January 2022

A total of 81 species so far this year

A total of 71 species by the same time last year

14th

Four Shelducks and 11 Common Scoters flew east and the three duck Eiders were again offshore. A Marsh Harrier flew NW and a group of 11 Meadow Pipits were assembled in a single tree.

13th

Sunny, calm. A Great Northern Diver, the three duck Eiders, four drake Red-breasted Mergansers, a redhead Goosander and, in the perfect flat calm conditions, the reappearance of the Black Guillemot off the Obs at 10.20 am and then drifting east. An adult Mute Swan flew west and , amongst the roosting waders between the groynes, our first Knot of the year. Other roosting waders included a Grey Plover, 57 Ringed Plovers, 85 Sanderlings and 69 Dunlin. Other birds noted included a Skylark, three Meadow Pipits, ten Pied Wagtails along the strandline at high tide, a Song Thrush and Linnets.

Black Guillemot – Rob Stokes

12th

Sunny with a light northerly wind. Wildfowl were the centre of attention today with a redhead Goosander close inshore and a flock of 11 White-fronted Geese flying west over the sea both additions to the year list. The three duck Eiders were also present but only two drake Red-breasted Mergansers were seen. 12 Red-throated Divers flew east, there were six Great Crested Grebes and three Gannets offshore. A Little Grebe was seen again in Coot Strait. Waders included 64 Ringed Plovers, 68 Sanderlings and 42 Dunlin roosting between the groynes and there were 25 Redshanks roosting on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher, female Stonechat, Chiffchaff and two Long-tailed Tits.

Goosander – Andy Taylor

11th

A Great Northern Diver and the three duck Eiders were offshore and the Water Rail, seen along the middle brook, was another addition to the year list.

10th

A Black-throated Diver off the obs, drifting west, and a Velvet Scoter on the sea west of the tidal ponds were both additions to the year list. Two Great Northern Divers were also offshore.

Waders – Andy Taylor

9th

A Little Grebe along Coot Strait was a welcome addition to the year list as we had suspected the brook, which was the colour of milky tea, might have put them off their fishing. Soil, washing into the brook upstream, either from farmland or building works, or both is thought to be the cause. A Great Northern Diver was at the tidal ponds and another Marsh Harrier flew west.

8th

Cloudy, light rain and a moderate SW wind. A Great Northern Diver, a Shag, the three duck Eiders and seven Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. There were two Grey Herons on the tidal ponds, two Lapwings on the flats and a Marsh Harrier flew west low over the sea. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker along the upper brook, a Grey Wagtail by the sluice, the pair of Stonechats in the rose bush along the shingle ridge and ten Chaffinches in the bushes opposite the Obs.

7th

A female Eider and seven Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. 17 Golden Plovers flew west and a Grey Plover was again on the beach. Also seen were a Grey Wagtail and a Stonechat.

6th

Sunny, hard frost (-1.5 C), light SW wind. A Pale-bellied Brent Goose flew east in a flock of Dark-bellied Brents. A Shag was within the tidal ponds, the three duck Eiders and four Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Waders included our first Grey Plover of the year, on the beach, and an early morning movement of 130 Fieldfares heading west included our first Redwing of the year. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher on the nest tray by the Marsh Pool, with a Kestrel perched above it, two Long-tailed Tits by the scout hut and 16 Linnets along the shingle ridge.

Two foxes were seen along the shingle spit as the tide came in. They were hunkered down to avoid the attention of the dog walking stream but eventually had to move with the incoming tide.

Pale-bellied Brent Goose – Andy Taylor
Sparrowhawk – Andy Taylor
Fox – Geoff Burton

5th

Sunny, cold, fresh NW wind. A Great Northern Diver, a Slavonian Grebe, two Shags, the three duck Eiders, three Red-breasted Mergansers and two Razorbills were offshore. However, with the strong NW winds, there was no sign of the Black Guillemot. Seven Wigeon flew west in the company of a drake Shoveler. Other birds noted included several additions to the year list: our first Stock Dove of the year flying west, three Fieldfares west and a Song Thrush sunning itself by the scout hut and a Reed Bunting in the bushes opposite the Obs. Also, a Grey Wagtail, Stonechat, Chiffchaff and three Long-tailed Tits.

4th

The Black Guillemot was present for its fourth day. Gannet and Grey Heron were additions to the year list.

3rd

Cloudy, cooler, moderate SW wind. The Black Guillemot was still offshore. Other birds on the sea included a Great Northern Diver, a Shag, the three duck Eiders, seven Red-breasted Mergansers and a Razorbill. A Mute Swan flew east and two flew west and three Common Scoters flew west. 15 Snipe were visible on the Marsh Pool and an adult Mediterranean Gull was offshore. Other birds included the pair of Stonechats, a Chiffchaff calling at the Obs, a Long-tailed Tit in the Elm Wood and, unusually, two Jackdaws amongst the Black-headed Gulls on the Marsh Pool.

2nd

There were two Great Northern Divers, three duck Eiders and four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and the Black Guillemot again showed well amongst the buoys. Other birds included an adult Mediterranean Gull, a Razorbill and a Grey Wagtail.

1st

Cloudy at first then sunny, very mild with a light SW wind. A new year a new challenge and, with good watching conditions, a chance to make the most of it. On arrival, in addition to the three duck Eider and eight Red-breasted Mergansers that have been present for sometime, there were three Teal offshore and an unexpected duck Shoveler along the shoreline. At the eastern end of the site, two Great Northern Divers, a Slavonian Grebe and a Shag were welcome additions to the year list and searching from them later in the morning led to the discovery of a Black Guillemot feeding offshore amid a cluster of colourful buoys. Swalecliffe’s first twitch of the year and exactly six weeks since this bird, or possibly another, was seen at the site. Other ducks included four Shelducks and a pair of Wigeon west whilst waders included a a roosting flock of 97 Sanderlings and a flock of 20 Golden Plovers heading west low over the sea. Other birds included a female Marsh Harrier heading south, very slowly, an adult Mediterranean Gull on the Marsh Pool, a Guillemot close inshore, a Kingfisher and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Skylark and a Stonechat. The total of 60 species was best start to the year since 2011!

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