October 2018

                                                                   157 species this year                                                                        153 species by the same time last year

A total of 108 species during the month was very much an expected result (an average of 108.1 species over the previous ten years). The seven new birds for the year included our fourth Leach’s Petrel on 29th and our first Pheasant for five years, first Tree Sparrow for three years and our first two Yellowhammers since April 2016. It was a very poor month for vis mig, especially for hirundines. There was a flock of over 1,000 House Martins on 4th but thereafter only one-two Swallows up to 21st and no further martins; this was truly exceptional. 


Sunny with a light SE wind. Five Gannets and 18 Brent Geese flew west. Waders on the beach included one Grey Plover, seven Sanderlings and eight Dunlin and a single Snipe was flushed from the Marsh Pool by dogs. A Rock Pipit was along the remnant brook, three Stonechats (two males and a female) were along the coastal path, five Long-tailed Tits were in the scrub and one Siskin flew west.


Cloudy with a strong NW wind. A struggle today  with little benefit from the strong onshore winds. Ten Brent Geese flew west, 11 Lapwings flew west,  whilst another eight were hunkered down on the beach and three Black-tailed Godwits also flew west. Two Stock Doves flew west and two Goldcrests at the Obs were the first recorded this autumn!


Sunny at times but cold with a fresh northerly wind. Bird of the day, just before midday, was only our fourth Leach’s Petrel flying east. Always difficult to pick out here, at our lowly site, so Andy did well to pick out this one. A reasonable movement of Brent Geese with 163 west during the morning. Also one Red-throated Diver flew east, a Velvet Scoter flew east amongst a flock of Common Scoters, and later two more headed west. Other birds out at sea included a juvenile Arctic Skua flying west and about five Little Gulls. An immaculate adult male Snow Bunting buzzed around the beach dodging the dog walkers, a single Rock Pipit was also seen and a Redwing.


Sunny with a fresh northerly wind. Two Great Crested Grebes , c50 Gannets, one Shelduck and ten Brent Geese flew west. One Common Scoter flew east. Waders included 17 Lapwings and five Snipe flying west and 17 Redshank, disturbed from the remnant brook by a kite surfer, relocating to the Marsh Pool. One Pomarine Skua, three Great Skuas and six Little Gulls and 122 Kittiwakes (our first mass movement) also flew west.  Six Fieldfares dropped into the bushes opposite the Obs, one Redwing flew west and there was a Chiffchaff at the Obs.

As soon as the wind gets up, kite surfers appear, effectively keeping bird off the beach for as long as they remain. However, this individual took it upon himself to surf up and down the brook flushing roosting Redshanks, whilst his kite hung worryingly low over the coastal path.

Kite surfer – Geoff Burton


Cloudy with a light westerly wind. One Great Crested Grebe and five Gannets flew west and six Common Scoters flew east. The single Lapwing remained on the Marsh Pool, 14 Redshanks were roosting along the remnant brook and 33 Oystercatchers were on the beach. A flock of 40 Fieldfares landed in the scrub by Lang Court early morning, staying only briefly before flying off west. Another two flew west over the Obs later.  A Chiffchaff was at the Obs and two Grey Wagtails and two Reed Buntings were also noted.


Sunny with a light WNW wind. Waders included three Avocets flying west (earlier seen at Reculver), c80 Golden Plovers roosting on the beach before flying off west, 13 Dunlin  roosting on the shingle ridge, one Snipe NW over the beach and 26 Redshanks roosting along the remnant brook behind the shingle ridge, with another one on the Marsh Pool.  An adult light-phase Pomarine Skua and a Great Skua flew west. There were ten Great Black-backed Gulls on the tidal ponds and a large Auk sp flew west. A Short-eared Owl (our first of the year) circled around the area and over the sea for about 30 minutes having been flushed from the grassland by dogs. Following a movement of Fieldfares in the area the previous afternoon, c2,000 flew west, most in the early morning. 15 Skylarks flew west, there were three Rock Pipits and three Grey Wagtails, nine Redwings, two adult Rooks, one Siskin and two Bramblings.


Sunny with a light NW wind. A quiet morning with one Gannet flying west and a Manx Shearwater resting on the sea off the Obs.  Waders included 81 Ringed Plovers, four Sanderings and 11 Dunlin roosting on the beach and one Lapwing on the Marsh Pool. Eight Skylarks flew west, two groups of four and five Fieldfares flew west and two Reed Buntings flew west. A Redwing was in the scrub.

One Red Admiral was seen.


Sunny, cool with a fresh northerly wind. Three Gannets, two Wigeon, a Pomarine Skua, two Arctic Skuas and four Great Skuas, a Mediterranran Gull and four Little Gulls flew west. There were eight Sanderlings on the beach. One Redpoll was heard over the Obs.


An immature Velvet Scoter flew east. Two Swallows flew west. A Snow Bunting was flying around over the beach whilst two Yellowhammers, a male and a female, in the bushes opposite the Obs were the first seen here since April 2016. Two Siskins also flew west.


Sunny and warm with a light northerly wind. There were c60 Gannets, whichflew west with many drifting back east. Six Wigeon, five Teal and a drake  Common Scoter flew west and a Red-throated Diver flew east. Waders included 11 Sanderlings and eight Dunlin on the beach and a Lapwing was on the Marsh Pool. A Pomarine Skua flew east close inshore. A Wheatear on the beach between the groynes at the eastern end of the beach was the first recorded this month. Two Rock Pipits were also on the beach. A Fieldfare and a Mistle Thrush flew west together, another Mistle Thrush was in the trees in the sewage works and a party of six Redwings flew west. There was a Chiffchaff and three Bramblings in or around the churchyard. Other vis mig included 65 Chaffinches, two Greenfinches, a Siskin and a Redpoll.

The warm weather encouraged a Speckled Wood and a Red Admiral.

Wheatear – Geoff Burton


Cloudy at first then sunny, cool with a fresh northerly wind. 66 Brent Geese, one Shelduck, six Wigeon, 12 Common Scoters,  single  PomarineArctic   and Great Skuas, four Little Gulls and two Kittiwakes flew west. One Red-throated Diver flew east.  There were 11 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and four Sandwich Terns offshore.  A cock Pheasant flew into the bushes opposite the Obs; our first record for five years!


A summer in October sort of day! Andy noted a drake Pochard (our first of the year), three Gadwall and three Common Scoters flying  east and a Purple Sandpiper flew west. Two Swallows flew west and there was a “trickle” of StarlingsChaffinches and Reed Buntings.


Andy noted 30 Brent Geese, two Shelduck, four Wigeon, eight Teal and five Pintail flying west. A Merlin also flew west, there were five Arctic Skuas (three adults landed on the beach) and two juvenile Pomarine Skuas and a Great Skua also flew west. Vis mig included good numbers of Starlings and Chaffinches, a few Skylarks and Redwings and four Lapwings flew north.


Cloudy at first then sunny, warm with a light southerly wind. There were four Great Crested Grebes on the sea and five Gannets, two Teal and a pair of Common Scoters flew west whilst four Brent Geese flew east.  The juvenile Pomarine Skua was chasing gulls and terns and resting on the sea. A first-winter Mediterranean Gull and some Sandwich Terns were offshore and five Common Terns flew west. One Swallow flew west and two immature Rooks dropped onto the beach.

Two Speckled Woods and a Common Darter were also seen.


Sunny with a moderate southerly wind. Waders included 17 Redshanks and 99 Turnstones on the beach. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew south and the now regular juvenile Pomarine Skua flew east and then west along the beach. Sandwich Terns were joined by three Common Terns. Not much in the way of passerines but they did include a single Swallow feeding over the estate (relatively scarce this autumn), there were also two Grey Wagtails, the female Stonechat, three Chiffchaffs, two Bramblings and a male Reed Bunting in the bushes opposite the Obs.


Sunny and warm with a moderate SW wind. Three juvenile Gannets flew east close inshore whilst five “white” birds flew west distantly offshore. Four Wigeon and eight Teal flew west and eight Common Scoters flew east. Two Sanderlings on the beach were the first of the month and five Dunlin were also on the beach. A Great Crested Grebe was on the sea and seven Sandwich Terns and a Common Tern flew west. There was some vis.mig with a movement of Chaffinches, 12 Skylarks and single Bramblings and Siskins heading west.

A Red Admiral butterfly was also noted.


Sunny, warm and a light SE wind. One Red-throated Diver flew east and another was on the sea. Two Great Crested Grebes were also on the sea and 31 Gannets flew west. An immature Mute Swan was on the sea and also flew around the area, a single Greylag Goose flew west and the “resident” Teal was again in the brook. Waders included 96 Ringed Plovers on the incoming tide, and three Dunlin, a Curlew and 11 Redshanks also on the beach.  Three Sandwich Terns were offshore, seven Common/Arctic Terns flew east and there were five adult Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. A Green Woodpecker flew into the trees by the obs and was the first here since August.


Andy noted a Tree Sparrow (our first for three years) briefly in trees near Lang Court before flying off west. A Brambling also flew south along the east bank.


Sunny, light SW wind. More movement today. One Red-throated Diver, one Brent Goose, a flock of ten Shelducks, five Wigeon and two Pintail flew west and a drake Common Scoter flew east. A party of four Grey Herons flew west over the sea, eight flew west over the area and a another was on the tidal ponds. Nine Lapwings flew west inland, a Snipe flew south over the sewage works and two Golden Plovers and a Ruff flew west. 28 Oystercatchers and seven Redshanks were on the beach. A few Redwings were in the area and two Fieldfares flew west. A Lesser Whitethroat and two Blackcaps were along the east bank. Five Bramblings and seven Reed Buntings were also noted.

Moorhen – Geoff Burton


Sunny with a fresh northerly wind. There was the first significant movement of Brent Geese with 162 flying west during the morning.  Single Red-throated Divers flew west and east,  six Wigeon and three Pintail,  three Great Skuas, three Little Gulls and an Arctic Tern flew west. The pair of Stonechats were in the scrub and a female Brambling, our first this year, flew into the bushes opposite the Obs.


Cloudy, misty,  with a light northerly wind. One Gannet, one Shelduck,  14 Wigeon and an Arctic Tern flew west, two Gadwall and eight Common Scoters flew east. An Arctic Skua and four Sandwich Terns were also present. The pair of Stonechats were in the scrub, and there were 11 Redwings, four Chiffchaffs and 100+ Chaffinches which flew west.

Sandwich Tern – Geoff Burton


Sunny with a light SW wind. A juvenile Pomarine Skua was chasing gulls over the beach before flying on west. A Red-throated Diver, nine Brent Geese and a Marsh Harrier also flew west. Waders included a summer plumage Grey Plover on the beach. Eight Sandwich Terns were fishing offshore and resting on the beach. A huge “pulse” of House Martins, perhaps 1,000+, arrived from the SE and were swirling around low over the sea, many dipping into the sea. Within a few minutes, they had all moved on. The flock included a Swift, a Sand Martin and a Swallow. No hirundines had been seen before, that morning, and none were seen after the flock moved on.  A Rock Pipit was on the beach.

Pomarine Skua – Andy Taylor

Grey Wagtail – Geoff Burton


Sunny with a light westerly wind. An adult Purple Sandpiper was on the beach for a few minutes before flying off west. Although this was the third record of the year, this was the earliest returning bird we have had (previous earliest was on 10th in 2011).  Other birds included a Pomarine Skua flying west, three Grey Wagtails (two coming in off the sea) and three Stonechats.

Purple Sandpiper – Andy Taylor


A quiet morning with a Snipe on the beach and a single Great Skua flying west.

A year ago today – a juvenile Citrine Wagtail was the fourth for Kent and the first recorded in autumn.

The main interest today was the appearance of a pup Common Seal on the beach by the skate park. Whilst many dog walkers kept their charges at a respectable distance some had no such qualms, and one let her dog off the lead so she could take a photo (with a predictable result!).  The pup was taken into care.

Common Seal – Andy Taylor

Common seal pup and admirers – Andy Taylor


Sunny with a fresh NW wind. One Red-throated Diver, c100 Gannets, 11 Wigeon, a juvenile Pomarine Skua, 16 Arctic Skuas and 13 Great Skuas flew west. There were 12 Great Black-backed Gulls on the tidal ponds. There was a pair of Stonechats in the scrub but the winds may have kept most small birds out of sight.