The dominance of mild and southerly wind conditions is not what one would hope for in October. The total of 106 species for the month was down on the average of 109.8 for the previous ten-year period. There were nine additions to the year. The total of 165 species is above the ten-year average of 160.1 species by this time of the year. There were no significant rarities during the month but highlights included five Bearded Tits on 12th, only the second record in the last ten years, two long-staying Velvet Scoters from 12th-29th, our latest record of Willow Warbler from 22nd-24th, which perhaps not surprisingly had characteristics of acredula, and three Spoonbills present on the tidal ponds for at least two and a half hours on 31st.
165 species so far this year
163 species by this time last year
Sunny, mild with a light southerly wind. Although the month ended in the same mild manner and the same southerly winds, it proved an interesting day. It began with finally adding the two Snow Buntings to our year list. Although they hadn’t moved, the could clearly be seen on the promenade by the coast cottages from our eastern border. A group of four Yellowhammers, exceptional these days, which flew west by the Obs included three males. Also, three immature Spoonbills were noted resting on the tidal ponds at 10.30 am where they remained until 12.55 pm when they flew west, probably pushed off by the rising tide. Our equal highest count here an definitely our longest stayers. One Red-throated Diver and four Great Crested Grebes were offshore and four Egyptian Geese on the beach flew off east at 7.50 am. Waders included four Snipe on the Marsh Pool, a first-winter Mediterranean Gull flew east, three Little Gulls flew west, there were seven adult Great Black-backed Gull on the beach, a juvenile Arctic Tern flew east and a Sandwich Tern maintained that species presence throughout the month. Other birds noted included Kingfisher, two Goldcrest, a flock of 20 Linnets over the shingle ridge and a Redpoll west.
A Pomarine Skua and 18 Kittiwakes flew west and 12 Little Gulls flew east. The two Velvet Scoters were again offshore in the morning although two, presumably the same, were seen off Seasalter in the afternoon. Other birds noted included a Goldcrest with Long-tailed Tits by the Obs, a flock of ten Siskins and two Redpolls.
Sunny, very mild (up to 19.5 degrees C), light SW wind. There were single Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebes, six Gannets and the two Velvet Scoters offshore. Waders included 26 Oystercatchers and the injured Sanderling. There were eight adult Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and three Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Rock Pipit and Grey Wagtail, a pair of Stonechats, a Redwing and three Goldcrests.
The two Velvet Scoters were offshore.
Sunny, mild (up to 18 degrees C), light SW wind. There were single Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebe offshore and four Gannets flew west. Two Grey Plovers on the beach flew west and there were three Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds included two Swallows west, two Grey Wagtails and three Redwings along the east bank.
Butterflies noted were Small Whites, two Holly Blues and a Speckled Wood.
The two Velvet Scoters flew west. Four Little Gulls cold be seen off the Street. Chiffchaff numbers were far fewer and vis mig included five Greenfinches and a party of four Corn Buntings.
Sunny, mild, light SW wind. There were three Red-throated Divers, two Great Crested Grebes and the two Velvet Scoters offshore. A flock of 200 Brent Geese included at least 63 juveniles. A Teal dropped into the marsh. Waders included 25 Oystercatchers, four Sanderlings, the one with the injured wing as well, and six Curlews. After large numbers of Little Gulls in the area the previous day, there were still c30 amongst the gulls and terns off the Street. 17 Sandwich Terns were settled on the beach at one time and three Razorbills flew west. Other birds noted included four Skylarks, one Swallow, four Greenfinches and two Redpolls west, a Redwing, the long-staying Cetti’s Warbler, two Blackcaps, c10 Chiffchaffs and the Willow Warbler along the east bank.
Sunny, mild with a light SW wind. There were three Red-throated Divers and two Great Crested Grebes offshore and four Gannets flew west. A flock of 127 Brent Geese along the shoreline included a very high number of at least 37 juveniles. Waders included the injured Sanderling roosting alone between the groynes (present since 20th May) and two Snipe and 15 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A late Willow Warbler, possibly acredula, was amongst the Chiffchaffs along the east bank. Other birds included a male Great Spotted Woodpecker in the sea buckthorn along the east bank, a flock of 22 Jackdaws circling over the beach and a Greenfinch in the scrub.
A Merlin flew west close inshore at 11.10 am.
Cloudy, mild, heavy rain at times, light SW wind. There were two Red-throated Divers and three Great Crested Grebes offshore. The two Velvet Scoters were again offshore and, during heavy rain, a flock of c180 Common Scoters landed on the sea. They were too distant, and with poor light conditions, it was impossible to pick out any other species. However, in one group of Scoter in flight there were seven Tufted Ducks and two singles were also seen. There were also seven Teal on the Marsh Pool and another 12 on the sea. Waders included 105 Lapwings west in three flocks, 22 Sanderlings roosting between the groynes and a Snipe was on the Marsh Pool. A Pomarine Skua flew east close inshore and there were three Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds included three Song Thrushes which flew out of the bushes opposite the Obs, a Brambling in trees by the Obs and another heard along the east bank and later a Corn Bunting, new for the year, flew west by the skate park.
A day of brisk easterly winds brought about a significant change in the birds seen. The biggest flocks of Brent Geese so far this autumn with c1,200 heading west. Other wildfowl included 33 Wigeon, 26 Teal and eight Pintail west, a redhead Goosander east and a flock of 24 Common Scoters east at midday. Only one Velvet Scoter was noted offshore. A Woodcock in off the sea was new for the year and the birds on the move included eight Arctic Skuas and a single Great Skua west and four Kittiwakes flying east close inshore. Other birds included several parties of Skylarks, a first for the autumn Ring Ousel which dropped into the scrub, two Bramblings, a Siskin and two Yellowhammers which were also new for the year.
Sunny, mild and calm. There were three Red-throated Divers and a Great Crested Grebe offshore and a Gannet resting on the sea. A Great White Egret, accompanied by three Little Egrets, flew NW over the area early morning. Ten Brent Geese flew west and there were 26 on the beach late morning and the two Velvet Scoters were off the skate park early morning and later to the east of the tidal ponds. There were 55 Mallard on the Marsh Pool early morning, where presumably they roost at night, and 22 Redshanks. Other waders included 112 Ringed Plovers, 69 Sanderlings and a Dunlin roosting between the groynes and a flock of 20 Golden Plovers heading west over the sea. Other birds note included five Skylarks west, three Stonechats, two Jays and singles of Greenfinch and Siskin.
A Snow Bunting was photographed by the Coastguard Cottages on 6th and recorded regularly in that area subsequently, increasing to two from 16th to 18th at least. Frustratingly, only about 300m to the east of this site.
Cloudy, a little rain, light SW wind. A drake Mandarin Duck on the Marsh Pool was new for the year and a high total of 55 Mallard were also there. Other ducks were 50 Wigeon west in flocks of four, 30 and 16 with one flock including a single Pintail. The two Velvet Scoters were also offshore. There were two Red-throated Diver and a Great Crested Grebe offshore, one Gannet offshore, three Little Egrets and a Grey Heron on the beach. Waders included five Sanderlings on the beach and a juvenile Arctic Skua flew west close inshore. There was a strong movement of Chaffinches, c1,000 flying west, and also singles of Siskin and Reed Bunting.
Heavy showers then sunny with a light westerly wind. There was one Red-throated Diver and two Great Crested Grebes offshore, two Little Egrets and two Grey Herons on the beach and 42 Mallard on the Marsh Pool. Waders included 110 Ringed Plovers, four Sanderlings and four Dunlin on Hampton flats and six Black-tailed Godwits and four Knot flew west. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew west and there were five Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Vis mig included c150 Chaffinches, a single Brambling was noted in the flock and was an addition to the year list, 18 Skylarks, three Swallows, two House Martins, two Grey Wagtails, one Greenfinch and a flock of ten Siskins; all west. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher on the groynes, a pair of Stonechats, two Song Thrushes, a Blackcap, 20+ Chiffchaffs and a flock of 15 Linnets over the shingle ridge.
Small Whites and a Speckled Wood were also noted.
Cloudy, light SW wind. There was one Red-throated Diver and two Great Crested Grebes offshore, seven Little Egrets and two Grey Herons along the shoreline and 36 Brent Geese flew west. The two Velvet Scoters were again offshore and a Common Scoter flew west. Waders included four Sanderlings and two Dunlin. Other birds included a Kingfisher fishing from beach pools, a pair of Stonechats, one Siskin west, one Reed Bunting west and three more in bushes.
Five Black-tailed Godwits flew west.
Light cloud with a light southerly wind. There were two Red-throated Divers and five Great Crested Grebes offshore. A Little Grebe on the sea is unusual and one today was sufficiently distant to cause some debate as to its identification. We settled for Little Grebe and there were two more in the more usual habitat of the brook. Four Wigeon flew west, there were 12 Brent Geese offshore and two Velvet Scoters, which appeared mid-morning, gave good and sustained views off the Obs. There were four Little Egrets and two Grey Herons on the beach. Waders included 32 Oystercatchers on the beach on the incoming tide and 21 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Six Great Black-backed Gulls, four adults and two immatures, were on the beach. Highlight of the day was a party of five Bearded Tits, which circled over the area and presumably landed someone in the grassland or scrub, appearing again about half an hour later circling over the Obs before flying on west. October is always the month for this species, there were four two years ago but the previous record of 14 which were present for two days, was in 2012.
A Golden Plover was on the beach between the groynes, a Goldcrest near the changing rooms was new for the year and a Rook flew west.
Cloudy, steady rain, light northerly wind. One Red-throated Diver, a Great Crested Grebe and three Gannets were offshore, 270 Brent Geese flew west, ten Wigeon were on the sea and another three flew west and two Teal were offshore. Waders included 25 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A juvenile Pomarine Skua came close inshore chasing terns. Other birds included three Skylarks and two Swallows west, a Grey Wagtail and two Reed Buntings.
Andy led a party of some 15 souls on an early Sunday morning stroll around the site. Birds recorded included two Black Swans and a Great White Egret flying west, a Red-throated Diver on the sea, four Arctic Terns on the outflow pipe, Andy’s favourite a male Redstart along the east bank (our first and most probably last this year) and a Kingfisher fishing along the beach which was the favourite of everyone else.
Sunny, mild, light WNW wind. Four Shelduck and a flock of c50 Teal flew west. Waders included a high count of 130 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes, as well as 18 Sanderlings and 63 Turnstones, three Dunlin west, two Curlews on the beach and 11 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Two Pomarine Skuas were chasing gulls and terns off the Street and 25 Sandwich Terns flew west. Other birds noted included two Kingfishers, two Swallows, a Rock Pipit west, three Grey Wagtails, a Redwing along the east bank where there were two Blackcaps and c20 Chiffchaffs, c20 Chaffinches and three Siskins west and four Reed Buntings west.
Sunny with a light SW wind. There were single Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebe offshore. Four Little Egrets and eight Redshanks were on the Marsh Pool. Two Guillemots flew east. Other birds noted included nine Skylarks west, five Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, a Mistle Thrush which landed briefly in the scrub before heading west was only the second of the year, and four Reed Buntings.
Sunny periods, mild with a fresh SW wind. There were two summer plumage Red-throated Divers offshore, a Grey Heron and a female Marsh Harrier flew west, possibly the same harrier flew south ten minutes later. Waders included 78 Ringed Plovers and 15 Sanderlings roosting between the groynes and 11Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A westerly movement of hirundines was dominated by 4,000+ House Martins, mainly between 8-9 am.
In addition to Small Whites and a Speckled Wood, out third only Wall Butterfly made a brief appearance at the Obs.
Light cloud, calm. There were four Red-throated Divers and a Great Crested Grebe offshore, five Brent Geese, three Wigeon and a Teal flew west and five Common Scoters flew east. Waders included two Snipe and ten Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. An Arctic Tern flew east and other birds noted included Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, four Skylarks west, a party of seven House Martins south, two Stonechats and 12 Goldfinches west.
Sunny, warmer, moderate westerly wind. There was one Red-throated Diver on the sea, a Gannet and two Brent Geese flew west and a Pomarine Skua was seen close inshore. Waders included a juvenile Grey Plover on the beach and two Snipe and eight Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. 14 Sandwich Terns rested on the beach, one an obvious fresh juvenile, and another was on a buoy. A Little Grebe was in the brook and other birds included our first Redwing of the autumn which flew from the scrub with two Song Thrushes, two Skylarks, seven Swallows, a House Martin and two Grey Wagtails west, a female Stonechat in the scrub, the long-staying Cetti’s Warbler and a late Reed Warbler along the east bank with seven Blackcaps and 20+ Chiffchaffs. A Jay was in the Elm Wood. A total of 54 species was a reasonable start to the month.