February 2023

A total of 90 species for the month, compared with the ten-year average of 77 species, was the highest total since 2012! The year total of 100 species compares with a ten-year average of 92.7 species. A high total of 14 species were added to the year list but only Ring-necked Parakeet on 21st was not recorded at all last year. A very quiet end to the month with little sign of spring.

100 species recorded so far this year

101 species by this time last year


Sunshine and showers, cold, moderate NE wind. About 40 Red-throated Divers flew west distantly having been flushed by a boat. One Great Crested Grebe flew east, and there were four drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. A drake Teal was on the Marsh Pool and later two drakes landed along the shoreline by the Obs. The Purple Sandpiper was feeding along the shoreline west of the brook “outflow” along with other small waders. Other birds noted included two Buzzards interacting in the skies above the estate, a Grey Wagtail, and a Reed Bunting in the sluice.


Sunny periods and a fresh northerly wind. The kind of weather one looks forward to in autumn but does little at this time of the year. A Kittiwake flying west was an addition to the year list bringing the total for the year up to 100 species. 15 Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew west and two Gannets were offshore. Also three Shelducks flew west and three drake Red-breasted Mergansers flew east. A Chiffchaff, scarce in recent weeks, showed well in the Scout Wood.


Cloudy, cooler with a light northerly wind. The Great Northern Diver and 11 Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore and there were c200 Brent Geese on the beach. A Chiffchaff was heard calling and a male Reed Bunting was in the bushes opposite the Obs.


Cloudy with a moderate northerly wind. The Great Northern Diver and four Gannets were offshore whilst a flock of 12 Shoveler flying east were new for the year.


Cloudy and calm. A Great Northern Diver and ten Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore, a Shelduck flew west and there were c130 Brent Geese on the beach. 19 Snipe were visible on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included a Skylark west over the beach and a Grey Wagtail.


Cloudy, calm then light SW wind. A Great Northern Diver, c15 Great Crested Grebes, six Red-breasted Mergansers and a drake Teal offshore. Two drake Common Scoters flew east, there were c200 Brent Geese offshore and three Little Egrets on the Hampton flats. Waders included 28 Oystercatchers and 37 Sanderlings on the beach and 20 visible Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Highlight of the day was a female Ring-necked Parakeet in the tallest tree along the upper brook; our first since December 2021! Also noted were the Water Rail, a Rock Pipit and a Grey Wagtail and the first female Stonechat since December 22nd.


A Raven flew east at 8 am, an immature male Merlin, that came in off the sea and over the Obs at 9.28 am, was new for the year. A Black Brant was again on the beach with the Brents, a Great Northern Diver flew west at 11.15 am, two Canada Geese flew west and the Purple Sandpiper was present.

Black Brant – Andy Taylor


There were several Great Crested Grebes offshore, a female Eider flew west at 10.20 am but there was no sign of any Red-throated Divers or Red-breasted Mergansers. The Purple Sandpiper was in the wader roost, an adult Mediterranean Gull was on the sea and there were two Goldcrests along the brook.


Sunny with a light SW wind. There were five Great Crested Grebes, three Red-breasted Mergansers and a number of Red-throated Divers offshore. Waders included 75 Sanderlings along the shoreline with the Purple Sandpiper. A Peregrine flew west close inshore and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull settled off the Obs. Other birds noted included one Stock Dove west, three Redwings, the Cetti’s Warbler and Blackcap, a Reed Bunting and, new for the year, three Greenfinches over the sewage works and a male south over the changing rooms.


A Great Northern Diver on the sea off the skate park was our first sighting since January 13th. Also noted were five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, the male Stonechat, the Cetti’s Warbler and Blackcap.


Sunny, mild and calm. An adult Gannet flying east was the first of the month, there were seven Great Crested Grebes offshore, Red-throated Divers, an immature drake Gadwall on the tidal ponds and later on the Marsh Pool was new for the year, and two Shelduck flew west. The Grey Plover was on the “platform” by the caravan park and c20 Snipe were flushed from the Marsh Pool by a man with two dogs; unfortunately they are becoming a regular feature and he is not given to reasoning! Other birds noted included our first Buzzard of the year heading south over the estate, Grey Wagtail, the male Stonechat, Redwing and Jay.

There has been no definite sighting of the Pallas’s Warbler since 9th although few visiting birders are now looking for it. One visitor today did report the Water Rail and two Goldcrests.

Gadwall – Andy Taylor


Cloudy, mild, light SW wind. There were c120 Brent Geese offshore, a Shelduck flew west and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers flew east. Waders included the Grey Plover on the platform and c20 Snipe flushed by a dog walker from the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included one Stock Dove west, Grey Wagtail, male Stonechat, Redwing, Cetti’s Warbler and Blackcap, and a Jay along the upper brook and flying towards the Elm Wood.


Light cloud, frost, calm. A pair of Great Crested Grebes were displaying offshore, four drake Red-breasted Mergansers were also displaying to each other and another pair were also present by the tidal ponds. Waders included 30 Oystercatchers on the beach and the “resident” Grey Plover was also present. A first-winter Mediterranean Gull flew west close inshore. A Jack Snipe was flushed from the wet grassland. The Pallas’s Warbler showed well in the afternoon and other birds noted included the Water Rail and Grey Wagtail, Redwing, Cetti’s Warbler and Blackcap.

Redshank – Geoff Burton
Sparrowhawk – Geoff Burton


Foggy throughout the morning with a very heavy frost and -2.5 degrees C at 9.10 am. The sea was barely visible at any time. A Fieldfare in the scrubland trees was new for the year. Elsewhere, a Rock Pipit was at the mouth of the brook, a Grey Wagtail in the brook by the sewage works entrance and a Redwing was in the trees by the wooden bridge.

Frosted vegetation – Geoff Burton


A female Pochard, that flew west, was an addition to the year list and there were seven Red-breasted Mergansers seen offshore before the fog rolled in. The Pallas’s Warbler was reported in the afternoon.


Foggy, partially clearing by 11 am. A Mute Swan and three Shelducks flew west, a pair of Wigeon were on the sea off the Obs together with three drake Red-breasted Mergansers. Interest in the Pallas’s Warbler is beginning to wane but it showed well in the ivy-covered trees by the wooden bridge this morning. The first confirmed report since 2nd. Other birds noted included Rock Pipit and Grey Wagtail, the male Stonechat, a flock of ten Redwings in flight along the east bank and a Goldcrest.


Cloudy and calm. A flock of 20+ White-fronted Geese flew west over the sea at 8 am and later a skein of 68 flew east high inland. A Greylag Goose that flew west high over the sea was new for the year and two Shelducks also flew west. The Purple Sandpiper was seen on the beach in front of the caravan park and there were ten Snipe and ten Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. The Water Rail was seen along the upper brook and, presumably a second bird, was seen briefly on the Marsh Pool. An adult Mediterranean Gull flying south over the Obs at 12.32 pm was another addition to the year list. Other birds noted included four Meadow Pipits, a Grey Wagtail, a Redwing along the east bank, the Cetti’s Warbler, a male Blackcap in a scratchy sub-song and a Chiffchaff.

White-fronted Geese – Andy Taylor
Water Rail – Andy Taylor


The Purple Sandpiper was on beach by the platform. There were no reports of the Pallas’s Warbler today, although interest is declining now, but our other three warbler species, Cetti’s Warbler, Blackcap and Chiffchaff were all noted as well as Goldcrest. Other birds noted included the male Sparrowhawk, a Rock Pipit in the remnant brook, Grey Wagtail and six Pied Wagtails on the football pitch.


Sunny with a moderate westerly wind, milder. There were five Great Crested Grebes and four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and, flushed by the Whitstable Boat Trip’s Ventura, 60 Red-throated Divers flew west. There were c200 Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the beach with one Greater Canada Goose and a Black Brant. Waders included a flock of 50 Golden Plovers west, the Purple Sandpiper and the Grey Plover. Other birds noted included two Stock Doves west, a male Great Spotted Woodpecker in trees by the Obs, a Rock Pipit at the mouth of the brook, a Grey Wagtail, seven Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, two Redwings, a Mistle Thrush west, a Chiffchaff and the Pallas’s Warbler, apparently not seen until 1.46 pm.

Canada Goose and Black Brant amongst the Brent Geese – Geoff Burton
Purple Sandpiper – Geoff Burton
Rock Pipit – Geoff Burton


Sunny with a moderate SW wind. There were small numbers of Red-throated Divers and two Great Crested Grebes offshore and a single Shelduck flew west. Amongst waders there were c270 Golden Plovers west, including one flock of 150, four Lapwings west and the ever-present Grey Plover. Other birds noted included a male Sparrowhawk, which caught a Blackbird, the Pallas’s Warbler in the Elm Wood at 12.30 pm, whilst looking for the bird produced a Grey Wagtail, a Redwing and a Goldcrest, the male Stonechat and five Pied Wagtails and 45 Carrion Crows on the football pitch. A total of 50 species recorded to start the month.

Male Sparrowhawk and unfortunate prey – Andy Taylor