A total of 106 species were recorded during the month, above the ten-year average of 102.2 species. Interesting to note that the total for this month exceeded that for a very poor September this year ! The highlight of the month was the sites third record of Black Guillemot. The bird was seen on 4th, 11th and 20th and was a very popular twitch on the latter two dates. This was the first twitchable one since a bird at Reculver in December 1995. A first for the site was a Siberian Chiffchaff which was seen from 12th-17th and again on 23rd-24th. Other birds of note included two Shore Larks on 11th and two male Hen Harriers on 22nd. A flock of 188 Sanderlings on 17th was a record count for the site.
167 species so far this year
175 species by this time last year
Cloudy, milder with a moderate westerly wind. A Red-throated Diver flew east. Waders roosting between the groynes included 64 Ringed Plovers, 41 Sanderlings and 64 Dunlin. Other birds noted included the pair of Stonechats, a Song Thrush, a Chiffchaff and a Long-tailed Tit and 10 Linnets along the shingle ridge.
Sunny, cold with a moderate westerly wind. A Red-throated Diver flew west, a juvenile Gannet flew west close inshore, two Shelducks and a pair of Wigeon flew west, a duck Eider and two duck Common Scoters flew east and a redhead Goldeneye flew west at 8.08 am, and drake Goosanders flew west at 11.12 and 11.30 am. Waders included two Golden Plovers, a Lapwing and a Bar-tailed Godwit west, a Woodcock over the Obs, a Grey Plover on the beach and 16 Sanderlings on Hampton flats. Other birds included the male Stonechat and a Song Thrush that circled the Obs.
Sunny, cold with a fresh NW wind. A redhead Goosander flew west at 11.50 am and a party of 15 Kittiwakes also flew west. The pair of Stonechats were by the Obs and a Jay was in trees along the upper brook.
Cloudy, light rain, moderate westerly wind. A Slavonian Grebe flew west close inshore at 10.18 am. A Red-throated Diver flew east, a Little Egret was on the beach and two Grey Herons were on the tidal ponds and c230 Brent Geese were on the beach. Five Lapwings flew west low over the sea and a Marsh Harrier flew west inland. Other birds noted included a Grey Wagtail, the pair of Stonechats, a Chiffchaff, four Long-tailed Tits and 17 Linnets over the shingle ridge.
The Black Brant was seen again and a Merlin flew west.
Cloudy, cold, calm. A Black-throated Diver came in from east and was feeding close inshore. There were four Great Crested Grebes offshore, five Shelducks flew east and there were two Little Egrets on the beach and three Grey Herons on the tidal ponds. A Black Brant was seen amongst a flock of 165 Dark-bellied Brent Geese of which seven were noted as juveniles. Single Guillemot and Razorbill were offshore. Other birds included a female Stonechat in the scrub by Lang Court, two Fieldfares that dropped into the bushes by the Obs and an elusive, or rare, Song Thrush. A Chiffchaff and the Siberian Chiffchaff were present and ten Linnets were over the shingle ridge.
A Great Northern Diver and a Red-necked Grebe were offshore and three Eiders flew west. There were 12 Golden Plovers on the beach and a Grey Plover flew west. A flock of 20+ Redwings dropped into the trees behind the Obs and the Siberian Chiffchaff was seen in the hawthorn by the sluice.
Sunny, cold with a fresh northerly wind. 22 Red-throated Divers flew east, a Great Crested Grebe was offshore, a Greylag Goose flew west high over the sea, six Shelducks flew west, a female Pintail landed on the sea with five Common Scoters, a flock of five Velvet Scoters flew east (also seen at Hampton and Reculver) and two more singles also flew east. Two male Hen Harriers that flew west early morning and at 10.05 am were an addition to the year list. One Great Skua flew west and three flew east together, many Kittiwakes flew west, a Razorbill and many large auk sp flew east. Waders included 55 Lapwings and eight Golden Plovers west and 63 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes. Other birds included the male Stonechat in the bushes opposite the Obs and a Rook circling high over the area and drifting inland.
Cloudy, mild, light westerly wind. Five Red-throated Divers flew east and a Black-throated Diver was offshore. There were 267 Brent Geese on the beach, a Common Scoter flew west and an immature Goldeneye was offshore. The flat calm sea proved ideal for the return of the first-winter Black Guillemot (last seen on 11th) and many visiting birders, who had previously missed out, were able to add this to their lists. Waders included 34 Ringed Plovers, four Sanderlings and 16 Redshanks on the beach. Three Razorbills were also seen. Other birds included a Little Grebe, two Grey Herons, a male Kingfisher along the middle brook, a Grey Wagtail along the upper brook, a Song Thrush, a Chiffchaff and five Siskins that flew west.
The three Black-throated Divers were seen again, one Red-breasted Merganser was along the shoreline and a party of six redhead Goosanders flew west. They were also seen from the Tankerton slopes and on the Swale west of the Sportsman at Seasalter. They then flew further west towards Oare Marshes. Two Swallows flew west.
Sunny with a light SW wind. There has been some discussion about the status of the Black-throated Diver in Kent and whether it should be regarded as sufficiently rare for the KOS to require a description of any record if it was to be published in their annual report. Today, we had three together close inshore off the Obs which drifted slowly east. Black-throated has definitely been the rarest of our three regular species at this site although single bird sightings are more or less annual. To see three together and close range on a fairly calm see was magical! There were 40+ Gannets fishing offshore, 202 Brent Geese on the beach, five Shelducks flew west, two Common Scoters flew east and two Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. There were two Guillemots and a Razorbill on the sea. Other birds included the female Stonechat, two Chiffchaffs and a Brambling.
Cloudy but brightening with a light WNW wind. There were two Red-throated Divers and a Great Crested Grebe offshore. Waders included a record count of 188 Sanderlings roosting in a tight but agitated huddle and there were also 64 Ringed Plovers and 23 Dunlin roosting as well. A juvenile Little Gull flew west and single Kittiwake and Guillemot were also present. A Little Grebe, a Kingfisher and our first Water Rail of the season were along the middle brook. Other birds noted included the pair of Stonechats, two Chiffchaffs and the Siberian Chiffchaff and a party of 14 Siskins west low over the sea.
A Red Admiral butterfly and a Common Darter dragonfly were also seen.
Several parties of Red-throated Divers flew east and a Goldeneye was seen. A Guillemot was on the sea and a late Sandwich Tern was fishing off the Obs. There were also two late Swallows and another appearance of the Siberian Chiffchaff.
Cloudy, very dull, calm. A Great Northern Diver and a Red-necked Grebe were offshore. Wildfowl included eight Shelduck west, and six east, 30 Wigeon and a Gadwall west, a Teal west and another on the sea, nine Eider west and a drake and a Velvet Scoter in the company of c15 Common Scoters. There were also three Red-breasted Mergansers east and one on the sea. Waders included one Lapwing west and 56 Ringed Plovers, 86 Sanderlings and 16 Dunlin on the beach. Ten Snipe were flushed from the Marsh Pool where 16 Redshanks were roosting. One Great Skua and 30 Little Gulls flew west and there were two Razorbills on the sea. Other birds included a Kingfisher, two Skylarks, two Chiffchaffs and the Siberian Chiffchaff, there was a small westerly movement of Chaffinches, a few Bramblings, three Redpolls and 15 Linnets were on the shingle ridge.
Cloudy with a fresh SW wind slackening. Two Red-throated Divers, three Great Crested Grebes, three Wigeon and two Common Scoters flew west. Waders included 62 Ringed Plovers, 18 Sanderlings and ten Dunlin roosting on the beach. Six Little Gulls flew west, there were ten Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and a Guillemot close inshore. The Siberian Chiffchaff was again at the Obs, three Swallows were seen and there were 12 Pied Wagtails on the beach.
A pair of Goldeneyes lingered close inshore off the skate park. A Siberian Chiffchaff, of which there have been many in the county and the country this autumn, was a new sub-species for the site. It showed well by the Obs and the distinctive dunnock-like call was heard.
Cloudy, calm and mild. This Autumn it seems that the best sea-watching results come from flat calm seas rather than storms driven ones. Today was a case in point when Andy picked out a Black Guillemot mid distance offshore at about 9.30 am. It was presumably the same bird seen briefly on 4th but this was hanging about on a flat calm sea. It was twitchable and as the first twitchable one since the 1996 bird at Reculver it was very popular. It showed well for a couple of hours before being lost to view. However, there was adequate distraction nearby when a Pied Wheatear was found at Reculver a few miles to the east. Whilst many birders were at Reculver, the news came through that the Black Guillemot was showing again at Swalecliffe. So, the first twitchable Black Guillemot for 25 years and the first Pied Wheatear for 27 years made for a memorable day, particularly for Kent Listers. The sea also produced a Black-throated Diver, a pair of Goldeneye and three Guillemots whilst ten Mute Swans , two Common Scoters and an Egyptian Goose flew west. Early morning, the Mandarin Duck was on the Marsh Pool and eight Great Black-backed Gulls were on the beach. Best of the rest were two Snow Buntings west (per Rob Stokes) and the pair of Stonechats, a Fieldfare and a Reed Bunting were also seen.
Cloudy, calm, mild. There were four Great Crested Grebes offshore and 40+ Gannets on the becalmed sea, some fishing. A redhead Goldeneye landed on the sea by the Obs and then flew east, three Velvet Scoters landed on the sea and 27 Common Scoters flew west. A flock of c40 grey geese (suspected White-fronts) appeared high to east and headed NW out to sea. Waders included 11 Lapwings west and 30 Dunlin on the beach and 12 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. The drake Mandarin Duck was again on the Marsh Pool early morning. One Guillemot was on the sea. Two Shore Larks, our first this year, landed on the shingle ridge early afternoon but were soon lost to sight. Other birds included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, seven Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, two Stonechats, two Chiffchaffs and 12 Siskins west.
We were joined on our seawatch by Britain’s largest hoverfly, Volucella zonaria, which mimics a hornet.
A Black-throated Diver was offshore and a Buzzard drifted north mid-morning.
There was a “notable” increase in Great Crested Grebes offshore, a “few” Common Scoters and a high count of 38 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool where 16 Snipe were revealed when flushed. There were two Razorbills on the sea. A Rock Pipit was noted and finches included a “few” Chaffinches overhead, two Bramblings and Siskins and Redpolls were also seen.
Sunny with a light westerly wind. One Red-throated Diver and three Common Scoters flew east, an adult Mute Swan flew south low over the area, a Shelduck flew west and there were six Great Crested Grebes offshore. Waders on the beach included 21 Oystercatchers, 63 Ringed Plovers and 12 Dunlin and there were five Snipe and 20 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A female Pheasant was also seen on the edge of the pool. Two Little Gulls flew west and there were two Razorbills offshore. Other birds noted included two Stock Doves west, 11 Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, a flock of 11 Jackdaws west, a Chiffchaff and 12 Linnets.
Cloudy, light SW wind. Two Red-throated Divers flew west, three Great Crested Grebes flew west, there were another three on the sea and a drake Wigeon flew east. Two Mute Swans were seen and there were 120 Brent Geese on the sea at high tide. Waders included 55 Lapwings and 30 Golden Plovers west, 50+ Curlews heading towards the fields behind the cravan park to roost and two Snipe and 20 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. One Guillemot was on the sea. Other birds included our first movement of Fieldfares with 140 west early in the morning, 30 Skylarks west, a westerly movement of Chaffinches and a few Bramblings and Siskins.
Sunny, cold with a strong NW wind. The morning started well with the appearance of a Black Guillemot which landed on the sea in front of the Obs but, in the high waves, was soon lost to sight. This was only the third record for the site (after an adult in summer plumage in August 2002 and a winter plumage bird in December 2006). These two were just seen flying west. Other birds on the move included 13 Shelduck and a duck Wigeon west ( a drake Wigeon appeared on the Marsh Pool later) and six Teal also west. Eight Lapwing, three Great Skuas and nine Little Gulls also flew west. Kittiwake, Guillemot and Razorbill were also noted. 40 Skylarks also flew west.
Sunny, a touch of frost, light NW wind. There was a single Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebe offshore, 210 Brent Geese on the beach and four Teal and seven Common Scoters flew west. A Mediterranean Gull was offshore, three Kittiwakes and a Great Skua flew west whilst a few larger auks included both Guillemot and Razorbill. Waders included 47 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes, seven Sanderlings on the beach and a Snipe and 21 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included two Stock Doves and seven Skylarks west but, more significantly, a good movement of finches, Chaffinches, unprecedented numbers of Bramblings, including one flock of 60 birds and a total of c150, two Greenfinches, 60 Siskins and five Redpolls. Also noted were Kingfisher, two Redwings and a Reed Bunting.
Two Red Admirals were also seen.
A Marsh Harrier flew west, Teal and Red-breasted Merganser were amongst the wildfowl noted and a Razorbill was on the sea. A Kingfisher and a Brambling were also seen.
Sunny with a moderate SW wind. There were two Red-throated Divers, a Great Crested Grebe and a pair of Eiders offshore. Two adult Mute Swans flew west, there were 93 Brent Geese on the beach and Common Scoter and Red-breasted Merganser were also recorded. The drake Mandarin Duck was also present again on the Marsh Pool where there were also two Snipe and 17 Redshanks. Other waders included 57 Ringed Plovers, 22 Sanderlings and a single Dunlin roosting between the groynes and 50 Curlews roosting on the fields behind the caravan park. An immature Marsh Harrier flew west at 10.30 am, an adult Kittiwake flew west, five Sandwich Terns flew east, with four west later, and there were four Razorbills on the sea. Other birds noted included a Little Grebe in the Brook, c30 Swallows, a Rock Pipit in the remnant brook, a Grey Wagtail by the sluice, two Stonechats, two Chiffchaffs, a Jay, a Rook, c50 Carrion Crows on the shingle ridge and two Reed Buntings west.