All posts by geoffburton

June 2022

142 species so far this year

136 species by this time last year

24th

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

23rd

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

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

Essex Skipper – Geoff Burton

22nd

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

20th

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

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

Small Skipper – Geoff Burton

18th

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

Moorhens – Geoff Burton
Yellow Shell – Geoff Burton

16th

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

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

15th

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

13th

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

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

11th

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

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

10th

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

9th

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

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

8th

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

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

Painted Lady, Brimstone and Holly Blue – Geoff Burton

7th

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

6th

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

4th

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

3rd

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

2nd

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

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

1st

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

May 2022

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

141 species so far this year

135 species by this time last year

31st

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

30th

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

28th

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

Meadow Pipit – Geoff Burton
Shelduck – Geoff Burton

27th

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

26th

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

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

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

25th

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

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

24th

A Reed Warbler showed well along the east bank.

Reed Warbler – Andy Taylor

23rd

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

Sanderling – Geoff Burton

21st

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

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

20th

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

19th

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

18th

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

17th

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

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

Peacock – Geoff Burton

16th

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

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

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

15th

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

14th

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

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

13th

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

12th

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

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

11th

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

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

10th

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

9th

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

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

7th

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

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

Ruff with Turnstone – Geoff Burton
Mallard ducklings – Geoff Burton

6th

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

Black Guillemot – Andy Taylor

5th

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

4th

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

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

3rd

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

2nd

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

1st

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

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

April 2022

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

133 species so far this year

122 species by the same time last year

30th

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

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

29th

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

28th

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

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

Whitethroat – Geoff Burton

27th

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

26th

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

25th

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

24th

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

23rd

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

A few Green-veined Whites were at the Obs.

20th

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

19th

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

18th

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

17th

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

16th

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

15th

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

14th

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

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

Hepatic female Cuckoo – Andy Taylor

13th

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

A Peacock butterfly was at the Obs.

Black Redstart – Andy Taylor
Peacock – Geoff Burton

12th

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

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

Wheatear – Andy Taylor
Whinchat – Andy Taylor

11th

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

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

10th

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

Hooded Crow – Andrew Edwards

9th

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

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

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

8th

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

Coot – Andy Taylor

7th

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

A Small White was the only butterfly noted.

6th

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

5th

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

4th

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

3rd

A Skylark flew over the Obs.

2nd

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

1st

An adult Little Gull flew east.

March 2022

109 species so far this year

105 species by this time last year

A total of 84 species in March was close to the ten-year average whilst the first quarter total of 109 compared with 103.1 as the ten-year average. A quiet month (a preponderance of cool weather or calm sunny weather doesn’t encourage migration) with Swallow, Sand Martin and Little Ringed Plover the only early summer migrants. Some warm spells during the month encouraged butterflies on the wing with seven species recorded.

31st

Sunny periods, cold, strong northerly wind. An adult Kittiwake, 24 Common Gulls and three Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew west and a Little Ringed Plover, which flew west by the Obs at 9.12 am, was new for the year and our second earliest record after one on 24th March 2006. Also, a Red-throated Diver and a Common Scoter flew east.

30th

Cloudy, light NE wind with some light rain. Five Great Crested Grebes were offshore, an adult Gannet was fishing offshore, eight Wigeon and four Common Scoters flew east, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers flew east close inshore and there were six Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included five Oystercatchers, one Ringed Plover, 14 Sanderlings, two Snipe and a Redshank on the Marsh Pool and 11 Turnstones. A group of five Little Gulls flying east were new for the year. Two hirundines, one definitely a Sand Martin, flew east over the shingle ridge. Another addition to the year list.

28th

Cloudy, cooler and a light NE wind. There were three Red-throated Divers, five Great Crested Grebes and a Red-breasted Merganser offshore, a Gannet offshore and seven Shelducks west and 20 Brent Geese on the beach. A Bar-tailed Godwit on the shoreline off the Obs early morning was our first of the year and other waders included eight Ringed Plovers, 20 Sanderlings, a Dunlin, and four Snipe and a Redshank on the Marsh Pool. A Swallow, which zipped west by the Obs at 10.35 am, was a second addition to the year list, a Blackcap sang unseen along the east bank and a male Reed Bunting was in the scrub.

26th

Sunny with a light easterly wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore, two Greylag Geese flew west and there were 22 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included seven Ringed Plovers, 47 Sanderlings in the east bay, with a single Dunlin, five Snipe on the Marsh Pool and two Redshanks.

25th

A late morning visit produced a Red Kite drifting west at 12.12 pm (our third of the year) and also a Buzzard.

Butterflies noted were Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone and Small White.

24th

Sunny at first but the mist rolled in off the sea at 8 am. There was one Red-throated Diver and three Great Crested Grebes offshore and 19 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included three Ringed Plovers on the beach, 44 Sanderlings along the shoreline and seven Snipe visible on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included two singing Chiffchaffs and a party of five Jackdaws over the beach.

23rd

Sunny, warm, calm. A very quiet morning but two Canada Geese on the sea, which flew off west, were a new species for the year. The drake Shoveler was present for its third day on the Marsh Pool and there were a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers on the tidal ponds. There were three Ringed Plovers on the beach.

The warmth brought out Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies and a smart Black-edged Bee-fly near the entrance to the sewage works.

Dark-edged Bee-fly – Geoff Burton

22nd

The drake Shoveler was present for a second day on the Marsh Pool and two Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore.

A Large White was our seventh species of butterfly for the year and two Brimstones were also seen.

21st

Sunny, calm with a hard frost. There were four Red-throated Divers and five Great Crested Grebes offshore, c30 Brent Geese on the beach and a drake Shoveler was present on the Marsh Pool (a pair flew west in the afternoon). Waders included seven Oystercatchers on the shingle ridge, 31 Sanderlings in the east end bay but only one Dunlin, 14 Snipe on the Marsh Pool, two Curlews and two Redshanks and 62 Turnstones roosting between the groynes (107 counted in an afternoon WEBS count). Other birds included a Chiffchaff singing along the east bank and two Greenfinches.

Shoveler – Geoff Burton

19th

Sunny, cool, moderate NE wind. A Fulmar flew east (only the second record of the year after one on 17th January), one Red-throated Diver flew east, two adult Mute Swans flew east low over the Obs, two Shelducks flew west, a Great Crested Grebe was offshore and there were 45 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included ten Oystercatchers and 41 Sanderlings on the incoming tide. A Chiffchaff was in song in the Elm Wood.

17th

Sunny, mild with a light SW wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore and 72 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included ten Oystercatchers at high tide, 29 Sanderlings along the shoreline, three Dunlin and 20 Snipe on the Marsh Pool.

A Red Admiral was our sixth butterfly species of the year and Small White was also seen.

Red Admiral – Geoff Burton

16th

Cloudy, cool with a light easterly wind. One Red-throated Diver, three Great Crested Grebes, a duck Eider and five Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Three Common Scoters flew east and 75 Brent Geese were on the beach, resting on the sea at high tide. Waders included eight Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes, 18 Sanderlings on the beach and four Redshanks and 11 Snipe on the Marsh Pool.

15th

A flock of 22 Pintails flew east, four Common Scoters flew east and there was a Jay in the churchyard.

A Comma was our fifth butterfly species of the year.

14th

Sunny with a light southerly wind. There were c10 Red-throated Divers, six Great Crested Grebes and three Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, three Greylag Geese flew east and 68 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included c30 Sanderlings along the shoreline and 16 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Three adult Mediterranean Gulls were on the football pitch early morning. Other birds included a Meadow Pipit in song in the grassland, two Chiffchaffs and two Reed Buntings.

12th

Sunny with a light SE wind. Two Red-throated Divers and two Great Crested Grebes were offshore, a Gannet and two Shelducks flew west and there were 128 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included 19 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes and 106 Sanderlings along the shoreline and roosting on the caravan park culvert. Other birds included one adult Mediterranean Gull west, a Chiffchaff and a Greenfinch and a Skylark soaring over the fields beyond the caravan park.

10th

Sunny, mild with a light SE wind. There were two Red-throated Divers, five Great Crested Grebes, a duck Eider and a Red-breasted Merganser offshore, 129 Brent Geese on the beach and an adult Gannet flew east. Waders included 83 Sanderlings along the shoreline and 13 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included two adult Mediterranean Gulls east, two Buzzards, a Water Rail along the upper brook, two Chiffchaffs and three Reed Buntings. A male Stonechat in the scrub was likely to be a migrant as the wintering pair had not been seen since 24th February.

The mild sunny weather brought out our first flush of butterflies with a pristine Small Tortoiseshell, two more ragged Peacocks, a male Brimstone and a Small White.

Small Tortoiseshell – Geoff Burton

9th

Sunny periods, milder with a light southerly wind. There were three Red-throated Divers, eight Great Crested Grebes (all in summer plumage) and two Eiders offshore, two Velvet Scoters landed on the sea behind the tidal ponds, but they soon soon disappeared and a Shelduck flew west. There were 67 Brent Geese on the beach and a single Grey Plover. A female Marsh Harrier flew east over the tidal ponds.

8th

A Black Guillemot, presumably the one last reported here on January 25th and still in winter plumage, flew east at 9.15 am. A duck Wigeon was on the Marsh Pool.

7th

Sunny periods, cold with a light easterly wind. One Great Crested Grebe, a duck Eider and three Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and c150 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included a Grey Plover and 48 Sanderlings on the beach and a Lapwing heading SE inland. Other birds included a Meadow Pipit in song flight in the grassland, eight Linnets on the shingle ridge and a male Reed Bunting in the scrub.

5th

Cloudy, cool with a moderate northerly wind. A drake Pochard which flew west at 9.43 am was new for the year, four Gadwall flew west at 10.13 am, there were five Red-throated Divers, two duck Eiders and six Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. A long string of 280 Cormorants flew east distantly offshore. A single Stock Dove flew SE over the area.

3rd

Sunny and calm. Two Great Northern Divers offshore, looking west towards the Street, at least six Red-throated Divers and ten Great Crested Grebes, three drake Red-breasted Mergansers and a drake Shelduck offshore and three Common Scoters west. Waders included an Avocet which flew west along the shoreline was new for the year. It seemed to be landing but, presumably, thought better of it, for the usual reasons. There were 23 Snipe visible on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included three Mediterranean Gulls, two Chiffchaffs, a Greenfinch and a Reed Bunting.

2nd

There were 17 Red-throated Divers, the three duck Eiders and two Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Two Gannets flew east and there were two Mediterranean Gulls on the beach.

1st

Cloudy, calm and misty. There were eight Great Crested Grebes, a duck Eider and a drake Red-breasted Merganser offshore. There were 107 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included 24 Oystercatchers on the beach and 15 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. A Water Rail clambering into the bluethroat bush was unexpected. Possibly a migrant rather than the wintering individual from the middle brook. A Rock Pipit was in the remnant brook.

February 2022

The total of 81 species for the month was above the ten-year average of 77 species but well below the best in the last ten years of 91 in 2012. The total of 101 species by the end of February was only exceeded by 102 in 2009 whilst the ten-year average was 92.4 species. In spite of this, February was a very quiet month with our third Glossy Ibis on 11th, the highlight. Other birds of note were a Black Brant on 7th and a Red-legged Partridge, sadly deceased, on 1st.

101 species so far this year

90 species by the same time last year

28th

Sunny with a light southerly wind. Pleasant weather to end the month. A Great Northern Diver, Red-throated Divers, seven Great Crested Grebes, three duck Eiders and four Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore, two Common Scoters and two Shelducks flew east. Waders included 35 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes and c50 Sanderlings feeding in the bay at the eastern end of the beach. Other birds included a Stock Dove, a Skylark and a male Reed Bunting west and a Greenfinch.

27th

There were 18 Great Crested Grebes offshore. A Buzzard flew west at 11 am and a Red Kite drifted through at 11.55 am.

Andy has led a church working party over the last few days planting a hedge around the churchyard. A total of 270 of native plants – blackthorn, hawthorn, field maple etc have been planted. Hopefully, this will counter, to some extent, the tree felling and general tidying up that has taken place in recent years to the detriment of the birds and invertebrates that would make it their home.

26th

Sunny, frost and a light southerly wind. A Great Northern Diver on the sea flew off west, there were three breeding plumage Great Crested Grebes, three duck Eiders and four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and a Gannet which flew off west. Two Shelducks flew east. Waders included 14 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included our first Greenfinch of the year, calling in the scrub and then in flight along the east bank, a Blackcap‘s snatches of song and a Linnet singing in the scrub.

A Peacock was our first butterfly of the year.

24th

Cloudy with a freshening westerly wind and rain from 8.45 am. There were four Great Crested Grebes and two duck Eiders offshore and two Greylag Geese flew west over the sea, then circled the area. Waders included 100 Sanderlings along the shoreline. The pair of Stonechats were seen again.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Geoff Burton

23rd

Sunny with a light SW wind. There was one Great Northern Diver offshore, three Great Crested Grebes flew west with another two offshore. There was also one female Eider and five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore whilst a group of four Greylag Geese flying SE over the caravan park were new for the year. Waders included 21 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes and 22 visible Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Three Mediterranean Gulls flew west offshore. Other birds included the pair of Stonechats and snatches of song heard from a Blackcap along the east bank.

22nd

Andy’s afternoon WEBS count was rewarded with high numbers of Sanderlings (132) and Turnstones (226) but a low count of Curlews (22 on the football pitch). Also noted were two duck Eiders offshore and two Rock Pipits by the wooden bridge.

21st

Sunny with a strong westerly wind. In spite of the waves, a single duck Eider was seen offshore, four Black-tailed Godwits flew west close inshore at 11.48 am (only our second record this year, whilst a Bar-tailed is still awaited). Other birds noted included two Stock Doves, a Rock Pipit and a Grey Wagtail and a female Stonechat.

19th

Sunny with a moderate SW wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes, a female Eider and ten Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and two Shelducks flew west. Waders included 68 Sanderlings along the shoreline. A near-adult Mediterranean Gull flew west. Other birds included one Stock Dove and a Reed Bunting whilst a pair of Long-tailed Tits were gathering nest material at the Obs and a Magpie was nest-building in the Elm Wood.

17th

Sunny, mild with fresh to strong westerly wind. There were five Great Crested Grebes within the tidal ponds, nine Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and three Pintail and a Shelduck flew west. Waders included flocks of Golden Plovers, totalling c120 birds, flying west low over the sea. One Skylark flew west and a male Blackcap, near the sewage works .

Robin – Geoff Burton

16th

A single duck Eider was on the sea and a Lapwing was also noted.

15th

Cloudy with a moderate SW wind. On what was an essentially, and a typical, quiet February day, there were three additions to the year list. Firstly, an Egyptian Goose on the beach early morning but, you’ve guessed it, not for long. A party of five Siskins flew west over the Obs and , lastly, a lone Gadwall flew west low over the sea. Other birds included a breeding plumage Great Crested Grebe offshore, 105 Brent Geese on the beach and six Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 36 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes, 62 Golden Plovers heading west low over the sea and 44 Sanderlings feeding along the shoreline. In addition, there was one Skylark west, four Meadow Pipits in the scrub, a female Stonechat, two Long-tailed Tits, two Jackdaws with other crows on the football pitch, five Goldfinches, six Linnets, and a Reed Bunting west.

A Water Vole was along the middle brook.

12th

A Rook flying west was another addition to the year list.

11th

A quiet morning was shattered by the appearance of our third ever Glossy Ibis for the site flying west at 10 am. The previous two records were in October 2009 and January 2018.

10th

Sunny with a light NW wind. The three duck Eiders were again offshore and there were also three Red-breasted Mergansers. There were 92 Sanderlings along the shoreline and a flock of Curlews resting on the beach on their way after roosting. A flock of nine Meadow Pipits alighted in one of the trees in the scrub. A Skylark flew west and five Linnets were also seen.

9th

Sunny with a moderate SW wind. In addition to Red-throated Divers, there was a Great Northern Diver offshore, two Great Crested Grebes, three duck Eiders and four Red-breasted Mergansers whilst five White-fronted Geese flew west offshore. Waders included 52 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes and 84 Sanderlings along the shoreline. Other birds noted included a Skylark, a Kingfisher, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Reed Bunting flew west.

8th

The three duck Eider had returned offshore after an absence of 25 days! A Stock Dove and a Skylark were also seen.

7th

Sunny, mild, light SW wind. A Black Brant was with the Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the beach. Presumably the bird that has been seen regularly along the coast this winter between Uplees in the west and Reculver in the east. A flock of 24 White-fronted Geese flew high west over the sea at 11.20 am, c20 Red-throated Divers and two Great Crested Grebe flew west and two redhead Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Waders included a single Lapwing west and a Grey Plover on the beach. The adult Lesser Black-backed Gull had returned to its post by the Plough Lane roundabout. A Mistle Thrush, posing briefly in trees behind the skate park early morning, was our first addition to the year for ten days.

A Weasel was seen again on the bank of the middle brook.

Black Brant – Geoff Burton

5th

Sunny with a moderate SW wind. Four Shelducks flew west and there were eight Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 34 Oystercatchers and 64 Sanderlings along the shoreline, one Grey Plover on the beach, 35 Golden Plovers west low over the sea and 18 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included two Pied Wagtails, the pair of Stonechats and a Song Thrush singing lustily along the upper brook.

3rd

Sunny, mild with a light SW wind. There were 20+ Red-throated Divers and a Great Northern Diver, three Great Crested Grebes and five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Two adult Mute Swans patrolled the area, landing on the sea and the Marsh Pool, and six White-fronted Geese flew east. An adult Gannet, scarce lately, flew west. Waders included 66 Sanderlings along the shoreline and 18 visible Snipe on the Marsh Pool.

Good to see a Water Vole along the brook after the interest being shown by a Weasel last week.

2nd

After drawing a blank on raptors on 1st, there was a Marsh Harrier west as well as resident Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Peregrine. Other birds noted included Kingfisher, Chiffchaff and a male Reed Bunting.

1st

Sunny, mild with a fresh westerly wind. There were many Red-throated Divers offshore, 26 were disturbed by a passing trawler, and one Great Northern Diver crash landed in front of the Obs. 14 Shelducks, including one flock of ten, flew west, a pair of Pintail flew west and there were five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 10 Golden Plovers west and 42 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes. Other birds noted included the female Kingfisher, a Rock Pipit in the remnant brook, a Grey Wagtail and the pair of Stonechats by the sluice, six Long-tailed Tits and nine Linnets.

Kingfisher – Geoff Burton
Red-legged Partridge – Geoff Burton

Whilst dog walking, Sue Evans found a dead, but fairly fresh, Red-legged Partridge along the tideline. There have only been two previous records of live birds in April 2004 and April 2006. Pheasants are scarce but regular visitors in the Autumn, probably fugitives from shooting parties and maybe these Red-legged Partridges have come across from the Isle of Sheppey for the same reason.

January 2022

A total of 90 species so far this year

A total of 76 species by the same time last year

31st

Sunny, cold with a strong NW wind. Excellent weather for September or October, not so much for January! Many Red-throated Divers were seen in flight offshore, apparently disturbed by the rough weather. One Great Crested Grebe and two Common Scoters flew west and two drake Red-breasted Mergansers landed on the sea. There was some movement of gulls with 14 Common Gulls, four Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 20 Kittiwakes heading west. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail along the brook, a Rock Pipit along the strandline and 64 Carrion Crows and two Jackdaws on the football pitch. The strong winds combined with a high high tide resulted in much flooding over the area and, at high tide, a flock of 134 Herring Gulls had gathered along the overflowing middle brook.

Kittiwakes – Andy Taylor
Gulls on flooded field – Geoff Burton
Flooded grassland – Geoff Burton

30th

A pair of Mute Swans were seen to drop onto the Marsh Pool.

29th

Sunny, mild with a light to moderate SW wind. Seven Great Crested Grebes (in groups of four and three) flew west and a flock of eight Shelducks flew east. Waders included 25 Ringed Plovers, 85 Sanderlings and 78 Dunlin roosting between the groynes and 37 Redshanks roosting on the Marsh Pool. A Rock Pipit was feeding along the edge of the remnant brook and the Water Rail was seen along the middle brook.

Rock Pipit – Geoff Burton

28th

Four Pintail, our first this year, flew west with 14 Wigeon.

27th

Cloudy, milder, light SW wind. A female Merlin flew west low over the sea. There was very little on the sea: a few Red-throated Divers, a Great Crested Grebe and a Red-breasted Merganser and a redhead Goosander that flew west at 10.15 am. Amongst the waders there were 61 Sanderlings along the shoreline and 100 Golden Plovers flew west. Other birds noted included an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull west, a Little Grebe on the Marsh Pool, the Water Rail along the upper brook, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Rock Pipit along the strandline by the Obs.

Water Rail – Geoff Burton

26th

Cloudy with a light NW wind. There were 168 Brent Geese on the beach, a Shelduck flew west and 12 Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. A Black-tailed Godwit along the shoreline early morning was new for the year and a Grey Plover was also on the beach. Other birds noted included the Water Rail, a Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail in the brook.

The weasel was seen again and appeared to be checking holes above the water line probably for Water Voles.

25th

There were 43 Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver, eight Wigeon, two Teal, 14 Red-breasted Mergansers and the Black Guillemot offshore. A Redwing flew around the marsh area.

A weasel was seen along the middle brook.

24th

Cloudy, calm. A Great Northern Diver, the immature drake Goldeneye, 15 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Black Guillemot were offshore. Other birds included a Grey Plover on the beach and a Little Grebe in Coot Strait.

23rd

The Black Guillemot was reported off the caravan park in the afternoon.

22nd

Sunny, frost, light NW wind. Two adult Mute Swans flew west and another lingered close inshore. There were five Great Crested Grebes offshore, c200 Brent Geese and two Grey Herons on the tidal ponds. Two pairs of Wigeon flew west and four Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Other birds included a female Kingfisher along the middle brook, a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the Elm Wood and the Obs, the pair of Stonechats in the scrub with two Jays in the Elm Wood, new for the year. A Little Grebe was in the Coot Strait.

21st

An adult Mute Swan and a duck Eider offshore and 44 Curlews were roosting on the caravan park football pitch. Other birds noted included a flock of 15 Fieldfares west, a Kingfisher and a Chiffchaff.

20th

Sunny with a moderate SW wind. There were 170 Brent Geese on the beach and two Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. A Peregrine took a small wader off the beach. Three adult Kittiwakes that flew west were the first of the year. Other birds noted included the female Kingfisher, a Grey Wagtail, the pair of Stonechats, a Chiffchaff and two Long-tailed Tits.

Now where’s that Water Rail? – Geoff Burton

19th

The immature drake Goldeneye was again offshore, a drake Eider was also present, a Great Northern Diver and a Shag whilst the Black Guillemot also made another appearance. A Marsh Harrier and a single Rock Pipit were also seen.

18th

An immature drake Goldeneye offshore and two Rock Pipits along the strandline at high tide were additions to this year’s list. Also present were 30+ Red-throated Divers and single Black-throated and Great Northern Divers.

17th

Sunny with a light NW wind. There were seven Great Crested Grebes, a Gannet and two Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and 58 Brent Geese on the beach. The Water Rail was along the middle brook and the juvenile Moorhen below the sluice. Waders included 41 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes, 21 Sanderlings feeding along the shoreline and 15 Snipe and 15 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included two Meadow Pipits and the pair of Stonechats whilst an afternoon visit by Bob Gomes secured our first Fulmar of the year, west at 2.40 pm.

Water Rail – Geoff Burton

15th

Thick fog lifted a little before resuming blanket coverage! Three Wigeon appeared close inshore. The Water Rail was in the brook below the wooden bridge. Other birds noted included a Grey Wagtail, the pair of Stonechats, a Song Thrush and three Long-tailed Tits in the Elm Wood.

14th

Four Shelducks and 11 Common Scoters flew east and the three duck Eiders were again offshore. A Marsh Harrier flew NW and a group of 11 Meadow Pipits were assembled in a single tree.

13th

Sunny, calm. A Great Northern Diver, the three duck Eiders, four drake Red-breasted Mergansers, a redhead Goosander and, in the perfect flat calm conditions, the reappearance of the Black Guillemot off the Obs at 10.20 am and then drifting east. An adult Mute Swan flew west and , amongst the roosting waders between the groynes, our first Knot of the year. Other roosting waders included a Grey Plover, 57 Ringed Plovers, 85 Sanderlings and 69 Dunlin. Other birds noted included a Skylark, three Meadow Pipits, ten Pied Wagtails along the strandline at high tide, a Song Thrush and Linnets.

Black Guillemot – Rob Stokes
Grey Plover – Geoff Burton

12th

Sunny with a light northerly wind. Wildfowl were the centre of attention today with a redhead Goosander close inshore and a flock of 11 White-fronted Geese flying west over the sea both additions to the year list. The three duck Eiders were also present but only two drake Red-breasted Mergansers were seen. 12 Red-throated Divers flew east, there were six Great Crested Grebes and three Gannets offshore. A Little Grebe was seen again in Coot Strait. Waders included 64 Ringed Plovers, 68 Sanderlings and 42 Dunlin roosting between the groynes and there were 25 Redshanks roosting on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher, female Stonechat, Chiffchaff and two Long-tailed Tits.

Goosander – Andy Taylor

11th

A Great Northern Diver and the three duck Eiders were offshore and the Water Rail, seen along the middle brook, was another addition to the year list.

10th

A Black-throated Diver off the obs, drifting west, and a Velvet Scoter on the sea west of the tidal ponds were both additions to the year list. Two Great Northern Divers were also offshore.

Waders – Andy Taylor

9th

A Little Grebe along Coot Strait was a welcome addition to the year list as we had suspected the brook, which was the colour of milky tea, might have put them off their fishing. Soil, washing into the brook upstream, either from farmland or building works, or both is thought to be the cause. A Great Northern Diver was at the tidal ponds and another Marsh Harrier flew west.

8th

Cloudy, light rain and a moderate SW wind. A Great Northern Diver, a Shag, the three duck Eiders and seven Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. There were two Grey Herons on the tidal ponds, two Lapwings on the flats and a Marsh Harrier flew west low over the sea. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker along the upper brook, a Grey Wagtail by the sluice, the pair of Stonechats in the rose bush along the shingle ridge and ten Chaffinches in the bushes opposite the Obs.

7th

A female Eider and seven Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. 17 Golden Plovers flew west and a Grey Plover was again on the beach. Also seen were a Grey Wagtail and a Stonechat.

6th

Sunny, hard frost (-1.5 C), light SW wind. A Pale-bellied Brent Goose flew east in a flock of Dark-bellied Brents. A Shag was within the tidal ponds, the three duck Eiders and four Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Waders included our first Grey Plover of the year, on the beach, and an early morning movement of 130 Fieldfares heading west included our first Redwing of the year. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher on the nest tray by the Marsh Pool, with a Kestrel perched above it, two Long-tailed Tits by the scout hut and 16 Linnets along the shingle ridge.

Two foxes were seen along the shingle spit as the tide came in. They were hunkered down to avoid the attention of the dog walking stream but eventually had to move with the incoming tide.

Pale-bellied Brent Goose – Andy Taylor
Sparrowhawk – Andy Taylor
Fox – Geoff Burton

5th

Sunny, cold, fresh NW wind. A Great Northern Diver, a Slavonian Grebe, two Shags, the three duck Eiders, three Red-breasted Mergansers and two Razorbills were offshore. However, with the strong NW winds, there was no sign of the Black Guillemot. Seven Wigeon flew west in the company of a drake Shoveler. Other birds noted included several additions to the year list: our first Stock Dove of the year flying west, three Fieldfares west and a Song Thrush sunning itself by the scout hut and a Reed Bunting in the bushes opposite the Obs. Also, a Grey Wagtail, Stonechat, Chiffchaff and three Long-tailed Tits.

4th

The Black Guillemot was present for its fourth day. Gannet and Grey Heron were additions to the year list.

3rd

Cloudy, cooler, moderate SW wind. The Black Guillemot was still offshore. Other birds on the sea included a Great Northern Diver, a Shag, the three duck Eiders, seven Red-breasted Mergansers and a Razorbill. A Mute Swan flew east and two flew west and three Common Scoters flew west. 15 Snipe were visible on the Marsh Pool and an adult Mediterranean Gull was offshore. Other birds included the pair of Stonechats, a Chiffchaff calling at the Obs, a Long-tailed Tit in the Elm Wood and, unusually, two Jackdaws amongst the Black-headed Gulls on the Marsh Pool.

2nd

There were two Great Northern Divers, three duck Eiders and four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and the Black Guillemot again showed well amongst the buoys. Other birds included an adult Mediterranean Gull, a Razorbill and a Grey Wagtail.

1st

Cloudy at first then sunny, very mild with a light SW wind. A new year a new challenge and, with good watching conditions, a chance to make the most of it. On arrival, in addition to the three duck Eider and eight Red-breasted Mergansers that have been present for sometime, there were three Teal offshore and an unexpected duck Shoveler along the shoreline. At the eastern end of the site, two Great Northern Divers, a Slavonian Grebe and a Shag were welcome additions to the year list and searching from them later in the morning led to the discovery of a Black Guillemot feeding offshore amid a cluster of colourful buoys. Swalecliffe’s first twitch of the year and exactly six weeks since this bird, or possibly another, was seen at the site. Other ducks included four Shelducks and a pair of Wigeon west whilst waders included a a roosting flock of 97 Sanderlings and a flock of 20 Golden Plovers heading west low over the sea. Other birds included a female Marsh Harrier heading south, very slowly, an adult Mediterranean Gull on the Marsh Pool, a Guillemot close inshore, a Kingfisher and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Skylark and a Stonechat. The total of 60 species was best start to the year since 2011!

November 2021

A total of 106 species were recorded during the month, above the ten-year average of 102.2 species. Interesting to note that the total for this month exceeded that for a very poor September this year ! The highlight of the month was the sites third record of Black Guillemot. The bird was seen on 4th, 11th and 20th and was a very popular twitch on the latter two dates. This was the first twitchable one since a bird at Reculver in December 1995. A first for the site was a Siberian Chiffchaff which was seen from 12th-17th and again on 23rd-24th. Other birds of note included two Shore Larks on 11th and two male Hen Harriers on 22nd. A flock of 188 Sanderlings on 17th was a record count for the site.

167 species so far this year

175 species by this time last year

30th

Cloudy, milder with a moderate westerly wind. A Red-throated Diver flew east. Waders roosting between the groynes included 64 Ringed Plovers, 41 Sanderlings and 64 Dunlin. Other birds noted included the pair of Stonechats, a Song Thrush, a Chiffchaff and a Long-tailed Tit and 10 Linnets along the shingle ridge.

29th

Sunny, cold with a moderate westerly wind. A Red-throated Diver flew west, a juvenile Gannet flew west close inshore, two Shelducks and a pair of Wigeon flew west, a duck Eider and two duck Common Scoters flew east and a redhead Goldeneye flew west at 8.08 am, and drake Goosanders flew west at 11.12 and 11.30 am. Waders included two Golden Plovers, a Lapwing and a Bar-tailed Godwit west, a Woodcock over the Obs, a Grey Plover on the beach and 16 Sanderlings on Hampton flats. Other birds included the male Stonechat and a Song Thrush that circled the Obs.

28th

Sunny, cold with a fresh NW wind. A redhead Goosander flew west at 11.50 am and a party of 15 Kittiwakes also flew west. The pair of Stonechats were by the Obs and a Jay was in trees along the upper brook.

Jay – Geoff Burton
Stonechat – Geoff Burton

26th

Cloudy, light rain, moderate westerly wind. A Slavonian Grebe flew west close inshore at 10.18 am. A Red-throated Diver flew east, a Little Egret was on the beach and two Grey Herons were on the tidal ponds and c230 Brent Geese were on the beach. Five Lapwings flew west low over the sea and a Marsh Harrier flew west inland. Other birds noted included a Grey Wagtail, the pair of Stonechats, a Chiffchaff, four Long-tailed Tits and 17 Linnets over the shingle ridge.

25th

The Black Brant was seen again and a Merlin flew west.

24th

Cloudy, cold, calm. A Black-throated Diver came in from east and was feeding close inshore. There were four Great Crested Grebes offshore, five Shelducks flew east and there were two Little Egrets on the beach and three Grey Herons on the tidal ponds. A Black Brant was seen amongst a flock of 165 Dark-bellied Brent Geese of which seven were noted as juveniles. Single Guillemot and Razorbill were offshore. Other birds included a female Stonechat in the scrub by Lang Court, two Fieldfares that dropped into the bushes by the Obs and an elusive, or rare, Song Thrush. A Chiffchaff and the Siberian Chiffchaff were present and ten Linnets were over the shingle ridge.

23rd

A Great Northern Diver and a Red-necked Grebe were offshore and three Eiders flew west. There were 12 Golden Plovers on the beach and a Grey Plover flew west. A flock of 20+ Redwings dropped into the trees behind the Obs and the Siberian Chiffchaff was seen in the hawthorn by the sluice.

22nd

Sunny, cold with a fresh northerly wind. 22 Red-throated Divers flew east, a Great Crested Grebe was offshore, a Greylag Goose flew west high over the sea, six Shelducks flew west, a female Pintail landed on the sea with five Common Scoters, a flock of five Velvet Scoters flew east (also seen at Hampton and Reculver) and two more singles also flew east. Two male Hen Harriers that flew west early morning and at 10.05 am were an addition to the year list. One Great Skua flew west and three flew east together, many Kittiwakes flew west, a Razorbill and many large auk sp flew east. Waders included 55 Lapwings and eight Golden Plovers west and 63 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes. Other birds included the male Stonechat in the bushes opposite the Obs and a Rook circling high over the area and drifting inland.

20th

Cloudy, mild, light westerly wind. Five Red-throated Divers flew east and a Black-throated Diver was offshore. There were 267 Brent Geese on the beach, a Common Scoter flew west and an immature Goldeneye was offshore. The flat calm sea proved ideal for the return of the first-winter Black Guillemot (last seen on 11th) and many visiting birders, who had previously missed out, were able to add this to their lists. Waders included 34 Ringed Plovers, four Sanderlings and 16 Redshanks on the beach. Three Razorbills were also seen. Other birds included a Little Grebe, two Grey Herons, a male Kingfisher along the middle brook, a Grey Wagtail along the upper brook, a Song Thrush, a Chiffchaff and five Siskins that flew west.

Black Guillemot – Andy Taylor
Goldeneye – Andy Taylor

19th

The three Black-throated Divers were seen again, one Red-breasted Merganser was along the shoreline and a party of six redhead Goosanders flew west. They were also seen from the Tankerton slopes and on the Swale west of the Sportsman at Seasalter. They then flew further west towards Oare Marshes. Two Swallows flew west.

18th

Sunny with a light SW wind. There has been some discussion about the status of the Black-throated Diver in Kent and whether it should be regarded as sufficiently rare for the KOS to require a description of any record if it was to be published in their annual report. Today, we had three together close inshore off the Obs which drifted slowly east. Black-throated has definitely been the rarest of our three regular species at this site although single bird sightings are more or less annual. To see three together and close range on a fairly calm see was magical! There were 40+ Gannets fishing offshore, 202 Brent Geese on the beach, five Shelducks flew west, two Common Scoters flew east and two Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. There were two Guillemots and a Razorbill on the sea. Other birds included the female Stonechat, two Chiffchaffs and a Brambling.

17th

Cloudy but brightening with a light WNW wind. There were two Red-throated Divers and a Great Crested Grebe offshore. Waders included a record count of 188 Sanderlings roosting in a tight but agitated huddle and there were also 64 Ringed Plovers and 23 Dunlin roosting as well. A juvenile Little Gull flew west and single Kittiwake and Guillemot were also present. A Little Grebe, a Kingfisher and our first Water Rail of the season were along the middle brook. Other birds noted included the pair of Stonechats, two Chiffchaffs and the Siberian Chiffchaff and a party of 14 Siskins west low over the sea.

A Red Admiral butterfly and a Common Darter dragonfly were also seen.

Water Rail – Geoff Burton

16th

Several parties of Red-throated Divers flew east and a Goldeneye was seen. A Guillemot was on the sea and a late Sandwich Tern was fishing off the Obs. There were also two late Swallows and another appearance of the Siberian Chiffchaff.

15th

Cloudy, very dull, calm. A Great Northern Diver and a Red-necked Grebe were offshore. Wildfowl included eight Shelduck west, and six east, 30 Wigeon and a Gadwall west, a Teal west and another on the sea, nine Eider west and a drake and a Velvet Scoter in the company of c15 Common Scoters. There were also three Red-breasted Mergansers east and one on the sea. Waders included one Lapwing west and 56 Ringed Plovers, 86 Sanderlings and 16 Dunlin on the beach. Ten Snipe were flushed from the Marsh Pool where 16 Redshanks were roosting. One Great Skua and 30 Little Gulls flew west and there were two Razorbills on the sea. Other birds included a Kingfisher, two Skylarks, two Chiffchaffs and the Siberian Chiffchaff, there was a small westerly movement of Chaffinches, a few Bramblings, three Redpolls and 15 Linnets were on the shingle ridge.

13th

Cloudy with a fresh SW wind slackening. Two Red-throated Divers, three Great Crested Grebes, three Wigeon and two Common Scoters flew west. Waders included 62 Ringed Plovers, 18 Sanderlings and ten Dunlin roosting on the beach. Six Little Gulls flew west, there were ten Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and a Guillemot close inshore. The Siberian Chiffchaff was again at the Obs, three Swallows were seen and there were 12 Pied Wagtails on the beach.

12th

A pair of Goldeneyes lingered close inshore off the skate park. A Siberian Chiffchaff, of which there have been many in the county and the country this autumn, was a new sub-species for the site. It showed well by the Obs and the distinctive dunnock-like call was heard.

Siberian Chiffchaff – Andy Taylor

11th

Cloudy, calm and mild. This Autumn it seems that the best sea-watching results come from flat calm seas rather than storms driven ones. Today was a case in point when Andy picked out a Black Guillemot mid distance offshore at about 9.30 am. It was presumably the same bird seen briefly on 4th but this was hanging about on a flat calm sea. It was twitchable and as the first twitchable one since the 1996 bird at Reculver it was very popular. It showed well for a couple of hours before being lost to view. However, there was adequate distraction nearby when a Pied Wheatear was found at Reculver a few miles to the east. Whilst many birders were at Reculver, the news came through that the Black Guillemot was showing again at Swalecliffe. So, the first twitchable Black Guillemot for 25 years and the first Pied Wheatear for 27 years made for a memorable day, particularly for Kent Listers. The sea also produced a Black-throated Diver, a pair of Goldeneye and three Guillemots whilst ten Mute Swans , two Common Scoters and an Egyptian Goose flew west. Early morning, the Mandarin Duck was on the Marsh Pool and eight Great Black-backed Gulls were on the beach. Best of the rest were two Snow Buntings west (per Rob Stokes) and the pair of Stonechats, a Fieldfare and a Reed Bunting were also seen.

Shore Larks – Andy Taylor
Rock Pipit – Andy Taylor
Pied Wheatear at Reculver – Geoff Burton

10th

Cloudy, calm, mild. There were four Great Crested Grebes offshore and 40+ Gannets on the becalmed sea, some fishing. A redhead Goldeneye landed on the sea by the Obs and then flew east, three Velvet Scoters landed on the sea and 27 Common Scoters flew west. A flock of c40 grey geese (suspected White-fronts) appeared high to east and headed NW out to sea. Waders included 11 Lapwings west and 30 Dunlin on the beach and 12 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. The drake Mandarin Duck was again on the Marsh Pool early morning. One Guillemot was on the sea. Two Shore Larks, our first this year, landed on the shingle ridge early afternoon but were soon lost to sight. Other birds included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, seven Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, two Stonechats, two Chiffchaffs and 12 Siskins west.

We were joined on our seawatch by Britain’s largest hoverfly, Volucella zonaria, which mimics a hornet.

Volucella zonaria – Geoff Burton

9th

A Black-throated Diver was offshore and a Buzzard drifted north mid-morning.

8th

There was a “notable” increase in Great Crested Grebes offshore, a “few” Common Scoters and a high count of 38 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool where 16 Snipe were revealed when flushed. There were two Razorbills on the sea. A Rock Pipit was noted and finches included a “few” Chaffinches overhead, two Bramblings and Siskins and Redpolls were also seen.

7th

Sunny with a light westerly wind. One Red-throated Diver and three Common Scoters flew east, an adult Mute Swan flew south low over the area, a Shelduck flew west and there were six Great Crested Grebes offshore. Waders on the beach included 21 Oystercatchers, 63 Ringed Plovers and 12 Dunlin and there were five Snipe and 20 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A female Pheasant was also seen on the edge of the pool. Two Little Gulls flew west and there were two Razorbills offshore. Other birds noted included two Stock Doves west, 11 Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, a flock of 11 Jackdaws west, a Chiffchaff and 12 Linnets.

6th

Cloudy, light SW wind. Two Red-throated Divers flew west, three Great Crested Grebes flew west, there were another three on the sea and a drake Wigeon flew east. Two Mute Swans were seen and there were 120 Brent Geese on the sea at high tide. Waders included 55 Lapwings and 30 Golden Plovers west, 50+ Curlews heading towards the fields behind the cravan park to roost and two Snipe and 20 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. One Guillemot was on the sea. Other birds included our first movement of Fieldfares with 140 west early in the morning, 30 Skylarks west, a westerly movement of Chaffinches and a few Bramblings and Siskins.

4th

Sunny, cold with a strong NW wind. The morning started well with the appearance of a Black Guillemot which landed on the sea in front of the Obs but, in the high waves, was soon lost to sight. This was only the third record for the site (after an adult in summer plumage in August 2002 and a winter plumage bird in December 2006). These two were just seen flying west. Other birds on the move included 13 Shelduck and a duck Wigeon west ( a drake Wigeon appeared on the Marsh Pool later) and six Teal also west. Eight Lapwing, three Great Skuas and nine Little Gulls also flew west. Kittiwake, Guillemot and Razorbill were also noted. 40 Skylarks also flew west.

Wigeon – Geoff Burton

3rd

Sunny, a touch of frost, light NW wind. There was a single Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebe offshore, 210 Brent Geese on the beach and four Teal and seven Common Scoters flew west. A Mediterranean Gull was offshore, three Kittiwakes and a Great Skua flew west whilst a few larger auks included both Guillemot and Razorbill. Waders included 47 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes, seven Sanderlings on the beach and a Snipe and 21 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included two Stock Doves and seven Skylarks west but, more significantly, a good movement of finches, Chaffinches, unprecedented numbers of Bramblings, including one flock of 60 birds and a total of c150, two Greenfinches, 60 Siskins and five Redpolls. Also noted were Kingfisher, two Redwings and a Reed Bunting.

Two Red Admirals were also seen.

2nd

A Marsh Harrier flew west, Teal and Red-breasted Merganser were amongst the wildfowl noted and a Razorbill was on the sea. A Kingfisher and a Brambling were also seen.

1st

Sunny with a moderate SW wind. There were two Red-throated Divers, a Great Crested Grebe and a pair of Eiders offshore. Two adult Mute Swans flew west, there were 93 Brent Geese on the beach and Common Scoter and Red-breasted Merganser were also recorded. The drake Mandarin Duck was also present again on the Marsh Pool where there were also two Snipe and 17 Redshanks. Other waders included 57 Ringed Plovers, 22 Sanderlings and a single Dunlin roosting between the groynes and 50 Curlews roosting on the fields behind the caravan park. An immature Marsh Harrier flew west at 10.30 am, an adult Kittiwake flew west, five Sandwich Terns flew east, with four west later, and there were four Razorbills on the sea. Other birds noted included a Little Grebe in the Brook, c30 Swallows, a Rock Pipit in the remnant brook, a Grey Wagtail by the sluice, two Stonechats, two Chiffchaffs, a Jay, a Rook, c50 Carrion Crows on the shingle ridge and two Reed Buntings west.

December 2021

A total of 169 species so far this year

176 species by this time last year

31st

Cloudy, exceptionally mild, fresh SW wind. A Great Northern Diver, a Shag, three Eiders and eight Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore, seven White-fronted Geese flew west over the sea in a repeat of yesterday’s movement and a female Common Scoter also flew west. Waders included a flock of 120 Lapwings flying high west over the sea, 20 Golden Plovers flying west just above the waves, 51 Ringed Plovers, 65 Sanderlings and 74 Dunlin roosting between the groynes and 30 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A second-winter Mediterranean Gull was also on the Marsh Pool.

30th

Cloudy, fresh SW wind. Seven White-fronted Geese flew west low over the sea, a drake Shelduck flew west, the three “resident” duck Eiders were offshore with seven Red-breasted Mergansers. Waders included 60 Ringed Plovers and 100 Sanderlings roosting between the groynes, 15 Golden Plovers and a flock of seven Curlews west, and a high count of 38 Redshanks roosting on the Marsh Pool. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls were with Black-headed Gulls close inshore and 280 of the latter were counted there and on the Marsh Pool. There were also 30 Common Gulls in the flock, all adults. Away from the sea, it has been very quiet with a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Long-tailed Tit heard at the Obs, nine Goldfinches along the east bank and four Linnets.

29th

Cloudy, showers and a light SW wind. A Slavonian Grebe was close inshore west of the skate park, five Great Crested Grebes, the three Eiders and six Red-breasted Mergansers were also offshore and a single adult Gannet flew east. The wader roost between the groynes at the eastern end of the site consisted of 62 Ringed Plovers and 108 Dunlin whilst, as the tide receded, 55 Sanderlings fed along the shoreline. 22 Snipe were visible along the edge of the Marsh Pool. A count of gulls included 175 Herring Gulls, 21 Common Gulls, all adults, but only one adult Great Black-backed Gull. Numbers of Great Black-backed Gulls have been very low this winter so far; the highest count for this species was 132 on 7th December 2015. Other birds noted included the pair of Stonechats in the grassland, nine Goldfinches along the east bank and four Linnets.

28th

The three Eiders and three Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore, 80 Golden Plovers flew west and 38 Snipe were flushed, by an unseen hand, from the Marsh Pool.

27th

A Black-throated Diver and three Eider were offshore, there were 40 Teal, including a flock of 24 that landed on the sea and, by 10 am, numbers of Red-breasted Mergansers had built up to 13. A flock of 72 Lapwings circled over the area with a Golden Plover in tow.

24th-26th

There were no reports for these three days. The weather was unseasonably, mild, murky and sometimes wet. Nevertheless, Andy was able note a few birds from his westerly balcony. Similar fayre: Great Northern Diver, Red-necked Grebe and Velvet Scoter, three Eiders and up to Seven Red-breasted Mergansers and, on Boxing Day, possibly due to shooting activities, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal and Pintail!

23rd

Cloudy, milder with a light SW wind. Two Mute Swans flew west close inshore, a Shelduck flew west, three Teal landed on the beach and there were six Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 23 Lapwings resting on the tidal ponds, 11 Sanderlings on the beach and 12 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included a female Kingfisher along Coot Strait, the pair of Stonechats opposite the Obs, a Song Thrush in the bushes opposite the Obs and two female Reed Buntings in a bush in the grassland.

22nd

Sunny, calm with a hard frost. Three duck Eider were resting offshore, there were five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and a immature Common Scoter flew west close inshore. Whilst watching the Eider, we found a Puffin close inshore and clearly visible on the flat calm sea directly off the Obs. This was at about 9 am and the bird drifted slowly west and further out until lost to sight. It was reported twice in the afternoon off the Tankerton slopes. Although this was the second of the month (after one west on 1st), it was only the 10th record for the site (all on dates between 30th October and this the latest to be recorded). Nevertheless, ten records at this site, and others along the Swale as far as Oare Marshes, suggest this stretch of coast gives one of the best chances of seeing this bird in Kent. Waders included nine Lapwings on the beach and 30 Oystercatchers on the shingle ridge on the incoming tide. Other birds included a Skylark west, a Stonechat and 14 Linnets.

21st

There were 40+ Red-throated Divers offshore, a Shag was off the tidal ponds, 23 Shelduck flew west and there were seven Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea.

20th

Cloudy, light easterly wind. A Shag was close inshore off the Obs with a Red-necked Grebe further out. Two Shelduck flew west, two Velvet Scoters flew west at 9.10 am with another three west at 1.45 pm. There were four drake Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea and a redhead Goosander flew west over the beach. Waders included 17 Oystercatchers and 48 Sanderlings roosting on the beach and a controlled flush of the Marsh Pool revealed c40 Snipe. Two Guillemots were offshore. Other birds noted included a female Kingfisher, a Grey Wagtail, female Stonechat, Chiffchaff and a female Reed Bunting.

Velvet Scoters – Andy Taylor

18th

Cloudy, murky with a light easterly wind. Two Mute Swans flew west but the highlight of the morning was when two Black Swans dropped onto the Marsh Pool at 10.45 am where they remained for an hour and 20 minutes before heading off west. Never recorded at the site before, there are fairly regular sightings in the county whilst one suggestion was that they may have come from the Netherlands where there is, apparently quite a “healthy” population. The winds were from the east and there had been an influx of Russian White-fronted Geese! A Great Northern Diver and the Shag were offshore, five Teal included three which joined up with a group of seven Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and one Common Scoter flew east. There were 27 Sanderlings on the beach, and 13 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. A Great Skua and two Kittiwakes flew east. Other birds noted included Kingfisher, the pair of Stonechats, a Chiffchaff at the Obs, 15 Linnets on the shingle ridge and the female Reed Bunting.

Black Swans – Andy Taylor

17th

A Great Northern Diver flew east, the Shag was offshore and a female Marsh Harrier flew NW.

16th

Cloudy, mild and flat calm. There were lots of Red-throated Divers and 10+ Great Crested Grebes offshore, the Shag was close inshore by the Obs, there were 58 Brent Geese resting on the sea, 15 Teal flew west and a redhead Red-breasted Merganser circled around by the Obs and flew off west. The drake Mandarin Duck was again on the Marsh Pool early morning when 27 Mallard flew off from there and 14 Snipe were visible. An adult Mediterranean Gull, feeding with Black-headed Gulls offshore and later on the beach, was the first seen here this month. 17 Common Gulls, present on the Marsh Pool and the adjacent beach, were all adults. Other birds noted included the female Stonechat, a Chiffchaff along the east bank, 20 Linnets and the female Reed Bunting.

A Water Vole was seen along the middle brook.

15th

Cloudy, poor visibility, mild, light SW wind. The drake Mandarin Duck was present again on the Marsh Pool early morning. There were also 38 Mallard on the pool. A Shag was present close inshore and three adult Gannets and two Common Scoters flew east. Waders included 64 Ringed Plovers, 81 Sanderlings and 71 Dunlin roosting between groynes, a lone Lapwing on the shingle spit and 16 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A Guillemot was offshore. Other birds included a Chiffchaff at the Obs, 14 Linnets on the shingle ridge and the female Reed Bunting along the coastal path.

Shag – Andy Taylor
Little Egret – Geoff Burton

14th

The three drake Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore and a Marsh Harrier flew west.

Grey Wagtail – Andy Taylor

13th

Cloudy, calm, mild. There were two Red-throated Divers, a Black-throated Diver and three Great Crested Grebes offshore. A Shag was close inshore, a Greylag Goose flew west, two immature drake Eiders flew east, three drake Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore and three Common Scoters were also seen. Waders included a roosting flock of 149 Sanderlings between the groynes and seven Snipe and 12 Redshanks were on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included a Water Rail along the middle brook, two Grey Wagtails at Lang Court, the pair of Stonechats, two Chiffchaffs, including one calling from the bluethroat bush, 73 Carrion Crows on the beach and a male Brambling and a Corn Bunting together in the bushes opposite the Obs.

Corn Bunting – Andy Taylor
Water Rail – Andy Taylor

11th

Cloudy with a light SW wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes and four Red-breasted Mergansers (three drakes) offshore, eight Shelduck and a flock of 40 Lapwings flew west. A squawk of a Ring-necked Parakeet was heard from the upper brook and then the bird was located in the trees by Lang Court. It flew off west. A new bird for the year list. Other birds noted included a Water Rail along the middle brook, found by visiting Rob Stokes and Andrew Edwards, and last seen (if it was the same bird) on 17th November. Another returnee was the Siberian Chiffchaff in the lone hawthorn bush by the sluice which also had not been seen since 17th November. Also noted were a Fieldfare, the two Stonechats, Little Grebe, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail along the middle brook, 14 Linnets and a female Reed Bunting.

Siberian Chiffchaff – Andy Taylor

10th

Sunny, strong NW wind. Classic conditions for sea watching but not in December. Most of the birds we would hope for earlier, in the Autumn, are now off the west coast of Africa. One Red-throated Diver, one Great Crested Grebe, , three Gadwall and three Golden Plovers flew west. The female Stonechat and two Chiffchaffs were at the Obs.

9th

Cloudy, moderate SW wind. A Slavonian Grebe, four Great Crested Grebes and a drake Red-breasted Merganser were offshore, a duck Teal was on the sea and another four flew west. Two female Marsh Harriers appeared offshore and joined together to fly west. Waders included 43 Ringed Plovers and a Grey Plover on the Hampton flats and 40 Sanderlings on the beach. A Razorbill was on the sea. Other birds included a Chiffchaff at the Obs and a Reed Bunting.

Water Vole – Andy Taylor

8th

Sunny, moderate SW wind. A Black-throated Diver and a Great Crested Grebe were offshore. A Little Egret was on the Marsh Pool and a Grey Heron on the tidal ponds. Waders included 27 Oystercatchers on the beach, 50 Golden Plovers flying west in a number of groups and eight Snipe and eight Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. One Razorbill flew east. Other birds included a Little Grebe, a Kingfisher and two Grey Wagtails in the brook, a Chiffchaff at the Obs and a Redpoll west.

7th

There were eight Red-throated Divers and two drake Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea. A Buzzard flew over the caravan park and two Grey Wagtails were seen again.

6th

Cloudy, light SW wind. A Great Northern Diver on the sea flew off west. There were three Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool and the beach and a Grey Heron on the tidal ponds. Waders included 22 Oystercatchers on the beach, 49 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes, 13 Curlews on the Hampton flats and eight Snipe on the Marsh Pool. A Marsh Harrier flew west over the sea and a Buzzard drifted south over the estate. A Razorbill flew east. Other birds included a Kingfisher, two Grey Wagtails, a Skylark and a Chiffchaff.

4th

Cloudy then sunny, moderate westerly wind. A Great Northern Diver and four Great Crested Grebes flew west and a drake Red-breasted Merganser and a redhead Goosander were offshore. There were 20 Oystercatchers on the shingle ridge at high tide and a Grey Plover on the beach. A Merlin flew low west behind the caravan park and through the estate. Other birds included a Chiffchaff at the Obs and five Long-tailed Tits in the Elm Wood.

2nd

Sunny periods, cold with a fresh westerly wind. There were three Red-throated Divers offshore and a Great Northern Diver and a Great Crested Grebe flew west. A drake Wigeon, with two Teal, and five Common Scoters flew west. A drake Red-breasted Merganser was on the sea and two single drake Goosanders flew west. One Great Skua flew west, a Kittiwake flew east and a Razorbill flew west. Other birds included two Stock Doves west and a Kingfisher along the upper brook.

Great Black-backed Gull – Geoff Burton

1st

Cloudy with a fresh westerly wind. A very poor start to the month was enlivened by a Puffin which flew west at 10.38 am. New for the year and only our ninth record for the site. One Red-throated Diver and two Common Scoters flew west, there were three Little Grebes, including two together resting in the middle brook by rail corner. Roosting waders included 50 Ringed Plovers, 63 Sanderlings and 81 Dunlin, with five Snipe and ten Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included a female Great Spotted Woodpecker in the churchyard, the female Stonechat, a Chiffchaff at the Obs and 14 Linnets along the shingle ridge.

October 2021

163 species so far this year

169 species by this time last year

A total of 115 species for the month was significantly above the ten-year average of 109.8. October continues to record the highest number of species of any month of the year. However, the 11 additions to the year list contained no real surprises; the Dartford Warbler on 14th, found by visiting birder, Peter Tyler, was only our fourth record, a Short-eared Owl on 9th is the only one of this species so far, Red-necked and Slavonian Grebes were also added and a Snow Bunting zipped through on 30th.

31st

Cloudy, steady rain, fresh SW wind. An awful end to the month! Two juvenile Gannets flew west close inshore, the pair of Eiders were still on the sea and the drake Mandarin Duck on the Marsh Pool. There were 56 Ringed Plovers roosting on the beach with a single Dunlin.

30th

Cloudy, rain between 9-10.30 am, light SW wind. One Great Crested Grebe, the pair of Eiders and a Guillemot were offshore, a Gannet flew west and a Little Egret and 64 Brent Geese were on the beach. On the Marsh Pool, the drake Mandarin Duck was again present early morning, there was also a Little Grebe, three Snipe and 15 Redshanks. A single Lapwing flew west and an adult Mediterranean Gull was fishing offshore in amongst a flock of Black-headed Gulls. Bird of the day, however, was a Snow Bunting which flew west low over the eastern promenade; an addition to the year list. Other birds included two female Pheasants in the grass along the beach, four Chiffchaffs and an adult Rook west.

Eider and Brent Goose – Geoff Burton
Pheasant – Geoff Burton
Little Grebe – Geoff Burton

29th

The drake Mandarin Duck and the pair of Eiders were present again, there were two Grey Herons on the Marsh Pool and another three flew west, seven Redwings came in off the sea, and another dropped into the willows by the Obs, and a Kingfisher and two Bramblings were also noted.

28th

Sunny, mild with a moderate SW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe and the pair of Eiders offshore and the drake Mandarin Duck was again on the Marsh Pool along with 45 Mallard. Two Little Grebes were in the brook and a Grey Heron flew west. Four Golden Plovers on the beach flew off west and there were also eight Sanderlings. A count of 144 Herring Gulls on the beach. Other birds included a Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, seven Skylarks, a Mistle Thrush and two Siskins west, two Stonechats, eight Long-tailed Tits, two Yellowhammers in the bushes opposite the Obs and three Reed Buntings.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Red Admiral and a Clouded Yellow, a Southern Hawker dragonfly posed briefly at the Obs and another Box-tree moth was seen.

Mandarin Duck – Geoff Burton

27th

Cloudy, mild with a moderate SW wind. A Great White Egret, which flew west low over the sea at 10.10 am, was our third record of the year but only our fifth in total for the site. Expect more! There was one Great Crested Grebe and the pair of Eider offshore and 76 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included 11 Sanderlings on Hampton flats. Five Skylarks, a Swallow, two Bramblings amongst a movement of Chaffinches, flew west. A cock Yellowhammer paused briefly in the bushes opposite the Obs before flying west with Chaffinches, and a Greenfinch also flew west. Also noted were a Grey Wagtail, two Stonechats and a Chiffchaff.

26th

A drake Eider has joined the duck on the sea off the skate park.

25th

Sunny, mild with a moderate SW wind. A pair of Mandarin Ducks on the Marsh Pool early morning was an addition to the year list. Other wildfowl included 12 Brent Geese on the beach, 17 Wigeon and two Tufted Ducks west, a duck Eider offshore and a redhead Red-breasted Merganser snorkelling along the shoreline. There was one Great Crested Grebe offshore and two Grey Herons on the tidal ponds. Waders included 26 Ringed Plovers, seven Sanderlings and a Dunlin on the Hampton flats and a Snipe and 21 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Also noted were a Rock Pipit, a Redwing, two Chiffchaffs, five Jays and three Rooks, a Siskin and a Reed Bunting.

Away from the avian world, there was a Water Vole and a Weasel, Small White and Speckled Wood butterflies and Common Darter.

23rd

Cloudy and calm. One Red-throated Diver flew west, there were six Great Crested Grebes offshore, 19 Gannet included 12 on the sea, there were three Little Egrets on Hampton flats and a single Grey Heron on the beach. Wildfowl included an immature Mute Swan west, c80 Brent Geese to the west off Tankerton slopes, 13 Shelduck west, six Wigeon east, a pair of Tufted Duck west. a duck Eider offshore, two Common Scoters, a drake and an immature female Goldeneye which appeared close inshore of the Obs. Waders included 79 Ringed Plovers on the Hampton flats seven Sanderlings on the beach. Other birds noted included a male Merlin west, four Sandwich Terns, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Rock Pipits in the remnant brook, two Stonechats, nine Brambling west and a Reed Bunting.

Goldeneyes – Geoff Burton

22nd

Three Little Gulls that flew west were, surprisingly, our first this year. The duck Eider was offshore and there was a Knot on the beach. Other birds included a Rock Pipit and two Grey Wagtail in the remnant brook, a Rook, a Brambling, ten Siskins and five Redpolls and a high count of 18 Reed Buntings.

21st

Sunny at times with a fresh west to NW wind. There was a single Red-throated Diver, Red-necked Grebe and duck Eider offshore and a Great Crested Grebe flew west. A flock of six-seven redhead Goosanders flew west. It seems likely that these were the same birds that had flown north by Sandwich Bay and west by Reculver, and were later seen of Shellness on the Isle of Sheppey. Waders included five Golden Plovers and 17 Sanderlings flying west. There were c10 Sandwich Terns west and there were two Guillemots close inshore and a few other large auks offshore. Other birds included three Little Grebes, a Kingfisher, a Rock Pipit along the shoreline detritus at high tide, a Grey Wagtail by the sluice and a female Stonechat.

20th

Cloudy, mild, moderate SW wind. There were single Red-throated Diver, Great Crested Grebe and duck Eider offshore and a duck Common Scoter flew east. There were five Little Egrets, four Snipe and 19 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. An adult and five first calendar year Mediterranean Gulls were amongst a flock of Black-headed Gulls on the sea. Two Sandwich Terns and a Guillemot were also noted offshore. Other birds noted included three Grey Wagtails offshore, two Chiffchaffs and three Bramblings were noted amongst a westerly movement of Chaffinches.

19th

Five drake Pochards flew west at 9.40 am, an Eider was offshore by the red “Cheesy” buoy, 12 Golden Plovers were on the beach at low tide, there were 50+ Ringed Plovers and two Swallows were also noted.

18th

Cloudy, light SW wind. A Red-necked Grebe, close inshore in the company of two Great Crested Grebes, was our first of the year. Four Red-throated Divers included three adults close inshore and 125 Brent Geese flew west. A Little Grebe in the brook and an Eider offshore were also noted. There were 17 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool and two Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds noted included a female Great Spotted Woodpecker in the churchyard, a Swallow west, three Grey Wagtails over the Obs, two Stonechats, four Chiffchaffs, a Jay and a westerly movement of Chaffinches late morning.

A Water Vole was seen in the middle brook and a Box Tree moth also made an appearance.

16th

An intriguing sighting of three wild swans that flew west distantly over the sea at 9.15 am. They were identified as Bewick’s Swans at the time because the observers “didn’t think they were long necked or big enough” to be Whooper Swans. However, the same morning (apparently only 15 minutes later) and not far away at Capel Fleet on the Isle of Sheppey, Kevin Guttridge found and photographed three adult Whooper Swans. A bit too much of a coincidence? Probably! Although these were the first to be reported in Kent, there had been reports of small numbers from many sites further north throughout the month. Bewick’s Swan reports were far fewer and not, apparently, before 10th. A Slavonian Grebe on the sea off the Obs was probably the bird of two days earlier. Other birds recorded included a summer plumage Red-throated Diver offshore, an extremely late brood of seven Mallard ducklings in the brook, a Pheasant in the churchyard, a Skylark and a Greenfinch.

15th

A quiet morning. Plenty of Gannets and Chaffinches and a flock of 50+ Sanderlings.

14th

A Slavonian Grebe on the sea off the eastern end of the beach, was new for the year, and early for this species. However, bird of the day was a Dartford Warbler found by Peter Tyler (visitor from Maidstone) in bushes near the Marsh Pool. Our fourth record for the site after one last year and one in 2001 (which stayed for a couple of weeks) and one in 2003. A Raven, which flew west at 8.57 am, added to an excellent morning. Two Guillemots were also seen.

Raven – Andy Taylor
Dartford Warbler – Andy Taylor

13th

Sunny, light NW wind. One Red-throated Diver, one Great Crested Grebe and two juvenile Gannets flew west. Wildfowl included two Brent Geese and six Teal west, Wigeon and Pintail and c60 Common Scoters in flight distantly offshore. Waders included one Lapwing, three Dunlin west and eight Snipe and 15 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. One Guillemot was offshore and a female Pheasant was an addition to the year list. Other birds noted included Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, two Stonechats, a Song Thrush and a Redwing, two Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff and four Long-tailed Tits, two Jays and two Jays, three Bramblings (our first of the year), a Siskin and a Redpoll, 10 Linnets, three Reeds Buntings, and a Corn Bunting west.

12th

A Shag close inshore was a first for the year. There were two Red-throated Divers and three Common Scoters offshore. There were four Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, five Jays and a Rook.

11th

Sunny, moderate northerly wind. One Great Crested Grebe, two juvenile Gannets and two Brent Geese flew west. About 60 Common Scoters were seen in flight distantly offshore. Waders included three Dunlin west and eight Snipe and 15 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. An Arctic Skua and a Guillemot were also seen. Other birds reported included a Green Woodpecker in the scrub, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Blackcap and five Jays flew west.

9th

Sunny, calm with a mist over the sea. There was a single Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebe on the sea, two Mute Swans flew east, there were 90 Brent Geese, a Grey Heron on the tidal ponds and 18 Mallard in the remnant brook. A Razorbill was seen offshore. A Short-eared Owl, flushed from the edge of the scrub, was our first of the year and other birds included Great Spotted Woodpecker, three Skylarks west, two Swallows, two Stonechats, a Song Thrush and a Mistle Thrush, three Blackcaps, c6 Chiffchaffs, a Jay and a Reed Bunting.

Butterflies noted were Small Whites and a Comma.

8th

A Great White Egret on the tidal ponds was the fourth record for the site and the second of the year. Ducks included a Teal, three Shovelers and a Common Scoter. Other birds noted included a Marsh Harrier, Kingfisher, Song Thrush and Redwing.

7th

Cloudy, calm. There were two Red-throated Divers and a Great Crested Grebe on the sea, 11 Brent Geese, a Shelduck and six Common Scoters flew west and three Red-breasted Mergansers were also noted. There were two Grey Herons on the beach and five Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool together with a Snipe and nine Redshanks, but there was no sign of the Greenshank that had been present for the previous 16 days. There was a single Sanderling on the beach and 90 Lapwings flew west. An Arctic Skua flew west, a first-winter Mediterranean Gull flew south and there were two Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds included six Skylarks west, two Swallows, three Stonechats and a Wheatear, a Blackcap and three Chiffchaffs, 40 Chaffinches and a party of 12 Siskins west and two Reed Buntings on the bushes opposite the Obs which flew west.

6th

Sunny with a fresh westerly wind. A Red-throated Diver flew east, a Great Crested Grebe flew west and a movement of wildfowl included 120 Brent Geese, 39 Wigeon, 16 Teal and 18 Common Scoters west, and two duck Eiders and two redhead Red-breasted Mergansers. Waders included 10 Dunlin, a Ruff, three Snipe and three Bar-tailed Godwits west and 10 Redshanks and a Greenshank on the Marsh Pool. A Marsh Harrier flew east over the sea, five Arctic Skuas and a Mediterranean Gull flew west and terns included c200 Sandwich Tern, with a flock of 40 resting on the beach, and one Common Tern and ten Arctic Terns west. A dozen or so larger auks included two Guillemots and a Razorbill. Other birds included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Skylarks west, a Blackcap and three Chiffchaffs, and eight Long-tailed Tits at the Obs.

Butterflies noted were Small Whites and a Speckled Wood.

5th

A Guillemot flew east. Two Skylarks flew west, a Yellow Wagtail was with Meadow Pipits by the pigloos on the caravan site and a Siskin flew west over the Obs.

4th

Sunny periods, cool, light SW wind. A breeding plumage Red-throated Diver and duck Eider were offshore. Waders included 18 Sanderlings and, on the Marsh Pool, a Snipe, 14 Redshanks and a Greenshank. Other birds included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Grey Wagtail, a pair of Stonechats, a Blackcap and three Rooks which circled over the area.

2nd

Cloudy, cool, light southerly wind. A Red-throated Diver in breeding plumage was close inshore, two duck Eider were offshore and a Common Scoter flew west. Two Brent Geese and a Grey Heron flew east. There were 18 Little Egrets, 23 Redshanks and the Greenshank on the Marsh Pool and 23 Sanderlings were on the beach. Two Sandwich Terns were offshore. Other birds included a single Swallow, two House Martins around the Obs, two Stonechats, a Whitethroat and two Blackcaps whilst a Spotted Flycatcher in the Elm Wood was only our fourth October record.

A Box-tree moth was seen by the Obs.

Box-tree Moth – Geoff Burton

1st

Cloudy, heavy showers, moderate SW wind. A Great Crested Grebe and the two duck Eiders were offshore and there were 13 Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool. Waders included 36 Ringed Plovers on the beach and 20 Redshanks and the long-staying Greenshank on the Marsh Pool. An Arctic Skua and five Sandwich Terns were offshore and five adult Great Black-backed Gulls were on the beach. Other birds seen included a Stock Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Swallow and ten House Martins, 19 Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, two Stonechats, two Whitethroats, a Blackcap and c8 Chiffchaffs.

September 2021

152 species so far this year

156 species by the same time last year

A total of 104 species were recorded during the month which is very much an average (104.1 over the previous ten years). There were only four additions to the year list: our first Little Stints for three years, late to the party Grasshopper and Sedge Warblers and Pomarine Skua.

30th

Cloudy, light SW wind. A Cattle Egret was on the Marsh Pool amongst the 20 Little Egrets. A Red-throated Diver in partial breeding plumage and a single duck Eider were close inshore. Waders included 44 Sanderlings on the beach and 24 Redshanks and the Greenshank (for its 15th day) on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the churchyard, two Whitethroats in the scrub, seven Jackdaws dropped onto the beach, and a Reed Bunting flew west.

29th

Sunny, light southerly wind. Some wildfowl on the move with three Wigeon, six Gadwall, two Teal, five Pintail and seven Shoveler flying west, in addition to the two duck Eiders offshore. Waders included two Bar-tailed Godwits west and the Greenshank on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included two Stonechats, a Whitethroat and a Blackcap and 12+ Chiffchaffs.

Butterflies noted were Small and Green-veined White and Red Admiral.

Green-veined White – Geoff Burton

28th

A Little Grebe was along Coot Strait and the two duck Eider were again offshore. There were 20 Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool as well as eight Redshanks and the “resident” Greenshank. A count of 58 Sanderlings was the highest so far this season. Swallows and House Martins were noted to be “pouring through” and a minimum of 12 Yellow Wagtails were also seen. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Stonechats and two Whitethroats in the scrub, a Garden Warbler along the east bank and two Jays.

27th

Cloudy, heavy rain showers, moderate SW wind. 24 Brent Geese and five Teal and two Common Scoters flew west and two duck Eiders were lingering offshore. Waders included 18 Sanderlings and five Redshanks and the Greenshank (for its twelfth day) on the Marsh Pool. A first calendar year Mediterranean Gull flew west and six Sandwich Terns were offshore. Other birds noted included two Grey Wagtails and two Stonechats.

25th

Low cloud, warm. light SW wind. There were 26 Little Egrets early morning and two Grey Herons flew west. Waders included four Redshanks and the Greenshank on the Marsh Pool. The most notable event was the grounding of hundreds, possibly thousands, of hirundines, Swallows but predominantly House Martins. Lingering and clinging two trees and bushes. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher, two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Grey Wagtail, 15 Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, a Stonechat and a Wheatear, a Garden Warbler and a Whitethroat along the east bank, 20+ Chiffchaffs and a Reed Bunting.

A Brown Rat was enjoying a feast of blackberries along the east bank.

House Martins- Geoff Burton
Brown Rat – Geoff Burton

24th

Two Grey Plovers flew west and the Greenshank was on the Marsh Pool. 12 House Martins were noted and there were three Stonechats around the Marsh Pool.

23rd

Sunny, warm, light SW wind. There were 23 Little Egrets early morning and a single Grey Heron on Hampton flats. A pair of Wigeon flew west. A Little Grebe along Coot Strait was not the long-staying, breeding plumage individual. Waders included 69 Ringed Plovers on the beach and a Redshank and Greenshank on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a single Sand Martin west, two Grey Wagtails, a Whitethroat, two Blackcaps, many Chiffchaffs and a Reed Bunting.

22nd

The Greenshank was still on the Marsh Pool. An increase in vis mig with 270 Swallows (but only one House Martin) and 183 Meadow Pipits NW. Two Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a Stonechat were also seen.

21st

Sunny, warm, calm. There were six Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool and two Grey Herons were also noted. Also on the Marsh Pool were a Snipe, four Redshanks and two Greenshanks. A Merlin flew south low across the grassland and a Marsh Harrier flew high south over the area. Other birds included two Grey Wagtails, a male Stonechat, a Whitethroat, three Blackcaps, a Willow Warbler and c12 Chiffchaffs. A Jay was heard calling at the Obs and a Song Thrush was the first seen here for some time (probably inconspicuous rather than rare).

Grey Wagtail – Geoff Burton
Red Admiral – Geoff Burton

20th

Cloudy, cooler, moderate NNW wind. There were c15 Gannets offshore whilst wildfowl were on the move with 143 Brent Geese, 121 Wigeon, 102 Teal and 29 Pintail west and 148 Common Scoters. A Pomarine Skua was our first of the year, three Arctic Skuas flew west and 32 Sandwich Terns and eight Arctic Terns were offshore. Waders included 69 Ringed Plovers on the beach and the Greenshank was again on the Marsh Pool whilst another three rested along the shoreline by the Obs. Other birds included a Grasshopper Warbler which showed briefly but well along the east bank, c20 Swallows and a Sand Martin west, two Grey Wagtails and c10 Chiffchaffs.

Greenshank – Geoff Burton

18th

Light cloud and sunny periods, warm, light southerly wind. There were four Wigeon and two Teal and 12 Common Scoters flew east. There were 13 Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool. Waders included 109 Ringed Plovers and 11 Sanderlings on the beach and the Greenshank was on the Marsh Pool. A Hobby flew SE over the estate and other birds include a Kingfisher, five Swallows, a Yellow Wagtail and three Whitethroats.

Butterflies included our first Small Copper and Clouded Yellow and a Small Heath.

Small Copper – Geoff Burton

17th

The Greenshank was present again on the Marsh Pool and two House Martins were noted amongst the Swallows.

16th

Sunny, warm, light westerly wind. A juvenile Gannet flew east. There were seven Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool and a Little Grebe was in the brook. Waders included 13 Sanderlings, a Snipe and a Greenshank on the Marsh Pool and 117 Turnstones on and between the groynes at the eastern end of the beach. A Guillemot was close inshore on a flat calm sea. There were four Grey Wagtails on the beach and a Yellow Wagtail was on the football pitch with 17 Pied Wagtails. A Lesser Whitethroat, a Blackcap and a Willow Warbler were along the east bank and eight Chiffchaffs were also noted. A Jay flew into the Elm Wood, a flock of 20 Linnets were over the coastal path, a Reed Bunting was in the bushes opposite the Obs and four Buzzards were circling to the east.

15th

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

Grey Herons – Geoff Burton

14th

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

13th

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

Common Whitethroat – Geoff Burton

11th

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

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

10th

A flock of 12 Knot flew east.

9th

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

A Wasp Spider was at the Obs.

8th

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

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

Spotted Flycatcher – Geoff Burton

7th

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

6th

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

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

Wheatear – Geoff Burton

5th

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

4th

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

Little Ringed Plover – Geoff Burton

3rd

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

2nd

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

1st

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

Starlings – Geoff Burton