A total of 93 species for the month was well above the ten-year average of 83.5 species and the highest month total since 2006. The year total by the end of the month of 141 species was equal to the best by this time of the year set in 2013. Clearly, the highlight of the year was the Caspian Tern seen passing through in the early morning of 18th and 20th before it settled into a pattern of regular appearances at Pegwell Bay. Our first addition to the site list since the Storm Petrel in November 2020. Also of note were a Spoonbill on 12th and two on 16th, flying west, which were our 14th and 15th records for the site. The Cetti’s Warbler held territory throughout the month
141 species so far this year
135 species by this time last year
Sunny periods and showers, light SW wind. Two Great Crested Grebes were offshore and an immature drake Eider was off the tidal ponds. There were six Turnstones on the beach. Two Sandwich Terns were offshore. 25 Swifts and a Sand Martin flew west and a Reed Warbler flew across to the upper brook bushes.
Sunny periods with a light SW wind. A Great Crested Grebe and five Gannets were noted offshore, one Little Egret flew west and another four were on Hampton flats. There were two Oystercatchers, and 22 Turnstones were between the groynes. One Yellow Wagtail flew west and a Red Kite also drifted west.
Sunny, cool, fresh NW wind. A party of five Great Crested Grebes flew west and Fulmars flew east and west. No waders were seen. One second calendar year Mediterranean Gull flew west and a Sandwich Tern flew east. The pair of Shelducks were in the remnant brook. Four Red Kites drifted west. Four Swallows flew west, the Cetti’s Warbler continues in residence and two Reed Warblers sang along the east bank.
When most birders attention was elsewhere, two single Guillemots flew east and our second Spotted Flycatcher of the Spring was seen along the east bank.
Sunny, warm, moderate SW wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore and a pair of Shelducks flew west. A Ringed Plover heard and seven roosting Turnstones were the only waders. A second calendar year Mediterranean Gull flew west, two adult Great Black-backed Gulls flew west and there were 26 immatures on the beach and three Sandwich Terns were offshore. Two House Martins and a Yellow Wagtail flew west. No sign of breeding this year and so a singing Lesser Whitethroat by the scout hut and another in the scrub were unexpected. A Reed Warbler was singing along the east bank.
A good morning for butterflies with all three whites, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and Holly Blue.
Cloudy with a freshening SW wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore. A breeding plumage Dunlin was amongst a flock of 43 roosting Turnstones on the beach and a Ringed Plover was heard. Numbers of Great Black-backed Gulls continue to rise with 23 on the beach, all immatures. Two Swifts, a Sand Martin, 11 Swallows and six House Martins flew west and a Reed Warbler was singing along the east bank along with the “resident” Cetti’s Warbler.
A Reed Warbler showed well along the east bank.
Cloudy, rain, light westerly wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore and two Shelducks and two Common Scoters flew west. Waders noted were seven Oystercatchers west, a single Ringed Plover, the Sanderling with the damaged wing, 19 roosting Turnstones and a flock of 30 Black-tailed Godwits which flew high to the SE. Other birds noted included a Stock Dove dropping onto the beach and then heading back inland, three Yellow Wagtails west and a Jay in the churchyard.
Sunny with a light SW wind. A gathering of 12 hopeful birders were present at dawn in the hope that the Caspian Tern might reprise its early morning flyby. Unfortunately it didn’t. There were three Great Crested Grebe offshore and a Common Scoter flew east. Waders noted were two Sanderlings, including the one with a damaged wing, a winter plumage Dunlin and 11 Turnstones. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew west over the Obs, there were 18 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and three Sandwich Terns flew west. Other birds included a Swift, a Sand Martin and a House Martin flew west, there were two Yellow Wagtails, a Reed Warbler in song along the east bank, two Jays flew high to the east and two Greenfinches.
Butterflies noted were Small White, Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral.
Cloudy, light SW wind with steady rain from 8.30 am. A report of the Caspian Tern flying east off the Neptune pub in Whitstable yesterday lunchtime gave some hope of another chance to see this rare tern. However, it still came as a massive surprise when the bird obligingly flew east low over the caravan park, cutting across the promenade and heading for Hampton at 7 am. Otherwise, it was to be a quiet, rain stopped play, sort of a morning: there were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, two Oystercatchers, a Ringed Plover, two Sanderlings including the one with a damaged wing, and a party of six landed briefly on the shoreline, a Curlew and 25 Turnstones. There were 20 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and a Sandwich Tern flew east.
Cloudy with light rain until 10.30 am, light SW wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore and a Little Egret and the pair of Shelducks on the Marsh Pool. Waders noted were ten Oystercatchers, a Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper and three Curlews west. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls flew east, there were 15 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and a Sandwich Tern flew west. A trickle of vis mig with one Stock Dove, one Swift, 12 Swallows and two Yellow Wagtails flying west. The Cetti’s Warbler continues to blast (day 20) and was joined by two passing Reed Warblers.
Andy Taylor’s reward for almost daily visits came in the form of a Caspian Tern which flew east over the Marsh Pool and caravan park at 6.20 am. This is the first record for the site and our first addition since Storm Petrel in November 2020. This is about the 25th record for the county but it has been notably scarcer this century with only three accepted records since one at Oare Marshes in 1999. These were at Bockhill in 2013, Dungeness in 2014 and at Worth Marshes in 2021 (another record from Dungeness last year is with the BBRC for consideration). Suffice to say, Caspian Tern was not on our list of most likely additions! A male Wheatear (probably of the Greenland race) was also seen.
Sunny, warm with a light SW wind. There were five Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Little Egret flew west and a pair of Shelducks was on the Marsh Pool. Waders noted were four Oystercatchers, a Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper. A good day for raptors with six species recorded including a Red Kite west at 9,55 am, a Buzzard, a Hobby and a Peregrine. There were eight Great Black-backed Gulls on the tidal ponds. A single Swift and Swallow flew west.
Butterflies noted were Small and Green-veined Whites, a Peacock and Holly Blue.
Sunny, warm with a moderate SW wind. There were five Great Crested Grebes offshore, an adult Gannet and three Little Egrets flew west, and unexpectedly, a late redhead Red-breasted Merganser flew west early morning followed by a pair at 8.35 am. A Hobby came in low over the beach early morning and a Red Kite circled over the area at 8.20 am. Ten Oystercatchers and a single Common Sandpiper were the only waders noted, a second calendar year Mediterranean Gull flew south by the Obs, there were nine Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and five Sandwich Terns flew west. Five Swifts, four Swallows and a House Martin flew west whilst a Spotted Flycatcher which appeared briefly in the Elm Wood, was a welcome addition to our year list. A Greenfinch heard trilling in the sewage works was our first record since March.
There was a report of two Spoonbills flying west at 4.15 am from Gregory Bessant. If Gregory sees, this or someone else who knows him, we would be pleased to receive further information about this interesting record.
There were seven species of butterfly reported; the three whites, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Red Admiral and Brimstone.
The Cetti’s Warbler was present for its 16th day.
Sunny with a light SW wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes on the sea, two Greylag Geese flew west, two adult Mute Swans circled over the Marsh Pool, but then landed on the sea and eventually flew off west, and the usual pair of Shelducks were on the Marsh Pool. Waders included six Bar-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel near the tidal ponds, two Oystercatchers and four Turnstones. Also, our first Kestrel of the month now they are not breeding, two Swifts, a Wheatear on the beach and a Willow Warbler in the Elm Wood.
Butterflies noted were Small and Green-veined Whites, Peacock, Holly Blue and Orange-tip.
Five Kittiwakes flew west, a Cuckoo was in the scrub and a late Willow Warbler sang.
Sunny with a light SW wind. A quiet morning can always change in a moment as it did today when an immature Spoonbill flew west low over the Obs at 8.45 am. This is the 14th record for the site but the first since September 2019. However, all but one of these records has been in the last 15 years and reflects the spread of this species which now breeds as close as our sister county across the water. The supporting cast, a rather thin one, included the Sanderling with the damaged wing, eight Turnstones and briefly three Dunlin, on the beach. Also 30 Swifts, two Sand Martins, a House Martin and a Yellow Wagtail west and the Cetti’s Warbler for its 13th day.
Butterflies noted were Green-veined White, Holly Blue and Orange-tip.
Sunny with a moderate SW wind. One Great Crested Grebe was offshore and an adult Gannet flew east. Waders noted were a summer plumage Grey Plover, a wing-damaged Sanderling and 11 Turnstones on the beach. A total of 16 Great Black-backed Gulls, only one adult, were on the beach and a Little Egret and a pair of Shelducks were on the Marsh Pool. There was more of interest away from the beach with a Cuckoo west, pausing briefly in the poplars by Lang Court, c50 Swifts, a Sand Martin, Swallows and nine House Martins also west, a male Wheatear on the beach by the Obs and two singing Reed Warblers in the Scout Wood and along the upper brook. A total of 89 Starlings feeding on the football pitch were all adults.
Butterflies noted were Small, Green-veined and Large Whites, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue and Peacock.
The first significant movement of Swifts with c140 passing west between 6.30 and 9 am.
Sunny, warm with a light northerly wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Little Egret and a pair of Shelducks on the Marsh Pool and four Sandwich Terns flew east. Waders noted were two Oystercatchers east, a Ringed Plover displaying over the eastern end of the beach, three Sanderlings and ten Turnstones on the beach, a Greenshank along the shoreline which flew off west and two Common Sandpipers on the Marsh pool. An increase in Great Black-backed Gulls with three adults and eight immatures on the beach. Three Swifts and a Sand Martin flew west, the Cetti’s Warbler was present for its tenth day and a total of 63 Carrion Crows were gathered on the shingle ridge at high tide (waiting for Helen).
Butterflies noted were Small and Green-veined White, Orange-tip, Peacock, Holly Blue and the seldom noticed female Brimstone.
Cloudy with a light NW wind. There were six Great Crested Grebes offshore and two Fulmars flew west. Waders included a female Ruff (Reeve) which dropped onto the shoreline with four Turnstones, one Ringed Plover and one Sanderling on the beach, a Whimbrel west and ten Oystercatchers east. A little vis mig included our first Redpoll of the year, three Swifts and a Yellow Wagtail.
Butterflies noted were Small and Green-veined Whites and Speckled Wood.
Andy Malone reported a summer plumage Black Guillemot just offshore, but drifting out to sea, by the oyster stores at Whitstable at 5.10 pm on 4th. Today, Andy Taylor saw the same bird off the skate park at 6.40 am and it drifted east towards the tidal ponds. This is presumably the same bird that was seen here in November, January and last on March 8th. Nothing else was reported that morning.
Cloudy, light NW wind. The most notable event of the day was the collection of “marshland” warblers. The Cetti’s Warbler remains, a Grasshopper Warbler reeling unseen along the middle brook was new for the year, a Reed Warbler was singing along the upper brook and a Sedge Warbler flipped across the middle brook seen briefly but heard not at all. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Grey Heron and a Canada Goose flew west and the “resident” pair of Shelducks were on the Marsh Pool. Waders noted were a Whimbrel flying west, a Common Sandpiper and eight Sanderlings on the beach and 18 Turnstones roosting between the groynes. Other birds included a Hobby east over the football pitch, two Wheatears on the beach and two Yellow Wagtails west.
Cloudy, showers with a light SW wind. A late Red-throated Diver in summer plumage flew east. Three Great Crested Grebes were offshore whilst a line of 16 Mute Swans (adults and immatures) well offshore, and remaining there for some time, were probably the highest count for the site. Waders noted included one Oystercatcher eight Sanderlings on the beach, two Common Sandpipers on the beach and a party of seven dropping into the Marsh pool late morning. Vis mig highlight was our first, but rather late here as elsewhere, Swift and c50 Sand Martins, c200 Swallows but only three House Martins and seven Yellow Wagtails flew west. Two Reed Warblers singing half-heartedly were also an addition to the year list.
Butterflies noted were Green-veined White, Holly Blue and Orange-tip.
Mute Swan and Greylag Goose were recorded, a Great Spotted Woodpecker made an appearance and the Cetti’s Warbler continued to blast it out!
Cloudy and calm. A single Great Crested Grebe and an adult drake Eider were offshore. A Fulmar, two Little Egrets and eight Shelducks flew west. Waders noted included a Bar-tailed Godwit in the remnant brook early morning, a Ringed Plover in flight over the tidal ponds, six Sanderlings and 17 Turnstones on the beach and a Whimbrel and two Common Sandpipers west over the sea. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls and two Sandwich Terns also flew west. Vis mig included c20 Sand Martins, c50 Swallows, a House Martin and seven Yellow Wagtails west. Other birds included a Hobby east over the football pitch, a Lesser Whitethroat singing as it passed through the Obs trees and the Cetti’s Warbler seemingly settled in for the long haul.
Cloudy, milder, light SW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe offshore, a party of four Little Egrets flew west (another was on the beach), two Greylag Geese flew east, a Marsh Harrier flew west and a pair of Shelducks were on the Marsh Pool. . Waders at low tide were single Oystercatcher, Sanderling and Turnstone on the beach, two Whimbrel flew west and a Green Sandpiper seen twice in flight around the brook which was anew species for the year. An adult Kittiwake flew east close inshore and five Mediterranean Gulls flew west. Other birds included c40 Swallows and a Sand Martin and a Yellow Wagtail west, a Rook west and a White Wagtail on the Marsh Pool.
An immature Great Black-backed Gull was feeding on a dead seal on the beach, a Water Vole was in the brook and a Green-veined White was the only butterfly seen.