebe was in the brook below the sluice, a Great Crested Grebe was offshore and 27 Little Egrets were present early morning. Waders included 24 Oystercatchers and single Knot, Sanderling and Dunlin on the beach. Hirundines included two Sand Martins and a House Martin west and there were 12 Pied Wagtails on the football pitch. A Wheatear was on the beach and a Willow Warbler, amongst others, was along the east bank.

Adult Herring, Common and Black-headed Gulls – Geoff Burton

10th

A flock of 12 Knot flew east.

9th

Sunny, warm and humid, light SW wind. The breeding plumage Little Grebe (first seen on 24th August) was present again along the middle brook and a Great Crested Grebe was close inshore. An immature Gannet was offshore and 17 Little Egrets and a Grey Heron were seen. One Shelduck flew west and waders included a Sanderling, six Dunlin and three Common Sandpipers on the beach whilst a group of five Redshanks landed on the tidal ponds. A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew east over he shingle ridge, settled momentarily by the bluethroat bush before continuing east over the caravan park. Another was heard calling in the sewage works. Other birds included three Swallows west, four Yellow Wagtails, a Whinchat in the bushes opposite the Obs and a Lesser Whitethroat in the scrub.

A Wasp Spider was at the Obs.

8th

Sunny, very warm with a light easterly wind. 16 Little Egrets flew west early morning and there were another seven on the Marsh Pool. Waders included 78 Ringed Plovers and three Dunlin on the beach. A Spotted Flycatcher in the Elm Wood was the first of the Autumn. Other birds noted included one Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Yellow Wagtail west, a Whinchat in the scrub and a Willow Warbler in the Elm Wood.

Butterflies noted were Small and Green-veined Whites, Small Heath, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral.

Spotted Flycatcher – Geoff Burton

7th

A Grasshopper Warbler and a Sedge Warbler in the scrub were both additions to the year list. Five Wheatears were also seen.

6th

Sunny, warmer, light easterly wind. There were three Little Egrets and three Grey Herons on the beach. A Wigeon and four Teal flew west and a Pochard flew south. Waders included 14 Oystercatchers on the beach and single Dunlin and Greenshank. 27 Sandwich Terns flew east. Other birds included a Little Grebe, a Kingfisher, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Wheatear and a Willow Warbler.

Butterflies noted were Small and Green-veined White, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral and Shrill Carder Bee, Common Darter and Migrant Hawker were also seen.

Wheatear – Geoff Burton

5th

Waders included single Snipe, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank and Green Sandpiper. Other birds included two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, two Wheatears, a Lesser Whitethroat in the scrub and Jay by the sewage works entrance.

4th

Cloudy, cool, moderate NE wind. Four Teal flew west and two Common Scoters flew east. A juvenile Little Ringed Plover was in the remnant brook. Our second of the year and in the same location. Other waders included a Snipe in flight over the shingle ridge and a Redshank. The breeding plumage Little Grebe was again in the middle brook. Other birds included a Kingfisher, two Grey Wagtails in flight by the Obs, two Whinchats in the scrub and a Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and six Long-tailed Tits along the east bank.

Little Ringed Plover – Geoff Burton

3rd

Two Little Stints were on the beach early morning before flying off west. An addition to the year list and the first here since 2018. The Whinchat was also present.

2nd

Cloudy, cool, moderate to fresh northerly wind. Five Common Scoters flew east, an Arctic Skua was chasing terns offshore, a juvenile Arctic Tern flew east, a Black Tern flew west and a Guillemot flew east close inshore. The Little Grebe was along the middle brook. There were 12 Dunlin on the beach. Three Stock Doves flew south from the beach, a Kingfisher was noted, four Grey Wagtails dropped into the brook by the sluice and eight Pied Wagtails were on the football pitch. A Whinchat was in the grassland.

1st

Cloudy, cool with a moderate northerly wind. Two Fulmars flew west, six Gannets were noted offshore and a Teal was seen in flight around the brook. Waders included six Black-tailed Godwits, a Green Sandpiper heard, 28 Ringed Plovers and three Dunlin on the beach and 72 Turnstones roosting between the groynes. Single Arctic Skuas flew west and east, a Great Skua and a Black Tern flew west. Other birds included single Whinchat and Wheatear. A pale winter-plumage Starling was in a flock amongst the “pigloos”.

Starlings – Geoff Burton

August 2021

148 species so far this year

147 species by the same time last year

A total of 97 species for the month compared with an average 89.8 species over the previous ten-year period. Seven species were knew for the year. However, a combination of predominantly SW winds in the first half of the month and light to moderate northerly winds towards the end did not produce much in the way of surprises. A Great White Egret on 5th was only our third record, a flock of 40 Sanderlings on 14th was exceptionally early for such numbers and a juvenile Little Ringed Plover on 23rd-24th was the first since 2019. There was a reasonable passage of skuas towards the end of the month, predominantly Arctics, but perhaps too early, and the winds too light, to produce much variety.

31st

Cloudy, cool with a fresh northerly wind. Five Gannets, a Shelduck in the company of three Oystercatchers, three Wigeon and eight Teal flew west. There were about 50 Common Scoters moving to and fro offshore. Waders included a Dunlin on the beach, a juvenile male Ruff flying west close inshore at 7.20 am, one Curlew east, a Redshank on the Marsh Pool, two Green Sandpipers circling the area before flying off west and four Common Sandpipers west with another on the Marsh Pool. Seven Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua, five Common Terns and our first Arctic Tern of the year, a juvenile, also flew west. Other birds included a Kingfisher in the brook by the sewage works entrance, three Yellow Wagtails on the beach, a Whinchat in the grassland, a juvenile Song Thrush along the east bank and a Lesser Whitethroat in the scrub. One of out better days this autumn to finish off the month!

Song Thrush – Geoff Burton

30th

Cloudy, cool with a fresh NE wind. Two Gannets flew east, seven Wigeon, six Teal, seven Arctic Skuas, three Great Skuas and ten Common Terns flew west. Waders included c60 Oystercatchers east, nine Sanderlings and eight Dunlin on the beach, a Whimbrel west and a Snipe.

29th

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen by Andy Bowers.

28th

Cloudy with a fresh northerly wind. There were about 30 Gannets offshore, 71 Wigeon and two Pintail, and ten Arctic Skuas and three Great Skuas flew west. Waders included 24 Oystercatchers, 30 Sanderlings and nine Dunlin on the beach and two Bar-tailed Godwits which flew east. A Whinchat was in the scrub and a Willow Warbler along the east bank.

Butterflies noted included a Painted Lady.

27th

Cloudy, moderate northerly wind. Waders included eight Dunlin and 117 Turnstones on the beach. One Common Scoter flew east and two Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua flew west. Seven Sand Martins flew west, a juvenile Willow Warbler was along the east bank where a Song Thrush was the first seen for some time.

26th

Cloudy, cool with a fresh northerly wind. A Fulmar flew west, three Gannets and five Common Scoters flew east. Waders included 20 Oystercatchers and a Dunlin on the beach, four Sanderlings west and Whimbrel and Redshank were heard. The winds encouraged a movement of skuas with 13 Arctic Skuas and one Great Skua heading west. A Marsh Harrier was also noted.

25th

Cloudy, cool, moderate NE wind. An adult Great Crested Grebe was on the sea, a juvenile Shelduck on the beach, a Teal, and seven Common Scoters flew west. Waders included 46 Ringed Plovers and three Dunlin on the beach, a Bar-tailed Godwit flew east over the tidal ponds and a Common Sandpiper was on the Marsh Pool. Five Common Terns flew west. Other birds our first returning Kingfisher, a Wheatear and a Willow Warbler.

24th

An adult Little Grebe in breeding plumage along the lower brook was a surprisingly early bird whilst our first Whinchat of the autumn was rather late. The juvenile Little Ringed Plover appeared in the remnant brook again. Two Green Sandpiper were noted, two Arctic Skuas flew west and a Marsh Harrier and Hobby were also seen. A Reed Bunting was the first of the autumn.

Whinchat – Andy Taylor

23rd

Cloudy, fresh northerly wind. Flocks of eight and 14 Teal flew west, 30 Common Scoters flew west and 20 flew east. Waders included 13 Oystercatchers on the beach, a single Golden Plover which landed on the beach by the Obs, one Sanderling on the beach, four Dunlin west, singles of Whimbrel, Redshank, Greenshank and Common Sandpiper west but best of all a juvenile Little Ringed Plover in the remnant brook, our first for two years. The fresh northerly winds produced 27 Arctic Skuas, one Great Skua and 84 Common/Arctic Terns heading west and a single adult Kittiwake heading NW.

Little Ringed Plover – Geoff Burton

21st

Cloudy and calm. Six Teal flew west. Waders included 50+ Ringed Plovers, 31 Sanderlings, one Dunlin, two Greenshanks, a Green Sandpiper heard calling, a Common Sandpiper and 116 Turnstones. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew west and a juvenile was on the football pitch with Black-headed Gulls. Two Meadow Pipits were on the beach and seven Yellow Wagtails included five together between the groynes by the caravan park. A Wheatear was on the shingle ridge and a Willow Warbler was also noted.

20th

A single Sanderling was amongst the waders on the beach and a Great Skua which flew high westwards was our first of the year. A single Swift and a trickle of Swallows and Yellow Wagtails flew west. There were four Blackcaps and two Willow Warblers along the east bank.

19th

Cloudy with a light westerly wind. Four Gannets flew east, a Marsh Harrier, two Arctic Skuas and a juvenile Black Tern (new for the year) flew west. Waders included 55 Ringed Plovers, a juvenile Knot, two Dunlin, two Common Sandpipers and a 101 Turnstones on the beach and a Black-tailed Godwit flew west close inshore at 12.35 pm. A Swift, five Sand Martins, c10 Swallows and seven Yellow Wagtails flew west. There were two Wheatears on the shingle ridge and two juvenile Willow Warblers along the east bank.

18th

Cloudy, light SW wind, some rain. A good day for waders with 11 species recorded which included a breeding plumage adult Grey Plover west, three Ruff, a juvenile male and female west at 7.10 am and another juvenile male at 11.35 am west, a flock of eight Redshanks west, two Greenshanks, one west and one briefly on the beach, three Whimbrels and a Curlew west and two Common Sandpipers. Other birds included one Fulmar west, one Gannet west and three east, 17 Common Scoter and three Sandwich Terns west. Away from the water, there were two Wheatears on the shingle ridge and a juvenile Willow Warbler in the bluethroat bush.

A young Common Seal pup was on the beach between the groynes at the eastern end of the beach.

Greenshank – Andy Taylor
Common Seal – Andy Taylor

17th

Waders included a flock of 12 Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper. A Hobby flew west and three Wheatears included two on the beach and one flying west over the sea.

16th

Cloudy, cooler with a fresh NW wind. The highlight of the morning was a juvenile Pochard which flew west close inshore at 7.45 am and was an addition to the year list. A Fulmar, 13 Gannets and a drake Common Scoter flew west and there were three Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool. Waders included a single Sanderling on the beach, 17 Redshanks roosting on the Marsh Pool early morning, 56 Turnstones roosting between the groynes and single Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin. Late in the morning there was a flurry of activity along the east bank with a Whitethroat, four Blackcaps, three Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler noted and a surprisingly early Goldcrest.

14th

Sunny with a light SW wind. Waders included 33 Ringed Plovers, an exceptional for August 40 Sanderlings, two Redshanks and 105 Turnstones on the beach and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. Three Sandwich Terns flew east and a Sand Martin and a Yellow Wagtail flew west.

Butterfly of the day, and the year, was a Purple Hairstreak in the trees along the upper brook. Only the second record for the site and in the same area as the previous record in July 2016. There is a mature oak nearby!

Sanderlings – Geoff Burton

13th

There were two Whimbrel on the beach and a Wheatear on the shingle ridge. A few Sand Martins and Swallows passed through.

12th

Light cloud and a light SW wind. There were two Little Egrets on the beach and a Grey Heron was also seen. Waders noted included 14 Oystercatchers, eight on the beach, 30 Ringed Plovers, a Golden Plover, a Dunlin and 30 Turnstones on the beach and a Bar-tailed Godwit east. A Hobby flew over the estate, a Sandwich Tern was offshore and four Common Terns flew east. Mallard broods of five and two large ducklings were noted. A Yellow Wagtail flew west over the Obs and there were three Whitethroats in the scrub.

11th

A flock of 40+ Black-tailed Godwits flew west and a Willow Warbler was also noted.

10th

Sunny, light SW wind. Waders included 25 Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin on the beach and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew west and there were seven Sandwich Terns offshore. Five Swifts, three Sand Martins and two Swallows flew west as did a rather “unseasonal” Redpoll. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the churchyard.

A Dingy Footman moth was at the Obs and a Willow Emerald Damselfy was found in the scrub.

Willow Emerald Damselfly – Geoff Burton

9th

An adult Moorhen with two small chicks.

7th

A Shelduck flew west.

5th

Sunny, light SW wind. A Great White Egret flew west close inshore at 7 am. Our third record for the site after others in November 2011 and April 2018. Eight Teal flew west. Waders included a Green Sandpiper, which landed briefly on the shoreline before continuing west, 14 Whimbrel, including a flock of ten heading south inland, three Redshanks briefly on the shoreline and 11 Ringed Plovers on the beach. A Green Woodpecker was heard calling from the sewage works; only the second of the year after one in March. In the last few years, this species has become much scarcer.

Great White Egret – Andy Taylor
Green Sandpiper – Andy Taylor

4th

Sunny, light easterly wind. A juvenile Great Crested Grebe was close inshore. Waders included 21 Ringed Plovers, a Dunlin, two Curlews and six Common Sandpipers on the beach (a seventh was on the Marsh Pool where it has remained since July 28th). A migrant Reed Warbler and Willow Warbler were also noted.

A Shaded Broad-bar moth was also noted.

Great Crested Grebe – Geoff Burton

2nd

Sunny, light easterly wind. A Fulmar flew east over the beach and c10 Common Scoters also flew east. Waders included ten Sanderlings and 24 Turnstones on the beach, a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool and singles of Oystercatcher, Dunlin and Curlew. Other birds included two Swallows flying west, a Lesser Whitethroat along the east bank and a single, and latterly scarce, Greenfinch.

Butterflies included Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Comma and Speckled Wood.

1st

Cloudy, cool, light SW wind with showers. A quiet start to the month. An immature Gannet and eight Common Scoters flew east. Waders included 11 Ringed Plovers and two Sanderlings on the beach and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included three Little Egrets, a Peregrine offshore, a Mediterranean Gull and three Sandwich Terns flying east.

Butterflies noted were Small, Large White and Green-veined Whites, Gatekeeper, Essex Skipper and Red Admiral.

July 2021

141 species so far this year

136 by the same time last year

A total of 78 species were recorded during the month which compares favourably with a ten-year average of 73.6 species but below the best of these years with 82 in 2015. The year total of 141 species also compares well with an average of 135.5 by the end of July. Four new species were added to the year list including an early Arctic Skua on 16th and our fifth record of Cattle Egret (all in the last four years) on 27th.

31st

Sunny periods with a light westerly wind. Waders included one Oystercatcher on the beach, and another ten flying east, six Ringed Plovers and an influx of 81 Turnstones, many in breeding plumage, on the beach, two Whimbrel, one west and one on the shoreline which flew south courtesy of a dog walker, and the Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. A Juvenile Marsh Harrier, which flew west over the sea at 11.10 am, was surprisingly our first since March 29th. Two Sandwich Terns flew west, a Stock Dove was over the area, two Swift, a juvenile Robin by the sewage works entrance and four dull-capped Blackcaps were along the east bank.

A total of ten butterfly species included Common and Holly Blues, Comma, Speckled Wood and Essex Skipper. Common Blue was, belatedly, our first of the year.

Comma – Geoff Burton
Common Blue – Geoff Burton

29th

Sunny, moderate SW wind. Two Little Terns could be made out amongst a melee of gulls and terns offshore. Waders included four Ringed Plovers, the Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool and 20 Turnstones on the beach. Three juvenile Mistle Thrushes flying west landed in the trees along Swalecliffe Court Drive before heading west again across the football pitch (always a good bird to see here these days). A juvenile Willow Warbler was along the east bank and Blackcap and Chiffchaff were also seen.

Speckled Wood

28th

Cloudy, light SW wind. There were three Little Egrets on the beach. Waders included 11 Ringed Plovers and 44 Turnstones on the beach and a Common Sandpiper was on the Marsh Pool. Three adult Mediterranean Gulls flew west and three Sandwich Terns and Common Terns were offshore. Two Stock Doves flew south off the beach, three Swifts flew west and a Willow Warbler was calling near the sluice.

Common Gull – Geoff Burton

27th

A Cattle Egret flew west by the Obs at 7.55 am. A new bird for the year. The first was recorded in May 2018 but this is now the sixth record with singles in April and September 2019 and a juvenile and an adult in July 2020.

26th

Cloudy, muggy, light NW wind. A Black-tailed Godwit present on the shoreline by the Obs early morning was an addition to the year list. Other waders included two Ringed Plovers, an adult Dunlin and 25 Turnstones on the beach, a Curlew east and a Common Sandpiper. There were three Mediterranean Gulls on the beach with 165 Black-headed Gulls and a single Common Gull, a Sandwich Tern east and a Common Tern west. Also noted were two Stock Doves and 15 Swifts.

24th

Cloudy, rain shower, light southerly wind. 19 Mallard included a duck with five ducklings. Waders included seven Ringed Plovers and four Dunlin on the shingle ridge at high tide. A Whimbrel was heard calling as it moved west and two Greenshanks circled over the area before flying off high west over the Obs and 20 Turnstones were on the beach. There were three Mediterranean Gulls, including two juveniles on the beach, and an adult Common Gull.

Herring Gull chick on the roof of the church – Geoff Burton

23rd

A Jay was seen in the scrub.

22nd

Sunny, warm, light SE wind. One Gannet flew east. There were three Little Egrets with two on the Marsh Pool and roosting along the east bank. Waders noted were one Oystercatcher and 11 Whimbrel west, a Ringed Plover on the shingle ridge, a Dunlin and 26 Turnstones between the groynes. A Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Greenfinch were also noted.

21st

Sunny, warm, calm. A Great Crested Grebe on the sea was the first of the month. Seven Gannets flew west and three flew east. A single Oystercatcher and a Sanderling were on the beach, and a party of five Common Sandpipers gathered there briefly, whilst an influx of 27 Turnstones were roosting between the groynes. An adult and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull were on the beach, an immature Common Gull flew south over the sewage works and the pair of Great Black-backed Gulls, and an immature, were also on the beach. A Stock Dove flew south by the Obs, a Yellow Wagtail was seen and, unusually for this time, a juvenile Rook flew west by the scout hut.

Nine species of butterfly included Painted Lady and Marbled White, a Shaded Broad-bar moth was seen and a Water Vole also made an appearance.

19th

Sunny, very warm, light SE wind. Four Gannets flew east, one flew west. There were four Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool and a Grey Heron flew south. Two juvenile Shovelers that circled the area before landing on the Marsh Pool was an unusual occurrence at an unusual time of the year. There were also 12 Mallard on the Marsh Pool. Waders noted were a Ringed Plover on the shingle ridge, a Green Sandpiper heard calling and our first Turnstone of the month. There were two Mediterranean Gulls on the beach, one adult Common Gull flew west, numbers of juvenile Herring Gulls on the beach rose to 57, there were two adult and an immature Great Black-backed Gull on the beach and five Sandwich Terns flew west. Also, five Swifts flew west.

Eight species of butterfly were noted on this warm day which included our first Comma of the year and Marbled White.

Kestrel and departing Goldfinch – Geoff Burton
Comma – Geoff Burton

17th

Sunny, warm, light northerly wind. Three adult Mute Swans flew east over the sea and a Grey Heron flew SE pursued by gulls. Five Oystercatchers flew east, four Whimbrel flew west and a Curlew was heard calling. There were three Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach, a pair and an immature, and a Sandwich Tern flew east. A Swallow came in off the sea.

Butterflies included our first Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown and Red Admiral.

16th

Cloudy at first, sunny later, moderate northerly wind. An Arctic Skua, quite early for the site, flew west at 8.48 am. New for the year but little else moving although single Mediterranean Gull and Common Gull flew west. Waders noted were two Oystercatchers, one Ringed Plover, 14 Lapwing SE over the area, three breeding plumage Dunlin and a Redshank. There were ten Juvenile Herring Gulls on the beach.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Small Heath, Essex Skipper and a Marbled White.

15th

Waders noted were one Ringed Plover on the shingle ridge, eight Lapwings, two Whimbrels and a Redshank. Also there were seven Kittiwakes, two Yellow Wagtails and a Chiffchaff was heard calling again.

Four Marbled Whites in the scrub was an exceptional count for the site.

13th

A lone Brent Goose and 20 Common Scoters flew west, with three east. An adult Ringed Plover was on the shingle ridge and a Redshank on the beach. A Buzzard flew NW over the Obs and a Hobby west over the estate. Also, one Meadow Pipit flew west and a Chiffchaff was heard calling.

A brief view of a Marbled White and there were a few Shaded Broad-bar moths in the grassland.

12th

There were eight Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool in the afternoon and seven Gadwall flew west at 6.45 pm.

10th

Cloudy, some light rain, calm. There were five Little Egrets. Nine Whimbrel flew west, a party of six and three singles, one Curlew flew west and two were by the tidal ponds, and one Oystercatcher flew west. Seven Sandwich Terns flew east and two Common Terns flew west. Four Swifts flew west and at least three Blackcaps continued to sing.

9th

Sunny periods, light southerly wind. Three Gannets flew east, there were seven Little Egrets, a Grey Heron flew west low over the sea and a flock of c20 Common Scoters landed on the sea. Waders were represented by singles of Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover and Curlew. Three adult Great Black-backed Gulls were chasing each other over the beach and one Sandwich Tern was offshore. Two Sand Martins and a Swallow flew west and a Chiffchaff was seen at the Obs and along the east bank.

8th

A Hobby flew over the caravan park.

7th

Sunny periods, moderate southerly wind. Three Gannets flew east, two Little Egrets flew west and three were on the Marsh Pool and there were four Sandwich Terns and a Common Tern offshore. Waders noted included a juvenile Ringed Plover and singles of Oystercatcher, Whimbrel and Curlew. Other birds noted included a Stock Dove, two Swifts, two Sand Martins and a House Martin west, a juvenile Pied Wagtail and a Chiffchaff.

Amongst seven species of butterfly were our first Essex Skippers, moths were represented by a Silver Y and dragonflies by an Azure Damselfly.

Azure Damselfly – Geoff Burton

5th

Cloudy, rain until 7 am, light SW wind. Two Mute Swans flew west over the sea and 15 Common Scoters flew east. There were two Whimbrel on the beach early morning, three Curlews and an Oystercatcher. A secobd calendar year Mediterranean Gull flew west and there were five immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Six Swifts flew west and a single Swallow was also noted.

Bug wise there were eight species of butterfly, a Box Tree and Cinnabar moth and our first Southern Migrant Hawker dragonfly. The latter becoming increasingly regular in the county.

4th

Four Sandwich Terns were fishing at 12.15 pm.

3rd

Cloudy, steady rain from 9.45-10.30 am, and light SW wind. There were two Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool and an adult Mute Swan was close inshore, and later flew south over Lang Court. Three Oystercatchers flew west and a flock of 35 Lapwings flew west inland. An adult Mediterranean Gull was on the beach and an adult and second calendar year bird flew west. A flock of 120 Black-headed Gulls roosting close inshore early morning included two juveniles. There were 15 immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and three Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds included a Stock Dove, which circled over the area and landed by the Marsh Pool and also attempted to land by the Obs Pool and eight Swifts west. A Leucistic House Sparrow was present in the scrub.

A Water Vole put in one of its regular appearances and butterflies noted were Small and Large Whites and Meadow Brown.

Leucistic House Sparrow – Geoff Burton

1st

Sunny, warmer, light NNW wind. Three Gannets flew west, there were two Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool (also one on the Obs Pool) and two Brent Geese flew west accompanying a Cormorant. Three Curlews flying west were the only waders noted. Three Sandwich Terns were offshore. Other birds noted included a Hobby, ten Swifts and a Swallow west and a Reed Warbler singing in the Scout Wood.

Little Egret – Geoff Burton
Woodpigeons – Geoff Burton

June 2021

137 species so far this year

133 species by this time last year

A total of 77 species for the month compares with a ten-year average of only 69.9 species and a maximum during that period of 76 species. This seems to belie the feeling of a struggling month which is backed up statistically with my own daily average of only 31.9 species compared with averages between 34.4 and 41.1 species during the previous ten year period. There were two additions to the year list which included a singing and typically elusive Marsh Warbler on 15th (our third after birds in June 2004 and July 2011). A Green Sandpiper on 28th was also new for the year.

30th

Cloudy, cool with showers, light to moderate northerly wind. A very quiet end to the month. Three Curlews and an immature Common Gull flew west. 21 Swifts flew west and a Chiffchaff was calling along the east bank.

28th

Cloudy, misty, calm. There were four Little Egrets on the beach. Waders noted were four Oysteratchers east, 16 Curlews and a Whimbrel west and a Green Sandpiper, our first this year, which circled over the area calling. There were eight immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach, a Sandwich Tern offshore. Six Swifts and a Swallow were also noted.

26th

Sunny, calm. There were four Little Egrets along the shoreline, two Shelducks and a Curlew flew west. Two Sandwich Terns and two Common Terns were offshore.

Blackcap belting it out at the Obs – Geoff Burton
Female Sparrowhawk – Geoff Burton

24th

Sunny, calm, warmer. A Brent Goose came in from the east and rested on the shoreline in front of the Obs. A Grey Heron flew over the area, a Shelduck flew east, two Curlews flew west and a Sandwich Tern was offshore. A Skylark flew over the grassland.

23rd

Sunny with a light NE wind. Three broods of Mallard were noted; one of c8 medium-sized and two of five and nine small ducklings. There were two Curlews, one flew west and one on the beach, six Sandwich Terns flew east and a Common Tern was also noted. Two adult Moorhens with a single chick were seen along the middle brook. One Sand Martin flew west.

Butterflies included a Red Admiral and Holly Blue and a Yellow Shell moth was also seen.

Moorhens – Andy Taylor
Red Admiral – Geoff Burton

22nd

Two Common Terns on the beach and a large party of schoolchildren there too.

21st

Cloudy with a fresh NE wind and rain from 8.30 am. Two Fulmars, 12 Gannets, a Curlew and an adult Common Gull flew east. There were 12 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and five Swifts flew west.

19th

Cloudy, cool, with a light northerly wind. A very quiet morning. A Fulmar flew west. Three Turnstones, only seven Great Black-backed Gulls, but including two adults, and four Sandwich Terns on the beach.

Sandwich Terns – Geoff Burton

17th

Cloudy, calm, rain. There were eight Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool early morning, a flock of 14 Gadwall flew SE over the sewage works, later one was along the shoreline and a Mute Swan flew east over the skate park. Waders noted wee a single Oystercatcher east, a Ringed Plover and seven Turnstones on the beach. There were 34 immature Great Black-backed Gulls, a second calendar year Mediterranean Gull and a Sandwich Tern on the beach. A Skylark was seen in the grassland.

16th

A Mute Swan flew over the sewage works and the church.

15th

Cloudy with a light NE wind. In contrast to yesterday, this seemed like the essence of mid-June. A Grey Heron flew north over the sewage works, there were 26 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach, including two adults, a Stock Dove circled over the Marsh Pool and a Meadow Pipit was noted. However, a second circuit of the site led to a reappraisal of the morning. A warbler singing from a clump of nettles sounded interesting although it was difficult to hear clearly above the chatter of House Sparrows. Also, it interspersed brief snatches of its song with long periods of silence. However, perseverance and an upgrade in its song quality, confirmed that it was our third Marsh Warbler. It continued to sing intermittently in and around the bluethroat bush well into the afternoon but only afforded one observer one brief view. Previous records were in June 2004 and July 2011; all typical late one-day jobs.

14th

Sunny, warm , calm then a light NW wind. Unexpectedly, two Siskins were calling in the pines by Lang Court first thing; they flew off west. There was a raft of 19 Shelducks sitting on a flat calm sea, a drake Tufted Duck flew west at 6.05 am and a Greenshank flew west at 8.35 am. Other waders were a single Oystercatcher east and eight Turnstones on the beach. A gathering of 23 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach included one adult. Four Sand Martins also flew west. A rather above average morning for the doldrums of mid-June.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Holly Blue, Small Heath and Red Admiral.

12th

Sunny with a light westerly wind. Two Gannets flew east and a Mute Swan flew north over the area. A Fulmar and a Grey Heron were also noted. Seven Turnstones were roosting amongst the groynes and 18 Great Black-backed Gulls were roosting on the beach.

Butterflies noted were Small and Large Whites, Holly Blue, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood.

Turnstones – Geoff Burton

10th

Sunny, very warm, light SW wind. One Great Crested Grebe on the sea, a Gannet flew west and there were two Little Egrets roosting along the east bank. There were two Sandwich Terns and two Common Terns offshore and a Skylark flew west low over the Obs.

9th

Sunny, warm, light SW wind. One Great Crested Grebe on the sea and three Little Egrets included two roosting along the east bank. Three Mediterranean Gulls flew west, there were 17 Great Black-backed Gulls, including two adults, on the beach and three Sandwich Terns offshore. A Chiffchaff was singing at the Obs.

Butterflies included the first Small Heath of the year.

8th

A quiet morning birdwise with a single Skylark west and a Reed Warbler also noted.

Most notable though unfortunately deceased, was a Smooth Hound shark, which appeared to be in good condition, stranded on the beach. This a fairly common shallow water shark but the first to be recorded at the site. It was to provide several days of nourishment for an immature Great Black-backed Gull. On a different scale, a Speckled Wood was seen in the churchyard. This common species has been rather scarce so far this year.

Smooth Hound – Andy Taylor
Reed Warbler – Andy Taylor

7th

Sunny, calm, warm. There were three Great Crested Grebes on the sea, a Gannet flew east and five Mute Swans swam leisurely west. A pair of Shelducks were on the Marsh Pool, two Lapwings circled over the beach and a Red Kite drifted SW. A Sandwich Tern was offshore and two Swifts and three Swallows flew west.

Butterflies noted were Small and Large Whites, Holly Blue and a Red Admiral.

Great Black-backed Gull passing Southend – Geoff Burton

6th

Five Shelducks flew west, three Mediterranean Gulls were noted whilst a Willow Warbler along the east bank was unusual at this time of the year.

5th

Cloudy, cool with a light NW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, seven Gannets flew east and a group of seven Kittiwakes flew west. Waders noted were an Oystercatcher east and a Ringed Plover and ten Turnstones on the beach. Three Mediterranean Gulls flew west and there were 19 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Other birds noted included two Stock Doves, which dropped onto the Marsh Pool, and four Swallows west.

Stock Dove – Geoff Burton

3rd

A quiet day but two Common Scoters and a Yellow Wagtail were noted.

2nd

A Common Sandpiper and eight Turnstones were noted and four Kittiwakes flew east. Other birds noted included a Hobby, a House Martin, three Jays and a Greenfinch.

1st

Sunny and warm. There were two Great Crested Grebes on the sea and singles of Fulmar and Gannet flew east. Waders included two Avocets and two Sanderlings, eight Oystercatchers flying east, two Ringed Plovers on the shingle ridge and six roosting Turnstones. A Hobby zipped east through the scrub and over the caravan park and there were nine immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Other birds included a Stock Dove which dropped onto the shingle ridge, a Swift and a Swallow, a Grey Wagtail by the sluice and a Reed Warbler singing occasionally in the scrubland trees.

Butterflies seen were large and Small White, Holly Blue and presumably one of the last Orange-tips of the year. Jim Bloor reported seeing three Water Voles in the brook by the Marsh Pool.

Avocets – Andy Taylor

May 2021

A total of 135 species so far this year

132 species by this time last year

A total of 88 species was well above the ten-year average of 82.5. Bird of the month was the Black Kite on 25th (only the second record, after another in May in 2003). A Manx Shearwater on 4th was an unusual Spring record. Interesting to note that there was only one record of Turtle Dove and Cuckoo, Garden Warbler and possibly two Spotted Flycatchers. They scraped onto the year list but, as yet, no sign of Little Tern or Sedge Warbler.

31st

Sunny with a light NE wind. One Fulmar, 15 Gannets, 20 Oystercatchers and two Mediterranean Gulls flew east. A Redshank on the Marsh Pool was unusual at this time of the year and there were 14 Turnstones amongst the groynes. Three Swallows flew west.

There were many Small White and Holly Blue butterflies noted and a single Peacock.

29th

Cloudy with a cooling NE wind. A Fulmar and seven Shelducks flew west, five Oystercatchers, eight Mediterranean Gulls, a Sandwich Tern and four Common Terns flew east and a very late drake Red-breasted Merganser and two Common Scoters were also noted.

27th

Sunny and calm. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, a Fulmar flew west but was then chased by a Herring Gull, three Gannets and a Whimbrel flew west and six Mediterranean Gulls flew east. A Buzzard and eight Red Kites were seen late morning. Vis mig included 11 Swifts, eight Swallows, four House Martins and three Yellow Wagtails west. Two Reed Warblers, singing along the east bank and at the Obs, were new for the year.

Red Kite – Andy Taylor

26th

Cloudy, still cool, light NW wind. A Great Crested Grebe flew west, a Fulmar flew east low over the Obs and three Gannets flew east. There was a Ringed Plover and three Turnstones on the beach and amongst four Lesser Black-backed Gulls was an old immature (unusual here at this time of the year). There were three Sandwich Terns hanging around the red buoy and two Razorbills flew west. A trickle of late vis mig with two Swifts, 20 Swallows, a House Martin and a Yellow Wagtail flying west.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Geoff Burton

25th

A Black Kite came in off the sea at 6.45 am and flew south inland. Only the second record for the site after one, similarly coming in off the sea, in May 2003.

24th

Sunny, warmer, light SW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, two Gannets and a Shelduck flew west, two Greylag Geese flew SE and there were c30 Common Scoters offshore. Six Oystercatchers and two Ringed Plovers and there were 11 Turnstones were on the groynes. Other birds included a Hobby, four Swifts and four Swallows. Two Crossbills that flew west was an addition to the year list.

Butterflies recorded were Small White, Holly Blue and Orange-tip.

22nd

Cloudy, rain at first, moderate NW wind. A Great Crested Grebe, a Fulmar, two Tufted Ducks, 11 Common Scoters and a Razorbill flew west and 50+ Gannets were offshore. Two Ringed Plovers were casing each other over the shingle ridge and nine Turnstones were roosting between the groynes. A total of 60 Kittiwakes included flocks of 18 and 17 west and 15 east. Three Sandwich Terns were noted offshore. 106 Swifts flew west (mostly early morning) and three Swallows and two House Martins also flew west. Other birds included a Hobby flying low over the area and a Meadow Pipit in display flight over the shingle ridge.

Fox – Geoff Burton

21st

18 Swifts were noted flying west over the caravan park.

20th

Cloudy with a light SW wind. Two Great Crested Grebes were on the sea, two Fulmars flew west together, a Grey Heron and two Shelduck flew west and c15 Common Scoters flew east. Two Oystercatchers flew east and there was a Ringed Plover and seven Turnstones roosting between the groynes. An adult Kittiwake flew west and three Sandwich Terns were offshore. A Sand Martin and four House Martins, and three Redpolls flew west. Between 10.30 and 11.10 am, three Red Kites flew west all bearing the wing moult of immature birds.

19th

Heavy rain for an hour then sunny with a light westerly wind. There were four Great Crested Grebes on the sea, five Gannets on the sea flew off west and two Shelducks flew west. Two Oystercatchers and a Turnstone were the only waders and one Sandwich Tern was seen. Vis mig included 16 Swifts and ten Swallows west. Other migrants included single Wheatear and Willow Warbler whilst a Corn Bunting appeared on the bushes opposite the Obs after the rain. After a period of preening and shaking itself dry, it flew off west over the Obs.

18th

Two Common Sandpipers on the shingle ridge were chased off by two Ringed Plovers. A few Swifts and all three hirundines were noted.

17th

Cloudy, cool with a moderate westerly wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes on the sea, a Fulmar and two large Auk sp flew west and three Common Scoters flew east. A pair of Shelducks were on the Marsh Pool and another flew west. An Oystercatcher and Turnstone on the beach were the only waders recorded. With the westerly winds, 50 Swifts, ten Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail flew west.

15th

Cloudy, rain at first, light SE wind. Two Gannets flew west and two Shelducks flew east. There were two Grey Plovers on the mudflats by the tidal ponds. These were the first here since 19th February.

14th

A Willow Warbler was noted.

13th

Cloudy with light rain and a light southerly wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, about ten Gannets offshore, three adult Kittiwakes, three Sandwich Terns and two Common Terns flew west and a party of seven Razorbills flew east.

12th

Sunny, turning cloudy, with a light SW wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes on the sea, three Gannets flew east and six Shelducks flew west. There were five Ringed Plovers on the beach on the incoming tide and 17 Turnstones. Birds of the day were a Turtle Dove which flew west at 6.15 am (new for the year after our first gap year in 2020), and a Cuckoo west at 7.15 am. Other birds included six Swallows west and a Jay which flew low over the changing rooms.

Butterflies included out first Holly Blue of the year, Painted Lady and Red Admiral.

11th

There were three Common Sandpipers on the Marsh Pool.

10th

Sunny with a light SW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, eight Gannets offshore and two Shelducks and 21 Common Scoters flew west. Waders included eight Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin on the beach and a Common Sandpiper dropped in and then flew west. Two Kittiwakes, three Sandwich Terns and a Common Tern flew east. Three Swifts, a House Martin and two Yellow Wagtails flew west. A Spotted Flycatcher along the east bank was considered to be a different bird to yesterdays, and two Willow Warblers were singing in the churchyard and by the Obs. Two Long-tailed Tits flew from a patch of brambles along the east bank, where they were thought to be nesting, across to the churchyard.

A Painted Lady and a Green-veined White butterfly were seen at the Obs.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Geoff Burton
Painted Lady – Geoff Burton

9th

A Spotted Flycatcher, in dead trees by the sewage works entrance, was a welcome addition to the year list. There was also a Hobby, two Wheatears on the shingle ridge, and a cock Yellowhammer was the second record this year of this declining species.

8th

Cloudy, rain, milder, light SE wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes on the sea, a drake Shelduck on the Marsh Pool and waders included an Oystercatcher and four Ringed Plovers. Other birds included one Sandwich Tern, a female Wheatear on the beach and a Greenfinch along the east bank.

7th

The heaviest movement of Swifts this year so far with 340+ between 5.30 and 8 am. A Wheatear was on the shingle ridge and a Garden Warbler, again silent, was along the east bank.

Swift – Andy Taylor

6th

Sunny, cool with a light SW wind. There were five Gannets offshore, a Grey Heron flew NW over the Obs, a flock of ten Mute Swans, a pair of Tufted Ducks flew west at 7.15 am (new for the year) and six Common Scoters flew east. Waders included 12 Oystercatchers west, a Dunlin, three Common Sandpipers (new for the year) and 45 Turnstones roosting at high tide. Vis mig included all three species of hirundines and three Yellow Wagtails west. A silent Garden Warbler at the Obs completed a trio of year ticks.

Common Sandpiper – Andy Taylor

5th

Sunny with a light westerly wind. There were five Gannets offshore, a flock of nine Mute Swans flew west inland, a Greylag Goose flew west and three Common Scoters flew east. Waders included two Oystercatchers, two Dunlin, a Whimbrel and a Curlew west. Vis mig included 53 Swifts, 36 Swallows, eight House Martins and 12 Yellow Wagtails west.

A Speckled Wood and a Red Admiral butterfly were seen at the Obs.

4th

A Manx Shearwater flying east was a good Spring record for the north coast but there were also two further east at Minnis Bay and at Dungeness, 56 birds flew west. 20+ Swifts flying west were also new for the year (a late first record) and all three hirundines were seen. There were “good numbers” of Sandwich Terns offshore for the first time this Spring, a few Yellow Wagtails, a Wheatear was present for the fourth day and three summer plumage Dunlin flew west.

3rd

Sunny with a moderate westerly wind. Two Egyptian Geese flew west and were new for the year. A Mute Swan and 12 Common Scoters flew east, a Greylag Goose 12 Shelduck were also noted and there were three Great Crested Grebes on the sea. Waders included four transitional plumage Sanderlings on the beach and a Curlew flying east. Away from the coast, two House Martins, six Yellow Wagtails and a Redpoll flew west, a female Wheatear was in the scrub, a Ring Ousel flying west appeared to drop into the sewage works and a Willow Warbler was along the east bank.

2nd

The Wheatear was seen again.

1st

Sunny, cool with a light NNW wind. There was a group of four Great Crested Grebes on the sea, a Fulmar flew east over the Obs and five Greylag Geese, two Canada Geese and five Shelducks flew east. Waders included three Sanderlings on the beach and three Whimbrel west. Four Mediterranean Gulls and a Sandwich Tern flew east. Vis mig included 25 Sand Martins, two House Martins and four Yellow Wagtails flew west. A female Wheatear was on the beach.

April 2021

A cold, dry month (Philip Hurst recorded only 4 mm of rain in Chestfield this month) with a predominance of easterly winds. Despite these adverse conditions for Spring, the total of 95 species was one above the ten-year average for the month. The highlight was a Red-rumped Swallow seen by Geoff Racher on 6th (only the second record for the site).

A total of 122 species so far this year

125 species by the same time last year

30th

Sunny, cool with a light northerly wind. One Great Crested Grebe and seven Shelducks flew west and a Canada Goose was also seen. Ten Mediterranean Gulls, including one flock of eight birds, and two Common Terns flew east. Waders were one Ringed Plover on the shingle ridge and five Sanderlings and 21 Turnstones on the beach. Bird of the day, however, was a Merlin which appeared to have snatched a small wader off the beach then circled high over the sea pursued by two crows. Also six Sand Martins and a House Martin flew west.

29th

Sunny, cool with a fresh northerly wind. Four Gannets and two adult Mediterranean Gulls flew east and there were ten Sanderlings on the beach. Three House Martins were hawking along the east bank.

A Water Vole was seen along the middle brook.

28th

There were five Canada Geese on the beach, two Barnacle Geese flew south and three Common Scoters flew east. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the sewage works and a male Yellowhammer, briefly on the beach before flying off east, was new for the year. There were also “decent” number of Sand Martins and Swallows on the move between 8 and 9 am, before the NE wind strengthened.

27th

Sunny, warmer with a light NE wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore whilst waders included three Ringed Plovers roosting on the groynes and three Sanderlings and a Curlew were on the beach. Two Lesser Whitethroats were singing along the east bank between the Elm Wood and the Obs. Another addition the the year list. A Jay was heard calling behind the Obs and the Greenfinch continues to display along the east bank.

Lesser Whitethroat – Andy Taylor

26th

Sunny, cool with a moderate NE wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, a pair of Shelducks on the Marsh Pool and a Hobby, that skimmed east low over the caravan park, was new for the year. Waders included a couple of flocks (18-20) of Bar-tailed Godwits flying east offshore and two close inshore, two Whimbrels, a Curlew and a vocal but invisible Greenshank which was also new for the year. Six Mediterranean Gulls flew east and there were two Common Terns offshore.

Not a month for butterflies but a Small White was seen.

24th

Sunny with a light to moderate easterly wind. A Red-throated Diver flew west, two Fulmars flew east, one high inland, and there were two Great Crested Grebes on the sea. 18 Shelducks flew east and a pair was on the Marsh Pool. Waders included three Ringed Plovers, five Sanderlings, a Dunlin and a Curlew on the beach, 11 Whimbrel, nine flew east and two rested briefly on the shingle ridge, and five Oystercatchers. Five Common Gulls flew east, two Sandwich Terns flew east and two were on the buoys, and four Common Terns flew east. A female Ring Ousel that flew south from the scrub was new for the year. Five Swallows flew west, a Meadow Pipit was in song in the grassland and a Greenfinch was in display flight over the churchyard.

23rd

Waders included a Bar-tailed Godwit on the beach and four Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Two adult Kittiwakes flew west and a few Sandwich Terns were offshore. A male Wheatear was on the shingle ridge and four Blackcaps were noted.

22nd

Sunny, cool with a light NE wind. Three Whimbrel flew south and a breeding plumage Golden Plover was roosting with Turnstones between the groynes. Surprisingly, it remained for some time without being disturbed. Five immature Common Gulls, a Sandwich Tern and ten Common Terns flew east. A Greenfinch was singing in the churchyard and along the east bank.

Golden Plover – Geoff Burton

21st

Foggy at first then freshening NE wind, cold. A Fulmar and four Sandwich Terns flew east. Waders included three Ringed Plovers, 12 Sanderlings, a Dunlin and 65 Turnstones on the beach. Also, a Curlew flew west and a Whimbrel was heard calling.

19th

Cloudy, cool with a light NE wind. A Red-throated Diver and two Shelducks flew west and a Great Crested Grebe was on the sea. Waders included six Sanderlings, a Curlew and 35 Turnstones on the beach, five Whimbrel west but best of all a Ruff and a Bar-tailed Godwit west (both additions to the year list). 12 Sand Martins and four Swallows flew west, a male Wheatear on the shingle ridge was only the second of the year, after one on March 26th, and a Willow Warbler uttered a snatch of song by the bluethroat bush.

17th

Sunny, cool, with a light NE wind. A Great Crested Grebe was on the sea, a Fulmar flew east and six Shelducks landed on the Marsh Pool. Waders included a single Oystercatcher east and two Ringed Plovers, ten Sanderlings and 30 Turnstones on the beach. A total of 31 Mediterranean Gulls flew east during the morning including only one immature. A Skylark flew NW over the Obs, five Sand Martins included three flying west west and one Swallow flew west. Two Blackcaps and a Chiffchaff were also noted.

16th

Bird of the day was a summer plumage Black-throated Diver west. Three Sand Martins and two Swallows were also seen and two Turtle Doves were reported by Birdguides but with no confirmatory information has been obtained.

15th

Sunny periods, cool with a moderate NE wind. A Fulmar flew and a pair of Teal west, a Greylag Goose flew east and a pair of Shelducks on the Marsh Pool. Waders included a single Lapwing flying NW, four Ringed Plovers displaying to each other on the beach, six Sanderlings and 29 Turnstones on the beach and five Curlews west. A Skylark landed on the beach, four Swallows flew west, there were three Whitethroats in the area and a count of 55 Carrion Crows.

14th

Sunny periods, cool, light NE wind. A Red-throated Diver flew east, a drake Red-breasted Merganser seen and four Shelducks flew east, two west. Waders included our first three Whimbrel of the year and six Sanderlings and three Redshanks on the beach. The Whitethroat was still in the bluethroat bush and a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff were singing in the Elm Wood. No longer a breeding species here, but a male Reed Bunting was also seen.

13th

A Common Whitethroat in the bluethroat bush was new for the year. Also, there were three Blackcaps, a female Reed Bunting and four Redpolls flew west.

12th

Sunny and cool with a light westerly wind. A Red-throated Diver and a Gannet flew west and there were six Great Crested Grebes offshore. Two Shelducks and 33 Common Scoters, in flocks of 25 and eight, flew east. Waders included a single Oystercatcher on the beach and a flock of c20 flying west, a Dunlin west and 12 Sanderlings on the beach. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls flew east and four Sandwich Terns flew west together. A change to a westerly wind encouraged some vis mig with nine Swallows, 13 Meadow Pipits, a Yellow Wagtail, 24 Goldfinches and 34 Linnets west. A Skylark flew low over the grassland.

10th

Cloudy, cool with a moderate NE wind. A Red-throated Diver and a Gannet flew east and a Great Crested Grebe was offshore. Two Shelducks and the drake Eider flew west. Waders included two Ringed Plovers and three Sanderlings, and two Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Ten Common Gulls and three Sandwich Terns flew east. Two Stock Doves were seen and a Chiffchaff was singing in the Elm Wood.

9th

Some vis mig with a Sand Martin, 12 Swallows and two House Martins west whilst a Mistle Thrush and three Siskins, also west, were additions to the year list.

8th

Sunny periods with a light SW wind. A Red-throated Diver, in partial breeding plumage, and a Great Crested Grebe were on the sea, three Mute Swans and seven Canada Geese flew west and five Common Scoters flew west. A Red Kite, that came in off the sea at 9.45 am and headed SE inland, was our first of the year and a Buzzard circling over the football pitch was not welcomed by the local gulls. Waders included 12 Sanderlings and a Dunlin on the beach with two Snipe still on show in the Marsh Pool. Some vis mig with a Sand Mattin, eight Swallows, a Meadow Pipit, three Rooks, a Greenfinch, three Goldfinches and 23 Linnets on the move. Meanwhile, a Goldcrest at the Obs was another addition to the year list.

6th

Sunny, cool with a fresh NW wind. Waders included 16 Sanderlings on the beach and 30 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Some vis mig with four Swallows and a House Martin, 14 Meadow Pipits and two Yellow Wagtails, 12 Goldfinches and 95 Linnets – all west. Both House Martin and Yellow Wagtail were new for the year as was a Red-rumped Swallow hawking around the Obs briefly, before flying on west. Only the second record for the site and seen by Geoff Racher after the usual crew had all departed!

5th

Two Brent Geese on the sea were the first noted this month and a a pair of Wigeon were also noted. Eight Mediterranean Gulls flew east in one flock and there was a westerly movement of Common and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

4th

A Willow Warbler was singing, a Greenfinch, yet to settle for the breeding season, flew around over the football pitch. In the afternoon, there were “a good few” Swallows and two Sandwich Terns were seen.

3rd

Cloudy and cold with a fresh NE wind. There were five Sanderlings and a Dunlin on the beach and eight Snipe on the Marsh Pool. There were also two Stock Doves on the Marsh Pool and three Redpolls were also noted.

1st

Cloudy, cold with a moderate to fresh NE wind. Not the weather one would wish to start the month with. Two adult Mute Swans were resting on the beach where they remained for some time. One Red-throated Diver and two Great Crested Grebes were offshore and waders included three Sanderlings on the beach and four Snipe on the Marsh Pool. A Sand Martin and six Swallows flew west, two Redpolls flew west and a Willow Warbler sand intermittently in the bushes opposite the Obs.

Mute Swan – Geoff Burton

March 2021

A total of 105 species so far this year

100 species by the same time last year

31st

A drake Eider was feeding offshore and a Sandwich Tern was on the red cheesy buoy. An influx of Blackcaps with a total of five (all males), a Redwing in the scrub and a Redpoll flew west. Six Swallows were seen in the afternoon.

30th

An unseasonally warm and calm day after a touch of frost. Too good, apparently, for any vis mig! There were about 20 Red-throated Divers and seven Great Crested Grebes offshore, and a pair of Pintail were resting on the beach and, at low tide, managed to stay there undisturbed for several hours. A Canada Goose flew east along the beach, eight Shelduck flew west, a drake Eider flew west (new for the year here but probably the bird that has wintered in the Swale) and a drake Red-breasted Merganser was on the sea. Waders included 11 Sanderlings on the beach and nine Snipe on the Marsh Pool. A Great Spotted Woodpecker called briefly from the sewage works, and there were brief appearances from single Swallow and Willow Warbler. A male Stonechat was presumably a migrant rather than one of our wintering birds.

The warmth brought out our first butterflies of the year with two sightings of Brimstone and Small White, and Red Admiral and Peacock.

29th

A hint of Spring with our first hirundines, 18 Sand Martins and four Swallows west, a singing Willow Warbler along the brook and at the Obs (our earliest for many years) and three Redpolls heading west. Also, a female Marsh Harrier flew west.

27th

A pair of Ringed Plovers displaying was quintessentially a triumph of hope over experience. A Greenfinch was singing but so far this species has been slow to settle down here this year.

26th

Two Stock Doves and a Skylark were noted whilst Greg Herne’s Wheatear down amongst the pigloos was our 100th species for the year.

25th

A Blackcap and four Chiffchaffs were present and there was a trickle of Meadow Pipits and Goldfinches heading west.

24th

Two Ravens circled over the area at 8 am before heading west; although there have only been a handful of record, all but one in recent years, it is likely that this species will become more regular. A Blackcap singing along the brook was also our first of the year. A few Chiffchaffs were also present.

23rd

Sunny with a light SW wind. A Sandwich Tern, our first of the year, fishing close inshore was a hint of Spring. Other additions to the year list were a vocal Avocet heading west and a Velvet Scoter heading east. There were 40 Red-throated Divers, many in summer plumage, scattered across the calm sea but only two Great Crested Grebes although they were resplendent in breeding plumage. Three Grey Herons flew north out to sea, our first this month, and another flew west inland. Four Greylag Geese and two Shelducks flew west and a duck Red-breasted Merganser was on the sea. Waders on the beach included 29 Sanderlings, eight Dunlin and seven Ringed Plovers. There were 11 Snipe and 18 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. There was an influx of Chiffchaffs with at least six scattered around.

22nd

A flock of about 60 White-fronted Geese flew east presumably on their wat back to Russian breeding grounds. In contrast, a Green Woodpecker in the sewage works, new for the year, has probably not strayed far from its natal home.

8th-21st

A very quiet period whilst we wait for the weather to become more Spring-like. There were two additions to the year list on 8th with a female Merlin which flew west (a male was also seen on 12th) and a female Great Spotted Woodpecker in the sewage works trees. Two Canada Geese which circled over the marsh on 20th was also an addition to the year list. A Chiffchaff singing at the Obs on 16th was the first since one between 22nd and 27th February.

1st-7th

A quiet start to the month continued the theme of the second half of February. There were no additions to the year list. The rarer divers continue to appear occasionally with Black-throated Diver on 1st and Great Northern Diver on 6th. There were good counts of Red-breasted Mergansers, with 16 0n 5th, and Redshanks with 34 on the Marsh Pool on 2nd. A littoralis Rock Pipit was seen on 4th and a Purple Sandpiper was extra-territorial on 6th.

February 2021

A total of 86 species for the month was well above the ten year average of only 77 species and, of those ten years, only 91 species in 2012 was better. Clearly, the cold spell was responsible for this. However, the year total of 90 species is still below the ten year average of 92.5 species. Furthermore, no species have been seen this year that was missed in 2020.

A total of 90 species so far this year

95 species by this time last year

22nd-28th

The last week continued in the same vein. A pair of Gadwall flying west and a Chiffchaff at the Obs on 22nd were new for the year but there were no more additions by the end of the month. A Black-throated Diver and six White-fronted Geese flew east and the Water Rail made another of its infrequent appearances on 22nd, a Marsh Harrier flew west and there was a first post cold-spell show of a Kingfisher on 23rd, a raft of 16 Red-breasted Mergansers were draped around the red buoy on 24th and the only Gannet of the month was seen on 28th.

13th-21st

With the cold spell over, we returned to the scraps of the February doldrums. There were five unremarkable additions to the year list with a Stock Dove and a Rook heading west on 16th, a Greenfinch singing along the east bank on 17th and two Mute Swans and two Greylag Geese on 20th. Otherwise, a lone White-fronted Goose flew west on 13th, there were two sightings of Great Northern Divers, on 15th and 21st, and a count of 18 Snipe on the Marsh Pool on 19th.

12th

There were two Wigeon on the tidal ponds, a drake Teal in the brook and 14 Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. 20 Golden Plovers were scattered over the beach and a single Redwing was by the scout hut.

11th

A Black-throated Diver was on the sea. There were 60 Golden Plovers spread across the beach and 50 Lapwings and 40 Knot flew east. Six Teal were noted. Also, eight Skylarks, 44 Fieldfares flew west and 14 Redwings were in the area. A single Corn Bunting at the mouth of the brook was new for the year.

10th

The drake Shoveler on the Marsh Pool had made way for a duck, there were three Teal in the brook and ten Golden Plovers on the beach.

9th

The cold weather continued to provide interesting birds. A Barnacle Goose that had joined the Teal and Shoveler on the Marsh Pool a new bird for the year and in a surprise location. There were 30 Snipe scattered around the area and a lone Jack Snipe was in the brook. Other waders on the beach, included 30 Lapwings and three Knot. Other birds reacting to the conditions were a flock of five Skylarks, a single Fieldfare and 11 Redwings.

8th

Wildfowl were on the move with 15 Shelducks, 22 Wigeon and 14 Pintails heading west. Pride of place, however, must go to a Spotted Redshank which had joined the roosting Common Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A first for the pool but the third year running it as been recorded in the early months of the year. A drake Shoveler was also present on the pool (another addition to the yearlist). A Rock Pipit was seen in the brook.

7th

The start of a cold period with easterly winds and snow. A Woodcock (always a possibility in this weather) was found at the eastern end of the beach and flew into the grassland. Also noted were four Teal, two Grey Plovers and an adult Kittiwake.

1st-6th

The quiet weather continued into February. There was a good count of 27 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool on 1st, a flock of 90 Lapwings flew west on 2nd and a Jay was an addition to the year list on 4th.

January 2021

A total of 76 species for the year

A total of 88 species by this time last year

26th-31st

A Marsh Harrier and the Hampton Purple Sandpiper (which came within scoping distance of the eastern end of the site) were added on 26th, followed by a Rock Pipit during a litter-pick on 28th and a Skylark the next day, ended the month.

8th-25th

The combination of mild, inoffensive weather and the restrictions of lockdown resulted in a very quiet period down at Long Rock. There were a few additions to the year list, not surprising so early in the year, with Reed Bunting on 9th, Grey Plover and Grey Wagtail on 10th and Teal and Buzzard on 11th. A group of four Knot along the beach on 18th was an unusual January record here despite the large numbers that winter in the Swale. This was the only addition in a period of 15 days.

7th

Cloudy, cold with a light NW wind. A very quiet day with one Gannet east and one Shelduck west. Only three Snipe were visible in the Marsh Pool with a very high water level. Also noted were our first Long-tailed Tits of the year at the Obs, the male Stonechat and c12 Linnets briefly in the trees by the obs.

4th

There was an adult Mediterranean Gull on the Marsh Pool, where there were also two Little Grebes and ten Snipe. A Common Scoter and a Lesser Black-backed Gull flew west, there were eight Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and five Kittiwakes flew east.

3rd

A Great Northern Diver and 20 Great Crested Grebes were offshore. There were three Little Grebes and nine Snipe on the Marsh Pool.

2nd

Cloudy, cold with a light NW wind. Three Gannets flew east, a flock of 11 White-fronted Geese flew west high over the sea and two Shelduck flew west. An immature Kittiwake also flew west. A Water Rail showed well on the usual bend along the middle brook and five Redwings flew west. The total for the year now stands at 61 species.

1st

Cloudy and cold with a light NW wind. A Black-throated Diver flew west late morning, ducks included 20 Wigeon, a Shelduck amongst the Brent Geese, three Red-breasted Mergansers, a single Pintail and a drake Goosander. Waders included 20 Golden Plovers on the beach, ten Snipe on the Marsh Pool and a count of 72 Curlews on the fields behind the caravan park which was the highest this winter. A Guillemot flew east close inshore. Other birds noted included Kingfisher, Stonechat and a flock of 25 Linnets along the shingle ridge. A modest 52 species to start the year.

December 2020

176 species so far this year

169 species by the same time last year

A total of 85 species during the month was slightly below average (86.5 in the last ten-year period). Only one species was added to the year list; a Scaup on 1st. Amongst the birds seen during the month were Black-throated Diver and Shag, both seen on a number of occasions, and White-fronted Geese also seen several times. Great Skuas regularly occur in the winter months, but usually single birds, so ten west on 1st and 15 west on the 24th were exceptional. Other birds worthy of a mention were a maximum of 71 Sanderlings on 26th and a female Bullfinch on 28th.

31st

Sunny and cold (rising to 1 C), light westerly wind. With abnormally high numbers in the county this winter, White-fronted Geese continue to be seen more often here and today 13 flew west (which included four juveniles) at 10.45 am. A duck Teal flew east and a drake Red-breasted Merganser flew west. A Shag was close inshore off the shingle ridge and 42 Golden Plovers were roosting on the beach. There were two Mediterranean Gulls – a second-winter on the sea and a first-winter flew west.

30th

Sunny with a light westerly wind. There were two Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 55 Ringed Plovers, 102 Golden Plovers on the beach, nine Snipe on the Marsh Pool and 56 Curlews on the sports fields. Other birds included the female Kingfisher, pair of Stonechats, Song Thrush, two Long-tailed Tits in the Elm Wood, four Linnets and two female Reed Buntings in the scrub.

A Water Vole showed well along the middle brook.

28th

Cloudy and calm. There were 50 Red-throated Divers east and another ten offshore. One Great Northern Diver flew west. Three White-fronted Geese flew east, a pair of Wigeon was offshore and three Red-breasted Mergansers were also seen. Waders included 78 Ringed Plovers roosting and 20 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. A Guillemot flew east close inshore. A Water Rail in the usual place along the middle brook was the third for the period. Bird of the day, however, was a female Bullfinch heard calling at the back of the east bank and seen in flight as it headed across the sewage works. Not an annual visitor although a male was seen several times between December last year and February.

Redshank – Geoff Burton

26th

Cloudy with a light SW wind. A Black-throated Diver landed briefly on the sea by the Obs before flying west. Three Common Scoters flew east, a drake Red-breasted Merganser and a redhead Goosander flew west. Waders included 12 Golden Plovers and 12 Lapwings west, 59 Ringed Plovers, a Grey Plover, 71 Sanderlings and 39 Dunlin roosting between the groynes at the eastern end of the site and 18 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew west. Other birds noted included Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and Stonechat.

24th

Sunny periods, cold with a strong northerly wind. Would a strong onshore wind produce this late in the year? The answer, not to the extent it would have done in Autumn but it did liven things up. All three divers included a(the) Black-throated Diver west and a Great Northern Diver offshore, which also flew west. A single Fulmar flew east and a Shag west. Ducks included four Shelducks, a pair of Wigeon and a pair of Goosanders west, two Velvet Scoters east and single Goldeneye east and west. There were also four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. A total of 15 Great Skuas that flew west (all between 9.10 and 9.30 am) was exceptional this late in the year, a party of 12 Little Gulls west was welcome and 25 Kittiwakes also flew west.

22nd

Cloudy, mild and calm. There were two Black-throated Divers, one flew west and one on the sea towards Hampton. A Shag flew west close inshore and there were 74 Brent Geese on the beach. Three Shelducks flew east, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore and three redhead Goosanders arrived from the east, landing and then fishing along the shoreline. Other birds included a Guillemot sitting on the sea, eight Long-tailed Tits in the churchyard and nine Linnets that alighted on the shingle ridge rosebush.

Goosanders – Geoff Burton

20th

Sunny with a light SW wind. There were 110 Brent Geese on the beach, one Shelduck flew west and a pair Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Waders included ten Sanderlings along the shoreline and ten Snipe and a Lapwing on the Marsh Pool. The brook was in full spate and, where it flowed out over the beach, 118 Black-headed Gulls and one Mediterranean Gull gathered. Other birds included a female Kingfisher in the remnant brook, five Meadow Pipits on the very wet “pigloo” field, a pair of Stonechats, and five Long-tailed Tits in the churchyard.

19th

A Black-throated Diver was offshore and a Shag flew west.

17th

Sunny with a light SW wind. A Black-throated Diver, a Shelduck and five Red-breasted Mergansers flew west, a Gadwall flew east, five and a duck Common Scoter was also noted. There were 25 Golden Plovers roosting on the beach at low tide. This is the highest roosting count so far this winter. There appears to have been a sharp decline. Compare this with a count of 440 on 6th December 2017. Is this due to the increase in disturbance? There were five Little Grebes in the brook. Other birds noted included a firsst-winter Mediterranean Gull west, a male Kingfisher on the “nest tray”, three Stonechats and 25 Linnets on the shingle ridge.

16th

Sunny, mild with a fresh southerly wind. Four Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver and three Great Crested Grebes were noted offshore. Two Little Grebes were in the brook below the sluice and waders included 30 Oystercatchers on the shingle ridge at high tide and the resident Lapwing on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included, one Meadow Pipit, a male Stonechat in the bushes opposite the Obs, three Long-tailed Tits in the Elm Wood and five Linnets on the shingle ridge. Another less than average day!

15th

A pair of Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and 12 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. The higher water levels in the marsh are making Snipe more readily visible. In the afternoon, the Great Northern Diver was seen again.

14th

Sunny, mild with a moderate SW wind. One Gannet flew east, three Shelducks flew west and a Great Skua and Kittiwake were offshore. Another 70 Golden Plovers flew west. Other birds included a female Kingfisher, a Meadow Pipit, a pair of Stonechats, six Long-tailed Tits in the Elm Wood and an unusually large gathering of 45 Linnets on the shingle ridge most of whom flew off west.

A Red Admiral sailed over the Obs on this mild and sunny morning. Our first butterfly since the last day of October when also a Red Admiral was seen.

12th

Cloudy, milder, moderate NW wind. One Great Northern Diver was on the sea, a Black-throated Diver flew east, there were 27 Brent Geese off the beach at high tide and 12 Common Scoters and a Guillemot flew east. Waders included 90 Golden Plovers west over the sea, 30 Sanderlings on the beach and a Marsh Pool gathering of one Lapwing, six Snipe and 30 Redshanks.

10th

Cloudy with a light SE wind. There were five Little Grebes again in the brook below the sluice, two Gannets offshore, one redhead Red-breasted Merganser and 30 Brent Geese. Two Grey Plovers came in from the NW towards the beach. Other birds included a female Kingfisher on the bend below the sluice, seen to catch three small fish in quick succession, two Meadow Pipits, a male Stonechat and a female Reed Bunting.

A weasel was seen hunting amongst the detritus along the back of the Marsh Pool. It came quite close to a Snipe, which was noticeably jittery, but the weasel didn’t seem to pay it any attention.

9th

Cloudy with light rain at first and a light southerly wind. There were three Little Grebes along Coot Strait, 29 Brent Geese on the beach and two duck Wigeon flew west close inshore. Other birds included a Kingfisher at the Marsh Pool and along Coot Strait, a Skylark flying west and a Grey Wagtail along the middle brook.

We are going through a quiet period at the moment.

8th

Two Great Northern Divers were offshore, a flock of 30+ White-fronted Geese flew west, and another four flew SE, and four Greylag Geese headed NW over the Obs. A Reed Bunting was the first seen here for a couple of weeks.

7th

Misty at first becoming more foggy, calm. There were five Little Grebes together in the brook below the sluice, a duck Common Scoter circled around offshore and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers flew west. Waders included a single Grey Plover on the beach and five Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included two Kingfishers, a Grey Wagtail, a pair of Stonechats, a Redwing calling in the sewage works behind the Obs, a flock of c15 Long-tailed Tits and 16 Goldfinches.

6th

No reports from the site but a a first-winter Scaup flew east by the infamous balcony heading towards Swalecliffe. Given the scarcity of this species these days, it may well have been the bird seen here on 1st and elsewhere along the Swale subsequently.

5th

Sunny with a light SW wind. Although Fulmars return to their breeding cliffs as early as November, a single bird, circling around feeding gulls offshore, was our first December record since 2004! Our only November record was in 2012. A Great Northern Diver close inshore was seen making heavy weather of swallowing a flat fish. Later it was trying its beak on crabs. There were three Grey Herons on the tidal ponds and four Gadwall and three Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. A flock of 20 Knot flew west over the sea and there were 11 Snipe and the Lapwing on the Marsh Pool.

4th

Greg counted 24 Curlews on the sports filed behind the caravan park.

3rd

Cloudy, drizzle, light SW wind. A Slavonian Grebe was on the sea just west of the tidal ponds, there were 75 Brent Geese on the beach and four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. A rather quiet morning overall.

2nd

Sunny, cold and calm. Three Mute Swans flew east, a Red-necked Grebe was off the Obs and there were also ten Red-throated Divers and a Red-breasted Merganser offshore. Waders included eight Golden Plovers on the beach and seven Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Three Mistle Thrushes flew over (the highest count here for some time) and two Stonechats were also seen.

1st

Sunny with a strong NW wind and cold. Good to start with a good sea-watching wind albeit rather late in the year. Early on a Great Northern Diver and a Slavonian Grebe flew west. No streams of birds flying west as one might expect in the earlier autumn months but wildfowl were the main focus with two White-fronted Geese east, four Shelducks, two Wigeon and two Gadwall west, an Eider east and the star bird an immature drake Scaup which nearly slipped by unnoticed as it flew west close inshore; our first record for 13 years. Later that day, presumably the same bird was seen in Faversham Creek and the following day on the Swale near the Sportsman at Seasalter. Another notable record was of a total of ten Great Skuas (heading west in ones and twos). The highest December counts at this site previously was only three. Other birds on the move included six adult Kittiwakes and a second-winter Mediterranean Gull west and a dozen or so larger auks including both Guillemot and Razorbill.