August 2020

A total of 147 species so far this year

142 species by the same time last year

A total of 97 species for the month was significantly above the ten-year average of 89.8 species. Highlights included our fifth record of Garganey ( two west on 1st) and our second and third records of Wood Sandpiper on 17th and 26th. The strong winds on 26th and 29th and 30th of the month contributed to a higher than average total. Also, despite the obvious problems of this year, the total of 147 species so far compares with a ten-year average of 141.6 species.


Cloudy at first then sunny with a light to moderate northerly. With much lighter but still northerly winds the “skua tap” of the last two days was well and truly turned off! No skuas, no Gannets with just two Little Gulls heading west as a clue to what had gone before. One Great Crested Grebe was noted, there were five Teal resting on the tidal ponds and another eight flew west. Waders included 24 Oystercatchers and two Curlews on the beach, 77 Ringed Plovers on the shingle ridge at high tide and two Dunlins and a Common Sandpiper flying west. Three Yellow Wagtails circled over the beach, three Swallows flew west and a Kingfisher was seen again along the brook. One Sedge Warbler (our third of the autumn and year), two Whitethroats and a male Blackcap were along the east bank. Later, Peter Hunt saw a Guillemot close inshore; this was the first large auk to be assigned to this species this year!

Butterflies included a rather tatty Common Blue.

Common Blue – Andy Taylor


Ted put in another (4 hour) session of wind bashing. Again it was a skua fest with 78 Arctic Skuas, 47 Great Skuas and one Long-tailed Skua. Bit parts were played by c20 Gannets, c20 Common Scoters, 10 Wigeon, a Teal, four Sandwich Terns, three Common Terns and a Whimbrel.


Cloudy with a strong NNW wind. Classic sea-watching conditions at the right time of the year. Birds were on the move over the sea from the start. The main participants were skuas with 65 Arctic Skuas, 65 Great Skuas and two juvenile Long-tailed Skuas noted during the morning. The supporting cast included two Fulmars, a Manx Shearwater, six Wigeon, three Teal, one Grey Plover, one Little Gull and a Black Tern and loads of Gannets. A Dunlin was on the shingle ridge, a Common Sandpiper in the brook, four Swallows flew west and a Whitethroat and a Blackcap appeared along the sheltered east bank.

The conditions also brought out the kite surfers in numbers. It was estimated that there were at least 100 off the Tankerton slopes and Long Rock. We spoke to one who, because of the wind direction, had travelled up from Brighton.

Arctic Skua – Andy Taylor
Kite surfer on the shingle ridge – Andy Taylor
Kite surfers everywhere – Andy Taylor


There were two Great Crested Grebes. A Knot flew west with Turnstones and a Dunlin was also seen. Two Swallows flew west, a Wheatear was on the eastern end of the beach and two Whitethroats were noted.


Sunny with a light SW wind in marked contrast to yesterday. However, the day did start on a wader theme with a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper keeping company with flocks of Ringed Plovers, about 60 in total. At high tide this flock were subject to much disturbance, the Ringed Plovers stuck it out but the Sandpiper soon disappeared. Other waders included 12 Oystercatchers, one Dunlin, four Curlews, a Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper. Other birds seen included a Hobby, Meadow Pipit, Whinchat and Willow Warbler.

Butterflies were represented by Small Whites and a Comma and Clouded Yellow.

Curlew Sandpiper – Andy Taylor


Sunny with a fresh to strong westerly wind. A westerly wind, however, strong, can not be relied upon to produce a good seawatch. Nevertheless, a Shag flying west at 7.12 am and a Manx Shearwater at 8.10 am were both new for the year and a good start. A Great Crested Grebe flew west, seven Common Scoters flew east and an Arctic Skua appeared distantly offshore. The strength of the wind did seem to affect the waders. The high tide had waders seeking shelter on the shingle ridge. A Wood Sandpiper dropped onto the ridge briefly at about 8.30 am but moments later disappeared as a dog walker came along. Our third record for the site; the first came after 25 years of observations here; the second five years later and this third bird ten days after the second. It was assumed that the bird had moved on but it was seen again on the tideline at about midday. A female Ruff also dropped onto the ridge and hunkered down and was present for more than an hour (another addition to the year list). Other waders included three Sanderlings, one Dunlin and one Common Sandpiper flying west, a Whimbrel on the shoreline and a Greenshank that flew high south inland. An Arctic Tern flew west and, later one was resting on the beach with eight Sandwich Terns.


Sunny periods with a light southerly wind. Waders included 37 Ringed Plovers, six Sanderlings and a Dunlin. An Arctic Tern flew west and three Sandwich Terns flew east. Single Hobby and Peregrine were seen. A Green Woodpecker was only our second record for the year but last year there was only a single record. Other birds seen included a Whinchat and two Lesser Whitethroats in the scrub and a Spotted Flycatcher and a Willow Warbler along the east bank.

A total of eight butterfly species seen included our first Clouded Yellow of the year.

Clouded Yellow – Geoff Burton


Sunny with a moderate southerly wind. A Common Sandpiper on the beach was the only wader of any note. Three Mediterranean Gulls flew west. One Sand Martin flew west and a Sedge Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat were along the east bank.

Sedge Warbler – Andy Taylor


Waders included a Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper and 30 Swallows flew west.


There were six Canada Geese and eight Teal, a Marsh Harrier and a Buzzard were noted, two Arctic Skuas flew west and a Whinchat was present again.


Three Whimbrels and a Curlew flew west, three Swallows and four Yellow Wagtails flew west and a Whinchat and a Sedge Warbler (our first this year) were in the scrub.


A Wood Sandpiper was on the beach early morning for about ten minutes before being flushed by a dog walker. This is only the second record for the site following one on 14th August 2015. Other waders included a flock of 54 Redshanks west, two Dunlins and a Common Sandpiper. Four Sanderlings were noted in the afternoon. Other birds noted included a Raven tussling with a Buzzard, four Yellow Wagtails and a Skylark.

Wood Sandpiper – Andy Taylor
Redshanks – Andy Taylor
Buzzard and Raven – Andy Taylor


Three Green Sandpipers were seen overhead and a Whinchat was in the scrub.


An Arctic Skua was our first of the year and six Gannets were also noted offshore. Waders included 22 Ringed Plovers, with four juveniles, and a Whimbrel. Four Yellow Wagtails and Sand Martin and Swallow were also noted.


A Greenshank had taken up the place in the remnant brook vacated by the Knot. Four Yellow Wagtails flew over and a Kingfisher was seen along the brook.

Greenshank – Andy Taylor


Sunny, warm with a light northerly wind. Four Little Egrets were again on the beach and waders included one juvenile Dunlin and 32 Turnstones on the beach. A Whinchat was in the scrub and a Spotted Flycatcher showed briefly along the east bank.

Butterflies included Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral and Migrant Hawker and Common Darter dragonflies were also seen.

Small Tortoiseshell – Andy Taylor


Light cloud, very warm and calm. Three Gannets flew east and there were four Little Egrets on the beach. A flock of 12 Teal flew west and 64 Common Scoters flew east. Waders included 12 Ringed Plovers and two Sanderlings on the beach, two Green Sandpipers were heard but not seen and a party of eight Common Sandpipers alighted on the tideline. There were many terns distantly offshore early morning which included a party of 30+ Black Terns. [That afternoon a flock of c200 Little Terns and 80 Black Terns were roosting on the east flood at Oare Marshes]. Other birds included a Kingfisher along the middle brook, a Yellow Wagtail west and a juvenile Willow Warbler at the Obs.

Black and Little Terns at Oare Marshes – Geoff Burton


Sunny, very warm, calm. Waders included 5 Oystercatchers and 15 Ringed Plovers on the beach and a flock of seven Whimbrels flew west. Other birds included a Stock Dove dropping onto the beach, a Great Spotted Woodpecker circling over the grassland, a Skylark circling over and dropping into the grassland and a Jay flying east from the Obs.

Small White – Geoff Burton
Holly Blue – Geoff Burton


Sunny, warm with a light SE wind. Bird of the day was an Osprey, picked out amongst a cloud of gulls offshore. It drifted east clear of the gulls then headed south over the caravan park at 7.45 am. A Hobby made a couple of appearances as it hunted beyond the caravan park and over the estate. A Fulmar flying west was the first seen since June. Waders included 18 Ringed Plovers on the beach, the juvenile Knot for its sixth day and two adult Dunlins flying west. A flock of 11 Common Terns flew west close inshore. Four Swifts and 24 Swallows flew west and two juvenile Willow Warblers were along the east bank.


Sunny with a fresh northerly abating. A Shelduck flew east, four Teal flew west and four Common Scoters flew west with another east. Waders included the juvenile Knot for its fourth day, six Whimbrel west and a Common Sandpiper circling high over the area before drifting west. A Merlin that flew east over the area was unexpectedly early whilst a Peregrine over the beach was not. There were six Gannets offshore and a juvenile Kittiwake flew west. Other birds included a Kingfisher along the middle brook and three Jackdaws, scarce of late, heading for the beach.

Butterflies included two Speckled Woods and a Large White.


Sunny with a light SW wind. Two Garganey flew west at 6.15 am; our fifth record, our first for six years and an addition to Andy’s site list. The juvenile Knot was still in the remnant brook. Other waders included 15 Bar-tailed Godwits, a total of 54 Whimbrels west during the morning, and a heard-only Greenshank. One Swift, one Wheatear and a Willow Warbler were also noted.

Butterflies noted were Gatekeeper. Small White and Green-veined White, Comma, Holly Blue and Essex Skipper.

Knot – Geoff Burton
Whimbrel – Geoff Burton