January 2023

A total of 86 species so far this year

90 species by the same time last year

31st

Sunny periods, fresh SW wind. Another quiet day on the sea with one Mute Swan flying west. The Purple Sandpiper was at the mouth of the brook early morning. The Pallas’s Warbler was reported again and other birds noted included the Little Grebe on the Marsh Pool, the male Stonechat and seven Redwings which dropped into the Elm Wood.

30th

Sunny, moderate NW wind. There were 120 Sanderlings along the shoreline by the Obs. Three Stock Doves, which flew NW by the Obs, was an addition to our year list and other birds noted included the Pallas’s Warbler (present for the last four weeks at least), the male Stonechat, a male Blackcap and two Goldcrests.

29th

The Pallas’s Warbler was reported today (per Birdguides).

28th

Sunny with a light northerly wind. There were 100+ Red-throated Divers offshore, many flying west as disturbed by boats, four Great Crested Grebes and seven drake Red-breasted Mergansers. The Purple Sandpiper was feeding along the shoreline in front of the Obs. This individual seems to prefer this site to Hampton where they have been seen more regularly in recent years. Other birds noted included the Pallas’s Warbler, now favouring the area around the Elm Wood, and a male Blackcap.

26th

Cloudy, cool, moderate northerly wind. The Little Grebe was on the Marsh Pool and there were two Great Crested Grebes and eight Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 25 Golden Plover flying high NW and 25 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. The Water Rail was seen below the wooden bridge.

25th

Cloudy and cold with a light northerly wind. There were 20+ Red-throated Divers, six Great Crested Grebes and six drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and a brief visit from six Teal just after midday was an addition to the year list. The Little Grebe was again on the Marsh Pool, there were 55 Brent Geese on the beach and two Grey Herons on the tidal ponds. Waders included 33 Oystercatchers on the beach. The Pallas’s Warbler was seen in the area of the Elm Wood which it now seems to prefer. Other birds noted included the Water Rail by the bridge and eight Goldfinches in the Scout Wood.

24th

More birders than birds today it appears but visitors were rewarded with view of the Pallas’s Warbler.

23rd

Cloudy, cold, light NE wind. A good start to the morning when an immature male Scaup was found close inshore by the skate park in the company of three drake Red-breasted Mergansers. Only the fifth record of this species at the site, the bird remained for about an hour before flying off west. There were 95 Brent Geese on the beach and a Little Grebe was on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included the Pallas’s Warbler, the male Stonechat for the first time since the cold weather arrived, the Water Rail along the upper brook and a Goldcrest at the Obs.

22nd

The Pallas’s Warbler continues its presence.

21st

Sunny, cold, light NE wind. There were 20+ Red-throated Divers and four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, two Shelduck flew west and a redhead Goldeneye, which flew west at 10.55 am, was new for the year. There were c120 Brent Geese offshore and a Little Grebe above the sluice was another addition to the year list. Waders included the Purple Sandpiper which showed well on the platform by the caravan park along with the Grey Plover. The Pallas’s Warbler continues to entertain to those with the patience or luck. Other birds along the brook included single Redwing and two male Blackcaps whilst a flock of eight Snow Buntings flew east along the beach by the caravan park providing a third addition to the year list.

20th

Amongst the birds noted today were the Pallas’s Warbler, Water Rail and Redwing.

19th

Sunny, cold with a hard frost, light westerly wind. The sea continues to underperform. A Shelduck flew west and four Common Scoters flew east. Waders included the Purple Sandpiper and 129 roosting Dunlin and the resident Grey Plover. Two Skylarks flying west were new for the year whilst down at the Pallas’s Warbler festivities other birds included a male Blackcap, three Rooks overhead, another addition to the year list, and a Redwing, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest.

Purple Sandpiper – Geoff Burton
Grey Plover – Geoff Burton

18th

The Pallas’s Warbler made a welcome reappearance and a Water Rail along the upper brook was its first sighting this year. Two Redwings and the male Blackcap were also seen. The sea remains “very quiet”.

Water Rail – Andy Taylor

17th

Sunny, cold with a light SW wind. 51 Red-throated Divers flew west including flocks of 25 and 22. There were seven drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and two Common Scoters flew east. Waders noted included the Grey Plover and 52 Sanderlings along the shoreline by the Obs. Other birds noted included a Jay by the sewage works entrance, an addition to the year list, Chiffchaff and two Goldcrests and 11 Long-tailed Tits heading along the upper brook from the Scout Wood. Eight Goldfinches flew along the upper brook.

There were no reports of the Pallas’s Warbler today.

16th

A Birdguides report of the Pallas’s Warbler at 3.55 pm.

15th

The Purple Sandpiper was reported on Birdguides “still by the caravan park” and the Pallas’s Warbler was reported at 12.36 pm and 3.54 pm.

14th

A Birdguides report of the Pallas’s Warbler “showing well along the brook between bridge and sewage works entrance” at 2.42 pm and of the Purple Sandpiper “commuting between the grass and beach by the coastguard cottages with Turnstones at 2.18 pm.

13th

Sunny with a fresh SW wind. A Great Northern Diver, in from the east, landed off the Obs, there were four drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and a drake Goosander, new for the year, flew west at 10.10 am. An immature Marsh Harrier flew west low over the sea and 60 Golden Plovers also headed west. The Pallas’s Warbler gave good views along the east bank, where there were also three Chiffchaffs, whilst a Goldcrest was at the Obs and a Rock Pipit appeared briefly in the remnant brook.

Kestrel – Geoff Burton

12th

Another day of rain and strong winds. The Great Northern Diver and a Rock Pipit were both noted.

11th

Sunny with a light SW wind. There were 10 Red-throated Divers, 12 Great Crested Grebes and six drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Wadrs included 38 Oystercatchers gathered on the incoming tide, 40 Golden Plovers west over the sea, a Grey Plover on the mudflats and 18 Snipe On the Marsh Pool. The Pallas’s Warbler showed well along the east bank whilst a Redwing briefly in trees along the upper brook and a male Blackcap on the edge of the Elm Wood were additions to the year list.

Redwing – Andy Taylor
Pallas’s Warbler – Phil Smith
Pallas’s Warbler – Andy Taylor

10th

Wet and windy weather kept locals and apparently Pallas’s Warbler hopefuls away. However, the Purple Sandpiper was seen on the beach in front of the caravan park and a good count of 54 Curlews were roosting on the fields behind the park.

9th

Sunny with a light SW wind. Ten Red-throated Divers and seven Great Crested Grebes were offshore, an immature Gannet flew west and 25 White-fronted Geese came in high from the east and were probably heading for Sheppey. Eight Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Waders included a group of seven Golden Plovers heading west. There were many birders looking for the the Pallas’s Warbler which didn’t show well until the afternoon despite the apparent good conditions. However, the increased level of observations resulted in finding a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in the Elm Wood, presumably the bird seen on Dec 16th and 17th last year, and three Ravens heading east. Two good additions to the year list.

Goldcrest – Andy Taylor

8th

A Grey Heron on the tidal ponds was new for the year and there were several reports of the Pallas’s Warbler during the day.

7th

Cloudy, some drizzle, fresh southerly wind. Six Red-throated Divers flew east and four Great Crested Grebes were offshore. Two Shelducks were on the tidal ponds and another flew west. Two duck Eiders by the tidal ponds drifted west through the morning and there were six Drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 63 Ringed Plovers and 89 Dunlin roosting between the groynes and ten Snipe visible on the Marsh Pool. Two adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls were on the beach and a Sandwich Tern was fishing off the Obs. Despite the poor conditions, there were a couple of sightings of the Pallas’s Warbler in the sheltered areas by the sewage works entrance.

6th

A Great Northern Diver was seen by the tidal ponds, the Purple Sandpiper was noted again and, at high tide at lunchtime, there was a good count of 54 Curlews roosting on the sports fields behind the caravan park. The Pallas’s Warbler was also reported.

5th

Sunny, mild with a light SW wind. The Pallas’s Warbler continues its residency but kinder conditions led to more frequent appearances during the day. There were 20+ Red-throated Divers and 11 Great Crested Grebes offshore, five Shelducks flew west, two adult Mute Swans drifted east and 76 Brent Geese were on the beach. Other counts included 62 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes and 33 adult Common Gulls on the Marsh Pool. A Sandwich Tern flew west close inshore at 10.55 am. Other birds noted included two Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest.

Mute Swans – Geoff Burton
Sandwich Tern – Andy Taylor

4th

Cloudy, mild with a moderate SW wind. One Great Northern Diver and two Shelducks flew west, a Fulmar flew east, there were three Gannets offshore and six drake Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea. Waders included the Purple Sandpiper in amongst a flock of 143 roosting Sanderlings in front of the caravan park, a single Grey Plover there and two Lapwings flying west inland. The Pallas’s Warbler showed, for those with the patience to wait, along the east bank and other birds noted included up to five Goldcrests.

A Brown Rat showed well along the edge of the middle brook.

3rd

The Pallas’s Warbler was present again, though it continues to be elusive. A Gannet and a Marsh Harrier were additions to the year list.

2nd

Sunny periods , mild with a light SW wind. A good start to the day with seven White-fronted Geese west and our first ever January Sandwich Tern was truly eclipsed when Andy found a Pallas’s Warbler along the east bank. This is only our second record of the species after one in October 2019 and most unexpected at this time of the year. It proved elusive during the day with more than two hours after the initial sightings before it was refound. Some movement over the sea with six Shelducks and six Wigeon west, 11 Pintail and two Common Scoters east and eight Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Other birds noted included Cetti’s Warbler and three Chiffchaffs, two Goldcrests, six Long-tailed Tits, 12 Linnets and a Reed Bunting.

1st

Cloudy, mild with a moderate SW wind. An improvement in the weather at least. Two Red-throated Divers and two Great Crested Grebes were offshore with six drake Red-breasted Mergansers and a pair of Wigeon flew west. A Purple Sandpiper was seen briefly amongst other roosting waders at the eastern end of the beach. Other waders included Golden Plover, a single Lapwing, 77 Sanderlings, 35 Snipe in the Marsh Pool and 14 Curlews heading west out of Studd Hill. Star bird of the day was a male Bullfinch in the elms by the car park which flew into the sewage works. A species not seen at all in 2022! Other birds noted included a Sparrowhawk, a Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, the male Stonechat, singing Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Chiffchaff, ten Goldfinches and a Reed Bunting. A total of 53 species for the start of the year; about average.

December 2022

A total of 171 species so far this year

169 species by this time last year and by the end of the year

31st

Cloudy, very mild, fresh SW wind and light rain. Five Red-throated Divers and a Shelduck flew west and there were three drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included the “resident” Grey Plover and 60 Golden Plovers flew west low over the sea. Other birds included a Song Thrush singing from the bushes opposite the Obs, a Goldcrest at the Obs, the Cetti’s Warbler in the brambles near the car park, a flock of 14 Goldfinches around the changing rooms and 12 Linnets along the coastal path. A quiet, fairly unpleasant end to the year.

29th

Sunny with a moderate SW wind. There were four drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore but only one Red-throated Diver and no Great Crested Grebe was seen. The redhead Goosander was again in the remnant brook and later flew by east. Waders included 70 Golden Plovers west over the sea, 22 Sanderlings along the beach and at least 18 visible Snipe on the Marsh Pool where a Little Grebe and the juvenile Moorhen still reside. Other birds noted included a Rock Pipit in the remnant brook, a male Stonechat, two Chiffchaffs and five Goldfinches.

26th

Sunny with a light westerly wind. Two Shelduck flew west and eight drake Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore but only single Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebe were noted. Waders included 33 Oystercatchers on the incoming tide and 30 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A Little Grebe was also on the Marsh Pool and the Water Rail, if was indeed the same bird last seen on November 30th, was seen briefly from the wooden bridge by the sewage works. Other birds noted included the Cetti’s Warbler, heard in the brambles near the car park and a Chiffchaff and two Goldcrests along the east bank.

A Brown Rat showed well on the banks of the middle brook.

24th

Cloudy with a light SW wind. There were nine drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, a redhead Goosander was in the remnant brook early morning (presumably though not necessarily the bird last seen on 5th) and a pair of Velvet Scoters flew west at 10.38 and back east about 15 minutes later. An increase in Brent Geese with 98 on the beach. The drake Shoveler was again on the Marsh Pool for its fourth day. Waders included 77 Ringed Plovers and 48 Dunlin roosting between the groynes, the Grey Plover on its usual post, there were two Lapwings on the beach and ten flew west out at sea and 18 Snipe were on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included one Skylark west, the male Stonechat, Cetti’s Warbler, Chiffchaff and two Goldcrests, ten Linnets and a Reed Bunting.

22nd

Cloudy, mild, shower, light SW wind. There were 10+ Red-throated Divers and seven Great Crested Grebes offshore and 33 Brent Geese along the shoreline. The drake Shoveler was still on the Marsh Pool, and briefly on the sea. There was also a Little Grebe, a juvenile Moorhen and 20 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included a single Skylark west, two Meadow Pipits, a Grey Wagtail and a pair of Stonechats around the mouth of the brook, a Chiffchaff at the Obs and two Long-tailed Tits.

Shoveler – Geoff Burton

21st

Cloudy, mild, light southerly wind. Quiet times with more interest on the Marsh Pool than the sea. There were two Little Grebes, a Little Egret, two drakes and a duck Teal, seven Mallards, a drake Shoveler and 21 visible Snipe on the Marsh Pool. A few Red-throated Divers and six Great Crested Grebes, including one in full breeding plumage, and 34 Brent Geese which flew down to Hampton. Other birds noted included a male Stonechat, Cetti’s Warbler and Chiffchaff and ten Linnets.

20th

Sunny, much milder with a light northerly wind. There were six Red-throated Divers offshore but only a single Great Crested Grebe was noted. There were just four Brent Geese offshore on the high tide. Two drakes and a duck Teal, a Little Grebe, a juvenile Moorhen and at least 12 Snipe were visible on the Marsh Pool. One Grey Plover flew west and another was on the beach. Other birds noted included a male Stonechat, a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest along the east bank, four Goldfinches in the churchyard and along the east bank and a female Reed Bunting in the scrub.

17th

Clouding over, cold still with a light SW wind. An immature Spoonbill flew west at 8.40 am and east at 9.40 am; our first December record for the site. A flock of seven Goosanders, a drake and six redheads, flew west at 8 am and two Red-breasted Mergansers were seen offshore. Waders included 200+ Lapwings and five Golden Plovers west. Other birds noted were a Grey Wagtail, three Song Thrushes, three Redwings, two Chiffchaffs and there was a reappearance of the male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in the Elm Wood. This is the first to be seen for a second day; the previous records were in July 1995, February, June and November 1998, June 2005 and September 2020.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker – Geoff Burton

16th

The feeling of a quiet morning was rudely interrupted when a male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker flew out of the sewage works over the Obs then flew along the brook where it was heard calling but not seen again. Apart from a report from a visiting birder when the Wryneck was present in September 2020, this is the first record here since 2005. With the decline of this species in the county, albeit its stronghold is in the nearby Blean Woods complex, this was a big surprise. It was seen by three of the lucky, but hard working, regulars. Other birds noted included a pair of Gadwall west, a Peregrine hunting waders over the beach, 40 Kittiwakes west, a Rock Pipit and a Greenfinch.

15th

Five Gadwalls flew west, two drake Pochards flew east then back west, and two Teal and five Red-breasted Mergansers were on the sea. A few Lapwings flew north, the Cetti’s Warbler was noted again and a Goldcrest was along the east bank.

14th

A Cetti’s Warbler was seen near the changing rooms. Presumably, the long-staying bird that has been remarkably silent in the last couple of weeks.

12th

Cloudy, some snow cover. There were five Great Crested Grebes offshore and seven drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, six Teal lingered along the shoreline and reduced numbers of Brent Geese, only 28, were on the beach. There were 33 Oystercatchers on the beach, the usual Grey Plover resting on the groynes and another flew west. Other birds included Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail, a Skylark came in off the sea, a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest were in the Lang Court pines and a Snow Bunting circled over the beach calling.

10th

Sunny, hard frost, calm. There were nine Great Crested Grebes, four Eiders, an immature drake and three ducks, and three Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, a Gannet and a flock of 20 Teal flew west and a Great Northern Diver flew east. A Cattle Egret flew west at 11.50 am and a female Marsh Harrier also flew west. Waders included 34 Oystercatchers on the beach on the incoming tide, a Grey Plover on the beach and 55 Sanderlings along the shoreline by the Obs. The Sanderling “put up with” being chased persistently by a dog whilst the owners looked on. They did return but at what cost in energy spent! Other birds noted included a female Kingfisher, male Great Spotted Woodpecker in the Elm Wood and the pair of Stonechats lingering around the Obs.

9th

Sunny, cold with a light NW wind. The cold weather appears to have quietened things down so far. A Black-throated Diver was seen on the sea off the Obs before it flew off east. 12 Common Scoters flew east and a Shelduck and a drake Red-breasted Merganser flew west. The immature Little Gull was seen again offshore and also further east at Hampton. Other birds included a Rock Pipit and the pair of Stonechats hanging around the Obs.

8th

Sunny, cold (-1 to 3 degrees C), light NW wind. There was a Shelduck, a flock of 17 Teal and two Common Scoters west whilst a small group of Brent Geese included a plain brown bird, paler underneath, of the same size and presumably just a colour variation. There were also four drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Four species of raptor were seen; an immature Marsh Harrier flew west, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel, and a Peregrine circling high to the SE. Waders included a Grey Plover and 56 Sanderlings on the beach and 84 Dunlin roosting between the groynes. A flock of c40 Curlews were in the air over Studd Hill. An immature Little Gull was lingering offshore. Other birds noted included Kingfisher and Great Spotted Woodpecker, one Skylark west, two Rock Pipits, a pair of Stonechats at the Obs, four Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest and the ever scarcer Greenfinch.

7th

Cloudy, cold (3.5 degrees C on leaving), moderate NW wind. Two Mute Swans that flew west low over the sea were our first since August, nine Shelduck flew west, two Common Scoters flew east and there were five drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 40 Ringed Plovers, 28 Sanderlings and nine Dunlin roosting between the groynes, a single Grey Plover on the beach and c50 Golden Plovers west low over the sea. An adult and immature Little Gull flew west close inshore. Other birds included two Little Grebes in the brook, Kingfisher and Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Grey Wagtails over the Obs and two Snow Buntings seen in flight several times over the coastal path.

6th

There were three Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver and three Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, two Gannets offshore and a Chiffchaff was also noted.

5th

Cloudy, cold, light NE wind. There was one Great Northern Diver and three drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, c12 Common Scoters flew west and the redhead Goosander was on the Marsh Pool. Wades included a Lapwing which landed briefly on the shingle ridge, 26 Curlews which flew towards Studd Hill and 13 Snipe and 31 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Two Kittiwakes flew east. Other birds included two Rock Pipits chasing each other around the mouth of the brook, two Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest.

3rd

Cloudy, cold with a light NE wind. There were two Great Northern Divers offshore, a Red-necked Grebe flew east with two Great Crested Grebes (an excellent comparison) and a Gannet flew west with a bright yellow “shawl” draped over its back (later seen in some distress at Faversham Creek). Three Shelducks and six Wigeon flew west, three duck Eiders offshore flew east, five Red-breasted Mergansers flew east close inshore and the redhead Goosander flew up the brook. A Purple Sandpiper which flew east close inshore, our first for two years, is likely to be the bird subsequently settled at Hampton. There were 40 Sanderlings on the shoreline, a single Bar-tailed Godwit was the first for some time, and 21 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Five Little Gulls, including three immatures, 15 Kittiwakes flew east and a Sandwich Terns flew east. Other birds included a Kingfisher, two Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest at the Obs.

Gannet – Andy Taylor

2nd

Two Great Northern Divers, a Red-necked Grebe, three Wigeon, a Teal and two Eiders.

1st

Cloudy with showers and a light NE breeze. There were two Great Northern Divers, a Red-necked Grebe and three Slavonian Grebes offshore. Six Shelducks and two Gadwall flew east, a Velvet Scoter and 17 Common Scoters flew east, there were two drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and the redhead Goosander was along the middle brook with Mallards. Waders included a Grey Plover, Sanderlings included the “injured” bird and there were 18 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Five Little Gulls flew west and eight Kittiwakes flew east. Other birds noted included one Little Grebe, a Kingfisher and a Chiffchaff.

Goosander – Geoff Burton

November 2022

The total of 109 species for the month was well above the ten-year average of 102.2 species. This was in spite of it being a largely mild month although there was one significant sea-watch day on 4th which produced an unexpected (given its bird-flu travails) count of 15 Great Skuas. There were only four additions to the year list but this included a new bird for the site in Pallid Swift on 2nd. A sad story of a crash landing near the skate park on the 2nd after a cooling in the weather conditions. It was taken into care but died two days later. Other additions to the year list were Red-necked Grebe on 14th and Black-necked Grebe (only our sixth record) and Hen Harrier on 22nd.

Also a surprise was an addition to the butterfly year list of a Clouded Yellow on the late date of 9th.

A total of 169 species so far this year

A total of 166 species by this time last year

30th

Cloudy and calm. A fairly quiet morning with one Slavonian Grebe and the two duck Eiders offshore. Sanderlings included the bird with the “sail” wing which was seen in flight, there were 18 Snipe and 42 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Four Little Gulls flew west, (another 11 were seen in the afternoon) and one Sandwich Tern offshore. Other birds noted included a Water Rail along the middle brook, five Chiffchaffs and a Corn Bunting seen briefly to land on a bramble patch in the grassland.

28th

Cloudy with a light SW wind. There were three Slavonian Grebes together on the tidal ponds, the highest count for many years, three Grey Herons also on the tidal ponds and two drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 20 Oystercatchers, and 21 Snipe and 18 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A single Sandwich Tern was offshore. Other birds noted included a Skylark north, a Grey Wagtail, a Song Thrush, the Cetti’s Warbler, two Chiffchaffs a Goldcrest in the Elm Wood and a Reed Bunting west.

26th

Cloudy with a light southerly wind. One Great Northern Diver, one Red-necked Grebe, two Slavonian Grebes, three Eiders including one adult drake, 13 Common Scoters all female/immatures, flying east, two drake Red-breasted Mergansers and a redhead Goosander were seen offshore. Waders included one Grey Plover, 70 Lapwings flying west low over the sea and 23 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. An immature Kittiwake flew east and there were two Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds noted included a Buzzard flying south over the area, a female Kingfisher, a Grey Wagtail, four Chiffchaffs along the east bank and a Jay.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Geoff Burton

25th

Only one extra-territorial Snow Buntings was seen today.

24th

Sunny at first then cloudy with light to moderate southerly wind. There was one Great Northern Diver, one Red-necked Grebe and one Slavonian Grebe offshore amongst 10+ Red-throated Divers and 15+ Great Crested Grebes. Ducks included two female Eiders, joined by a female/immature Common Scoter, another 13 female/immature Common Scoters flew east, and two drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included a Grey Plover, and 13 Snipe and 18 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. There were four Gannets and four Sandwich Terns offshore and four Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the beach. A bit of vis mig with 14 Chaffinches, two Bramblings and 3 Goldfinches west. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Stonechats and 20 Linnets around the shingle ridge.

23rd

Cloudy, rain from 8.30-10.30 am, light SW wind. Two Black-throated Divers and a Slavonian Grebe were close inshore by the skate park and the two duck Eider were offshore. Waders included 16 Golden Plovers flying west low over the sea, the “resident” Grey Plover and 12 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. There were 18 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and an Arctic Tern, amongst the feeding Black-headed Gulls offshore, flew off west. Other birds included an un-ringed Rock Pipit at the mouth of the brook two Chiffchaffs along the east bank and a single Snow Bunting between the groynes within our territory!

22nd

Sunny with a light southerly wind. A great morning on the sea with five species of grebe including one Red-necked Grebe, two Slavonian Grebes and, rarest of all, only our sixth record of Black-necked Grebe. A Little Grebe in the brook made it all five grebes! Also on the sea were two Black-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver, two duck Eider and two Red-breasted Mergansers. A ringtail Hen Harrier which flew south over the caravan park at 8.09 am was new for the year. A Black Redstart dropped into the bushes opposite the Obs at 11.30 am and other birds noted included two Buzzards, a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest.

Black-throated Diver – Andy Taylor
Black-necked Grebe – Andy Taylor
Slavonian Grebe – Andy Taylor

21st

Cloudy with a light southerly wind. A Great Northern Diver was fishing off the Obs heading west as it went. A Red-necked Grebe flew west at 11.40 am. One Shelduck flew west, four Tufted Ducks flew west at 10.35 am, a Common Scoter flew west and another four were on the sea and two drake Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Waders included 160 Lapwings west, 44 Sanderlings on the beach, 30+ Snipe flushed anonymously from the Marsh Pool and c20 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. One Little Gull was offshore in amongst a flock of feeding Black-headed Gulls and six Sandwich Terns flew east. Other birds noted included a Grey Wagtail and a Redwing.

19th

Cloudy, moderate NW wind. Conditions reasonable for a sea watch. The most significant movement was of Little Gulls with a total of 125 west during the morning. One Great Northern Diver, seven Shelducks, five Wigeon, 65 Teal, four Mallard, a Pintail, a redhead Goldeneye, four Red-breasted Mergansers and three redhead Goosanders flew west. Also, 13 Lapwings, two Arctic Skuas, c40 Kittiwakes and three Sandwich Terns flew west. A Razorbill was seen offshore and two Avocets circled over the beach before heading west. Other birds noted included a Rock Pipit at the mouth of the brook, but this individual was unringed, 20 Linnets along the shingle ridge and the three Snow Buntings to the east.

Rock Pipit – Andy Taylor

18th

Cloudy, moderate westerly wind. There were 20+ Gannets offshore, a flock of 23 Common Scoters flew west, a flock of 40 flew west then east and two female/immatures were on the sea. There were only two adult drakes in total. A redhead Goldeneye was on the sea early morning and a redhead Goosander was in the remnant brook and later on the sea. Waders included a Grey Plover, 80 Sanderlings and 12 Dunlin between the groynes and ten Snipe and 42 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Three Little Gulls flew SW over the church and four flew west over the sea, 58 Kittiwakes flew west and three Sandwich Terns were offshore. Other birds included Great Spotted Woodpecker, Rock Pipit and Grey Wagtail, and a Black Redstart and the three Snow Buntings towards the coastguard cottages.

Photographs were taken of the Rock Pipit and they revealed that it had been colour-ringed. It was a Norwegian ring but, unfortunately, the ring was part-hidden and could not be clearly read. We can safely assume that this was a Scandinavian Rock Pipit!

Rock Pipit – Geoff Burton

16th

A Black-tailed Godwit flew west over the beach. The Grey Plover was also present.

15th

Cloudy, rain from 9.30 am, moderate SW wind. There were two Red-throated Divers, five Common Scoters offshore and three Little Egrets and one Grey Plover on the beach. Sandwich Terns continue their late seasonal presence with four offshore today. Other birds noted included Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail, three Stonechats, the Cetti’s Warbler, 20 Linnets and the three distant Snow Buntings.

14th

A foggy morning revealed very little but Andy’s afternoon WEBS count was more productive. A Red-necked Grebe off the caravan park was new for the year whilst a raft of duck off the Obs included three Shelducks and nine Shoveler. A Woodcock came in off the sea and a drake Mandarin Duck was on the Marsh Pool. The wader count included 87 Sanderlings and 67 Turnstones.

Mandarin Duck – Andy Taylor
Kingfisher – Andy Taylor

13th

At the eastern end of the site, a Black Redstart was seen amongst the pigloos and an increase to three Snow Buntings was noted.

11th

Sunny periods, mild, moderate SW wind. Two Red-throated Divers, five Great Crested Grebes and a fishing Gannet were offshore. The redhead Goosander was on the tidal ponds early morning and along the shoreline later. Waders included six Golden Plovers and a Grey Plover on the beach, 18 Sanderlings on the mudflats and a flock of 20 Curlews heading across to Studd Hill. Two Sandwich Terns and a Razorbill wee also seen offshore. Other birds included a Little Grebe in the brook, Rock Pipit by the brook outflow, three Stonechats, two Chiffchaffs, a Brambling, a Goldfinch, three Siskins and a Redpoll west and a Corn Bunting in the grassland bushes.

Goosander – Arnie van Orsouw
Stonechat – Geoff Burton

10th

Sunny, light SW wind. A redhead Goosander was present close inshore early morning. Our first significant movement of Woodpigeons occurred at first light with 1,750 flying west and with nine Stock Doves also noted. Waders included 34 Oystercatchers on the beach on the incoming tide, three Golden Plovers and a Grey Plover west, 25 Sanderlings on the beach including our long-staying individual which was keeping itself separate from the flock, seven Dunlin and a flock of seven Curlews heading for the Studd Hill roost. There were 14 Great Black-backed Gulls on the tidal ponds and one Sandwich Tern. Other birds noted included one Skylark west, a Grey Wagtail on the skate park puddles, two Bramblings, a Greenfinch, seven Siskins and three Redpolls west and a party of six Corn Buntings also west.

A Small White butterfly was also noted.

Woodpigeons – Andy Taylor
Goosander – Andy Taylor

9th

Sunny, mild, light SW wind. The Great Northern Diver was again off the Obs and there were also two Red-throated Divers. Four Little Egrets were on the beach and roosting along the east bank and another two flew west over the sea. Two redhead Red-breasted Mergansers were “snorkelling” close inshore. A female Merlin flew over the beach by the skate park early morning. Waders included 25 Oystercatchers and seven Sanderlings on the beach, three Lapwings and four Knot west and five Snipe and 31 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Three Mediterranean Gulls flew west, and adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and a juvenile begging for food were on the Marsh Pool, there was an increase to 14 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach, one Sandwich Tern offshore and a Razorbill was on the sea close inshore. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher, three Skylarks, eight Siskins and a Reed Bunting west, two Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest by the Obs and the two Snow Buntings were on the beach between the caravan park and the coastguard cottages.

The biggest surprise of the day was a Clouded Yellow butterfly which flew by the Obs. Our first and an extremely late addition to the butterfly list for the year of 23 species.

Red-breasted Mergansers – Geoff Burton
Merlin – Andy Taylor

8th

Birds noted included a Rock Pipit, two Grey Wagtails, four Stonechats and four Lesser Redpolls flew west.

7th

Cloudy, mild, moderate SW wind and showers. Our first returning Great Northern Diver showed well close inshore by the Obs. There were c160 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included 41 Ringed Plovers and 18 Dunlin roosting between the groynes and ten Snipe and 16 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Two Sandwich Terns were still offshore and other birds noted included single Song Thrush and Redwing, two Reed Buntings, the two Snow Buntings visible to the “east” and there was a light movement of Chaffinches.

Great Northern Diver – Andy Taylor

5th

A much quieter day with only our third single Mistle Thrush of the year. Also noted were one Shelduck, a Kingfisher and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Swallows and a Goldcrest.

4th

Sunny with a fresh to strong northerly wind. We have been waiting all autumn for weather conditions conducive to a bit of sea-watching. Not a classic but the best so far and probably the last. Most significant was the movement of skuas with four Pomarine Skuas, including a light-phase adult compete with “spoons”, 11 Arctic Skuas and 16 Great Skuas (far more than we’ve seen throughout the season) and a continuous stream of Kittiwakes, c1,500. Also on the move were six Wigeon, three Teal close inshore, a flock of 20 Pintail, two Common Scoters, a lone Little Gull and five Razorbills. Other birds noted included an immature male Peregrine close inshore, five Skylarks, a small movement of Chaffinches and three Redpolls.

2nd

Sunny with a light southerly wind. A Slavonian Grebe, on the sea east of the tidal ponds, was the first of the season. There were also three Red-throated Divers and six Great Crested Grebes offshore. Waders included 81 Ringed Plovers, 95 Sanderlings and six Dunlin roosting between the groynes. An adult Kittiwake was on the sea close inshore. Other birds included a female Marsh Harrier south over the area at 9 am, three Redpolls west and a phylloscopus warbler with an interesting call was too elusive.

Weather conditions certainly favoured the appearance of Pallid Swifts and there were good numbers in the country including one seen and well photographed by Andy the previous day nearby on the Tankerton slopes. Whilst walking by the skate park in the afternoon, Andy saw a lone flying Swift fall to earth in the grass; the Pallid Swift of the previous day. He put it in his hat (not sure whether he was still wearing it) and took it home to look after it.

Pallid Swift – Andy Taylor

1st

Cloudy, showers nearby, fresh SW wind and a bit cooler. There were three Red-throated Divers and five Great Crested Grebes offshore, Gannets were fishing offshore, a redhead Red-breasted Merganser west at 11.35 am was the first of the season. Waders included a Grey Plover on the beach, two Lapwings south, nine Sanderlings on the beach including the one with a damaged wing and 4 Snipe and 18 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. There were three Little Egrets on the beach, two Sandwich Terns offshore and a Razorbill flew west. Other birds noted included a Rock Pipit and two Chiffchaffs and two Goldcrests at the Obs.

Grey Plover – Geoff Burton

October 2022

The dominance of mild and southerly wind conditions is not what one would hope for in October. The total of 106 species for the month was down on the average of 109.8 for the previous ten-year period. There were nine additions to the year. The total of 165 species is above the ten-year average of 160.1 species by this time of the year. There were no significant rarities during the month but highlights included five Bearded Tits on 12th, only the second record in the last ten years, two long-staying Velvet Scoters from 12th-29th, our latest record of Willow Warbler from 22nd-24th, which perhaps not surprisingly had characteristics of acredula, and three Spoonbills present on the tidal ponds for at least two and a half hours on 31st.

165 species so far this year

163 species by this time last year

31st

Sunny, mild with a light southerly wind. Although the month ended in the same mild manner and the same southerly winds, it proved an interesting day. It began with finally adding the two Snow Buntings to our year list. Although they hadn’t moved, the could clearly be seen on the promenade by the coast cottages from our eastern border. A group of four Yellowhammers, exceptional these days, which flew west by the Obs included three males. Also, three immature Spoonbills were noted resting on the tidal ponds at 10.30 am where they remained until 12.55 pm when they flew west, probably pushed off by the rising tide. Our equal highest count here an definitely our longest stayers. One Red-throated Diver and four Great Crested Grebes were offshore and four Egyptian Geese on the beach flew off east at 7.50 am. Waders included four Snipe on the Marsh Pool, a first-winter Mediterranean Gull flew east, three Little Gulls flew west, there were seven adult Great Black-backed Gull on the beach, a juvenile Arctic Tern flew east and a Sandwich Tern maintained that species presence throughout the month. Other birds noted included Kingfisher, two Goldcrest, a flock of 20 Linnets over the shingle ridge and a Redpoll west.

Spoonbills – Geoff Burton

29th

A Pomarine Skua and 18 Kittiwakes flew west and 12 Little Gulls flew east. The two Velvet Scoters were again offshore in the morning although two, presumably the same, were seen off Seasalter in the afternoon. Other birds noted included a Goldcrest with Long-tailed Tits by the Obs, a flock of ten Siskins and two Redpolls.

28th

Sunny, very mild (up to 19.5 degrees C), light SW wind. There were single Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebes, six Gannets and the two Velvet Scoters offshore. Waders included 26 Oystercatchers and the injured Sanderling. There were eight adult Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and three Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Rock Pipit and Grey Wagtail, a pair of Stonechats, a Redwing and three Goldcrests.

Stonechat – Geoff Burton

27th

The two Velvet Scoters were offshore.

26th

Sunny, mild (up to 18 degrees C), light SW wind. There were single Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebe offshore and four Gannets flew west. Two Grey Plovers on the beach flew west and there were three Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds included two Swallows west, two Grey Wagtails and three Redwings along the east bank.

Butterflies noted were Small Whites, two Holly Blues and a Speckled Wood.

25th

The two Velvet Scoters flew west. Four Little Gulls cold be seen off the Street. Chiffchaff numbers were far fewer and vis mig included five Greenfinches and a party of four Corn Buntings.

24th

Sunny, mild, light SW wind. There were three Red-throated Divers, two Great Crested Grebes and the two Velvet Scoters offshore. A flock of 200 Brent Geese included at least 63 juveniles. A Teal dropped into the marsh. Waders included 25 Oystercatchers, four Sanderlings, the one with the injured wing as well, and six Curlews. After large numbers of Little Gulls in the area the previous day, there were still c30 amongst the gulls and terns off the Street. 17 Sandwich Terns were settled on the beach at one time and three Razorbills flew west. Other birds noted included four Skylarks, one Swallow, four Greenfinches and two Redpolls west, a Redwing, the long-staying Cetti’s Warbler, two Blackcaps, c10 Chiffchaffs and the Willow Warbler along the east bank.

Willow Warbler – Andy Taylor

22nd

Sunny, mild with a light SW wind. There were three Red-throated Divers and two Great Crested Grebes offshore and four Gannets flew west. A flock of 127 Brent Geese along the shoreline included a very high number of at least 37 juveniles. Waders included the injured Sanderling roosting alone between the groynes (present since 20th May) and two Snipe and 15 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A late Willow Warbler, possibly acredula, was amongst the Chiffchaffs along the east bank. Other birds included a male Great Spotted Woodpecker in the sea buckthorn along the east bank, a flock of 22 Jackdaws circling over the beach and a Greenfinch in the scrub.

Willow Warbler – Andy Taylor
Sanderling – Geoff Burton

21st

A Merlin flew west close inshore at 11.10 am.

20th

Cloudy, mild, heavy rain at times, light SW wind. There were two Red-throated Divers and three Great Crested Grebes offshore. The two Velvet Scoters were again offshore and, during heavy rain, a flock of c180 Common Scoters landed on the sea. They were too distant, and with poor light conditions, it was impossible to pick out any other species. However, in one group of Scoter in flight there were seven Tufted Ducks and two singles were also seen. There were also seven Teal on the Marsh Pool and another 12 on the sea. Waders included 105 Lapwings west in three flocks, 22 Sanderlings roosting between the groynes and a Snipe was on the Marsh Pool. A Pomarine Skua flew east close inshore and there were three Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds included three Song Thrushes which flew out of the bushes opposite the Obs, a Brambling in trees by the Obs and another heard along the east bank and later a Corn Bunting, new for the year, flew west by the skate park.

Little Grebe – Andy Taylor

19th

A day of brisk easterly winds brought about a significant change in the birds seen. The biggest flocks of Brent Geese so far this autumn with c1,200 heading west. Other wildfowl included 33 Wigeon, 26 Teal and eight Pintail west, a redhead Goosander east and a flock of 24 Common Scoters east at midday. Only one Velvet Scoter was noted offshore. A Woodcock in off the sea was new for the year and the birds on the move included eight Arctic Skuas and a single Great Skua west and four Kittiwakes flying east close inshore. Other birds included several parties of Skylarks, a first for the autumn Ring Ousel which dropped into the scrub, two Bramblings, a Siskin and two Yellowhammers which were also new for the year.

18th

Sunny, mild and calm. There were three Red-throated Divers and a Great Crested Grebe offshore and a Gannet resting on the sea. A Great White Egret, accompanied by three Little Egrets, flew NW over the area early morning. Ten Brent Geese flew west and there were 26 on the beach late morning and the two Velvet Scoters were off the skate park early morning and later to the east of the tidal ponds. There were 55 Mallard on the Marsh Pool early morning, where presumably they roost at night, and 22 Redshanks. Other waders included 112 Ringed Plovers, 69 Sanderlings and a Dunlin roosting between the groynes and a flock of 20 Golden Plovers heading west over the sea. Other birds note included five Skylarks west, three Stonechats, two Jays and singles of Greenfinch and Siskin.

A Snow Bunting was photographed by the Coastguard Cottages on 6th and recorded regularly in that area subsequently, increasing to two from 16th to 18th at least. Frustratingly, only about 300m to the east of this site.

Snow Buntings – Geoff Burton

17th

Cloudy, a little rain, light SW wind. A drake Mandarin Duck on the Marsh Pool was new for the year and a high total of 55 Mallard were also there. Other ducks were 50 Wigeon west in flocks of four, 30 and 16 with one flock including a single Pintail. The two Velvet Scoters were also offshore. There were two Red-throated Diver and a Great Crested Grebe offshore, one Gannet offshore, three Little Egrets and a Grey Heron on the beach. Waders included five Sanderlings on the beach and a juvenile Arctic Skua flew west close inshore. There was a strong movement of Chaffinches, c1,000 flying west, and also singles of Siskin and Reed Bunting.

Red-throated Divers – Andy Taylor

15th

Heavy showers then sunny with a light westerly wind. There was one Red-throated Diver and two Great Crested Grebes offshore, two Little Egrets and two Grey Herons on the beach and 42 Mallard on the Marsh Pool. Waders included 110 Ringed Plovers, four Sanderlings and four Dunlin on Hampton flats and six Black-tailed Godwits and four Knot flew west. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew west and there were five Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Vis mig included c150 Chaffinches, a single Brambling was noted in the flock and was an addition to the year list, 18 Skylarks, three Swallows, two House Martins, two Grey Wagtails, one Greenfinch and a flock of ten Siskins; all west. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher on the groynes, a pair of Stonechats, two Song Thrushes, a Blackcap, 20+ Chiffchaffs and a flock of 15 Linnets over the shingle ridge.

Small Whites and a Speckled Wood were also noted.

14th

Cloudy, light SW wind. There was one Red-throated Diver and two Great Crested Grebes offshore, seven Little Egrets and two Grey Herons along the shoreline and 36 Brent Geese flew west. The two Velvet Scoters were again offshore and a Common Scoter flew west. Waders included four Sanderlings and two Dunlin. Other birds included a Kingfisher fishing from beach pools, a pair of Stonechats, one Siskin west, one Reed Bunting west and three more in bushes.

13th

Five Black-tailed Godwits flew west.

12th

Light cloud with a light southerly wind. There were two Red-throated Divers and five Great Crested Grebes offshore. A Little Grebe on the sea is unusual and one today was sufficiently distant to cause some debate as to its identification. We settled for Little Grebe and there were two more in the more usual habitat of the brook. Four Wigeon flew west, there were 12 Brent Geese offshore and two Velvet Scoters, which appeared mid-morning, gave good and sustained views off the Obs. There were four Little Egrets and two Grey Herons on the beach. Waders included 32 Oystercatchers on the beach on the incoming tide and 21 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Six Great Black-backed Gulls, four adults and two immatures, were on the beach. Highlight of the day was a party of five Bearded Tits, which circled over the area and presumably landed someone in the grassland or scrub, appearing again about half an hour later circling over the Obs before flying on west. October is always the month for this species, there were four two years ago but the previous record of 14 which were present for two days, was in 2012.

Bearded Tits – Andy Taylor

11th

A Golden Plover was on the beach between the groynes, a Goldcrest near the changing rooms was new for the year and a Rook flew west.

10th

Cloudy, steady rain, light northerly wind. One Red-throated Diver, a Great Crested Grebe and three Gannets were offshore, 270 Brent Geese flew west, ten Wigeon were on the sea and another three flew west and two Teal were offshore. Waders included 25 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A juvenile Pomarine Skua came close inshore chasing terns. Other birds included three Skylarks and two Swallows west, a Grey Wagtail and two Reed Buntings.

9th

Andy led a party of some 15 souls on an early Sunday morning stroll around the site. Birds recorded included two Black Swans and a Great White Egret flying west, a Red-throated Diver on the sea, four Arctic Terns on the outflow pipe, Andy’s favourite a male Redstart along the east bank (our first and most probably last this year) and a Kingfisher fishing along the beach which was the favourite of everyone else.

Kingfisher – Andy Taylor

8th

Sunny, mild, light WNW wind. Four Shelduck and a flock of c50 Teal flew west. Waders included a high count of 130 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes, as well as 18 Sanderlings and 63 Turnstones, three Dunlin west, two Curlews on the beach and 11 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Two Pomarine Skuas were chasing gulls and terns off the Street and 25 Sandwich Terns flew west. Other birds noted included two Kingfishers, two Swallows, a Rock Pipit west, three Grey Wagtails, a Redwing along the east bank where there were two Blackcaps and c20 Chiffchaffs, c20 Chaffinches and three Siskins west and four Reed Buntings west.

6th

Sunny with a light SW wind. There were single Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebe offshore. Four Little Egrets and eight Redshanks were on the Marsh Pool. Two Guillemots flew east. Other birds noted included nine Skylarks west, five Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, a Mistle Thrush which landed briefly in the scrub before heading west was only the second of the year, and four Reed Buntings.

Sandwich Tern – Geoff Burton

5th

Sunny periods, mild with a fresh SW wind. There were two summer plumage Red-throated Divers offshore, a Grey Heron and a female Marsh Harrier flew west, possibly the same harrier flew south ten minutes later. Waders included 78 Ringed Plovers and 15 Sanderlings roosting between the groynes and 11Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A westerly movement of hirundines was dominated by 4,000+ House Martins, mainly between 8-9 am.

In addition to Small Whites and a Speckled Wood, out third only Wall Butterfly made a brief appearance at the Obs.

3rd

Light cloud, calm. There were four Red-throated Divers and a Great Crested Grebe offshore, five Brent Geese, three Wigeon and a Teal flew west and five Common Scoters flew east. Waders included two Snipe and ten Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. An Arctic Tern flew east and other birds noted included Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, four Skylarks west, a party of seven House Martins south, two Stonechats and 12 Goldfinches west.

Kingfisher – Geoff Burton

1st

Sunny, warmer, moderate westerly wind. There was one Red-throated Diver on the sea, a Gannet and two Brent Geese flew west and a Pomarine Skua was seen close inshore. Waders included a juvenile Grey Plover on the beach and two Snipe and eight Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. 14 Sandwich Terns rested on the beach, one an obvious fresh juvenile, and another was on a buoy. A Little Grebe was in the brook and other birds included our first Redwing of the autumn which flew from the scrub with two Song Thrushes, two Skylarks, seven Swallows, a House Martin and two Grey Wagtails west, a female Stonechat in the scrub, the long-staying Cetti’s Warbler and a late Reed Warbler along the east bank with seven Blackcaps and 20+ Chiffchaffs. A Jay was in the Elm Wood. A total of 54 species was a reasonable start to the month.

September 2022

A total of 98 species for the month is well below the ten-year average of 104.1 species. The weather, with much calm, warm conditions and no significant northerly blows, helps to explain this. There were six additions to the year list during the month, Coal Tit, Curlew Sandpiper and Firecrest were not recorded last year. Nevertheless the year total of 156 equals any of the last ten years which averaged 148 species. October is the key month of the year on tis coast!

156 species so far this year

152 species by this time last year

30th

Sunny with a freshening SW wind. A Red-throated Diver was the first of the autumn, a Pomarine Skua west at 7.25 am was new for the year and a Rock Pipit was also the first returning bird. A Greylag Goose was sitting on the sea, six Brent Geese flew west and two Teal landed on the sea. Waders included 61 Ringed Plovers and a single Dunlin on the Hampton flats, a Grey Plover circling around calling before settling on the tidal ponds and a Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included a Little Grebe in the brook, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, two Stonechats, a Jay and a Reed Bunting.

29th

Sunny, calm. Bird of the day was a Firecrest found by Jim Bloor along the east bank early morning but, alas, not seen subsequently. A new bird for the year. On a more mundane front, seven Brent Geese flew west and waders included 33 Oystercatchers on the beach, 80 Ringed Plovers on Hampton flats and a Snipe flew NW over the beach. An Arctic Skua gave good views chasing terns close inshore. Other birds noted included Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, three Skylarks, Grey Wagtail, three Stonechats, a Reed Warbler and two Jays.

A Speckled Wood was seen in the churchyard.

28th

Sunny, cool with a moderate westerly wind. Two Gannets flew west and a Little Grebe was in the lower brook. Waders included eight Bar-tailed Godwits on the Hampton flats, 28 Oystercatchers. a summer plumage Grey Plover and three Dunlin on the beach and seven Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds seen included Kingfisher, four Skylarks, a Stonechat and a Song Thrush.

27th

80 Sandwich Terns and a Great Skua, worryingly few so far, flew west. Two Little Grebes in the brook were the first of the autumn.

26th

Cloudy, heavy showers, light W-NW wind. A Wigeon was seen in flight with Mallard, 25 Brent Geese and two Curlews flew west. A large movement of Swallows, c1,500, a single Sand Martin and six House Martins flew west. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher, two Grey Wagtails, our first Stonechat of the autumn, a Willow Warbler along the east bank and one Reed Bunting west.

24th

A fresh to strong northerly wind. Four Gannets, five Wigeon, three Common Scoters and two Arctic Skuas flew west. There were 12 Brent Geese on the beach and another three flew west. A Merlin flew west along the beach and the injured Sanderling (present since 20th May) was seen again on the beach. Other birds noted included Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail, Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler.

22nd

Very light winds. 10 Brent Geese flew west and the Wigeon was on the Obs Pool. Waders included 17 Oystercatchers, 25+ Ringed Plovers, a Grey Plover, five Redshanks and 40 Turnstones. Other birds noted included two Sparrowhawks being mobbed by Jackdaws, Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, a small westerly movement including all three hirundines, two Grey Wagtails flycatching along the upper brook, Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler and Jay.

21st

Two Sparrowhawks were over the Elm Wood at lunchtime, there were eight Sandwich Terns feeding offshore and an influx of Blackcaps was estimated at 20+ but only one Chiffchaff was noted.

20th

Slight wind. 15 Teal flew west. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, six Swallows west, a Grey Wagtail and a Lesser Whitethroat.

19th

Strong NW wind. Two Manx Shearwaters following each other west were new for the year whilst a flock of six Egyptian Geese flying west were rather more random. There was an easterly movement of Sandwich Terns again. Waders included 30+ Ringed Plovers, a single Sanderling and nine Redshanks. Vis mig included a movement of Swallows and Meadow Pipits.

17th

Strong NW wind. Four Brent Geese flew west, the first of the autumn, four Common Scoters flew east, an Arctic Skua was chasing terns and there was a continuous easterly movement of Sandwich Terns. Vis mig included very few Swallows and the movement of Meadow Pipits was down on yesterday. A single Grey Wagtail was also seen.

16th

Cloudy, cool, moderate NW wind. Eight Gannets circled high over the sea drifting east. Two Shelducks and five Teal flew west. Vis mig was dominated by c1,000 Meadow Pipits with c200 Swallows, 25 House Martins and two Sand Martins heading west. Other birds included a Reed Warbler and a Willow Warbler along the east bank, a Jay in the elm Wood and 15 Linnets along the east bank.

15th

Cloudy, cooler with a light northerly wind. A Great White Egret which flew west low over the sea at 10.15 am was new for the year and our sixth record after one in 2011 and 2019 and three last year. A single Wigeon was on the Marsh Pool. Waders included seven Redshanks, a Sanderling and a Snipe. Our first significant hirundine movement of the autumn with c900 Swallows, ten Sand Martins and three House Martins between 9.30-11 am. There were c200 Meadow Pipits heading west. Other birds included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Wheatear, the Cetti’s Warbler and a flock of 15 Linnets dropped onto the shingle ridge.

14th

Cloudy, steady rain and calm. Two Common Scoters flew east. A tit party moved through the Obs and included a Reed Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Whitethroat and Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. The Cetti’s Warbler continues its outbursts along the east bank.

12th

Sunny, warm, with a light southerly wind. There were three Grey Herons on the tidal ponds, three Teal offshore and three Common Scoters flew west. One Wigeon was in the brook. There were 22 Oystercatchers on the beach. A Kingfisher was along the middle brook and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard calling. Tere were seven species of warbler along the east bank including the Cetti’s Warbler, our first autumn Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and three Willow Warblers.

Migrant Hawker, Common Darter and a Willow Emerald Damselfly were seen along the middle brook.

10th

Cloudy, light WNW wind. 13 Gannets flew east, three Teal flew west and another was with the Mallards. Waders included 22 Oystercatchers on the beach, a Bar-tailed Godwit and three Greenshanks west and five Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. There were 15+ Sandwich Terns offshore. A movement of 41 Meadow Pipits flew west. Warblers included a Cetti’s Warbler giving a few bursts of song along the east bank (our third autumn record), a Reed Warbler, our first Lesser Whitethroat of the autumn and a Whitethroat. A flock of 12 Jackdaws flew west.

Butterflies noted were Small White and Common Blue.

8th

Cloudy, steady light rain from 9 am. Birds of the day were two Curlew Sandpipers which appeared along the shoreline with three Dunlin but soon moved on. Other waders included 21 Oystercatchers on the beach, 44 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes and two Redshanks. Other birds seen included a second, vocal Pied Flycatcher showing well at the Obs (the bird in the churchyard was seen in the churchyard again), a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the Elm Wood and a Hobby heading west over the sewage works.

Pied Flycatcher – Geoff Burton

7th

Sunny with a light SW wind. There were two Teal with the Mallard. Waders included 20 Oystercatchers on the beach and 30 Ringed Plovers, the injured Sanderling, five Dunlin and 102 Turnstones roosting between the groynes.

6th

A juvenile Gannet flew west and five Common Scoters flew east. Two Great Spotted Woodpeckers were near the car park and nine Sand Martins and 120 Swallows flew west.

5th

Sunny and calm. An immature Gannet flew west and single Wigeon and Teal were flying with the Mallard. Waders included 31 Ringed Plovers, ten Sanderlings, three Dunlin and 82 Turnstones roosting between the groynes, a Bar-tailed Godwit along the shoreline briefly, a Common Sandpiper which flew into the sewage works and a Curlew. There were two Sand Martins with the Swallows hawking around the Obs, a Yellow Wagtail flew high over the football pitch and a Grey Wagtail flew over the Obs and into the sewage works. A Pied Flycatcher was seen again in the churchyard, a Wheatear was on the beach , a Reed Warbler and a Willow Warbler were along the east bank, 12 Linnets were on the shingle ridge and a Buzzard, the first for some time, drifted west.

Adult and juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls – Geoff Burton

3rd

Sunny and warm with a northerly breeze. There were 22 Little Egrets on the beach early morning and a Grey Heron on the tidal ponds. There were 29 Mallard in the remnant brook early morning and six Teal flew west. A Knot and three Bar-tailed Godwits were on the beach early morning, three flocks of Black-tailed Godwits totalled 38 birds, a Whimbrel was attached to one of the godwit flocks and seven Sanderlings, a Redshank and 124 Turnstones were on the beach. A Guillemot was also present on the sea early morning. A Coal Tit in trees by the scout hut was new for the year. It flew into the churchyard where a search produced our third Pied Flycatcher of the year but no further sign of the tit. Also noted were three juvenile Willow Warblers along the east bank, a Reed Warbler whilst a Kingfisher was around the groynes on the beach.

Sadly, a Convolvulus Hawkmoth was found close inshore but just out of range of rescue, and then washed away.

Pied Flycatcher – Andy Taylor
Convulvulus Hawkmoth – Andy Taylor

2nd

Two Shelducks flew west and four Teal flew west with a large flock of Wigeon. Waders included a Ruff flying west with two Curlews and three Redshanks on the beach. There were five Arctic Skuas west and also noted was a Whinchat in the scrub.

1st

Cloudy, moderate to fresh NE wind. Three Great Crested Grebes flew east pausing briefly on the sea, a juvenile Gannet flew low over the chalets early morning and, maybe the same bird, flew east low over the scout hut and behind the church late morning. Parties of Teal, 35 in total flew west, five Wigeon and two Greylag Geese flew west and 13 Common Scoters flew east. Waders included two Sanderlings, including the injured bird, and a Dunlin on the beach, five Snipe east low over the sea, a Whimbrel and two Bar-tailed Godwits east and a Common Sandpiper. A Hobby flew east low over the beach, an Arctic Skua chased a Sandwich Tern and two more were seen later. Other birds included a Whinchat in the scrub and opposite the Obs, a Willow Warbler and a Jay along the east bank.

August 2022

A total of 150 species so far this year

A total of 147 species by this time last year

The total of 90 species for the month could not have been closer to the ten year average of 89.9 species. The year total of 150 species, however, was well above the ten year average of 141.6 and higher than any of the last ten years. The first half of the month in heatwave conditions was dire but from 16th there were eight additions to the year list including three skua species and our first Pied Flycatcher (and second) for four years. Other highlights included a flock of 20 Cattle Egrets flying west on 22nd (only seven singles before) and 46 Redshanks, two Spotted Redshanks and 25 Greenshanks on 23rd.

31st

Sunny periods with a fresh NE wind. A Great Skua and three Wigeon (the first of the autumn) flew west and 25 Common Scoters were offshore. Waders included two Sanderlings, two Snipe circling the area and a Common Sandpiper along the upper brook. Many Sandwich Terns were moving east whilst others were fishing offshore but no Common Terns were seen; has been very scarce so far this autumn. Other birds included two Teal resting along the middle brook, two Swallows battling east against the wind, a Yellow Wagtail west and two Jays along the east bank.

A Painted Lady below the Obs was part pristine and part missing!

Teal – Geoff Burton
Painted Lady – Geoff Burton

30th

A Great Skua which flew west at 9 am was new for the year. It reamins to be seen just how many we see this autumn! Also, an Arctic Skua landed on the sea close inshore at 9.40 am.

Arctic Skua – Andy Taylor

29th

Cloudy with a moderate NE wind. An immature Gannet flew and three Little Egrets flew west. Waders included 25 Oystercatchers on the beach,# and a single Lapwing, the first of the month, and a Whimbrel circling over the area. A juvenile Arctic Tern, flying west close inshore, was new for the year. One Arctic Skua drifted west and Sandwich Terns were present again in good numbers all morning with a flock of 18 settling on the beach. Also noted were a Stock Dove, a Meadow Pipit on the coastal path and a Wheatear on the beach.

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

27th

Cloudy, a shower, calm to light NE wind. Two immature Gannets flew west. Waders included flocks of ten Black-tailed Godwits east and 16 west, and four Bar-tailed Godwits west following the shower. There were 17 Oystercatchers, two Redshanks and a Greenshank on the beach, four Whimbrels flew high east over Brook Road and a Common Sandpiper was again in the brook. There were at least 12 Sandwich Terns and one Common Tern offshore. Other birds included a Cuckoo flying west over the sea, one Yellow Wagtail west and a Reed Bunting.

A Willow Emerald Damselfly was along the east bank.

Black-tailed Godwits – Andy Taylor

26th

Sunny periods with a light northerly wind. Waders included 16 Oystercatchers, a single Curlew and the Sanderling with a damaged wing on the beach, 40 Ringed Plovers and 62 Turnstones roosting between the groynes, a Common Sandpiper along the middle brook and our first Snipe of the autumn. The Pied Flycatcher was still along the east bank, though elusive, a Reed Warbler and a Willow Warbler there and a Kingfisher and a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker were also seen.

Small, Green-veined and Large White butterflies were noted. At least a dozen Willow Emerald Damselflies were around the Elm Wood.

Pied Flycatcher – Andy Taylor

25th

There were four Teal and three Greenshanks on the beach. A second Pied Flycatcher of the autumn was present along the east bank where a Spotted Flycatcher was also present. A late Swift was also seen.

23rd

Remarkable numbers of ‘shanks this morning with a flock of 46 Redshanks with two Spotted Redshanks in tow (those new for the year) and a flock of 25 Greenshanks. Needless to say they didn’t hang around long but there were still four Greenshanks present later. Also, a Willow Warbler was along the east bank.

22nd

A flock of 22 egrets flying west at 8.30 am consisted of 20 Cattle Egrets and two Little Egrets. Cattle Egret was first recorded here in May 2018 and has been annual since (a total of seven singles). Two Whinchats in the scrub, not seen early morning, were the first returning birds.

Cattle and Little Egrets – Andy Taylor
Whinchat – Arnie van Orsouw

20th

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was the first recorded this month.

18th

A juvenile Long-tailed Skua flying east close inshore at 5.55 am was new for the year. An adult Gannet was close inshore, occasionally flying around, so hopefully not a victim of avian flu. A flock of Common Sandpipers on the beach built up to an exceptional 24 birds. Two Reed Warblers were also noted along the east bank.

Gannet – Andy Taylor

16th

Away from the sea, a boost to the year list came in the forms of a Pied Flycatcher (our first for four years of a bird that used to be an annual autumn migrant) and a Garden Warbler along the east bank, and a Turtle Dove seen to fly into the sewage works at 9.28 am. The latter two are also scarcer than they once were. Also noted were a Kingfisher, a Wheatear and a Reed Warbler.

15th

A Great Crested Grebe was the first recorded this month. Waders included a summer plumage Grey Plover flying west and 50+ Turnstones. An Arctic Skua pursuing a tern out by the turbines was an addition to the year list. An adult Sandwich Tern was feeding a juvenile on one of the buoys. Also noted were a Kingfisher, a Sand Martin west, “plenty” of Swallows and three Willow Warblers down the brook.

13th

Three Teal flew west. Waders included the Sanderling with the damaged wing (present since May 20th) and a Curlew west and a Redshank. Four Swallows flew west and a Reed Warbler and a Willow Warbler were also noted.

12th

There were seven Teal flying around the shoreline. Waders included three Oystercatchers, two Ringed Plovers, six Whimbrel west and a Redshank. There was some movement of Swallows and Yellow Wagtails and two Willow Warblers along the east bank.

11th

Waders included five Oystercatchers and five Ringed Plovers, a Sanderling, five Whimbrel west and a Common Sandpiper. Two Stock Doves were feeding amongst the seaweed at the eastern end of the beach, five Swallows flew west and there were eight Meadow Pipits on the beach.

10th

Two Teal flew west were the first of the return passage. Waders included six Oystercatchers, the “resident” Sanderling and single Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper heard. Four Sandwich Terns offshore inlcuded one juvenile and three Swallows flew west.

9th

Waders included three Oystercatchers, two Ringed Plovers, two Whimbrel west, two Redshanks and 73 Turnstones. Also, one Yellow Wagtail flew west.

8th

Two Gannets flew east and eight Common Scoters flew west. A total of 22 Whimbrel flew west during the morning session. Other waders included two Curlews west and a Common Sandpiper. A Yellow Wagtail flew west and Sand Martins and Swallows also. There was one Willow Warbler. The only other bird of note was a Budgerigar. It is a long time since we had one of these; are they less popular as pets or is it tighter security these day!

A Willow Emerald Damselfly continues the run of about one per year at this site.

Budgerigar – Andy Taylor

6th

A Hobby was seen early morning. There were three Mute Swans, waders included a Dunlin and a Redshank on the Marsh Pool and a Reed Warbler and a party of ten Long-tailed Tits were along the east bank.

5th

Common Gull, Kingfisher and Jay were noted.

4th

A Golden Plover in breeding plumage flew west. There were good numbers of Mediterranean Gull. A pulse of nine House Martins were the first seen since June and a few Swallows were also on the move. Two Willow Warblers wees still along the east bank.

3rd

A juvenile Marsh Harrier flew west. Waders included 18 Ringed Plovers, six Sanderlings, a flock of 17 Whimbrel which landed briefly on the beach and 56 Turnstones. Also noted were a Kestrel and a Kingfisher and, at last passerine migrants, in the shape of three Willow Warblers along the east bank.

2nd

There were four Little Egrets. Waders noted were Oystercatcher, five Ringed Plovers, one Sanderling, one Redshank on the Marsh Pool and 50+ Turnstones. There were six Mediterranean Gulls on the beach, including two juveniles, and four Sand Martins and two Swallows flew west.

1st

Given the recent hold of hot summer weather conditions, a total of 45 species for the first of the month wasn’t bad. An adult Gannet was on the sea, a single Grey Heron was on the Marsh Pool with seven Little Egrets and there were another four egrets on the beach. There were six species of wader including Sanderling, three Dunlin on the beach and a Common Sandpiper. A Jay was also seen.

July 2022

A total of 142 species so far this year

141 species by this time last year

The total of 67 species for the month was well below the average of the previous ten years of 73.6 species. However, the year total of 142 species remains well above the ten-year average of 136.4 species despite there being no additions to the year list since Tufted Duck on 2nd June. The hot and dry month provided some return wader passage but other migrants have yet to appear.

30th

Waders included two Ringed Plovers, seven Whimbrel, three on the tidal ponds and four west, a Curlew west and four Redshanks. One Yellow Wagtail flew west.

29th

One Gannet flew east. Waders included two Ringed Plovers, and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool.

28th

Four Gannets flew west and seven Common Scoters flew east. Waders included two Curlews west, 20+ Turnstones, the injured Sanderling and four Redshanks. Three Swifts flew east.

27th

The return migration in July is usually dominated by waders and so it was that there was a Lapwing south over the caravan park, five Ringed Plovers, the Sanderling with a sail for a wing remains, two Curlews, five Redshanks and 26 Turnstones on the beach and two Common Sandpipers on the Marsh Pool. A flock of ten Common Scoters flew west. There were four Swallows around the Marsh Pool and a Yellow Wagtail.

25th

More evidence of increasing wader passage with a flock of 18 Whimbrels west, four Sanderlings including the injured bird, 36 Turnstones, three Curlews and four Redshanks. Otherwise, quiet in the scrub and down the brook.

23rd

A Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool was our first returning bird where there were also six Little Egrets two Redshanks. There was a single Oystercatcher and an increase to 28 Turnstones. Sandwich Terns offshore included a juvenile and two Swallows flew west.

21st

Three Whimbrel flew west, there was an increase to five Redshanks on the Marsh Pool and 13 Turnstones were on the beach. Sandwich Terns were offshore and a single Swallow flew west.

20th

One Gannet flew west and two Sandwich Terns were fishing offshore. Waders noted were three Whimbrel west, two Redshanks on the Marsh Pool, two Oystercatchers and a Turnstone. There were ten Swifts over the beach and eight Swallows flew west.

I’m out of action at the moment so all records are being provided by Andy and Ted. Their contributions are always an important part of this blog – GJAB.

18th

Sunny, calm and hot! A juvenile Great Crested Grebe was close inshore off the Obs. There were nine Little Egrets; eight on the Marsh Pool early morning and, later, three were roosting along the east bank. A Whimbrel flew west and two Redshanks and nine Turnstones were on the beach. Mediterranean Gulls included a juvenile on the beach and a Sandwich Tern flew east. A Stock Dove was feeding on the cut grass by the play area and a Meadow Pipit was in the brambles in the grassland.

A male Brimstone butterfly was unexpected at the Obs. A few years ago this species was unknown here, in recent years it has been regular in early Spring but this is the latest. A Marbled White was also seen, another more regularly occurring species here in recent years. Andy picked off a Carrot Weevil (Liparus coronatus) from the umbellifers at the Obs. A “Nationally Notable B” species apparently.

Stock Dove – Geoff Burton
Liparus coronatus – Geoff Burton

16th

Sunny and warn but with a northerly onshore breeze. There were five Little Egrets and a Redshank on the Marsh Pool, a Whimbrel flew west, a Ringed Plover and Dunlin were heard on the beach and six Turnstones were flushed off the beach by a Sparrowhawk. Four Sandwich Terns flew east, two Swallows hawked briefly over the Marsh Pool and a Reed Bunting calling from the beach vegetation flew into the grassland. Unexpected at this time of the year, this was the first Reed Bunting recorded here in July since 2013.

Butterflies included a Marbled White at the Obs.

14th

Sunny, warm with an onshore breeze. There were seven Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool where an adult Dunlin appeared mid-morning. Other waders noted were a single Ringed Plover and Curlew and two Redshanks. Four Gannets flew east, a flock of c20 Common Scoters flew west and a Common Tern was offshore. Other birds included six Sand Martins and a Swallow west and a Stock Dove.

Butterflies included a male Common Blue on the football pitch.

Dunlin – Geoff Burton

13th

Light cloud, very warm and calm. A flock of 30 Little Egrets were on the Marsh Pool early morning with another two flying west; 20 were still present late morning. A Marsh Harrier flew low over the sea heading for Sheppey. Waders noted were an Oystercatcher and two Ringed Plovers on the beach (one juvenile), a Curlew west and the Redshank on the Marsh Pool. There were 12 Mediterranean Gulls and six Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach.

Moorhen chick – Geoff Burton

12th

A Green Sandpiper was on the Marsh Pool, still present at 2 pm at least.

11th

Sunny, very warm. Two juvenile Grey Herons were on the beach, one of which still sported a hair brush (punk) crest. There was some indication of a returning wader passage with three Ringed Plovers, two adult females and a juvenile, a breeding plumage Sanderling, in addition to the long-staying individual and a Whimbrel west over the sea. An Oystercatcher, two Curlews and the Redshank on the Marsh Pool were also noted. A juvenile Sandwich Tern flew east.

Sanderling – Geoff Burton

9th

Sunny, warm with a moderate northerly wind. Two Gannets flew west. The Sanderling was roosting between the groynes, two Curlews flew west but only one Turnstone was seen. An adult Common Gull was on the football pitch early morning, there were nine Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and two Sandwich Terns flew east. Other birds noted included two Swifts and three Swallows west and a juvenile Robin in the Elm Wood.

Butterflies noted included a Marbled White at the Obs and a Speckled Wood near the sewage works entrance.

7th

Cloudy with a fresh northerly wind. Two Gannets flew east, three flew west and two Common Scoters flew east. A Curlew flew west, the Sanderling and three Turnstones were on the beach and the Redshank was again on the Marsh Pool. A near-adult Common Gull was on the beach, eight Great Black-backed Gulls were on the beach and a Sandwich Tern flew east. Two Stock Doves dropped onto the beach, 32 Swifts, two Sand Martins and a Yellow Wagtail flew west. A juvenile Greenfinch was perched in the dead elms.

There was drama on the edge of the churchyard. Two Carrion Crows were noted to be pecking at something on the ground. This turned out to be a juvenile Sparrowhawk. The crows flew up into the trees as I approached but the hawk remained on the ground. The crows were calling from the trees, apparently waiting for me to move on, but I was reluctant to try and pick up the bird with my bare hands. However, after a minute or two the hawk flew of low and weakly, landing on the ground inside the churchyard. It moved on again and although I could here the calls of gulls and crows calling I didn’t see the hawk again. I hope it was ok!

Sparrowhawk – Geoff Burton
Greenfinch – Geoff Burton

6th

Sunny with a light northerly wind. Waders noted were singles of Oystercatcher east, Curlew west and the Redshank on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included three Swifts west, a male Kingfisher along the middle brook and four Greenfinches were also seen.

Kingfisher – Geoff Burton
Green-veined White – Geoff Burton

4th

Sunny with a light SW wind. A Gannet flew west and an adult Mute Swan was on the sea. A flock of 33 Mediterranean Gulls were on the beach early morning with another five on the Marsh Pool. A flock built up during the morning, on the beach by the Obs, and reach 101, including our first juvenile, before they were dispersed. The previous record count was 34 on 6th July 2017. A Kingfisher along the middle brook was our first post-breeding bird and two Swifts and eight Swallows flew west.

Our first Gatekeeper of the year brought the total species to 20. Another Marbled White was also seen.

2nd

Sunny with a moderate SW wind. A Great Crested Grebe was offshore. Three Curlews were seen and the Redshanks was on the Marsh Pool. There were seven Mediterranean Gulls on the beach early morning and, later, two adults flew west. One Swift and three Sand Martins flew west and a Greenfinch was heard calling.

A Red Admiral was at the Obs.

1st

Sunny with a moderate SW wind. There were two Little Egrets on the tidal ponds. Waders noted were a Ringed Plover heard singing, the Sanderling with a damaged wing, a Curlew and three Turnstones on the beach and the Redshank again on the Marsh Pool. Two Sandwich Terns flew east. Other birds included a Great Spotted Woodpecker low over the grassland and a Reed Warbler singing from the bushes opposite the Obs.

Butterflies seen were the three Whites, Painted Lady, Large and Small Skipper, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Meadow Brown.

June 2022

142 species so far this year

136 species by this time last year

A total of 69 species for the month compared with an average of 69.9 over the last ten year period. Only one addition to the year list, with Tufted Duck on 2nd, but the year total of 142 species was only exceeded once in the last ten years. The Cetti’s Warbler was last heard on 24th. The count of 42 Turnstones on 9th was the highest in June since 2013.

30th

Cloudy with a light westerly wind. Four Little Egrets were feeding in the shallows, one Grey Heron and a flock of nine Common Scoters flew west. Waders noted were one Ringed Plover, the Sanderling on the beach present for its 50th day, two Curlews, a Redshank on the Marsh Pool and six Turnstones on the beach. Three were three Mediterranean Gulls, two east and one west, eight Great Balck-backed Gulls (one adult) on the beach and two Sandwich Terns, an adult and a juvenile, flew east. One Stock Dove dropped into the grassland and three Swifts flew west.

A Shaded Broad-bar and a Cinnabar Moth were seen in the scrub.

Little Egrets – Geoff Burton
Sanderling – Geoff Burton

29th

Cloudy and calm. One Great Crested Grebe offshore, two Little Egrets on the Hampton flats and a Grey Heron flew west. Three Oystercatchers and eight Curlews including five flying west. There were two adult Mediterranean Gulls west and ten Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. One Stock Dove was in the Marsh Pool and two flew over the area.

Butterflies included the three whites, Meadow Brown, Small Skipper and Comma whilst a pair of Hornet moths were mating on their favourite poplar.

Sparrowhawk – Geoff Burton
Hornet Moths – Geoff Burton

27th

Sunny with a light southerly wind. Two Little Egrets on Hampton flats. Waders noted were a flock of eight Black-tailed Godwits flew west at 8.55 am and a Ringed Plover, a Curlew and three Turnstones on the beach. One Sandwich Tern flew east, four Swifts flew west and a Reed Warbler was seen along the middle brook.

Nine species of butterfly were the three whites, Holly Blue, Large and Small Skipper, Red Admiral, Peacock and Small Heath.

Mallard duck and ducklings – Geoff Burton
Marbled White – Geoff Burton
Large White – Geoff Burton

25th

Sunny with a moderate southerly wind. Waders noted were one Curlew west, the Ringed Plover, Sanderling and 14 Turnstones on the beach. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls flew west and ten Great Black-backed Gulls were on the beach. Three Swifts flew west and a juvenile Robin was in the Elm Wood.

Ten butterfly species include our first Marbled White of the year and a European Corn-borer moth was also seen at the Obs.

European Corn-borer – Geoff Burton

24th

There was one Great Crested Grebe offshore and a Sanderling and seven Turnstones on the beach. The Cetti’s Warbler was heard again but has not been heard subsequently; this was present since 30th April (56 days) and mirrors the previous resident in 2018 which was present from 13th April to 14th June (63 days).

23rd

Cloudy with a light NE wind. An adult Gannet flew east and there were three Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool. One Oystercatcher flew east, pausing briefly on the beach, the Ringed Plover was in display flight and there were nine Turnstones on the beach. Two Mediterranean Gulls and two Sandwich Terns flew east.

Our first Essex Skipper in the scrub was our 17th species of the year and other butterflies were Small and Large Skippers, Small White, Holly Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown and Small Heath. A Water Vole was also seen.

Essex Skipper – Geoff Burton

22nd

Sunny and warm with a moderate NE wind. A Shelduck and a Curlew flew west and the Sanderling and six Turnstones were on the beach. Two Sandwich Terns flew east. Six Swifts flew west and a Swallow passed the Obs.

20th

Sunny with a fresh NE wind. The male Ringed Plover was on the beach giving snatches of song, the Sanderling and 17 Turnstones were also present. A second calendar year Mediterranean Gull flew west and five adults flew east over the Obs. There were six Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach.

Butterflies included a Painted Lady and moths were represented by another Yellow Shell.

Small Skipper – Geoff Burton

18th

Cloudy, cooling, light NE wind. Four Greylag Geese flew east. pausing briefly on the sea, and six Mute Swans rested on the sea. There were six Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool whilst waders were represented by the summering Sanderling and a flock of 16 Turnstones flying east along the shoreline. The pair of Moorhens were along the middle brook with seven newly-emerged chicks. A second calendar year Mediterranean Gull flew west and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and 20 Great Black-backed Gulls were on the beach.

Moorhens – Geoff Burton
Yellow Shell – Geoff Burton

16th

Sunny and warm with a light northerly breeze. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Fulmar circled low over the beach, there were two Little Egrets on the Hampton flats and another on the Marsh Pool. A Lapwing flew south over the estate, the Sanderling with the damaged wing and 22 Turnstones were on the beach. A Sandwich Tern was offshore, eight Swifts flew west early morning and a Greenfinch made one of its periodic appearances.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Large Skipper and Holly Blue.

15th

Sunny, warm with a light northerly breeze. One Great Crested Grebe offshore, a Gannet flew west and there was a Little Egret and the pair of Shelducks on the Marsh Pool. The “resident” male Ringed Plover was heard again and there were 37 Turnstones on the beach. There were ten Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Three Swifts flew south and Reed Warblers were singing along the brook by the Marsh Pool and in the scrub.

13th

Sunny with a moderate to light NW wind. A Little Egret in the Marsh Pool was later roosting along the east bank. The pair of Shelducks were in the Marsh Pool and a Hobby flew west low over the sea. A Ringed Plover and 13 Turnstones were on the beach. One Sandwich Tern flew east. Four Swifts and two Sand Martins flew west.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Holly Blue, Large Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral.

11th

Sunny with a moderate SW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe offshore and the pair of Shelducks were again on the Marsh Pool. The damaged-winged Sanderling continues its residency (it was first noted on 12th May) and there were about 30 Turnstones. Five Sandwich Terns flew west, but numbers continue to be low with no sign of any Common Terns. Two Stock Doves, two Swifts and two Swallows flew west and the Cetti’s Warbler was present for its 43rd day. The previous long-staying individual, in 2018, sang for 63 days.

Butterflies included our first Meadow Brown (15th species of the year) and a Comma (first since April).

10th

There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore and 20+ Common Scoters flew east. There were 29 Turnstones on the beach and two Mediterranean Gulls flew south. A Red Kite flew south at 9.05 am. One Yellow Wagtail flew west.

9th

Sunny with a light SW wind. Two Greylag Geese flew west, a Little Egret and the pair of Shelducks were on the Marsh Pool. A Hobby flew over the caravan park and a Buzzard was circling low to the SE. Waders noted were two Oystercatchers that circled over the area, the Sanderling with the damaged wing on the beach and a high count of 42 roosting Turnstones. There were two adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 12 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and a Sandwich Tern flew east. One Swift, one Sand Martin, three Swallows and a House Martin flew west.

Another good collection of butterflies which this time included Red Admiral.

8th

Cloudy with sunny spells. There was one Great Crested Grebe offshore and a Little Egret, the pair of Shelducks and a Redshank was on the Marsh Pool. The latter was our first since April 14th. The Sanderling with the damaged wing and seven Turnstones were on the beach and a Curlew flew west. Two Mediterranean Gulls, an adult and near-adult, and a Sandwich Tern flew west. Two Stock Doves flew towards the beach and six Swifts flew west. A Reed Warbler was singing in the scrub by Lang Court, later in the bushes opposite the Obs and later still east of these bushes. Possibly one individual on the move? A flock of 50 Starlings feeding on the football pitch included 24 juveniles. A male Greenfinch was “wheezing” in the dead elms late morning.

A good morning for butterflies with seven species recorded; Small White, Holly Blue, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell. Large Skipper, Brimstone and Speckled Wood.

Painted Lady, Brimstone and Holly Blue – Geoff Burton

7th

A Painted Lady was our first of this species of butterfly this year.

6th

Cloudy, light showers with a moderate SW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe offshore, a Little Egret and the pair of Shelducks on the Marsh Pool but the only waders were single Ringed Plover and Turnstone. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls flew high east, there were 13 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and one Sandwich Tern flew west. Six Swifts and a Swallow flew west. An adult Gannet “floating” close inshore was presumably dead although it was not found later on the beach when the tide had receded. There has been no other evidence at this site which might relate to avian flu.

4th

Cloudy with a fresh NE wind. Five Great Crested Grebes (two and three) flew west, an adult Gannet that flew west low over the football pitch and sewage works was unusual whilst another seven, more conventionally, flew east. A Fulmar flew west. there were two Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool, a Peregrine flew north low over the area and out to sea, and a second calendar year Common Gull, close inshore, was battling to head east in the fresh winds. There were five Turnstones on the beach. Two Swifts also headed north.

3rd

Three single Grey Herons flew west and two Ringed Plovers also flew west.

2nd

Sunny with a light NE wind. A Tufted Duck which flew east over the tidal ponds was new for the year. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Fulmar flew east low over the Obs, an adult Gannet flew east and a Grey Heron was on the tidal ponds. Waders noted were an Oystercatcher east, a Ringed Plover and 14 Turnstones on the beach and a Common Sandpiper by the sluice which flew down the brook. Five Sandwich Terns flew east. A Spotted Flycatcher by the bluethroat bush was our third record of the Spring.

A Large Skipper butterfly was our earliest for the site by three days. Also seen were Small White, Speckled Wood and Small Tortoiseshell.

1st

Cloudy with a light SW wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes and the immature drake Eider offshore, three Little Egrets on the beach and a pair of Shelducks flew away from the Marsh Pool. Waders included an Oystercatcher east, a Ringed Plover and 32 Turnstones (the highest June count since 2013). Two adult Mediterranean Gulls flew east, there were 18 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and one Sandwich Tern offshore. Two Sand Martins, two Swallows, two House Martins and a Yellow Wagtail flew west. The Cetti’s Warbler continues its stay, a Reed Warbler sang briefly opposite the Obs and then along the east bank and four Long-tailed Tits were the first seen here for some time.

May 2022

A total of 93 species for the month was well above the ten-year average of 83.5 species and the highest month total since 2006. The year total by the end of the month of 141 species was equal to the best by this time of the year set in 2013. Clearly, the highlight of the year was the Caspian Tern seen passing through in the early morning of 18th and 20th before it settled into a pattern of regular appearances at Pegwell Bay. Our first addition to the site list since the Storm Petrel in November 2020. Also of note were a Spoonbill on 12th and two on 16th, flying west, which were our 14th and 15th records for the site. The Cetti’s Warbler held territory throughout the month

141 species so far this year

135 species by this time last year

31st

Sunny periods and showers, light SW wind. Two Great Crested Grebes were offshore and an immature drake Eider was off the tidal ponds. There were six Turnstones on the beach. Two Sandwich Terns were offshore. 25 Swifts and a Sand Martin flew west and a Reed Warbler flew across to the upper brook bushes.

30th

Sunny periods with a light SW wind. A Great Crested Grebe and five Gannets were noted offshore, one Little Egret flew west and another four were on Hampton flats. There were two Oystercatchers, and 22 Turnstones were between the groynes. One Yellow Wagtail flew west and a Red Kite also drifted west.

28th

Sunny, cool, fresh NW wind. A party of five Great Crested Grebes flew west and Fulmars flew east and west. No waders were seen. One second calendar year Mediterranean Gull flew west and a Sandwich Tern flew east. The pair of Shelducks were in the remnant brook. Four Red Kites drifted west. Four Swallows flew west, the Cetti’s Warbler continues in residence and two Reed Warblers sang along the east bank.

Meadow Pipit – Geoff Burton
Shelduck – Geoff Burton

27th

When most birders attention was elsewhere, two single Guillemots flew east and our second Spotted Flycatcher of the Spring was seen along the east bank.

26th

Sunny, warm, moderate SW wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore and a pair of Shelducks flew west. A Ringed Plover heard and seven roosting Turnstones were the only waders. A second calendar year Mediterranean Gull flew west, two adult Great Black-backed Gulls flew west and there were 26 immatures on the beach and three Sandwich Terns were offshore. Two House Martins and a Yellow Wagtail flew west. No sign of breeding this year and so a singing Lesser Whitethroat by the scout hut and another in the scrub were unexpected. A Reed Warbler was singing along the east bank.

A good morning for butterflies with all three whites, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and Holly Blue.

Cetti’s Warbler – Geoff Burton
Holly Blue – Geoff Burton
Small Tortoiseshell – Geoff Burton

25th

Cloudy with a freshening SW wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore. A breeding plumage Dunlin was amongst a flock of 43 roosting Turnstones on the beach and a Ringed Plover was heard. Numbers of Great Black-backed Gulls continue to rise with 23 on the beach, all immatures. Two Swifts, a Sand Martin, 11 Swallows and six House Martins flew west and a Reed Warbler was singing along the east bank along with the “resident” Cetti’s Warbler.

Dunlin – Geoff Burton
Lesser Black-backed Gull – Geoff Burton

24th

A Reed Warbler showed well along the east bank.

Reed Warbler – Andy Taylor

23rd

Cloudy, rain, light westerly wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore and two Shelducks and two Common Scoters flew west. Waders noted were seven Oystercatchers west, a single Ringed Plover, the Sanderling with the damaged wing, 19 roosting Turnstones and a flock of 30 Black-tailed Godwits which flew high to the SE. Other birds noted included a Stock Dove dropping onto the beach and then heading back inland, three Yellow Wagtails west and a Jay in the churchyard.

Sanderling – Geoff Burton

21st

Sunny with a light SW wind. A gathering of 12 hopeful birders were present at dawn in the hope that the Caspian Tern might reprise its early morning flyby. Unfortunately it didn’t. There were three Great Crested Grebe offshore and a Common Scoter flew east. Waders noted were two Sanderlings, including the one with a damaged wing, a winter plumage Dunlin and 11 Turnstones. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew west over the Obs, there were 18 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and three Sandwich Terns flew west. Other birds included a Swift, a Sand Martin and a House Martin flew west, there were two Yellow Wagtails, a Reed Warbler in song along the east bank, two Jays flew high to the east and two Greenfinches.

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

20th

Cloudy, light SW wind with steady rain from 8.30 am. A report of the Caspian Tern flying east off the Neptune pub in Whitstable yesterday lunchtime gave some hope of another chance to see this rare tern. However, it still came as a massive surprise when the bird obligingly flew east low over the caravan park, cutting across the promenade and heading for Hampton at 7 am. Otherwise, it was to be a quiet, rain stopped play, sort of a morning: there were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, two Oystercatchers, a Ringed Plover, two Sanderlings including the one with a damaged wing, and a party of six landed briefly on the shoreline, a Curlew and 25 Turnstones. There were 20 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and a Sandwich Tern flew east.

19th

Cloudy with light rain until 10.30 am, light SW wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore and a Little Egret and the pair of Shelducks on the Marsh Pool. Waders noted were ten Oystercatchers, a Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper and three Curlews west. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls flew east, there were 15 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and a Sandwich Tern flew west. A trickle of vis mig with one Stock Dove, one Swift, 12 Swallows and two Yellow Wagtails flying west. The Cetti’s Warbler continues to blast (day 20) and was joined by two passing Reed Warblers.

18th

Andy Taylor’s reward for almost daily visits came in the form of a Caspian Tern which flew east over the Marsh Pool and caravan park at 6.20 am. This is the first record for the site and our first addition since Storm Petrel in November 2020. This is about the 25th record for the county but it has been notably scarcer this century with only three accepted records since one at Oare Marshes in 1999. These were at Bockhill in 2013, Dungeness in 2014 and at Worth Marshes in 2021 (another record from Dungeness last year is with the BBRC for consideration). Suffice to say, Caspian Tern was not on our list of most likely additions! A male Wheatear (probably of the Greenland race) was also seen.

17th

Sunny, warm with a light SW wind. There were five Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Little Egret flew west and a pair of Shelducks was on the Marsh Pool. Waders noted were four Oystercatchers, a Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper. A good day for raptors with six species recorded including a Red Kite west at 9,55 am, a Buzzard, a Hobby and a Peregrine. There were eight Great Black-backed Gulls on the tidal ponds. A single Swift and Swallow flew west.

Butterflies noted were Small and Green-veined Whites, a Peacock and Holly Blue.

Peacock – Geoff Burton

16th

Sunny, warm with a moderate SW wind. There were five Great Crested Grebes offshore, an adult Gannet and three Little Egrets flew west, and unexpectedly, a late redhead Red-breasted Merganser flew west early morning followed by a pair at 8.35 am. A Hobby came in low over the beach early morning and a Red Kite circled over the area at 8.20 am. Ten Oystercatchers and a single Common Sandpiper were the only waders noted, a second calendar year Mediterranean Gull flew south by the Obs, there were nine Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and five Sandwich Terns flew west. Five Swifts, four Swallows and a House Martin flew west whilst a Spotted Flycatcher which appeared briefly in the Elm Wood, was a welcome addition to our year list. A Greenfinch heard trilling in the sewage works was our first record since March.

There was a report of two Spoonbills flying west at 4.15 am from Gregory Bessant. If Gregory sees, this or someone else who knows him, we would be pleased to receive further information about this interesting record.

There were seven species of butterfly reported; the three whites, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Red Admiral and Brimstone.

15th

The Cetti’s Warbler was present for its 16th day.

14th

Sunny with a light SW wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes on the sea, two Greylag Geese flew west, two adult Mute Swans circled over the Marsh Pool, but then landed on the sea and eventually flew off west, and the usual pair of Shelducks were on the Marsh Pool. Waders included six Bar-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel near the tidal ponds, two Oystercatchers and four Turnstones. Also, our first Kestrel of the month now they are not breeding, two Swifts, a Wheatear on the beach and a Willow Warbler in the Elm Wood.

Butterflies noted were Small and Green-veined Whites, Peacock, Holly Blue and Orange-tip.

13th

Five Kittiwakes flew west, a Cuckoo was in the scrub and a late Willow Warbler sang.

12th

Sunny with a light SW wind. A quiet morning can always change in a moment as it did today when an immature Spoonbill flew west low over the Obs at 8.45 am. This is the 14th record for the site but the first since September 2019. However, all but one of these records has been in the last 15 years and reflects the spread of this species which now breeds as close as our sister county across the water. The supporting cast, a rather thin one, included the Sanderling with the damaged wing, eight Turnstones and briefly three Dunlin, on the beach. Also 30 Swifts, two Sand Martins, a House Martin and a Yellow Wagtail west and the Cetti’s Warbler for its 13th day.

Butterflies noted were Green-veined White, Holly Blue and Orange-tip.

11th

Sunny with a moderate SW wind. One Great Crested Grebe was offshore and an adult Gannet flew east. Waders noted were a summer plumage Grey Plover, a wing-damaged Sanderling and 11 Turnstones on the beach. A total of 16 Great Black-backed Gulls, only one adult, were on the beach and a Little Egret and a pair of Shelducks were on the Marsh Pool. There was more of interest away from the beach with a Cuckoo west, pausing briefly in the poplars by Lang Court, c50 Swifts, a Sand Martin, Swallows and nine House Martins also west, a male Wheatear on the beach by the Obs and two singing Reed Warblers in the Scout Wood and along the upper brook. A total of 89 Starlings feeding on the football pitch were all adults.

Butterflies noted were Small, Green-veined and Large Whites, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue and Peacock.

10th

The first significant movement of Swifts with c140 passing west between 6.30 and 9 am.

9th

Sunny, warm with a light northerly wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Little Egret and a pair of Shelducks on the Marsh Pool and four Sandwich Terns flew east. Waders noted were two Oystercatchers east, a Ringed Plover displaying over the eastern end of the beach, three Sanderlings and ten Turnstones on the beach, a Greenshank along the shoreline which flew off west and two Common Sandpipers on the Marsh pool. An increase in Great Black-backed Gulls with three adults and eight immatures on the beach. Three Swifts and a Sand Martin flew west, the Cetti’s Warbler was present for its tenth day and a total of 63 Carrion Crows were gathered on the shingle ridge at high tide (waiting for Helen).

Butterflies noted were Small and Green-veined White, Orange-tip, Peacock, Holly Blue and the seldom noticed female Brimstone.

7th

Cloudy with a light NW wind. There were six Great Crested Grebes offshore and two Fulmars flew west. Waders included a female Ruff (Reeve) which dropped onto the shoreline with four Turnstones, one Ringed Plover and one Sanderling on the beach, a Whimbrel west and ten Oystercatchers east. A little vis mig included our first Redpoll of the year, three Swifts and a Yellow Wagtail.

Butterflies noted were Small and Green-veined Whites and Speckled Wood.

Ruff with Turnstone – Geoff Burton
Mallard ducklings – Geoff Burton

6th

Andy Malone reported a summer plumage Black Guillemot just offshore, but drifting out to sea, by the oyster stores at Whitstable at 5.10 pm on 4th. Today, Andy Taylor saw the same bird off the skate park at 6.40 am and it drifted east towards the tidal ponds. This is presumably the same bird that was seen here in November, January and last on March 8th. Nothing else was reported that morning.

Black Guillemot – Andy Taylor

5th

Cloudy, light NW wind. The most notable event of the day was the collection of “marshland” warblers. The Cetti’s Warbler remains, a Grasshopper Warbler reeling unseen along the middle brook was new for the year, a Reed Warbler was singing along the upper brook and a Sedge Warbler flipped across the middle brook seen briefly but heard not at all. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Grey Heron and a Canada Goose flew west and the “resident” pair of Shelducks were on the Marsh Pool. Waders noted were a Whimbrel flying west, a Common Sandpiper and eight Sanderlings on the beach and 18 Turnstones roosting between the groynes. Other birds included a Hobby east over the football pitch, two Wheatears on the beach and two Yellow Wagtails west.

4th

Cloudy, showers with a light SW wind. A late Red-throated Diver in summer plumage flew east. Three Great Crested Grebes were offshore whilst a line of 16 Mute Swans (adults and immatures) well offshore, and remaining there for some time, were probably the highest count for the site. Waders noted included one Oystercatcher eight Sanderlings on the beach, two Common Sandpipers on the beach and a party of seven dropping into the Marsh pool late morning. Vis mig highlight was our first, but rather late here as elsewhere, Swift and c50 Sand Martins, c200 Swallows but only three House Martins and seven Yellow Wagtails flew west. Two Reed Warblers singing half-heartedly were also an addition to the year list.

Butterflies noted were Green-veined White, Holly Blue and Orange-tip.

3rd

Mute Swan and Greylag Goose were recorded, a Great Spotted Woodpecker made an appearance and the Cetti’s Warbler continued to blast it out!

2nd

Cloudy and calm. A single Great Crested Grebe and an adult drake Eider were offshore. A Fulmar, two Little Egrets and eight Shelducks flew west. Waders noted included a Bar-tailed Godwit in the remnant brook early morning, a Ringed Plover in flight over the tidal ponds, six Sanderlings and 17 Turnstones on the beach and a Whimbrel and two Common Sandpipers west over the sea. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls and two Sandwich Terns also flew west. Vis mig included c20 Sand Martins, c50 Swallows, a House Martin and seven Yellow Wagtails west. Other birds included a Hobby east over the football pitch, a Lesser Whitethroat singing as it passed through the Obs trees and the Cetti’s Warbler seemingly settled in for the long haul.

1st

Cloudy, milder, light SW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe offshore, a party of four Little Egrets flew west (another was on the beach), two Greylag Geese flew east, a Marsh Harrier flew west and a pair of Shelducks were on the Marsh Pool. . Waders at low tide were single Oystercatcher, Sanderling and Turnstone on the beach, two Whimbrel flew west and a Green Sandpiper seen twice in flight around the brook which was anew species for the year. An adult Kittiwake flew east close inshore and five Mediterranean Gulls flew west. Other birds included c40 Swallows and a Sand Martin and a Yellow Wagtail west, a Rook west and a White Wagtail on the Marsh Pool.

An immature Great Black-backed Gull was feeding on a dead seal on the beach, a Water Vole was in the brook and a Green-veined White was the only butterfly seen.

April 2022

The total of 94 species for the month matched exactly the ten-year average. However, the year total by the end of April was significantly higher than the average of 126.2 species. A rare bird for the site is defined as one occurring at a rate of less than once every five years. On that basis, there were five rare species recorded during the month: our third Coot on 8th, second Hooded Crow on 9th, sixth Cattle Egret on 13th, sixth Garganey on 26th and fourth Cetti’s Warbler on 30th. Perhaps, the rarest occurrence was the 450 Bar-tailed Godwits heading high to the east on 27th and our earliest ever Whinchat on 12th was also notable. It was a month in which we battled against weather that was too benign and weather too cold. A characteristic of Spring on this north coast. Many migrants were late and or in small numbers.

133 species so far this year

122 species by the same time last year

30th

Cloudy at first then sunny with a light NE wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe offshore, a Fulmar flew west, three Mute Swans flew east and the drake Teal, a Little Egret and a pair of Shelducks were on the Marsh Pool. There were three Bar-tailed Godwits on the tidal ponds and 15 Turnstones were roosting between the groynes. Two Common Terns flew east and a Sandwich Tern was also seen. A snatch of Cetti’s Warbler song was heard but could not be relocated. This is the fourth record for the site.

The sun brought out butterflies with Small and Green-veined Whites, Speckled Wood and Peacock.

29th

A Hobby and a few House Martins were two additions to the year list.

28th

Sunny periods but cool with a light NE wind. A Fulmar flew west and the drake Teal remained on the Marsh Pool, where there was also a Little Egret and a pair of Shelducks. Waders recorded were four Oystercatchers east with two Curlews, a Whimbrel east over the area, a Ringed Plover on the beach and 19 Sanderlings and 24 Turnstones roosting at high tide. One Common Tern flew east. A Lesser Whitethroat in the scrub and the bushes opposite the Obs gave away its presence with a few snatches of song. 30 Swallows, a Sand Martin and a Yellow Wagtail were the only sign of vis mig in these unfavourable conditions. A duck Mallard with six ducklings was seen in the brook by the Marsh Pool.

A Holly Blue in the churchyard was our 11th species of butterfly for the year.

Whitethroat – Geoff Burton

27th

Cloudy and cool with a moderate NE wind. The up-Channel movements of Bar-tailed Godwits in Spring is well documented and this year has produced amazing numbers passing Dungeness. In the previous six days over 9,000 were counted heading up-Channel there. This sites contribution is usually limited to just a few stragglers but today an unprecedented count of c450 passed east, mostly high and distant, during the morning. These were presumably birds that had cut the corner inland from the Sussex or the Kent coast. On this day, the count at Dungeness was only 637! Unfortunately, we were not able to replicate the variety of species enjoyed on the south coast. Other waders included a few Whimbrel, 11 Sanderlings and some Turnstones. A single Great Crested Grebe flew west, an adult Gannet flew east and four Shelducks included two on the Marsh Pool where there was also a drake Teal for its fourth day. A Marsh Harrier flew west and three Sandwich Terns and a Common Tern flew east. Other birds included one Sand Martin and 11 Swallows west but it was not a day, or the wind, for vis mig. Apart from the Bar-tailed Godwits, of course!

26th

A pair of Garganeys flew west at 8.50 am. An addition to the year list and the sixth record for the site. A female Ruff (Reeve) which circled over the area, appeared to land on the beach, but was not seen again was also an addition to the year list. 24 Bar-tailed Godwits and 16 Whimbrels were also seen and two Buzzards passed through.

25th

Cloudy, moderate NE wind. A Fulmar flew west, eight Mute Swans flew NW and a single flew east, there was a pair of Shelducks and a drake Teal on the Marsh Pool, and ten Common Scoter flew east. Waders noted were ten Sanderlings and 39 Turnstones on the beach and three single Whimbrels west. Three adult Mediterranean Gulls and a second calendar year Common Gulls were noted. Other birds included two Stock Doves on the shingle ridge.

24th

A Common Sandpiper in the brook was our first of the year. Two Common Terns flew east and a total of 34 Swallows west was our highest count so far in this poor Spring for vis mig.

23rd

Sunny with a moderate NE wind. A Fulmar, two Gannets flew east, one west, an adult and an immature Mute Swan flew west over the area, a Common Scoter flew east, a drake Teal was in the brook and on the Marsh Pool and two Brent Geese dropped . Waders noted were a single Oystercatcher. a flock of 85 Sanderlings resting along the shoreline, seven Bar-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel east and also Turnstones. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls flew west.

A few Green-veined Whites were at the Obs.

20th

The cool NE wind did not encourage movement. A Fulmar and a Marsh Harrier were seen early morning and there was a trickle of Swallows moving through.

19th

Two Red Kites flew south over the football pitch mid afternoon.

18th

Two Greenshanks flying west were an addition to the year list. The immature drake Eider and four Common Scoters were offshore and a Little Gull flew west. A trickle of vis mig with three Sand Martins and three Swallows and a few Goldfinches and Linnets.

17th

One Fulmar flew east, there were single Whimbrel, Sandwich Tern and Swallow and, on the Marsh Pool, four Shelducks and three Snipe.

16th

Waders included 24 Sanderlings and 78 Turnstones on the beach and a flock of 16 Mediterranean Gulls flew east.

15th

A very quiet morning enlivened by our first two Common Terns of the year and two Wheatears, male and female.

14th

Sunny, warm and calm. Not a lot was expected of this day but the unexpected turned up in the form of a hepatic (rufous) female Cuckoo. First seen in flight low over the scrub, it landed in bushes along the coastal path, performed a few more circuits of the area before disappearing. This rare form of female Cuckoo had not been seen here since records in three successive years (2016-18) which were thought likely to refer to the same bird. Otherwise, there were four Great Crested Grebes offshore a party of eight Shelducks on the sea early morning and the immature drake Eider was again offshore. Waders included three Oystercatchers, 14 Sanderlings, a Dunlin and two Redshanks on the beach and two Snipe on the Marsh Pool. There were two Sandwich Terns offshore. A trickle of vis mig included one Sand Martin, four Swallows and five Yellow Wagtails west.

Butterflies were our first two Speckled Woods and some Green-veined Whites.

Hepatic female Cuckoo – Andy Taylor

13th

Sunny, warmer with a light SW wind. Another good day for the year list. Our first two Whitethroats were in song, a male Ring Ousel flew high east out of the scrub early morning, a Black Redstart posed briefly on the roof of the church and a Cattle Egret, which was our sixth record but all in the last four years, flew west close inshore at 8.50 am. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, an adult Gannet flew west and four Greylag Geese flew east. Waders included two Ringed Plovers, 15 Sanderlings, a Dunlin and three Redshanks on the beach and a Whimbrel flew west. Other birds noted included a Yellow Wagtail, Wheatear on the tidal ponds, two singing Willow Warblers and four Rooks and 20 Goldfinches west.

A Peacock butterfly was at the Obs.

Black Redstart – Andy Taylor
Peacock – Geoff Burton

12th

A good morning with three additions to the year list: a Whimbrel on the beach, probably our earliest Whinchat for the site and two Sedge Warblers, singing in the scrub and along the middle brook. Other birds noted were a Grey Heron, a Buzzard, four Sand Martins, two Wheatears and a Jay.

A warmer day brought out the butterflies with Brimstone, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Orange-tip and the three Whites making a total of seven species seen.

Wheatear – Andy Taylor
Whinchat – Andy Taylor

11th

The sun was breaking through a light cloud but it was cool, with a light SE wind. Two Great Crested Grebes and the immature drake Eider were offshore, four Gannets flew east and three Shelducks flew west. An Avocet landed briefly on the spit by the Obs early morning and other waders included 56 Sanderlings roosting between the groynes, a Dunlin on the beach and one visible Snipe and six Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included four Sandwich Terns east and two Swallows west.

A Green-veined White was by the Obs and a Small Tortoiseshell on the football pitch.

10th

The Hooded Crow appeared again, joining the Carrion Crows in the scrub and then hanging around on the beach, allowing many birders to twitch it. The immature drake Eider was again on the beach and we finally added two Sandwich Terns to the year list.

Hooded Crow – Andrew Edwards

9th

Sunny, cool with a light NW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe offshore, an immature drake Eider was resting on the spit by the Obs and a Gannet and a Common Scoter flew east. Waders included three Ringed Plovers and 68 Turnstones roosting between the groynes, 32 Sanderlings along the shoreline and a Curlew along the shoreline and an unexpected 30 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A Green Woodpecker heard and seen briefly by the Obs, and a Wheatear equally briefly showing on the beach in front, were both new for the year but wholly unexpected was the site’s second only Hooded Crow which was seen coming in over the skate park at 11.50 am, landing on the beach and then transferring with other crows onto the tidal ponds. It was present for about an hour and a half before flying off over the sewage works in the direction from whence it came. The previous record was of a bird on the beach in December 2003. Other birds on the day included two Swallows, 12 Goldfinches and eight Linnets west and a Rook over the beach.

A very obliging Water Vole was seen by the sluice. New butterflies for the year appeared in the form of Orange-tip and Green-veined White bringing the total species this year so far to nine.

Hooded Crow with Carrion Crow – Mark Chidwick
Water Vole – Mark Chidwick
Sparrowhawk – Geoff Burton

8th

On an otherwise quiet morning, a Coot on the sea off the caravan park at 7.25 am came as a surprise. It was seen again swimming west at 8.14 am. This is only the third record for the site after one which remained in the brook for several days in March 2011 and one on the sea in September 2017.

Coot – Andy Taylor

7th

Sunny with a fresh westerly wind. A party of five Greylag Geese flew west. Waders included 20 Sanderlings on the beach and a Snipe and seven Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A Merlin came in off the sea but was pushed off by the local crows. Other birds included two Swallows and ten Meadow Pipits west (one was also seen in display flight), a male Blackcap in the bushes opposite the Obs and a Chiffchaff in song along the east bank.

A Small White was the only butterfly noted.

6th

Cloudy with a moderate SW wind. There were four Great Crested Grebes offshore. Waders included nine Sanderlings, two Curlews and a Redshank on the beach. Other birds included a Stock Dove and a Swallow flying west.

5th

A heavy westerly passage of (400+) Meadow Pipits. Two Swallows and two Greylag Geese also flew west.

4th

Cloudy, drizzle and a moderate SW wind. There were nine Great Crested Grebes, a Canada Goose was on the shoreline and a duck Eider was offshore. Other birds included a Stock Dove and one Swallow, 20 Meadow Pipits and a Yellow Wagtail (new for the year) flew west.

3rd

A Skylark flew over the Obs.

2nd

Sunny, cool with a moderate northerly wind. 22 Brent Geese were on the beach and two Little Egrets were roosting along the east bank. Waders included a Ringed Plover, 32 Sanderlings and ten Turnstones on the beach, four Snipe were on the Marsh Pool and ten Curlews flew west.

1st

An adult Little Gull flew east.