A total of 104 species for the month is very “average” with the ten-year average being 104.1 species. A generally quiet month boosted by the additions of five species to that list on the final day. Seven species were added to the year list, there were no great rarities but two Ospreys, on 9th and 14th, were most welcome.
A total of 155 species so far this year
156 species by this time last year
Sunny and calm. A more lively day to end the month. There were two Red-throated Divers offshore. Five Grey Herons flew NW and there were five Little Egrets on the beach. A flock of 17 Greylag Geese flew NW towards Sheppey and a duck Common Scoter was on the sea. Waders included 27 Oystercatchers on the beach and six Snipe and eight Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Three Arctic Skuas; including two light-phase adults, flew west close inshore, a juvenile Little Gull close inshore was our first of the autumn and an adult Mediterranean Gull flew south over the skate park. A Razorbill close inshore of the Obs was the first specifically identified this year. A Red Kite, unusual here at this time of the year, flew west at 11.25 am and a juvenile Marsh Harrier flew west low over the sea at 11.50 am. Other birds noted included two Wheatears on the beach and a party of four Redpolls and a Siskin at the Obs.
Cloudy, moderate NW wind. A Red-throated Diver flew east, six Gannets flew west, a flock of 40 Brent Geese flew east, another 25 west, seven Wigeon and 23 Common Scoters flew west. Waders included 24 Oystercatchers on the beach, a Sanderling roosting with Ringed Plovers and Turnstones, five Snipe on the Marsh Pool and two Curlews, our only record this month, flying west. Four Arctic Skuas were chasing terns distantly offshore.
Cloudy, light SW wind. There were two breeding plumage Red-throated Divers offshore, three Common Scoters flew west and c30 circled around offshore. There were ten Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool. Waders included one Snipe and two Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. c15 Common Terns were feeding offshore. Other birds noted included a westerly movement of Swallows and House Martins and a Wheatear on the groynes.
A large Fox Moth caterpillar crossed the path.
Cloudy, light SW wind. One Red-throated Diver close inshore, three Gannets and nine Common Scoters east. Two Teal and a Guillemot flew west. Waders included single Dunlin and Sanderling, three Snipe on the Marsh Pool and 84 Turnstones on the beach. Other birds noted included a Hobby hunting beyond the houses.
A Merlin flew west low over the sea.
Sunny, light SW wind. One Red-throated Diver flew east. Five Mute Swans, three adults and two juveniles, were resting on the sea before flying off , first east and then back west. There were ten Little Egrets on the beach and the Marsh Pool and two Grey Herons flew west. Waders included two Dunlin on the beach and three Snipe on the Marsh Pool. There were three Mediterranean Gulls and five Common Gulls flew west. A total of 320 Herring Gulls on the beach included one of the Pitsea Landfill birds (see below). Other birds noted included our first Skylark of the autumn which landed on the shingle ridge, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail, two Jays, ten Linnets, and a Reed Bunting west.
The Herring Gull was ringed as a second calendar year bird on 8th March 2014. Subsequently it was recorded at Beddington Sewage Farm in May that year, here at Swalecliffe in November 2015, March 2018, October 2019 and December 2021, with a visit to a landfill site in Leicestershire in January 2019.
Sunny with a light westerly wind. A single Brent Goose which flew west was our first returning bird. Waders included a single Sanderling on the beach, two Golden Plovers west an six Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. 19 Sandwich Terns were resting on the tidal ponds. 53 Swallows and two House Martins flew west and other birds noted included a Sedge Warbler in the bushes opposite the Obs, six Blackcaps, five Jays, a Rook flying west and two Reed Buntings.
Butterflies noted were Small White, Speckled Wood Red Admiral and Peacock and Ivy Bees and Common Darter too.
There were three winter plumage Sanderlings on the beach. Two Sedge Warblers were together in the same bush, the “bushes were full of ” Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs and there was a Willow Warbler in the churchyard.
Cloudy, light SW wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes on the sea and two Grey Herons on the beach. An Arctic Skua and five Mediterranean Gulls flew west. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Grey Wagtail on the roof of a house in Brook Road and two Whitethroats.
A Hobby caught a hirundine over the beach, a Bar-tailed Godwit was on the beach and a Wheatear also seen.
Cloudy with a fresh to strong SW wind. There were six Little Egrets and a Grey Heron on the beach. Waders included four Bar-tailed Godwits which landed briefly on the Hampton flats and a Snipe and two Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. An Arctic Skua was harrying terns offshore. Large numbers of House Martins poured west with an estimate of 3,500, most before 9 am, whilst there were only c25 Swallows, a single Swift and Sand Martin amongst them. 13 Meadow Pipits and a Grey Wagtail also flew west and there was a Wheatear on the beach.
Butterflies noted were Small White, Speckled Wood and Comma and Common Darter dragonflies were also seen.
Cloudy, moderate SW wind with rain from 10.30 am. Two Cattle Egrets on the Hampton flats were new for the year. A light-phase Arctic Skua was harrying terns offshore and five Arctic Terns flew west. Other birds noted included a Hobby, a Grey Wagtail, a Whinchat and three Wheatears.
Sunny, calm. A Red-throated Diver on the sea flew off west. There were four Gannets offshore and a flock of nine Grey Herons which flew west over the sea had earlier been seen at Reculver. A drake Wigeon and four Teal flew west and another 12 Teal circled close inshore. Seven Common Scoters flew east and ten flew west. Waders included 47 Ringed Plovers on the Hampton flats, two Snipe on the Marsh Pool, three Greenshanks flying west with two briefly along the shoreline, and 72 Turnstones on the beach. A Grasshopper Warbler, flushed from vegetation by the brook, was a new bird for the year and a Reed Warbler and a Whitethroat were also seen.
A Brown Argus butterfly in the brook-side vegetation was a bit of a surprise and a Willow Emerald Damselfly was our first this year.
A Marsh Harrier and an Arctic Skua flew west and eight Meadow Pipits were noted.
Sunny, calm. A single Great Crested Grebe offshore was the first noted since July. There were five Little Egrets and a Grey Heron on the beach and 20 Common Scoters flew west. An Osprey, our second of the month, was fishing offshore for about 15 minutes before drifting off west. Waders included five Dunlin and a Snipe on the Marsh Pool, a Bar-tailed Godwit, and two Greenshanks on the shoreline which hung around for c40 minutes despite being flushed several times. An Arctic Skua was seen offshore. Other birds noted included a Hobby, Kingfisher and Great Spotted Woodpecker, three Meadow Pipits, a count of 75 Carrion Crows on the beach and four Greenfinches in the Elm Wood.
There were 17 Red Admirals taking the early morning sun in the top of an ivy-covered hedge along the upper brook. Small White and Speckled Wood wee also seen.
Cloudy with a fresh NE wind. Two Red-throated Divers flew east, there were 24 Gannets offshore, three Brent Geese and two Wigeon flew west and there were c50 Common Scoters in flight offshore. Waders included a single Knot along the shoreline, seven Dunlin on the Marsh Pool and a single Redshank on the beach and the Marsh Pool. 24 Arctic Skuas and seven Great Skuas and an Arctic Tern flew west and two large auk sp flew east.
Butterflies noted were Small White, Speckled Wood and two Red Admirals.
The juvenile Spotted Redshank was on the Marsh Pool, but flew off west at 9.22 am, and there were also single Dunlin, Snipe and Common Sandpiper. Four Arctic Skuas flew west. Two Meadow Pipits also flew west.
Cloudy, calm. There were four Gannets offshore, three Common Scoters flew west and a flock of c25 flew east. Five Little Egrets were on the Marsh Pool at high tide. Waders included a flock of 26 Redshanks together with two Spotted Redshanks on the beach, another juvenile Spotted Redshank commuting between the beach and the Marsh Pool and a Curlew Sandpiper, briefly on the shoreline with Ringed Plovers, which was new for the year. Later, a flock of 21 Knot flew west and there were single Snipe and Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included three Buzzards apparently displaying in the skies above Studd Hill, a Kingfisher, 30 Swallows west, one Meadow Pipit west, a Grey Wagtail, a Wheatear and a Lesser Whitethroat and a Willow Warbler.
Three Gannets flew west and there were seven Little Egrets on the beach. Waders included 16 Oystercatchers, 30 Ringed Plovers, 50+ Turnstones and a Common Sandpiper. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Yellow Wagtails west, a Grey Wagtail and six Jays.
Sunny, very warm, calm. An Osprey that flew west over the sea at 6.40 am was our first here since 2020. Two Greylag Geese flew west, two Teal flew east and three flew west, and there were seven Little Egrets on the beach. Waders included a flock of 15 Ringed Plovers west and 67 on the beach, five Dunlin west, two Bar-tailed Godwits stopping briefly on the beach before heading west, and two Common Sandpipers on the Marsh Pool. Three Arctic Skuas and an adult Mediterranean Gull also flew west. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Grey Wagtail.
A Dunlin, two Snipe and a Common Sandpiper were on the Marsh Pool.
Foggy with mist lingering over the sea until 11.30 am. Calm. A Short-eared Owl was flushed from the grass near the Marsh Pool and disappeared into the mist. Our first here for two years. Waders included four Snipe and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included two Kingfishers flying down the brook towards the sluice, Cetti’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, two Whitethroats, five Blackcaps and a Willow Warbler.
Butterflies noted were Small White, Speckled Wood and Comma and a Wasp Spider was seen in the scrub.
Misty/light cloud, warm, calm. A drake Wigeon close inshore flew off west. Waders included four Knot east along the shoreline, ten Dunlin resting on the shoreline which flew off west and, another on the Marsh Pool, and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. 212 Herring Gulls on the beach were mostly adults and there were 20+ Sandwich Terns fishing offshore and a single Common Tern. Other birds noted included a Grey Wagtail and Cetti’s Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat and a male Blackcap in the bushes opposite the Obs.
Six Bar-tailed Godwits flew west and two flew east, and there were two Snipe on the Marsh Pool. 37 Sandwich Terns flew east, others were fishing offshore during the morning, and 31 Common Terns flew west. A Guillemot flew east and a Redstart, brighter than yesterday’s bird, was seen in the scrub.
Cloudy at first, calm. Waders included two Dunlin on the beach and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. A female/immature Redstart that flew by the Obs and into the bushes opposite was new for the year but only showed briefly. Our second Whinchat of the year was nearby behind the Obs Pool. A Lesser Whitethroat was also seen.
Butterflies seen were Small White and Small Heath,
Sunny and calm. Four Gannets, a Shelduck and 20 Common Scoters flew east and two Teal flew west. Waders included a flock of Knot and Bar-tailed Godwits, about eight of each, that flew west, three Green Sandpipers over the area early morning which eventually flew off west, a Dunlin, a Snipe and two Common Sandpipers on the Marsh Pool and single Whimbrel and Redshank heard calling. Four Arctic Skuas also flew west. Other birds noted included a Sedge Warbler and a Willow Warbler and four Jays together along the east bank.
Cloudy, rain until 9am, calm. There were ten Gannets offshore, a Grey Heron was on the beach and two Shelduck flying west landed on the sea. Waders included a Spotted Redshank calling constantly as it flew west at 9.20 am, only our second this year, a flock of 12 Knot west, three Redshanks west and another on the Marsh Pool, and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. Six Arctic Skuas flew east together and a Guillemot flew east close inshore. Two vocal Sandwich Terns flew south over the football pitch and away inland. Other birds of noted included a Kingfisher along the middle brook and a bright male Wheatear on the shingle ridge.
Small White butterflies are still plentiful and a Holly Blue was also seen.