February 2024

A total of 86 species so far this year

96 species by this time last year

17th

Cloudy, light southerly wind. The Red-necked Grebe, c10 Great Crested Grebes, three Red-throated Divers and six Red-breasted Mergansers wee offshore. A Grey Heron flew west over the sea, our first of the month, and six adult Mediterranean Gulls were three on the beach and three flying west. The Purple Sandpiper was present in the bay.

15th

Cloudy, mild with a light southerly wind. The Red-necked Grebe, c10 Great Crested Grebes and six Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore and a Slavonian Grebe was reported by Alan Wells. Waders included the Grey Plover on the beach and there was also an adult Mediterranean Gull on the beach. Other birds noted included the male Stonechat, and a Jay in the Scout Wood.

14th

Cloudy, rain showers, light southerly wind. The Red-necked Grebe was offshore, eight days after it had last been seen here. One Red-throated Diver and a Shelduck flew west, there were six Great Crested Grebes and four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, and a Little Grebe and an adult Mediterranean Gull were on the beach. Other birds noted included the male Stonechat and 12 Linnets.

12th

Sunny, light westerly wind. Two Mute Swans came in off the sea, returning and flying off west, and there were six Red-breasted Merganser offshore. Other birds noted included an adult Mediterranean Gull flying west, a Skylark and eight Goldfinches.

10th

Sunny and calm, then cloudy with a light southerly wind. A flock of 40 Red-throated Divers flew west, with many more on the sea. Two Shelduck flew east, six Common Scoters flew west and one drake Red-breasted Merganser was offshore. Waders included 50 Oystercatchers on the beach at high tide and the Purple Sandpiper on the concrete platform. Other birds noted included an adult Mediterranean Gull west, the pair of Stonechats, a Jay and two Rooks flying west.

7th

There was no sign of the Red-necked Grebe but a drake Gadwall was on the sea drifting west late morning.

6th

Cloudy, fresh SW wind. The Red-necked Grebe was present for its seventh day. A Greylag Goose flew NW over the area, a Teal flew west and there were four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included six Golden Plovers west over the sea and the Purple Sandpiper and 77 Sanderlings in the bay at the eastern end of the beach. Other birds noted included a Mediterranean Gull on the football pitch and a Grey Wagtail by the sluice.

5th

There were three Rooks on our beach. Our first of the year.

3rd

Sunny with a light SW wind. The Red-necked Grebe continued its stay, there were 144 Brent Geese on the beach, four Shelducks flew east, and three flew west and two drake Red-breasted Mergansers. Waders included the Purple Sandpiper and 73 Sanderlings in the bay at the eastern end of the beach. A Jay was present in the Elm Wood and a Chaffinch sang at Lang Court.

2nd

The Red-necked Grebe was still present.

1st

Sunny, light NW wind. The Red-necked Grebe was present for its second day. There were 112 Brent Geese on the beach, three Shelducks flew west but only one drake Red-breasted Merganser was seen offshore. Waders included the Grey Plover and Purple Sandpiper on the beach and three Knot flying west close inshore. Other birds of note included our first Reed Bunting of the year, a male, a Skylark and a Grey Wagtail.

January 2024

A total of 82 species for the month, aided by an additional four species on the last day, was still below the ten-year average of 83.5 species. A quiet month generally, the Purple Sandpiper remained all month but the Long-tailed Duck preferred the Tankerton slopes to the west before disappearing with the cold spell early in the month, and wasn’t seen on site. A Hen Harrier west on 27th (mot recorded last year) and a Red-necked Grebe on 31st (only one last year) were probably the birds of the month.

A total of 82 species so far this year

86 species by this time last year

31st

Cloudy, light westerly wind. It was a surprisingly good last day of the month. A flock of 23 White-fronted Geese flew east early morning, and another three flew east with a flock of c30 Greylag Geese. A Redwing was seen flying around the pigloos. A Red-necked Grebe, seen off the Obs from 10 am onwards was bird of the day, two adult Mute Swans flew east and, finally, three Gadwall were on the sea off the skate park at about midday. A haul of five new species for the year! In addition, there was one Great Northern Diver offshore, three Shelducks and a drake Pintail flew west and there were five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore.

30th

A Tufted Duck flew east at 7.48 am. Our first of the year.

29th

Cloudy, light southerly wind. Seven Shelducks and a pair of Pintails flew west and ten Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea included two redheads. Waders included the Grey Plover and Purple Sandpiper on the beach and a Knot which circled over the beach. There were also seven Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach.

27th

Sunny, light SW wind. A ringtail Hen Harrier flew high over the sea towards Sheppey at 10.20 am. New for the year and our first since November 2022. There were 20+ Red-throated Divers, four Great Crested Grebes and eight Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. An adult Gannet flew east and c250 Brent Geese were along the shoreline. Waders included the “resident” limping Grey Plover. Other birds noted included two Grey Wagtails, the female Stonechat and six Long-tailed Tits.

26th

Eight Teal flew west and Kestrel and Peregrine were also noted.

25th

Cloudy, light southerly wind. Eight Common Scoters flew east and one drake Red-breasted Merganser was offshore. Waders included 36 Oystercatchers, one Grey Plover, ten Lapwing west low over the sea and 13 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included the pair of Stonechats, a Jay in flight between the Elm Wood and the churchyard and nine Linnets along the coastal path.

24th

Sunny, milder, moderate westerly wind. There were three drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 35 Oystercatchers on the shingle ridge at high tide, three Golden Plovers west close inshore, 41 Sanderlings in the bay and ten Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. An adult Mediterranean Gull was on the sea.

22nd

Sunny, mild, strong SW wind. There were 24 Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver, three Great Crested Grebes and a Red-breasted Merganser offshore. Waders included 77 Golden Plovers, 46 Sanderlings and the Purple Sandpiper. Other birds noted included one Little Grebe, a Grey Wagtail and 11 Goldfinches.

20th

Sunny, frost, light SW wind. Two Great Crested Grebes flew west, a Gannet flew east and there was one drake Red-breasted Merganser offshore. Waders included six Lapwings west low over the sea and the Purple Sandpiper in the bay. A Rock Pipit on the beach by the skate park was new for the year. Other birds noted included a Song Thrush in the scrub and ten Goldfinches by the changing rooms.

19th

A Ruff flew west over the Obs and the sewage works. New for the year and unusual here in winter.

18th

Sunny, cold, light NW wind. A Great Northern Diver flew east, three Shelducks flew west and there were three drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included c30 Golden Plovers west and the Grey Plover and Purple Sandpiper on the beach. A Guillemot flew west close inshore. Other birds noted included a Skylark over the area and a Grey Wagtail.

17th

A Song Thrush in the bushes opposite the Obs was our first of the year.

16th

A Marsh Harrier flew west at 8.45 am.

15th

Sunny, cold, moderate NE wind. One Great Northern Diver flew west and there were four Great Crested Grebes and three Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included one Grey Plover west, the Purple Sandpiper, c40 Snipe and 22 Redshanks in the marsh. Also noted was a Grey Wagtail by the sluice and 15 Goldfinches.

14th

Three Golden Plovers flew west over the tidal ponds and 11 flew NW over the caravan park and marsh. Our first of the year.

13th

Cloudy, cold, light NW wind. There were six Great Crested Grebes, four Teal and three Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. The Grey Plover was on the beach. A female Great Spotted Woodpecker in the Elm Wood was new for the year and the pair of Stonechats were still present.

Stonechat – Geoff Burton

12th

A flock of ten Shovelers were on the sea off the coastal path and seven drake Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. There were two Grey Herons and the Purple Sandpiper was also seen.

11th

Sunny, light NE wind. A Great Northern Diver flew east, a Shelduck and a Common Scoter flew west and a single drake Red-breasted Merganser was offshore. Waders included 64 Dunlin betwewn the groynes and the Purple Sandpiper. Three Kittiwakes flew east and a first-winter lingered close inshore. Three unidentified large auks flew east. Other birds noted included the male Stonechat, our first Goldcrest of the year, a Jay sunning and preening itself on the edge of the Scout Wood and a party of 12 Magpies along the east bank.

Kittiwake – Andy Taylor
Little Gull – Andy Taylor
Jay – Geoff Burton

10th

Sunny, cold with some frost, fresh NE wind. 103 Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver and five Great Crested Grebes flew east. There were six drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included the Purple Sandpiper, an adult Little Gull and a Kittiwake flew west. Two Long-tailed Tits by the scout hut were new for the year.

9th

There were three Teal on the Marsh Pool and a Knot flew east. Both additions to the year list.

8th

Cloudy, cold with a little snow, fresh NE wind. A Gannet and an adult Little Gull flew east, there were four drake Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea offshore and six Shelducks were in flight offshore.

6th

Sunny, cold, moderate northerly wind. Four Gannets flew east and two Kittiwakes flew west. Only one drake Red-breasted Merganser was seen offshore. Waders on the beach included 50 Sanderlings and the Purple Sandpiper. A Grey Wagtail by the sluice was our first of the year.

4th

Sunny, moderate to light SW wind. A Great Northern Diver flew west, there were 11 Great Crested Grebes and seven drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and a Common Scoter flew east. Unusually, a Greylag Goose lingered on the beach all morning. The Purple Sandpiper was present and an adult Mediterranean Gull was on the beach. Other birds noted included the pair of Stonechats and a Chiffchaff calling by the Obs.

3rd

Sunny with a light SW wind. A Great Northern Diver fishing offshore was tracked closely by an adult Great Black-backed Gull. There were also seven Great Crested Grebes and nine drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and a single Gannet flew east. A Kestrel was the first seen here since November 25th and a Stock Dove, which flew west, was also our first since November 9th.

1st

Cloudy, mild with a moderate SW wind. Six Red-throated Divers flew west, two Great Norther Divers, 17 Great Crested Grebes and four drake Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. There were three Little Egrets, a Grey Heron and c50 Brent Geese on the beach and flocks of eight Pintail and 17 Common Scoters flew west. Waders included 72 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes, the limping Grey Plover and the Purple Sandpiper. One Mediterranean Gull flew south over the area. Other birds noted included the pair of Stonechats, a Chiffchaff and a Jay.

A modest total of 52 species recorded on the first day of the year.

December 2023

A total of only 76 species during the month was well below the average of 85.6 over the previous ten year period, when total ranged from 79 to 94 species. There were no additions to the year list during the month. The Long-tailed Duck continued throughout the month although, latterly, was more often seen off the Tankerton slopes, the Purple Sandpiper was present throughout and a Great White Egret on 14th was the second of the year and the eighth record for the site.

A total of 167 species so far this year

171 species by this time last year

30th

Cloudy, some light rain, moderate SW wind. There were six Great Crested Grebes and seven drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and a Great Northern Diver flew east. Waders included 51 Oystercatchers roosting on the spit, 32 Ringed Plovers, 52 Sanderlings and the Purple Sandpiper in the bay and 22 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included a Jay along the east bank and ten Goldfinches in the Scout Wood.

29th

Cloudy with a moderate SW wind. There were six Red-throated Divers, one Great Northern Diver, seven Great Crested Grebes and ten drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 46 Oystercatchers, 31 Ringed Plovers and 71 Sanderlings on the beach. Also noted were six Goldfinches in Scout Wood and eight Linnets along the coastal path.

Red-throated Divers – Geoff Burton

27th

Strong SSW wind. There were 20 Great Crested Grebes to the east of the tidal ponds and six Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. The Grey Plover was present and a Razorbill flew east.

23rd

Cloudy, mild. There were three Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver, a Great Crested Grebe and three drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Two Gannets flew east and the Long-tailed Duck flew west by the Obs. Waders included 57 Sanderlings along the shoreline, 50 Ringed Plovers and 50 Dunlin roosting between the groynes and the Purple Sandpiper on the groynes. One adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and two adult Great Black-backed Gulls were on the beach. Other birds noted included one Meadow Pipit, two Pied Wagtails on the football pitch and a Chiffchaff along the east bank

21st

There were three Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver and a drake Red-breasted Merganser offshore and 130 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included 60 Sanderlings and the Purple Sandpiper in the bay, 71 Ringed Plovers roosting amongst the pebbles on the beach, 40 Golden Plover flying west close inshore and 20 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included a Grey Wagtail by the sluice and ten Linnets on the shingle ridge.

18th

A Great Northern Diver and nine Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore.

16th

Cloudy, light westerly wind. There was one Great Northern Diver and six drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and a Teal and ten Common Scoters flew west. An increase in the numbers of Brent Geese with 220 on the beach and there were two Grey Herons on the tidal ponds. Waders included 48 Oystercatchers roosting on the spit and other birds noted were the pair of Stonechats, a Goldcrest and 18 Goldfinches.

15th

The Long-tailed Duck was on the sea behind the tidal ponds.

14th

Cloudy, light westerly wind. One Great Northern Diver flew west and three Great Crested Grebes, the two duck Eiders and seven drake Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. There were 60 Brent Geese on the beach and 32 Wigeon flew west. Waders include the Purple Sandpiper along the shoreline, c40 Snipe flushed from the Marsh Pool during a WEBS count and 58 Curlews heading towards their roost at Studd Hill. A Great White Egret that flew SE over the caravan park at 1..45 am was our second record of the year and our eighth in total for the site. Other birds noted included a Grey Wagtail by the sluice, the pair of Stonechats, and a Chiffchaff at the Obs.

13th

Cloudy, moderate northerly wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe and two duck Eiders offshore and a Common Scoter flew east. Other birds noted included one Kittiwake east, a Grey Wagtail along the middle brook and 23 Goldfinches in trees by the wooden bridge.

11th

Sunny periods, light SW wind. Seven Red-throated Divers and two Shelducks flew west, one Gannet, two Mute Swans and a flock of 25 female/immature Common Scoters flew east, and one Great Crested Grebe and a duck Eider were offshore. Waders included 27 Oystercatchers on the beach, c100 Golden Plovers flying west low over the sea, and 48 Sanderlings and the Purple Sandpiper along the shoreline. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew south over the caravan park and a first calendar year flew west. Other birds noted included a Sparrowhawk, the pair of Stonechats, a Chiffchaff calling behind the skate park, a Jay along the upper brook and six Linnets.

9th

The Long-tailed Duck flew east and landed on the sea by the caravan park.

8th

Two Shelducks, 13 visible Snipe on the Marsh Pool and the pair of Stonechats were noted.

7th

Cloudy, light rain at first, moderate SE wind. There were four Red-throated Divers and five Great Crested Grebes offshore and 10+ Gannets with Cormorants fishing offshore. There was one drake Red-breasted Merganser offshore. Waders included 41 Sanderlings along the shoreline and a Grey Plover and the Purple Sandpiper. Other birds noted included a Chiffchaff at the Obs and four Linnets along the coastal path.

6th

Sunny, calm with a touch of frost. 13 Red-throated Divers and 58 Common Scoters flew east, two Greylag Geese, five Shelducks and the Long-tailed Duck flew west. The Purple Sandpiper was along the shoreline. Other birds noted included two Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest, a Rook flying west, a Greenfinch and a Reed Bunting.

4th

Cloudy, cold, light SE wind. A Great Northern Diver east of the tidal ponds flew off west. There were two Red-throated Divers, seven Great Crested Grebes, two duck Eiders, the Long-tailed Duck and a drake Red-breasted Merganser offshore. An increase in Great Black-backed Gulls with 22 adults, mostly on the tidal ponds. Other birds noted included a Buzzard drifting west behind the church, a Great Spotted Woodpecker along the upper brook, the pair of Stonechats, a Song Thrush and a Goldcrest.

2nd

Cloudy cold (0-1 degree C), light NW wind. There was one Red-throated Diver offshore, two Wigeon and four Teal, nine Pintail flew west and a group of eight were on the sea drifting west. The Long-tailed Duck was asleep within the arms of the tidal ponds, a Common Scoter was offshore and seven drake Red-breasted Mergansers were on the sea off the Obs. Waders included a Lapwing, which dropped onto the beach, and two Grey Plovers. Other birds noted included a Little Grebe at the mouth of the brook, a Grey Wagtail, a male Stonechat, a Song Thrush, a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest and a Jay.

1st

Cloudy, cold, rain and hail showers, light NE wind. Two Red-throated Divers flew east, there were three Little Egrets, seven Teal on the tidal ponds and a flock of 12 flew west and five drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore.

November 2023

A total of 167 species so far this year

The total of 99 species for month was a little below the ten-year average of 102.2 species. There were only three additions to the year list. A Long-tailed Duck on 3rd remained all month. Our fifth record but the only one that has stayed around. It was joined by a second bird on 17th. A Sooty Shearwater that flew west then back east on 21st was our first record since October 2017. It was also seen at Shellness and Reculver. Three Great White Egrets flew NW on 22nd. Our seventh record and the sixth in the last 5 years. It was also our first multiple occurrence. Mild weather during the month saw four species of butterfly: Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Clouded Yellow and Peacock. Our first November records of Speckled Wood and Clouded Yellow and our our first November butterfly records since 2015.

169 species by this time last year

30th

Cloudy, cold, showers, light NE wind. 67 Red-throated Divers flew east and a Great Northern Diver was offshore. Two shelducks and six Teal flew west, the Long-tailed Duck flew west, at 8.40 and 10.55 am, four Common Scoters flew east and a duck Eider and six Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. There were 47 Oystercatchers and two Grey Plovers on the beach. Small passerines seem rather scarce but the pair of Stonechats are still present.

29th

Sunny, cold, light northerly wind. There were 51 Brent Geese on the beach, three Shelducks flew west, a duck Eider was offshore, the Long-tailed Duck flew east and west by the Obs, four Common Scoters flew west and a duck was with Great Crested Grebes offshore, a redhead Red-breasted Merganser flew west and a drake was offshore. Waders included 25 Sanderlings along the shoreline and the Purple Sandpiper between the groynes. Other birds included a Short-eared Owl in off the sea at 8.200 am which dropped into the scrub (our third this month), Kingfisher, two Chiffchaffs and seven Goldfinches.

28th

Wildfowl included 43 Brent Geese, four Shelducks and two Gadwall west, Wigeon, two Teal, two Pintail and the long-staying Long-tailed Duck (for its 26th day). Waders included 74 Lapwings, 53 Curlews, 42 Snipe flushed from the Marsh Pool and the Purple Sandpiper. Three Little Gulls flew west, there were 13 Great Black-backed Gulls and a Razorbill. Other birds noted included three Fieldfares that landed briefly on the coastal path, Grey Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and ten Linnets.

27th

Cloudy, some rain, light WSW wind. Three Red-throated Divers flew west, a Great Northern Diver and six Great Crested Grebes were offshore. A drake Shoveler flew west, 18 Common Scoters flew east and a duck Eider was offshore. Waders included 41 Oystercatchers on the beach and the Purple Sandpiper was roosting with other small waders between the groynes. Two adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew west inland and a Mediterranean Gull was amongst the caravan park’s pigloos. Also noted were a Grey Wagtail and a female Stonechat.

25th

Sunny, cold, moderate NW wind. Wildfowl included 14 Shelducks, eight Wigeon, two Teal, two Common Scoters and two redhead Red-breasted Mergansers flying east and the Long-tailed Duck by the tidal ponds. Despite kite surfers setting up on the shingle ridge a Snow Bunting appeared there briefly.

A kite surfer set himself up on the shingle ridge and proceeded to “surf” up and down the remnant brook for at least an hour. He was filmed by another surfer and second surfer joined the fun! What a way to treat a SSSI.

Kite surfer – Geoff Burton

24th

Cloudy then sunny, colder with strong NW-N winds. Two Great Northern Divers came in from the east and landed on the sea, and another flew west. There were 70+ Gannets offshore, a Shelduck, 12 Pintail and 12 Common Scoters flew west and two Eider flew east close inshore. The Purple Sandpiper flew by the Obs, a Golden Plover flew west, a flock of 35 Curlews circled above Studd Hill and there were 26 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A Little Gull flew east and two Kittiwakes and three Sandwich Terns flew west. It was ideal sea watching conditions today but alas too late in the year. The pair of Stonechats were still present.

23rd

Sunny, mild, moderate westerly wind. One Gannet and six Common Scoters flew east, a Shelduck flew west and there were two Eiders offshore. Waders included 49 Ringed Plovers, 53 Sanderlings and 40 Dunlin roosting between the groynes, the Purple Sandpiper on the groynes, a flock of 25 Golden Plovers west and 18 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. There were two adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls, four Great Black-backed Gulls and 250 Herring Gulls on the beach and a Sandwich Tern offshore. Other birds noted included a Grey Wagtail, a Goldcrest, a flock of 15-20 Long-tailed Tits and 11 Linnets.

A late Peacock butterfly and several Harlequin Ladybirds were at the Obs.

22nd

Three Great White Egrets flew north at 10.05 am. Our first of the year. First recorded in 2011 with five records between 2019 and 2022. A Great Northern Diver offshore and 40 Red-throated Divers flew east. Wildfowl included 58 Brent Geese, 11 Shelduck, 21 Wigeon, three Teal, 11 Pintail and 24 Common Scoters. Waders included a westerly movement of 308 Lapwings, one Bar-tailed Godwit west, 28 Sanderlings, 22 Redshanks and the resident Purple Sandpiper. There were also 14 Little Gulls and a Razorbill, a Kingfisher, four Skylarks, 40 Chaffinches west and four Redpolls.

Great White Egrets – Andy Taylor
Great Northern Diver – Andy Taylor

21st

Cloudy, fresh northerly wind. Good sea-watching weather but perhaps rather late in the year. However, a Sooty Shearwater, which flew west at 10.25 am, was our first since October 2017. It returned east at 10.50 am was was presumably the bird seen at Reculver 20 minutes later. Other birds on the move included c30 Red-throated Divers east, three Shelduck and a Pintail west, an Eider east, two Golden Plovers west, two Great Skuas chasing a Gannet offshore, a Pomarine Skua west then later back east, 16 Little Gulls, 47 Kittiwakes and five Sandwich Terns west. Also, a Great Northern Diver and two redhead Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher, the pair of Stonechats, 14 Goldfinches south over the Obs and 11 Linnets.

20th

Sunny with showers, light SW wind. There were six Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver and c12 Great Crested Grebes offshore. 80 Brent Geese along the shoreline, a duck Eider offshore and a Common Scoter flew east. A WEBS count flush of the Marsh Pool produced 45 Snipe and other waders noted included the Purple Sandpiper along the shoreline and a Grey Plover. A Sandwich Tern flew east and a Razorbill was offshore. Other birds noted included two Little Grebes along Coot Strait, 11 Long-tailed Tits at the Obs, eight Linnets along the promenade by the caravan park where a Snow Bunting appeared at 1.30 pm.

17th

Sunny with a light SW wind. The weather gave little indication of the movement this morning. Wildfowl were prevalent with 270 Brent Geese west, and another 100+ on the beach, 32 Shelducks, 70 Wigeon, five Gadwall, 27 Teal, 23 Pintail, seven Pochard and five Tufted Ducks all heading west. A single redhead Goldeneye and a redhead Red-breasted Merganser also flew west whereas 60 Common Scoters mainly flew east. A further surprise came with a second Long-tailed Duck, a female, joining the immature on the tidal ponds. Later they also flew west. Other birds on the move included 970 Lapwings, four Avocets and a single Knot west and a Bar-tailed Godwit east. Four Little Gulls flew west, there were single Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver and two Razorbills offshore and a Short-eared Owl flew west at 11.54 am. Other birds noted included 28 Fieldfares and 23 Redwings west in small parties at dawn, 11 Skylarks, 800 Starlings and 270 Chaffinches west.

16th

Cloudy and calm. There were four Red-throated Divers and a Great Northern Diver offshore. One Shelduck flew west, the Long-tailed Duck and a duck Eider were offshore and six Common Scoters landed on the sea. Waders included a Grey Plover on the groynes and a single visible Snipe in the Marsh Pool. There were two Sandwich Terns offshore and a flock of ten Little Gulls flew west. Other birds noted included a Short-eared Owl, which circled the area and dropped into the scrub at 9.15 am. It flew off east when flushed about half an hour later. A Kingfisher flew down the brook by the sewage works entrance.

Great Northern Diver – Geoff Burton

15th

Sunny with a light SW wind. Only one Red-throated Diver but two Great Northern Divers offshore. Four Egyptian Geese flew west at 8.20 am (earlier seen at Reculver), the Long-tailed Duck was near the tidal ponds, two Goldeneyes flew west, a redhead at 10.10 am and a drake at 10.30 am (our first of the autumn), and a pair of Common Scoters flew west. Waders included three Grey Plovers and a flock c 50 Golden Plovers west over the sea and eight Snipe and 24 Redshanks flushed from the Marsh Pool by a Sparrowhawk. There were 14 adult Great Black-backed Gulls on the tidal ponds, one ringed but too distant to read. A Sandwich Tern and two Razorbills were also offshore. Other birds noted included a male Great Spotted Woodpecker, eight Skylarks west, the pair of Stonechats in the scrub and a Chiffchaff at the Obs.

A Harlequin Ladybird visited the Obs.

Goldeneye – Geoff Burton
Harlequin Ladybird – Geoff Burton

13th

Cloudy then sunny, fresh SW wind. One Red-throated Diver and six Great Crested Grebes were offshore. The Long-tailed Duck and a duck Eider were also offshore. Five Shelduck , a duck Common Scoter and four Red-breasted Mergansers flew west and another merganser was offshore. Waders included a Grey Plover on the groynes by the caravan park and two Bar-tailed Godwits west. There were 15 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach, an adult Kittiwake flew east and two Razorbills were in flight offshore. Other birds noted included the pair of Stonechats.

12th

Three Pochard and a Tufted Duck flew east, the Great Northern Diver was offshore and 11 Little Gulls flew west.

11th

Sunny, cool, moderate westerly wind. Three Red-throated Diver were offshore. 10 Shelducks and a pair of Wigeon flew west, a duck Eider and the Long-tailed Duck were offshore and ten Common Scoters and a Red-breasted Merganser flew east. Later, a Goosander came in from the east. Waders included a single Knot west and the Purple Sandpiper. Two Little Gulls and a Sandwich Tern flew west. Other birds noted included six Skylarks west, a Swallow and a Chiffchaff. Six Long-tailed Tits were in the conifer along the promenade by the caravan park.

10th

The Long-tailed Duck and the Purple Sandpiper were still present, a Rock Pipit was seen and a Song Thrush was in the scrub.

9th

Cloudy, some rain, light SW wind. There were two Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver and eight Great Crested Grebes offshore, five Gannets flew east and a Pomarine Skua flew east at 1.45 pm. The Long-tailed Duck was present at the tidal ponds for its seventh day. Waders included the Purple Sandpiper, five Snipe and c20 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool and 35 Curlews heading west from the Studd Hill roost. Five adult Great Black-backed Gulls included the “Norwegian” ringed bird and a Sandwich Tern was offshore. Other birds noted included a Stock Dove, Kingfisher and Swallow, a Song Thrush, Chiffchaff and two Goldcrests, and c50 Chaffinches, two Siskins and a Redpoll west.

Great Black-backed Gull – Geoff Burton

8th

Cloudy with light rain and a freshening SW wind. There were two Red-throated Divers, eight Great Crested Grebes offshore and c10 Gannets. A single Wigeon was with the Brent Geese, there was an early morning gathering of 67 Mallard on the Marsh Pool, two duck Eiders lingered off the Obs all morning and two duck Common Scoters flew west. Waders included 52 Sanderlings roosting between the groynes, the Purple Sandpiper with them, and 20 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool with one visible Snipe. Three adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew west, there were 11 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and three Sandwich Terns flew west close inshore. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher in the brook near the sewage works entrance, a Goldcrest at the Obs, 75 Chaffinches and a single Greenfinch west and a flock of 15 Linnets roaming along the beach.

Sanderling – Geoff Burton

7th

The Long-tailed Duck was on the sea off the skate park early morning and later down by the tidal ponds. Seven redhead Goosanders flew west at 12 pm. The Purple Sandpiper was seen and there were two Sandwich Terns offshore. A Short-eared Owl in off the sea early morning was only our second of the year after one in September. “Hundreds” of Chaffinches flew west with a few Siskins and Redpolls.

There were many birders present this morning, the lure of the Long-tailed Duck and Purple Sandpiper, and a late Clouded Yellow was reported.

Long-tailed Duck – Andy Taylor
Goosanders – Andy Taylor

6th

Sunny, light SW wind. Three Mute Swans flew east, a Shelduck flew west, an immature drake and a duck Eider and a redhead Red-breasted Merganser were offshore and the Long-tailed Duck was again in the tidal ponds. The Purple Sandpiper was along the shoreline. An adult Mediterranean Gull was on the beach and three Sandwich Terns were offshore. Other birds noted included a Little Grebe in the brook, the pair of Stonechats, a Chiffchaff, and two Rooks on the beach.

A Speckled Wood butterfly was at the Obs.

Purple Sandpiper – Andy Taylor

4th

The Long-tailed Duck and the juvenile Pomarine Skua were reported again.

3rd

Cloudy at first, then sunny with a moderate SW wind. The morning started well with a Hooded Crow, presumably the same bird previously seen on October 22nd, on the beach with the Carrion Crows. It got better with the finding of a Long-tailed Duck within the tidal ponds. Our fifth record for the site and first since 2019. There were c10 Great Crested Grebes and a Red-throated Diver, still in breeding plumage, offshore and two Great Northern Divers flew west. An immature drake Eider was on the sea beyond the ponds and a redhead Red-breasted Merganser flew close inshore. Waders included a single Lapwing west and 14 Redshanks on the beach. The juvenile Pomarine Skua flew east over the beach, an adult Mediterranean Gull flew west, there were five Sandwich Terns offshore and a Razorbill was also close inshore. Other birds noted included one Skylark west, one Stonechat and a Song Thrush in the bushes opposite the Obs.

A late Speckled Wood butterfly and a Common Darter were by the Obs.

Hooded Crow – Geoff Burton
Carrion and Hooded Crows – Andy Taylor
Speckled Wood – Geoff Burton

1st

Cloudy with steady rain all morning made for a limiting start to the month. There were two Red-throated Divers and two Great Crested Grebes offshore and c350 Brent Geese on the beach. 25 Redshanks gathered in the bay on the incoming tide. A ringed adult Mediterranean Gull, four adult Great Black-backed Gulls and two Sandwich Terns were on the beach. Other birds included one Swallow west, the pair of Stonechats, a Jay in the scrub and c80 Chaffinches and a single Goldfinch west.

The Mediterranean Gull had been ringed as a chick in Flanders in Belgium in 2010, colour-ringed in 2020, and since recorded in Belgium in 2021 and in the Netherlands in 2022.

Red-throated Diver – Geoff Burton
Sandwich Terns – Geoff Burton

October 2023

A total of 110 species for the month was bang on the average of 109.8 for the previous ten years. It was a very quiet month with no spectacular northerly gales, no significant visible migration or significant easterly vagrants. It did , however, manage nine additions to the year list including only our third Hooded Crow on 22nd and third Water Pipit on 31st.

A total of 164 species so far this year

A total of 165 species by this time last year

31st

A Water Pipit on the Marsh Pool was only the third record for the site. The last record here was in 2007. Five Mute Swans landed on the sea off the Obs and seven Greylag Geese flew south. There were five Snipe on the Marsh Pool, 12 Little Gulls flew west over the Obs and there were two Razorbills offshore.

A late Clouded Yellow butterfly was our first, and probably our last, of the year. That brings the butterfly total for the year to 24 species. The list is only 26 species with Ringlet and Purple Hairstreak not recorded this year.

Little Gulls – Andy Taylor

30th

Cloudy, light southerly wind. There were two Red-throated Divers and a Shag offshore. An immature Mute Swan flew west inshore, three Velvet Scoters flew east, and two redhead Red-breasted Mergansers were joined offshore by a redhead Goosander, our first returning bird. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew west, there were at least five Little Gulls offshore, three Sandwich Terns, two Guillemots and two Razorbills. Otehr birds noted included a pulse of c30 Swallows heading west, three Goldcrests around the Obs and a Kingfisher hovering over the beach.

Red-breasted Mergansers and Goosander – Andy Taylor

29th

Sunny periods and showers, light SW wind. One Red-throated Diver and seven Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Grey Heron west and a pair of Gadwall on the sea. Two Curlews flew west and there were 31 Redshanks in the bay opposite the Marsh Pool on the incoming tide. The juvenile Pomarine Skua flew close in by the skate park at 7 am and was seen heading east at 9.35 am. An immature Mediterranean Gull flew west, two immature Little Gulls were feeding offshore, a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull was on the sea, 13 Great Back-backed Gulls, including 11 adults, were on the beach, three Sandwich Terns were offshore, and an Arctic Tern and three large auk sp flew east. Other birds noted included the male Stonechat, a Chiffchaff at the Obs and seven Linnets.

28th

There were two Red-throated Divers and eight Great Crested Grebes offshore and a Black-throated Diver, new for the year, flew west at 11 am. There were 20+ Gannets offshore. There was a flock of 260 Brent Geese along the shoreline, joined at one point by a single Wigeon, whilst two Teal dropped into the Marsh Pool and six Common Scoters flew east. Waders included 48 Ringed Plovers, nine Sanderlings and 18 Dunlin roosted between the groynes and there were 30 Redshanks in the bay opposite the Marsh Pool. A juvenile Pomarine Skua passed west close inshore at 8.44 am, a second calendar year Mediterranean Gull was close inshore and a Little Gull flew west. Other birds included ten Skylarks, including a flock of seven low over the sea, and a Brambling flew west.

27th

A flock of 36 Curlews flew towards the roost in fields beyond the caravan park. Two Goldcrests were also seen.

25th

Sunny, calm. There were five Red-throated Divers and five Great Crested Grebes offshore. 126 Brent Geese were along the shoreline, 10 Common Scoters flew east, a drake Eider flew west at 10.40 am and a Shag was offshore at 12.15 pm. Waders included three Snipe and 24 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew east and another was on the sea close inshore, six Little Gulls flew west, the Pitsea ringed Great Black-backed Gull was again on the beach and a Sandwich Tern was offshore. An immature Marsh Harrier flew west over the sea at 10.50 am. Other birds noted included a female Great Spotted Woodpecker near the sewage works entrance, six Skylarks, a Grey Wagtail, the pair of Stonechats, a Song Thrush in the bushes opposite the Obs, two Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest.

Small White and Red Admiral butterflies were noted.

24th

A Little Grebe was along the Coot Strait, a single Fieldfare our first of the autumn and a female Blackcap and a Goldcrest were along the east bank.

23rd

Light cloud, calm. There were two Red-throated Divers and three Great Crested Grebes offshore and 108 Brent Geese along the beach. A Pochard flew east and a Velvet Scoter, new for the year, flew east at 9.56 am and back west at 10.18 am. Waders included 64 Ringed Plovers and 32 Sanderlings roosting between the groynes, a Purple Sandpiper between the groynes and a Green Sandpiper which headed east over the caravan park. A Great Skua flew west early morning. Other birds noted included two Great Spotted Woodpeckers in the Elm Wood, the pair of Stonechats, five Goldfinches, a flock of 14 Siskins in off the sea and a Redpoll west.

An adult Great Black-backed Gull with the Herring Gulls on the beach was sporting one of the orange colour rings of the North Thames Gull Group. It had been ringed as a second calendar year bird in March 2014 (so born in 2013) at the Pitsea Landfill Site. It was seen there in 2015 and 2016 and then in the far north of Norway as a breeding bird in May 2017. It was seen again further south in Norway in August that year but there had been no further reports since until today.

The Great Black-backed Gull in North Norway in May 2017 – per North Thames Gull Group

22nd

A Hooded Crow was on the beach early morning, but only briefly, as it was harried by the resident Carrion Crows. Only our third record for the site after birds in December 2003 and April last year. Other birds noted included a Marsh Harrier flying south, a Merlin flying north and a Goldcrest.

21st

Cloudy, light rain with a moderate southerly wind. One Great Crested Grebe offshore, six Gannets flew east, two Mute Swans flew west and 67 Brent Geese on the beach included six juveniles. A Teal was in flight over the area and three Common Scoters flew east. The Purple Sandpiper was again on the beach by the caravan park. Bird of the day, perhaps, was a female Pheasant (new for the year) which flushed from the side of the brook and flew into the sewage works. Other birds noted included a flock of 15 House Martins west, the male Stonechat and a male Blackcap in the bushes opposite the Obs, a Chiffchaff at the Obs and nine Linnets over the scrub.

20th

Cloudy, calm, persistent light rain. There were four Great Crested Grebes offshore. Two Grey Herons were on the beach and five Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds noted included a male Stonechat in the bushes opposite the Obs, c10 Long-tailed Tits at the Obs and four Reed Buntings. A bit of a wash out!

19th

Cloudy, moderate southerly wind. There were three Red-throated Divers offshore, three Grey Herons and eight Little Egrets on the beach. Three Brent Geese west and 20 gathered along the shoreline (including one juvenile). Three Shelduck flew east and there were two on the beach, three Pintail flew west, one Common Scoter flew east and a flock of c30 were seen distantly offshore. Waders included two Sanderlings and 22 Redshanks on the beach, two Curlews on the beach and one west. A Mediterranean Gull flew east, a flock of seven flew west and there were five Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds noted included our first returning Little Grebe along the middle brook, three Skylarks west, a Grey Wagtail, three Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, three Redwings in off the sea early morning, the pair of Stonechats, a Chiffchaff, a Brambling calling from the bushes opposite the Obs and four Reed Buntings which flew west from those bushes.

18th

Cloudy, fresh SE wind. There were five Red-throated Divers and six Great Crested Grebes offshore. Two Shelducks and three Wigeon were around the tidal ponds, six Teal flew west and ten Brent Geese dropped in. Waders included 38 Oystercatchers and two Sanderlings on the beach and six Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. There were seven adult Great Black-backed Gulls on the tidal ponds and two Sandwich Terns flew east. Other birds noted were four Skylarks, two Grey Wagtails, a pair of Stonechats and a very vocal Brambling in the trees along Swalecliffe Court Drive which flew off SW with two Chaffinches.

17th

“Parties” of Brent Geese, “small numbers” of Wigeon and a single Shoveler flew west. There were two Lapwings on the beach, a Great Skua flew east and a group of ten Little Gulls flew west. The male Stonechat was still present and a Redpoll flew west.

16th

Cloudy, cool, light easterly wind. One Red-throated Diver and two Great Crested Grebes were offshore, nine Gannets flew east, 12 Shelduck flew west, eight Common Scoters were in flight offshore and, later in the morning, 145 Brent Goose flew west accompanied by a single Wigeon. Waders included 26 Oystercatchers on the beach and 32 Redshanks and a Dunlin appeared on the Marsh Pool as the tide came in. A Purple Sandpiper, on the concrete apron by the caravan park, was our first October bird for five years. There were seven Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds of note included a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the Elm Wood and another which flew west high over the Obs. Two Rock Pipits were at the mouth of the brook. A male Stonechat was by the bushes opposite the Obs from where a Cetti’s Warbler was heard calling. A westerly movement of Chaffinches included two Bramblings, heard only, and Siskins and a Redpoll were also heard. Eight Reed Buntings were present early morning and a Greenfinch was heard along the east bank.

Purple Sandpiper – Andy Taylor

14th

Sunny, cooler with a moderate WNW wind. There were two Red-throated Divers offshore, a Great Crested Grebe flew east and three Gannets flew west. Waders included 26 Oystercatchers on the beach, two Dunlin, a Curlew west and 11 Redshanks on the beach and the Marsh Pool. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew west, there were two Sandwich Terns, and an adult Arctic Tern flew west. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Skylarks west, a Grey Wagtail, and a movement of finches with c200 Chaffinches, two Goldfinches and six Siskins west and six Reed Buntings.

Speckled Wood and Red Admiral butterflies were noted.

12th

Cloudy, some light rain, light SW wind. There were four Red-throated Divers offshore, 15 Little Egrets on the beach and six Brent Geese, two on the beach and four west. A Great Skua flew west at 10.10 am, returning east later, and there were were seven Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds noted included two Stock Doves, a large flock of 24 Long-tailed Tits by the scout hut and two Jays.

11th

Cloudy, light westerly wind. Six Gannets flew east, one flew west. There were seven Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool and four Brent Geese along the shoreline. A pair of Wigeon flew west and a redhead Red-breasted Merganser, our first returning bird, was close inshore off the Obs before flying on west. There were three Snipe and a Redshank on the Marsh Pool, two Mediterranean Gulls flew east, 4 Sandwich Terns and four larger auks flew east and then back west. A Marsh Harrier came in off the sea heading SE. Other birds noted included one Swallow west, our first returning Rock Pipit at the mouth of the brook, Grey Wagtail, three Redwings west over the sewage works and an adult Rook which circled over the area.

Small White, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral butterflies continue to be seen.

Snipe – Geoff Burton

9th

Sunny, light SW wind. Two Red-throated Divers were offshore, there were eight Little Egrets and a Grey Heron flew west. There were 12 Brent Geese offshore, one Teal flew west with scoters, two Pintail flew east with scoters and three flew west. Waders included a flock of six Grey Plovers west, a Lapwing on the beach, a Redshank on the Marsh Pool and 45 Turnstones on the beach. An immature Razorbill was close inshore. A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew west over the scrub and a male was in the Elm Wood. Other birds included six Skylarks west, two Grey Wagtails, two Redwings and a Song Thrush, a Brambling and a Reed Bunting.

8th

An increase in the number of Sanderlings with 22 on the beach. Four Skylarks flew west.

7th

Sunny, moderate SW wind. Three Red-throated Divers offshore and the juvenile Shag was again offshore. Two Common Scoters flew east and a sub-adult Mediterranean Gull was on the beach. A Marsh Harrier flew west low over the sea at 7.35 am and another, shortly afterwards, flew south over the area. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Grey Wagtails, a Cetti’s Warbler in the bushes opposite the Obs, a Lesser Whitethroat and two Blackcaps in the Elm Wood, two Goldcrests near the changing room and a Rook west.

Small White and Speckled Wood continue to show and a Holly Blue was also seen.

Little Egret – Geoff Burton
Marsh Harrier – Andy Taylor

6th

A juvenile Shag close inshore was our first of the year. Steady visible migration with c400 Chaffinches and 120 Siskins west. A late Lesser Whitethroat was along the east bank.

Lesser Whitethroat – Andy Taylor

5th

Cloudy, warm, light SW wind. Two Red-throated Divers, eight Little Egrets and a Grey Heron, one Brent Goose and one Common Scoter. A single Snipe on the Marsh Pool and one Mediterranean Gull west.

4th

A Garden Warbler was seen along the east bank. Probably our latest record of this species after earlier October records in 1993 and 2010.

Garden Warbler – Andy Taylor

3rd

Cloudy with a moderate NW wind. Our first “seawatch” day for some time. The day started with our first Ruff of the year which was on the shoreline by the Obs briefly before flying off west. A Red-throated Diver was offshore. A group of nine Great Crested Grebes landed on the sea. This species has been very scarce here in recent months. Three Gannets flew west, nine Wigeon, three Gadwall, two Teal and ten Pintail flew west, five Common Scoters flew east. Other waders included a Whimbrel which, despite the disturbance, remained on the beach all morning at least, two Curlews west, a Redshank on the Marsh Pool and, later in the day, a Knot had joined the Oystercatchers roosting on the beach. Three Mediterranean Gulls flew east and, in addition to Sandwich Terns, five Common Terns flew west, as did three Razorbills. Other birds noted included a late Hobby, hunting over the estate and a Wheatear again between the groynes.

Small White and Speckled Wood were seen and a second for the year Willow Emerald Damselfly was at the Obs.

Willow Emerald Damselfly – Geoff Burton

2nd

A mist lingered over the calm sea. Two Teal flew west. Waders included 25 Oystercatchers and five Redshanks on the beach and two Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail and our first Goldcrest of the autumn by the Obs.

1st

Sunny at first but clouding over, warm, light SW wind. A Red-throated Diver, still in summer plumage, was offshore and a juvenile Gannet flew close inshore. Waders included seven Dunlin flying west, five Snipe on the Marsh Pool and three Redshanks on the beach. Other birds noted included a Wheatear again on the beach, a Jay in the churchyard and six Reed Buntings.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral. Also Migrant Hawker dragonflies.

September 2023

A total of 104 species for the month is very “average” with the ten-year average being 104.1 species. A generally quiet month boosted by the additions of five species to that list on the final day. Seven species were added to the year list, there were no great rarities but two Ospreys, on 9th and 14th, were most welcome.

A total of 155 species so far this year

156 species by this time last year

30th

Sunny and calm. A more lively day to end the month. There were two Red-throated Divers offshore. Five Grey Herons flew NW and there were five Little Egrets on the beach. A flock of 17 Greylag Geese flew NW towards Sheppey and a duck Common Scoter was on the sea. Waders included 27 Oystercatchers on the beach and six Snipe and eight Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Three Arctic Skuas; including two light-phase adults, flew west close inshore, a juvenile Little Gull close inshore was our first of the autumn and an adult Mediterranean Gull flew south over the skate park. A Razorbill close inshore of the Obs was the first specifically identified this year. A Red Kite, unusual here at this time of the year, flew west at 11.25 am and a juvenile Marsh Harrier flew west low over the sea at 11.50 am. Other birds noted included two Wheatears on the beach and a party of four Redpolls and a Siskin at the Obs.

Wheatear – Geoff Burton
Cetti’s Warbler – Andy Taylor

29th

Cloudy, moderate NW wind. A Red-throated Diver flew east, six Gannets flew west, a flock of 40 Brent Geese flew east, another 25 west, seven Wigeon and 23 Common Scoters flew west. Waders included 24 Oystercatchers on the beach, a Sanderling roosting with Ringed Plovers and Turnstones, five Snipe on the Marsh Pool and two Curlews, our only record this month, flying west. Four Arctic Skuas were chasing terns distantly offshore.

28th

Cloudy, light SW wind. There were two breeding plumage Red-throated Divers offshore, three Common Scoters flew west and c30 circled around offshore. There were ten Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool. Waders included one Snipe and two Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. c15 Common Terns were feeding offshore. Other birds noted included a westerly movement of Swallows and House Martins and a Wheatear on the groynes.

A large Fox Moth caterpillar crossed the path.

27th

Cloudy, light SW wind. One Red-throated Diver close inshore, three Gannets and nine Common Scoters east. Two Teal and a Guillemot flew west. Waders included single Dunlin and Sanderling, three Snipe on the Marsh Pool and 84 Turnstones on the beach. Other birds noted included a Hobby hunting beyond the houses.

Red-throated Diver – Andy Taylor

26th

A Merlin flew west low over the sea.

25th

Sunny, light SW wind. One Red-throated Diver flew east. Five Mute Swans, three adults and two juveniles, were resting on the sea before flying off , first east and then back west. There were ten Little Egrets on the beach and the Marsh Pool and two Grey Herons flew west. Waders included two Dunlin on the beach and three Snipe on the Marsh Pool. There were three Mediterranean Gulls and five Common Gulls flew west. A total of 320 Herring Gulls on the beach included one of the Pitsea Landfill birds (see below). Other birds noted included our first Skylark of the autumn which landed on the shingle ridge, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail, two Jays, ten Linnets, and a Reed Bunting west.

The Herring Gull was ringed as a second calendar year bird on 8th March 2014. Subsequently it was recorded at Beddington Sewage Farm in May that year, here at Swalecliffe in November 2015, March 2018, October 2019 and December 2021, with a visit to a landfill site in Leicestershire in January 2019.

23rd

Sunny with a light westerly wind. A single Brent Goose which flew west was our first returning bird. Waders included a single Sanderling on the beach, two Golden Plovers west an six Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. 19 Sandwich Terns were resting on the tidal ponds. 53 Swallows and two House Martins flew west and other birds noted included a Sedge Warbler in the bushes opposite the Obs, six Blackcaps, five Jays, a Rook flying west and two Reed Buntings.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Speckled Wood Red Admiral and Peacock and Ivy Bees and Common Darter too.

22nd

There were three winter plumage Sanderlings on the beach. Two Sedge Warblers were together in the same bush, the “bushes were full of ” Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs and there was a Willow Warbler in the churchyard.

21st

Cloudy, light SW wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes on the sea and two Grey Herons on the beach. An Arctic Skua and five Mediterranean Gulls flew west. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Grey Wagtail on the roof of a house in Brook Road and two Whitethroats.

A Hobby caught a hirundine over the beach, a Bar-tailed Godwit was on the beach and a Wheatear also seen.

19th

Cloudy with a fresh to strong SW wind. There were six Little Egrets and a Grey Heron on the beach. Waders included four Bar-tailed Godwits which landed briefly on the Hampton flats and a Snipe and two Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. An Arctic Skua was harrying terns offshore. Large numbers of House Martins poured west with an estimate of 3,500, most before 9 am, whilst there were only c25 Swallows, a single Swift and Sand Martin amongst them. 13 Meadow Pipits and a Grey Wagtail also flew west and there was a Wheatear on the beach.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Speckled Wood and Comma and Common Darter dragonflies were also seen.

18th

Cloudy, moderate SW wind with rain from 10.30 am. Two Cattle Egrets on the Hampton flats were new for the year. A light-phase Arctic Skua was harrying terns offshore and five Arctic Terns flew west. Other birds noted included a Hobby, a Grey Wagtail, a Whinchat and three Wheatears.

A Sandwich Tern and an Arctic Skua – Andy Taylor

16th

Sunny, calm. A Red-throated Diver on the sea flew off west. There were four Gannets offshore and a flock of nine Grey Herons which flew west over the sea had earlier been seen at Reculver. A drake Wigeon and four Teal flew west and another 12 Teal circled close inshore. Seven Common Scoters flew east and ten flew west. Waders included 47 Ringed Plovers on the Hampton flats, two Snipe on the Marsh Pool, three Greenshanks flying west with two briefly along the shoreline, and 72 Turnstones on the beach. A Grasshopper Warbler, flushed from vegetation by the brook, was a new bird for the year and a Reed Warbler and a Whitethroat were also seen.

A Brown Argus butterfly in the brook-side vegetation was a bit of a surprise and a Willow Emerald Damselfly was our first this year.

Brown Argus – Geoff Burton
Willow Emerald Damselfly – Geoff Burton

15th

A Marsh Harrier and an Arctic Skua flew west and eight Meadow Pipits were noted.

14th

Sunny, calm. A single Great Crested Grebe offshore was the first noted since July. There were five Little Egrets and a Grey Heron on the beach and 20 Common Scoters flew west. An Osprey, our second of the month, was fishing offshore for about 15 minutes before drifting off west. Waders included five Dunlin and a Snipe on the Marsh Pool, a Bar-tailed Godwit, and two Greenshanks on the shoreline which hung around for c40 minutes despite being flushed several times. An Arctic Skua was seen offshore. Other birds noted included a Hobby, Kingfisher and Great Spotted Woodpecker, three Meadow Pipits, a count of 75 Carrion Crows on the beach and four Greenfinches in the Elm Wood.

There were 17 Red Admirals taking the early morning sun in the top of an ivy-covered hedge along the upper brook. Small White and Speckled Wood wee also seen.

Osprey – Andy Taylor

13th

Cloudy with a fresh NE wind. Two Red-throated Divers flew east, there were 24 Gannets offshore, three Brent Geese and two Wigeon flew west and there were c50 Common Scoters in flight offshore. Waders included a single Knot along the shoreline, seven Dunlin on the Marsh Pool and a single Redshank on the beach and the Marsh Pool. 24 Arctic Skuas and seven Great Skuas and an Arctic Tern flew west and two large auk sp flew east.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Speckled Wood and two Red Admirals.

Dunlin – Geoff Burton
Grey Wagtail – Geoff Burton

12th

The juvenile Spotted Redshank was on the Marsh Pool, but flew off west at 9.22 am, and there were also single Dunlin, Snipe and Common Sandpiper. Four Arctic Skuas flew west. Two Meadow Pipits also flew west.

Spotted Redshank – Andy Taylor

11th

Cloudy, calm. There were four Gannets offshore, three Common Scoters flew west and a flock of c25 flew east. Five Little Egrets were on the Marsh Pool at high tide. Waders included a flock of 26 Redshanks together with two Spotted Redshanks on the beach, another juvenile Spotted Redshank commuting between the beach and the Marsh Pool and a Curlew Sandpiper, briefly on the shoreline with Ringed Plovers, which was new for the year. Later, a flock of 21 Knot flew west and there were single Snipe and Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included three Buzzards apparently displaying in the skies above Studd Hill, a Kingfisher, 30 Swallows west, one Meadow Pipit west, a Grey Wagtail, a Wheatear and a Lesser Whitethroat and a Willow Warbler.

10th

Three Gannets flew west and there were seven Little Egrets on the beach. Waders included 16 Oystercatchers, 30 Ringed Plovers, 50+ Turnstones and a Common Sandpiper. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Yellow Wagtails west, a Grey Wagtail and six Jays.

9th

Sunny, very warm, calm. An Osprey that flew west over the sea at 6.40 am was our first here since 2020. Two Greylag Geese flew west, two Teal flew east and three flew west, and there were seven Little Egrets on the beach. Waders included a flock of 15 Ringed Plovers west and 67 on the beach, five Dunlin west, two Bar-tailed Godwits stopping briefly on the beach before heading west, and two Common Sandpipers on the Marsh Pool. Three Arctic Skuas and an adult Mediterranean Gull also flew west. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Grey Wagtail.

8th

A Dunlin, two Snipe and a Common Sandpiper were on the Marsh Pool.

7th

Foggy with mist lingering over the sea until 11.30 am. Calm. A Short-eared Owl was flushed from the grass near the Marsh Pool and disappeared into the mist. Our first here for two years. Waders included four Snipe and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included two Kingfishers flying down the brook towards the sluice, Cetti’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, two Whitethroats, five Blackcaps and a Willow Warbler.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Speckled Wood and Comma and a Wasp Spider was seen in the scrub.

6th

Misty/light cloud, warm, calm. A drake Wigeon close inshore flew off west. Waders included four Knot east along the shoreline, ten Dunlin resting on the shoreline which flew off west and, another on the Marsh Pool, and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. 212 Herring Gulls on the beach were mostly adults and there were 20+ Sandwich Terns fishing offshore and a single Common Tern. Other birds noted included a Grey Wagtail and Cetti’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat and a male Blackcap in the bushes opposite the Obs.

Sandwich Tern – Geoff Burton

5th

Six Bar-tailed Godwits flew west and two flew east, and there were two Snipe on the Marsh Pool. 37 Sandwich Terns flew east, others were fishing offshore during the morning, and 31 Common Terns flew west. A Guillemot flew east and a Redstart, brighter than yesterday’s bird, was seen in the scrub.

4th

Cloudy at first, calm. Waders included two Dunlin on the beach and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. A female/immature Redstart that flew by the Obs and into the bushes opposite was new for the year but only showed briefly. Our second Whinchat of the year was nearby behind the Obs Pool. A Lesser Whitethroat was also seen.

Butterflies seen were Small White and Small Heath,

Whinchat – Geoff Burton

2nd

Sunny and calm. Four Gannets, a Shelduck and 20 Common Scoters flew east and two Teal flew west. Waders included a flock of Knot and Bar-tailed Godwits, about eight of each, that flew west, three Green Sandpipers over the area early morning which eventually flew off west, a Dunlin, a Snipe and two Common Sandpipers on the Marsh Pool and single Whimbrel and Redshank heard calling. Four Arctic Skuas also flew west. Other birds noted included a Sedge Warbler and a Willow Warbler and four Jays together along the east bank.

1st

Cloudy, rain until 9am, calm. There were ten Gannets offshore, a Grey Heron was on the beach and two Shelduck flying west landed on the sea. Waders included a Spotted Redshank calling constantly as it flew west at 9.20 am, only our second this year, a flock of 12 Knot west, three Redshanks west and another on the Marsh Pool, and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. Six Arctic Skuas flew east together and a Guillemot flew east close inshore. Two vocal Sandwich Terns flew south over the football pitch and away inland. Other birds of noted included a Kingfisher along the middle brook and a bright male Wheatear on the shingle ridge.

Small White butterflies are still plentiful and a Holly Blue was also seen.

August 2023

A total of 92 species was slightly above the ten-year average of 89.8. There were eight additions to the year list, six sea birds and waders and just two passerines and all but the Balearic Shearwaters on 31st, reasonably expected.

148 species so far this year

150 species by the same time last year

31st

Light cloud, calm. Two Balearic Shearwaters flew east over the flat calm sea. Our fifth record of this species and our first since 2015. 11 Gannets also flew east and there were 11 Little Egrets along the shoreline early morning. Four Avocets dropped onto the Marsh Pool at 9am. There was one adult and three juveniles, the same combination as on 19th, and they may well have been the same birds. They also remained for some time. Other waders noted included a Whimbrel west, a Greenshank that landed on the shoreline off the Obs and a Redshank and two Common Sandpipers on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included a Stock Dove, three Sand Martins and 15 Swallows west, a Grey Wagtail, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Willow Warbler.

The rarest sighting of the day, however, was a pod of four Common Dolphins which gave excellent views on the flat calm sea as they headed west towards Whitstable. They were then photographed by the Whitstable Vintage Lifeboat. In over 30 years, these were the first dolphins we have recorded here. Also, a Jersey Tiger moth was seen at the Obs.

30th

Cloudy with a light WNW wind. One Gannet flew east. Waders on the move included two summer plumage Golden Plovers, four Knot (new for the year), a Sanderling pausing briefly on the spit, two Dunlin and six Whimbrel. There were also 12 Oystercatchers on the beach and a Redshank and three Common Sandpipers on the Marsh Pool. A flock of ten Commic Terns west included at least one Arctic Tern.

28th

Cloudy with a light NW wind. 15 Gannets flew east, there were six Little Egrets on the beach and a gathering of 29 Mallard along the middle brook. Waders included a single Curlew west and two Common Sandpipers and a Redshank on the Marsh Pool. Other birds of note included three Grey Wagtails, two Lesser Whitethroats, a flock of 19 Long-tailed Tits and a Carrion Crow on the beach which appeared to show some influence of Hooded Crow.

Carrion Crow – Geoff Burton
Magpie – Geoff Burton

26th

Sunny with a light westerly wind. There were seven Little Egrets on the beach early morning. Waders included one Whimbrel west and four Common Sandpipers, two on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included four Sand Martins and a House Martin west, the latter our first since June, a Sedge Warbler along the east bank and a Willow Warbler in the beach vegetation.

25th

A Whimbrel and a Curlew flew west together and two Common Sandpipers and a Redshank were on the Marsh Pool.

24th

Cloudy and calm with heavy rain between 8 and 9 am. There were 12 Little Egrets in the brook early morning and two Teal and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. After the rain, a Whinchat, our first of the year, was seen briefly in bushes along the coastal path and a juvenile Tufted Duck on the Marsh Pool. Occasionally seen in over the sea, this is perhaps the first to be seen on the pool. Other birds noted included three Dunlin along the shoreline, three Grey Wagtails in the brook near the Marsh Pool and on the beach and Cetti’s Warbler and Willow Warbler were heard.

Tufted Duck – Geoff Burton
Sparrowhawk – Geoff Burton

23rd

Sunny and calm. There were 18 Mallard in the brook. Waders included three Whimbrel, and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. There were 18 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and a Guillemot, only our second record of the year, swam steadily east close inshore. Other birds noted include three Stock Doves, two Yellow Wagtails and six warbler species included Cetti’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and two Willow Warblers.

21st

Misty over the sea, then sunny with a light easterly wind. There were five Little Egrets on the beach and two Shovelers flew east close inshore. Waders included 12 Oystercatchers and 34 Ringed Plovers on the beach and a Redshank and three Common Sandpipers on the Marsh Pool. Seven Common Terns flew west. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher on the beach, 50 Swallows west, three Grey Wagtails, the Cetti’s Warbler in “conversational” song by the Scout Hut and a juvenile Willow Warbler in the Elm Wood.

19th

Sunny, light SW wind. The highlight of the day was four Avocets, an adult and three juveniles, on the Marsh Pool. Uniquely, they were present from early morning into the afternoon at least. Other waders noted included a Sanderling on the beach, five Whimbrel, four on the beach and one west, a Greenshank west, two Common Sandpipers on the Marsh Pool and five Redshanks there later on. Two Black Terns were with other terns and gulls feeding offshore towards the Street. Later, the number increased to at least 12. Also noted were a Grey Heron west over the sea, three Little Egrets, a Sand Martin and 25 Swallows west and a Lesser Whitethroat along the east bank.

Avocet – Geoff Burton
Migrant Hawker – Andy Taylor

18th

There were still five Chub in the brook.

Grey Heron on the bridge – Andy Taylor

17th

Sunny with a light easterly wind. 25 Gannets flew east, there were seven Little Egrets on the beach, 12 Teal on the tidal ponds flew off west, another was in the middle brook and c20 Common Scoters flew east. Waders included out first returning Snipe flying east, two Dunlin east along the shoreline, 14 Whimbrel including a flock of 12 west, four Greenshanks west and three Common Sandpipers on the Marsh Pool. A flock of nine Mediterranean Gulls flew west. A Wheatear was on the shingle ridge.

Teal – Geoff Burton

16th

There were two Common Sandpipers on the Marsh Pool and a Wheatear along the coastal path.

Wheatear – Andy Taylor

15th

Sunny, warm with a light southerly wind. A Little Egret was seen on the Marsh Pool and the beach and two Grey Herons flew west low over the sea. An increase in wader numbers with 87 Turnstones and 36 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes. Seven Whimbrel rested briefly on the beach, a Common Sandpiper was along the lower brook and four Oystercatchers were on the beach. There were 15 Great Black-backed Gulls, including two adults, on the beach. Also noted were six Swallows and a Grey Wagtail.

Butterflies included a Comma and a late Meadow Brown.

Weasels are seen fairly often but usually afford only the briefest of glimpses. However, one burst out of the vegetation along the middle brook and sped in a wide arc across the football pitch. It was visible long enough to catch perhaps the first photograph from this site.

Weasel – Geoff Burton

14th

Another quiet morning. There was a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool, two Buzzards over the estate and a Lesser Whitethroat in the scrub.

A Small Heath butterfly around the Obs was our 14th species for the month.

Small Heath – Andy Taylor

13th

There were five Whimbrel on the beach and a Hobby flew west.

Brief views of a Wall butterfly by the Obs was our 23rd species of the year. Only our fourth record but this species does appear to be recolonising along this coastline.

A Black Stork was first seen at Pegwell Bay on 11th and remained in the Sandwich Bay area until the morning of 13th. It was reported there at 10.17 am but at 11.30 am it was seen flying west low over Tankerton. It was also seen over Seasalter and the next day had relocated to Capel Fleet on the Isle of Sheppey. Possibly, this bird, which would have been a first for the site, could have been seen from the site before it reached Tankerton but we weren’t there!

11th

A flock of 40+ Bar-tailed Godwits flew west. A “trickle” of Sandwich Terns, Common Terns and Swallows flew west and a Swift was seen over the sewage works.

Willow Warbler – Andy Taylor
Chub- Andy Taylor

10th

Sunny, warm, light southerly wind. There were three Little Egrets on the beach. Waders noted were 11 Oystercatchers, eight flew east, three on the beach, 31 Ringed Plovers, four Dunlin and 47 Turnstones roosting between the groynes and two Common Sandpipers on the Marsh Pool. There were four Mediterranean Gulls, including two juveniles, on the beach. Other birds noted were a Wheatear on the shingle ridge and two Willow Warblers.

Butterflies seen were Small White, Gatekeeper, Holly Blue, Green-veined White and Peacock. A mating pair of Common Darter dragonflies were also seen. A shoal of 12 red-finned fish by the sluice were, by consensus, Chub. Not been seen here before as far as we know.

Common Darters – Geoff Burton

9th

Sunny with a light WNW wind. A Great Skua was seen chasing terns and gulls distantly offshore and resting on the sea, and a dark-phase Arctic Skua flew west. A party of four Gadwall and two Shovelers flew west. Waders noted included 12 Oystercatchers east and two on the beach, c25 Ringed Plovers, two Dunlin on the beach, a Whimbrel and six Redshanks west, and a Common Sandpiper was on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included a Swift, an immature female Great Spotted Woodpecker in the Elm Wood, two Yellow Wagtails west, three Grey Wagtails in the brook by the sluice, a Wheatear, a Song Thrush along the east bank, a Garden Warbler by the Obs, the Cetti’s Warbler was heard again and there were two juvenile Willow Warblers.

Garden Warbler – Geoff Burton

7th

Sunny, moderate SW wind. Six Shelducks flew east, there were 13 Mallard in Coot Strait, two Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool an a Grey Heron flew west then east over the sea. A Sanderling was with the Turnstones roosting between the groynes and a Common Sandpiper flew west. There were 14 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. More interest came away from the beach with the Pied Flycatcher appearing around the Obs several times, both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen, a Cetti’s Warbler, a Sedge Warbler by the Obs, a Lesser Whitethroat in the scrub and three juvenile Willow Warblers. One Sand Martin flew west, there were two Swallows and a Grey Wagtail.

A good selection of butterflies included Holly and Common Blues and late Meadow Brown and Small Skipper.

6th

Three Arctic Terns (our first of the year) flew east close inshore early morning and several parties of Common/Arctic Terns also flew east but too distant for specific identification. A Gadwall and a Bar-tailed Godwit flew west over the sea. Most surprising, however, was an early Pied Flycatcher along the east bank. This species has become more irregular in recent years, a few were seen last year, but its was seen in only four of the last ten years. Our earliest was in late July 2002. Also present was our first returning Reed Warbler and Garden Warbler, three Willow Warblers whilst a Reed Bunting flew west by the Obs.

Pied flycatcher – Andy Taylor

5th

Cloudy, showers, light SW wind. A Fulmar flew west (usually fairly regular in spring an summer but this was the first since May). One Gannet flew east, there were three juvenile Shelducks on the tidal ponds which flew west, a juvenile Shoveler circled over the beach and flew on east (12 east on February 23rd was the only previous record this year) and three Common Scoters flew west. Waders noted were four Oystercatchers on the beach, 13 Ringed Plovers on Hampton flats, two adult summer plumage Grey Plovers west, at least four Dunlin west amongst Ringed Plovers, one Curlew and two Greenshanks west and Turnstones were also present. Four adult Common Gulls flew west, the adult Lesser Black-backed Gull with two juveniles was again on the beach as were ten immature Great Black-backed Gulls. Two Sandwich Terns and two Common Terns were also seen. A second sighting of Kingfisher (after one on July 29th) raised hopes that they might become regular from now on into the winter. Also noted was a Cetti’s Wabler on the edge of the Scout Wood (having not been heard or seen since June 24th). A juvenile Willow Warbler was at the Obs.

It was a surprise to see a lot of water in the Marsh Pool as the wet July failed to prevent it from drying out completely. Apparently, nearby at Chestfield an inch of rain fallen in 45 minutes!

Marsh Pool – Geoff Burton

3rd

Cloudy, moderate NW wind. The first day with conditions favouring a sea watch. 49 Gannets and 95 Kittiwakes flew west early morning with two dark-phase Arctic Skuas west at 11.10 am. Ten Teal and ten Common Scoters also flew west. Waders noted included seven Oystercatchers and an adult summer plumage Grey Plover and three Whimbrel flew west. Other birds noted included three Swifts west and a juvenile Willow Warbler at the Obs.

2nd

A light-phase Arctic Skua, our first skua of the year, flew west at 11.04 am. 27 Common Terns also flew west and a Common Sandpiper was present.

1st

Sunny, moderate SW wind. One Gannet flew east. Waders included 60 Turnstones and eight Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes, three Whimbrel west and single Oystercatcher, Curlew and Redshank on the beach. There were ten Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Other birds noted included one Stock Dove, one Sand Martin and one Swallow west, a Grey Wagtail, and a juvenile Willow Warbler at the Obs.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Gatekeeper, Red Admiral, Holly Blue, Meadow Brown, Common Blue and Speckled Wood and a Brown-banded Bee.

Adult and immature Great Black-backed Gull – Geoff Burton
Red Admiral – Geoff Burton

July 2023

A total of 70 species for the month was below the ten-year average of 73.6. There was a strong movement of Swifts in the first half of the month. A build up of Mediterranean Gulls peaked at 93 on 8th. Four Dutch-ringed birds were noted and included one individual of 17 years of age. Typically, wader numbers increased towards the end of the month with a total of 77 Whimbrel, including 32 on 29th, and a maximum of 65 Turnstones on 27th. A juvenile Cuckoo on 25th was noteworthy and a Willow Warbler on 31st a hint of things to come. Finally, our first Kingfisher of the year appeared on 29th.

A total of 140 species so far this year

142 species by this time last year

31st

Cloudy, moderate SW wind. Two Gannets flew east. Waders noted were three Oystercatchers on the beach, 19 Whimbrel including eight that rested on the shoreline and four Curlews. There were four Sandwich Terns offshore and seven Common Terns flew west. Other birds noted included 115 Swifts and two Sand Martins west, our first juvenile Willow Warbler at the Obs on a typical date, and a Jay along the brook.

Butterflies noted included a Painted Lady and also at the Obs there was a Brown-banded Bee and a Roessel’s Bush Cricket.

29th

Cloudy, with a shower and a light SW wind. Single Gannets flew east and west, a Grey Heron flew east and three Common Scoters flew east. Waders included a flock of 26 Whimbrel that circled the beach seeking to land but moved on west and another flock of six. A Greenshank that landed on the beach was the first returning bird, a Common Sandpiper flew along the shoreline and there were also two Ringed Plovers and a Redshank on the beach. Six Mediterranean Gulls on the beach included three juveniles. A Kingfisher flew down along the middle brook and over the sluice. Our first this year after normally wintering individuals disappeared during a cold spell in December. Other birds noted included three Stock Doves which flew off the shingle ridge and eight Swifts and a Hobby west.

28th

Cloudy, light SW wind. A Great Crested Grebe offshore was our first since June 22nd. Seven Common Scoters flew east and there were five Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool. A Common Sandpiper was on the beach and there were also 25 Turnstones and a single Ringed Plover.

27th

Cloudy with a light SW wind. Seven Gannets and four Common Scoters flew east. Waders noted were 65 Turnstones roosting between the groynes with two Ringed Plovers, 12 Whimbrel, including eight resting along the shoreline, a Curlew east, and single Oystercatcher, Common Sandpiper and Redshank on the beach. Gulls included two adult Common Gulls west, an adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls with two juveniles, 75 juvenile Herring Gulls and five immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Four Sandwich Terns and seven Common Terns flew west. Other birds noted included a Stock Dove, 25 Swifts, seven Sand Martins and a Swallow west.

A female Common Blue, not very common here these days, was at the Obs and a Jersey Tiger moth was a welcome site.

Common Blue – Geoff Burton
Jersey Tiger – Geoff Burton

26th

Sunny with a light SW wind. Two Gannets were offshore and there were five Little Egrets present. The Turnstone count rose to 42 and there were three Ringed Plovers and another Sanderling with them. One Oystercatcher was on the beach and a Redshank was heard. There were 40 juvenile Herring Gulls, an adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls with three juveniles and three immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. There were also six Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds noted included two distantly displaying Buzzards, single Sand Martin and Swallow west, a Grey Wagtail in the brook by the sluice, three Jays along the east bank and 53 Carrion Crows on the beach.

Our first Small Copper butterfly of the year was seen along the coastal path. Our 22nd species of the year and 20th this month.

25th

A juvenile Cuckoo pitched in at the Obs during the morning. Two Lapwings and 17 Turnstones were also noted.

Cuckoo – Andy Taylor

24th

Cloudy, light SW wind. An increase in the number of Turnstones with 28 roosting between the groynes accompanied by five Ringed Plovers and our first returning Sanderling. One Oystercatcher was on the beach and another four flew west and there was a Redshank in the remnant brook. There were three Mediterranean Gulls, an adult Common Gull and four Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Also noted was a Stock Dove on the shingle ridge, a few Sand Martins and four Swallows west.

22nd

Sunny periods, light southerly wind. Two Gannets flew west and there were five Little Egrets on the beach. Our first returning Common Sandpiper was beach-hopping west along the shoreline, a Whimbrel touched down briefly on the shoreline also on its way west and eight Turnstones, all but one in full breeding plumage, rested between the groynes. Amongst the gulls there on the beach were six Mediterranean Gulls and five Great Black-backed Gulls. A party of 15 Swifts circled over the estate heading east, two Sand Martins, six Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail flew west.

20th

Cloudy with a light NE wind. One Gannet flew east and there were seven Little Egrets on the Hampton flats. A Ringed Plover heard was the only wader, ten Mediterranean Gulls on the beach included two juveniles and a Sandwich Tern was offshore. Little else but there were two Stock Doves, a single Swift, a Grey Wagtail, and five Pied Wagtails on the football pitch.

19th

Cloudy, showers, light westerly wind. There were seven Little Egrets on the beach. A juvenile Marsh Harrier flew west at 8.45 am. Waders noted were two Oystercatchers on the beach and a single Turnstone on the beach, six Whimbrel, a single and a party of five, and a Curlew west and a Redshank. A total of 46 Mediterranean Gulls gathered on the beach on the incomong tide and included five juveniles. Other birds noted included six Swifts and ten Sand Martins west, four Swallows, a Grey Wagtail and eight Pied Wagtails on the football pitch.

There were a number of ringed Mediterranean Gulls in the flock including two with only unreadable metal rings and an English colour-ringed bird that sat down before its details could be read. However, there were two more Dutch-ringed birds. One was rung as an adult in 2018, was then seen in Belgium, on a number of occasions at Copt Point in Folkestone and back in the Netherlands last year. The other was rung as a pullus (chick) in 2006 and is thus 17 years old! Again there have been many reports from Copt Point, in Belgium in 2019, and in SW France in February last year.

18th

Single Oystercatcher and Curlew were noted. Two Grey Wagtails were along the brook and a Reed Warbler was heard singing behind the Obs.

17th

Cloudy, moderate SW wind. Three Gannets flew west. Waders noted were two Oystercatchers on the beach, a Ringed Plover, five Whimbrel, two on the tidal ponds and a group of three west, a single Redshank on the Marsh Pool, and two Turnstones on the groynes. As the tide came in, gulls and terns gathered on the beach including 12 Mediterranean Gulls, three Sandwich Terns, including a juvenile, and seven Common Terns. One Swift and three Swallows flew west.

Turnstone – Geoff Burton

15th

Sunny then cloudy with a heavy rain shower, moderate SW wind. Waders noted were one Oystercatcher on the beach, two Curlews, a Redshank and nine Turnstones on the groynes. There were single Sandwich and Common Terns offshore. Early morning passage of Swifts with 175 west, also seven Sand Martins west and a Yellow Wagtail was heard calling. A Hobby came in off the sea at 4.30 pm.

13th

Sunny with a light SW wind. One Gannet flew west, two Little Egrets flew west with another five on the Marsh Pool. Waders were an Oystercatcher, a Whimbrel, two Curlews and six Turnstones on the beach and five Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. There were also 14 Mediterranean Gulls and an adult Common Gull on the Marsh Pool. An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull with a juvenile was on the beach. Other birds note dincluded 157 Swifts west, a Great Spotted Woodpecker which flew into the trees by the Obs and a Yellow Wagtail which dropped in by the Marsh Pool.

Another Dutch-ringed Mediterranean Gull was present on the Marsh Pool. This individual was ringed on 20th May 2022, only two days after the one here on 8th, and also as a third calendar year bird. It appears to have spent this breeding season in the Loire Valley in France.

A Brimstone at the Obs was our 18th species for the month.

Whitethroat – Geoff Burton
Juvenile Black-headed Gull – Geoff Burton
Green-veined White – Geoff Burton

12th

Sunny with a light SW wind. The only waders noted were a single Curlew flying west and a Whimbrel heard calling. There were two Stock Doves on the muddy margin to the Marsh pool where towards high tide 30 Mediterranean Gulls and a second calendar year Common Gull had gathered. Swifts were on the move again with 255 west by 7.15 am. Also noted were three Sand Martins and a Swallow west.

A Large White butterfly at the Obs was the 17th species for the month.

Moorhen – Geoff Burton
Grey Squirrel – Geoff Burton
Gatekeeper – Geoff Burton

10th

Sunny with a light southerly wind. There were five Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool and a Grey Heron flew east over the area. A Whimbrel flew west over the tidal ponds and a Redshank was heard calling. 13 Mediterranean Gulls were resting on the Marsh Pool, there were four immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and three Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds noted included 50 Swifts and three Sand Martins west, 12 Swallows and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. The male Greenfinch was again in the Elm Wood and a juvenile Goldfinch was in trees along the east bank.

Nine species of butterfly were recorded and a European Corn-borer moth was seen along the upper brook.

8th

Sunny, warm and calm. Two Brent Geese wee on the beach all morning. Presumably, they have strayed from the summering flock that usually hangs around in the Medway estuary. A flock of 76 Mediterranean Gulls were gathered on the beach with another 17 on the Marsh Pool. There were also four Little Egrets on the pool. Waders were represented only by single Oystercatcher on the beach and a Lapwing that circled over the beach. Four Sandwich Terns flew east but there was little else of note.

One of the Mediterranean Gulls on the Marsh Pool had been rung as a third calendar year bird in May 2022 in the Netherlands. Subsequent sightings were from Copt Point, for a few days in August that year, and two sightings in Brittany during the winter. Thanks to Camille Duponcheel for the information.

A Peacock butterfly at the Obs was our 16th species for the month.

Brent Geese – Geoff Burton

6th

Sunny with a light SW wind. There were 19 Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool. A Ringed Plover was on the shoreline by the Obs and a Curlew flew west. There were five Mediterranean Gulls and five Great Black-backed Gulls, including one adult, on the beach and three Sandwich Terns offshore including one juvenile. 40 Swifts flew west, a Grey Wagtail was heard calling and there were six juvenile Long-tailed Tits at the Obs.

Amongst the butterflies at the Obs was a Painted Lady.

Painted Lady – Geoff Burton

5th

Sunny, moderate SW wind. There were 18 Little Egrets, three Redshanks and a Green Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. A Sandwich Tern was offshore and three single Common Terns flew west. The heaviest passage of Swifts this year with 159 heading west, most in the early morning. Other birds included a Grey Wagtail by the sluice and a Song Thrush singing briefly near the Obs; our first since May.

Nine species of butterfly included Red Admiral and Speckled Wood bringing the month total to 13 species.

Collared Dove – Geoff Burton

3rd

Sunny with a fresh westerly wind. One Gannet flew east, there were eight Little Egrets and a Redshank on the Marsh Pool and three Curlews on the Hampton flats. Four Mediterranean Gulls flew west and there were three Sandwich Terns offshore. A Meadow Pipit was displaying in the grassland although none had been seen here since May.

A total of 11 species of butterfly were noted, mainly around the Obs; they included our first Essex Skipper, another early Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Green-veined White, Comma and Small Tortoiseshell.

Essex Skipper – Geoff Burton
Small Tortoiseshell – Geoff Burton

1st

Cloudy, fresh westerly wind. There were seven Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool. No waders were noted today! There were four Sandwich Terns close inshore, a Hobby flew west close by the Obs and a Reed Warbler was singing along the east bank.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Small Skipper and Marbled White.

June 2023

The total of 67 species during the month was a bit below the ten-year average of 69.9 species. A Guillemot on 13th was the first specifically identified auk of the year (there have been very few) and the year total of 139 species is well above the ten-year average for the end of June of 133.8 species. There was little else of note but two Avocets west on 3rd, three Hobbies on 10th and a Green Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool on 28th will have to suffice.

A total of 139 species so far this year

142 species by this time last year

30th

Waders noted were a Ringed Plover and five Turnstones on the beach and a Curlew flying west. There were five Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool and six Mediterranean Gulls on the beach. A Great Spotted Woodpecker around the Obs was only the second record this year after one on February 2nd. A Reed Warbler was also present.

29th

Cloudy with light westerly wind and light rain showers. There were six Little Egrets and a Grey Heron on the Marsh Pool. A single Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover were on the beach and two Turnstones were on the groynes. There were four Mediterranean Gulls on the beach, another seven flew west and two Sandwich Terns flew west. Other birds noted included 21 Mallard, a Stock Dove and a Grey Wagtail.

28th

Cloudy with a light SW wind. Seven Gannets flew west and a Grey Heron flew west high over the area harassed by a Herring Gull. A Green Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool was an early returning migrant and was present for much of the day. Unusually, a Curlew was also present on the pool late morning. Also, six Little Egrets were also there. A single Ringed Plover took off in display flight from the beach when disturbed by a dog walker and seven Turnstones were on the groynes. Six Mediterranean Gulls and three immature Great Black-backed Gulls were on the beach and three Sandwich Terns flew west. Other birds noted included seven Swifts west, three Swallows, a Grey Wagtail by the sluice and a Reed Warbler in song at the back of the Obs.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Meadow Brown, Small and Large Skippers, Marbled White and our first Common Blue of the year. A Banded Demoiselle is a scarce dragonfly here.

Green Sandpiper – Geoff Burton
Curlew – Geoff Burton
Turnstones – Geoff Burton
Marbled White – Geoff Burton

27th

There were nine Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool, two Sand Martins flew west and a juvenile Grey Wagtail was on the roof of the scout hut.

26th

Sunny but clouding over, cooler, moderate SW wind. There were four Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool, a Curlew flew west over the beach, there were two immature Mediterranean Gulls and eight Great Black-backed Gulls, including seven on the beach. Seven fully-grown ducklings were along the middle brook. Six Swifts flew west.

Butterflies seen were Small White, Holly Blue, Comma, Meadow Brown, Small Skipper and Marbled White.

24th

Sunny, calm, warm. A pair of Teal, a Little Egret and a Grey Heron were on the Marsh Pool. A Turnstone on the groynes at the eastern end of the beach was our first this month and a Ringed Plover was also seen. A third calendar year Mediterranean Gull was on the beach, with five immature Great Black-backed Gulls, and a Sandwich Tern was close inshore. Two Cetti’s Warblers could be heard “ticking” in the Elm Wood.

A boost to our butterfly year list with Comma, Small Skipper and Marbled White all new for the year. Eight species on the day and a total of 19 species for the year. A Lunar Hornet Clearwing at the Obs was a new moth for the site.

Grey Heron and Little Egret – Geoff Burton
Teal – Geoff Burton
Chiffchaff – Geoff Burton
Comma – Geoff Burton
Lunar Hornet Clearwing – Andy Taylor

22nd

Sunny, warm, light SW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, five Little Egrets between the beach and the Marsh Pool where there was also an adult Grey Heron and a Redshank. Two Lapwings circled low over the beach and there were three Oystercatchers along the shoreline by the Obs. Three Mediterranean Gulls flew west and a second calendar year Common Gull was on the beach with Black-headed Gulls. Other birds noted included a Hobby hunting over the area early morning, one Stock Dove, five Swifts and single Sand Martin and Swallow and a Cetti’s Warbler calling persistently by the Obs. There were c10 Long-tailed Tits by the Obs, a Jay along the east bank and a male Greenfinch in the Elm Wood.

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

21st

Sunny, warm, light SW wind. A Ringed Plover on the shingle ridge was flushed by dog walkers. There were two Sandwich Terns on the red buoy. Three Sand Martins and a Swallow flew west and there were three Reed Warblers in song. A troop of ten Magpies were on the football pitch.

Five species of butterfly included our first Brown Argus of the year. Meadow Browns were numerous and a Small Tortoiseshell was also seen.

20th

Cloudy, light SE wind, heavy rain from 8.50 am. Seven Gannets, an adult Mediterranean Gull and single Sandwich and Common Terns flew east. A flock of 23 Lapwings flew SE into the storm.

19th

Adult Moorhen feeding three chicks in the brook.

18th

Two Mute Swans off the beach.

17th

A Cetti’s Warbler was heard and seen briefly. There had been at least one individual present since last September but it had not been heard or seen since 24th May. A quiet period whilst it got on with the job of bringing up a family, a new bird or a returnee? A Jay which flew into the scrub was the first recorded this month.

At this time of the year, attention inevitably turns to creatures other than bird. Our first Large Skipper of the year was a little late, several nettles at the Obs were festooned with Peacock butterfly caterpillars and Holly Blue was also seen. Our first ever record of an orchid, the Common Spotted Orchid, was welcome and surprising.

Peacock butterfly caterpillars – Andy Taylor
Large Skipper – Andy Taylor
Holly Blue – Arnie van Orsouw
Common Spotted Orchid – Andy Taylor

15th

Eight Teal flew west and an adult and a juvenile Swallow were feeding over the beach.

14th

Sunny with a light NE breeze. Three Gannets flew east and three Mallards flew west. Waders noted were eight Oystercatchers west and a Ringed Plover heard; two species that have or potentially would nest if not for the excessive level of disturbance.

13th

Cooler. A Guillemot flew east; our first specifically identified auk of the year! A Red Kite flew west over the football pitch, a Lapwing circled over the area and two Curlews flew west. Also, four juvenile Long-tailed Tits were seen along the east bank.

Speckled Wood and Small White were the only butterflies noted.

12th

Cloudy, warm. Two Great Crested Grebes offshore and two Shelducks flew west.

11th

Sunny, warm, light NE wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe offshore. A second calendar year Common Gull was on the beach with eight immature Great Black-backed Gulls. A single Stock Dove and a Swift were also noted.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Holly Blue, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood and a single Green Oak Tortrix was seen in the grass by the Obs, a migrant that has been filling moth traps throughout the county and beyond.

10th

Sunny, much warmer with a light easterly wind. One Great Crested Grebe offshore and a Gannet flew east. Raptors responded to the heat with five species recorded including three Hobbies circling over the area. There were three Oystercatchers on the beach, a Lapwing circled over the beach, a Curlew flew west and a Redshank was on the Marsh Pool. A Common Tern landed on a buoy by the tidal ponds and a Sandwich Tern fished offshore. A few Swifts and House Martins were also noted.

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

8th

Cloudy, moderate NE wind. Two Gannets flew east. Four Oystercatchers flew east along the shoreline and two Sandwich Terns flew east. The Mallard brood with six ducklings seen for the first time this month in the brook below the sluice. There were three Stock Doves on the shingle ridge and a single Sand Martin was noted.

One Speckled Wood butterfly seen.

7th

A Reed Warbler was singing sporadically in the bushes opposite the Obs.

Greenfinch – Andy Taylor

6th

Cloudy, cool with a moderate NE wind. Three Gannets flew east and a Grey Heron flew west. The pair of Oystercatchers were calling and displaying over the area, a Curlew flew west and a Ringed Plover was also seen. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls and two second calendar year Common Gulls flew east and there were ten immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Also seen were two Stock Doves on the beach, a juvenile Pied Wagtail on the football pitch, a Chaffinch was singing along the upper brook and a Greenfinch was singing in the Elm Wood.

5th

A flock of 20 Canada Goose on the tidal ponds was a very high count for any time of the year. Two Shelducks were also noted, a Hobby flew north over the Marsh Pool and there was a high count of eight Greenfinches between the car park and the sewage works.

3rd

Two Avocets flew NW, a single Sandwich Tern was noted and Swift and all three hirundines put in an appearance.

1st

A few Gannets were offshore and a group of ten flew east later. One Common Scoter and two Common Terns flew east and the pair of Oystercatchers were also present. Two Stock Doves were on the coastal path.

May 2023

An unusual and un-spring like month with a fresh wind stuck in a northerly direction from 13th onwards. The total of 91 species was above the ten-year average of 83.5, and the year total of 138 is also above the ten-year average of 133.8 species. However, only six species were added to the year list with our the fourth Marsh Warbler for the site and an unusual spring Spotted Redshank on 22nd and our second earliest Spotted Flycatcher on 1st, only three days after our earliest ever.

138 species so far this year

141 species by this time last year

31st

Three Grey Plovers, two in breeding plumage, flew south and a Redshank, the first here since 27th April, dropped onto the beach.

We were graced by the attractive moth, alabonia geoffrella (colloquially known as “Geoff”) with six present in the scrub.

Alabonia geoffrella – Andy Taylor

30th

Cloudy, cool with a fresh NE wind – again! A few Gannets flew east. The pair of Oystercatchers and three Common Sandpipers were on the Marsh Pool and a Ringed Plover, rather optimistically, was displaying over the shingle ridge. Two Stock Doves were also seen on the shingle ridge.

29th

Cloudy with a fresh NE wind. We continue to be stuck if the cool NE airflow. One Fulmar and 16 Gannets flew east. A Common Sandpiper was the only wader noted. There were 14 immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach, a significant increase, and six Sandwich Terns flew west. A Hobby flew west over the Obs.

27th

Sunny with a moderate easterly wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore and 18 Gannets flew east. The pair of Oystercatchers, a Common Sandpiper and a Ringed Plover was on the Marsh Pool and a single Turnstone was also noted. There were four immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach.

Green-veined White and Holly Blue butterflies were seen.

25th

Cloudy with a moderate northerly wind. Four Gannets flew east. There were three Red Kites, one flew west and two flew NW low over the area. There were four Oystercatchers, and a Common Sandpiper was on the Marsh Pool. A Nightingale, flushed from the alexanders by the path by the Obs, was unexpected. There were five Jackdaws over the beach and 60 Carrion Crows collected on the shingle ridge.

24th

Sunny with a light NW wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore and three Tufted Ducks, two drakes and a duck, flew west. A Red Kite flew west, a male Marsh Harrier drifted east and the only waders noted were six Oystercatchers and two Turnstones. One Skylark was over the area and nine House Martins flew west.

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

Speckled Wood – Geoff Burton

23rd

Three distant auk species flying east were the first to be noted this year.

22nd

Cloudy with a moderate northerly wind. Against all expectations, there was some interest this morning. Andy picked up some quiet but interesting warbling along the middle brook which later blossomed into a full-blown Marsh Warbler song. It sang well in the morning and showed briefly a few times, but couldn’t be heard in the afternoon and was not present the next day. Only our fourth record and the earliest. This fits well with a new arrival of this late species, whilst the other three records between June 15th and July 10th, were more likely have been relocating birds. In addition, three Greenshanks flew off the tidal ponds in the company of a Spotted Redshank heading west at 8.55 am. Otherwise, very quiet with two Shelducks west and the “resident” pair of Oystercatchers. The duck Mallard continues to raise its seven ducklings.

20th

Cloudy with a fresh NE wind. Five Gannets flew east and four flew west. Waders noted were the pair of Oystercatchers, a Lapwing on the Marsh Pool and a Greenshank flew west at 9.47 am. Little else of note but a single House Martin flew west.

19th

Sunny/light cloud, light northerly wind. There were eight Great Crested Grebes offshore. There was an unexpectably large number of 14 Mallard with only one duck, on the Marsh Pool. A Lapwing along the shoreline was our first since February and other waders noted were nine Oystercatchers, including a pair on the Marsh Pool, a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool and 19 Turnstones between the groynes. Other birds noted included a Stock Dove in the grassland and a single Swift west.

18th

Two Whimbrel flew west, two Common Sandpipers were on the tidal ponds with another two on the Marsh Pool. A Reed Warbler was also noted.

A year ago on this date our first ever record of Caspian Tern flew east over the area, which it also did on 20th.

Reed Warbler – Andy Taylor

17th

Sunny with a light northerly wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Fulmar and six Gannets flew east, five Shelducks flew west and two Barnacle Geese, an addition to the year list, flew east over the area at 7.38 am. The only waders noted were the pair of Oystercatchers on the beach and the Marsh Pool and two Turnstones on the beach. Two Red Kites flew west at 9.20 and 10.35 am. A Cuckoo, which flew west over the sewage works, had previously been heard calling in the scrub and our first juvenile Starling of the year was only a few days later than normal. .

Orange-tip and Small White butterflies were also noted.

Juvenile Starling – Geoff Burton

15th

Cloudy, cool, fresh northerly wind. Three Great Crested Grebe offshore, seven Gannets flew east and a Shelduck flew west. The pair of Oystercatchers remained on the beach. A trickle of vis mig with three Swifts, 46 Swallows and three House Martins west.

14th

Four Avocets came in off the sea and dropped down to the Marsh Pool.

13th

Cloudy, cool, moderate NE wind. Two Gannets and 12 Common Scoters flew east. A pair of Oystercatchers were seen mating and nest-scraping on the shingle ridge. Other waders noted were a single Ringed Plover and eight Sanderlings and six Turnstones roosting between the groynes. Little vis mig but three House Martins flew north and two Yellow Wagtails flew west.

11th

Sunny with a light southerly wind. There were six Great Crested Grebes offshore, waders included six Oystercatchers, 21 Sanderlings and nine Turnstones roosting between the groynes, two Curlews and a Common Sandpiper along the brook. Other birds noted included a Hobby low over the coastal path and beach and a Reed Warbler singing quietly in the bushes opposite the Obs.

Sanderlings – Geoff Burton
Moorhen – Geoff Burton

10th

Sunny with a light westerly wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore. Waders noted were seven Oystercatchers, a single Ringed Plover and 20 Turnstones. A trickle of vis mig with six Swifts, c20 Swallows and seven Yellow Wagtails west. Reed Warbler showed well on the edge of the middle brook and a Stock Dove dropped into the grassland by the Obs Pool.

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

Blackcap – Geoff Burton

8th

Sunny periods, light southerly wind. Five Shelducks flew east and two Sandwich Terns flew east. Other birds included a single Curlew, a silent Garden Warbler along the east bank and a Jay.

Warm conditions encouraged a number of butterflies with our first Red Admiral, and Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and Orange-tip.

Red Admiral – Geoff Burton

6th

Cloudy, mild, light southerly wind. There were five Great Crested Grebes offshore and nine Gannets flew east. Waders noted were two Oystercatchers, a Sanderling and a Curlew and ten Turnstones. A Red Kite, which flew west at 11.20 am, was only our second of the year. Other birds included c10 Common Terns offshore and our first Reed Warbler of the year singing unseen along the east bank.

Butterflies noted were our first Holly Blue of the year and Green-veined White.

5th

A Ringed Plover was on the beach, four Whimbrel flew west and two Swifts were seen.

4th

Sunny, warmer, with a light NE wind. One Fulmar and two Greylag Geese flew west, two Gannets flew east and a Grey Heron on the tidal ponds flew off south. Waders included two Oystercatchers on the beach and single Whimbrel, Curlew and Greenshank. A flock of 12 Little Gulls moving west but dropping frequently on the sea and one Sandwich Tern flew east.

A Small Tortoiseshell and Orange-tip were noted.

Small Tortoiseshell – Geoff Burton

3rd

Sunny, cool with a moderate NE wind. One Great Crested Grebe offshore, two Fulmars and six Gannets east, two Mute Swans west close inshore and a Little Egret and a pair of Shelducks on the Marsh Pool. Waders included two Greenshanks on the tidal ponds, a Whimbrel on the beach by the Obs for as long as it took for the first dog walker to get to it, and single Dunlin and Common Sandpiper on the beach. Other birds noted included a Swift and a Sand Martin west and a Chaffinch singing in the churchyard.

2nd

A Green Sandpiper was on the Marsh Pool.

1st

Sunny and warmer with a light westerly wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Canada Goose flew west along the shoreline and a Grey Heron flew west inland. Waders included six Oystercatchers, two Grey Plovers flying west and three Whimbrel on the beach which flew west early morning. Five Sandwich Terns flew east and two Common Terns flew west. The highlights of the day were our first Cuckoo of the year, which flew west at 6.30 am, and our second, and second earliest ever Spotted Flycatcher along the east bank. Other birds noted included 25 Yellow Wagtails west, a Wheatear on the shingle ridge, three Lesser Whitethroats, a Jay and two male Greenfinches in the churchyard and along the east bank. Finally, two Buzzards flew west and our first brood of Mallard, c12 ducklings, were along the middle brook.

Peacock and Small White butterflies were also noted.

Spotted Flycatcher – Geoff Burton