The total of 81 species for the month was above the ten-year average of 77 species but well below the best in the last ten years of 91 in 2012. The total of 101 species by the end of February was only exceeded by 102 in 2009 whilst the ten-year average was 92.4 species. In spite of this, February was a very quiet month with our third Glossy Ibis on 11th, the highlight. Other birds of note were a Black Brant on 7th and a Red-legged Partridge, sadly deceased, on 1st.
101 species so far this year
90 species by the same time last year
Sunny with a light southerly wind. Pleasant weather to end the month. A Great Northern Diver, Red-throated Divers, seven Great Crested Grebes, three duck Eiders and four Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore, two Common Scoters and two Shelducks flew east. Waders included 35 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes and c50 Sanderlings feeding in the bay at the eastern end of the beach. Other birds included a Stock Dove, a Skylark and a male Reed Bunting west and a Greenfinch.
There were 18 Great Crested Grebes offshore. A Buzzard flew west at 11 am and a Red Kite drifted through at 11.55 am.
Andy has led a church working party over the last few days planting a hedge around the churchyard. A total of 270 of native plants – blackthorn, hawthorn, field maple etc have been planted. Hopefully, this will counter, to some extent, the tree felling and general tidying up that has taken place in recent years to the detriment of the birds and invertebrates that would make it their home.
Sunny, frost and a light southerly wind. A Great Northern Diver on the sea flew off west, there were three breeding plumage Great Crested Grebes, three duck Eiders and four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and a Gannet which flew off west. Two Shelducks flew east. Waders included 14 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included our first Greenfinch of the year, calling in the scrub and then in flight along the east bank, a Blackcap‘s snatches of song and a Linnet singing in the scrub.
A Peacock was our first butterfly of the year.
Cloudy with a freshening westerly wind and rain from 8.45 am. There were four Great Crested Grebes and two duck Eiders offshore and two Greylag Geese flew west over the sea, then circled the area. Waders included 100 Sanderlings along the shoreline. The pair of Stonechats were seen again.
Sunny with a light SW wind. There was one Great Northern Diver offshore, three Great Crested Grebes flew west with another two offshore. There was also one female Eider and five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore whilst a group of four Greylag Geese flying SE over the caravan park were new for the year. Waders included 21 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes and 22 visible Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Three Mediterranean Gulls flew west offshore. Other birds included the pair of Stonechats and snatches of song heard from a Blackcap along the east bank.
Andy’s afternoon WEBS count was rewarded with high numbers of Sanderlings (132) and Turnstones (226) but a low count of Curlews (22 on the football pitch). Also noted were two duck Eiders offshore and two Rock Pipits by the wooden bridge.
Sunny with a strong westerly wind. In spite of the waves, a single duck Eider was seen offshore, four Black-tailed Godwits flew west close inshore at 11.48 am (only our second record this year, whilst a Bar-tailed is still awaited). Other birds noted included two Stock Doves, a Rock Pipit and a Grey Wagtail and a female Stonechat.
Sunny with a moderate SW wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes, a female Eider and ten Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and two Shelducks flew west. Waders included 68 Sanderlings along the shoreline. A near-adult Mediterranean Gull flew west. Other birds included one Stock Dove and a Reed Bunting whilst a pair of Long-tailed Tits were gathering nest material at the Obs and a Magpie was nest-building in the Elm Wood.
Sunny, mild with fresh to strong westerly wind. There were five Great Crested Grebes within the tidal ponds, nine Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and three Pintail and a Shelduck flew west. Waders included flocks of Golden Plovers, totalling c120 birds, flying west low over the sea. One Skylark flew west and a male Blackcap, near the sewage works .
A single duck Eider was on the sea and a Lapwing was also noted.
Cloudy with a moderate SW wind. On what was an essentially, and a typical, quiet February day, there were three additions to the year list. Firstly, an Egyptian Goose on the beach early morning but, you’ve guessed it, not for long. A party of five Siskins flew west over the Obs and , lastly, a lone Gadwall flew west low over the sea. Other birds included a breeding plumage Great Crested Grebe offshore, 105 Brent Geese on the beach and six Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 36 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes, 62 Golden Plovers heading west low over the sea and 44 Sanderlings feeding along the shoreline. In addition, there was one Skylark west, four Meadow Pipits in the scrub, a female Stonechat, two Long-tailed Tits, two Jackdaws with other crows on the football pitch, five Goldfinches, six Linnets, and a Reed Bunting west.
A Water Vole was along the middle brook.
A Rook flying west was another addition to the year list.
A quiet morning was shattered by the appearance of our third ever Glossy Ibis for the site flying west at 10 am. The previous two records were in October 2009 and January 2018.
Sunny with a light NW wind. The three duck Eiders were again offshore and there were also three Red-breasted Mergansers. There were 92 Sanderlings along the shoreline and a flock of Curlews resting on the beach on their way after roosting. A flock of nine Meadow Pipits alighted in one of the trees in the scrub. A Skylark flew west and five Linnets were also seen.
Sunny with a moderate SW wind. In addition to Red-throated Divers, there was a Great Northern Diver offshore, two Great Crested Grebes, three duck Eiders and four Red-breasted Mergansers whilst five White-fronted Geese flew west offshore. Waders included 52 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes and 84 Sanderlings along the shoreline. Other birds noted included a Skylark, a Kingfisher, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Reed Bunting flew west.
The three duck Eider had returned offshore after an absence of 25 days! A Stock Dove and a Skylark were also seen.
Sunny, mild, light SW wind. A Black Brant was with the Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the beach. Presumably the bird that has been seen regularly along the coast this winter between Uplees in the west and Reculver in the east. A flock of 24 White-fronted Geese flew high west over the sea at 11.20 am, c20 Red-throated Divers and two Great Crested Grebe flew west and two redhead Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Waders included a single Lapwing west and a Grey Plover on the beach. The adult Lesser Black-backed Gull had returned to its post by the Plough Lane roundabout. A Mistle Thrush, posing briefly in trees behind the skate park early morning, was our first addition to the year for ten days.
A Weasel was seen again on the bank of the middle brook.
Sunny with a moderate SW wind. Four Shelducks flew west and there were eight Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 34 Oystercatchers and 64 Sanderlings along the shoreline, one Grey Plover on the beach, 35 Golden Plovers west low over the sea and 18 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included two Pied Wagtails, the pair of Stonechats and a Song Thrush singing lustily along the upper brook.
Sunny, mild with a light SW wind. There were 20+ Red-throated Divers and a Great Northern Diver, three Great Crested Grebes and five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Two adult Mute Swans patrolled the area, landing on the sea and the Marsh Pool, and six White-fronted Geese flew east. An adult Gannet, scarce lately, flew west. Waders included 66 Sanderlings along the shoreline and 18 visible Snipe on the Marsh Pool.
Good to see a Water Vole along the brook after the interest being shown by a Weasel last week.
After drawing a blank on raptors on 1st, there was a Marsh Harrier west as well as resident Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Peregrine. Other birds noted included Kingfisher, Chiffchaff and a male Reed Bunting.
Sunny, mild with a fresh westerly wind. There were many Red-throated Divers offshore, 26 were disturbed by a passing trawler, and one Great Northern Diver crash landed in front of the Obs. 14 Shelducks, including one flock of ten, flew west, a pair of Pintail flew west and there were five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 10 Golden Plovers west and 42 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes. Other birds noted included the female Kingfisher, a Rock Pipit in the remnant brook, a Grey Wagtail and the pair of Stonechats by the sluice, six Long-tailed Tits and nine Linnets.
Whilst dog walking, Sue Evans found a dead, but fairly fresh, Red-legged Partridge along the tideline. There have only been two previous records of live birds in April 2004 and April 2006. Pheasants are scarce but regular visitors in the Autumn, probably fugitives from shooting parties and maybe these Red-legged Partridges have come across from the Isle of Sheppey for the same reason.