July 2023

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

31st

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.

29th

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.

28th

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.

27th

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.

Common Blue – Geoff Burton
Jersey Tiger – Geoff Burton

26th

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.

25th

A juvenile Cuckoo pitched in at the Obs during the morning. Two Lapwings and 17 Turnstones were also noted.

Cuckoo – Andy Taylor

24th

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.

22nd

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.

20th

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.

19th

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.

18th

Single Oystercatcher and Curlew were noted. Two Grey Wagtails were along the brook and a Reed Warbler was heard singing behind the Obs.

17th

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.

Turnstone – Geoff Burton

15th

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.

13th

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.

Whitethroat – Geoff Burton
Juvenile Black-headed Gull – Geoff Burton
Green-veined White – Geoff Burton

12th

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.

Moorhen – Geoff Burton
Grey Squirrel – Geoff Burton
Gatekeeper – Geoff Burton

10th

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.

8th

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.

Brent Geese – Geoff Burton

6th

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.

Painted Lady – Geoff Burton

5th

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.

Collared Dove – Geoff Burton

3rd

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.

Essex Skipper – Geoff Burton
Small Tortoiseshell – Geoff Burton

1st

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.

June 2023

The total of 67 species during the month was a bit below the ten-year average of 69.9 species. A Guillemot on 13th was the first specifically identified auk of the year (there have been very few) and the year total of 139 species is well above the ten-year average for the end of June of 133.8 species. There was little else of note but two Avocets west on 3rd, three Hobbies on 10th and a Green Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool on 28th will have to suffice.

A total of 139 species so far this year

142 species by this time last year

30th

Waders noted were a Ringed Plover and five Turnstones on the beach and a Curlew flying west. There were five Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool and six Mediterranean Gulls on the beach. A Great Spotted Woodpecker around the Obs was only the second record this year after one on February 2nd. A Reed Warbler was also present.

29th

Cloudy with light westerly wind and light rain showers. There were six Little Egrets and a Grey Heron on the Marsh Pool. A single Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover were on the beach and two Turnstones were on the groynes. There were four Mediterranean Gulls on the beach, another seven flew west and two Sandwich Terns flew west. Other birds noted included 21 Mallard, a Stock Dove and a Grey Wagtail.

28th

Cloudy with a light SW wind. Seven Gannets flew west and a Grey Heron flew west high over the area harassed by a Herring Gull. A Green Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool was an early returning migrant and was present for much of the day. Unusually, a Curlew was also present on the pool late morning. Also, six Little Egrets were also there. A single Ringed Plover took off in display flight from the beach when disturbed by a dog walker and seven Turnstones were on the groynes. Six Mediterranean Gulls and three immature Great Black-backed Gulls were on the beach and three Sandwich Terns flew west. Other birds noted included seven Swifts west, three Swallows, a Grey Wagtail by the sluice and a Reed Warbler in song at the back of the Obs.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Meadow Brown, Small and Large Skippers, Marbled White and our first Common Blue of the year. A Banded Demoiselle is a scarce dragonfly here.

Green Sandpiper – Geoff Burton
Curlew – Geoff Burton
Turnstones – Geoff Burton
Marbled White – Geoff Burton

27th

There were nine Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool, two Sand Martins flew west and a juvenile Grey Wagtail was on the roof of the scout hut.

26th

Sunny but clouding over, cooler, moderate SW wind. There were four Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool, a Curlew flew west over the beach, there were two immature Mediterranean Gulls and eight Great Black-backed Gulls, including seven on the beach. Seven fully-grown ducklings were along the middle brook. Six Swifts flew west.

Butterflies seen were Small White, Holly Blue, Comma, Meadow Brown, Small Skipper and Marbled White.

24th

Sunny, calm, warm. A pair of Teal, a Little Egret and a Grey Heron were on the Marsh Pool. A Turnstone on the groynes at the eastern end of the beach was our first this month and a Ringed Plover was also seen. A third calendar year Mediterranean Gull was on the beach, with five immature Great Black-backed Gulls, and a Sandwich Tern was close inshore. Two Cetti’s Warblers could be heard “ticking” in the Elm Wood.

A boost to our butterfly year list with Comma, Small Skipper and Marbled White all new for the year. Eight species on the day and a total of 19 species for the year. A Lunar Hornet Clearwing at the Obs was a new moth for the site.

Grey Heron and Little Egret – Geoff Burton
Teal – Geoff Burton
Chiffchaff – Geoff Burton
Comma – Geoff Burton
Lunar Hornet Clearwing – Andy Taylor

22nd

Sunny, warm, light SW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, five Little Egrets between the beach and the Marsh Pool where there was also an adult Grey Heron and a Redshank. Two Lapwings circled low over the beach and there were three Oystercatchers along the shoreline by the Obs. Three Mediterranean Gulls flew west and a second calendar year Common Gull was on the beach with Black-headed Gulls. Other birds noted included a Hobby hunting over the area early morning, one Stock Dove, five Swifts and single Sand Martin and Swallow and a Cetti’s Warbler calling persistently by the Obs. There were c10 Long-tailed Tits by the Obs, a Jay along the east bank and a male Greenfinch in the Elm Wood.

Butterflies noted were Small White. Meadow Brown, Holly Blue, Large Skipper and Small Heath.

21st

Sunny, warm, light SW wind. A Ringed Plover on the shingle ridge was flushed by dog walkers. There were two Sandwich Terns on the red buoy. Three Sand Martins and a Swallow flew west and there were three Reed Warblers in song. A troop of ten Magpies were on the football pitch.

Five species of butterfly included our first Brown Argus of the year. Meadow Browns were numerous and a Small Tortoiseshell was also seen.

20th

Cloudy, light SE wind, heavy rain from 8.50 am. Seven Gannets, an adult Mediterranean Gull and single Sandwich and Common Terns flew east. A flock of 23 Lapwings flew SE into the storm.

19th

Adult Moorhen feeding three chicks in the brook.

18th

Two Mute Swans off the beach.

17th

A Cetti’s Warbler was heard and seen briefly. There had been at least one individual present since last September but it had not been heard or seen since 24th May. A quiet period whilst it got on with the job of bringing up a family, a new bird or a returnee? A Jay which flew into the scrub was the first recorded this month.

At this time of the year, attention inevitably turns to creatures other than bird. Our first Large Skipper of the year was a little late, several nettles at the Obs were festooned with Peacock butterfly caterpillars and Holly Blue was also seen. Our first ever record of an orchid, the Common Spotted Orchid, was welcome and surprising.

Peacock butterfly caterpillars – Andy Taylor
Large Skipper – Andy Taylor
Holly Blue – Arnie van Orsouw
Common Spotted Orchid – Andy Taylor

15th

Eight Teal flew west and an adult and a juvenile Swallow were feeding over the beach.

14th

Sunny with a light NE breeze. Three Gannets flew east and three Mallards flew west. Waders noted were eight Oystercatchers west and a Ringed Plover heard; two species that have or potentially would nest if not for the excessive level of disturbance.

13th

Cooler. A Guillemot flew east; our first specifically identified auk of the year! A Red Kite flew west over the football pitch, a Lapwing circled over the area and two Curlews flew west. Also, four juvenile Long-tailed Tits were seen along the east bank.

Speckled Wood and Small White were the only butterflies noted.

12th

Cloudy, warm. Two Great Crested Grebes offshore and two Shelducks flew west.

11th

Sunny, warm, light NE wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe offshore. A second calendar year Common Gull was on the beach with eight immature Great Black-backed Gulls. A single Stock Dove and a Swift were also noted.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Holly Blue, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood and a single Green Oak Tortrix was seen in the grass by the Obs, a migrant that has been filling moth traps throughout the county and beyond.

10th

Sunny, much warmer with a light easterly wind. One Great Crested Grebe offshore and a Gannet flew east. Raptors responded to the heat with five species recorded including three Hobbies circling over the area. There were three Oystercatchers on the beach, a Lapwing circled over the beach, a Curlew flew west and a Redshank was on the Marsh Pool. A Common Tern landed on a buoy by the tidal ponds and a Sandwich Tern fished offshore. A few Swifts and House Martins were also noted.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Holly Blue and Speckled Wood.

8th

Cloudy, moderate NE wind. Two Gannets flew east. Four Oystercatchers flew east along the shoreline and two Sandwich Terns flew east. The Mallard brood with six ducklings seen for the first time this month in the brook below the sluice. There were three Stock Doves on the shingle ridge and a single Sand Martin was noted.

One Speckled Wood butterfly seen.

7th

A Reed Warbler was singing sporadically in the bushes opposite the Obs.

Greenfinch – Andy Taylor

6th

Cloudy, cool with a moderate NE wind. Three Gannets flew east and a Grey Heron flew west. The pair of Oystercatchers were calling and displaying over the area, a Curlew flew west and a Ringed Plover was also seen. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls and two second calendar year Common Gulls flew east and there were ten immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Also seen were two Stock Doves on the beach, a juvenile Pied Wagtail on the football pitch, a Chaffinch was singing along the upper brook and a Greenfinch was singing in the Elm Wood.

5th

A flock of 20 Canada Goose on the tidal ponds was a very high count for any time of the year. Two Shelducks were also noted, a Hobby flew north over the Marsh Pool and there was a high count of eight Greenfinches between the car park and the sewage works.

3rd

Two Avocets flew NW, a single Sandwich Tern was noted and Swift and all three hirundines put in an appearance.

1st

A few Gannets were offshore and a group of ten flew east later. One Common Scoter and two Common Terns flew east and the pair of Oystercatchers were also present. Two Stock Doves were on the coastal path.

May 2023

An unusual and un-spring like month with a fresh wind stuck in a northerly direction from 13th onwards. The total of 91 species was above the ten-year average of 83.5, and the year total of 138 is also above the ten-year average of 133.8 species. However, only six species were added to the year list with our the fourth Marsh Warbler for the site and an unusual spring Spotted Redshank on 22nd and our second earliest Spotted Flycatcher on 1st, only three days after our earliest ever.

138 species so far this year

141 species by this time last year

31st

Three Grey Plovers, two in breeding plumage, flew south and a Redshank, the first here since 27th April, dropped onto the beach.

We were graced by the attractive moth, alabonia geoffrella (colloquially known as “Geoff”) with six present in the scrub.

Alabonia geoffrella – Andy Taylor

30th

Cloudy, cool with a fresh NE wind – again! A few Gannets flew east. The pair of Oystercatchers and three Common Sandpipers were on the Marsh Pool and a Ringed Plover, rather optimistically, was displaying over the shingle ridge. Two Stock Doves were also seen on the shingle ridge.

29th

Cloudy with a fresh NE wind. We continue to be stuck if the cool NE airflow. One Fulmar and 16 Gannets flew east. A Common Sandpiper was the only wader noted. There were 14 immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach, a significant increase, and six Sandwich Terns flew west. A Hobby flew west over the Obs.

27th

Sunny with a moderate easterly wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore and 18 Gannets flew east. The pair of Oystercatchers, a Common Sandpiper and a Ringed Plover was on the Marsh Pool and a single Turnstone was also noted. There were four immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach.

Green-veined White and Holly Blue butterflies were seen.

25th

Cloudy with a moderate northerly wind. Four Gannets flew east. There were three Red Kites, one flew west and two flew NW low over the area. There were four Oystercatchers, and a Common Sandpiper was on the Marsh Pool. A Nightingale, flushed from the alexanders by the path by the Obs, was unexpected. There were five Jackdaws over the beach and 60 Carrion Crows collected on the shingle ridge.

24th

Sunny with a light NW wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore and three Tufted Ducks, two drakes and a duck, flew west. A Red Kite flew west, a male Marsh Harrier drifted east and the only waders noted were six Oystercatchers and two Turnstones. One Skylark was over the area and nine House Martins flew west.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Red Admiral and Orange-tip.

Speckled Wood – Geoff Burton

23rd

Three distant auk species flying east were the first to be noted this year.

22nd

Cloudy with a moderate northerly wind. Against all expectations, there was some interest this morning. Andy picked up some quiet but interesting warbling along the middle brook which later blossomed into a full-blown Marsh Warbler song. It sang well in the morning and showed briefly a few times, but couldn’t be heard in the afternoon and was not present the next day. Only our fourth record and the earliest. This fits well with a new arrival of this late species, whilst the other three records between June 15th and July 10th, were more likely have been relocating birds. In addition, three Greenshanks flew off the tidal ponds in the company of a Spotted Redshank heading west at 8.55 am. Otherwise, very quiet with two Shelducks west and the “resident” pair of Oystercatchers. The duck Mallard continues to raise its seven ducklings.

20th

Cloudy with a fresh NE wind. Five Gannets flew east and four flew west. Waders noted were the pair of Oystercatchers, a Lapwing on the Marsh Pool and a Greenshank flew west at 9.47 am. Little else of note but a single House Martin flew west.

19th

Sunny/light cloud, light northerly wind. There were eight Great Crested Grebes offshore. There was an unexpectably large number of 14 Mallard with only one duck, on the Marsh Pool. A Lapwing along the shoreline was our first since February and other waders noted were nine Oystercatchers, including a pair on the Marsh Pool, a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool and 19 Turnstones between the groynes. Other birds noted included a Stock Dove in the grassland and a single Swift west.

18th

Two Whimbrel flew west, two Common Sandpipers were on the tidal ponds with another two on the Marsh Pool. A Reed Warbler was also noted.

A year ago on this date our first ever record of Caspian Tern flew east over the area, which it also did on 20th.

Reed Warbler – Andy Taylor

17th

Sunny with a light northerly wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Fulmar and six Gannets flew east, five Shelducks flew west and two Barnacle Geese, an addition to the year list, flew east over the area at 7.38 am. The only waders noted were the pair of Oystercatchers on the beach and the Marsh Pool and two Turnstones on the beach. Two Red Kites flew west at 9.20 and 10.35 am. A Cuckoo, which flew west over the sewage works, had previously been heard calling in the scrub and our first juvenile Starling of the year was only a few days later than normal. .

Orange-tip and Small White butterflies were also noted.

Juvenile Starling – Geoff Burton

15th

Cloudy, cool, fresh northerly wind. Three Great Crested Grebe offshore, seven Gannets flew east and a Shelduck flew west. The pair of Oystercatchers remained on the beach. A trickle of vis mig with three Swifts, 46 Swallows and three House Martins west.

14th

Four Avocets came in off the sea and dropped down to the Marsh Pool.

13th

Cloudy, cool, moderate NE wind. Two Gannets and 12 Common Scoters flew east. A pair of Oystercatchers were seen mating and nest-scraping on the shingle ridge. Other waders noted were a single Ringed Plover and eight Sanderlings and six Turnstones roosting between the groynes. Little vis mig but three House Martins flew north and two Yellow Wagtails flew west.

11th

Sunny with a light southerly wind. There were six Great Crested Grebes offshore, waders included six Oystercatchers, 21 Sanderlings and nine Turnstones roosting between the groynes, two Curlews and a Common Sandpiper along the brook. Other birds noted included a Hobby low over the coastal path and beach and a Reed Warbler singing quietly in the bushes opposite the Obs.

Sanderlings – Geoff Burton
Moorhen – Geoff Burton

10th

Sunny with a light westerly wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore. Waders noted were seven Oystercatchers, a single Ringed Plover and 20 Turnstones. A trickle of vis mig with six Swifts, c20 Swallows and seven Yellow Wagtails west. Reed Warbler showed well on the edge of the middle brook and a Stock Dove dropped into the grassland by the Obs Pool.

Butterflies noted were Green-veined White, Orange-tip, Speckled Wood and Holly Blue.

Blackcap – Geoff Burton

8th

Sunny periods, light southerly wind. Five Shelducks flew east and two Sandwich Terns flew east. Other birds included a single Curlew, a silent Garden Warbler along the east bank and a Jay.

Warm conditions encouraged a number of butterflies with our first Red Admiral, and Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and Orange-tip.

Red Admiral – Geoff Burton

6th

Cloudy, mild, light southerly wind. There were five Great Crested Grebes offshore and nine Gannets flew east. Waders noted were two Oystercatchers, a Sanderling and a Curlew and ten Turnstones. A Red Kite, which flew west at 11.20 am, was only our second of the year. Other birds included c10 Common Terns offshore and our first Reed Warbler of the year singing unseen along the east bank.

Butterflies noted were our first Holly Blue of the year and Green-veined White.

5th

A Ringed Plover was on the beach, four Whimbrel flew west and two Swifts were seen.

4th

Sunny, warmer, with a light NE wind. One Fulmar and two Greylag Geese flew west, two Gannets flew east and a Grey Heron on the tidal ponds flew off south. Waders included two Oystercatchers on the beach and single Whimbrel, Curlew and Greenshank. A flock of 12 Little Gulls moving west but dropping frequently on the sea and one Sandwich Tern flew east.

A Small Tortoiseshell and Orange-tip were noted.

Small Tortoiseshell – Geoff Burton

3rd

Sunny, cool with a moderate NE wind. One Great Crested Grebe offshore, two Fulmars and six Gannets east, two Mute Swans west close inshore and a Little Egret and a pair of Shelducks on the Marsh Pool. Waders included two Greenshanks on the tidal ponds, a Whimbrel on the beach by the Obs for as long as it took for the first dog walker to get to it, and single Dunlin and Common Sandpiper on the beach. Other birds noted included a Swift and a Sand Martin west and a Chaffinch singing in the churchyard.

2nd

A Green Sandpiper was on the Marsh Pool.

1st

Sunny and warmer with a light westerly wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Canada Goose flew west along the shoreline and a Grey Heron flew west inland. Waders included six Oystercatchers, two Grey Plovers flying west and three Whimbrel on the beach which flew west early morning. Five Sandwich Terns flew east and two Common Terns flew west. The highlights of the day were our first Cuckoo of the year, which flew west at 6.30 am, and our second, and second earliest ever Spotted Flycatcher along the east bank. Other birds noted included 25 Yellow Wagtails west, a Wheatear on the shingle ridge, three Lesser Whitethroats, a Jay and two male Greenfinches in the churchyard and along the east bank. Finally, two Buzzards flew west and our first brood of Mallard, c12 ducklings, were along the middle brook.

Peacock and Small White butterflies were also noted.

Spotted Flycatcher – Geoff Burton

April 2023

A total of 132 species so far this year

133 species by this time last year

A total of 102 species for the month was significantly above the ten-year average of 94 species and the year total of 132 species was also above the ten-year average of 125.2 species. It was an interesting month and despite much cool weather there was a number of notable records: a breeding plumage Red-necked Grebe from 10th to 13th, a male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker on 12th, a Nightingale from 13th to 17th, a Crane on 20th, the Purple Sandpiper up to 24th, a Wood Sandpiper on 26th, our earliest ever Spotted Flycatcher on 28th and a Garden Warbler on 30th.

30th

Sunny with a light easterly wind. There were five Great Crested Grebes offshore and a Fulmar and four Sandwich Terns flew east. No vis mig but a Garden Warbler was singing high in the trees in the churchyard, where a Willow Warbler also sang for its third day, and a Sedge Warbler flew from the brook into the scrub.

Garden Warbler – Andy Taylor

29th

Mostly sunny, light NW wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, three Gannets and a Grey Heron (first of the month) flew east and a Canada Goose flew west over the sea. There was a pair of Shelducks on the Marsh Pool and another four flew east. Waders included 15 Oystercatchers and 13 Turnstones. A flock of eight adult Kittiwakes flew east and seven Sandwich Terns flew east. Other birds included our first Hobby of the year with two sightings over the estate, five Swifts in off the sea, two Yellow Wagtails, a Sedge Warbler in song along the east bank and a Willow Warbler and a Greenfinch were singing in the churchyard.

A Brimstone and Small White butterflies were noted.

28th

The highlight of the day was a very early Spotted Flycatcher in the bluethroat bush. Our first April record for the site! A Gadwall flew east, there was a single Common Scoter and waders included a flock of 41 Sanderlings, a Whimbrel and four Common Sandpipers. Other birds included our first six Swifts of the year, a trickle of Swallows and Yellow Wagtails, two Wheatears, a Sedge Warbler and three Willow Warblers.

Spotted Flycatcher – Andy Taylor

27th

Cloudy, cool, light SE wind. Two Fulmars and two Gannets, three Canada Geese, two Shelducks and five Common Scoters all flew east. Waders included a Ringed Plover, a Sanderling and 16 Turnstones on the beach, a single Redshank on the Marsh Pool, four Whimbrel and a Curlew. There were two adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls and four immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach, two Common Gulls offshore and a Sandwich Tern flew west. Other birds included two Sand Martins and a Swallow, two Yellow Wagtails and a Lesser Whitethroat, new for the year, singing in the scrub.

26th

Light cloud, cool, light SE wind. A Wood Sandpiper heard calling as it flew west directly over the Obs art 8.20 am. Our first spring record and only the fifth record for the site after the first in August 2015 and three in August-September 2020. Other waders included ten Sanderlings on the beach, one Whimbrel west and a Redshank on the Marsh Pool. A flock of nine Canada Geese flew east and there were three Common Terns offshore.

24th

Sunny periods, cool, light northerly wind. Waders included our first Common Sandpiper of the year on the beach in the company of the Purple Sandpiper and a Sanderling. A male Marsh Harrier flew west at 8.45 am and other birds on the move included two Sand Martins, a House Martin and a Yellow Wagtail. A Sedge Warbler singing intermittently from the brambles near the Obs was another addition to the year list. A good one to get as we only had sightings on three dates last year.

22nd

Cloudy, calm. Waders included seven Whimbrel and five Curlews and a single Snipe on the Marsh Pool. A strong passage of Mediterranean Gulls with c90 going east. There were c25 Common Terns offshore, most towards the Street but some off the Obs. Other birds included a Green Woodpecker in flight over the area which then headed south over the football pitch, two Yellow Wagtails west and four Whitethroats,

20th

Sunny, cool with a fresh NE wind. The continuation of the cold blocking NE winds was not encouraging. However, at 7.10 am, a Common Crane was picked out as it flew west south of the church. It was not flying particularly high and was soon lost behind the trees that border the sewage works. This is the fifth record for the site, the first since 2007, and all but one have been in the spring. It was possibly associated with the easterly winds as were two adult Little Gulls that flew east; another addition to the year list. Otherwise, it was as quiet as anticipated, with one Fulmar east, one Gannet west, and waders that included a Bar-tailed Godwit on the beach, a Snipe and two Redshanks on the Marsh Pool and three Curlews.

19th

Sunny periods, cool with a fresh NE wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Fulmar and two Shelducks flew west, four Gannets flew east, and two Gadwall dropped onto the sea off the Obs late morning. Waders included a Green Sandpiper flying along the brook, new for the year, the Purple Sandpiper with 13 Turnstones on the beach on the incoming tide, three Whimbrel, one Curlew, a Snipe on the Marsh Pool, and one Redshank and a Greenshank heard calling. Two Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail were noted, a Greenfinch singing and in display flight was the first since early March and a female Linnet appeared to be carrying nesting material in the scrub.

Greenfinch – Geoff Burton

18th

Two Brent Geese and a Marsh Harrier flew west, there was a single Sanderling on the beach and 20+ Linnets in the scrub. There was no sight or sound of the Nightingale.

17th

Sunny periods, cool with a light NE wind. A good wader morning with four Greenshanks on the tidal ponds early morning which flew off west, four Bar-tailed Godwits east (including two summer plumage males), and three Whimbrel, with another Bar-tailed Godwit, west. All three species were additions to the year list. Other waders included two Snipe and three Redshanks on the Marsh Pool and a Curlew on the beach. One Fulmar three Gannets, two adult Mediterranean Gulls and four Sandwich Terns, our first spring birds, flew east. A Green Woodpecker, heard calling twice but not seen, was also an addition to the year list. Other birds included five Sand Martins east, a Jay calling by the Obs and the Nightingale, unheard for most of the morning, which then gave a short burst of song and showed well.

16th

The Nightingale continues to sing and showed well.

15th

An unpleasant morning of rain and northerly winds but the Nightingale continued to sing.

14th

Cloudy, cool, light SE wind. Four Shelducks and a Gadwall flew east, a Marsh Harrier came in off the sea and flew on south, and waders included two Ringed Plovers and 64 Turnstones amongst the groynes and two Dunlin, one Snipe and eight Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. The Nightingale continued to sing in the Elm Wood, Swallows included four hawking around the Marsh Pool and a silent Whitethroat was in the scrub.

13th

A quiet morning was enlivened by a Nightingale singing strongly but unseen in the Elm Wood. Our first record for four years. Previous records have included return migrants in late July-early August in 1992, 1994 and 1995, four other April records in 2005, 2008, 2016 and 2019, presumably new arrivals, and a May record on 20th-22nd which is likely to have been relocating. Details of a ninth record in 2001 are at present lacking! Other birds included the Red-necked Grebe for its fourth day, a Yellow Wagtail west, a male Wheatear on the beach and a Whitethroat in the scrub.

A good morning for butterflies with the first Speckled Wood and Large White as well as Small White, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock.

Wheatear – Geoff Burton

12th

Cloudy, light SW wind. The Red-necked Grebe was again offshore, there were seven Great Crested Grebes offshore and an Egyptian Goose, new for the year, two Shelducks and a Gannet flew west. A Marsh Harrier flew west low over the sea and waders included the Purple Sandpiper, a Ringed Plover and 83 Turnstones roosting between the groynes, three Dunlin on the beach and four Snipe on the Marsh Pool. A male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker paid a brief visit to the churchyard/Elm Wood area. This followed reports of one on December 16th and 17th last year and another (reported as a female) on January 9th. It has been such a rare species here that one wonders if there are one or two residing close by? Other birds noted included seven Swallows and two House Martins west and our first Whitethroat of the year in the scrub.

Red-necked Grebe – Andy Taylor
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker – Andy Taylor
Buzzard – Andy Taylor

11th

The Purple Sandpiper was still present, a Yellow Wagtail flew west and a Willow Warbler was singing in the churchyard.

10th

Cloudy with light rain and a light SW wind. A Red-necked Grebe in breeding plumage off the skate park was new for the year. Only our second and latest April record. One Red-throated Diver was offshore and two Shelducks flew east. Waders included a three Dunlin on the beach and 14 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Our first significant show of visible migration included one Sand Martin, 27 Swallows and three House Martins, 210 Goldfinches, 18 Linnets and ten Redpolls, all heading west. A Willow Warbler was singing by the Obs.

9th

A single Wheatear was noted.

8th

Sunny and light cloud, light northerly wind. There was one Red-throated Diver and ten Great Crested Grebes offshore, with a drake Red-breasted Merganser on the tidal ponds and a drake Teal on the sea off the Obs late morning. Two Shelducks flew west, 14 Gannets and a flock of 25 Common Scoters flew east. Waders included two Sanderlings on the beach, six Snipe on the Marsh Pool and 22 Curlews west. Other birds noted included our first Yellow Wagtail and three Swallows.

7th

A Marsh Harrier flew west over the tidal ponds, the Purple Sandpiper was still present, three Swallows flew west and a House Martin feeding around the church was our first of the year.

6th

Cloudy with a light easterly wind. A Great Northern Diver lingered offshore, a Fulmar flew east, a Greylag Goose flew west and a lone Brent Goose was on the beach. Waders included 70 Sanderlings , 35 Turnstones and the Purple Sandpiper roosting between the groynes and four Snipe and six Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included 12 Swallows west and three singing Blackcaps.

Brent Goose – Geoff Burton

5th

Sunny, a hard frost, light easterly wind. There were four Great Crested Grebes offshore, six Brent Geese on the tidal ponds and two Shelducks flew east. Waders included 13 Sanderlings and a Dunlin on the beach and four Snipe on the Marsh Pool. One Swallow flew east, a Blackcap was singing in the Scout Wood and three Linnets flew west.

4th

A Fulmar flew east, three Pintail, two drakes and a duck, and ten Greylag Geese were on the sea and four flew west.

A Small Tortoiseshell at the Obs was our fourth butterfly species of the year.

3rd

Sunny periods, light easterly wind. Two Red-throated Divers and three Shelducks flew west, three Gannets flew east and there were two Great Crested Grebes and two Canada Geese offshore. There were 12 visible Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included our first Redpoll of the year heading west as did a Stock Dove and two Swallows. A male Reed Bunting and a Corn Bunting posed on the same bush in the grassland.

The sun brought out our first Brimstone butterfly and Small White as well as another Peacock.

Canada Geese – Geoff Burton

2nd

There were nine Brent Geese on the beach.

1st

Cloudy, with light rain and drizzle, light NW wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes and a Great Northern Diver offshore, three Red-throated Divers, two Shelducks and a Common Scoter flew west and a party of seven Wigeon flew east. There were six Brent Geese on the beach and the Purple Sandpiper was along the shoreline.

March 2023

A total of 109 species so far this year

109 species by this time last year

A total of 79 species for the month was well below the ten-year average of 84.6 species. A few typical early summer visitors managed to get on to the month list with an early Wheatear on 16th and Sand Martin, Swallow and Willow Warbler towards the end of the month. However, the 109 species so far this year was above the ten-year average of 103.1.

30th

Cloudy, mild, light to moderate SW wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes and a Great Northern Diver offshore, two Gannets flew east and five flew west, a Greylag Goose and three Shelducks flew west and there were 19 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included 82 Sanderlings, the Purple Sandpiper, 50 Turnstones but only two Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes and a Dunlin and 12 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included three Sand Martins, our first three Swallows of the year, a Rook west and another with Carrion Crows on the beach and our first Corn Bunting of the year in the grassland bushes.

Corn Bunting – Geoff Burton

29th

Cloudy, mild, light SW wind. An influx of Chiffchaffs and our first Willow Warbler of the year in the scrub. There were two Red-throated Divers, two Great Northern Divers and three Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. A Fulmar, only our second of the year, and five Shelducks flew west. Waders included our first Avocet of the year which settled briefly on the shoreline by the Obs before moving on west, the Purple Sandpiper on the groynes with Turnstones, and a Dunlin, 14 Snipe and seven Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included a female Blackcap, a Jay, and a Rook flying west.

Avocet – Geoff Burton
Purple Sandpiper and Turnstone – Geoff Burton

28th

Cloudy, spots of rain, a light SW wind and rather miserable! A Red Kite that flew west at 7.45 am was additional to the year list. There were two Great Northern Divers offshore, two Mute Swans circled the area, two Greylag Geese, three Canada Geese and a Red-breasted Merganser flew west. The Purple Sandpiper was still present and three Chiffchaffs were also noted.

Great Northern Divers – Andy Taylor

It is always frustrating when interesting birds fly west off the Tankerton slopes as it is almost certain they had passed Swalecliffe unnoticed. Two Spoonbills and a House Martin fitted into this category this morning.

27th

Sunny, cooler, light westerly wind. There were six Brent Geese on the beach and 28 Sanderlings and a Purple Sandpiper along the shoreline. 13 Snipe wee visible on the Marsh Pool. A steady movement, 23 in total, of Mediterranean Gulls heading east. Other birds noted included c20 Meadow Pipits west, five Chiffchaffs and a Jay.

25th

Sunny periods, mild, with a fresh westerly wind. There was a Red-throated Diver, a Great Northern Diver and two drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. One Greylag Goose flew west and there were ten Brent Geese offshore. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls flew west. Other birds noted included a Grey Wagtail by the sluice and three Chiffchaffs.

24th

There were two Great Northern Divers and a Red-breasted Merganser offshore, the Purple Sandpiper was roosting amongst a flock of 24 Turnstones and two Jays were also noted.

23rd

Sunny, mild, fresh SW wind. Two Red-throated Divers, two Great Northern Divers and seven Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Three Shelducks close inshore flew off west. Waders included 21 Oystercatchers gathered on the beach on the incoming tide and 13 Sanderlings along the shoreline. Other birds noted included four Sand Martins west, a Meadow Pipit displaying in the grassland and a male Reed Bunting which dropped into the bushes opposite the Obs before flying on west.

Two Peacocks around the Obs were our first butterflies of the year.

Peacock – Geoff Burton

22nd

There were three Great Northern Divers offshore, two off the Obs and one further west off the slopes and five Red-breasted Mergansers. The Purple Sandpiper was along the shoreline.

21st

The Great Northern Diver was offshore, two Rooks flew west and a Siskin, our first this year, flew west with Chaffinches.

20th

Cloudy, mild with a moderate SW wind. A Great Northern Diver, two Red-throated Divers, five Great Crested Grebes and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Two Shelducks flew west and there were 42 Brent Geese offshore. Waders include the wintering Purple Sandpiper and a party of four Black-tailed Godwits, new for the year, heading west. Other birds noted included one Sand Martin, 120 Chaffinches and eight Goldfinches west.

18th

Cloudy, steady rain, light southerly wind. The Great Northern Diver was seen, offshore west of the Obs, for the first time this month and there were also c10 Red-throated Divers, three Great Crested Grebes and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. An adult Gannet and six Shelducks flew west and there were 81 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included the Purple Sandpiper was on the groynes at the eastern end of the beach and 15 Snipe and eight Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A flock of five Sand Martins flying west were an addition to the year list and other birds noted included two Wheatears and a Rock Pipit.

16th

Cloudy then sunny, mild (13.5 degrees C), moderate SW wind. There were two Red-throated Divers and six Great Crested Grebes offshore, two Shelducks flew east and three flew west and there were 71 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included a Grey Plover (for the first time this month), the Purple Sandpiper and 91 Sanderlings along the shoreline. Four Mediterranean Gulls flew west. A male Wheatear on the shingle at the eastern end of the beach was new for the year whilst other birds noted included Meadow Pipits and a Rock Pipit west, eight Goldfinches west and a Chiffchaff.

15th

Sunny and calm. 30+ Common Scoters flew east. The Purple Sandpiper was on the beach, two Buzzards were over the estate and one over the sea, two Stonechats and a male Reed Bunting in the grassland.

14th

Cloudy, rain and strong NW wind. An unpleasant morning with little to report: there were 11 Brent Geese on the beach, a movement of c30 Meadow Pipits west, a pair of Stonechats in the scrub and two Long-tailed Tits at the Obs.

13th

Strong to gale force SW wind. A Grey Wagtail was in the brook and the Cetti’s Warbler continues to sing.

11th

Sunny, frost and calm. There were 12 Brent Geese on the beach and eight flew west along the beach. Two Greylag Geese flew west. three Shelducks were in flight along the beach and a flock of 13 Common Scoters headed east. Waders included 30 Oystercatchers, 13 Sanderlings along the shoreline, 40 Turnstones roosting along the groynes by the caravan park and ten Snipe and eight Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. There were five soaring Buzzards towards Studd Hill. Other birds included a Skylark flying west over the beach, a littoralis Rock Pipit between the groynes, a female Stonechat in the scrub and the Cetti’s Warbler singing in the brambles by the car park.

Mallard – Geoff Burton

9th

Cloudy, steady rain, poor visibility offshore, and a light easterly wind. There were seven Red-throated Divers close inshore by the tidal ponds, three Great Crested Grebes and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. A party of seven Gannets flew west, a pair of Shelduck offshore but there were only two Brent Geese on the beach. A Ringed Plover was in display flight over the beach by the groynes and 16 Snipe were visible on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included a Meadow Pipit, a Rock Pipit and a Grey Wagtail, a male Stonechat, Cetti’s Warbler, 50 Carrion Crows on the beach and three Linnets.

Our first significant rain for some time resulted in the brook breaking through to the sea.

The breakthrough – Geoff Burton

7th

12 Greylag Geese flew east and landed on the sea, the Purple Sandpiper was on the beach and an adult Mediterranean Gull was sat on the sea. Other birds noted included a pair of Stonechats in the scrub, Chiffchaff, Rook and Greenfinch.

6th

Cloudy, cold and calm. 120 Red-throated Divers flew east, presumably disturbed, and another c20 were on the sea. There were two Great Crested Grebes, two Gannets, and two drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Four Greylag Geese flew west, there were 42 Brent Geese on the beach and two drake Teal on the Marsh Pool. The Purple Sandpiper was on the beach between the groynes, ten Snipe were visible on the Marsh Pool and eight Redshanks were roosting there. Other birds noted included a Rock Pipit and a Grey Wagtail, the Cetti’s Warbler was heard briefly for the first time since February 15th, a Blackcap was singing quietly in the Elm Wood, a Jay was along the east bank, three Jackdaws flew west, there were seven Goldfinches in the trees along the upper brook and a pair of Linnets were in the scrub where the male was in song.

With little rain, the brook is very low and blocked before it reaches the sea. It will take a lot of rain to beak through!

Thou shalt not pass – Geoff Burton

4th

Sunny periods, cold with a moderate NE wind. Two Gannets flew east. A Shelduck was on the Marsh Pool early morning, and two flew west, and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers also flew west. Waders included 24 Oystercatchers, 15 Ringed Plovers and 59 Dunlin roosting on the beach. The female Kestrel, hunting by the Obs, caught a lizard and dispatched it in flight.

Snipe – Geoff Burton
Kestrel – Andy Taylor
Kestrel with lizard – Andy Taylor

2nd

Cloudy, cold with a moderate NE wind. There were 63 Sanderlings along the shoreline and five Curlew by the Obs. A presumed Great Black-backed Gull unusually had greyish-yellow legs. Other birds noted included excellent an prolonged views of the Water Rail by the wooden bridge and a male Stonechat near the Obs which may have been a migrant as the wintering male hasn’t been recorded since February 13th.

Water Rail – Geoff Burton
Great Black-backed Gull – Geoff Burton

1st

Cloudy, cold with showers, moderate NE wind. One Great Crested Grebe and a Grey Heron flew east over the sea, one Shelduck flew west, there were four drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, 90 Brent Geese on the beach and four Teal on the Marsh Pool. Waders included c30 Sanderlings and the Purple Sandpiper along the shoreline. Small birds were scarce in the cold but included a Song Thrush, two Long-tailed Tits, a singing Chaffinch, a Goldfinch and two Linnets.

There was some “nasty stuff” leaking into the brook from the flap by the sewage works entrance.

Pollution – Geoff Burton

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

27th

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.

25th

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.

24th

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.

23rd

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.

22nd

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.

21st

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.

20th

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

18th

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.

15th

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.

14th

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.

13th

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

11th

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.

9th

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

8th

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

7th

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.

6th

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.

4th

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

3rd

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.

2nd

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

1st

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

January 2023

The total of 86 species was a little above the ten-year average of 84.5 but lower than last year’s 90. This January was a very different month to last year. Species recorded last year but not this, and this year but not last, are listed below:

2022

Black-throated Diver. Slavonian Grebe. Shag. Shoveler. Velvet Scoter. Merlin. Knot. Black-tailed Godwit. Mediterranean Gull. Kittiwake. Guillemot. Razorbill. Black Guillemot. Kingfisher. Great Spotted Woodpecker. Fieldfare

2023

Scaup. Purple Sandpiper. Sandwich Tern. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Cetti’s Warbler. Blackcap. Pallas’s Warbler. Goldcrest. Rook. Raven. Bullfinch. Snow Bunting

The striking difference in these lists is the predominance of birds on the sea in 2022 and passerines in 2023. Four of this years species, in bold, were not seen at all last year.

A total of 86 species so far this year

90 species by the same time last year

31st

Sunny periods, fresh SW wind. Another quiet day on the sea with one Mute Swan flying west. The Purple Sandpiper was at the mouth of the brook early morning. The Pallas’s Warbler was reported again and other birds noted included the Little Grebe on the Marsh Pool, the male Stonechat and seven Redwings which dropped into the Elm Wood.

30th

Sunny, moderate NW wind. There were 120 Sanderlings along the shoreline by the Obs. Three Stock Doves, which flew NW by the Obs, was an addition to our year list and other birds noted included the Pallas’s Warbler (present for the last four weeks at least), the male Stonechat, a male Blackcap and two Goldcrests.

29th

The Pallas’s Warbler was reported today (per Birdguides).

28th

Sunny with a light northerly wind. There were 100+ Red-throated Divers offshore, many flying west as disturbed by boats, four Great Crested Grebes and seven drake Red-breasted Mergansers. The Purple Sandpiper was feeding along the shoreline in front of the Obs. This individual seems to prefer this site to Hampton where they have been seen more regularly in recent years. Other birds noted included the Pallas’s Warbler, now favouring the area around the Elm Wood, and a male Blackcap.

26th

Cloudy, cool, moderate northerly wind. The Little Grebe was on the Marsh Pool and there were two Great Crested Grebes and eight Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 25 Golden Plover flying high NW and 25 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. The Water Rail was seen below the wooden bridge.

25th

Cloudy and cold with a light northerly wind. There were 20+ Red-throated Divers, six Great Crested Grebes and six drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and a brief visit from six Teal just after midday was an addition to the year list. The Little Grebe was again on the Marsh Pool, there were 55 Brent Geese on the beach and two Grey Herons on the tidal ponds. Waders included 33 Oystercatchers on the beach. The Pallas’s Warbler was seen in the area of the Elm Wood which it now seems to prefer. Other birds noted included the Water Rail by the bridge and eight Goldfinches in the Scout Wood.

24th

More birders than birds today it appears but visitors were rewarded with view of the Pallas’s Warbler.

23rd

Cloudy, cold, light NE wind. A good start to the morning when an immature male Scaup was found close inshore by the skate park in the company of three drake Red-breasted Mergansers. Only the fifth record of this species at the site, the bird remained for about an hour before flying off west. There were 95 Brent Geese on the beach and a Little Grebe was on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included the Pallas’s Warbler, the male Stonechat for the first time since the cold weather arrived, the Water Rail along the upper brook and a Goldcrest at the Obs.

22nd

The Pallas’s Warbler continues its presence.

21st

Sunny, cold, light NE wind. There were 20+ Red-throated Divers and four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, two Shelduck flew west and a redhead Goldeneye, which flew west at 10.55 am, was new for the year. There were c120 Brent Geese offshore and a Little Grebe above the sluice was another addition to the year list. Waders included the Purple Sandpiper which showed well on the platform by the caravan park along with the Grey Plover. The Pallas’s Warbler continues to entertain to those with the patience or luck. Other birds along the brook included single Redwing and two male Blackcaps whilst a flock of eight Snow Buntings flew east along the beach by the caravan park providing a third addition to the year list.

20th

Amongst the birds noted today were the Pallas’s Warbler, Water Rail and Redwing.

19th

Sunny, cold with a hard frost, light westerly wind. The sea continues to underperform. A Shelduck flew west and four Common Scoters flew east. Waders included the Purple Sandpiper and 129 roosting Dunlin and the resident Grey Plover. Two Skylarks flying west were new for the year whilst down at the Pallas’s Warbler festivities other birds included a male Blackcap, three Rooks overhead, another addition to the year list, and a Redwing, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest.

Purple Sandpiper – Geoff Burton
Grey Plover – Geoff Burton

18th

The Pallas’s Warbler made a welcome reappearance and a Water Rail along the upper brook was its first sighting this year. Two Redwings and the male Blackcap were also seen. The sea remains “very quiet”.

Water Rail – Andy Taylor

17th

Sunny, cold with a light SW wind. 51 Red-throated Divers flew west including flocks of 25 and 22. There were seven drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and two Common Scoters flew east. Waders noted included the Grey Plover and 52 Sanderlings along the shoreline by the Obs. Other birds noted included a Jay by the sewage works entrance, an addition to the year list, Chiffchaff and two Goldcrests and 11 Long-tailed Tits heading along the upper brook from the Scout Wood. Eight Goldfinches flew along the upper brook.

There were no reports of the Pallas’s Warbler today.

16th

A Birdguides report of the Pallas’s Warbler at 3.55 pm.

15th

The Purple Sandpiper was reported on Birdguides “still by the caravan park” and the Pallas’s Warbler was reported at 12.36 pm and 3.54 pm.

14th

A Birdguides report of the Pallas’s Warbler “showing well along the brook between bridge and sewage works entrance” at 2.42 pm and of the Purple Sandpiper “commuting between the grass and beach by the coastguard cottages with Turnstones at 2.18 pm.

13th

Sunny with a fresh SW wind. A Great Northern Diver, in from the east, landed off the Obs, there were four drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and a drake Goosander, new for the year, flew west at 10.10 am. An immature Marsh Harrier flew west low over the sea and 60 Golden Plovers also headed west. The Pallas’s Warbler gave good views along the east bank, where there were also three Chiffchaffs, whilst a Goldcrest was at the Obs and a Rock Pipit appeared briefly in the remnant brook.

Kestrel – Geoff Burton

12th

Another day of rain and strong winds. The Great Northern Diver and a Rock Pipit were both noted.

11th

Sunny with a light SW wind. There were 10 Red-throated Divers, 12 Great Crested Grebes and six drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Wadrs included 38 Oystercatchers gathered on the incoming tide, 40 Golden Plovers west over the sea, a Grey Plover on the mudflats and 18 Snipe On the Marsh Pool. The Pallas’s Warbler showed well along the east bank whilst a Redwing briefly in trees along the upper brook and a male Blackcap on the edge of the Elm Wood were additions to the year list.

Redwing – Andy Taylor
Pallas’s Warbler – Phil Smith
Pallas’s Warbler – Andy Taylor

10th

Wet and windy weather kept locals and apparently Pallas’s Warbler hopefuls away. However, the Purple Sandpiper was seen on the beach in front of the caravan park and a good count of 54 Curlews were roosting on the fields behind the park.

9th

Sunny with a light SW wind. Ten Red-throated Divers and seven Great Crested Grebes were offshore, an immature Gannet flew west and 25 White-fronted Geese came in high from the east and were probably heading for Sheppey. Eight Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Waders included a group of seven Golden Plovers heading west. There were many birders looking for the the Pallas’s Warbler which didn’t show well until the afternoon despite the apparent good conditions. However, the increased level of observations resulted in finding a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in the Elm Wood, presumably the bird seen on Dec 16th and 17th last year, and three Ravens heading east. Two good additions to the year list.

Goldcrest – Andy Taylor

8th

A Grey Heron on the tidal ponds was new for the year and there were several reports of the Pallas’s Warbler during the day.

7th

Cloudy, some drizzle, fresh southerly wind. Six Red-throated Divers flew east and four Great Crested Grebes were offshore. Two Shelducks were on the tidal ponds and another flew west. Two duck Eiders by the tidal ponds drifted west through the morning and there were six Drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 63 Ringed Plovers and 89 Dunlin roosting between the groynes and ten Snipe visible on the Marsh Pool. Two adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls were on the beach and a Sandwich Tern was fishing off the Obs. Despite the poor conditions, there were a couple of sightings of the Pallas’s Warbler in the sheltered areas by the sewage works entrance.

6th

A Great Northern Diver was seen by the tidal ponds, the Purple Sandpiper was noted again and, at high tide at lunchtime, there was a good count of 54 Curlews roosting on the sports fields behind the caravan park. The Pallas’s Warbler was also reported.

5th

Sunny, mild with a light SW wind. The Pallas’s Warbler continues its residency but kinder conditions led to more frequent appearances during the day. There were 20+ Red-throated Divers and 11 Great Crested Grebes offshore, five Shelducks flew west, two adult Mute Swans drifted east and 76 Brent Geese were on the beach. Other counts included 62 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes and 33 adult Common Gulls on the Marsh Pool. A Sandwich Tern flew west close inshore at 10.55 am. Other birds noted included two Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest.

Mute Swans – Geoff Burton
Sandwich Tern – Andy Taylor

4th

Cloudy, mild with a moderate SW wind. One Great Northern Diver and two Shelducks flew west, a Fulmar flew east, there were three Gannets offshore and six drake Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea. Waders included the Purple Sandpiper in amongst a flock of 143 roosting Sanderlings in front of the caravan park, a single Grey Plover there and two Lapwings flying west inland. The Pallas’s Warbler showed, for those with the patience to wait, along the east bank and other birds noted included up to five Goldcrests.

A Brown Rat showed well along the edge of the middle brook.

3rd

The Pallas’s Warbler was present again, though it continues to be elusive. A Gannet and a Marsh Harrier were additions to the year list.

2nd

Sunny periods , mild with a light SW wind. A good start to the day with seven White-fronted Geese west and our first ever January Sandwich Tern was truly eclipsed when Andy found a Pallas’s Warbler along the east bank. This is only our second record of the species after one in October 2019 and most unexpected at this time of the year. It proved elusive during the day with more than two hours after the initial sightings before it was refound. Some movement over the sea with six Shelducks and six Wigeon west, 11 Pintail and two Common Scoters east and eight Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Other birds noted included Cetti’s Warbler and three Chiffchaffs, two Goldcrests, six Long-tailed Tits, 12 Linnets and a Reed Bunting.

1st

Cloudy, mild with a moderate SW wind. An improvement in the weather at least. Two Red-throated Divers and two Great Crested Grebes were offshore with six drake Red-breasted Mergansers and a pair of Wigeon flew west. A Purple Sandpiper was seen briefly amongst other roosting waders at the eastern end of the beach. Other waders included Golden Plover, a single Lapwing, 77 Sanderlings, 35 Snipe in the Marsh Pool and 14 Curlews heading west out of Studd Hill. Star bird of the day was a male Bullfinch in the elms by the car park which flew into the sewage works. A species not seen at all in 2022! Other birds noted included a Sparrowhawk, a Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, the male Stonechat, singing Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Chiffchaff, ten Goldfinches and a Reed Bunting. A total of 53 species for the start of the year; about average.

December 2022

A total of 171 species so far this year

169 species by this time last year and by the end of the year

31st

Cloudy, very mild, fresh SW wind and light rain. Five Red-throated Divers and a Shelduck flew west and there were three drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included the “resident” Grey Plover and 60 Golden Plovers flew west low over the sea. Other birds included a Song Thrush singing from the bushes opposite the Obs, a Goldcrest at the Obs, the Cetti’s Warbler in the brambles near the car park, a flock of 14 Goldfinches around the changing rooms and 12 Linnets along the coastal path. A quiet, fairly unpleasant end to the year.

29th

Sunny with a moderate SW wind. There were four drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore but only one Red-throated Diver and no Great Crested Grebe was seen. The redhead Goosander was again in the remnant brook and later flew by east. Waders included 70 Golden Plovers west over the sea, 22 Sanderlings along the beach and at least 18 visible Snipe on the Marsh Pool where a Little Grebe and the juvenile Moorhen still reside. Other birds noted included a Rock Pipit in the remnant brook, a male Stonechat, two Chiffchaffs and five Goldfinches.

26th

Sunny with a light westerly wind. Two Shelduck flew west and eight drake Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore but only single Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebe were noted. Waders included 33 Oystercatchers on the incoming tide and 30 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A Little Grebe was also on the Marsh Pool and the Water Rail, if was indeed the same bird last seen on November 30th, was seen briefly from the wooden bridge by the sewage works. Other birds noted included the Cetti’s Warbler, heard in the brambles near the car park and a Chiffchaff and two Goldcrests along the east bank.

A Brown Rat showed well on the banks of the middle brook.

24th

Cloudy with a light SW wind. There were nine drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, a redhead Goosander was in the remnant brook early morning (presumably though not necessarily the bird last seen on 5th) and a pair of Velvet Scoters flew west at 10.38 and back east about 15 minutes later. An increase in Brent Geese with 98 on the beach. The drake Shoveler was again on the Marsh Pool for its fourth day. Waders included 77 Ringed Plovers and 48 Dunlin roosting between the groynes, the Grey Plover on its usual post, there were two Lapwings on the beach and ten flew west out at sea and 18 Snipe were on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included one Skylark west, the male Stonechat, Cetti’s Warbler, Chiffchaff and two Goldcrests, ten Linnets and a Reed Bunting.

22nd

Cloudy, mild, shower, light SW wind. There were 10+ Red-throated Divers and seven Great Crested Grebes offshore and 33 Brent Geese along the shoreline. The drake Shoveler was still on the Marsh Pool, and briefly on the sea. There was also a Little Grebe, a juvenile Moorhen and 20 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included a single Skylark west, two Meadow Pipits, a Grey Wagtail and a pair of Stonechats around the mouth of the brook, a Chiffchaff at the Obs and two Long-tailed Tits.

Shoveler – Geoff Burton

21st

Cloudy, mild, light southerly wind. Quiet times with more interest on the Marsh Pool than the sea. There were two Little Grebes, a Little Egret, two drakes and a duck Teal, seven Mallards, a drake Shoveler and 21 visible Snipe on the Marsh Pool. A few Red-throated Divers and six Great Crested Grebes, including one in full breeding plumage, and 34 Brent Geese which flew down to Hampton. Other birds noted included a male Stonechat, Cetti’s Warbler and Chiffchaff and ten Linnets.

20th

Sunny, much milder with a light northerly wind. There were six Red-throated Divers offshore but only a single Great Crested Grebe was noted. There were just four Brent Geese offshore on the high tide. Two drakes and a duck Teal, a Little Grebe, a juvenile Moorhen and at least 12 Snipe were visible on the Marsh Pool. One Grey Plover flew west and another was on the beach. Other birds noted included a male Stonechat, a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest along the east bank, four Goldfinches in the churchyard and along the east bank and a female Reed Bunting in the scrub.

17th

Clouding over, cold still with a light SW wind. An immature Spoonbill flew west at 8.40 am and east at 9.40 am; our first December record for the site. A flock of seven Goosanders, a drake and six redheads, flew west at 8 am and two Red-breasted Mergansers were seen offshore. Waders included 200+ Lapwings and five Golden Plovers west. Other birds noted were a Grey Wagtail, three Song Thrushes, three Redwings, two Chiffchaffs and there was a reappearance of the male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in the Elm Wood. This is the first to be seen for a second day; the previous records were in July 1995, February, June and November 1998, June 2005 and September 2020.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker – Geoff Burton

16th

The feeling of a quiet morning was rudely interrupted when a male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker flew out of the sewage works over the Obs then flew along the brook where it was heard calling but not seen again. Apart from a report from a visiting birder when the Wryneck was present in September 2020, this is the first record here since 2005. With the decline of this species in the county, albeit its stronghold is in the nearby Blean Woods complex, this was a big surprise. It was seen by three of the lucky, but hard working, regulars. Other birds noted included a pair of Gadwall west, a Peregrine hunting waders over the beach, 40 Kittiwakes west, a Rock Pipit and a Greenfinch.

15th

Five Gadwalls flew west, two drake Pochards flew east then back west, and two Teal and five Red-breasted Mergansers were on the sea. A few Lapwings flew north, the Cetti’s Warbler was noted again and a Goldcrest was along the east bank.

14th

A Cetti’s Warbler was seen near the changing rooms. Presumably, the long-staying bird that has been remarkably silent in the last couple of weeks.

12th

Cloudy, some snow cover. There were five Great Crested Grebes offshore and seven drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, six Teal lingered along the shoreline and reduced numbers of Brent Geese, only 28, were on the beach. There were 33 Oystercatchers on the beach, the usual Grey Plover resting on the groynes and another flew west. Other birds included Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail, a Skylark came in off the sea, a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest were in the Lang Court pines and a Snow Bunting circled over the beach calling.

10th

Sunny, hard frost, calm. There were nine Great Crested Grebes, four Eiders, an immature drake and three ducks, and three Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, a Gannet and a flock of 20 Teal flew west and a Great Northern Diver flew east. A Cattle Egret flew west at 11.50 am and a female Marsh Harrier also flew west. Waders included 34 Oystercatchers on the beach on the incoming tide, a Grey Plover on the beach and 55 Sanderlings along the shoreline by the Obs. The Sanderling “put up with” being chased persistently by a dog whilst the owners looked on. They did return but at what cost in energy spent! Other birds noted included a female Kingfisher, male Great Spotted Woodpecker in the Elm Wood and the pair of Stonechats lingering around the Obs.

9th

Sunny, cold with a light NW wind. The cold weather appears to have quietened things down so far. A Black-throated Diver was seen on the sea off the Obs before it flew off east. 12 Common Scoters flew east and a Shelduck and a drake Red-breasted Merganser flew west. The immature Little Gull was seen again offshore and also further east at Hampton. Other birds included a Rock Pipit and the pair of Stonechats hanging around the Obs.

8th

Sunny, cold (-1 to 3 degrees C), light NW wind. There was a Shelduck, a flock of 17 Teal and two Common Scoters west whilst a small group of Brent Geese included a plain brown bird, paler underneath, of the same size and presumably just a colour variation. There were also four drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Four species of raptor were seen; an immature Marsh Harrier flew west, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel, and a Peregrine circling high to the SE. Waders included a Grey Plover and 56 Sanderlings on the beach and 84 Dunlin roosting between the groynes. A flock of c40 Curlews were in the air over Studd Hill. An immature Little Gull was lingering offshore. Other birds noted included Kingfisher and Great Spotted Woodpecker, one Skylark west, two Rock Pipits, a pair of Stonechats at the Obs, four Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest and the ever scarcer Greenfinch.

7th

Cloudy, cold (3.5 degrees C on leaving), moderate NW wind. Two Mute Swans that flew west low over the sea were our first since August, nine Shelduck flew west, two Common Scoters flew east and there were five drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 40 Ringed Plovers, 28 Sanderlings and nine Dunlin roosting between the groynes, a single Grey Plover on the beach and c50 Golden Plovers west low over the sea. An adult and immature Little Gull flew west close inshore. Other birds included two Little Grebes in the brook, Kingfisher and Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Grey Wagtails over the Obs and two Snow Buntings seen in flight several times over the coastal path.

6th

There were three Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver and three Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, two Gannets offshore and a Chiffchaff was also noted.

5th

Cloudy, cold, light NE wind. There was one Great Northern Diver and three drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, c12 Common Scoters flew west and the redhead Goosander was on the Marsh Pool. Wades included a Lapwing which landed briefly on the shingle ridge, 26 Curlews which flew towards Studd Hill and 13 Snipe and 31 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Two Kittiwakes flew east. Other birds included two Rock Pipits chasing each other around the mouth of the brook, two Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest.

3rd

Cloudy, cold with a light NE wind. There were two Great Northern Divers offshore, a Red-necked Grebe flew east with two Great Crested Grebes (an excellent comparison) and a Gannet flew west with a bright yellow “shawl” draped over its back (later seen in some distress at Faversham Creek). Three Shelducks and six Wigeon flew west, three duck Eiders offshore flew east, five Red-breasted Mergansers flew east close inshore and the redhead Goosander flew up the brook. A Purple Sandpiper which flew east close inshore, our first for two years, is likely to be the bird subsequently settled at Hampton. There were 40 Sanderlings on the shoreline, a single Bar-tailed Godwit was the first for some time, and 21 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Five Little Gulls, including three immatures, 15 Kittiwakes flew east and a Sandwich Terns flew east. Other birds included a Kingfisher, two Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest at the Obs.

Gannet – Andy Taylor

2nd

Two Great Northern Divers, a Red-necked Grebe, three Wigeon, a Teal and two Eiders.

1st

Cloudy with showers and a light NE breeze. There were two Great Northern Divers, a Red-necked Grebe and three Slavonian Grebes offshore. Six Shelducks and two Gadwall flew east, a Velvet Scoter and 17 Common Scoters flew east, there were two drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and the redhead Goosander was along the middle brook with Mallards. Waders included a Grey Plover, Sanderlings included the “injured” bird and there were 18 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Five Little Gulls flew west and eight Kittiwakes flew east. Other birds noted included one Little Grebe, a Kingfisher and a Chiffchaff.

Goosander – Geoff Burton

November 2022

The total of 109 species for the month was well above the ten-year average of 102.2 species. This was in spite of it being a largely mild month although there was one significant sea-watch day on 4th which produced an unexpected (given its bird-flu travails) count of 15 Great Skuas. There were only four additions to the year list but this included a new bird for the site in Pallid Swift on 2nd. A sad story of a crash landing near the skate park on the 2nd after a cooling in the weather conditions. It was taken into care but died two days later. Other additions to the year list were Red-necked Grebe on 14th and Black-necked Grebe (only our sixth record) and Hen Harrier on 22nd.

Also a surprise was an addition to the butterfly year list of a Clouded Yellow on the late date of 9th.

A total of 169 species so far this year

A total of 166 species by this time last year

30th

Cloudy and calm. A fairly quiet morning with one Slavonian Grebe and the two duck Eiders offshore. Sanderlings included the bird with the “sail” wing which was seen in flight, there were 18 Snipe and 42 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Four Little Gulls flew west, (another 11 were seen in the afternoon) and one Sandwich Tern offshore. Other birds noted included a Water Rail along the middle brook, five Chiffchaffs and a Corn Bunting seen briefly to land on a bramble patch in the grassland.

28th

Cloudy with a light SW wind. There were three Slavonian Grebes together on the tidal ponds, the highest count for many years, three Grey Herons also on the tidal ponds and two drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 20 Oystercatchers, and 21 Snipe and 18 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A single Sandwich Tern was offshore. Other birds noted included a Skylark north, a Grey Wagtail, a Song Thrush, the Cetti’s Warbler, two Chiffchaffs a Goldcrest in the Elm Wood and a Reed Bunting west.

26th

Cloudy with a light southerly wind. One Great Northern Diver, one Red-necked Grebe, two Slavonian Grebes, three Eiders including one adult drake, 13 Common Scoters all female/immatures, flying east, two drake Red-breasted Mergansers and a redhead Goosander were seen offshore. Waders included one Grey Plover, 70 Lapwings flying west low over the sea and 23 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. An immature Kittiwake flew east and there were two Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds noted included a Buzzard flying south over the area, a female Kingfisher, a Grey Wagtail, four Chiffchaffs along the east bank and a Jay.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Geoff Burton

25th

Only one extra-territorial Snow Buntings was seen today.

24th

Sunny at first then cloudy with light to moderate southerly wind. There was one Great Northern Diver, one Red-necked Grebe and one Slavonian Grebe offshore amongst 10+ Red-throated Divers and 15+ Great Crested Grebes. Ducks included two female Eiders, joined by a female/immature Common Scoter, another 13 female/immature Common Scoters flew east, and two drake Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included a Grey Plover, and 13 Snipe and 18 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. There were four Gannets and four Sandwich Terns offshore and four Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the beach. A bit of vis mig with 14 Chaffinches, two Bramblings and 3 Goldfinches west. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Stonechats and 20 Linnets around the shingle ridge.

23rd

Cloudy, rain from 8.30-10.30 am, light SW wind. Two Black-throated Divers and a Slavonian Grebe were close inshore by the skate park and the two duck Eider were offshore. Waders included 16 Golden Plovers flying west low over the sea, the “resident” Grey Plover and 12 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. There were 18 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and an Arctic Tern, amongst the feeding Black-headed Gulls offshore, flew off west. Other birds included an un-ringed Rock Pipit at the mouth of the brook two Chiffchaffs along the east bank and a single Snow Bunting between the groynes within our territory!

22nd

Sunny with a light southerly wind. A great morning on the sea with five species of grebe including one Red-necked Grebe, two Slavonian Grebes and, rarest of all, only our sixth record of Black-necked Grebe. A Little Grebe in the brook made it all five grebes! Also on the sea were two Black-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver, two duck Eider and two Red-breasted Mergansers. A ringtail Hen Harrier which flew south over the caravan park at 8.09 am was new for the year. A Black Redstart dropped into the bushes opposite the Obs at 11.30 am and other birds noted included two Buzzards, a Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest.

Black-throated Diver – Andy Taylor
Black-necked Grebe – Andy Taylor
Slavonian Grebe – Andy Taylor

21st

Cloudy with a light southerly wind. A Great Northern Diver was fishing off the Obs heading west as it went. A Red-necked Grebe flew west at 11.40 am. One Shelduck flew west, four Tufted Ducks flew west at 10.35 am, a Common Scoter flew west and another four were on the sea and two drake Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Waders included 160 Lapwings west, 44 Sanderlings on the beach, 30+ Snipe flushed anonymously from the Marsh Pool and c20 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. One Little Gull was offshore in amongst a flock of feeding Black-headed Gulls and six Sandwich Terns flew east. Other birds noted included a Grey Wagtail and a Redwing.

19th

Cloudy, moderate NW wind. Conditions reasonable for a sea watch. The most significant movement was of Little Gulls with a total of 125 west during the morning. One Great Northern Diver, seven Shelducks, five Wigeon, 65 Teal, four Mallard, a Pintail, a redhead Goldeneye, four Red-breasted Mergansers and three redhead Goosanders flew west. Also, 13 Lapwings, two Arctic Skuas, c40 Kittiwakes and three Sandwich Terns flew west. A Razorbill was seen offshore and two Avocets circled over the beach before heading west. Other birds noted included a Rock Pipit at the mouth of the brook, but this individual was unringed, 20 Linnets along the shingle ridge and the three Snow Buntings to the east.

Rock Pipit – Andy Taylor

18th

Cloudy, moderate westerly wind. There were 20+ Gannets offshore, a flock of 23 Common Scoters flew west, a flock of 40 flew west then east and two female/immatures were on the sea. There were only two adult drakes in total. A redhead Goldeneye was on the sea early morning and a redhead Goosander was in the remnant brook and later on the sea. Waders included a Grey Plover, 80 Sanderlings and 12 Dunlin between the groynes and ten Snipe and 42 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Three Little Gulls flew SW over the church and four flew west over the sea, 58 Kittiwakes flew west and three Sandwich Terns were offshore. Other birds included Great Spotted Woodpecker, Rock Pipit and Grey Wagtail, and a Black Redstart and the three Snow Buntings towards the coastguard cottages.

Photographs were taken of the Rock Pipit and they revealed that it had been colour-ringed. It was a Norwegian ring but, unfortunately, the ring was part-hidden and could not be clearly read. We can safely assume that this was a Scandinavian Rock Pipit!

Rock Pipit – Geoff Burton

16th

A Black-tailed Godwit flew west over the beach. The Grey Plover was also present.

15th

Cloudy, rain from 9.30 am, moderate SW wind. There were two Red-throated Divers, five Common Scoters offshore and three Little Egrets and one Grey Plover on the beach. Sandwich Terns continue their late seasonal presence with four offshore today. Other birds noted included Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail, three Stonechats, the Cetti’s Warbler, 20 Linnets and the three distant Snow Buntings.

14th

A foggy morning revealed very little but Andy’s afternoon WEBS count was more productive. A Red-necked Grebe off the caravan park was new for the year whilst a raft of duck off the Obs included three Shelducks and nine Shoveler. A Woodcock came in off the sea and a drake Mandarin Duck was on the Marsh Pool. The wader count included 87 Sanderlings and 67 Turnstones.

Mandarin Duck – Andy Taylor
Kingfisher – Andy Taylor

13th

At the eastern end of the site, a Black Redstart was seen amongst the pigloos and an increase to three Snow Buntings was noted.

11th

Sunny periods, mild, moderate SW wind. Two Red-throated Divers, five Great Crested Grebes and a fishing Gannet were offshore. The redhead Goosander was on the tidal ponds early morning and along the shoreline later. Waders included six Golden Plovers and a Grey Plover on the beach, 18 Sanderlings on the mudflats and a flock of 20 Curlews heading across to Studd Hill. Two Sandwich Terns and a Razorbill wee also seen offshore. Other birds included a Little Grebe in the brook, Rock Pipit by the brook outflow, three Stonechats, two Chiffchaffs, a Brambling, a Goldfinch, three Siskins and a Redpoll west and a Corn Bunting in the grassland bushes.

Goosander – Arnie van Orsouw
Stonechat – Geoff Burton

10th

Sunny, light SW wind. A redhead Goosander was present close inshore early morning. Our first significant movement of Woodpigeons occurred at first light with 1,750 flying west and with nine Stock Doves also noted. Waders included 34 Oystercatchers on the beach on the incoming tide, three Golden Plovers and a Grey Plover west, 25 Sanderlings on the beach including our long-staying individual which was keeping itself separate from the flock, seven Dunlin and a flock of seven Curlews heading for the Studd Hill roost. There were 14 Great Black-backed Gulls on the tidal ponds and one Sandwich Tern. Other birds noted included one Skylark west, a Grey Wagtail on the skate park puddles, two Bramblings, a Greenfinch, seven Siskins and three Redpolls west and a party of six Corn Buntings also west.

A Small White butterfly was also noted.

Woodpigeons – Andy Taylor
Goosander – Andy Taylor

9th

Sunny, mild, light SW wind. The Great Northern Diver was again off the Obs and there were also two Red-throated Divers. Four Little Egrets were on the beach and roosting along the east bank and another two flew west over the sea. Two redhead Red-breasted Mergansers were “snorkelling” close inshore. A female Merlin flew over the beach by the skate park early morning. Waders included 25 Oystercatchers and seven Sanderlings on the beach, three Lapwings and four Knot west and five Snipe and 31 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Three Mediterranean Gulls flew west, and adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and a juvenile begging for food were on the Marsh Pool, there was an increase to 14 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach, one Sandwich Tern offshore and a Razorbill was on the sea close inshore. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher, three Skylarks, eight Siskins and a Reed Bunting west, two Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest by the Obs and the two Snow Buntings were on the beach between the caravan park and the coastguard cottages.

The biggest surprise of the day was a Clouded Yellow butterfly which flew by the Obs. Our first and an extremely late addition to the butterfly list for the year of 23 species.

Red-breasted Mergansers – Geoff Burton
Merlin – Andy Taylor

8th

Birds noted included a Rock Pipit, two Grey Wagtails, four Stonechats and four Lesser Redpolls flew west.

7th

Cloudy, mild, moderate SW wind and showers. Our first returning Great Northern Diver showed well close inshore by the Obs. There were c160 Brent Geese on the beach. Waders included 41 Ringed Plovers and 18 Dunlin roosting between the groynes and ten Snipe and 16 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Two Sandwich Terns were still offshore and other birds noted included single Song Thrush and Redwing, two Reed Buntings, the two Snow Buntings visible to the “east” and there was a light movement of Chaffinches.

Great Northern Diver – Andy Taylor

5th

A much quieter day with only our third single Mistle Thrush of the year. Also noted were one Shelduck, a Kingfisher and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Swallows and a Goldcrest.

4th

Sunny with a fresh to strong northerly wind. We have been waiting all autumn for weather conditions conducive to a bit of sea-watching. Not a classic but the best so far and probably the last. Most significant was the movement of skuas with four Pomarine Skuas, including a light-phase adult compete with “spoons”, 11 Arctic Skuas and 16 Great Skuas (far more than we’ve seen throughout the season) and a continuous stream of Kittiwakes, c1,500. Also on the move were six Wigeon, three Teal close inshore, a flock of 20 Pintail, two Common Scoters, a lone Little Gull and five Razorbills. Other birds noted included an immature male Peregrine close inshore, five Skylarks, a small movement of Chaffinches and three Redpolls.

2nd

Sunny with a light southerly wind. A Slavonian Grebe, on the sea east of the tidal ponds, was the first of the season. There were also three Red-throated Divers and six Great Crested Grebes offshore. Waders included 81 Ringed Plovers, 95 Sanderlings and six Dunlin roosting between the groynes. An adult Kittiwake was on the sea close inshore. Other birds included a female Marsh Harrier south over the area at 9 am, three Redpolls west and a phylloscopus warbler with an interesting call was too elusive.

Weather conditions certainly favoured the appearance of Pallid Swifts and there were good numbers in the country including one seen and well photographed by Andy the previous day nearby on the Tankerton slopes. Whilst walking by the skate park in the afternoon, Andy saw a lone flying Swift fall to earth in the grass; the Pallid Swift of the previous day. He put it in his hat (not sure whether he was still wearing it) and took it home to look after it.

Pallid Swift – Andy Taylor

1st

Cloudy, showers nearby, fresh SW wind and a bit cooler. There were three Red-throated Divers and five Great Crested Grebes offshore, Gannets were fishing offshore, a redhead Red-breasted Merganser west at 11.35 am was the first of the season. Waders included a Grey Plover on the beach, two Lapwings south, nine Sanderlings on the beach including the one with a damaged wing and 4 Snipe and 18 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. There were three Little Egrets on the beach, two Sandwich Terns offshore and a Razorbill flew west. Other birds noted included a Rock Pipit and two Chiffchaffs and two Goldcrests at the Obs.

Grey Plover – Geoff Burton

October 2022

The dominance of mild and southerly wind conditions is not what one would hope for in October. The total of 106 species for the month was down on the average of 109.8 for the previous ten-year period. There were nine additions to the year. The total of 165 species is above the ten-year average of 160.1 species by this time of the year. There were no significant rarities during the month but highlights included five Bearded Tits on 12th, only the second record in the last ten years, two long-staying Velvet Scoters from 12th-29th, our latest record of Willow Warbler from 22nd-24th, which perhaps not surprisingly had characteristics of acredula, and three Spoonbills present on the tidal ponds for at least two and a half hours on 31st.

165 species so far this year

163 species by this time last year

31st

Sunny, mild with a light southerly wind. Although the month ended in the same mild manner and the same southerly winds, it proved an interesting day. It began with finally adding the two Snow Buntings to our year list. Although they hadn’t moved, the could clearly be seen on the promenade by the coast cottages from our eastern border. A group of four Yellowhammers, exceptional these days, which flew west by the Obs included three males. Also, three immature Spoonbills were noted resting on the tidal ponds at 10.30 am where they remained until 12.55 pm when they flew west, probably pushed off by the rising tide. Our equal highest count here an definitely our longest stayers. One Red-throated Diver and four Great Crested Grebes were offshore and four Egyptian Geese on the beach flew off east at 7.50 am. Waders included four Snipe on the Marsh Pool, a first-winter Mediterranean Gull flew east, three Little Gulls flew west, there were seven adult Great Black-backed Gull on the beach, a juvenile Arctic Tern flew east and a Sandwich Tern maintained that species presence throughout the month. Other birds noted included Kingfisher, two Goldcrest, a flock of 20 Linnets over the shingle ridge and a Redpoll west.

Spoonbills – Geoff Burton

29th

A Pomarine Skua and 18 Kittiwakes flew west and 12 Little Gulls flew east. The two Velvet Scoters were again offshore in the morning although two, presumably the same, were seen off Seasalter in the afternoon. Other birds noted included a Goldcrest with Long-tailed Tits by the Obs, a flock of ten Siskins and two Redpolls.

28th

Sunny, very mild (up to 19.5 degrees C), light SW wind. There were single Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebes, six Gannets and the two Velvet Scoters offshore. Waders included 26 Oystercatchers and the injured Sanderling. There were eight adult Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and three Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Rock Pipit and Grey Wagtail, a pair of Stonechats, a Redwing and three Goldcrests.

Stonechat – Geoff Burton

27th

The two Velvet Scoters were offshore.

26th

Sunny, mild (up to 18 degrees C), light SW wind. There were single Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebe offshore and four Gannets flew west. Two Grey Plovers on the beach flew west and there were three Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds included two Swallows west, two Grey Wagtails and three Redwings along the east bank.

Butterflies noted were Small Whites, two Holly Blues and a Speckled Wood.

25th

The two Velvet Scoters flew west. Four Little Gulls cold be seen off the Street. Chiffchaff numbers were far fewer and vis mig included five Greenfinches and a party of four Corn Buntings.

24th

Sunny, mild, light SW wind. There were three Red-throated Divers, two Great Crested Grebes and the two Velvet Scoters offshore. A flock of 200 Brent Geese included at least 63 juveniles. A Teal dropped into the marsh. Waders included 25 Oystercatchers, four Sanderlings, the one with the injured wing as well, and six Curlews. After large numbers of Little Gulls in the area the previous day, there were still c30 amongst the gulls and terns off the Street. 17 Sandwich Terns were settled on the beach at one time and three Razorbills flew west. Other birds noted included four Skylarks, one Swallow, four Greenfinches and two Redpolls west, a Redwing, the long-staying Cetti’s Warbler, two Blackcaps, c10 Chiffchaffs and the Willow Warbler along the east bank.

Willow Warbler – Andy Taylor

22nd

Sunny, mild with a light SW wind. There were three Red-throated Divers and two Great Crested Grebes offshore and four Gannets flew west. A flock of 127 Brent Geese along the shoreline included a very high number of at least 37 juveniles. Waders included the injured Sanderling roosting alone between the groynes (present since 20th May) and two Snipe and 15 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A late Willow Warbler, possibly acredula, was amongst the Chiffchaffs along the east bank. Other birds included a male Great Spotted Woodpecker in the sea buckthorn along the east bank, a flock of 22 Jackdaws circling over the beach and a Greenfinch in the scrub.

Willow Warbler – Andy Taylor
Sanderling – Geoff Burton

21st

A Merlin flew west close inshore at 11.10 am.

20th

Cloudy, mild, heavy rain at times, light SW wind. There were two Red-throated Divers and three Great Crested Grebes offshore. The two Velvet Scoters were again offshore and, during heavy rain, a flock of c180 Common Scoters landed on the sea. They were too distant, and with poor light conditions, it was impossible to pick out any other species. However, in one group of Scoter in flight there were seven Tufted Ducks and two singles were also seen. There were also seven Teal on the Marsh Pool and another 12 on the sea. Waders included 105 Lapwings west in three flocks, 22 Sanderlings roosting between the groynes and a Snipe was on the Marsh Pool. A Pomarine Skua flew east close inshore and there were three Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds included three Song Thrushes which flew out of the bushes opposite the Obs, a Brambling in trees by the Obs and another heard along the east bank and later a Corn Bunting, new for the year, flew west by the skate park.

Little Grebe – Andy Taylor

19th

A day of brisk easterly winds brought about a significant change in the birds seen. The biggest flocks of Brent Geese so far this autumn with c1,200 heading west. Other wildfowl included 33 Wigeon, 26 Teal and eight Pintail west, a redhead Goosander east and a flock of 24 Common Scoters east at midday. Only one Velvet Scoter was noted offshore. A Woodcock in off the sea was new for the year and the birds on the move included eight Arctic Skuas and a single Great Skua west and four Kittiwakes flying east close inshore. Other birds included several parties of Skylarks, a first for the autumn Ring Ousel which dropped into the scrub, two Bramblings, a Siskin and two Yellowhammers which were also new for the year.

18th

Sunny, mild and calm. There were three Red-throated Divers and a Great Crested Grebe offshore and a Gannet resting on the sea. A Great White Egret, accompanied by three Little Egrets, flew NW over the area early morning. Ten Brent Geese flew west and there were 26 on the beach late morning and the two Velvet Scoters were off the skate park early morning and later to the east of the tidal ponds. There were 55 Mallard on the Marsh Pool early morning, where presumably they roost at night, and 22 Redshanks. Other waders included 112 Ringed Plovers, 69 Sanderlings and a Dunlin roosting between the groynes and a flock of 20 Golden Plovers heading west over the sea. Other birds note included five Skylarks west, three Stonechats, two Jays and singles of Greenfinch and Siskin.

A Snow Bunting was photographed by the Coastguard Cottages on 6th and recorded regularly in that area subsequently, increasing to two from 16th to 18th at least. Frustratingly, only about 300m to the east of this site.

Snow Buntings – Geoff Burton

17th

Cloudy, a little rain, light SW wind. A drake Mandarin Duck on the Marsh Pool was new for the year and a high total of 55 Mallard were also there. Other ducks were 50 Wigeon west in flocks of four, 30 and 16 with one flock including a single Pintail. The two Velvet Scoters were also offshore. There were two Red-throated Diver and a Great Crested Grebe offshore, one Gannet offshore, three Little Egrets and a Grey Heron on the beach. Waders included five Sanderlings on the beach and a juvenile Arctic Skua flew west close inshore. There was a strong movement of Chaffinches, c1,000 flying west, and also singles of Siskin and Reed Bunting.

Red-throated Divers – Andy Taylor

15th

Heavy showers then sunny with a light westerly wind. There was one Red-throated Diver and two Great Crested Grebes offshore, two Little Egrets and two Grey Herons on the beach and 42 Mallard on the Marsh Pool. Waders included 110 Ringed Plovers, four Sanderlings and four Dunlin on Hampton flats and six Black-tailed Godwits and four Knot flew west. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew west and there were five Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Vis mig included c150 Chaffinches, a single Brambling was noted in the flock and was an addition to the year list, 18 Skylarks, three Swallows, two House Martins, two Grey Wagtails, one Greenfinch and a flock of ten Siskins; all west. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher on the groynes, a pair of Stonechats, two Song Thrushes, a Blackcap, 20+ Chiffchaffs and a flock of 15 Linnets over the shingle ridge.

Small Whites and a Speckled Wood were also noted.

14th

Cloudy, light SW wind. There was one Red-throated Diver and two Great Crested Grebes offshore, seven Little Egrets and two Grey Herons along the shoreline and 36 Brent Geese flew west. The two Velvet Scoters were again offshore and a Common Scoter flew west. Waders included four Sanderlings and two Dunlin. Other birds included a Kingfisher fishing from beach pools, a pair of Stonechats, one Siskin west, one Reed Bunting west and three more in bushes.

13th

Five Black-tailed Godwits flew west.

12th

Light cloud with a light southerly wind. There were two Red-throated Divers and five Great Crested Grebes offshore. A Little Grebe on the sea is unusual and one today was sufficiently distant to cause some debate as to its identification. We settled for Little Grebe and there were two more in the more usual habitat of the brook. Four Wigeon flew west, there were 12 Brent Geese offshore and two Velvet Scoters, which appeared mid-morning, gave good and sustained views off the Obs. There were four Little Egrets and two Grey Herons on the beach. Waders included 32 Oystercatchers on the beach on the incoming tide and 21 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Six Great Black-backed Gulls, four adults and two immatures, were on the beach. Highlight of the day was a party of five Bearded Tits, which circled over the area and presumably landed someone in the grassland or scrub, appearing again about half an hour later circling over the Obs before flying on west. October is always the month for this species, there were four two years ago but the previous record of 14 which were present for two days, was in 2012.

Bearded Tits – Andy Taylor

11th

A Golden Plover was on the beach between the groynes, a Goldcrest near the changing rooms was new for the year and a Rook flew west.

10th

Cloudy, steady rain, light northerly wind. One Red-throated Diver, a Great Crested Grebe and three Gannets were offshore, 270 Brent Geese flew west, ten Wigeon were on the sea and another three flew west and two Teal were offshore. Waders included 25 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A juvenile Pomarine Skua came close inshore chasing terns. Other birds included three Skylarks and two Swallows west, a Grey Wagtail and two Reed Buntings.

9th

Andy led a party of some 15 souls on an early Sunday morning stroll around the site. Birds recorded included two Black Swans and a Great White Egret flying west, a Red-throated Diver on the sea, four Arctic Terns on the outflow pipe, Andy’s favourite a male Redstart along the east bank (our first and most probably last this year) and a Kingfisher fishing along the beach which was the favourite of everyone else.

Kingfisher – Andy Taylor

8th

Sunny, mild, light WNW wind. Four Shelduck and a flock of c50 Teal flew west. Waders included a high count of 130 Ringed Plovers roosting between the groynes, as well as 18 Sanderlings and 63 Turnstones, three Dunlin west, two Curlews on the beach and 11 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Two Pomarine Skuas were chasing gulls and terns off the Street and 25 Sandwich Terns flew west. Other birds noted included two Kingfishers, two Swallows, a Rock Pipit west, three Grey Wagtails, a Redwing along the east bank where there were two Blackcaps and c20 Chiffchaffs, c20 Chaffinches and three Siskins west and four Reed Buntings west.

6th

Sunny with a light SW wind. There were single Red-throated Diver and Great Crested Grebe offshore. Four Little Egrets and eight Redshanks were on the Marsh Pool. Two Guillemots flew east. Other birds noted included nine Skylarks west, five Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, a Mistle Thrush which landed briefly in the scrub before heading west was only the second of the year, and four Reed Buntings.

Sandwich Tern – Geoff Burton

5th

Sunny periods, mild with a fresh SW wind. There were two summer plumage Red-throated Divers offshore, a Grey Heron and a female Marsh Harrier flew west, possibly the same harrier flew south ten minutes later. Waders included 78 Ringed Plovers and 15 Sanderlings roosting between the groynes and 11Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A westerly movement of hirundines was dominated by 4,000+ House Martins, mainly between 8-9 am.

In addition to Small Whites and a Speckled Wood, out third only Wall Butterfly made a brief appearance at the Obs.

3rd

Light cloud, calm. There were four Red-throated Divers and a Great Crested Grebe offshore, five Brent Geese, three Wigeon and a Teal flew west and five Common Scoters flew east. Waders included two Snipe and ten Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. An Arctic Tern flew east and other birds noted included Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, four Skylarks west, a party of seven House Martins south, two Stonechats and 12 Goldfinches west.

Kingfisher – Geoff Burton

1st

Sunny, warmer, moderate westerly wind. There was one Red-throated Diver on the sea, a Gannet and two Brent Geese flew west and a Pomarine Skua was seen close inshore. Waders included a juvenile Grey Plover on the beach and two Snipe and eight Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. 14 Sandwich Terns rested on the beach, one an obvious fresh juvenile, and another was on a buoy. A Little Grebe was in the brook and other birds included our first Redwing of the autumn which flew from the scrub with two Song Thrushes, two Skylarks, seven Swallows, a House Martin and two Grey Wagtails west, a female Stonechat in the scrub, the long-staying Cetti’s Warbler and a late Reed Warbler along the east bank with seven Blackcaps and 20+ Chiffchaffs. A Jay was in the Elm Wood. A total of 54 species was a reasonable start to the month.