July 2020

A total of 136 species for the year

138 species by this time last year

A total of 74 species for the month was the same as last year and as the average for the last ten years (73.9). There were only three additions to the year list; our third and fourth Cattle Egrets on 9th (juvenile) and 16th (breeding plumage adult), our earliest returning Whinchat (27th) and a Knot (31st).


Sunny, very warm with a light SE wind. Singles of Ringed Plover and Redshank were heard and there were 22 Turnstones. James Avery, a self-confessed astronomer rather than a birder, found a wader along the remnant brook which appeared to have an injured leg but, nevertheless, seemed to be feeding quite happily. It turned out to be a juvenile Knot, our first of this species this year which, fortunately lingered into August. An immature male Peregrine circled over the beach. The adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was still being pestered by two young birds on the beach. Two juvenile Willow Warblers were along the east bank and at the Obs; a good showing of this species in the last week of the month.


Sunny, warm with a light westerly wind. Waders included five Ringed Plovers, a Lapwing, an adult Dunlin and 37 Turnstones on the beach and two Common Sandpipers. A raft of 90 juvenile Herring Gulls were resting on the sea. One Swift, a Sand Martin and seven Swallows flew west and a Wheatear was present in the grassland. There were also four Yellow Wagtails and four Willow Warblers.


Sunny, warm, light NW wind. There were five Little Egrets whilst waders included four Oystercatchers, a Whimbrel and a Common Sandpiper west, a Redshank in the Marsh Pool and 18 Turnstones on the beach. 22 Swifts flew west but only single Sand Martin and Swallow were noted. There were three Willow Warblers again along the east bank with frequent snatches of song.

An immature Great Black-backed Gull amongst its smaller Herring Gull cousins – Geoff Burton


There were three bright juvenile Willow Warblers along the east bank.

A Small Heath (only a few seen this year so far) was noted.


Cloudy with showers, light SE wind. A better morning for waders with seven Oystercatchers, one west and six east, four Ringed Plovers on the beach, one Whimbrel and one Curlew, a Redshank on the beach, four Common Sandpipers and a significant increase to 65 Turnstones on the beach. Five Little Egrets were noted, a Marsh Harrier flew west behind the church, there were four Mediterranean Gulls, a Sandwich Tern and four Common Terns included one juvenile. Four Swifts flew west whilst a male Whinchat seen well but only briefly in the scrub was our earliest returning bird (after one on 29th July in 2006). A juvenile Willow Warbler was also present in the scrub.


Cloudy with a little rain and a moderate SW wind. One Gannet and five Little Egrets (three on the Marsh Pool). Waders included one Oystercatcher west, three Ringed Plovers on the beach, a Whimbrel on the beach early morning and another eight west, a Curlew, a Common Sandpiper and 11 Turnstones on the beach. An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was feeding two juveniles on the beach, two Sandwich Terns were offshore and eight Common Terns flew east. Two Stock Doves dropped into the grassland, 73 Swifts and 11 Sand Martins flew west and two Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail were also noted.


Sunny. A quiet morning. Three adult Mute Swans flew west over the area at 7.20 am and were later seen on the sea off the Tankerton slopes. There were four Redshanks on the beach and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. There were two Swifts, five Swallows flew west and a Lesser Whitethroat was seen near the scout hut.


Sunny, warm and calm. There were eight Little Egrets on the beach. Waders included a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool and 38 Turnstones roosting on the groynes but as parting shot a flock of eight Green Sandpipers flew west high in the sky and over the sea. A record count for this site. Otherwise, it was a quiet morning as befitted the weather conditions. A Jay flew from the sewage works along the upper brook.


Sunny with a light northerly wind. One Gannet flew east and there were four Little Egrets on the beach. Two Oystercatchers flew east, three flew west and one was on the beach. A summer plumage Dunlin was with Turnstones on the beach, a Whimbrel on the beach flew off west, there were three Curlews on the beach and two Redshanks on the tidal ponds. 18 Mediterranean Gulls were on the beach and single Sandwich Tern was noted offshore. A Yellow Wagtail dropped onto the shingle ridge and a Lesser Whitethroat was seen along the east bank.


Sunny with a light westerly wind. There were three Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool. Waders were represented by a single Oystercatcher, three Curlews and 21 Turnstones on the beach. A juvenile Willow Warbler along the east bank was the first returning bird and an early one. Other birds included one Sand Martin and four Swallows west and singles of Stock Dove and Jay.

A male Common Blue in the grass to the west of the skate park was new for the year and our 21st species.


Cloudy with a fresh NW wind. A breeding plumage Cattle Egret was present early morning (at 5.50 am), with four Little Egrets in the remnant brook. Unfortunately, it was flushed by some random with camera who got too close; where is field craft these days? Although the second record this month, this is only the fourth record for the site of this on-the-increase species. There were 30+ Gannets offshore, two Teal circled over the brook before heading off west and a single Common Scoter flew east. Waders included a Ringed Plover on the shingle ridge and single Whimbrels heading south and west. A total of 27 Mediterranean Gulls were counted on the beach and the sea and an adult Common Gull was on the shingle ridge at high tide. 18 Swifts flew west and two Swallows were noted.


Sunny with a light SW wind. There were three Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool, two Oystercatchers flew west and a Whimbrel circled over the beach. There were 18 Mediterranean Gulls (including three juveniles) and a Sandwich Tern with the Black-headed Gulls on the beach. One of the Mediterranean Gulls was ringed; the details were that it was ringed as an adult at Antwerp in Belgium in May 2020 and seen again there in June. Three Swifts and a Swallow flew west and a Kingfisher was seen along the middle brook.

Kingfisher – Geoff Burton


Sunny, warmer, with a light NW wind. Two Gannets flew west, two Grey Herons flew west inland and there were ten Little Egrets (nine on the Marsh pool early morning). Waders were a single Ringed Plover on the beach, a flock of seven Whimbrel and a Redshank flying west and 15 roosting Turnstones. Looking to the skies to the south a Sparrowhawk, a Buzzard and a Hobby feeding on insects were noted. Four Sandwich Terns flew west. Vis mig included ten Swifts, seven Sand Martins and 12 Swallows. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Grey Wagtail.

In the warm weather, Andy’s attention was drawn to the bugs around the Obs. In addition to some of the usual butterflies, a Blue Mason Bee, a Wilke’s Mining Bee and a hoverfly (Eristalinus sepulcharalis) were all new for the site.


Sunny, moderate SW wind. Six Gannets flew east, there were eight Little Egrets, seven on the Marsh Pool at one point, and two Grey Herons flew over. There were four Oystercatchers on the beach, another flew west, five Whimbrels flew west and a Curlew was on the beach. 53 Swifts flew west, a single House Martin flew west and a Yellow Wagtail was heard calling.

Confirmation of our first Brown Argus by the EA car park. Our 20th species for the year.

Brown Argus – Andy Taylor
Sparrowhawk and Kestrel – Andy Taylor


Cloudy, light to moderate SW wind. Two Gannets and 11 Little Egrets and, at 10.45 am, a juvenile Cattle Egret flew west low over the brook and sewage works. A better day for waders with seven species in total; three Oystercatchers, two Ringed Plovers, five Whimbrels flew west singly, a party of six Curlews flew west with two more on the beach, one Redshank west, one Common Sandpiper and 13 Turnstones on the beach. 95 Swifts and single Sand Martin and Swallow flew west.

11 species of butterfly included a suspected Brown Argus.


Cloudy, rain until 9 am, calm then light SW wind. There were eight Little Egrets and a Grey Heron on the beach. Two Ringed Plovers were again on the shingle ridge and single Curlew and Turnstone were on the beach. Two Common Terns were on one of the 8K buoys. A flock of eight Sand Martins flew west and 46 Swifts also flew west.


Six summer plumage Dunlins were the first returning birds, there were also 16 Turnstones. There were six Little Egrets, a juvenile Marsh Harrier and a Buzzard, and vis mig included a Yellow Wagtail, four Sand Martins and five Swallows.

Another 14 species of butterflies were seen today including two Ringlets. A Magpie Moth and a pammene aurana were also seen.


Sunny periods with a fresh SW wind. A Great Crested Grebe was within the tidal ponds and later one flew west. A Ringed Plover was on the shingle ridge, a Curlew on the beach and 23 Turnstones were feeding along the tide line on the incoming tide. A flock of 12 Mediterranean Gulls were feeding along the shoreline by the Obs. Today, only a single Swift was noted, flying west.

Despite the fresh winds, the warmth of the sun in sheltered areas encouraged a good variety of butterflies to be on the wing. A total of 14 species were recorded including our first Gatekeepers of the year in the scrub. Most species, however, were noted around the Obs. The full list was: Large, Small and Essex Skippers, Green-veined, Small and Large Whites, Holly Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Peacock, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Marbled White and Gatekeeper. A record day total for the site, I think.

Gatekeeper – Geoff Burton
Marbled White- Geoff Burton


Cloudy with a fresh SW wind. A flock of 25 Common Scoters flew east, there were two Ringed Plovers on the shingle ridge, four Curlews on the beach and a Common Sandpiper dropped onto a sliver of shingle spit on the incoming tide. There was a steady movement of Swifts, several hundred birds, heading west as did a single Sand Martin.

A Ringlet was at the Obs, our 18th butterfly species of the year. There had only been two records of this species prior to 2018 but this is the third year running it has been recorded here.

Swift- Andy Taylor
Ringlet – Geoff Burton


Sunny periods with a moderate SW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea. A Curlew and three Whimbrels flew west, a Ringed Plover and 13 Turnstones were on the beach. Three Sandwich Terns were offshore and 70 Swifts flew west.

A total of nine species of butterfly included our first Essex Skipper at the Obs.

Essex Skipper – Andy Taylor


Sunny periods with a moderate SW wind. A single Gannet flew east and three flew west. 11 Turnstones roosting between the groynes at the eastern end of the beach were the only waders noted. There were at least six Mediterranean Gulls on the beach and offshore which included three second calendar year birds. A total of 51 Swifts were noted flying west in early morning and a single Swallow also flew west. A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew across from the sewage works to the churchyard. A modest, but not unexpectedly so, total of 38 species to start the month.

A total of seven butterflies were noted which included our first Peacock since March and two Commas.

Moorhen – Geoff Burton