October 2020

169 species so far this year

161 by the same time last year

The total of 117 species recorded during the month was a record for the site. The previous record was 114 in October 2005 whilst there have been five months with totals of 113; two in September, one in October and two in November. The average total for October for the previous ten years was 109.3 species. The total so far this year of 169 species equals the whole year totals for 2018 and 2019 and the highest year total was 176 in 2001. Birds of the month included our fifth Richard’s Pipit on 7th (first for eight years), four Bearded Tits on 19th (our first for six years) and only our third Dartford Warbler on 20th and first for 17 Years.


Cloudy and mild with a fresh SW wind. A ringtail Hen Harrier circled over the tidal ponds and drifted west at 8 am; our 169th species for the year and equalling the total for the whole of last year. Is it a record on the cards? This had been preceded by an immature Marsh Harrier, also drifting west at 7.10 am. A Red-throated Diver flew east, there were four Great Crested Grebes on the sea and 20+ Gannets lingered offshore. 55 Brent Geese were arranged along the shoreline at high tide and waders included 12 Sanderlings and two Dunlin on the beach. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew east and a group of eight Kittiwakes and a Great Skua flew west. Two Sandwich Terns flew west, one flew east. Hirundines were lingering in the mild weather with c20 Swallows and c10 House Martins. The main movement was of Chaffinches, c400 W, with a Brambling heard calling amongst them, Siskins were heard calling and a Redpoll and three Reed Buntings flew west. Great Spotted Woodpecker and Grey Wagtail were also noted.

A late Red Admiral lingered around the Obs.

Red Admiral – Geoff Burton


A flock of 40 Golden Plovers flew west and 16 Sanderlings were on the beach. Chaffinches, Swallows and House Martins were on the move and four Redpolls were in the churchyard.


Cloudy with a light SW wind. There were four Great Crested Grebes offshore and a few Gannets. A flock of 42 Brent Geese offshore included 14 juveniles. The Black-throated Diver was seen again late morning as it headed east towards Hampton and a Little Grebe was in the lower brook near the Marsh Pool. A Peregrine flew west over the sea. One Sandwich Tern was seen offshore. Waders included 18 Sanderlings on the beach and 15 Redshanks roosting on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included Kingfisher and Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Swallow flew west, a Redwing was along the east bank and a Grey Wagtail on the beach.


Mostly cloudy, light SW wind. The dominance of SW winds for over a week now have put a block on additions to the year list (none since Dartford Warbler on 20th). However, even on a quiet day like today one’s perspective on the day can change within minutes. A Black-throated Diver flew west at 9.40 am close inshore and looked to be the same bird that Andy had seen off the slopes on 14th and the Obs on 17th. Immediately afterwards, we spotted a Slavonian Grebe close inshore off the Obs, it showed well before drifting east. As far as I know, there have only been two previous October records here including one on 25th in 2001. There were four Great Crested Grebes and c20 Gannets offshore and 48 Brent Geese along the shoreline waiting for the tide to recede. Waders included a flock of 12 Golden Plovers west, a Snipe and 12 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool, where there were also two Little Grebes, and 34 Curlews flew across to the fields behind the caravan park to roost. An immature Peregrine flew NW out to sea. Other birds included five Swallows and four House Martins west, 11 Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, two Goldcrests and single Redwing and Brambling.


A female/immature Black Redstart in the scrub flew towards the bluethroat bush. Our second record of the year after one in April.


Sunny with a light SW wind. In the mild, sunny weather hirundines were hawking around the Obs. About 20 or so Swallows and few House Martins who were joined by a single, late Sand Martin. Not the latest, we have had a couple of mid-November sightings, but one of our latest. Two Red-throated Divers landed on the sea, there were four Great Crested Grebes offshore and about ten Gannets. A group of 23 Brent Geese were on the beach containing 12 juveniles. Although the numbers have been small here, which is usual particularly early in the season, a third to a half of flocks have been juveniles which points to a successful breeding season. There has only been a small number of Sanderlings amongst the Ringed Plovers and Turnstones so far and so a count of 45 today represented a significant influx. Other waders included a Lapwing, two Snipe and 21 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. An adult Mediterranean Gull was perched on the groynes at the eastern end of the beach. Other birds seen included a female Great Spotted Woodpecker in the churchyard, five Stonechats, two Blackcaps, a Goldcrest, Brambling and Redpoll.

In the mild weather, a few Small Whites were still to be seen.

Mediterranean Gull – Geoff Burton
Sand Martin – Andy Taylor


Cloudy, light SW wind. There were four Great Crested Grebes offshore, four Little Egrets on the beach, 33 Brent Geese on the beach included 11 juveniles and one Common Scoter flew east. Waders included five Sanderlings and seven Redshanks on the beach, there were four Sandwich Terns offshore and an adult Peregrine flew west over the sea. 15 Swallows flew west and other birds included two Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest, a flock of 18 Linnets and four Reed Buntings.


Sunny with a light SW wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, seven Little Egrets on the beach and a flock of 30 Brent Geese included 12 juveniles. Waders included c50 Ringed Plovers, five Sanderlings and a Dunlin on the beach and one Snipe visible on the Marsh Pool. One Sandwich Tern was perched on one of the yellow buoys. Other birds noted included male and female Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Grey Wagtail, two Redwings along the east bank, a male Blackcap, a Chiffchaff behind the sea wall at the caravan park, a Goldcrest, three Bramblings, two Greenfinches in the bushes opposite the Obs and three Redpolls west.

The sun encouraged a few Small Whites and a Speckled Wood out to have a last look at the year and a Water Vole was again seen along the middle brook.

Dunnock (bird in a bramble cage) – Geoff Burton


Sunny, mild with a light SW wind. There were 11 Little Egrets on the beach early morning and a flock of Brent Geese there included nine juveniles. Waders included two Sanderlings and three Dunlin on Hampton flats, a second-winter Mediterranean Gull was on the beach and five Sandwich Terns flew west. Vis mig was dominated by Chaffinches with c400 west and also 19 Swallows and three House Martins. Other birds included five Stonechats, two Rooks which flew south by the Obs, flocks of 20 Linnets and 20 Redpolls and ten Reed Buntings.


A Dartford Warbler appeared in the bushes opposite the Obs then flew behind the Obs into the sewage works never to be seen again! Only our third record and the first since 2003. A Common Buzzard came in off the sea and Siskins and Redpolls were noted on the move.

Dartford Warbler – Andy Taylor
Buzzard – Andy Taylor


Cloudy with a light SW wind. There were two Little Grebes in the lower brook, two Great Crested Grebes offshore, four Red-breasted Mergansers by the tidal ponds and four Gannets, a Teal and five Common Scoters flew west. Eight Brent Geese also flew west and there were 24 on the beach which included six juveniles. Waders included a Grey Plover and two Sanderlings on the beach and 15 Redshanks roosting on the Marsh Pool. A flock of 40 Mallard on the Marsh Pool early morning was a record count. 10 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach included nine adults. The highlight of the day was a party of four Bearded Tits in the bushes opposite the Obs just before midday which circled high over the Obs before turning east. Our first record for eight years. A Mistle Thrush, only our second this year, flew south over the estate. Other birds noted included c60 Swallows either heading west or hawking over the area, a single House Martin, three Redwings, a flock of 30 Redpolls flew west, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and two Goldcrests.


A Purple Sandpiper was alone on the shingle ridge and there were two Rock Pipits in the dip on the ridge. A Red-throated Diver flew west. A flock of eight Crossbills and a male Yellowhammer flew west and Brambling, Siskin and Redpoll were also noted.


Cloudy with a light NE wind. A single Great Crested Grebe was offshore, two Wigeon and two Teal flew west and, late morning, a Black-throated Diver was new for the year, and a Shag was close inshore off the shingle ridge. A total of 34 Little Gulls, in three flocks, flew west. Other birds included four Swallows. two male Stonechats, a Redwing in the scrub and, again, many Goldcrests, two on the beach, many in the churchyard, and birds coming in off the sea. Bramblings were heard and ten Redpolls flew west.

Goldcrest – Andy Taylor


A male Merlin was the highlight of the morning. Wildfowl were on the move again with parties of Brent Geese, Wigeon, Teal and Pintail and a single Gadwall, which landed on the sea. A redhead Red-breasted Merganser heading west was our first of the autumn, three Canada Geese came in high over the sea and continued south and 14 Little Gulls flew west. More Goldcrests had arrived with 23 in one tree in the churchyard and others scattered about. There were at least six Stonechats in the scrub and four Chiffchaffs. Swallows, House Martins, Redwings and Redpolls were also on the move.


Cloudy and cool with a fresh NE wind. Another day of wildfowl on the move with c300 Brent Geese heading west. It seemed that a lot of the groups would carry a single duck with them, one included a Barnacle Goose and another a Greylag Goose. Another two Greylags flew west. Other wildfowl included seven Shelducks, 60 Wigeon, four Teal and four Pintail. Other birds seen over the sea included our first, but all too brief, Leach’s Petrel, of the year, our first three Pomarine Skuas of the year, two Great Skuas, 30 Little Gulls and four Kittiwakes. A freshly dead Guillemot was found on the beach and a couple of large auk sps flew east. A Short-eared Owl also flew west over the sea. Other birds included an influx of Goldcrests (14+) and seven Crossbills west over the Obs.


Sunny with a light east to NE wind. The large movements of winter thrushes over the last few days has not been replicated along our coastal strip as they seemingly prefer to move inland although still parallel to the coast. However, we added two thrushes to our site year list, a Mistle Thrush by the Obs (courtesy of Dave Rosair) and three Fieldfares, one in the churchyard and two in the scrub. There were also two Redwings along the east bank. There was a significant movement of Brent Geese with 570 heading west (a group of 11 on the beach included three juveniles). Other wildfowl included three Shelducks, 12 Wigeon, four Teal and 11 Common Scoters and a lone Greylag Goose which came in very high from the NE, continuing SW over the Obs. A flock of 100 Ringed Plovers were roosting between the groynes with three Sanderlings and a Dunlin and a scattering of Turnstones. Ten Curlews flew towards the fields at the back of the caravan park. One large auk sp flew east. A group of six Skylarks headed north over the sea(others were heard calling), there was a Rock Pipit and a Grey Wagtail on the Marsh Pool. A Goldcrest came in over the promenade and into the trees between the Obs and the skate park at 12.05 pm and Arnie, late to the party, saw another two in the churchyard and one at the entrance to the sewage works. Suggesting new arrivals?

Fieldfare – Geoff Burton
Redwing – Geoff Burton


Cloudy with a light SW wind. Two more additions to the year list. A Yellowhammer was found in the scrub, a typical date for this now rare bird here, and a Pink-footed Goose came in over the beach from the NE, circled calling and then, much to our surprise, dropped onto the Marsh Pool where it remained for about 20 minutes before heading on west over the Obs. A little movement over the sea with one juvenile Gannet east, 36 Brent Geese and ten Teal west whilst a pair of Wigeon on the sea off the Obs drifted east towards Hampton. Waders included 115 Lapwings and a single Greenshank west, two Sanderlings and a Dunlin on the beach and two Snipe and nine Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Vis mig with a steady passage of House Martins and Chaffinches, a few Swallows, 12 Skylarks, one Redwing, four Bramblings, three Reed Buntings and, exceptional for the site, a count of 190 Redpolls which included three flocks of c50 birds. Other birds included a Kingfisher, two Grey Wagtails, two Song Thrushes, three Stonechats, a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff.

Pink-footed Goose – Andy Taylor


Cloudy with a moderate westerly wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, 14 Mallards along the upper brook whilst waders included 85 Ringed Plovers and four Sanderlings on the beach and six Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A second-winter Mediterranean Gull and five Sandwich Terns were offshore. There were westerly movements of Swallows, House Martins and Chaffinches and four Redpolls and three Reed Buntings flew west. Two Goldcrests were noted along the upper brook.


A continental Coal Tit seen near the scout hut was new for the year. A Short-eared Owl was seen at 10.30 am and six Stonechats, six Blackcaps and six Chiffchaffs were also noted.


Cloudy with a fresh SW wind. Two Sanderlings on the beach and ten Sandwich Terns offshore. A steady westerly movement of Swallows and House Martins, two Stock Doves came off the beach and a Grey Wagtail flew into the sewage works.


Sunny with a moderate SW wind. Andy pointed out a large pipit which dropped into the grassland behind the sea wall just west of the caravan park. It hovered briefly before landing, showing conspicuous white outer tail feathers. Ted had noted exactly where it had landed and so the three amigos approached, before any dog walkers could get too close. A Meadow Pipit flew up and then the larger bird, sporting a long tail, rose up from the grass calling three times as it headed west and over the beach; the call, a diagnostic “shreep” confirmed our suspicions. This was the site’s fifth Richard’s Pipit. The first since October 2012; previous records were in 1990, 1996 and 2000. As with Wryneck, only even numbered years need apply! Otherwise, it was a fairly uneventful morning. A group of five high-flying geese led to brief thoughts of “pinks” but proved to be Greylag Geese, the early morning sun lighting up their behinds like afterburners as they flew west. A drake Wigeon west and a Common Scoter east were the only other wildfowl on the move. Waders included a lone piping Golden Plover heading high south over the football pitch and ten Redshanks roosting on the Marsh Pool. About 15 Sandwich Terns were feeding offshore. There was a steady movement of Chaffinches (over 300) flying west and five Redpolls also headed west.

Greylag Geese – Geoff Burton
Little Egret – Geoff Burton
Stonechat – Geoff Burton


Cloudy, some rain, light SW wind. Eight Brent Geese flew west, a juvenile Gannet flew east close inshore and there were seven Little Egrets roosting on the Marsh Pool at high tide. Waders included eight Redshanks roosting on the Marsh Pool and c85 Turnstones on the beach. A Grasshopper Warbler, found in brambles alongside the middle brook, was our first of the year and our latest record for the site. Typically, it proved elusive! Three Lesser Whitethroats were also seen and three Stonechats. Finches were on the move including 20 Siskins, 21 Linnets and seven Redpolls.

Five Speckled Wood butterflies were noted.


Cloudy, a little rain and a light SE wind. This is what we like to think of as a classic autumn birding experience. On arrival, there was a Greenshank along the shoreline and a Gadwall resting offshore. Another three Greenshanks landed on the shoreline accompanied by a Ruff. A Marsh Harrier flew west out to sea and three Yellow Wagtails were strutting their stuff on the caravan park field (that bit which is not covered with caravans and pigloos). Nothing rare but something happening all the time. Seven Grey Herons flew west and another 13 were on the beach, most on the Hampton flats. It turned out that they were part of a bigger arrival along the east coast. Ducks included one Shelduck east, 25 Wigeon and two Teal east and a Gadwall later on the Marsh Pool. Other waders included parties of Lapwings, totalling 350, west, two Dunlin, a Snipe and a Bar-tailed Godwit and five Redshanks roosting on the now flooded Marsh Pool. A summer plumage Red-throated Diver and four Great Crested Grebes were offshore. In addition to the regular pair of Stonechats, there was a Wheatear on the shingle ridge and a male Redstart (our third this year) in the scrub. There were also five Skylarks whilst five Song Thrushes represented some kind of an influx.

Blackcap – Geoff Burton
Gadwall – Geoff Burton


Cloudy with a light southerly wind. There were four Great Crested Grebes offshore, a single Gannet flew west and five Little Egrets were on the Hampton flats. Wildfowl included a single Brent Goose, 15 Wigeon and 13 Pintail flying west. Waders included 33 Oystercatchers and a Grey Plover on the shingle ridge at high tide. Five Sandwich Terns were noted offshore. Early morning, the bushes opposite the Obs were alive with flycatching Chiffchaffs (c15) and amongst them a Redstart (our second of the autumn). Other warblers included a Lesser Whitethroat and several Blackcaps. An immature male Reed Bunting was in the bushes opposite the Obs.

The Marsh Pool, dry throughout September, was showing a few pools of water.

Lesser Whitethroat – Andy Taylor