A total of 70 species for the month was below the ten-year average of 73.6. There was a strong movement of Swifts in the first half of the month. A build up of Mediterranean Gulls peaked at 93 on 8th. Four Dutch-ringed birds were noted and included one individual of 17 years of age. Typically, wader numbers increased towards the end of the month with a total of 77 Whimbrel, including 32 on 29th, and a maximum of 65 Turnstones on 27th. A juvenile Cuckoo on 25th was noteworthy and a Willow Warbler on 31st a hint of things to come. Finally, our first Kingfisher of the year appeared on 29th.
A total of 140 species so far this year
142 species by this time last year
Cloudy, moderate SW wind. Two Gannets flew east. Waders noted were three Oystercatchers on the beach, 19 Whimbrel including eight that rested on the shoreline and four Curlews. There were four Sandwich Terns offshore and seven Common Terns flew west. Other birds noted included 115 Swifts and two Sand Martins west, our first juvenile Willow Warbler at the Obs on a typical date, and a Jay along the brook.
Butterflies noted included a Painted Lady and also at the Obs there was a Brown-banded Bee and a Roessel’s Bush Cricket.
Cloudy, with a shower and a light SW wind. Single Gannets flew east and west, a Grey Heron flew east and three Common Scoters flew east. Waders included a flock of 26 Whimbrel that circled the beach seeking to land but moved on west and another flock of six. A Greenshank that landed on the beach was the first returning bird, a Common Sandpiper flew along the shoreline and there were also two Ringed Plovers and a Redshank on the beach. Six Mediterranean Gulls on the beach included three juveniles. A Kingfisher flew down along the middle brook and over the sluice. Our first this year after normally wintering individuals disappeared during a cold spell in December. Other birds noted included three Stock Doves which flew off the shingle ridge and eight Swifts and a Hobby west.
Cloudy, light SW wind. A Great Crested Grebe offshore was our first since June 22nd. Seven Common Scoters flew east and there were five Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool. A Common Sandpiper was on the beach and there were also 25 Turnstones and a single Ringed Plover.
Cloudy with a light SW wind. Seven Gannets and four Common Scoters flew east. Waders noted were 65 Turnstones roosting between the groynes with two Ringed Plovers, 12 Whimbrel, including eight resting along the shoreline, a Curlew east, and single Oystercatcher, Common Sandpiper and Redshank on the beach. Gulls included two adult Common Gulls west, an adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls with two juveniles, 75 juvenile Herring Gulls and five immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Four Sandwich Terns and seven Common Terns flew west. Other birds noted included a Stock Dove, 25 Swifts, seven Sand Martins and a Swallow west.
A female Common Blue, not very common here these days, was at the Obs and a Jersey Tiger moth was a welcome site.
Sunny with a light SW wind. Two Gannets were offshore and there were five Little Egrets present. The Turnstone count rose to 42 and there were three Ringed Plovers and another Sanderling with them. One Oystercatcher was on the beach and a Redshank was heard. There were 40 juvenile Herring Gulls, an adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls with three juveniles and three immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. There were also six Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds noted included two distantly displaying Buzzards, single Sand Martin and Swallow west, a Grey Wagtail in the brook by the sluice, three Jays along the east bank and 53 Carrion Crows on the beach.
Our first Small Copper butterfly of the year was seen along the coastal path. Our 22nd species of the year and 20th this month.
A juvenile Cuckoo pitched in at the Obs during the morning. Two Lapwings and 17 Turnstones were also noted.
Cloudy, light SW wind. An increase in the number of Turnstones with 28 roosting between the groynes accompanied by five Ringed Plovers and our first returning Sanderling. One Oystercatcher was on the beach and another four flew west and there was a Redshank in the remnant brook. There were three Mediterranean Gulls, an adult Common Gull and four Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Also noted was a Stock Dove on the shingle ridge, a few Sand Martins and four Swallows west.
Sunny periods, light southerly wind. Two Gannets flew west and there were five Little Egrets on the beach. Our first returning Common Sandpiper was beach-hopping west along the shoreline, a Whimbrel touched down briefly on the shoreline also on its way west and eight Turnstones, all but one in full breeding plumage, rested between the groynes. Amongst the gulls there on the beach were six Mediterranean Gulls and five Great Black-backed Gulls. A party of 15 Swifts circled over the estate heading east, two Sand Martins, six Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail flew west.
Cloudy with a light NE wind. One Gannet flew east and there were seven Little Egrets on the Hampton flats. A Ringed Plover heard was the only wader, ten Mediterranean Gulls on the beach included two juveniles and a Sandwich Tern was offshore. Little else but there were two Stock Doves, a single Swift, a Grey Wagtail, and five Pied Wagtails on the football pitch.
Cloudy, showers, light westerly wind. There were seven Little Egrets on the beach. A juvenile Marsh Harrier flew west at 8.45 am. Waders noted were two Oystercatchers on the beach and a single Turnstone on the beach, six Whimbrel, a single and a party of five, and a Curlew west and a Redshank. A total of 46 Mediterranean Gulls gathered on the beach on the incomong tide and included five juveniles. Other birds noted included six Swifts and ten Sand Martins west, four Swallows, a Grey Wagtail and eight Pied Wagtails on the football pitch.
There were a number of ringed Mediterranean Gulls in the flock including two with only unreadable metal rings and an English colour-ringed bird that sat down before its details could be read. However, there were two more Dutch-ringed birds. One was rung as an adult in 2018, was then seen in Belgium, on a number of occasions at Copt Point in Folkestone and back in the Netherlands last year. The other was rung as a pullus (chick) in 2006 and is thus 17 years old! Again there have been many reports from Copt Point, in Belgium in 2019, and in SW France in February last year.
Single Oystercatcher and Curlew were noted. Two Grey Wagtails were along the brook and a Reed Warbler was heard singing behind the Obs.
Cloudy, moderate SW wind. Three Gannets flew west. Waders noted were two Oystercatchers on the beach, a Ringed Plover, five Whimbrel, two on the tidal ponds and a group of three west, a single Redshank on the Marsh Pool, and two Turnstones on the groynes. As the tide came in, gulls and terns gathered on the beach including 12 Mediterranean Gulls, three Sandwich Terns, including a juvenile, and seven Common Terns. One Swift and three Swallows flew west.
Sunny then cloudy with a heavy rain shower, moderate SW wind. Waders noted were one Oystercatcher on the beach, two Curlews, a Redshank and nine Turnstones on the groynes. There were single Sandwich and Common Terns offshore. Early morning passage of Swifts with 175 west, also seven Sand Martins west and a Yellow Wagtail was heard calling. A Hobby came in off the sea at 4.30 pm.
Sunny with a light SW wind. One Gannet flew west, two Little Egrets flew west with another five on the Marsh Pool. Waders were an Oystercatcher, a Whimbrel, two Curlews and six Turnstones on the beach and five Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. There were also 14 Mediterranean Gulls and an adult Common Gull on the Marsh Pool. An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull with a juvenile was on the beach. Other birds note dincluded 157 Swifts west, a Great Spotted Woodpecker which flew into the trees by the Obs and a Yellow Wagtail which dropped in by the Marsh Pool.
Another Dutch-ringed Mediterranean Gull was present on the Marsh Pool. This individual was ringed on 20th May 2022, only two days after the one here on 8th, and also as a third calendar year bird. It appears to have spent this breeding season in the Loire Valley in France.
A Brimstone at the Obs was our 18th species for the month.
Sunny with a light SW wind. The only waders noted were a single Curlew flying west and a Whimbrel heard calling. There were two Stock Doves on the muddy margin to the Marsh pool where towards high tide 30 Mediterranean Gulls and a second calendar year Common Gull had gathered. Swifts were on the move again with 255 west by 7.15 am. Also noted were three Sand Martins and a Swallow west.
A Large White butterfly at the Obs was the 17th species for the month.
Sunny with a light southerly wind. There were five Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool and a Grey Heron flew east over the area. A Whimbrel flew west over the tidal ponds and a Redshank was heard calling. 13 Mediterranean Gulls were resting on the Marsh Pool, there were four immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and three Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds noted included 50 Swifts and three Sand Martins west, 12 Swallows and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. The male Greenfinch was again in the Elm Wood and a juvenile Goldfinch was in trees along the east bank.
Nine species of butterfly were recorded and a European Corn-borer moth was seen along the upper brook.
Sunny, warm and calm. Two Brent Geese wee on the beach all morning. Presumably, they have strayed from the summering flock that usually hangs around in the Medway estuary. A flock of 76 Mediterranean Gulls were gathered on the beach with another 17 on the Marsh Pool. There were also four Little Egrets on the pool. Waders were represented only by single Oystercatcher on the beach and a Lapwing that circled over the beach. Four Sandwich Terns flew east but there was little else of note.
One of the Mediterranean Gulls on the Marsh Pool had been rung as a third calendar year bird in May 2022 in the Netherlands. Subsequent sightings were from Copt Point, for a few days in August that year, and two sightings in Brittany during the winter. Thanks to Camille Duponcheel for the information.
A Peacock butterfly at the Obs was our 16th species for the month.
Sunny with a light SW wind. There were 19 Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool. A Ringed Plover was on the shoreline by the Obs and a Curlew flew west. There were five Mediterranean Gulls and five Great Black-backed Gulls, including one adult, on the beach and three Sandwich Terns offshore including one juvenile. 40 Swifts flew west, a Grey Wagtail was heard calling and there were six juvenile Long-tailed Tits at the Obs.
Amongst the butterflies at the Obs was a Painted Lady.
Sunny, moderate SW wind. There were 18 Little Egrets, three Redshanks and a Green Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. A Sandwich Tern was offshore and three single Common Terns flew west. The heaviest passage of Swifts this year with 159 heading west, most in the early morning. Other birds included a Grey Wagtail by the sluice and a Song Thrush singing briefly near the Obs; our first since May.
Nine species of butterfly included Red Admiral and Speckled Wood bringing the month total to 13 species.
Sunny with a fresh westerly wind. One Gannet flew east, there were eight Little Egrets and a Redshank on the Marsh Pool and three Curlews on the Hampton flats. Four Mediterranean Gulls flew west and there were three Sandwich Terns offshore. A Meadow Pipit was displaying in the grassland although none had been seen here since May.
A total of 11 species of butterfly were noted, mainly around the Obs; they included our first Essex Skipper, another early Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Green-veined White, Comma and Small Tortoiseshell.
Cloudy, fresh westerly wind. There were seven Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool. No waders were noted today! There were four Sandwich Terns close inshore, a Hobby flew west close by the Obs and a Reed Warbler was singing along the east bank.
Butterflies noted were Small White, Small Skipper and Marbled White.