The total of 94 species for the month matched exactly the ten-year average. However, the year total by the end of April was significantly higher than the average of 126.2 species. A rare bird for the site is defined as one occurring at a rate of less than once every five years. On that basis, there were five rare species recorded during the month: our third Coot on 8th, second Hooded Crow on 9th, sixth Cattle Egret on 13th, sixth Garganey on 26th and fourth Cetti’s Warbler on 30th. Perhaps, the rarest occurrence was the 450 Bar-tailed Godwits heading high to the east on 27th and our earliest ever Whinchat on 12th was also notable. It was a month in which we battled against weather that was too benign and weather too cold. A characteristic of Spring on this north coast. Many migrants were late and or in small numbers.
133 species so far this year
122 species by the same time last year
Cloudy at first then sunny with a light NE wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe offshore, a Fulmar flew west, three Mute Swans flew east and the drake Teal, a Little Egret and a pair of Shelducks were on the Marsh Pool. There were three Bar-tailed Godwits on the tidal ponds and 15 Turnstones were roosting between the groynes. Two Common Terns flew east and a Sandwich Tern was also seen. A snatch of Cetti’s Warbler song was heard but could not be relocated. This is the fourth record for the site.
The sun brought out butterflies with Small and Green-veined Whites, Speckled Wood and Peacock.
A Hobby and a few House Martins were two additions to the year list.
Sunny periods but cool with a light NE wind. A Fulmar flew west and the drake Teal remained on the Marsh Pool, where there was also a Little Egret and a pair of Shelducks. Waders recorded were four Oystercatchers east with two Curlews, a Whimbrel east over the area, a Ringed Plover on the beach and 19 Sanderlings and 24 Turnstones roosting at high tide. One Common Tern flew east. A Lesser Whitethroat in the scrub and the bushes opposite the Obs gave away its presence with a few snatches of song. 30 Swallows, a Sand Martin and a Yellow Wagtail were the only sign of vis mig in these unfavourable conditions. A duck Mallard with six ducklings was seen in the brook by the Marsh Pool.
A Holly Blue in the churchyard was our 11th species of butterfly for the year.
Cloudy and cool with a moderate NE wind. The up-Channel movements of Bar-tailed Godwits in Spring is well documented and this year has produced amazing numbers passing Dungeness. In the previous six days over 9,000 were counted heading up-Channel there. This sites contribution is usually limited to just a few stragglers but today an unprecedented count of c450 passed east, mostly high and distant, during the morning. These were presumably birds that had cut the corner inland from the Sussex or the Kent coast. On this day, the count at Dungeness was only 637! Unfortunately, we were not able to replicate the variety of species enjoyed on the south coast. Other waders included a few Whimbrel, 11 Sanderlings and some Turnstones. A single Great Crested Grebe flew west, an adult Gannet flew east and four Shelducks included two on the Marsh Pool where there was also a drake Teal for its fourth day. A Marsh Harrier flew west and three Sandwich Terns and a Common Tern flew east. Other birds included one Sand Martin and 11 Swallows west but it was not a day, or the wind, for vis mig. Apart from the Bar-tailed Godwits, of course!
A pair of Garganeys flew west at 8.50 am. An addition to the year list and the sixth record for the site. A female Ruff (Reeve) which circled over the area, appeared to land on the beach, but was not seen again was also an addition to the year list. 24 Bar-tailed Godwits and 16 Whimbrels were also seen and two Buzzards passed through.
Cloudy, moderate NE wind. A Fulmar flew west, eight Mute Swans flew NW and a single flew east, there was a pair of Shelducks and a drake Teal on the Marsh Pool, and ten Common Scoter flew east. Waders noted were ten Sanderlings and 39 Turnstones on the beach and three single Whimbrels west. Three adult Mediterranean Gulls and a second calendar year Common Gulls were noted. Other birds included two Stock Doves on the shingle ridge.
A Common Sandpiper in the brook was our first of the year. Two Common Terns flew east and a total of 34 Swallows west was our highest count so far in this poor Spring for vis mig.
Sunny with a moderate NE wind. A Fulmar, two Gannets flew east, one west, an adult and an immature Mute Swan flew west over the area, a Common Scoter flew east, a drake Teal was in the brook and on the Marsh Pool and two Brent Geese dropped . Waders noted were a single Oystercatcher. a flock of 85 Sanderlings resting along the shoreline, seven Bar-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel east and also Turnstones. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls flew west.
A few Green-veined Whites were at the Obs.
The cool NE wind did not encourage movement. A Fulmar and a Marsh Harrier were seen early morning and there was a trickle of Swallows moving through.
Two Red Kites flew south over the football pitch mid afternoon.
Two Greenshanks flying west were an addition to the year list. The immature drake Eider and four Common Scoters were offshore and a Little Gull flew west. A trickle of vis mig with three Sand Martins and three Swallows and a few Goldfinches and Linnets.
One Fulmar flew east, there were single Whimbrel, Sandwich Tern and Swallow and, on the Marsh Pool, four Shelducks and three Snipe.
Waders included 24 Sanderlings and 78 Turnstones on the beach and a flock of 16 Mediterranean Gulls flew east.
A very quiet morning enlivened by our first two Common Terns of the year and two Wheatears, male and female.
Sunny, warm and calm. Not a lot was expected of this day but the unexpected turned up in the form of a hepatic (rufous) female Cuckoo. First seen in flight low over the scrub, it landed in bushes along the coastal path, performed a few more circuits of the area before disappearing. This rare form of female Cuckoo had not been seen here since records in three successive years (2016-18) which were thought likely to refer to the same bird. Otherwise, there were four Great Crested Grebes offshore a party of eight Shelducks on the sea early morning and the immature drake Eider was again offshore. Waders included three Oystercatchers, 14 Sanderlings, a Dunlin and two Redshanks on the beach and two Snipe on the Marsh Pool. There were two Sandwich Terns offshore. A trickle of vis mig included one Sand Martin, four Swallows and five Yellow Wagtails west.
Butterflies were our first two Speckled Woods and some Green-veined Whites.
Sunny, warmer with a light SW wind. Another good day for the year list. Our first two Whitethroats were in song, a male Ring Ousel flew high east out of the scrub early morning, a Black Redstart posed briefly on the roof of the church and a Cattle Egret, which was our sixth record but all in the last four years, flew west close inshore at 8.50 am. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, an adult Gannet flew west and four Greylag Geese flew east. Waders included two Ringed Plovers, 15 Sanderlings, a Dunlin and three Redshanks on the beach and a Whimbrel flew west. Other birds noted included a Yellow Wagtail, Wheatear on the tidal ponds, two singing Willow Warblers and four Rooks and 20 Goldfinches west.
A Peacock butterfly was at the Obs.
A good morning with three additions to the year list: a Whimbrel on the beach, probably our earliest Whinchat for the site and two Sedge Warblers, singing in the scrub and along the middle brook. Other birds noted were a Grey Heron, a Buzzard, four Sand Martins, two Wheatears and a Jay.
A warmer day brought out the butterflies with Brimstone, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Orange-tip and the three Whites making a total of seven species seen.
The sun was breaking through a light cloud but it was cool, with a light SE wind. Two Great Crested Grebes and the immature drake Eider were offshore, four Gannets flew east and three Shelducks flew west. An Avocet landed briefly on the spit by the Obs early morning and other waders included 56 Sanderlings roosting between the groynes, a Dunlin on the beach and one visible Snipe and six Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included four Sandwich Terns east and two Swallows west.
A Green-veined White was by the Obs and a Small Tortoiseshell on the football pitch.
The Hooded Crow appeared again, joining the Carrion Crows in the scrub and then hanging around on the beach, allowing many birders to twitch it. The immature drake Eider was again on the beach and we finally added two Sandwich Terns to the year list.
Sunny, cool with a light NW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe offshore, an immature drake Eider was resting on the spit by the Obs and a Gannet and a Common Scoter flew east. Waders included three Ringed Plovers and 68 Turnstones roosting between the groynes, 32 Sanderlings along the shoreline and a Curlew along the shoreline and an unexpected 30 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A Green Woodpecker heard and seen briefly by the Obs, and a Wheatear equally briefly showing on the beach in front, were both new for the year but wholly unexpected was the site’s second only Hooded Crow which was seen coming in over the skate park at 11.50 am, landing on the beach and then transferring with other crows onto the tidal ponds. It was present for about an hour and a half before flying off over the sewage works in the direction from whence it came. The previous record was of a bird on the beach in December 2003. Other birds on the day included two Swallows, 12 Goldfinches and eight Linnets west and a Rook over the beach.
A very obliging Water Vole was seen by the sluice. New butterflies for the year appeared in the form of Orange-tip and Green-veined White bringing the total species this year so far to nine.
On an otherwise quiet morning, a Coot on the sea off the caravan park at 7.25 am came as a surprise. It was seen again swimming west at 8.14 am. This is only the third record for the site after one which remained in the brook for several days in March 2011 and one on the sea in September 2017.
Sunny with a fresh westerly wind. A party of five Greylag Geese flew west. Waders included 20 Sanderlings on the beach and a Snipe and seven Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A Merlin came in off the sea but was pushed off by the local crows. Other birds included two Swallows and ten Meadow Pipits west (one was also seen in display flight), a male Blackcap in the bushes opposite the Obs and a Chiffchaff in song along the east bank.
A Small White was the only butterfly noted.
Cloudy with a moderate SW wind. There were four Great Crested Grebes offshore. Waders included nine Sanderlings, two Curlews and a Redshank on the beach. Other birds included a Stock Dove and a Swallow flying west.
A heavy westerly passage of (400+) Meadow Pipits. Two Swallows and two Greylag Geese also flew west.
Cloudy, drizzle and a moderate SW wind. There were nine Great Crested Grebes, a Canada Goose was on the shoreline and a duck Eider was offshore. Other birds included a Stock Dove and one Swallow, 20 Meadow Pipits and a Yellow Wagtail (new for the year) flew west.
A Skylark flew over the Obs.
Sunny, cool with a moderate northerly wind. 22 Brent Geese were on the beach and two Little Egrets were roosting along the east bank. Waders included a Ringed Plover, 32 Sanderlings and ten Turnstones on the beach, four Snipe were on the Marsh Pool and ten Curlews flew west.
An adult Little Gull flew east.