Category Archives: Uncategorised

August 2019

                                                     140 species so far this year                                                    138 species by the same time last year

14th

Cloudy with a fresh SW wind. A juvenile Gannet flew east, a Bar-tailed Godwit flew west along the beach and a Golden Plover, our first of the autumn, flew west at 10.40 am. Other waders included single Sanderling and Dunlin on the beach. A Whinchat in the grassland was a new bird for the year (on the same date as the first last year) but disappeared as soon as it was found; there will be more! One Swift was seen and Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were heard at the Obs.

13th

Ted, Arnie and Greg were about today. The Garden Warbler was present along the east bank again and waders included a single Dunlin, 32 Ringed Plovers and 28 Turnstones.

Holly Blue – Greg Herne

12th

Cloudy with showers and a light SW wind. Waders included a flock of 15 Knot west, 40 Ringed Plovers on the beach and two Common Sandpipers. A Sedge Warbler along the side of Coot Strait, a Garden Warbler along the east bank and a juvenile Wheatear on the beach were all firsts for the Autumn. Also, a Kingfisher flew up the brook, a Swift and a Yellow Wagtail flew west, and a  Grey Heron, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Willow Warbler were also seen.

Butterflies seen included Painted Lady and Holly Blue.

10th

Sunny periods but fresh to strong SW wind and light showers. This was notably for the movement of terns. There were c30 Sandwich Terns, 120 Common Terns and four Little Terns west during the morning. Also, c50 Swifts and 12 Sand Martins flew west, there were 22 Ringed Plovers on the beach and, despite the winds, seven Whitethroats were noted in the scrub.

Common Terns – Andy Taylor

Swift – Andy Taylor

8th

Sunny with a light SW wind. A total of nine Little Egrets comprised of four in the brook, later roosting in the sewage works trees, one in the Marsh Pool and a single bird followed by three more flying west out at sea. Waders included singles of Sanderling, Dunlin and Common Sandpiper, 25 Ringed Plovers and 30 Turnstones. There were six Swifts, three Sand Martins, five Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail flying west, warblers included a Lesser Whitethroat and two Willow Warblers and a Great Spotted Woodpecker appeared briefly in the Elm Wood. On arrival, the calls of Crossbills could be heard from Lang Court but they soon ceased and none were seen.

Butterflies included Holly Blue and Brown Argus and dragonflies were Migrant Hawkers, a Southern Hawker and a Blue-tailed Damselfly.

7th

Mostly sunny with a light westerly wind. A Little Ringed Plover (our third of the autumn) was flying around the beach early morning. Other waders included 20 Sanderlings ( a big increase over the two seen up to now), and 29 Ringed Plovers. There were also five Common Sandpipers in the area. Birds of the day were two Crossbills, which flew west over the football pitch and sewage works at 7.25 am (our first here since 2013). There were two Yellow Wagtails, one on the beach and one west over the Obs, and a Willow Warbler dropped in at the Obs. An adult Moorhen was in the middle brook quite close to the site of the spillage. The diesel smell lingers and the brook looks a turgid brown colour; lets hope our hen is ok!

Butterflies included Painted Ladies and Red Admirals, a Brown Argus and mating Common Blues. Plenty of Migrant Hawkers about too.

6th

Andy noted 26 Swifts and Arnie noted a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool and a Willow Warbler and the Lesser Whitethroat was seen again.

The sight of Southern Water workers cutting across the Marsh Pool kind of encapsulates the lack of joined-up thinking that has plagued “management” of this SSSI.

5th

Cloudy with a light southerly wind. Waders included a Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Green Sandpiper west, a Dunlin and two Common Sandpipers on the beach and an increase to 21 Ringed Plovers. A Hobby flew low west beyond the caravan park.  A total of 85 Swifts heading west included flocks of 35 and 30, there were also 23 Sand Martins and six Swallows west.  A Lesser Whitethroat was seen again near the scout hut and a juvenile Willow Warbler appeared in the rose bush on the shingle mid-morning.

Not a day for butterflies but Painted Lady, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown were seen.

3rd

Sunny with a light northerly wind. Three Gannets flew west (possibly the same ones flew east) and parties of 30 and eight Common Scoters flew west. Waders included a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool, a Dunlin and 54 Turnstones on the beach. Two Mediterranean Gulls flew east over the area but, more unexpected, was juvenile Kittiwake which flew east close inshore. One Swift and a juvenile Swallow flew west and a Lesser Whitethroat was near the scout hut.

A Brimstone butterfly was the first seen here since May.

1st

Cloudy at first then sunny, light westerly wind. Rather a quiet start to the month. Waders were six Oystercatchers, 15 Ringed Plovers, one Sanderling and 50 Turnstones. Five Swifts and a Yellow Wagtail flew west, a Grey Wagtail was over the sewage works and a Lesser Whitethroat and two juvenile Willow Warblers were along the east bank.

A warm day encouraged butterflies with nine species recorded including two Brown Argus and a Painted Lady at the Obs. A Thistle Ermine moth was seen at the Obs and a number of Migrant Hawkers were also seen.

Brown Argus, Painted Lady and Thistle Ermine – Andy Taylor

After yesterday’s diesel pollution of the brook , there was much activity by Southern Water at the site. More so than there has been in the past with other pollutions. However, we were dismayed at one particular warning sign which warns against bathing or allowing dogs in the brook but implies that such “restrictions”  are only temporary! This contradicts the Councils own notices which says that dogs should not be allowed in the brook under any circumstances to protect wildlife including Water Voles (which have been preyed on by dogs in the past).

Extract from permanent Council notice

Temporary Council notice

July 2019

                                                 138 species so far this year                                                                                132 species by the same time last year

A total of 74 species during the month (average of 74.1 for the previous ten years).  As expected,  July is a month of returning waders. 15 Species were recorded during the month although only Little Ringed Plover was new for the year.  Most notable was a single flock of 26 Common Sandpipers on the beach on 24th. Other new species for the year were Tufted Duck, Arctic Skua and Green Woodpecker. 

31st

Cloudy with a moderate SW wind. A Grey Plover and two Whimbrel flew west, a Common Sandpiper was on the Marsh Pool, joined briefly by a Green Sandpiper and there were two Dunlin on the pool from mid-morning. Later, there were 11 Ringed Plovers and 39 Turnstones roosting on the beach. One Chiffchaff was heard calling at the Obs.

A Roesel’s Bush Cricket was at the Obs.

Arriving at the Obs this morning, I was greeted by a strong smell of diesel. Looking down at the brook by the sluice the source of the aroma was all too clear.

Later the slick had reached the beach

 

30th

Arnie noted two Common Sandpipers on the Marsh Pool and a Redshank and 35 Turnstones on the beach.

29th

Sunny, cooler, light southerly wind. Waders included four Oystercatchers west, a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool and ten  Ringed Plovers and 32 Turnstones on the beach. 100 juvenile Herring Gulls were gathered on the beach. A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew east high over the area whilst a juvenile Willow Warbler along the east bank was the first returning bird after a poor Spring with only two records. 42 Swifts, a Sand Martin, three Swallows and four Grey Wagtails flew west.

Butterflies included a female Common Blue at the Obs.

Willow Warbler – Andy Taylor

Common  Blue – Geoff Burton

28th

Helen reported seeing a Kingfisher. The first of what should be regular sightings from now into the New  Year.

27th

Cloudy, moderate westerly wind and with steady rain. Two Little Terns flew west close inshore at 9 am and an Arctic Skua flew west at 9.50 am; the highlights of a soaking for Ted and me. Also, three Gannets flew west and a party of seven Teal flew west after stopping briefly on the sea. Waders included five Whimbrels and five Curlews and a Common Sandpiper west. Ten Sand Martins and ten Swallows also flew west and there were two-three Chiffchaffs calling between the upper brook and the Obs.

26th

Cloudy at first then sunny with a light westerly wind. Almost the first bird seen was a juvenile Green Woodpecker on the football pitch near the churchyard. A new bird for the year and a typical record for this species which is regular here after the breeding season and on towards the end of the year and consists predominantly of juveniles. There were three Little Egrets and four Teal on the Marsh Pool. A juvenile Little Ringed Plover (our second of the month and year) was on the tide line in the company of Ringed Plovers and Turnstones. However, a minute or so after its discovery, it was flushed by a dog-walker! Other waders included seven Ringed Plovers and two Sanderlings on the beach, 22 Turnstones roosting between the groynes, a Green Sandpiper flying west at 8.48 am and a flock of seven Common Sandpipers west at 10.19 am. Three Whimbrel also flew west. A duck Mallard with seven medium-sized ducklings along the middle brook was the third brood of the year. Other birds included four Swifts, nine Swallows west and a Chiffchaff calling at the Obs.

25th

Sunny, light SE wind, very warm. Ten Gannets flew east, a party of six Common Scoters flew west and another two flew east. There were four Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool. Two Sanderlings, still sporting much of their breeding plumage, were on the beach and three Lapwings dropped down onto the beach. Also, two Common Terns and a Yellow Wagtail  flew west.

24th

Sunny, calm and very warm. Waders continue to be the main feature of recent days. A flock of 26 Common Sandpipers on the shoreline at 6.15 am was exceptional but they soon moved on. Another three were seen on the beach later. A flock of 33 Redshanks that flew west at 7.48 am was also unexpected. Other waders included a Lapwing, three Dunlins and seven Whimbrels west and nine Ringed Plovers and 16 Turnstones on the beach. Two Arctic Skuas (our first of the year) were chasing terns off shore then drifted east. Two Common Terns and one of two adult Great Black-backed Gulls was an old favourite (34G), rung as a pullus at Le Havre in 2010, and an occasional visitor to our shores. Two Yellow Wagtails flew west and a Chiffchaff was calling by the Obs.

23rd

Ted saw six Little Egrets and a Common Sandpiper On the Marsh Pool and other waders included two Dunlins and ten Turnstones. Also, 20 Swallows flew west.

22nd

Sunny with a light westerly wind. Waders included a Little Ringed Plover flying west (new for the year), six Ringed Plovers (including two juveniles), and five Turnstones in full breeding plumage on the beach. There were nine  Oystercatchers west, and another eight on the beach, one Curlew flew west and five Whimbrel on the tidal ponds which also flew off west.  Five Common Scoters flew east, one Common Tern flew west and a juvenile Peregrine flew west. 90 Swifts, four Sand Martins and 20 Swallows flew west.

A good day for insects with ten butterflies including our first Brown Argus near the skate park, our only Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Moth (worn and bleached) and an Emperor Dragonfly.

Brown Argus – Andy Taylor

Burnet Moth – Andy Taylor

20th

Cloudy then sunny with a light SW wind. Four Turnstones which flew west were the first seen since May.  Eight Lapwings and single Whimbrel and Curlew also flew west  and an Oystercatcher and a Redshank were on the beach. Another increase in waders seen.  Otherwise, it was very quiet; two Stock Doves dropped onto the beach and, later, one was on the water’s edge of the Marsh Pool and 12 Swifts flew west.

At the Obs, a family party of Weasels showed briefly as they crossed the path and insects included a Blood-vein moth, an unusual green Roesel’s Bush Cricket and another Marbled White butterfly.

Blood-vein – Andy Taylor

Roesel’s Bush Cricket – Andy Taylor

The large buddlea at the scout hut, that held out much promise in attracting butterflies, was cut down this morning.

18th

Cloudy with a light SW wind. Two Oystercatchers flew west along the beach, a party of five Whimbrels flew west, later another was resting on the tidal ponds before also heading on west, and a Redshank on the beach was our first “returning” bird. A better wader turnout than of late! There was a gathering of 17 Mediterranean Gulls, including two juveniles, on the beach. Seven Swifts flew west and a Lesser Whitethroat along the middle brook was the first since only two records of this species during the Spring. Up to now, it has been a regular breeding bird.

An Essex Skipper was seen in the grassland by the coastal path.

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull – Geoff Burton

Essex Skipper – Geoff Burton

17th

Sunny and very warm with a light southerly wind. A Gannet flew east, there were three Little Egrets on the tidal ponds and five Mediterranean Gulls on the beach. One Swift, 20 Swallows and a Sand Martin flew west. Late morning the gulls were up, chasing flying ants, amongst which were some Mediterranean Gulls and a second calendar year Common Gull (our first since May) and a Hobby. 

A good day for butterflies with at least three Marbled Whites (unprecedented), another Ringlet and a Peacock on the Scout hut buddlea* which is, at the moment, being allowed to flower.

*spell check suggested “befuddle”.

Hobby – Andy Taylor

Marbled White – Geoff Burton

15th

Cloudy with a light NE wind. One Gannet flew west and large juvenile female Peregrine flew west over the beach.

Butterflies included good views of a Ringlet at the Obs.

Ringlet – Geoff Burton

13th

Cloudy, light NW wind and cooler. Five Gannets, two Common Scoters, four Whimbrel, two Curlews, three Mediterranean Gulls and a Common Tern flew west whilst a passing Tufted Duck was new for the year. There were three Little Egrets and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. One Swift, two Sand Martins and a Yellow Wagtail also flew west.

10th

One Whimbrel flew west.

A good day for butterflies with 12 species recorded. These included our first Essex Skipper and a Ringlet (recorded a few times last year but only one two occasions in earlier years). The total for the year is now 20 species. The most likely additions would be Small Tortoiseshell, Small Copper and Clouded Yellow.

9th

A short circuit of the site produced six Little Egrets and two Whimbrels flew west.

7th

Cloudy, light NE wind and cooler. There were five Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool early morning. The second brood of seven Mallard ducklings were in the brook. Large but with no primaries as yet. Three Mediterranean Gulls flew east and four Sandwich Terns included two juveniles. There were five Pied Wagtails on the football pitch.

Big gulls – Geoff Burton

6th

Sunny, light westerly wind, warm. Three Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool flew onto the beach where they were joined by a fourth. There were four Oystercatchers  and five Mediterranean Gulls on the beach and also an influx of Black-headed Gulls with 114 together on the beach. Five Swifts, two Sand Martins, five Swallows and two Yellow Wagtails flew west.

Butterflies included a Green-veined White (not seen for some time, a Comma and another Marbled White.

4th

Sunny, calm and warm. 12 Lapwings flew west and a Greenshank was heard calling over the tidal ponds. There were four Pied Wagtails on the football pitch. On an evening visit, Andy had a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool at 7 pm which Arnie confirmed was still present at 9.15 pm (not many of our records come that late in the day!).

Again a good showing of butterflies, including more Painted Ladies, but again no additions to the year list.

Small Skipper – Geoff Burton

3rd

Sunny with a light northerly wind. There were three Mute Swans on the sea off the Tankerton slopes early morning. One Oystercatcher was on the beach and two Whimbrels and two Curlews flew west. A female Pied Wagtail on the tideline seaweed was feeding a fledged youngster. A Grey Wagtail dropped into the brook by the sewage works entrance, four Long-tailed Tits were by the entrance and a Chiffchaff was seen along the east bank.

Seven species of butterfly were seen on this warm day but there were no additions to the year list.

2nd

Andy had nothing to report from the bird world but a Marbled White was our first of the year (18th species), Gatekeeper was also seen and a Marsh Frog  was calling along Coot Strait (only a couple of previous records).

1st

Sunny with a fresh westerly wind. A Great Crested Grebe flew east, three Curlews and three Mediterranean Gulls flew west. 30 Swifts and single Sand Martin and Yellow Wagtail flew west.

A good start for butterflies with nine species including our first Comma of the year and 17th species. A Banded Demoiselle was seen briefly along the middle brook. There has been only a handful of records here.

Comma – Geoff Burton

 

June 2019

                                                      134 species so far this year                                                                                132 species by the same time last year

The total of 63 species for the month was lower than any of the previous ten years, in June, which had averaged 71.4 species. My own daily average of 34.4 species was also the lower than any of the previous ten years. Nothing was added to the year list but there were two Dunlin and two Avocets on the wader-friendly Marsh Pool at the beginning of the month, a Grey Plover mid-month and a trickle of Curlews, Whimbrels and Lapwings plus a Green Sandpiper towards the end of the month.  Things can only get better! 

30th

Sunny, moderate NW wind. Three Curlews, an adult Mediterranean Gull and a Common Tern (scarce this month) flew west and two more adult Mediterranean Gulls were on the beach. A movement of 53 Swifts during the morning and a Yellow Wagtail flew west.  A juvenile Moorhen was in the middle brook. There have been more Moorhen reports in recent weeks and, maybe, they have bred further upstream.

A Water Vole was seen in the middle brook. Again, reports can be months apart and it’s possible that these too are breeding further upstream.

Mediterranean Gull with Black-headed Gull – Geoff Burton

29th

Sunny, calm and very warm. One Great Crested Grebe was on the sea, two Gannets flew east, a Shelduck flew west and two immature Mute Swans flew east, returning west shortly afterwards. A Grey Heron was being mobbed by gulls over the estate.

A Small Skipper and a Gatekeeper were the first of the year bringing the butterfly total to 16 species. A Silver Y moth was also seen and Greg Herne reported a Water Vole (the first for some time).

28th

Andy’s brief visit to the site produced a pair of Hornet Moths on the same tree as they have been seen in the previous two years as well.

Hornet moths – Andy Taylor

27th

Cloudy with a fresh NE wind. A Fulmar and four Gannets flew east and two parties of Common Scoters (eight and ten) flew east – the first this month. Three Lapwings also flew east.

A Silver Y moth was seen in the grassland whilst a few Painted Ladies were the only butterflies to brave the conditions.

26th

Cloudy, moderate northerly wind and cooler. Six Gannets, four flew east, two flew west and a Fulmar inland flew high east. A Whimbrel circled over the beach before heading SE inland and a Curlew flew west.

24th

Sunny, warm and humid with a light SW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea and four Gannets flew east. A Buzzard to the SE over Studd Hill, i.e the usual area, was the first of the month.

An  adult Great Black-backed Gull on one of the buoys was colour-ringed but too distant to read before it flew off west. I suspect it was the bird seen at Reculver on 24th May, that was rung as a chick at Le Havre in France on 28th June 2010, was seen in Whitstable in 2011 and 2017, back in Le Havre in 2013, at Swalecliffe in 2014, 2016 and 2018 and at Dungeness in 2015.

22nd

Sunny, warmer with a light SE wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, two Gannets flew east and there were two Little Egrets on the beach. Two Lapwings and a Curlew flew west.

20th

Cloudy with a light NW wind. There were five Little Egrets gathered together on the tideline early morning. A steady trickle of Swifts, c60, flew west whilst a Yellow Wagtail calling from the bushes opposite the Obs before flying on west was unusual here at this time.

One of a pair of Herring Gulls, with four well-grown young on a roof in Church Way, was sporting a Pitsea ring (not noted amongst the breeding birds here before).

The above average rainfall this month has reversed the usual decline in the water levels of the pools which  usually results in bone dry pools during the peak of the autumn wader migration.

The Marsh Pool on 2nd June

The Marsh Pool on 20th June

19th

Cloudy with steady rain at first, light NW wind. Indications of a return passage of waders came in the form of a Curlew flying west, a Lapwing calling as it circled over the Obs and a Green Sandpiper calling but unseen a it passed west offshore.

A Large Skipper and a Red Admiral were at the Obs.

18th

Sunny at first, clouding over, with a light SW wind. Six Little Egrets were on the beach, five Great Black-backed Gulls included two adults and one Sandwich Tern flew east. One Stock Dove flew south and a Reed Warbler, our fifth of the “Spring” was singing in the pear tree and the adjacent bluethroat bush. There were two broods of Mallard in the brook, one of seven almost fully-grown ducklings and another of at least five half-sized ducklings.

Butterflies noted were Small Heath, Speckled Wood and Small White.

17th

Ted Lee’s visit produced one Great Crested Grebe offshore (our first since May 27th), one Gannet and two Curlews west. Also, three Swifts and one Swallow flew west.

15th

Ted Lee found a group of six Curlews on the beach. A typical record for this early returning migrant wader.

14th

Waders are at their scarcest here at this time of the year and so it was pleasing for Ted Lee to find this Grey Plover on the beach.

Grey Plover – Ted Lee

13th

Sunny, then showers from 9 am, with a moderate SW wind. An adult Gannet flew east and a single Sandwich Tern was resting on the red buoy. 50 Swifts flew west, mainly during the showers (our highest count so far this year). A Stock Dove was seen near the Marsh Pool and a Skylark flew south over the sewage works.

Six species of butterfly were seen around the Obs including our first Large Skipper of the year, a Red Admiral and another Painted Lady.

The heavy machinery has gone. There are tracks on the shingle and, apparently, holes were being bored. Phase 2 next year, maybe.

Juvenile Woodpigeon – Geoff Burton

Large Skipper – Geoff Burton

11th

 

Sunny with a light SW wind. The struggle continues; a Hobby flew west low over the sewage works at 5.28 am, eight Oystercatchers were on the beach and a single Sandwich Tern flew east.  Sandwich Terns have been rather scarce this year. Usually there is an early morning movement of these terns (presumably from breeding grounds in the Medway) but not this year. What are the implications? Another scarce species has been the Swift and c20 feeding beyond the caravan park is one of the higher counts so far this year.

There have been a number of reports of Painted Ladies in the county and two more here today may suggest that it will be a good year.

Yesterday’s heavy rain has enabled the brook to pour its waters into the sea for the first time for months. Also, the recently dry Obs Pool now holds some water and the Marsh Pool is fuller. This may prove beneficial  for early returning Autumn waders.

Heavy machinery parked by the sluice may indicate that the work on replacing the sewage outfall pipe is about to begin.

Painted Lady – Geoff Burton

The brook breaks free – Geoff Burton

Pipeline machinery ? – Geoff Burton

8th

Cloudy with a fresh SW wind. It is a struggle to find anything to mention! There were eight immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and two Sandwich Terns offshore. Two juvenile Robins were in the sewage works.

There were no waders seen. A flock of non-breeding Turnstones  had always been a feature of mid-summer. Numbers from year to year have varied. The maximum June count in 2007 was only 16 but there were 126 in 2010 and 95 in 2013. Since then numbers have been lower with 16 in 2015, only six in 2016, 13 in 2017 and none recorded were recorded in June last year. And none have been recorded so far this month.

6th

Sunny with a light SW wind. Little to report with four Oystercatchers on the tidal ponds (no other waders) and a second calendar year Mediterranean Gull west. 20 Swifts flew also west.

Better on the butterfly front with our first Painted Lady and Meadow Brown of the year amongst the six species seen.

Painted Lady – Geoff Burton

Meadow Brown – Geoff Burton

5th

Sunny periods and a light SW wind. At 6.05 am, the calling of Avocets led to the sight of two dropping onto the Marsh Pool. Previously, all records of this species had been either on the beach or flying over. A first record for the Marsh Pool and probably only the third record here in June. However, after five minutes they took off and flew over towards the beach, returning to circle around over the pool  again before finally moving on. There was also a Shelduck  on the Marsh Pool. Two single Fulmars flew west, a Gannet flew west and another six settled on the sea. A little passage with ten Swifts, three Swallows and four House Martins west whilst a Chiffchaff,singing briefly at the Obs, was probably a resident which are quiet and elusive at this time in the season.

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

Two Dunlin on 1st and these two Avocets show the attraction of the Marsh Pool when the level is unusually low at this time of the year. A bit late for Spring migration and maybe it will have dried up before the Autumn passage gets going.

Avocet and Shelduck – Geoff Burton

Avocets departing – Geoff Burton

3rd

Sunny with a light westerly wind. There were two Little Egrets on the beach and a Grey Heron flew west. A small, but more than so far this year, movement of Swifts totalled 21 and there were also three Swallows and a single Sand Martin and House Martin.

The Marsh Pool – Geoff Burton

1st

A sunny and very warm start to the year with a light SE wind.  There were seven Little Egrets around the tidal ponds. Two Dunlin on the Marsh Pool mid-morning were unusual but the pool does look good for waders at the moment. It has been a very dry month. A Reed Warbler was singing in the depths of one of the scrubland bushes. Two juvenile Long-tailed Tits were in the trees along the upper brook.

Butterflies were Small and Green-veined Whites, Holly Blue and Small Heath.

Dunlins – Geoff Burton

May 2019

                                                  134 species so far this year                                                                             132 species by the same time last year

A total of 83 species recorded during the month was a little below the average for the previous ten years of 84.3. However, it was a very quiet month. Additions to the year list were all expected; a Little Tern on 1st, Reed Warbler on 7th (with another two later in the month), a Turtle Dove on 16th and a rather late Garden Warbler on 30th.  The most surprising bird of the month was the Pied Crow on 13th, which paid us a visit whilst vacationing on Thanet, and is now apparently residing in the Netherlands. Time will tell how significant this was, perhaps. Also unusual was a Kingfisher on 23rd which is rarely seen here during the breeding season. 

 

31st

Cloudy with a light westerly wind. A very quiet end to the month with two Shelducks and a second calendar year Mediterranean Gull flying west.

30th

Arnie managed to find our first Garden Warbler of the year. Unusually late for Spring passage.

29th

Sunny periods and a light SE wind. 15 Gannets and one Shelduck flew east and a Grey Heron flew south over the area. Six Swallows flew west.

27th

Sunny at times with a moderate westerly wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe offshore and a Fulmar and a Gannet flew west. Looking beyond the estate, a Buzzard and a Hobby were seen. Eight Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach included two adults. A single Swift (still very scarce) and one Sand Martin, 16 Swallows, four House Martins and a Yellow Wagtail flew west. A Reed Warbler in song along the east bank was our third of the Spring.

A good turn out for the butterflies with Small White, Holly Blue, Speckled Wood, Orange-tip and our first Red Admiral since February!

25th

Sunny at times with the occasional shower, and a light NW wind. A Great Crested Grebe was offshore, a Fulmar and eight Gannets flew west as did a party of eight Little Egrets (at 5.53 am) with four on the beach later that morning. An immature drake Eider offshore mid-morning proved not to be the one seen off Castle Coote in previous days as that was still there! Two Common Sandpipers circled high over the Marsh Pool before flying on west. A Stock Dove perched on a TV aerial along Long Rock was unusual. A Skylark flew west calling (also over Long Rock) and vis mig included two Swifts, eight Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail (all west, of course).

Butterflies included a Speckled Wood and Holly Blues.

23rd

Sunny, warm with a light northerly wind. One Great Crested Grebe was on the sea, one Gannet flew west and four Little Egrets included three on the Marsh Pool. Three Common Sandpipers on the beach was the first multiple sighting of the Spring. Three Sand Martins and a Swift flew west. Two Moorhens were in the brook by the sluice. A Kingfisher was seen near the Marsh Pool – very unusual here in the height of their breeding season.

Warm weather meant more butterflies – the three whites, Orange-tip, Holly Blue, Speckled Wood, Small Heath and our first Red Admiral since February.

Common Lizard – Andy Taylor

Red Admiral – Andy Taylor

22nd

Sunny, warmer with a light northerly wind. A group of four Whimbrels flew west. Five Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail flew west. A Reed Warbler singing in the bushes along the upper brook was our second of the Spring.

Butterflies noted were Green-veined, Small and Large Whites, Holly Blue and Small Heath.

Little Egret – Geoff Burton

21st

Two Red Kites flew west at 10.50 am.

An unusual record of a California Quail seen, heard and photographed by Karen Munt at a house adjacent to the Seaview Caravan Park.

California Quail – Karen Munt

20th

Cloudy and cool with a light northerly wind. 32 Gannets flew east, two Fulmars flew east and another flew west, four Common Scoters flew east and there were two Great Crested Grebes on the sea. One Whimbrel flew west and there were two Turnstones and an Oystercatcher on the beach. Nine Mediterranean Gulls flew east and one flew west. 15 Swallows, a pulse of 16 House Martins and a Yellow Wagtail flew west.

18th

Sunny periods with a light northerly wind. Two Gannets flew east and the only waders noted were three Oystercatchers and a Turnstone.  One Swift, 18 Swallows and two Rooks flew west. A day to forget!

Linnet – Geoff Burton

17th

Cloudy with some light showers, moderate NE wind. 23 Gannets flew east and a Peregrine flew south over the football pitch. Waders included a Grey Plover in partial summer plumage and a female Bar-tailed Godwit on the beach and a Greenshank heard calling.  There were three Common Terns offshore and three Swifts flew east.

Shelduck – Geoff Burton

16th

Andy saw and heard a Turtle Dove in the sewage works; a brief view but an addition to the year list. A Common Sandpiper was in the Marsh Pool, an adult Kittiwake flew east and there was a trickle of Swallows on the move.

15th

Sunny with a light NE wind and warmer. 14 Gannets flew west and eight flew east. About 30 Swallows flew west and a single Sand Martin and two House Martins were also seen and a Yellow Wagtail heard. A Chiffchaff singing along the east bank was the first heard this month (has it just been quiet?).

13th

Sunny with a moderate easterly wind. It seemed that a Moorhen in the brook by the sewage works entrance was going to be the bird of the day. It was only the third record of the year for this regular breeding species last seen on 24th March. However, at about 8.35 am, the infamous Pied Crow flew by the Obs (Geoff Burton) and headed SE over the scrub (Andy Taylor and Philip Hurst). Just to make sure it was noticed it repeated the process half an hour later (when it was also seen by Greg Herne). The most recent sighting had been that morning at Foreness (reported by Barry Hunt at 7.26 am). A Common Sandpiper on the beach by the skate park was only our third record of the Spring.

A Brimstone butterfly flew by the Obs.

Despite the birds absence, the Pied Crow engendered a bit of a twitch with the first site record of Andrew Lipczynski as well as Rob Stokes and another, easily recognised but nameless, birder. The following afternoon, the crow was back on Thanet and a local shop owner in Ramsgate was asking on twitter” is it normal for a crow to have white feathers as well as black ones”.  Over the next few days at least, the bird showed well in various locations on Thanet and was enjoyed by many birders. We were very grateful that it had  taken time out to visit us at our modest establishment.

Pied Crow – Andy Taylor

11th

Sunny periods with a light northerly wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, three Gannets and five Shelducks flew west and nine Common Scoters and a Great Skua flew east. Waders were  two Oystercatchers, a Greenshank flying west and only one single Turnstone but also a single Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Dunlin appeared together briefly on the beach by the Obs. The duck Mallard with eight ducklings was in the brook and six Great Black-backed Gulls (including two adults) were on the beach. Vis mig included one Swift, one Hobby and 33 Swallows west,  two Yellow Wagtails (one of which rested on the beach) and a Jay flew east.

Yellow Wagtail – Geoff Burton

9th

Sunny at times and calm. One Gannet flew east and a female Marsh Harrier flew west at 9.15 am. A Great Skua landed close inshore by the Obs before settling on the sea more distantly. A male Cuckoo came in over the estate, over the Marsh Pool and along the beach before settling in the corner of the sewage works where it called briefly (our second record of the year). Vis mig included five Swifts, one Sand Martin, 30 Swallows, one House Martin and three Yellow Wagtails. A Meadow Pipit was still singing,  from a bush along the coastal path, a Lesser Whitethroat was seen briefly in the Elm Wood, there were 78 Carrion Crows on the beach and the first two juvenile Starlings (a few days earlier than usual) were on the football pitch.

Green-veined White and Orange-tip butterflies were seen.

Starling – Geoff Burton

8th

Andy popped down in the afternoon. Six Gannets flew east and a male Bar-tailed Godwit flew west. Vis mig included 30 Swifts and 30 House Martins and a steadly trickle of Swallows.

Sunny at times and calm.

7th

Arnie found our first Reed Warbler of the year singing along the east bank.

6th

Sunny periods with a light to moderate NW wind and cool. One Shelduck flew west, with a pair on the Marsh Pool, one Common Scoter and a Whimbrel flew west and a Great Skua, heading west, landed on the sea. There were three Dunlin and seven Turnstones on the beach at high tide and the Redshank was on the Marsh Pool (present since 29th April). Vis mig included 25 Swallows, five House Martins, one Sand Martin and ten Yellow Wagtails. A male Wheatear was on the beach and the shingle ridge and a male Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the churchyard. A Lesser Whitethroat was singing in the scrub by Lang Court and, later, it or naother appeared by the Obs. The Meadow Pipit was in song flight in the grassland again.

Butterflies seen were Small and Green-veined Whites and Orange-tip.

Meadow Pipit – Geoff Burton

4th

Sunny periods with a fresh northerly wind. It was cold! A Fulmar flew west and there were a pair of Shelducks on the beach. A female Bar-tailed Godwit was on the beach by the chalets and the Redshank was again on the Marsh Pool. Five Swifts, two House Martins and a Yellow Wagtail flew west. A Meadow Pipit was in display flight in the grassland.

3rd

Andy’s “quick evening circuit” produced one Hobby, a pair of Shelducks on the Marsh Pool and a handful of Swallows flying west.

2nd

Sunny at times, light to moderate NW wind, cold. Despite the cold, the westerly element to the wind sparked some more substantial vis mig; two Swifts, nine Sand Martins, 182 Swallows, 27 House Martins, 13 Yellow Wagtails, 16 Goldfinches and 14 Linnets flew west. Also on the move were two Fulmars, 73 Gannets, a Hobby, three Bar-tailed Godwits, a Whimbrel, two Curlews, two adult Mediterranean Gulls and an adult Kittiwake; all west.  Two flocks, each  of eight, Common Scoters flew east and there were 13 Turnstones on the beach and the Redshank continued in residence on the Marsh Pool.

Butterflies were Small and Green-veined Whites, Orange-tip and Speckled Wood.

1st

Cloudy with a light NE wind. A single Great Crested Grebe and a Gannet flew east and a Greylag Goose flew west. Waders included two Whimbrels  that landed on the beach and 50 Turnstones. Highlight of the morning was a Little Tern fishing for a few minutes close inshore. New for the year and just about annual in recent years. There were also Sandwich Terns  and two Common Terns present all morning. There were five Great Black-backed Gulls on the tidal ponds. Also, 22 Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail flew west.

Small and Green-veined Whites were the only butterflies noted.

April 2019

                                                                    130 species so far this year                                                                                       123  at the same time last year

The total of 94 species recorded during the month is in line with the average over the last ten years (94.8). However, it was a curious month with a combination of dominant easterlies with a few settled spells which combined to hinder vis mig. However, we added our fifth Iceland Gull on 2nd, our second Cattle Egret on 4th and our second Great White Egret on 18th. Other birds not necessarily annual included Nightingale and Black Redstart. At the end of the month, the year total of 130 species was higher than nine of the previous ten years.  There are still a few Spring migrants to expect which should include Little Tern, Turtle Dove and Reed Warbler. 

30th

Cloudy with a light NE wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, two Shelducks flew west over the sea whilst three Mute Swans, an adult and two immatures, flew west to the south of the village. Waders included a female Bar-tailed Godwit on the shoreline by the skate park and a breeding plumage male heading west, two Whimbrel, including one which gave a burst of song, five Curlews flying east, a Redshank on the Marsh Pool and six Turnstones. Also, one Stock Dove flew south over the area and four Swallows flew north over the sea.  And so the month ended whilst we still wait for any significant vis mig!

29th

Sunny at times with a cool, light northerly wind. There were three Greylag Geese on the sea early morning which eventually flew off east. 12 Gannets flew east and a Great Skua coming in from the west landed distantly on the sea. Waders included two Whimbrel on the beach early morning, two singles flying west and three which dropped onto the beach by the Obs before flying west. There were also 16 Turnstones on the beach and a Redshank (a late bird for this site) was on the Marsh Pool. Two Hobbies flew west, at 8.35 and 9.20 am. Vis mig included 23 Swallows, six Sand Martins, a House Martin, three Yellow Wagtails and a Rook (all west). A single Meadow Pipit (formerly a breeding bird) was in the grassland. A brood of ten Mallard ducklings were in the brook by the sewage works entrance.

Small and Green-veined Whites were the only butterflies noted.

27th

Sunny but clouding over, a strong westerly wind and rather cool. Following yesterday’s Swift, a Hobby, low over the sea and struggling against the wind, was new for the year. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, a Fulmar flew west and two Shelducks flew east. At least 40 Sandwich Terns flew east early morning and then there were many lingering close inshore for the rest of the morning.  One Whimbrel and two adult Mediterranean Gulls flew west. Also, a Stock Dove flew out of the grassland and six Swallows flew west.

A Speckled Wood hung motionless in the trees by the Obs.

Sandwich Tern – Andy Taylor

26th

A very quiet morning for Andy was enlivened by our first Swift which flew west at 9.30 am.

25th

Cloudy with a moderate southerly wind. One Great Crested Grebe on the sea and two Shelducks flew west. Waders included four Sanderlings, ten Whimbrel and a Greenshank and five Mediterranean Gulls flew west. Six Swallows and three Yellow Wagtails flew west, a Willow Warbler (only our second and this wasn’t singing either) was in the churchyard and three Jays were around the sewage works entrance.

24th

Cloudy with a moderate SE wind. A Grasshopper Warbler was singing occasionally from the scrub early in the morning.  A Wheatear was on the shingle ridge and one Yellow Wagtail was noted. Otherwise, rather quiet with waders being two Oystercatchers, a Ringed Plover, a Lapwing (unusual at this time of the year) and 12 Turnstones. There were also two adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the beach, two sub-adult Great Black-backed Gulls and five Sandwich Terns offshore.

Butterflies included several Green-veined Whites, a Peacock and an Orange-tip.

Turnstone – Andy Taylor

23rd

Cloudy and calm at first then with a freshening easterly wind. Two Great Crested Grebes flew east, two Shelducks flew east and three flew west and three Whimbrels flew west. There were three Little Egrets on the beach and a Greenshank circled the beach calling before heading south inland. A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew into the churchyard, a Skylark flew SE from the grassland and another came in off the sea and two Yellow Wagtails flew west.

22nd

Four Red Kites flew west between 10 and 10.50 am. A Common Sandpiper was on the Marsh Pool, 18 Mediterranean Gulls flew east and a Lesser Whitethroat at the Obs, chased by the local Blackcaps, was new for the year.

21st

A Sunday, Easter Sunday and a very warm Sunday; all good reasons to avoid the site. However, Andy’s brief sojourn produced three new birds for the year; a Mute Swan, a hepatic Cuckoo (probably the same bird seen in the previous two years) and a Nightingale singing from within the sewage works.  A Whimbrel also flew west.

20th

With the increase in temperatures came an increase in expectations, for Andy and Ted et al, but not for me sitting it out for the next four days in deepest Berkshire. Three Whitethroats were new for the year, at last! They had been seen locally, at Oare Marshes and Pye Alley Lane for instance, so seemed a bit overdue. A lone Brent Goose referenced the winter gone by whilst four Sandwich Terns and a total of 18 Mediterranean Gulls flying east spoke of Spring. There was some vis mig with a trickle of Sand Martins and Swallows, three House Martins and six Yellow Wagtails. A Wheatear was also seen.

Whitethroat – Andy Taylor

18th

Sunny, though misty over the sea, with a freshening easterly wind. Expectations were not high but, looking out over the beach from the skate park at 6.40 am, I saw a Great White Egret fishing in the shallows. It was low tide and so, although distant, it was fairly safe from disturbance. The bird moved sedately as it fished and was present undisturbed until at least 8 am. The egret was joined by our first Grey Heron of the month and two Little Egrets. However, the tide was coming in and so it would not have stayed much longer. I contacted Ted (easy) and Andy (not so easy) as Ted had to resort to the old-fashioned strategy of calling on him at his house to let him know. This was only the second record for the site after one briefly on 1st November 2011. There were two more additions to the year list in the forms of a Sedge Warbler singing behind us as we watched the egret and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. Other waders included two Sanderlings , three Dunlin and 70  Turnstones on the beach and three Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Four adult Mediterranean Gulls flew east and there were two Sandwich Terns offshore.  No vis mig and two Swallows west and a single Wheatear on the shingle ridge were the only other passerine migrant.

Dunlin – Geoff Burton

17th

Sunny, misty over the sea, with a light NW wind and warmer. One Great Crested Grebe on the sea, two Shelducks flew west and a party of 12 ducks flew east, led by a pair of Shovelers, and ten Wigeon which settled on the sea. Waders included a Whimbrel west and a Greenshank which were both new for the year and one Sanderling on the beach and three Redshanks on the beach and later on the Marsh Pool. 13 Mediterranean Gulls flew east and four Sandwich Terns were resting on the buoys.  Also, a single Stock Dove flew east and two Wheatears were on the shingle ridge.

Butterflies included our first Large White and Orange-tip bringing the total to six species.

Sanderling – Geoff Burton

15th

Sunny, light to moderate easterly wind. A male Black Redstart was seen but only briefly on the beach by the skate park. Four Arctic Terns flew east close inshore and a Ring Ousel flew west by the Obs. Three welcome additions to the year list but clear skies and an easterly wind has done nothing for “general” migration.  A Fulmar and a Gannet flew east and two Shelducks flew west whilst the immature drake Eider was present all morning,  having been seen at Seasalter the day before. Waders included four Sanderlings, two Dunlins and 101 Turnstones on the beach and a Snipe and six Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included a single Common Tern east, four Buzzards circling together low to the SE and a Wheatear on the shingle ridge.

Blackcap – Andy Taylor

13th

Cloudy and cold with a light NE wind. One Great Crested Grebe, four Gannets, 16 Shelducks and two Sandwich Terns flew east and two Common Scoters flew west. There were three Brent Geese on the beach and an immature drake Eider appeared close inshore late morning (plumage details suggest it was the bird present at Reculver recently). Waders included three Sanderlings on the beach and five Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Two Common Terns resting on the red “cheesy” buoy were new for the year. Away from the sea, two Sand Martins flew west, a Jay which flew east over the football pitch was our first since February and two adult Rooks circled the beach before flying south inland. It is noticeable, if a previous year can catch up with the current year, that 2018 is only two species behind this year (it was 13 behind at the end of March).

A Small White butterfly by the scout hut was new for the year.

11th

Cloudy with a moderate NE wind and cool. Single Red-throated Divers flew east and west, a Great Crested Grebe was offshore, two Shelducks and nine Common Scoters flew west. There were two Sanderlings on the beach and four adult Mediterranean Gulls flew west along the shoreline. Eight Swallows flew west.

9th

Cloudy, misty with a light NE wind. A much quieter day with a highlight of a single Canada Goose which flew west low over the area! Otherwise, five Brent Geese flew west over the beach, two Shelducks flew west, and a Grey Plover was again on the beach with single Sanderling and Redshank.

8th

Cloudy and misty with a light NW wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, eight Shelducks flew east and another flew west, two Marsh Harriers flew west over the area at 10.20 am and 14 Mediterranean Gulls included a party of ten flying east. Waders included a Grey Plover, a Sanderling and two Redshanks on the beach whilst a Green Sandpiper, briefly on the Marsh Pool, was a new species for the year. There was also a pair of Teal which commuted between the brook and the Marsh Pool before, eventually, giving up and heading off west. Two Sandwich Terns flew west and three Buzzards were circling to the south. Some vis mig today including five Sand Martins, 12 Swallows and four House Martins (the latter new for the year), a Yellow Wagtail that called a couple of times unseen in the mist (also new) and six Goldfinches and 20 Linnets (all heading west).

6th

Cloudy with a moderate NE wind and the cold weather continues.  There were five Great Crested Grebes offshore and a Brent Goose flew east over the beach. A Ringed Plover calling agitatedly on the beach was replaced later that morning by three fisherman and a tent on exactly the same spot! Three Sandwich Terns were close inshore by the Obs, a Stock Dove that sang briefly in the Scout Wood was unusual and two Swallows flew west.

4th

Sunny periods, light SE wind and cool. A pack of agitated gulls over the beach at 7.40 am revealed a Cattle Egret in their midst.  The egret, only our second, after one last May, flew off high to the  west. There were six Great Crested Grebes offshore, single Fulmars flew west and east and a female Marsh Harrier flew west close inshore. Later that morning, a total of ten Sandwich Terns, our first this year, flew west offshore.  There was little other movement with six Swallows flying west.

3rd

Two Sand Martins and 15 Swallows flew west and four Greylag Geese were seen.

2nd

Cloudy, dull with a light SW wind. Bird of the day (who knows, maybe bird of the month) was a second calendar year Iceland Gull which flew west, stopping on the beach to bathe and preen for 20 minutes,  between 8.40-9.00 am. This is the fifth record for the site and three of these have been within the 12-day period between 22nd March and 2nd April. A summer plumage Red-throated Diver and four Great Crested Grebes were offshore and a single Brent Goose lingered close inshore waiting for the tide to turn. Two Shelduck also flew west, there were two Sanderlings on the beach and a Snipe and five Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. The westerly winds encouraged some vis mig with 25 Sand Martins, 25 Swallows, 20 Goldfinches and 50 Linnets heading west.

Iceland Gull – Geoff Burton

1st

Sunny with a fresh NE wind. A slow start to the month. One Red-throated Diver offshore, a Great Crested Grebe and a Gannet flew east and a flock of nine Common Scoters flew west. There were five Brent Geese on the beach and waders included a Sanderling on the beach and two Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. One Blackcap and three Chiffchaffs (including one at Lang Court) were in song. The pair of Long-tailed Tits were still at the Obs.

 

March 2019

                                                        107 species so far this year                                                                                        94 species by this time last year

A total of 88 species for the month was (for the first time this year) above the average over the previous ten years. The year total of 107 is 13 more than the same time last year but that is very unlikely to be maintained. Early Spring migrants included Sand Martin, Swallow, Wheatear, Blackcap and Willow Warbler. 

31st

Cloudy and cold with a fresh NE wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea and one Fulmar, three Gannets, 29 Common Gulls and four large auk sp flew east. Waders included five Ringed Plovers, one Sanderling  and 34 Turnstones on the beach and three Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. There were also 115 Herring Gulls on the beach. A Willow Warbler was silently moving about in the bushes opposite the Obs.

30th

Sunny with a light northerly wind. There were five Great Crested Grebes offshore , a Fulmar flew east and there were three Brent Geese on the beach. Our second Red Kite of the year circled over the estate, drifting west, at 8.40 am. Waders included just two Sanderlings on the beach, two Dunlin flying west and two Snipe on the Marsh Pool. More abundant were 57 Turnstones gathering on the outgoing tide.

The warmth and sun encouraged our first Brimstone butterflies on the wing with a male at the Obs, at the entrance to the sewage works and by Lang Court and a female by the scout hut. This species was recorded here for the first time only last year. A Peacock was also seen as it sped by the Obs.

Red Kite – Andy Taylor

Brimstone – Geoff Burton

28th

Cloudy with a light NW wind. There were three Red-throated Divers (including one in summer plumage) and five Great Crested Grebes offshore. A flock of 70 Brent Geese flying west offshore was a surprising number this late in the month (at this site anyway) and another three were on the beach as the tide receded. Four Shelducks and five Common Scoters flew west and two Greylag Geese flew east by the church. Waders included eight Sanderlings and six Redshanks on the beach. One Blackcap was singing in the churchyard and there were two Chiffchaffs along the east bank and at the Obs.

26th

Sunny with a light NW wind and cool. A Red Kite flew west at 9.34 am. Other birds of prey included three Sparrowhawks and three Common Buzzards. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, one Red-throated Diver and five Common Scoters flew east and there were only six Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included two Lapwings flying east (unusual here in March), only one Sanderling and one visible Snipe On the Marsh Pool. There was another appearance by the wintering Water Rail, a Skylark flew south over the area, 12 Meadow Pipits and nine Linnets flew west and a male Blackcap flew along the upper brook and one Chiffchaff was singing.

A Peacock was our second butterfly species of the year.

Kestrel – Geoff Burton

25th

Swallow flew west at 11.50 am and a Peregrine flew east along the beach. However, most notable was an easterly passage of Kittiwakes, most between 10.20-11.20 am, totalling 343 birds. Also, 32 Common Scoters flew west and two Skylarks were noted.

24th

A misty, cold morning put a block on Spring migrants. A few Meadow Pipits and Chaffinches flew west, a Blackcap was present and the  Water Rail and a Moorhen were seen together.

Little Egret – Andy Taylor

Water Rail and Moorhen – Andy Taylor

Chiffchaff – Andy Taylor

23rd

With Geoff on family duties in deepest Berkshire, Andy had free rein (and used it well). A Sand Martin, which flew west at 7.35 am, was our first of the year as were two drake Pochards, and a Pheasant calling unseen from within the sewage works. Also, our second Merlin of the year and ten Black-tailed Godwits flew west, a female Wheatear was on the shingle ridge and there was a steady movement of Meadow Pipits.

Merlin – Andy Taylor

22nd

Cloudy with a light NW wind. After yesterday’s events, today proved an anticlimax. There were about eight Red-throated Divers and 13 Great Crested Grebes offshore. A Fulmar flew east and two Gannets wee offshore. Two Shelducks flew west, two Common Scoters flew east and another four, on the sea, flew off west. Waders included 12 Sanderlings and 112 Turnstones (a significant increase suggestive of return passage). A Blackcap was heard singing at the back of the east bank and there were three Linnets in the scrub.

21st

Cloudy with a light SW wind. A good day for the site’s year list. A female Blackcap was found along the upper brook; a Bar-tailed Godwit flew east apparently to land on the Hampton flats; shortly afterwards two Swallows flew west along the shingle ridge and, finally, a Firecrest showed well, if briefly, near the scout hut. Other birds included at least six Red-throated Divers and seven Great Crested Grebes offshore, two Gannets and two Shelducks west and a flock of 11 Common Scoters east and a Marsh Harrier drifting east over the tidal ponds. There were 22 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included 15 Sanderlings on the beach and 23 Curlews had gathered on the Hampton flats on the incoming tide. A group of four Common Buzzards were soaring to the SE. One Skylark and 18 Meadow Pipits flew west and a male Wheatear was on the shingle ridge.

20th

Cloudy and mild with a light SW wind. The Spring equinox and with it more hope after two weeks of blocking winds. Looking up to locate Jackdaws calling, I picked out six birds high up and flying west. Don’t often note passage of this species here. A male Stonechat on the edge of the  coastal path was another migrant. Six Black-tailed Godwits flew west at 7.52 am; our first since one on New Year’s Day. A male  Wheatear appeared on the shingle ridge where it remained during the morning. Later, a Great Skua flew west at 11.35 am. A few Red-throated Divers, mostly in summer plumage, a few Great Crested Grebes, two Common Scoters and a redhead Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore, an adult Gannet and a flock of ten Common Scoters flew east. There were 23 Brent Geese and 15  Sanderlings were on the beach. Two Common Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk circled beyond the estate.

Wheatear – Geoff Burton

19th

A stroll around the site in the morning by Andy produced our first Wheatear for the year on the caravan park fields and a Rook overhead. Meanwhile, Arnie’s afternoon visit was rewarded with good views of the usually elusive Water Rail, nine Sanderlings and a Grey Wagtail on the beach and an influx of 4-5 Chiffchaffs.

18th

Sunny with a much lighter NW wind but cooler too.  There were c6 Red-throated Divers offshore, two Gannets flew east and a string of some 400 Cormorants moved west mid-morning. Two Shelduck also flew west and four Common Scoters east were the first recorded this month. Two Sparrowhawks flew low over the area and a third Kestrel caused a spat with the local pair. 15 Sanderlings were on the beach, 12 Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew west and the first significant vis mig was dominated by 129 Meadow Pipits with also three Reed Buntings which flew west.

16th

Cloudy with strong SW winds and mild. Hopefully, this will be the end of the strong winds that have suppressed our birding for most of the month? One Red-throated Diver and a flock of ten Golden Plovers flew west and a pair of Pintail, only our second record of the year, flew east. There were 17 Sanderlings on the beach and three Meadow Pipits flew west.

15th

The gales continue and Ted saw one Great Crested Grebe, 65 Brent Geese, three Snipe on the Marsh Pool and c20 Meadow Pipits moving west.

14th

Cloudy, strong NW wind and rain. There were 115 Brent Geese on the beach accompanied by a drake Shelduck. A group of seven Golden Plovers flew west and seven Snipe could be seen on the Marsh Pool. A large female Sparrowhawk whipped through the caravan park. A male Kingfisher (and therefore not the one seen regularly during the winter) was in the brook near the sewage works entrance. A surprise as usually they have left for the breeding areas by now.

13th

Sunny with a strong NW wind. There were 100 Brent Geese on the beach, a pair of Shelducks flew west over the beach and, late morning, two immature drake Eiders appeared close inshore off the Obs. An immature Marsh Harrier struggled to make westerly progress against the strong winds at 7.20 am. There were 17 Sanderlings on the beach, 14 Meadow Pipits flew west and a Chiffchaff sang briefly in the Scout Wood and then made its way along the east bank.

11th

Sunny with strong WNW winds. A Great Crested Grebe, a Fulmar and a Gannet flew west. There were 185 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included a single Grey Plover and 22 Sanderlings and a second-summer Mediterranean Gull flew west close inshore. A Chiffchaff was seen along the upper brook and a flock of 28 Goldfinches gathered in the trees behind the Obs.

Sparrowhawk – Andy Taylor

9th

Cloudy with a fresh SW wind. There were four Red-throated Divers, three Great Crested Grebes and the pair of Red-breasted Mergansers offshore.  One Gannet flew west, there were 42 Brent Geese on the beach and three Little Egrets were on the Hampton flats. One Shelduck flew west and a duck Eider was offshore and drifting west. Waders included a Grey Plover on the beach, two Snipe visible on the Marsh Pool and 35 Curlews circling over the caravan park fields. Three adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew west together and a whisper of vis mig was represented by one Stock Dove, seven Meadow Pipits and a Linnet flying west.

7th

Sunny with a fresh SW wind. A Gannet flew east and three Shelducks flew west. There were 45 Brent Geese on the beach. A single Golden Plover flew west followed later by a Knot (another addition to the year list).

6th

Cloudy with a fresh southerly wind. There were six Red-throated Divers, four Great Crested Grebes and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Fulmars flew east and west and three Gannets flew east. There were 50 Brent Geese on the beach. Ten Sanderlings were on the beach and a Snipe and 18 Redshanks were on the beach. Gulls on the beach included 15 Common Gulls and 12 Great Black-backed Gulls. A flock of c30 Fieldfares flew west (new for the year) and a female Stonechat in the scrub was also a migrant.

Kestrels- Geoff Burton

4th

Cloudy, moderate westerly wind and cool. There were 73 Brent Geese on the beach and five Red-breasted Mergansers and a duck Eider offshore. 47 Oystercatchers gathered on the shingle ridge at high tide and an adult Mediterranean Gull flew west over the area. One Stock Dove flew west, there was a flock of 15 Goldfinches along the east bank and three Linnets outside the churchyard flew off along Church Way.

2nd

Cloudy with a light SW wind. Bird of the day was a drake Goosander,our first of the year,which flew west at 8.10 am. A Marsh Harrier (our third this year and first since 6th January) flew west at 7.20 am, four Shelduck and ten Gannets flew east and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. An  adult Mediterranean Gull flew east, there were 20 Brent Geese and 15 Sanderlings on the beach and three Snipe were visible on the Marsh Pool. A female Reed Bunting was also present.

1st

Cloudy and rather dull with a light NW wind. There was a single Great Northern Diver offshore of the Obs,  a summer plumage  Red-throated Diver flew west close inshore and there were three Great Crested Grebes and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. A Fulmar and three Gannets flew east and 70 Oystercatchers flew east as the tide receded. There were 80 Brent Geese and 15 Sanderlings on the beach and 30 Redshanks were on the Marsh Pool. A vocal adult Mediterranean Gull flew over the Obs and the football pitch and drifted east. A Kingfisher flew down Coot Strait and a Rock Pipit (not yesterday’s bird) was at the mouth of the remnant brook. There were also five Greenfinches in flight over the estate and two Linnets in the scrub.

Sparrowhawk – Geoff Burton

February 2019

                                                   94 species so far this year                                                    83 species by this time last year

The total of 74 species for the month was well below the average of 78.5 for the previous ten years but, given the unseasonal warm temperatures, perhaps not surprising. Nevertheless, there were 12 additions to the year list during the month which left us with 11 more species than at the same time last year. Bird of the month was the Glaucous Gull on 18th (our first for six years) and a Merlin was on 9th was also good to get. 

28th

Light cloud, a light SW wind and cooler. Three Gannets flew east, two Common Scoters flew west and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Waders included 15 Sanderlings on the beach and three visible Snipe on the Marsh Pool. A Rock Pipit in the remnant brook, which showed signs of the Scandinavian littoralis race, was a new species for the year. Also, two Stock Doves flew west and a male Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the trees along the east bank.

27th

Sunny, warm and calm, again! And quiet too, again! Only single Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebe on the sea and no sign of any Mergansers. There were c100 Brent Geese on the beach and three Snipe visible on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Chiffchaff, both along the upper brook.

Whilst we await the first Spring migrants, we are losing winter visitors such as Stonechat (not seen since 21st) and the Lapwings on the Marsh Pool (last one seen on 18th).

Unfortunately, the warm weather encouraged two commercial foragers intent on plundering our vegetation.

Kestrel – Geoff Burton

25th

Sunny, warm and calm. A flock of 11 Red-breasted Mergansers (six drakes and five ducks) offshore was the highest count of the winter. Waders included one Grey Plover on the beach and one visible Snipe on the Marsh Pool. A Siskin, which flew east over the Obs, was our first this year. Other birds included a Kingfisher along the middle brook, a Skylark flying east over the sea and the Chiffchaff again at the Obs.

Long-tailed Tit – Andy Taylor

24th

A brief visit by Andy who found a Canada Goose on the Marsh Pool.

23rd

Sunny and calm with a mist over the sea early morning. There were at least ten Great Crested Grebes and seven Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. There were 240 Brent Geese on the beach, two Shelducks flew west and two Little Egrets were on the tidal ponds. One adult Gannet flew east. Waders included one Grey Plover and 21 Sanderlings on the beach and one Snipe was visible on the Marsh Pool.It was quite a surprise to see a Water Rail in its favoured spot on a bend in the brook. Two had been seen first on 24th November with occasional sightings of one up to 7th January. Could it have remained hidden, not seen or heard,  for nearly seven weeks? It might seem unlikely but then, Moorhens, thought to be resident here, have only been seen once this year. A Chiffchaff, which sang sporadically, by the Obs was our first this year and a second bird was found on the eastern side of the sight. Other birds seen included a Kingfisher and our second Reed Bunting of the year, a female in the bushes opposite the Obs.

There was a frustrating glimpse of our first butterfly, which flitted by the Obs, but later Arnie saw a definite Red Admiral near the scout hut.

Water Rail – Geoff Burton

21st

Sunny, mild with a light SW wind. A Fulmar flew east, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers were on the sea and c200 Brent Geese were off the Tankerton slopes. A Grey Plover was on the beach and a Snipe was visible on the Marsh Pool. The female Stonechat was seen and a party of four Rooks flew south over the area.

20th

Sunny, mild with a moderate SW wind. There were 120 Brent Geese on the beach, a drake Red-breasted Merganser on the sea and a Shelduck flew west. Waders included 29 Sanderlings on the beach and a Snipe but no Lapwings on the Marsh Pool. The male Stonechat was in the grassland and a pair of Long-tailed Tits were showing interest in the brambles opposite the Obs.

18th

It was misty at first but another sunny, warm, calm day ensued. It started well for Andy when out of the mist there appeared a huge, ghostly white gull. The immature Glaucous Gull (probably third calendar year) was our first since 2013. It bathed on the beach for a while before flying off west.  The plumage details suggested this was the bird that had been present at Rainham Marshes recently and before that at Beddington Sewage Farm. A Fulmar flying east was also a new bird for the year. Eight Shelduck flew west and a single Lapwing remained on the Marsh Pool. Also seen were a Skylark, two Rooks, a Kingfisher and two Stonechats.

Glaucous Gull – Andy Taylor

16th

Sunny, mild with a light breeze (unseasonal). A quiet day for Andy whilst I was away. There were three Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and a total of 18 Shelducks flew west. There was only one Lapwing remaining on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included one Stock Dove flying west over the beach, a Kingfisher over the sluice, the pair of Stonechats, a displaying Greenfinch and a large female Sparrowhawk working the east bank.

14th

Sunny with a light SW wind. A Great Northern Diver,  spotted by Ted, was drifting west close inshore early morning and there were c10 Great Crested Grebes offshore. Three Shelducks flew west. A Sparrowhawk was displaying distantly beyond the estate.

An  adult Black-headed Gull on the beach was displaying a colour-ring. It had been rung as a breeding adult in Poland on 25th May last year. It was still in Poland (some 85 kilometres from the nest site) on 31st July before being seen today at Swalecliffe (1172 kilometres further west).

13th

Sunny with a light SW wind. There were 70 Brent Geese on the beach and waders included 35 Ringed Plovers, a Grey Plover and 25 Sanderlings on the beach and single Lapwing and Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included the female Kingfisher along the middle brook, one Skylark flying west, the male Stonechat, four Long-tailed Tits and three Greenfinches chasing each other in the airspace above the Obs.

12th

Andy’s brief visit this morning added two Canada Geese  to the year list. There were also five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and a Skylark was “half-heartedly” displaying.

Canada Geese – Andy Taylor

11th

Sunny , colder with a light NW wind. There were 110 Brent Geese on the beach and seven Shelducks flew east (another three flew west). An  adult Mediterranean Gull flew west and an immature Peregrine landed on the beach where it rested for some time. A Stock Dove and two Skylarks (new for the year) flew west and a Jay was seen along the upper brook and in the Elm Wood.

Peregrine – Andy Taylor

9th

Sunny, mild with a strong westerly wind. A quiet morning was interrupted by a female Merlin which flew west low over the beach at 10.10 am; a new bird for the year and always good to see. There were 115 Brent Geese on the beach and waders included 37 roosting Ringed Plovers, 35 Sanderlings on the beach on the incoming tide and a Grey Plover flying west. An adult Mediterranean Gull was on the beach, a male Great Spotted Woodpecker was in trees along the upper brook and there were  26 Goldfinches along the east bank.

Kestrel – Andy Taylor

7th

Sunny with a strong SW wind. Four Stock Doves flew west and a single Greylag Goose flew south inland; two additions to the year list. Two Shelducks flew west and waders included 49 Oystercatchers on the beach, 30 Lapwings flying west and 15 Sanderlings on the beach. An  adult Mediterranean Gull was along the shoreline. A Greenfinch was “wheezing” along the east bank.

6th

Andy added a Reed Bunting to the year list. A regular breeding bird until the last few years and, with current levels of disturbance, sadly unlikely to return. There was also four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and Arnie reported a Kingfisher by the Marsh Pool.

5th

Cloudy, milder with a light southerly wind. There were four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and, after being alerted by James Lowen, we saw a Great Northern Diver swimming close to Hampton Pier. Six Shelducks flew west, a Peregrine flew north over the caravan park heading for Hampton Pier and c60 Golden Plovers flew west over the sea. A Mediterranean Gull was on Hampton flats and a  Guillemot was close inshore on the sea. Also, a Grey Wagtail was seen.

2nd

Sunny and cold with a strong NW wind. Sea-watching failed to produce; an adult Gannet and two Kittiwakes flew east and five adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew west. There were two drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and waders included 90 Dunlin roosting on the shingle ridge at high tide. The highlight of the morning was, however, unexpected; a Mistle Thrush (scarce here nowadays) flew west by the Obs. Other birds included the pair of Stonechats sharing the Obs with us, two Rooks flying south over the area and seven Linnets near the scout hut.

January 2019

                                                           82 species so far this year                                                          80 species by this time last year

The total of 82 species for the month, whilst a little above last year’s total, was below the average of the previous ten years of  85.6 species. This is of little significance for the year as a whole but two species, our second only record of Raven on 17th and an unseasonal Spotted Redshank on 26th made no appearance last year. 

31st

Sunny, light SW wind, cold. Five Great Crested Grebes included three flying west. An adult Gannet flew east, three Shelducks flew west and a pair of Gadwall and two drake Red-breasted Mergansers were on the sea. The adult male Kestrel was plucking prey on one of the groynes at the eastern end of the beach. Waders included 41 Ringed Plovers and three Grey Plovers on the beach. A Little Grebe,which appeared briefly along the middle brook, was presumably the bird seen previously on 26th. Other birds included a Kingfisher, the male Stonechat and two Greenfinches.

30th

Sunny, light WNW wind, cold. Two Moorhens in the brook below the sewage works entrance were the first seen this year! Where to they go? Waders included three Grey Plovers and 18 Sanderlings on the beach, the three Lapwings and a Snipe on the Marsh Pool. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew west.

Song Thrush – Geoff Burton

28th

Sunny, fresh NW wind, cold. Ten Great Crested Grebes and nine Red-breasted Mergansers flew west. An adult Kittiwake and two Guillemots flew east. Other birds included the pair of Stonechats sheltering by the Obs, two Rooks flying south (first of the year) and five Linnets by the scout hut.

26th

Cloudy with a moderate SW wind and milder. Perhaps surprisingly, this proved to be a good day for the year list. Firstly, a Great Northern Diver was fishing offshore, a drake  Pintail flew west and then an out of season Spotted Redshank flew west along the beach (one was reported from Grove Ferry that morning). This was our first since 2013 and our first ever in winter. Finally, a Little Grebe was present in Coot Strait, begging the question as to whether this a particularly elusive individual (last seen in December) or a new arrival? An adult Kittiwake was also seen.

25th

Cloudy with drizzle and light rain, light SW wind. Two Great Crested Grebes in summer plumage offshore. Two drakes and a duck Red-breasted Merganser were also offshore and another duck flew west. Four Teal also flew west. A check of the Marsh Pool revealed a total of 28 Snipe; the highest count here for ten years. Other birds included a Great Spotted Woodpecker flying east over the churchyard, a Grey Wagtail and the male Stonechat.

24th

Cloudy, calm and cold. There were two Shags on the sea early morning that flew off west. There were 50+ Red-throated Divers offshore and ten Great Crested Grebes included seven flying west. There was a movement of ducks for the first time recently with a flock of 16 Teal offshore, another 16 flying west and a flock of ten Shovelers also flying west. There were also five Red-breasted Mergansers (four drakes) on the sea.  Waders included 59 Oystercatchers on the beach on the incoming tide. Two Kittiwakes, an adult and an immature, flew east.

21st

Three Velvet Scoters flew east at 8.35 am.

20th

A crisp, cold morning produced 22 Great Crested Grebes on the sea (the highest count of the winter), a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers and 12 Kittiwakes flying east. A Jay which flew into the churchyard was the first this year.

19th

Sunny with a light southerly wind and cold. There were five Great Crested Grebes on the sea, single Shelduck and Gadwall flew west (latter new for the year) and three Eider ducks (new for the year) flew east. Also new for the year was a Buzzard that flew SE over the estate. Waders included 35 Ringed Plovers, seven Lapwings, 12 Sanderlings and 71 Dunlin. A Guillemot and a Razorbill flew west. Other birds included a Kingfisher, a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming briefly, the male Stonechat Greenfinch and three Linnets.

17th

Cloudy at first then sunny with a fresh to strong NW wind and colder. It seems that we’re always waiting and hoping for a change in the weather. Today it came with the promise of some sea-watching. We had our first definite Razorbill, which flew west, a number of Kittiwakes and a single Great Skua which drifted east late morning. However, bird of the day went to two Ravens which flew west close to the Obs at 10 am. This was only our second record, after one in September 2011 and was, given the increase in this species in the county, long overdue.  One Gannet flew west, there were three Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and waders included c120 Oystercatchers flying east on the outgoing tide and 31 Sanderlings on the beach. Other birds included the pair of Stonechats which, like us sought shelter at the Obs.

Our excitement at only the second record of Raven was, however, tempered by the ominous sound of chainsaws. The Council had arrived and felled two mature sycamore trees just outside the churchyard. We had heard from the Church Warden that the Council had been approached about managing  trees just outside the church boundaries because of concerns (of unknown validity) that they might undermine the church foundations. The Council’s response was that the only management  they could offer was to the fell them. As far as we understood, no agreement had been reached. The Church Warden told us that he had received an e-mail from the Council re their intentions and had replied requesting a meeting to discuss the matter further only to be told that they were on site and felling. A belated meeting has been scheduled where the fate of  other trees (we don’t know how many) will be discussed. There has been much clearer of bushes and felling of some trees in the churchyard in recent years and Andy and I have discussed the matter with the Church Warden, providing him with information and advice about the environmental impact of such work. He has seemed quite sympathetic to our concerns about this impact, and the aesthetic impact as well.

Raven pursued by Carrion Crow – Andy Taylor

Little Egret – Geoff Burton

Stonechat – Geoff Burton

16th

Cloudy, fresh SW wind and drizzle late am. Three Red-throated Divers were offshore and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers,which remained all morning.  There were c100 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included two Grey Plovers and 18 Sanderlings on the beach and three Lapwings and a Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included a Sparrowhawk,  a male Great Spotted Woodpecker in the churchyard, the pair of Stonechats in the scrub, two Long-tailed Tits and two Linnets.

I started the day with a high tide visit to Hampton which secured one of the two Purple Sandpipers that are wintering there. We are hoping one of them will stray on to the site sometime soon.

Purple Sandpiper – Geoff Burton

14th

Sunny at times, moderate NW wind. There were c15 Red-throated Divers flying west and a single Great Crested Grebe was offshore. There were 120 Brent Geese on the beach. Other birds included a male Great Spotted Woodpecker and three Long-tailed Tits in the churchyard and the pair of Stonechats in the scrub.

Female Stonechat – Geoff Burton

12th

Cloudy with a light westerly wind. There were two pairs of Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. 80 Golden Plovers flew west and an adult Mediterranean Gull flew east over the tidal ponds. Other birds included a Kingfisher, a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the churchyard, six Meadow Pipits, two Grey Wagtails, male Stonechat and four Linnets.

10th

Cloudy, light NW wind and cool. Two Avocets were resting in the shallows by the tidal ponds and a White-fronted Goose flew west at 8.55 am. Two new birds for the year made for a good start to the day.   There were 90 Brent Geese on the beach, 17 Mallards on the Marsh Pool and two Common Scoters flew east.  Waders included 40 Oystercatchers, 54  Ringed Plovers and three Grey Plovers on the beach. Another three adult  White-fronted Geese flew NW across the area at 11.05 am. Other birds included a female Great Spotted Woodpecker in the sewage works, a Grey Wagtail, the male Stonechat and four Linnets on the scout hut car park.

White-fronted Geese – Andy Taylor

9th

Cloudy, fresh NW wind and cold. A Little Egret, 13 Mallard and two Lapwings were on the Marsh Pool. An adult, apparently intermediusLesser Black-backed Gull flew west. Other birds included a Stonechat and a flock of c30 Goldfinches were along the east bank.

7th

Cloudy with a light NW wind. 13 Red-throated Divers flew west and there were two Great Crested Grebes offshore. Two Grey Herons were on the tidal ponds, there were 70 Brent Geese on the beach, a Shelduck and a duck Wigeon flew west and five Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Waders include four Grey Plovers on the beach. A Peregrine was on the tidal ponds and later an immature flew west by the Obs. A first-winter Mediterranean Gull was along the shoreline with Black-headed Gulls. Also seen were KingfisherStonechat male, two Long-tailed Tits and six Linnets.

6th

Marsh Harrier flew west inland. Waders included 32 Oystercatchers on the beach and 80 Golden Plovers flew west. The Snipe in the Marsh Pool are usually elusive and so a total of 11  on show along the water’s edge was unusual. Other birds included Kingfisher, a male Great Spotted WoodpeckerGrey Wagtail and 15 Goldfinches.

5th

A handful of Red-throated Divers flew east and west, six Gannets flew east, one flew west, and ten Common Scoters flew est, with four west. Three Redwings, which flew out of the trees along the upper brook, were new for the year.

3rd

Sunny, cooler with a light Northerly wind. One Great Crested Grebe flew west, a Gannet flew east  and a Shag was seen offshore to the east of the tidal ponds. A drake Wigeon was on the foreshore. Waders included 38 Sanderlings on the beach. An Auk sp was seen close inshore but too briefly to be sure of its specific identity with one or two more distantly offshore. Other birds included a Kingfisher, two Long-tailed Tits at the Obs and a Greenfinch which flew south over the scout hut.

2nd 

Cloudy with a moderate northerly wind. There were at least 30 Red-throated Divers offshore (mostly in flight) and two Gannets and two redhead Red-breasted Mergansers  flew west. One Auk sp flew east. Waders included 48 Sanderlings on the beach and three Lapwings, a Snipe and 25 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool.  Other birds seen included a female Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Grey Wagtail and the female Stonechat.

1st

Cloudy with a light NW wind and cooler. Red-throated Divers were present offshore and Great Crested Grebes included a flock of six heading west. Two Shelducks and five Wigeon flew west, a Common Scoter flew east and there were six Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included a Black-tailed Godwit flying west, 18 Sanderlings on the beach and three Lapwings and two Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Raptors were represented by a Marsh Harrier flying west, a Peregrine distantly offshore and Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. A Mediterranean Gull was seen and a few auks included one definite Guillemot. The Water Rail was still in the brook where a Kingfisher and two Grey Wagtails were also seen. Other birds seen included Great Spotted Woodpecker and Stonechat and a total of 56 species for the day.

December 2018

                                                        169 species so far this year                                                        158 species by this time last year

The total of 79 species for the month was lower than any of the previous ten years which averaged 87.4 species.  Only one species, Corn Bunting, was added to the year list, and that was a species we had never failed to see before! 

31st

Cloudy with a light WNW wind and mild again. There were 30+ Red-throated Divers and a single Black-throated Diver offshore.  Two Shelducks and four Teal flew west and there were six Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included a Grey Plover and 32 Sanderlings on the beach, three Lapwings on the Marsh Pool and 15 Curlews flew west over the area from the direction of the caravan park fields as the tide receded (Philip Hurst counted 58 on these fields that morning). Other birds included a Kingfisher, a female Great Spotted Woodpecker, the pair of Stonechats, two Long-tailed Tits in the Elm Wood, 12 Goldfinches in the churchyard and three Linnets on the scout hut car park.

30th

Arnie van Orsouw reported a Black-throated Diver off the eastern end of the beach.

29th

Cloudy with a light SW wind and still mild. There were c10 Red-throated Divers offshore and seven Great Crested Grebes included a party of four flying west. The Pale-bellied Brent Goose was on the beach with its dark-bellied cousins but later, when there were 160 Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the beach, there was no sign of it.  c100 Golden Plovers flew west in small parties during the morning. An adult Mediterranean Gull was on the beach and a Peregrine flew south over the sewage works. Other birds included a Moorhen in the brook (curiously elusive at the moment), two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Grey Wagtail, the male Stonechat in the scrub and a Long-tailed Tit in the Elm Wood.

Great Spotted Woodpecker – Andy Taylor

A Fox, looking very bedraggled and covered in mud, was seen weaving its way through the crows on the beach at low tide. We later learned that it had got into the skate park,  panicked when it couldn’t get out, and then was set on by dogs!

Fox and crows – Andy Taylor

28th

A female Great Spotted Woodpecker was the highlight for Arnie van Orsouw.

27th

14 Red-throated Divers and seven Red-breasted Mergansers were viewed on a flat calm sea. There were c300 Golden Plovers on the beach early morning and an immature Mute Swan appeared at midday.

24th

Great Northern Diver, a Common Scoter, a Great Skua and two Kittiwakes flew west and four Gannets and ten Kittiwakes flew east. There were also two Kittiwakes on the sea and 230 Golden Plovers on the beach.

22nd

Mild again  but sunny this time with a light SW wind. More activity today. There were 35 Brent Geese on the beach, two Shelduck and eight Common Scoters flew west and a drake Red-breasted Mergansers flew east.  An immature Marsh Harrier circled over the sea for some time before heading south inland. Only one crow and no gulls could be bothered to mob it (a Christmas truce?). A Great Skua flew west and an adult Mediterranean Gull was settled on the sea. A Rock Pipit was feeding along the brook behind the shingle ridge (uncommon here in winter). The female Kingfisher was along the middle brook, the pair of Stonechats in the scrub and a Grey Wagtail was in the brook.

Stonechat – Andy Taylor

21st

Cloudy, mild with a fresh westerly wind. Only one Great Crested Grebe on the sea and no divers. A flock of 19 Common Scoters flying east were the first seen this month. Waders included 26 Oystercatchers on the shingle ridge at high tide, seven Sanderlings on the beach and two Lapwings and a Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Few small birds seen in the fresh winds but eight Goldfinches and five Linnets were amongst those noted.

19th

Cloudy with a few showers at first then sunny with a light SW wind. There were ten Red-throated Divers, including eight flying east, eight Great Crested Grebes offshore and three Gannets flew east. Two Brent Geese on the sea were the only one seen all morning. Waders included two Grey Plovers and 26 Sanderlings on the beach and three Lapwings and a Snipe on the Marsh Pool. The often elusive flock of Linnets numbered ten.

18th

Greg Herne was out today. He recorded 20+ Sanderlings amongst the roosting Dunlin and Ringed Plovers and three Grey Plovers. The three Lapwings were on the Marsh Pool, the Little Grebe was along Coot Strait and the cock Stonechat was also seen.

17th

Sunny with a light SW wind and milder. Two adult Mute Swans flew east early morning. There were at least four Great Crested Grebes and a redhead Red-breasted Merganser on the sea. The Little Grebe was seen further up the brook than before, near to the scout hut. The female Kingfisher was also seen in this area. Waders included a flock of 40 Golden Plovers flying west over the sea, three Grey Plovers on the beach, the three Lapwings were on the Marsh Pool (another party of 17 flew west) and 15 Sanderlings on the beach. A Marsh Harrier flew NW high over the football pitch and an immature Peregrine flew west over the beach.

15th

Cloudy with a moderate SE wind and very cold. A party of seven Eiders (which included four drakes) flew east close inshore. No divers were seen, only one Great Crested Grebe was noted offshore and two Gannets flew east. One Little Grebe was seen in Coot Strait (the same location as previous records this year but the first sighting since November 22nd).

14th

Sunny with a light easterly wind and very cold. There was a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea off the Obs for much of the morning. A thousand or more Cormorants flew east offshore and 114 Carrion Crows were counted along the beach. A Kingfisher was seen in the remnant brook and perched briefly on the shingle ridge. Later, it was seen flying across the grassland towards Coot Strait carrying a small fish. Two Buzzards, circling together high to the SE, were our first here since October.

Dunlin – Andy Taylor

13th

Ted reported 40 Golden Plovers roosting on the beach and four Eiders (two drakes and two ducks) flying east.  Arnie noted the Pale-bellied Brent Goose was amongst the flock of Dark-bellied Brent Goose on the beach, a Redwing along the east bank and a Jay.

12th

Sunny, colder with a light SE wind. Two adult Gannets flew east distantly offshore. These were the first here for nearly three weeks. A flock of c160 Brent Geese descended onto the beach but, again, did not include the Pale-bellied individual. Four Red-breasted Mergansers (two  drakes and two redheads) lingered close inshore as they fished busily together. A Marsh Harrier, a female with red tags on both wings, flew east. There were three Long-tailed Tits in the churchyard and another Greenfinch was seen along the east bank.

Jackdaw – Geoff Burton

10th

Cloudy with a light NW wind. There were c50 Brent Geese on the beach (one party of ten remaining after others had left  included seven juveniles). One Shelduck and three Wigeon flew west. Waders included 40 Oystercatchers, 44 Ringed Plovers and 17 Dunlin on the beach and three Lapwings and 19 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool.

8th

Sunny with a moderate westerly wind. A quiet morning with one Red-throated Diver offshore and 20 Brent Geese on the beach. A flock of 130 Golden Plovers flew off the beach and other waders included 20+ Redshanks on the Marsh Pool at high tide. An adult Peregrine and a juvenile Marsh Harrier flew west. A Water Rail swam across the middle brook. A Grey Wagtail was by the sluice and two adult Rooks flew west.

6th

Cloudy, mild  with a light SW wind. A number of Red-throated Divers offshore, one Black-throated Diver, and a Great Northern Diver flew west. A drake Wigeon also flew west. A female Great Spotted Woodpecker flew from the Elder Wood to the sewage works, the pair of Stonechats were in the scrub, a Goldcrest flew into the Scout Wood and a female Reed Bunting was in the bushes opposite the Obs.

5th

Cloudy, dull and mild  with drizzle. There were c15 Red-throated Divers offshore, some on the sea  but most flying east. One Snipe was seen on the Marsh Pool and a Great Skua flew west. Unusually for the time of the year, most interest came form two passerines.  A Corn Bunting was calling in the grassland. It flew up circled high but then dropped down again. It was invisible in the grass but, when it started calling again, it came up on a plant stem and then took off, this time heading strongly SE ( a new bird for the year).  A Firecrest was seen by the entrance to the sewage works, feeding about two feet off the ground and showing well and close before disappearing into the bramble clump. This was presumably the bird seen close by five days earlier.  Hopefully, a wintering bird that we’ll add to next year’s list in January.

4th

Sunny and cold. Arnie reported three Grey Wagtails on the flooded skatebord park and a, scarce recently, Greenfinch.

3rd

Cloudy, mild with light SW wind. Two Red-throated Divers were offshore. Waders included two Grey Plovers and 12 Sanderlings on the beach, eight Curlews flew west along the beach and three Lapwings and 13 Redshanks were on the Marsh Pool. There were 40 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. The female Kingfisher was in the brook, two Skylarks flew west, the male Stonechat was in the scrub, a Chiffchaff was along the upper brook and a flock of ten Linnets roamed the area. A lunchtime visit by Arnie, in the rain, was notable for three Moorhens on the grass by the upper brook. An elusive species here, often within the sewage works or hiding in the brookside vegetation, it is interesting to see that there are at least three individuals present.

Kingfisher – Geoff Burton

1st

Cloudy with steady rain and a light to moderate SW wind. A wet start to the month and little to report. There was an increase to three Grey Plovers on the beach and the female Kingfisher (Queenfisher?) showed well along the middle brook. Flocks of ten Goldfinches and nine Linnets.

 

November 2018

                                                          168 species so far this year                                                             157 by this time last year

A total of 99 species for the month was a little below the average for the previous ten years of 101. However, a total of 12 species were added to the year list during the month which, at 168 species, is the second highest year total, shared with 2005, 2007 and 2008. Quite how we got to this when we have spent much of the year complaining about the weather and the lack of birds, I’m not sure.  No new birds were added until 12th and the best of these were our third ever Long-eared Owl on 12th, our fourth ever Grey Phalarope on 18th and our first for over eight years Firecrest on 30th. With one month to go, our record year total of 176 in 2001 is surely beyond reach. The most added in December, in the previous ten years, is five and the average is 2.1 species

30th

Sunny, mild with a light SW wind. A first visit for three days after two days of much rain. Two Slavonian Grebes appeared close inshore towards midday. There were also three Great Crested Grebes and a redhead Red-breasted Merganser offshore and three drakes and a duck mergansers flew west. There were 56 Brent Geese on the beach, including at least seven juveniles, but no sign of Chris Gibbard’s Pale-bellied bird seen from the Tankerton slopes the previous afternoon. Waders included a flock of 40 Golden Plovers flying west offshore, one Grey Plover and three Sanderlings on the Hampton flats and three Lapwings on the Marsh Pool. A Little Grebe was in Coot Strait, a superb male Sparrowhawk was in trees by the middle brook and a female Blackcap, the first since October, was along the east bank. However, the bird of the day was a Firecrest, seen briefly in an ivy-covered tree along the upper brook, which was, inconceivably, our first for eight years!

27th

An early afternoon visit by Arnie in cloudy conditions threatening rain. An immature Shag flew east stopping briefly on the sea.

26th

Cloudy, light NE wind, steady rain. Andy and I were optimistic that the forecast for, at worst, intermittent rain would prove to be the case. However, that was not. The few birds we did see included one Red-throated Diver flying east, a Little Egret and a Grey Heron on the beach, five Brent Geese flying west and 12 Mallard in the brook. Waders included a Grey Plover on the beach and three Lapwings on the Marsh Pool. The pair of Stonechats were in the scrub and a flock of ten Linnets were in the area.

24th

Cloudy with a light easterly wind. 12 Red-throated Divers, two Gannets and three Common Scoters flew east. Two Teal and two redhead Red-breasted Mergansers were on the tidal ponds whilst a flock of 14 Brent Geese on the beach included four juvenilesTwo Water Rails in the brook by the scout hut were new for the year and our first multiple sighting. As they scuttled across the brook, one after the other, a Kingfisher splashed into the water beside them (an attempt at digiscoping below).

Kingfisher – Geoff Burton

22nd

Cloudy and calm. A redhead Goosander circled over the Marsh Pool before landing on the sea close inshore where it remained for some time before flying off east over the caravan park. Another addition to the year list. Our third record of Little Grebe was, like the other two, along Coot Strait. Five Wigeon and seven Pintail flew west together and seven Teal also flew west.  An adult drake and a duck Eider were offshore. A juvenile Marsh Harrier flew high west over the area and then drifted back east.

Goosander – Andy Taylor

21st

Cloudy with a light SE wind. A Red-throated Diver flew west, a Great Northern Diver flew east close inshore and a Black-throated Diver, close inshore, flew off east. Two female Eiders were on the sea. An adult Mediterranean Gull landed on the sea off the Obs.

19th

Cloudy, cold, fresh easterly wind with a few showers. A good variety of wildfowl with a single adult  White-fronted Goose flying east close inshore and the  a flock of c35 coming in off the sea and heading SE, and two Goldeneye flying east (an adult drake followed later by a redhead) both additions to the year list. Other ducks included a party of seven Gadwall flying east, a Tufted Duck flying with a flock of Wigeon, 12 Eider flying west and six Red-breasted Mergansers flying east.  Also, two Great Skuas, an adult Little Gull and a Razorbill flew east.

 

Grey Plover – Geoff Burton

Song Thrush – Geoff Burton

18th

Sunny and cold with a moderate easterly wind. Andy braved the Sunday dog worshippers and was rewarded with a Grey Phalarope, which flew east close inshore at 8.35 am, occasionally touching down on the sea. New for the year and only our fourth record here! Also noted were 18 Red-throated Divers and four Eiders east and eight Teal, 24 Common Scoters, three Great Skuas and eight Razorbills west. Two Red-breasted Mergansers were on the sea.

17th

Sunny and cold with a light SE wind. The cold weather encouraged a significant movement over the sea although the winds were light.  There were two Slavonian Grebes on the sea, c50 Gannets were feeding distantly offshore, 24 Red-throated Divers, c50 Common Scoters flew east with five Velvet Scoters and two Shovelers accompanied them. One Black-throated Diver, the immature drake Eider and two redhead Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore and 120 Brent Geese, two Shelducks, five Teal and ten Little Gulls flew west.  One Great Skua was also seen offshore. Three Kittiwakes flew east and c100 large auks, the majority identified being our first Razorbills of the year, also flew east. Away from the sea, the distinctive calls of a Ring-necked Parakeet were heard from the estate (another addition to the year list).

Despite the cold, the sun encouraged a late Red Admiral on the wing.

Stonechat – Geoff Burton

16th

Cloudy, murky, calm  with a constant drizzle. A Great Northern Diver was offshore. A pair of Wigeon with three Teal were on the tidal ponds and another seven Teal flew west. Two Shelduck flew west, three Gadwall were on the sea,  flocks of five and 25 Pochard flew east and there were now two immature drake Eiders on the sea. An unprecedented flock of 288 Dunlin were feeding on the Hampton flats. Two Grey Plovers were on the beach, a party of five Knot flew west and a Bar-tailed Godwit flew west then east along the beach. Two Lapwings and a Snipe were on the Marsh Pool.

15th

Cloudy, mild with a light southerly wind. Singles of Red-throated, Black-throated and Great Northern Divers were present offshore. The immature drake Eider was also, with 16 Common Scoters flying east and four Red-breasted Mergansers flying west. 14 Lapwings flew west and a party of five Shore Larks flew west by the Obs but, unfortunately, without stopping. Flocks of 20 Goldfinches and 18 Linnets wee also noted.

14th

Sunny and mild with a moderate southerly wind. Waders included a single Jack Snipe and Snipe flushed from the Marsh Pool, where there were also two Lapwings, and a Grey Plover on the beach. There were six Great Crested Grebes offshore and the immature drake Eider was still present. A Little Grebe found by Greg Herne in Coot Strait was only the second record for the year (the previous one, also along Coot Strait, was on 25th September).

A Common Seal pup was apparently stranded on the sewage outfall pipe but disappeared when the tide came over it.

13th

On a brief afternoon visit, Andy scored with a Shore Lark, which appeared to get up from the eastern end of the beach, flying by him and continuing west. This species has been recorded here in eight of the last ten years.

12th

Sunny periods and showers with a light southerly wind. An owl circling over the tidal ponds harried by gulls did not seem quite right for Short-eared and Andy managed a few “shots” before it drifted off towards Hampton. These confirmed that it was indeed a Long-eared Owl – only our third recorded here and the first for over 20 years! There were 40 Mallard on the Marsh Pool and the immature drake Eider was still present offshore. Waders included 18 Redshanks on the beach and then on the marsh Pool. There was an increase in the numbers of Great Black-backed Gulls  and 49 on the beach were almost all adults.  Six Reed Buntings were feeding along the remnant brook.

10th

Sunny at times with a shower, light southerly wind. Three Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver and six Great Crested Grebes offshore. Four Gannets flew east. A flock of 44 Mallard was unprecedented and probably relates to the flooding of the area due to heavy overnight rain. Waders included a single Golden Plover on the beach, a flock of 50 Lapwings heading west over the sea, eight Curlews heading SE towards the caravan park fields and 16 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Late morning, during a rain shower, another Swift sp appeared over the sewage works. It circled around a few times before drifting off south. Andy managed to fire off a few shots which, on examination, showed the bird had features consistent with a Pallid Swift. As we are in an unprecedented “invasion” of this species along the East Coast, and the North Coast of Kent, this is not altogether surprising.

After recent heavy rain, the brook has found its way to the sea again.

Pallid Swift – Andy Taylor

Where the brook meets the sea – Geoff Burton

8th

Sunny and mild with a light southerly wind. There was one Red-throated Diver,  eight Great Crested Grebes on the sea, eight Gannets flew east, one Wigeon flew west and the immature drake Eider was still offshore. A female Marsh Harrier came in off the sea and continued south at 10.40 am. Waders included 35 Oystercatchers on the beach, 15 Sanderlings and ten Redshanks. An  adult Mediterranean Gull and 16 Great Black-backed Gulls were also on the beach.  A Swift sp put in a frustratingly brief appearance above the sewage works and then drifted south. It looked pale, when it caught the sunlight, and given the time of the year and the weather conditions, Pallid was clearly a possibility. Also noted were a female Great Spotted Woodpecker and a single Siskin which flew west.

Marsh Harrier – Andy Taylor

7th

Sunny with a moderate southerly wind. Our first Great Northern Diver of the winter and only our second Eider of the year (an immature drake) were offshore.  The Eider was also joined briefly by two redhead Red-breasted Mergansers.  Waders roosting on the shingle at high tide included 48 Ringed Plovers, 47 Dunlin and a single Sanderling.  There were also ten Redshanks roosting on the Marsh Pool. Arnie noted a Sandwich Tern offshore.

6th

Arnie noted a Kingfisher and the pair of Stonechats.

5th

Whilst I was helping my wife to celebrate her birthday down in deepest Berkshire, Andy managed a few birds in the unseasonal, and unhelpful, mild weather. A Red-throated Diver, a Gannet and a Red-breasted Merganser, two Common Scoters flying east and four Great Crested Grebes on the sea. An adult Mediterranean Gull posed on one of the groynes whilst  a few Skylarks passed overhead and a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest were in the bushes.

3rd

Sunny and warm with a light SE wind. A morning interrupted by the need for Andy, Ted and me to head east along the coast to see the spectacular, and first twitchable in Kent, White-billed Diver. Not a lot to see when we were here; a Red-throated Diver flew west and there were two Gannets offshore. 19 Brent Geese were on the Hampton flats, a Chiffchaff was at the Obs and a Brambling flew west in a flock of Chaffinches.

A Red Admiral showed well by the changing rooms.

Red Admiral – Geoff Burton

2nd

Velvet Scoter flew east with a flock of c50 Common Scoters. A Kingfisher was also noted.

1st

Sunny and warmer with a light SE wind. One Red-throated Diver, two Great Crested Grebes and three Red-breasted Mergansers flew west and  a Canada Goose flew east over the Obs.  Waders included five Sanderlings and seven Dunlin on the beach. Three Grey Wagtails were chasing each other around Lang Court, two male Stonechats were in the grassland, one Redwing was in the churchyard and a Chiffchaff was at the Obs.