May 2024

A total of 126 species so far this year

134 species by this time last year

13th

Sunny, calm. There was one Great Crested Grebe offshore, a Gannet flew east, two Canada Geese flew SE over the caravan park, three Gadwall were on the sea and the pair of Shelducks was on the Marsh Pool. One Turnstone was the only wader noted. there were 19 Great Black-backed Gulls, including two adults, on the beach. Vis mig included five Swifts, five Swallows, a Yellow Wagtail and a Corn Bunting west. There was a Wheatear on the shingle ridge and three Greenfinches flew over the sewage works.

Butterflies noted were Red Admiral, Holly Blue and Green-veined White.

12th

A Garden Warbler, singing along the east bank and then in the bushes opposite the Obs, was our first of the year.

11th

Sunny, with some mist offshore, light NE wind. Two Gannets flew east and the drake Shelduck was on the Marsh Pool. Waders noted were one Oystercatcher, seven Bar-tailed Godwits east and four Whimbrel west, a Greenshank heard calling and three Common Sandpipers. There were 11 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and an adult Kittiwake flew east.

Small and Green-veined White butterflies noted.

9th

Sunny, warm, with a light SE wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore, two Little Egrets flew west and the pair of Shelducks were on the beach and the Marsh Pool. Three Oystercatchers flew east and a Sanderling was roosting on the groynes with nine Turnstones. There were three immature Great Black-backed Gulls, and a Hobby and a Yellow Wagtail were also noted.

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

8th

Cloudy, cool, light NE wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore and a pair of Shelducks on the Marsh Pool. Waders noted were an Oystercatcher, a Curlew, a Whimbrel flying across the area towards Studd Hill and six Turnstones. One Common Tern flew east and other birds noted included a Stock Dove, and five Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail west. The pair of Mallard seen with 12 ducklings on 6th only had two surviving ducklings today.

7th

A Sanderling and two Whimbrel were on the beach and three Swifts (a very late first record of the year) flew west.

6th

Cloudy, light ENE wind. One Great Crested Grebe was offshore, two Gannets flew east and west, and 15 Common Scoters flew east. A pair of Mallard with 12 newly-hatched ducklings were by the sluice. A single Whimbrel was noted, there were nine immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and two Common Terns offshore. Also noted were two Sand Martins east and 11 Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail west. Also a pair of Mallard, with the drake unusually in attendance, and 12 newly-hatched ducklings by the sluice.

4th

Sunny, light SE wind. 11 Gannets flew east and two Shelducks west. A group of seven Common Sandpipers were on the beach early morning and 38 Turnstones roosted between the groynes. There were 16 Great Black-backed Gulls, an adult and 15 immatures, on the beach and eight Sandwich Terns were offshore. Other birds noted included a single Skylark and two Yellow Wagtails and our first Reed Warbler of the year in song in the Scout Wood and along the upper brook.

2nd

Cloudy, light SE wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore, nine Gannets flew west, the Brent Goose was again on the beach and a pair of Shelducks were on the Marsh Pool. Waders noted were 13 Oystercatchers flying west, a Common Sandpiper in Coot Strait and 12 Turnstones. Five Mediterranean Gulls flew west, there were two second calendar year Common Gulls and six Great Black-backed Gulls included one adult. A Sandwich Tern and a Common Tern flew west and a large auk species flew east. Five Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail flew west and a Sedge Warbler, singing intermittently along the brook, was a new bird for the year.

1st

Sunny, warmer, calm then light SE wind. There were four Great Crested Grebes offshore, 19 Gannets and seven Common Scoters flew west and a Brent Goose, with an injured wing, was on the beach. Waders noted were six Oystercatchers, a Whimbrel west, three Common Sandpipers and 13 Turnstones. Two Sandwich Terns and two Common Terns were offshore. Other birds noted included, a Skylark, a Sand Martin and two Swallows west.

Small White and Green-veined butterflies were also noted.

Brent Goose – Geoff Burton

Apri1 2024

The total of 91 species for the month was below the ten-year average of 94.9 species and the year list of 121 species is also below the average of 125.5 species, and 11 behind last year’s total. No great surprises this month; the Long-tailed Duck was last seen on 6th and additions to the year list included Redstart on 5th, Ring Ousel on 15th, Firecrest on 18th and Velvet Scoter on 29th.

A total of 121 species so far this year

132 species by the same time last year

30th

Sunny, light SW wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore and four Egyptian Geese were on the beach. Waders included a Grey Plover, that appeared to drop onto the beach, and four Whimbrel. A Hobby that came in-off the sea and headed south and two Ring-necked Parakeets that flew west over the sewage works were both new for the year. Other birds noted included seven Common Terns east and two Yellow Wagtails west.

Egyptian Goose – Geoff Burton

29th

Sunny, warmer, light southerly wind. Bird of the day was a drake Velvet Scoter which, accompanied by a female Common Scoter, came in from the east and landed off the Obs. There have only been two later records of Velvet Scoter in spring, in May 1991 and 1992! They bathed and dived but were soon lost to sight. Three Great Crested Grebes were offshore, a Gannet flew west, a vocal Canada Goose came in from the west, remaining on the sea for a short while and then continuing east. Two Mute Swans, an adult and an immature drifted west along the shoreline then flew west. Presumably, the same birds were seen at Seasalter later that morning. A single Oystercatcher and 29 Turnstones were on the beach. Four adult Mediterranean Gulls flew west and a pair of Sandwich Terns were mating on one of the 8 knot buoys. Other birds noted included ten Swallows and two House Martins, two Wheatears, and a Willow Warbler singing by the Obs.

Canada Goose – Geoff Burton

27th

Cloudy, cool, moderate easterly wind, rain until 8 am. One Great Crested Grebe was offshore, three Gannets flew east and 12 flew west. Waders included one Oystercatcher on the beach, a male summer plumage Bar-tailed Godwit on the Hampton flats and singles of Whimbrel and Curlew. Other birds noted included a Peregrine west over the beach, eight Swallows west and a flock of 15 Goldfinches briefly in trees along Swalecliffe Court Drive.

26th

There were two Whimbrel on the beach, c20 Common Terns offshore and a Red Kite flew west at 10.15 am.

25th

Cloudy, cool, light SW wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Gannet and three Shelducks flew west, an immature Mute Swan flew east, four Greylag Geese flew east and then returned west and another flew west inland. There was a trickle of vis mig with two Sand Martins, three Swallows, three House Martins and two Yellow Wagtails west.

24th

Sunny, cold, fresh NW wind. There were four Great Crested Grebes on the sea by the tidal ponds. Waders noted were a Bar-tailed Godwit and three Whimbrel west and a single Turnstone. Two Mediterranean Gulls flew east, 12 Swallows flew west and a Lesser Whitethroat sang in the bushes opposite the Obs.

Sparrowhawk – Geoff Burton
Jay – Geoff Burton

23rd

A Marsh Harrier flew north.

22nd

Sunny, cool, light northerly wind. A Fulmar and three Gannets flew east, there were two Egyptian Goose and a Little Egret was on the beach. Waders included an Oystercatcher and a Curlew on the beach, four Dunlin in transitional plumage along the shoreline on the incoming tide and 19 Turnstones between the groynes. Four adult Mediterranean Gulls flew east. Other birds noted included five Swallows and three House Martin, and a Yellow Wagtail west.

Dunlin – Geoff Burton

20th

A Fulmar flew NW over the Obs.

19th

A Brent Goose and two Whimbrel flew west. 44 Swallows and 18 Yellow Wagtails flew west, two Wheatears showed well on the shingle ridge and a Willow Warbler was along the east bank.

18th

Sunny, cool, fresh NNW wind. 18 Gannets flew east, eight Mediterranean Gulls flew west and a pair of Shelducks and a Redshank were on the Marsh Pool. A Firecrest which showed briefly near the entrance of the sewage works was new for the year. Other birds noted included four Swallows, a Yellow Wagtail and two singing Lesser Whitethroats.

17th

Sunny periods, cool, fresh NW wind. Seven Gannets flew east, a pair of Shelducks on the Marsh Pool flew east, and a duck Mallard with nine ducklings were in the middle brook. Waders noted included our first three Whimbrel of the year west, two Curlews west, two Oystercatchers and two Redshanks and a Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Eight Mediterranean Gull and seven adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew west. Visible migration included two Sand Martins, 11 Swallows and six House Martins, five Yellow Wagtails, 96 Goldfinches and six Siskins.

Butterflies appeared in sheltered sunny spots and included our first Green-veined White of the year, Speckled Wood, Peacock and Orange-tip.

Green-veined White – Geoff Burton

15th

Cloudy, cooler, showers, fresh SW wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Grey Heron and four Shelducks flew west and a Little Egret was on the Marsh Pool. Waders on the beach were four Oystercatchers, a Sanderling and a Redshank and 37 Turnstones. Eight adult Mediterranean Gulls flew west and there were seven immature Great Black-backed Gulls and two Sandwich Terns on the beach. Also noted were a Red Kite west, five Swallows west, a Lesser Whitethroat singing in the bushes opposite the Obs, a Willow Warbler singing in the NW corner of the sewage works and 18 Goldfinches and two Corn Buntings west.

14th

Our first Lesser Whitethroat of the year was in the churchyard.

13th

Sunny, warm, with a light SW wind. Bird of the day was a male Ring Ousel which flew into the trees at the front of the sewage works at 7.25 am, then crossed the area, pausing briefly in a tree within the caravan park, before typically disappearing. Our first since October 2022 but recorded in six of the previous ten years. Other birds noted included a male Marsh Harrier west low over the sea, ten Oystercatchers and a Dunlin on the beach, a Swallow and 55 Goldfinches west.

A good butterfly morning with seven species including our first Holly Blue of the year, Orange-tip, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood and Brimstone.

11th

Cloudy, light westerly wind. Four Great Crested Grebes were offshore and three Shelducks flew west. Three immatures Mute Swan resting in the shallows by the tidal ponds drifted west (later were off the pumping station at Seasalter). Waders included three Oystercatchers and four Redshanks were on the beach. Other birds included two Ravens flying south beyond the estate, two Stock Doves in the grassland, two Swallows west and a Willow Warbler singing in the bushes opposite the Obs.

10th

Sunny, calm. Two Great Crested Grebes and a flock of eight Common Scoters were offshore, six Gannets flew west, returning east about an hour later, and one Mute Swan and a Shelduck flew west. Waders included 115 Turnstones, four Sanderlings and three Dunlin roosting between the groynes, a Snipe and seven Redshanks on the Marsh Pool and 15 Curlews west. Other birds noted included six adult Mediterranean Gulls west, a Red Kite and five Buzzards, a Sand Martin and two Swallows west, and ten Goldfinches, a Siskin and a Reed Bunting west.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and Orange-tip.

8th

Sunny periods, light SW wind. A Red-throated Diver and six Gannets flew east, there were seven Great Crested Grebes offshore, two Egyptian Geese, our first of the year, flew north over the sewage works, and a party of five Canada Geese and a Greylag Goose circled over the area. Two Gadwall flew west and there was a brood of eight Mallard ducklings on the Marsh Pool. Waders included our first Bar-tailed Godwit flying west amongst a flock of Curlews, three Sanderlings, three Dunlin and six Redshanks on the beach whilst one Snipe was visible on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included our first Yellow Wagtail of the year, west, two Swallows west, three Wheatears on the shingle ridge and our first Whitethroat in song in the scrub.

6th

Cloudy, warm, strong southerly wind. There were five Great Crested Grebes offshore, six Gannets and one Common Scoter flew east and a single Brent Goose was on the beach. A Greenshank hunkered down on the tidal ponds, was our first of the year and the earliest for the site. It flew off west at 7.52 am as the tide rose. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls and seven Sandwich Terns flew west. Other birds noted included a Sand Martin, three Swallows and our first two House Martins of the year, two Wheatears on the shingle ridge, two Rooks south Siskin amongst a strong westerly movement of 105 Goldfinches.

Small White and Brimstone butterflies were noted.

5th

A local resident found, and photographed, a male Common Redstart in his garden.

4th

Sunny, with some light rain and a moderate SW wind. Two Great Crested Grebes were offshore, three Gannets flew west, two Pintail and two Common Scoters flew east. The Long-tailed Duck appeared offshore late morning. Waders included five Oystercatchers, a Sanderling and the Purple Sandpiper on the beach and five Snipe and six Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Three second calendar year Common Gulls and five Sandwich Terns flew west and eight Great Black-backed Gulls were on the beach. A Redwing along the east bank was only our second this year. Also noted were three Swallows and three Rooks flying west.

Sandwich Tern – Andy Taylor

3rd

Cloudy; light rain, light SW wind. There were five Great Crested Grebes offshore, a single Brent Goose was on the beach and two Shelducks and a pair of Shovelers flew west. The Long-tailed Duck was again offshore from 8.35 am. Waders included seven Oystercatchers, a Ringed Plover, six Sanderlings, the Purple Sandpipers and 40 Turnstones on the beach. There were nine Great Black-backed Gulls, three adults and six immatures, on the beach. Also noted was a single Swallow west.

2nd

Two Canada Geese flew north and six Pintail flew east. Waders included a single Ringed Plover and 60 Sanderlings. Also noted were a Stock Dove, a Willow Warbler singing in the sewage works and a Jay.

1st

Sunny, light SW wind. There was a single Red-throated Diver and four Great Crested Grebes offshore, nine Brent Geese on the beach, three Shelducks flew east, a pair on the Marsh Pool earlier, four Shovelers flew west and a Common Scoter flew east. Waders included an Avocet east and eight Sanderlings and the Purple Sandpiper on the beach. A Marsh Harrier flew west and three adult Mediterranean Gulls circled over the Obs. Other birds noted included a Jay, two Rooks and a Corn Bunting on the grassland bushes which flew high to the west.

Small Tortoiseshell – Geoff Burton

Brimstone and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were at the Obs.

March 2004

Statistically, it was a very average month with 85 species recorded (ten-year average 84.6) and the a three-month total of 104 species (ten-year average 103.1). A total of 15 species were added during the month including our third ever Red-legged Partridge on 9th, two Ravens and a Kingfisher on 18th, our earliest ever Willow Warbler on 20th and a Long-tailed Duck from 26th.

A total of 104 species so far this year

109 species by this time last year

31st

Cloudy, cool with a light SE wind. There were four Great Crested Grebes offshore, two Shelducks flew east, another west, and the Long-tailed Duck dropped in in front of the Obs at 9.20 am. Five of the larger auk species flew east.

30th

Cloudy, calm. There were four Red-throated Divers and ten Great Crested Grebes offshore and the Long-tailed Duck was offshore all morning at least. Waders included a Grey Plover (not the injured bird that wintered here) and 11 Curlews on the Hampton flats. Three adult Mediterranean Gulls flew west and other birds noted included two Buzzards, two Stock Doves and three Siskins that flew south over the upper brook.

29th

The Long-tailed Duck was reported again and there three Sandwich Terns offshore in the afternoon.

Chiffchaff – Andy Taylor

28th

Sunny, freshening SW wind. One Red-throated Diver flew east, another was offshore with two Great Crested Grebes. Four Brent Geese flew west and two Shelducks flew east and west and the Long-tailed Duck was again present offshore. Waders included nine Oystercatchers, eight Sanderlings, eight Dunlin and 22 Turnstones on the beach, six Curlews and seven Redshanks on Hampton flats and two Snipe visible on the Marsh Pool. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls flew west. A Grey Wagtail was along the middle brook by the sluice.

27th

The Long-tailed Duck was still present.

Buzzard – Andy Taylor

26th

Sunny, calm. There were four Red-throated Divers and seven Great Crested Grebes offshore. A Long-tailed Duck offshore was the first of the year. One was seen regularly from early November until 23rd December, and then off the Tankerton slopes until 6th January, and one has been recorded regularly in the Swale off Elmley and Murston up to the present. It has not been clear how many individuals were involved but there are at least two birds present. Nine Shelducks flew west. Waders included a Sanderling and nine Dunlin, nine Redshanks on the Marsh Pool and 26 Turnstones between the groynes. Other birds noted included three Buzzards and three Chiffchaffs were singing.

25th

A Red Kite over the caravan park was new for the year.

23rd

Two Swallows, six Stock Doves, a flock of 15 Jackdaws and our first two Siskins of the year were noted.

21st

Cloudy and calm. There were three Red-throated Divers offshore, a Shelduck flew west and there were 57 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included 15 Sanderlings, the Purple Sandpiper and ten Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A Great Spotted Woodpecker in trees south of the caravan park was only our second of the year. A Blackcap was singing in the Elms Wood and five Greenfinches flew overhead.

20th

Sunny, warm, calm. There were c25 Red-throated Divers offshore and a single Great Northern Diver. 5 Greylag Geese flew SE in off the sea, a Shelduck, a Pintail and a Common Scoter flew west and there were 44 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included 112 Sanderlings roosting between the groynes and the Purple Sandpiper. A Willow Warbler, singing in the bushes opposite the Obs, was our earliest recorded here. Other birds noted included our first Swallow of the year, a Stock Dove, a Blackcap and five Chiffchaffs and a Reed Bunting.

Two Peacock butterflies were also seen.

19th

Two Avocets flew west. Another addition to the year list. Five Pintail and two Shovelers flew east. An increase in Sanderling, with a total of 73 birds, suggests a passage movement. Also some evidence of vis mig with 16 Stock Doves and 60 Goldfinches flying west.

18th

Sunny, warmer, light SW wind. There were four Red-throated Divers offshore, two Shelducks flew west whilst waders included 17 Sanderlings and the Purple Sandpiper. Of particular note were our first two Ravens of the year, which flew SE over the caravan park, and Kingfisher, not seen previously this winter because of the soil-laden state of the brook; a combination of heavy rains the housing estates being built along its course. Also noted were six adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the beach, three Chiffchaffs, and another year tick in the form of a Greenfinch heading west over the Obs.

Butterflies noted included two Brimstones, Peacock and Small White.

16th

Sunny and calm. There were four Red-throated Divers and three Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, five Canada Geese, five Greylag Geese and two Shelducks flew east, six Shovelers flew west and there were 28 Brent Geese along the shoreline. Waders included a single Ringed Plover, eight Sanderlings and the Purple Sandpiper. Other birds noted included a female Blackcap along the upper brook, our first of the year, three Chiffchaffs an two Rooks in-off the sea and south over the Obs.

Peacock and Small White butterflies were noted.

15th

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

14th

Cloudy, mild (up to 13 degrees C), light SW wind. A Cattle Egret which flew west with a Little Egret low over the sea, was a first for the year. Two Canada Geese and flocks of eight and 25 Pintail flew east, a Shelduck flew west and there were eight Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Other birds noted included an adult Mediterranean Gull, three Skylarks, two Reed Buntings and two Corn Buntings west and nine Linnets on the coastal path.

13th

Cloudy, milder with a moderate SW wind. There were four Red-throated Divers, eight Great Crested Grebes and five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. 87 Brent Geese scattered along the shoreline and a Teal flew west. Waders included two Lapwings west low over the sea, three Sanderlings and 30 Dunlin. Nine Mediterranean Gulls flew west. Other birds noted included three Meadow Pipits, including one in display flight over the coastal path, a Chiffchaff and two Reed Buntings.

12th

A Wigeon flew west, waders included six Ringed Plovers, a Grey Plover and the Purple Sandpiper a Little Gull flew east.

11th

Cloudy, murky, light NW wind. A Red-throated Diver flew east, a Great Crested Grebe offshore, a drake Common Scoter flew west and there were 20 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included 12 Oystercatchers the beach and ten Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included a Mediterranean Gull west, two Stocks Doves on the beach and a Song Thrush in song in the bushes opposite the Obs.

9th

Sunny, light SE wind. Two Red-throated Divers, a Gannet and 20 Common Scoters flew east, three Shelducks flew west, a drake Shoveler was on the sea west of the tidal ponds, and a pair were later off the Obs, and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers were on the tidal ponds with a drake off the Obs. Surprise of the day, however, was a Red-legged Partridge which flew west in front of the Obs, appearing to drop onto the beach, but was not seen again in the face of the oncoming park run! This was only the third live record of this species after birds recorded in April 2004 and 2006. A dead bird was found on the beach several years ago. Other birds recorded included three Ringed Plovers, a Jay in the Elm Wood and two Rooks in-off the sea and heading south by the Obs.

Kestrel – Geoff Burton

7th

A quiet morning. Birds noted included a Stock Dove, a Skylark flying south over the foot ball pitch, two Long-tailed Tits and a Reed Bunting.

6th

Cloudy, calm. There were c20 Red-throated Divers and c15 Great Crested Grebes offshore and 14 Shelducks and four Pintail flew east. Waders included four Ringed Plovers, 15 Sanderlings and the Purple Sandpiper. Other birds noted included four adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls in flight over the area, three Meadow Pipits and a Jay.

5th

A Great Northern Diver was on the sea, a Knot was on the beach and the Purple Sandpiper was on the groynes.

4th

Sunny and calm. There were ten Great Crested Grebes and four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, a duck Shelduck was on the sea close inshore and there were four Little Egrets on the beach. The Purple Sandpiper was in the bay but only four Ringed Plovers were seen. Other birds included two Skylarks, west and south, and six Linnets.

A Red Admiral briefly at the Obs was our first butterfly of the year.

2nd

Cloudy with showers and a fresh southerly wind. One Red-throated Diver, three Great Crested Grebes and seven Red-breasted Mergansers were noted offshore. A Marsh Harrier west close inshore at 9.40 am was only our second of the year.

1st

A Fulmar flying west at 7.10 am was our first of the year, Red-breasted Mergansers were noted offshore and the Purple Sandpiper was still present at the east end of the beach.

February 2024

A total of 71 species was well below the ten-year average for the month of 77 species. Also, the year total of 89 species was below the ten-year average of 92.6 species. The Red-necked Grebe was seen on and off up to 17th, a Slavonian Grebe was reported on 15th, a Corn Bunting and a Merlin were seen on 22nd, a high count of ten Common Buzzards, including a flock of seven circling together, on 24th and the Purple Sandpiper was present throughout.

A total of 89 species so far this year

100 species by this time last year

29th

Cloudy, light southerly wind. There were two Red-throated Divers, seven Great Crested Grebes and five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. One Greylag Goose flew west and there were six Little Egrets on the tidal ponds.

28th

One Shelduck flew west and there were five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. There were four Little Egrets and a Grey Heron and the Grey Plover was again on the beach.

27th

Sunny, cool, light NE wind. One Red-throated Diver flew east, there were seven Great Crested Grebes offshore, two redhead Red-breasted Mergansers landed on the sea by the tidal ponds and there were two Shelducks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included a Jay along the east bank and a Chaffinch in song along the upper brook.

24th

Sunny, cold, calm. There were three Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver, 10 Great Crested Grebes and five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and c200 Brent Geese along the shoreline. Waders included 45 Oystercatchers, eight Ringed Plovers and the Purple Sandpiper on the beach. Seven Buzzards circled over Studd Hill together at 11 am, with another three at 11.45 am. Other birds noted included the pair of Stonechats in the scrub, a Chiffchaff along the east bank with snatches of song heard and a Jay in the Scout Wood.

23rd

An adult Gannet flew east, there were five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and a Chiffchaff, down the brook, was the first recorded this month.

22nd

Cloudy, drizzle then rain, moderate southerly wind. A Corn Bunting, bush-hopping through the grassland, waas our first of the year, as was a Merlin which came in off the sea and headed SE over the caravan park. Two adult Gannets flew east and other birds noted included an adult Mediterranean Gull on the beach and 12 Linnets over the grassland.

19th

Cloudy, light SW wind. There were six Great Crested Grebes and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included the Purple Sandpiper on the groynes and 40 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool.

Purple Sandpiper – Geoff Burton

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.

Grey Wagtail – Geoff Burton

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