September 2018

                                                       145 species recorded so far this year                                                       143 by the same time last year

17th

Sunny and warm with a light southerly wind. A juvenile Mute Swan, close inshore on the sea, drifted east down to Hampton (and was also seen in the afternoon by Arnie van Orsouw). One Common Scoter flew east and the “resident” Teal was again seen. Waders included a single Whimbrel on the beach and a Sanderling amongst a flock of Ringed Plovers and Turnstones. A Kingfisher was perched on the side of the brook behind the shingle ridge, a Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the churchyard and in flight over the Obs, a Whinchat was in the grassland, and a Wheatear on the beach between the groynes at the eastern end.  A Blackcap, four Chiffchaffs (three newly arrived by the beach) and a Willow Warbler were noted and a Reed Bunting was in the bushes opposite the Obs.

Butterflies included two Speckled Woods.

15th

Sunny with a light NW wind. There were 16 Little Egrets gathered together on the shoreline by the Obs early morning; a good count for the site. A single Teal and Common Scoter were noted. A juvenile Marsh Harrier flew west close inshore and a Hobby flying through was the first of the month. Only one Whinchat and one Willow Warbler were seen whilst a Sparrowhawk crashing out of the trees by the Obs left the sound of alarmed Long-tailed Tits in its wake; our first recorded here since June.

13th

Sunny with a light NW wind. One Great Crested Grebe flew east and ten Gannets flew west. There was one Golden Plover (our first this autumn) and three Dunlin on the beach and two Whimbrel. Other birds included a male Great Spotted Woodpecker at the Obs, a Kingfisher along the brook, three Whinchats in the scrub and a Willow Warbler along the east bank.

                Whinchat – Andy Taylor

On this day in 2008 – a Fan-tailed Warbler was found in the scrub at about 9 am and remained in the area for about three hours before flying off strongly west. This was only the second record for Kent and the sixth for Britain. There have been two records in Kent since then, a long-staying bird at Pegwell Bay in October-December 2009 and a second for Bockhill in March 2010. There has been no further sightings in Kent or in Britain since. Always touted as a species that might colonise from the near Continent, the four records in Kent between 2006 and 2010 might have given credence to this but it has turned out to be another false dawn.

11th

Sunny with a moderate SW wind. A juvenile Mediterranean Gull in transition to first-winter plumage was on the beach. Ten Common Terns (scarce here recently) flew west and, as the tide came in, there were five Little Egrets on the shoreline.  One of these was colour-ringed and we traced it to the Southern Colour Ringing Group who have been ringing Little Egrets and Grey Herons at two sites in the Lee Valley since 2015. Our bird was one of a family of three ringed at Netherhall on 10th May this year. The bird was seen at Dartford Marshes on 23rd July before visiting us. This is the first colour ringed Little Egret we have seen here. Most of our colour ringed birds have been gulls and we have now learnt that ringing at the Pitsea Landfill Site, where most of our ringed gulls originate, ceased on 13th March this year because of the lack of food waste and consequently lack of gulls! However, I am sure we will continue to see Pitsea gulls for many years yet.

There was a westerly movement of House Martins this morning, typically in pulses, with 285 being the highest count so far this autumn.  Only four Sand Martins and four Swallows were noted. Other birds noted included six Meadow Pipits west, a Whinchat in the scrub and a Willow Warbler along the east bank.

10th

Sunny with a light SW wind. Five Common Scoters flew east, a Teal was on the Marsh Pool where, later, a Snipe dropped in and settled down to sleep. Four Swallows, 11 Meadow Pipits and five Yellow Wagtails flew west and there were three Whinchats in the grassland.

Butterflies included a late Meadow Brown and our first Small Copper. A total of 23 species this year with only Wall, Brown Argus and Purple Hairstreak seen here only in previous years.

Teal – Geoff Burton

Meadow Brown – Geoff Burton

Small Copper – Andy Taylor

8th

Light cloud and a light SW wind. A duck Eider which flew west was our first of the year! Waders included a party of six Ruff west over the sewage works, two Whimbrel and eight Redshanks. Seven Whinchats were together around the bushes opposite the Obs;  a high count for this site. Also six Sand Martins and three Yellow Wagtails flew west.

6th

Cloudy with a moderate NW wind. Seven Gannets flew east, 58 Wigeon, including a flock of c50, and 14 Teal flew west. Two Shovelers on the sea flew off west. Waders included one Ruff and one Snipe with 60 Ringed Plovers and 40 Turnstones roosting. Two Arctic Skuas were chasing a Sandwich Tern and another rested on the sea close inshore. Our first movement of Meadow Pipits with c90 birds and also six Sand Martins and three Yellow Wagtails; all flew west. Three Whinchats were in the s crub and another came in off the sea.

5th

Cloudy with a moderate northerly wind and some drizzle. A flock of ten Knot accompanied by a single Ruff and Black-tailed Godwit flew west early morning. Later four Bar-tailed Godwits flew east. Ducks were on the move with 43 Wigeon and 28 Teal flying west and a single Teal was on the Marsh Pool. Four Arctic Skuas and three Great Skuas and c20 Common Terns also flew west. About 50 Swallows flew west and a Whinchat (only  our second of the year) was near the scout hut.

4th – Ted Lee’s sea-watch produced 20+ Gannets, two Arctic Skuas and a Great Skua flying west and a Common Scoter and a small Shearwater sp flying east.

Jason Moule saw a Hummingbird Hawkmoth on the buddlea behind the scout hut.

3rd – after a light early morning mist, it was warm with a light northerly wind. Two Bar-tailed Godwits, nine Curlews, a Greenshank and an adult Mediterranean Gull flew west and a party of  six Wigeon flew east. However, the highlight of the day came mid-morning when parties of Arctic Skuas – three, five, 13 and two – flew high NW heading towards Sheppey and two single  Great Skuas followed the same trajectory. Three Yellow Wagtails flew west, a Lesser Whitethroat was in the scrub and a Willow Warbler at the obs.

1st – a sunny, calm and warm day. Three Common Scoters flew east and four Shelducks flew west. It was nice to have close views of a juvenile Knot on the beach and four Sanderlings were also seen. Two Kingfishers in pursuit flew by the sluice and along the east bank, there was a female Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Garden Warbler along the east bank, a Lesser Whitethroat in the scrub and a Wheatear on the beach in amongst the Ringed Plovers.

Butterflies included Small Heath and the three whites.

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