All posts by geoffburton

July 2021

141 species so far this year

136 by the same time last year

A total of 78 species were recorded during the month which compares favourably with a ten-year average of 73.6 species but below the best of these years with 82 in 2015. The year total of 141 species also compares well with an average of 135.5 by the end of July. Four new species were added to the year list including an early Arctic Skua on 16th and our fifth record of Cattle Egret (all in the last four years) on 27th.

31st

Sunny periods with a light westerly wind. Waders included one Oystercatcher on the beach, and another ten flying east, six Ringed Plovers and an influx of 81 Turnstones, many in breeding plumage, on the beach, two Whimbrel, one west and one on the shoreline which flew south courtesy of a dog walker, and the Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. A Juvenile Marsh Harrier, which flew west over the sea at 11.10 am, was surprisingly our first since March 29th. Two Sandwich Terns flew west, a Stock Dove was over the area, two Swift, a juvenile Robin by the sewage works entrance and four dull-capped Blackcaps were along the east bank.

A total of ten butterfly species included Common and Holly Blues, Comma, Speckled Wood and Essex Skipper. Common Blue was, belatedly, our first of the year.

Comma – Geoff Burton
Common Blue – Geoff Burton

29th

Sunny, moderate SW wind. Two Little Terns could be made out amongst a melee of gulls and terns offshore. Waders included four Ringed Plovers, the Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool and 20 Turnstones on the beach. Three juvenile Mistle Thrushes flying west landed in the trees along Swalecliffe Court Drive before heading west again across the football pitch (always a good bird to see here these days). A juvenile Willow Warbler was along the east bank and Blackcap and Chiffchaff were also seen.

Speckled Wood

28th

Cloudy, light SW wind. There were three Little Egrets on the beach. Waders included 11 Ringed Plovers and 44 Turnstones on the beach and a Common Sandpiper was on the Marsh Pool. Three adult Mediterranean Gulls flew west and three Sandwich Terns and Common Terns were offshore. Two Stock Doves flew south off the beach, three Swifts flew west and a Willow Warbler was calling near the sluice.

Common Gull – Geoff Burton

27th

A Cattle Egret flew west by the Obs at 7.55 am. A new bird for the year. The first was recorded in May 2018 but this is now the sixth record with singles in April and September 2019 and a juvenile and an adult in July 2020.

26th

Cloudy, muggy, light NW wind. A Black-tailed Godwit present on the shoreline by the Obs early morning was an addition to the year list. Other waders included two Ringed Plovers, an adult Dunlin and 25 Turnstones on the beach, a Curlew east and a Common Sandpiper. There were three Mediterranean Gulls on the beach with 165 Black-headed Gulls and a single Common Gull, a Sandwich Tern east and a Common Tern west. Also noted were two Stock Doves and 15 Swifts.

24th

Cloudy, rain shower, light southerly wind. 19 Mallard included a duck with five ducklings. Waders included seven Ringed Plovers and four Dunlin on the shingle ridge at high tide. A Whimbrel was heard calling as it moved west and two Greenshanks circled over the area before flying off high west over the Obs and 20 Turnstones were on the beach. There were three Mediterranean Gulls, including two juveniles on the beach, and an adult Common Gull.

Herring Gull chick on the roof of the church – Geoff Burton

23rd

A Jay was seen in the scrub.

22nd

Sunny, warm, light SE wind. One Gannet flew east. There were three Little Egrets with two on the Marsh Pool and roosting along the east bank. Waders noted were one Oystercatcher and 11 Whimbrel west, a Ringed Plover on the shingle ridge, a Dunlin and 26 Turnstones between the groynes. A Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Greenfinch were also noted.

21st

Sunny, warm, calm. A Great Crested Grebe on the sea was the first of the month. Seven Gannets flew west and three flew east. A single Oystercatcher and a Sanderling were on the beach, and a party of five Common Sandpipers gathered there briefly, whilst an influx of 27 Turnstones were roosting between the groynes. An adult and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull were on the beach, an immature Common Gull flew south over the sewage works and the pair of Great Black-backed Gulls, and an immature, were also on the beach. A Stock Dove flew south by the Obs, a Yellow Wagtail was seen and, unusually for this time, a juvenile Rook flew west by the scout hut.

Nine species of butterfly included Painted Lady and Marbled White, a Shaded Broad-bar moth was seen and a Water Vole also made an appearance.

19th

Sunny, very warm, light SE wind. Four Gannets flew east, one flew west. There were four Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool and a Grey Heron flew south. Two juvenile Shovelers that circled the area before landing on the Marsh Pool was an unusual occurrence at an unusual time of the year. There were also 12 Mallard on the Marsh Pool. Waders noted were a Ringed Plover on the shingle ridge, a Green Sandpiper heard calling and our first Turnstone of the month. There were two Mediterranean Gulls on the beach, one adult Common Gull flew west, numbers of juvenile Herring Gulls on the beach rose to 57, there were two adult and an immature Great Black-backed Gull on the beach and five Sandwich Terns flew west. Also, five Swifts flew west.

Eight species of butterfly were noted on this warm day which included our first Comma of the year and Marbled White.

Kestrel and departing Goldfinch – Geoff Burton
Comma – Geoff Burton

17th

Sunny, warm, light northerly wind. Three adult Mute Swans flew east over the sea and a Grey Heron flew SE pursued by gulls. Five Oystercatchers flew east, four Whimbrel flew west and a Curlew was heard calling. There were three Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach, a pair and an immature, and a Sandwich Tern flew east. A Swallow came in off the sea.

Butterflies included our first Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown and Red Admiral.

16th

Cloudy at first, sunny later, moderate northerly wind. An Arctic Skua, quite early for the site, flew west at 8.48 am. New for the year but little else moving although single Mediterranean Gull and Common Gull flew west. Waders noted were two Oystercatchers, one Ringed Plover, 14 Lapwing SE over the area, three breeding plumage Dunlin and a Redshank. There were ten Juvenile Herring Gulls on the beach.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Small Heath, Essex Skipper and a Marbled White.

15th

Waders noted were one Ringed Plover on the shingle ridge, eight Lapwings, two Whimbrels and a Redshank. Also there were seven Kittiwakes, two Yellow Wagtails and a Chiffchaff was heard calling again.

Four Marbled Whites in the scrub was an exceptional count for the site.

13th

A lone Brent Goose and 20 Common Scoters flew west, with three east. An adult Ringed Plover was on the shingle ridge and a Redshank on the beach. A Buzzard flew NW over the Obs and a Hobby west over the estate. Also, one Meadow Pipit flew west and a Chiffchaff was heard calling.

A brief view of a Marbled White and there were a few Shaded Broad-bar moths in the grassland.

12th

There were eight Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool in the afternoon and seven Gadwall flew west at 6.45 pm.

10th

Cloudy, some light rain, calm. There were five Little Egrets. Nine Whimbrel flew west, a party of six and three singles, one Curlew flew west and two were by the tidal ponds, and one Oystercatcher flew west. Seven Sandwich Terns flew east and two Common Terns flew west. Four Swifts flew west and at least three Blackcaps continued to sing.

9th

Sunny periods, light southerly wind. Three Gannets flew east, there were seven Little Egrets, a Grey Heron flew west low over the sea and a flock of c20 Common Scoters landed on the sea. Waders were represented by singles of Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover and Curlew. Three adult Great Black-backed Gulls were chasing each other over the beach and one Sandwich Tern was offshore. Two Sand Martins and a Swallow flew west and a Chiffchaff was seen at the Obs and along the east bank.

8th

A Hobby flew over the caravan park.

7th

Sunny periods, moderate southerly wind. Three Gannets flew east, two Little Egrets flew west and three were on the Marsh Pool and there were four Sandwich Terns and a Common Tern offshore. Waders noted included a juvenile Ringed Plover and singles of Oystercatcher, Whimbrel and Curlew. Other birds noted included a Stock Dove, two Swifts, two Sand Martins and a House Martin west, a juvenile Pied Wagtail and a Chiffchaff.

Amongst seven species of butterfly were our first Essex Skippers, moths were represented by a Silver Y and dragonflies by an Azure Damselfly.

Azure Damselfly – Geoff Burton

5th

Cloudy, rain until 7 am, light SW wind. Two Mute Swans flew west over the sea and 15 Common Scoters flew east. There were two Whimbrel on the beach early morning, three Curlews and an Oystercatcher. A secobd calendar year Mediterranean Gull flew west and there were five immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Six Swifts flew west and a single Swallow was also noted.

Bug wise there were eight species of butterfly, a Box Tree and Cinnabar moth and our first Southern Migrant Hawker dragonfly. The latter becoming increasingly regular in the county.

4th

Four Sandwich Terns were fishing at 12.15 pm.

3rd

Cloudy, steady rain from 9.45-10.30 am, and light SW wind. There were two Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool and an adult Mute Swan was close inshore, and later flew south over Lang Court. Three Oystercatchers flew west and a flock of 35 Lapwings flew west inland. An adult Mediterranean Gull was on the beach and an adult and second calendar year bird flew west. A flock of 120 Black-headed Gulls roosting close inshore early morning included two juveniles. There were 15 immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and three Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds included a Stock Dove, which circled over the area and landed by the Marsh Pool and also attempted to land by the Obs Pool and eight Swifts west. A Leucistic House Sparrow was present in the scrub.

A Water Vole put in one of its regular appearances and butterflies noted were Small and Large Whites and Meadow Brown.

Leucistic House Sparrow – Geoff Burton

1st

Sunny, warmer, light NNW wind. Three Gannets flew west, there were two Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool (also one on the Obs Pool) and two Brent Geese flew west accompanying a Cormorant. Three Curlews flying west were the only waders noted. Three Sandwich Terns were offshore. Other birds noted included a Hobby, ten Swifts and a Swallow west and a Reed Warbler singing in the Scout Wood.

Little Egret – Geoff Burton
Woodpigeons – Geoff Burton

June 2021

137 species so far this year

133 species by this time last year

A total of 77 species for the month compares with a ten-year average of only 69.9 species and a maximum during that period of 76 species. This seems to belie the feeling of a struggling month which is backed up statistically with my own daily average of only 31.9 species compared with averages between 34.4 and 41.1 species during the previous ten year period. There were two additions to the year list which included a singing and typically elusive Marsh Warbler on 15th (our third after birds in June 2004 and July 2011). A Green Sandpiper on 28th was also new for the year.

30th

Cloudy, cool with showers, light to moderate northerly wind. A very quiet end to the month. Three Curlews and an immature Common Gull flew west. 21 Swifts flew west and a Chiffchaff was calling along the east bank.

28th

Cloudy, misty, calm. There were four Little Egrets on the beach. Waders noted were four Oysteratchers east, 16 Curlews and a Whimbrel west and a Green Sandpiper, our first this year, which circled over the area calling. There were eight immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach, a Sandwich Tern offshore. Six Swifts and a Swallow were also noted.

26th

Sunny, calm. There were four Little Egrets along the shoreline, two Shelducks and a Curlew flew west. Two Sandwich Terns and two Common Terns were offshore.

Blackcap belting it out at the Obs – Geoff Burton
Female Sparrowhawk – Geoff Burton

24th

Sunny, calm, warmer. A Brent Goose came in from the east and rested on the shoreline in front of the Obs. A Grey Heron flew over the area, a Shelduck flew east, two Curlews flew west and a Sandwich Tern was offshore. A Skylark flew over the grassland.

23rd

Sunny with a light NE wind. Three broods of Mallard were noted; one of c8 medium-sized and two of five and nine small ducklings. There were two Curlews, one flew west and one on the beach, six Sandwich Terns flew east and a Common Tern was also noted. Two adult Moorhens with a single chick were seen along the middle brook. One Sand Martin flew west.

Butterflies included a Red Admiral and Holly Blue and a Yellow Shell moth was also seen.

Moorhens – Andy Taylor
Red Admiral – Geoff Burton

22nd

Two Common Terns on the beach and a large party of schoolchildren there too.

21st

Cloudy with a fresh NE wind and rain from 8.30 am. Two Fulmars, 12 Gannets, a Curlew and an adult Common Gull flew east. There were 12 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and five Swifts flew west.

19th

Cloudy, cool, with a light northerly wind. A very quiet morning. A Fulmar flew west. Three Turnstones, only seven Great Black-backed Gulls, but including two adults, and four Sandwich Terns on the beach.

Sandwich Terns – Geoff Burton

17th

Cloudy, calm, rain. There were eight Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool early morning, a flock of 14 Gadwall flew SE over the sewage works, later one was along the shoreline and a Mute Swan flew east over the skate park. Waders noted wee a single Oystercatcher east, a Ringed Plover and seven Turnstones on the beach. There were 34 immature Great Black-backed Gulls, a second calendar year Mediterranean Gull and a Sandwich Tern on the beach. A Skylark was seen in the grassland.

16th

A Mute Swan flew over the sewage works and the church.

15th

Cloudy with a light NE wind. In contrast to yesterday, this seemed like the essence of mid-June. A Grey Heron flew north over the sewage works, there were 26 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach, including two adults, a Stock Dove circled over the Marsh Pool and a Meadow Pipit was noted. However, a second circuit of the site led to a reappraisal of the morning. A warbler singing from a clump of nettles sounded interesting although it was difficult to hear clearly above the chatter of House Sparrows. Also, it interspersed brief snatches of its song with long periods of silence. However, perseverance and an upgrade in its song quality, confirmed that it was our third Marsh Warbler. It continued to sing intermittently in and around the bluethroat bush well into the afternoon but only afforded one observer one brief view. Previous records were in June 2004 and July 2011; all typical late one-day jobs.

14th

Sunny, warm , calm then a light NW wind. Unexpectedly, two Siskins were calling in the pines by Lang Court first thing; they flew off west. There was a raft of 19 Shelducks sitting on a flat calm sea, a drake Tufted Duck flew west at 6.05 am and a Greenshank flew west at 8.35 am. Other waders were a single Oystercatcher east and eight Turnstones on the beach. A gathering of 23 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach included one adult. Four Sand Martins also flew west. A rather above average morning for the doldrums of mid-June.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Holly Blue, Small Heath and Red Admiral.

12th

Sunny with a light westerly wind. Two Gannets flew east and a Mute Swan flew north over the area. A Fulmar and a Grey Heron were also noted. Seven Turnstones were roosting amongst the groynes and 18 Great Black-backed Gulls were roosting on the beach.

Butterflies noted were Small and Large Whites, Holly Blue, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood.

Turnstones – Geoff Burton

10th

Sunny, very warm, light SW wind. One Great Crested Grebe on the sea, a Gannet flew west and there were two Little Egrets roosting along the east bank. There were two Sandwich Terns and two Common Terns offshore and a Skylark flew west low over the Obs.

9th

Sunny, warm, light SW wind. One Great Crested Grebe on the sea and three Little Egrets included two roosting along the east bank. Three Mediterranean Gulls flew west, there were 17 Great Black-backed Gulls, including two adults, on the beach and three Sandwich Terns offshore. A Chiffchaff was singing at the Obs.

Butterflies included the first Small Heath of the year.

8th

A quiet morning birdwise with a single Skylark west and a Reed Warbler also noted.

Most notable though unfortunately deceased, was a Smooth Hound shark, which appeared to be in good condition, stranded on the beach. This a fairly common shallow water shark but the first to be recorded at the site. It was to provide several days of nourishment for an immature Great Black-backed Gull. On a different scale, a Speckled Wood was seen in the churchyard. This common species has been rather scarce so far this year.

Smooth Hound – Andy Taylor
Reed Warbler – Andy Taylor

7th

Sunny, calm, warm. There were three Great Crested Grebes on the sea, a Gannet flew east and five Mute Swans swam leisurely west. A pair of Shelducks were on the Marsh Pool, two Lapwings circled over the beach and a Red Kite drifted SW. A Sandwich Tern was offshore and two Swifts and three Swallows flew west.

Butterflies noted were Small and Large Whites, Holly Blue and a Red Admiral.

Great Black-backed Gull passing Southend – Geoff Burton

6th

Five Shelducks flew west, three Mediterranean Gulls were noted whilst a Willow Warbler along the east bank was unusual at this time of the year.

5th

Cloudy, cool with a light NW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, seven Gannets flew east and a group of seven Kittiwakes flew west. Waders noted were an Oystercatcher east and a Ringed Plover and ten Turnstones on the beach. Three Mediterranean Gulls flew west and there were 19 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Other birds noted included two Stock Doves, which dropped onto the Marsh Pool, and four Swallows west.

Stock Dove – Geoff Burton

3rd

A quiet day but two Common Scoters and a Yellow Wagtail were noted.

2nd

A Common Sandpiper and eight Turnstones were noted and four Kittiwakes flew east. Other birds noted included a Hobby, a House Martin, three Jays and a Greenfinch.

1st

Sunny and warm. There were two Great Crested Grebes on the sea and singles of Fulmar and Gannet flew east. Waders included two Avocets and two Sanderlings, eight Oystercatchers flying east, two Ringed Plovers on the shingle ridge and six roosting Turnstones. A Hobby zipped east through the scrub and over the caravan park and there were nine immature Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Other birds included a Stock Dove which dropped onto the shingle ridge, a Swift and a Swallow, a Grey Wagtail by the sluice and a Reed Warbler singing occasionally in the scrubland trees.

Butterflies seen were large and Small White, Holly Blue and presumably one of the last Orange-tips of the year. Jim Bloor reported seeing three Water Voles in the brook by the Marsh Pool.

Avocets – Andy Taylor

May 2021

A total of 135 species so far this year

132 species by this time last year

A total of 88 species was well above the ten-year average of 82.5. Bird of the month was the Black Kite on 25th (only the second record, after another in May in 2003). A Manx Shearwater on 4th was an unusual Spring record. Interesting to note that there was only one record of Turtle Dove and Cuckoo, Garden Warbler and possibly two Spotted Flycatchers. They scraped onto the year list but, as yet, no sign of Little Tern or Sedge Warbler.

31st

Sunny with a light NE wind. One Fulmar, 15 Gannets, 20 Oystercatchers and two Mediterranean Gulls flew east. A Redshank on the Marsh Pool was unusual at this time of the year and there were 14 Turnstones amongst the groynes. Three Swallows flew west.

There were many Small White and Holly Blue butterflies noted and a single Peacock.

29th

Cloudy with a cooling NE wind. A Fulmar and seven Shelducks flew west, five Oystercatchers, eight Mediterranean Gulls, a Sandwich Tern and four Common Terns flew east and a very late drake Red-breasted Merganser and two Common Scoters were also noted.

27th

Sunny and calm. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, a Fulmar flew west but was then chased by a Herring Gull, three Gannets and a Whimbrel flew west and six Mediterranean Gulls flew east. A Buzzard and eight Red Kites were seen late morning. Vis mig included 11 Swifts, eight Swallows, four House Martins and three Yellow Wagtails west. Two Reed Warblers, singing along the east bank and at the Obs, were new for the year.

Red Kite – Andy Taylor

26th

Cloudy, still cool, light NW wind. A Great Crested Grebe flew west, a Fulmar flew east low over the Obs and three Gannets flew east. There was a Ringed Plover and three Turnstones on the beach and amongst four Lesser Black-backed Gulls was an old immature (unusual here at this time of the year). There were three Sandwich Terns hanging around the red buoy and two Razorbills flew west. A trickle of late vis mig with two Swifts, 20 Swallows, a House Martin and a Yellow Wagtail flying west.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Geoff Burton

25th

A Black Kite came in off the sea at 6.45 am and flew south inland. Only the second record for the site after one, similarly coming in off the sea, in May 2003.

24th

Sunny, warmer, light SW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, two Gannets and a Shelduck flew west, two Greylag Geese flew SE and there were c30 Common Scoters offshore. Six Oystercatchers and two Ringed Plovers and there were 11 Turnstones were on the groynes. Other birds included a Hobby, four Swifts and four Swallows. Two Crossbills that flew west was an addition to the year list.

Butterflies recorded were Small White, Holly Blue and Orange-tip.

22nd

Cloudy, rain at first, moderate NW wind. A Great Crested Grebe, a Fulmar, two Tufted Ducks, 11 Common Scoters and a Razorbill flew west and 50+ Gannets were offshore. Two Ringed Plovers were casing each other over the shingle ridge and nine Turnstones were roosting between the groynes. A total of 60 Kittiwakes included flocks of 18 and 17 west and 15 east. Three Sandwich Terns were noted offshore. 106 Swifts flew west (mostly early morning) and three Swallows and two House Martins also flew west. Other birds included a Hobby flying low over the area and a Meadow Pipit in display flight over the shingle ridge.

Fox – Geoff Burton

21st

18 Swifts were noted flying west over the caravan park.

20th

Cloudy with a light SW wind. Two Great Crested Grebes were on the sea, two Fulmars flew west together, a Grey Heron and two Shelduck flew west and c15 Common Scoters flew east. Two Oystercatchers flew east and there was a Ringed Plover and seven Turnstones roosting between the groynes. An adult Kittiwake flew west and three Sandwich Terns were offshore. A Sand Martin and four House Martins, and three Redpolls flew west. Between 10.30 and 11.10 am, three Red Kites flew west all bearing the wing moult of immature birds.

19th

Heavy rain for an hour then sunny with a light westerly wind. There were four Great Crested Grebes on the sea, five Gannets on the sea flew off west and two Shelducks flew west. Two Oystercatchers and a Turnstone were the only waders and one Sandwich Tern was seen. Vis mig included 16 Swifts and ten Swallows west. Other migrants included single Wheatear and Willow Warbler whilst a Corn Bunting appeared on the bushes opposite the Obs after the rain. After a period of preening and shaking itself dry, it flew off west over the Obs.

18th

Two Common Sandpipers on the shingle ridge were chased off by two Ringed Plovers. A few Swifts and all three hirundines were noted.

17th

Cloudy, cool with a moderate westerly wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes on the sea, a Fulmar and two large Auk sp flew west and three Common Scoters flew east. A pair of Shelducks were on the Marsh Pool and another flew west. An Oystercatcher and Turnstone on the beach were the only waders recorded. With the westerly winds, 50 Swifts, ten Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail flew west.

15th

Cloudy, rain at first, light SE wind. Two Gannets flew west and two Shelducks flew east. There were two Grey Plovers on the mudflats by the tidal ponds. These were the first here since 19th February.

14th

A Willow Warbler was noted.

13th

Cloudy with light rain and a light southerly wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, about ten Gannets offshore, three adult Kittiwakes, three Sandwich Terns and two Common Terns flew west and a party of seven Razorbills flew east.

12th

Sunny, turning cloudy, with a light SW wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes on the sea, three Gannets flew east and six Shelducks flew west. There were five Ringed Plovers on the beach on the incoming tide and 17 Turnstones. Birds of the day were a Turtle Dove which flew west at 6.15 am (new for the year after our first gap year in 2020), and a Cuckoo west at 7.15 am. Other birds included six Swallows west and a Jay which flew low over the changing rooms.

Butterflies included out first Holly Blue of the year, Painted Lady and Red Admiral.

11th

There were three Common Sandpipers on the Marsh Pool.

10th

Sunny with a light SW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, eight Gannets offshore and two Shelducks and 21 Common Scoters flew west. Waders included eight Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin on the beach and a Common Sandpiper dropped in and then flew west. Two Kittiwakes, three Sandwich Terns and a Common Tern flew east. Three Swifts, a House Martin and two Yellow Wagtails flew west. A Spotted Flycatcher along the east bank was considered to be a different bird to yesterdays, and two Willow Warblers were singing in the churchyard and by the Obs. Two Long-tailed Tits flew from a patch of brambles along the east bank, where they were thought to be nesting, across to the churchyard.

A Painted Lady and a Green-veined White butterfly were seen at the Obs.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Geoff Burton
Painted Lady – Geoff Burton

9th

A Spotted Flycatcher, in dead trees by the sewage works entrance, was a welcome addition to the year list. There was also a Hobby, two Wheatears on the shingle ridge, and a cock Yellowhammer was the second record this year of this declining species.

8th

Cloudy, rain, milder, light SE wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes on the sea, a drake Shelduck on the Marsh Pool and waders included an Oystercatcher and four Ringed Plovers. Other birds included one Sandwich Tern, a female Wheatear on the beach and a Greenfinch along the east bank.

7th

The heaviest movement of Swifts this year so far with 340+ between 5.30 and 8 am. A Wheatear was on the shingle ridge and a Garden Warbler, again silent, was along the east bank.

Swift – Andy Taylor

6th

Sunny, cool with a light SW wind. There were five Gannets offshore, a Grey Heron flew NW over the Obs, a flock of ten Mute Swans, a pair of Tufted Ducks flew west at 7.15 am (new for the year) and six Common Scoters flew east. Waders included 12 Oystercatchers west, a Dunlin, three Common Sandpipers (new for the year) and 45 Turnstones roosting at high tide. Vis mig included all three species of hirundines and three Yellow Wagtails west. A silent Garden Warbler at the Obs completed a trio of year ticks.

Common Sandpiper – Andy Taylor

5th

Sunny with a light westerly wind. There were five Gannets offshore, a flock of nine Mute Swans flew west inland, a Greylag Goose flew west and three Common Scoters flew east. Waders included two Oystercatchers, two Dunlin, a Whimbrel and a Curlew west. Vis mig included 53 Swifts, 36 Swallows, eight House Martins and 12 Yellow Wagtails west.

A Speckled Wood and a Red Admiral butterfly were seen at the Obs.

4th

A Manx Shearwater flying east was a good Spring record for the north coast but there were also two further east at Minnis Bay and at Dungeness, 56 birds flew west. 20+ Swifts flying west were also new for the year (a late first record) and all three hirundines were seen. There were “good numbers” of Sandwich Terns offshore for the first time this Spring, a few Yellow Wagtails, a Wheatear was present for the fourth day and three summer plumage Dunlin flew west.

3rd

Sunny with a moderate westerly wind. Two Egyptian Geese flew west and were new for the year. A Mute Swan and 12 Common Scoters flew east, a Greylag Goose 12 Shelduck were also noted and there were three Great Crested Grebes on the sea. Waders included four transitional plumage Sanderlings on the beach and a Curlew flying east. Away from the coast, two House Martins, six Yellow Wagtails and a Redpoll flew west, a female Wheatear was in the scrub, a Ring Ousel flying west appeared to drop into the sewage works and a Willow Warbler was along the east bank.

2nd

The Wheatear was seen again.

1st

Sunny, cool with a light NNW wind. There was a group of four Great Crested Grebes on the sea, a Fulmar flew east over the Obs and five Greylag Geese, two Canada Geese and five Shelducks flew east. Waders included three Sanderlings on the beach and three Whimbrel west. Four Mediterranean Gulls and a Sandwich Tern flew east. Vis mig included 25 Sand Martins, two House Martins and four Yellow Wagtails flew west. A female Wheatear was on the beach.

April 2021

A cold, dry month (Philip Hurst recorded only 4 mm of rain in Chestfield this month) with a predominance of easterly winds. Despite these adverse conditions for Spring, the total of 95 species was one above the ten-year average for the month. The highlight was a Red-rumped Swallow seen by Geoff Racher on 6th (only the second record for the site).

A total of 122 species so far this year

125 species by the same time last year

30th

Sunny, cool with a light northerly wind. One Great Crested Grebe and seven Shelducks flew west and a Canada Goose was also seen. Ten Mediterranean Gulls, including one flock of eight birds, and two Common Terns flew east. Waders were one Ringed Plover on the shingle ridge and five Sanderlings and 21 Turnstones on the beach. Bird of the day, however, was a Merlin which appeared to have snatched a small wader off the beach then circled high over the sea pursued by two crows. Also six Sand Martins and a House Martin flew west.

29th

Sunny, cool with a fresh northerly wind. Four Gannets and two adult Mediterranean Gulls flew east and there were ten Sanderlings on the beach. Three House Martins were hawking along the east bank.

A Water Vole was seen along the middle brook.

28th

There were five Canada Geese on the beach, two Barnacle Geese flew south and three Common Scoters flew east. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the sewage works and a male Yellowhammer, briefly on the beach before flying off east, was new for the year. There were also “decent” number of Sand Martins and Swallows on the move between 8 and 9 am, before the NE wind strengthened.

27th

Sunny, warmer with a light NE wind. There were two Great Crested Grebes offshore whilst waders included three Ringed Plovers roosting on the groynes and three Sanderlings and a Curlew were on the beach. Two Lesser Whitethroats were singing along the east bank between the Elm Wood and the Obs. Another addition the the year list. A Jay was heard calling behind the Obs and the Greenfinch continues to display along the east bank.

Lesser Whitethroat – Andy Taylor

26th

Sunny, cool with a moderate NE wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea, a pair of Shelducks on the Marsh Pool and a Hobby, that skimmed east low over the caravan park, was new for the year. Waders included a couple of flocks (18-20) of Bar-tailed Godwits flying east offshore and two close inshore, two Whimbrels, a Curlew and a vocal but invisible Greenshank which was also new for the year. Six Mediterranean Gulls flew east and there were two Common Terns offshore.

Not a month for butterflies but a Small White was seen.

24th

Sunny with a light to moderate easterly wind. A Red-throated Diver flew west, two Fulmars flew east, one high inland, and there were two Great Crested Grebes on the sea. 18 Shelducks flew east and a pair was on the Marsh Pool. Waders included three Ringed Plovers, five Sanderlings, a Dunlin and a Curlew on the beach, 11 Whimbrel, nine flew east and two rested briefly on the shingle ridge, and five Oystercatchers. Five Common Gulls flew east, two Sandwich Terns flew east and two were on the buoys, and four Common Terns flew east. A female Ring Ousel that flew south from the scrub was new for the year. Five Swallows flew west, a Meadow Pipit was in song in the grassland and a Greenfinch was in display flight over the churchyard.

23rd

Waders included a Bar-tailed Godwit on the beach and four Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Two adult Kittiwakes flew west and a few Sandwich Terns were offshore. A male Wheatear was on the shingle ridge and four Blackcaps were noted.

22nd

Sunny, cool with a light NE wind. Three Whimbrel flew south and a breeding plumage Golden Plover was roosting with Turnstones between the groynes. Surprisingly, it remained for some time without being disturbed. Five immature Common Gulls, a Sandwich Tern and ten Common Terns flew east. A Greenfinch was singing in the churchyard and along the east bank.

Golden Plover – Geoff Burton

21st

Foggy at first then freshening NE wind, cold. A Fulmar and four Sandwich Terns flew east. Waders included three Ringed Plovers, 12 Sanderlings, a Dunlin and 65 Turnstones on the beach. Also, a Curlew flew west and a Whimbrel was heard calling.

19th

Cloudy, cool with a light NE wind. A Red-throated Diver and two Shelducks flew west and a Great Crested Grebe was on the sea. Waders included six Sanderlings, a Curlew and 35 Turnstones on the beach, five Whimbrel west but best of all a Ruff and a Bar-tailed Godwit west (both additions to the year list). 12 Sand Martins and four Swallows flew west, a male Wheatear on the shingle ridge was only the second of the year, after one on March 26th, and a Willow Warbler uttered a snatch of song by the bluethroat bush.

17th

Sunny, cool, with a light NE wind. A Great Crested Grebe was on the sea, a Fulmar flew east and six Shelducks landed on the Marsh Pool. Waders included a single Oystercatcher east and two Ringed Plovers, ten Sanderlings and 30 Turnstones on the beach. A total of 31 Mediterranean Gulls flew east during the morning including only one immature. A Skylark flew NW over the Obs, five Sand Martins included three flying west west and one Swallow flew west. Two Blackcaps and a Chiffchaff were also noted.

16th

Bird of the day was a summer plumage Black-throated Diver west. Three Sand Martins and two Swallows were also seen and two Turtle Doves were reported by Birdguides but with no confirmatory information has been obtained.

15th

Sunny periods, cool with a moderate NE wind. A Fulmar flew and a pair of Teal west, a Greylag Goose flew east and a pair of Shelducks on the Marsh Pool. Waders included a single Lapwing flying NW, four Ringed Plovers displaying to each other on the beach, six Sanderlings and 29 Turnstones on the beach and five Curlews west. A Skylark landed on the beach, four Swallows flew west, there were three Whitethroats in the area and a count of 55 Carrion Crows.

14th

Sunny periods, cool, light NE wind. A Red-throated Diver flew east, a drake Red-breasted Merganser seen and four Shelducks flew east, two west. Waders included our first three Whimbrel of the year and six Sanderlings and three Redshanks on the beach. The Whitethroat was still in the bluethroat bush and a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff were singing in the Elm Wood. No longer a breeding species here, but a male Reed Bunting was also seen.

13th

A Common Whitethroat in the bluethroat bush was new for the year. Also, there were three Blackcaps, a female Reed Bunting and four Redpolls flew west.

12th

Sunny and cool with a light westerly wind. A Red-throated Diver and a Gannet flew west and there were six Great Crested Grebes offshore. Two Shelducks and 33 Common Scoters, in flocks of 25 and eight, flew east. Waders included a single Oystercatcher on the beach and a flock of c20 flying west, a Dunlin west and 12 Sanderlings on the beach. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls flew east and four Sandwich Terns flew west together. A change to a westerly wind encouraged some vis mig with nine Swallows, 13 Meadow Pipits, a Yellow Wagtail, 24 Goldfinches and 34 Linnets west. A Skylark flew low over the grassland.

10th

Cloudy, cool with a moderate NE wind. A Red-throated Diver and a Gannet flew east and a Great Crested Grebe was offshore. Two Shelducks and the drake Eider flew west. Waders included two Ringed Plovers and three Sanderlings, and two Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Ten Common Gulls and three Sandwich Terns flew east. Two Stock Doves were seen and a Chiffchaff was singing in the Elm Wood.

9th

Some vis mig with a Sand Martin, 12 Swallows and two House Martins west whilst a Mistle Thrush and three Siskins, also west, were additions to the year list.

8th

Sunny periods with a light SW wind. A Red-throated Diver, in partial breeding plumage, and a Great Crested Grebe were on the sea, three Mute Swans and seven Canada Geese flew west and five Common Scoters flew west. A Red Kite, that came in off the sea at 9.45 am and headed SE inland, was our first of the year and a Buzzard circling over the football pitch was not welcomed by the local gulls. Waders included 12 Sanderlings and a Dunlin on the beach with two Snipe still on show in the Marsh Pool. Some vis mig with a Sand Mattin, eight Swallows, a Meadow Pipit, three Rooks, a Greenfinch, three Goldfinches and 23 Linnets on the move. Meanwhile, a Goldcrest at the Obs was another addition to the year list.

6th

Sunny, cool with a fresh NW wind. Waders included 16 Sanderlings on the beach and 30 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Some vis mig with four Swallows and a House Martin, 14 Meadow Pipits and two Yellow Wagtails, 12 Goldfinches and 95 Linnets – all west. Both House Martin and Yellow Wagtail were new for the year as was a Red-rumped Swallow hawking around the Obs briefly, before flying on west. Only the second record for the site and seen by Geoff Racher after the usual crew had all departed!

5th

Two Brent Geese on the sea were the first noted this month and a a pair of Wigeon were also noted. Eight Mediterranean Gulls flew east in one flock and there was a westerly movement of Common and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

4th

A Willow Warbler was singing, a Greenfinch, yet to settle for the breeding season, flew around over the football pitch. In the afternoon, there were “a good few” Swallows and two Sandwich Terns were seen.

3rd

Cloudy and cold with a fresh NE wind. There were five Sanderlings and a Dunlin on the beach and eight Snipe on the Marsh Pool. There were also two Stock Doves on the Marsh Pool and three Redpolls were also noted.

1st

Cloudy, cold with a moderate to fresh NE wind. Not the weather one would wish to start the month with. Two adult Mute Swans were resting on the beach where they remained for some time. One Red-throated Diver and two Great Crested Grebes were offshore and waders included three Sanderlings on the beach and four Snipe on the Marsh Pool. A Sand Martin and six Swallows flew west, two Redpolls flew west and a Willow Warbler sand intermittently in the bushes opposite the Obs.

Mute Swan – Geoff Burton

March 2021

A total of 105 species so far this year

100 species by the same time last year

31st

A drake Eider was feeding offshore and a Sandwich Tern was on the red cheesy buoy. An influx of Blackcaps with a total of five (all males), a Redwing in the scrub and a Redpoll flew west. Six Swallows were seen in the afternoon.

30th

An unseasonally warm and calm day after a touch of frost. Too good, apparently, for any vis mig! There were about 20 Red-throated Divers and seven Great Crested Grebes offshore, and a pair of Pintail were resting on the beach and, at low tide, managed to stay there undisturbed for several hours. A Canada Goose flew east along the beach, eight Shelduck flew west, a drake Eider flew west (new for the year here but probably the bird that has wintered in the Swale) and a drake Red-breasted Merganser was on the sea. Waders included 11 Sanderlings on the beach and nine Snipe on the Marsh Pool. A Great Spotted Woodpecker called briefly from the sewage works, and there were brief appearances from single Swallow and Willow Warbler. A male Stonechat was presumably a migrant rather than one of our wintering birds.

The warmth brought out our first butterflies of the year with two sightings of Brimstone and Small White, and Red Admiral and Peacock.

29th

A hint of Spring with our first hirundines, 18 Sand Martins and four Swallows west, a singing Willow Warbler along the brook and at the Obs (our earliest for many years) and three Redpolls heading west. Also, a female Marsh Harrier flew west.

27th

A pair of Ringed Plovers displaying was quintessentially a triumph of hope over experience. A Greenfinch was singing but so far this species has been slow to settle down here this year.

26th

Two Stock Doves and a Skylark were noted whilst Greg Herne’s Wheatear down amongst the pigloos was our 100th species for the year.

25th

A Blackcap and four Chiffchaffs were present and there was a trickle of Meadow Pipits and Goldfinches heading west.

24th

Two Ravens circled over the area at 8 am before heading west; although there have only been a handful of record, all but one in recent years, it is likely that this species will become more regular. A Blackcap singing along the brook was also our first of the year. A few Chiffchaffs were also present.

23rd

Sunny with a light SW wind. A Sandwich Tern, our first of the year, fishing close inshore was a hint of Spring. Other additions to the year list were a vocal Avocet heading west and a Velvet Scoter heading east. There were 40 Red-throated Divers, many in summer plumage, scattered across the calm sea but only two Great Crested Grebes although they were resplendent in breeding plumage. Three Grey Herons flew north out to sea, our first this month, and another flew west inland. Four Greylag Geese and two Shelducks flew west and a duck Red-breasted Merganser was on the sea. Waders on the beach included 29 Sanderlings, eight Dunlin and seven Ringed Plovers. There were 11 Snipe and 18 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. There was an influx of Chiffchaffs with at least six scattered around.

22nd

A flock of about 60 White-fronted Geese flew east presumably on their wat back to Russian breeding grounds. In contrast, a Green Woodpecker in the sewage works, new for the year, has probably not strayed far from its natal home.

8th-21st

A very quiet period whilst we wait for the weather to become more Spring-like. There were two additions to the year list on 8th with a female Merlin which flew west (a male was also seen on 12th) and a female Great Spotted Woodpecker in the sewage works trees. Two Canada Geese which circled over the marsh on 20th was also an addition to the year list. A Chiffchaff singing at the Obs on 16th was the first since one between 22nd and 27th February.

1st-7th

A quiet start to the month continued the theme of the second half of February. There were no additions to the year list. The rarer divers continue to appear occasionally with Black-throated Diver on 1st and Great Northern Diver on 6th. There were good counts of Red-breasted Mergansers, with 16 0n 5th, and Redshanks with 34 on the Marsh Pool on 2nd. A littoralis Rock Pipit was seen on 4th and a Purple Sandpiper was extra-territorial on 6th.

February 2021

A total of 86 species for the month was well above the ten year average of only 77 species and, of those ten years, only 91 species in 2012 was better. Clearly, the cold spell was responsible for this. However, the year total of 90 species is still below the ten year average of 92.5 species. Furthermore, no species have been seen this year that was missed in 2020.

A total of 90 species so far this year

95 species by this time last year

22nd-28th

The last week continued in the same vein. A pair of Gadwall flying west and a Chiffchaff at the Obs on 22nd were new for the year but there were no more additions by the end of the month. A Black-throated Diver and six White-fronted Geese flew east and the Water Rail made another of its infrequent appearances on 22nd, a Marsh Harrier flew west and there was a first post cold-spell show of a Kingfisher on 23rd, a raft of 16 Red-breasted Mergansers were draped around the red buoy on 24th and the only Gannet of the month was seen on 28th.

13th-21st

With the cold spell over, we returned to the scraps of the February doldrums. There were five unremarkable additions to the year list with a Stock Dove and a Rook heading west on 16th, a Greenfinch singing along the east bank on 17th and two Mute Swans and two Greylag Geese on 20th. Otherwise, a lone White-fronted Goose flew west on 13th, there were two sightings of Great Northern Divers, on 15th and 21st, and a count of 18 Snipe on the Marsh Pool on 19th.

12th

There were two Wigeon on the tidal ponds, a drake Teal in the brook and 14 Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. 20 Golden Plovers were scattered over the beach and a single Redwing was by the scout hut.

11th

A Black-throated Diver was on the sea. There were 60 Golden Plovers spread across the beach and 50 Lapwings and 40 Knot flew east. Six Teal were noted. Also, eight Skylarks, 44 Fieldfares flew west and 14 Redwings were in the area. A single Corn Bunting at the mouth of the brook was new for the year.

10th

The drake Shoveler on the Marsh Pool had made way for a duck, there were three Teal in the brook and ten Golden Plovers on the beach.

9th

The cold weather continued to provide interesting birds. A Barnacle Goose that had joined the Teal and Shoveler on the Marsh Pool a new bird for the year and in a surprise location. There were 30 Snipe scattered around the area and a lone Jack Snipe was in the brook. Other waders on the beach, included 30 Lapwings and three Knot. Other birds reacting to the conditions were a flock of five Skylarks, a single Fieldfare and 11 Redwings.

8th

Wildfowl were on the move with 15 Shelducks, 22 Wigeon and 14 Pintails heading west. Pride of place, however, must go to a Spotted Redshank which had joined the roosting Common Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A first for the pool but the third year running it as been recorded in the early months of the year. A drake Shoveler was also present on the pool (another addition to the yearlist). A Rock Pipit was seen in the brook.

7th

The start of a cold period with easterly winds and snow. A Woodcock (always a possibility in this weather) was found at the eastern end of the beach and flew into the grassland. Also noted were four Teal, two Grey Plovers and an adult Kittiwake.

1st-6th

The quiet weather continued into February. There was a good count of 27 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool on 1st, a flock of 90 Lapwings flew west on 2nd and a Jay was an addition to the year list on 4th.

January 2021

A total of 76 species for the year

A total of 88 species by this time last year

26th-31st

A Marsh Harrier and the Hampton Purple Sandpiper (which came within scoping distance of the eastern end of the site) were added on 26th, followed by a Rock Pipit during a litter-pick on 28th and a Skylark the next day, ended the month.

8th-25th

The combination of mild, inoffensive weather and the restrictions of lockdown resulted in a very quiet period down at Long Rock. There were a few additions to the year list, not surprising so early in the year, with Reed Bunting on 9th, Grey Plover and Grey Wagtail on 10th and Teal and Buzzard on 11th. A group of four Knot along the beach on 18th was an unusual January record here despite the large numbers that winter in the Swale. This was the only addition in a period of 15 days.

7th

Cloudy, cold with a light NW wind. A very quiet day with one Gannet east and one Shelduck west. Only three Snipe were visible in the Marsh Pool with a very high water level. Also noted were our first Long-tailed Tits of the year at the Obs, the male Stonechat and c12 Linnets briefly in the trees by the obs.

4th

There was an adult Mediterranean Gull on the Marsh Pool, where there were also two Little Grebes and ten Snipe. A Common Scoter and a Lesser Black-backed Gull flew west, there were eight Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and five Kittiwakes flew east.

3rd

A Great Northern Diver and 20 Great Crested Grebes were offshore. There were three Little Grebes and nine Snipe on the Marsh Pool.

2nd

Cloudy, cold with a light NW wind. Three Gannets flew east, a flock of 11 White-fronted Geese flew west high over the sea and two Shelduck flew west. An immature Kittiwake also flew west. A Water Rail showed well on the usual bend along the middle brook and five Redwings flew west. The total for the year now stands at 61 species.

1st

Cloudy and cold with a light NW wind. A Black-throated Diver flew west late morning, ducks included 20 Wigeon, a Shelduck amongst the Brent Geese, three Red-breasted Mergansers, a single Pintail and a drake Goosander. Waders included 20 Golden Plovers on the beach, ten Snipe on the Marsh Pool and a count of 72 Curlews on the fields behind the caravan park which was the highest this winter. A Guillemot flew east close inshore. Other birds noted included Kingfisher, Stonechat and a flock of 25 Linnets along the shingle ridge. A modest 52 species to start the year.

December 2020

176 species so far this year

169 species by the same time last year

A total of 85 species during the month was slightly below average (86.5 in the last ten-year period). Only one species was added to the year list; a Scaup on 1st. Amongst the birds seen during the month were Black-throated Diver and Shag, both seen on a number of occasions, and White-fronted Geese also seen several times. Great Skuas regularly occur in the winter months, but usually single birds, so ten west on 1st and 15 west on the 24th were exceptional. Other birds worthy of a mention were a maximum of 71 Sanderlings on 26th and a female Bullfinch on 28th.

31st

Sunny and cold (rising to 1 C), light westerly wind. With abnormally high numbers in the county this winter, White-fronted Geese continue to be seen more often here and today 13 flew west (which included four juveniles) at 10.45 am. A duck Teal flew east and a drake Red-breasted Merganser flew west. A Shag was close inshore off the shingle ridge and 42 Golden Plovers were roosting on the beach. There were two Mediterranean Gulls – a second-winter on the sea and a first-winter flew west.

30th

Sunny with a light westerly wind. There were two Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Waders included 55 Ringed Plovers, 102 Golden Plovers on the beach, nine Snipe on the Marsh Pool and 56 Curlews on the sports fields. Other birds included the female Kingfisher, pair of Stonechats, Song Thrush, two Long-tailed Tits in the Elm Wood, four Linnets and two female Reed Buntings in the scrub.

A Water Vole showed well along the middle brook.

28th

Cloudy and calm. There were 50 Red-throated Divers east and another ten offshore. One Great Northern Diver flew west. Three White-fronted Geese flew east, a pair of Wigeon was offshore and three Red-breasted Mergansers were also seen. Waders included 78 Ringed Plovers roosting and 20 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. A Guillemot flew east close inshore. A Water Rail in the usual place along the middle brook was the third for the period. Bird of the day, however, was a female Bullfinch heard calling at the back of the east bank and seen in flight as it headed across the sewage works. Not an annual visitor although a male was seen several times between December last year and February.

Redshank – Geoff Burton

26th

Cloudy with a light SW wind. A Black-throated Diver landed briefly on the sea by the Obs before flying west. Three Common Scoters flew east, a drake Red-breasted Merganser and a redhead Goosander flew west. Waders included 12 Golden Plovers and 12 Lapwings west, 59 Ringed Plovers, a Grey Plover, 71 Sanderlings and 39 Dunlin roosting between the groynes at the eastern end of the site and 18 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew west. Other birds noted included Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and Stonechat.

24th

Sunny periods, cold with a strong northerly wind. Would a strong onshore wind produce this late in the year? The answer, not to the extent it would have done in Autumn but it did liven things up. All three divers included a(the) Black-throated Diver west and a Great Northern Diver offshore, which also flew west. A single Fulmar flew east and a Shag west. Ducks included four Shelducks, a pair of Wigeon and a pair of Goosanders west, two Velvet Scoters east and single Goldeneye east and west. There were also four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. A total of 15 Great Skuas that flew west (all between 9.10 and 9.30 am) was exceptional this late in the year, a party of 12 Little Gulls west was welcome and 25 Kittiwakes also flew west.

22nd

Cloudy, mild and calm. There were two Black-throated Divers, one flew west and one on the sea towards Hampton. A Shag flew west close inshore and there were 74 Brent Geese on the beach. Three Shelducks flew east, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore and three redhead Goosanders arrived from the east, landing and then fishing along the shoreline. Other birds included a Guillemot sitting on the sea, eight Long-tailed Tits in the churchyard and nine Linnets that alighted on the shingle ridge rosebush.

Goosanders – Geoff Burton

20th

Sunny with a light SW wind. There were 110 Brent Geese on the beach, one Shelduck flew west and a pair Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore. Waders included ten Sanderlings along the shoreline and ten Snipe and a Lapwing on the Marsh Pool. The brook was in full spate and, where it flowed out over the beach, 118 Black-headed Gulls and one Mediterranean Gull gathered. Other birds included a female Kingfisher in the remnant brook, five Meadow Pipits on the very wet “pigloo” field, a pair of Stonechats, and five Long-tailed Tits in the churchyard.

19th

A Black-throated Diver was offshore and a Shag flew west.

17th

Sunny with a light SW wind. A Black-throated Diver, a Shelduck and five Red-breasted Mergansers flew west, a Gadwall flew east, five and a duck Common Scoter was also noted. There were 25 Golden Plovers roosting on the beach at low tide. This is the highest roosting count so far this winter. There appears to have been a sharp decline. Compare this with a count of 440 on 6th December 2017. Is this due to the increase in disturbance? There were five Little Grebes in the brook. Other birds noted included a firsst-winter Mediterranean Gull west, a male Kingfisher on the “nest tray”, three Stonechats and 25 Linnets on the shingle ridge.

16th

Sunny, mild with a fresh southerly wind. Four Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver and three Great Crested Grebes were noted offshore. Two Little Grebes were in the brook below the sluice and waders included 30 Oystercatchers on the shingle ridge at high tide and the resident Lapwing on the Marsh Pool. Other birds noted included, one Meadow Pipit, a male Stonechat in the bushes opposite the Obs, three Long-tailed Tits in the Elm Wood and five Linnets on the shingle ridge. Another less than average day!

15th

A pair of Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and 12 Snipe on the Marsh Pool. The higher water levels in the marsh are making Snipe more readily visible. In the afternoon, the Great Northern Diver was seen again.

14th

Sunny, mild with a moderate SW wind. One Gannet flew east, three Shelducks flew west and a Great Skua and Kittiwake were offshore. Another 70 Golden Plovers flew west. Other birds included a female Kingfisher, a Meadow Pipit, a pair of Stonechats, six Long-tailed Tits in the Elm Wood and an unusually large gathering of 45 Linnets on the shingle ridge most of whom flew off west.

A Red Admiral sailed over the Obs on this mild and sunny morning. Our first butterfly since the last day of October when also a Red Admiral was seen.

12th

Cloudy, milder, moderate NW wind. One Great Northern Diver was on the sea, a Black-throated Diver flew east, there were 27 Brent Geese off the beach at high tide and 12 Common Scoters and a Guillemot flew east. Waders included 90 Golden Plovers west over the sea, 30 Sanderlings on the beach and a Marsh Pool gathering of one Lapwing, six Snipe and 30 Redshanks.

10th

Cloudy with a light SE wind. There were five Little Grebes again in the brook below the sluice, two Gannets offshore, one redhead Red-breasted Merganser and 30 Brent Geese. Two Grey Plovers came in from the NW towards the beach. Other birds included a female Kingfisher on the bend below the sluice, seen to catch three small fish in quick succession, two Meadow Pipits, a male Stonechat and a female Reed Bunting.

A weasel was seen hunting amongst the detritus along the back of the Marsh Pool. It came quite close to a Snipe, which was noticeably jittery, but the weasel didn’t seem to pay it any attention.

9th

Cloudy with light rain at first and a light southerly wind. There were three Little Grebes along Coot Strait, 29 Brent Geese on the beach and two duck Wigeon flew west close inshore. Other birds included a Kingfisher at the Marsh Pool and along Coot Strait, a Skylark flying west and a Grey Wagtail along the middle brook.

We are going through a quiet period at the moment.

8th

Two Great Northern Divers were offshore, a flock of 30+ White-fronted Geese flew west, and another four flew SE, and four Greylag Geese headed NW over the Obs. A Reed Bunting was the first seen here for a couple of weeks.

7th

Misty at first becoming more foggy, calm. There were five Little Grebes together in the brook below the sluice, a duck Common Scoter circled around offshore and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers flew west. Waders included a single Grey Plover on the beach and five Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included two Kingfishers, a Grey Wagtail, a pair of Stonechats, a Redwing calling in the sewage works behind the Obs, a flock of c15 Long-tailed Tits and 16 Goldfinches.

6th

No reports from the site but a a first-winter Scaup flew east by the infamous balcony heading towards Swalecliffe. Given the scarcity of this species these days, it may well have been the bird seen here on 1st and elsewhere along the Swale subsequently.

5th

Sunny with a light SW wind. Although Fulmars return to their breeding cliffs as early as November, a single bird, circling around feeding gulls offshore, was our first December record since 2004! Our only November record was in 2012. A Great Northern Diver close inshore was seen making heavy weather of swallowing a flat fish. Later it was trying its beak on crabs. There were three Grey Herons on the tidal ponds and four Gadwall and three Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. A flock of 20 Knot flew west over the sea and there were 11 Snipe and the Lapwing on the Marsh Pool.

4th

Greg counted 24 Curlews on the sports filed behind the caravan park.

3rd

Cloudy, drizzle, light SW wind. A Slavonian Grebe was on the sea just west of the tidal ponds, there were 75 Brent Geese on the beach and four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. A rather quiet morning overall.

2nd

Sunny, cold and calm. Three Mute Swans flew east, a Red-necked Grebe was off the Obs and there were also ten Red-throated Divers and a Red-breasted Merganser offshore. Waders included eight Golden Plovers on the beach and seven Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Three Mistle Thrushes flew over (the highest count here for some time) and two Stonechats were also seen.

1st

Sunny with a strong NW wind and cold. Good to start with a good sea-watching wind albeit rather late in the year. Early on a Great Northern Diver and a Slavonian Grebe flew west. No streams of birds flying west as one might expect in the earlier autumn months but wildfowl were the main focus with two White-fronted Geese east, four Shelducks, two Wigeon and two Gadwall west, an Eider east and the star bird an immature drake Scaup which nearly slipped by unnoticed as it flew west close inshore; our first record for 13 years. Later that day, presumably the same bird was seen in Faversham Creek and the following day on the Swale near the Sportsman at Seasalter. Another notable record was of a total of ten Great Skuas (heading west in ones and twos). The highest December counts at this site previously was only three. Other birds on the move included six adult Kittiwakes and a second-winter Mediterranean Gull west and a dozen or so larger auks including both Guillemot and Razorbill.

November 2020

The total of 105 species for the month was a notch above the ten-year average for the month of 102.7 species. The year total of 175 species was the first to break 170 since 2001. Six species were added to the year list; four regulars in Goldeneye, Woodcock, Tree Sparrow and Bewick’s Swan plus two rarities in Puffin (only our sixth and the first since 2016) and a Storm Petrel on 16th (a new bird for the site and a very unpredictable species in the county). Other birds of note included a maximum of 68 Sanderling roosting on the 12th and our latest record of House Martin and only the second record of Corn Bunting of the year on 23rd.

175 species for the year

167 by the same time last year

30th

Cloudy, misty with a light SW wind. The month ended on a high note. All three divers included a Black-throated Diver west and a Great Northern Diver offshore. The two Slavonian Grebes swam west off the Obs. Four Bewick’s Swans (three adults and a juvenile) flew low west over the area, calling, at 9.30 am. Three White-fronted Geese headed south low over the scout hut and, later another two, apparently exhausted, landed on the sea. One eventually circled the area several times before heading east whilst the second swam ashore to rest on the shingle ridge. A single Greylag Goose flew east over the area. Ducks included one Shelduck west, groups of eight and four Wigeon resting on the sea, two Gadwall west, two Tufted Ducks and a party of five Common and two Velvet Scoters east and nine Red-breasted Mergansers. 400 Lapwings flew west during the course of the morning and a lone Kittiwake flew east.

Bewick’s Swans – Andy Taylor
White-fronted Goose – Geoff Burton

28th

Misty, calm, the sunny with a mist out to sea. The two Slavonian Grebes were east of the tidal ponds. Seven White-fronted Geese flew south over the caravan park and ducks included seven Wigeon west and a pair offshore, two Gadwall east, four Teal offshore, a duck Shoveler circling offshore and later three pairs on the sea drifting east, ten Common Scoters and nine Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and the pair again on the Marsh Pool. Waders included a Grey Plover on the beach and 43 roosting Sanderlings. A Guillemot circled around off the Obs. Other birds included two Skylarks, three Meadow Pipits and a Grey Wagtail.

27th

Cloudy, cool, light NE wind. There was a Great Northern Diver offshore and, unusually close inshore, a raft of c670 Cormorants (until flushed by jet skiers). A Shelduck, 20 Teal and 20 Common Scoters flew west, there were five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and, for the first time, a pair were on the Marsh Pool. Waders included a group of seven high-flying Black-tailed Godwits heading west above the wind turbines. The lone Lapwing and 22 Redshanks were on the Marsh Pool. Greg counted 43 Curlews on the football field behind the caravan park and three Kittiwakes flew west. Other birds included Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail and three Stonechats.

Red-breasted Mergansers

26th

Cloudy, light northerly wind. Two Slavonian Grebes were seen briefly displaying to each other on the sea and remained in the sane area all morning. Five Shelduck, five Wigeon, five Teal and a Pintail flew west, there were 30+ Common Scoters offshore and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers were “snorkelling” along the shoreline by the Obs. Waders included a Grey Plover and five Golden Plovers east, 20 Sanderlings and a Dunlin on the beach and four Snipe and 25 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. There were two Kittiwakes west and 23 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Other birds noted included three Meadow Pipits, a Grey Wagtail, three Stonechats, a Song Thrush and 18 Linnets.

25th

Cloudy, light southerly wind. There was one Great Northern Diver offshore and seven Common Scoters flew east. There were 15 Redshanks roosting on the Marsh Pool. Four Kittiwakes flew east, 22 Great Black-backed Gulls were on the beach and two large auk sp flew east. Other birds seen included the female Kingfisher, a Grey Wagtail and a Goldcrest.

23rd

Sunny, calm. Three Red-throated Divers flew west, there were two Grey Herons on the tidal ponds, a Shelduck flew west and eight Common Scoters flew east. There were 28 Great Black-backed Gulls on the tidal ponds. Four Skylarks flew west, a House Martin flew west over the obs at 9.50 am (our latest ever). A Corn Bunting in the pear tree near the bluethroat bush was only the second record this year. It flew off east. Other birds seen included three Grey Wagtails, a Chiffchaff and a Reed Bunting.

Corn Bunting – Geoff Burton

21st

Sunny periods, light SW wind. There were two Red-throated Divers offshore, four Gannets , six Common Scoters and a redhead Red-breasted Merganser flew west. Birds of the day, however, were two adult Bewick’s Swans which flew west low over the sea at 9.45 am. Waders included 70 Golden Plovers west, a Grey Plover and 30 Lapwings – the Marsh Pool resident, four resting on the tidal ponds and a flock of 25 flying west. Also seven Sanderlings on the beach and three visible Snipe on the Marsh Pool. 18 Great Black-backed Gulls were gathered on the tidal ponds. Other birds included two Little Grebes in the brook below the sluice, a circling to the SE and a Chiffchaff in the Elm Wood.

20th

Sunny with a light SW wind. There were three Little Grebes in the brook and a Slavonian Grebe offshore. One Shelduck flew west, one Teal, five Common Scoters flew west and a Velvet Scoter, flying west at 8.48 am, was our first of the winter. A drake Red-breasted Merganser was also offshore. A Grey Plover was on the beach. Other birds included a Skylark over the caravan park, a Grey Wagtail, a Chiffchaff, 52 Carrion Crows on the beach, single Siskin and Redpoll and a Reed Bunting in the scrub.

19th

Cloudy, fresh W-NW wind, cooler. A good day for divers and grebes. A Black-throated Diver flew west close inshore, a Great Northern Diver, possibly two, on the sea and then flew west. Also several Red-throated Divers. Two Little Grebes wee in the brook, there were 23 Great Crested Grebes offshore, a Red-necked Grebe flew west and two Slavonian Grebes on the sea also flew west. Two Tree Sparrows flew west behind the Obs; a new addition to the year list. Other birds noted included Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and Reed Bunting.

18th

Sunny, mild with a moderate westerly wind. Four Little Grebes, one on the Marsh Pool and three in the brook, six Little Egrets and two Grey Herons on the tidal ponds. One drake Red-breasted Merganser was offshore and waders included three Golden Plovers and 30 Sanderlings on the beach. A Great Skua was harassing gulls distantly offshore and there were 30 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Other birds noted included Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Redpoll west and a Reed Bunting in the scrub.

A late Common Darter dragonfly was noted by the Obs.

17th

There were three Red-breasted Mergansers, four Snipe and 15 Redshanks were noted on the Marsh Pool. A Stonechat and six Long-tailed Tits were also seen.

16th

Cloudy, mild with a moderate westerly wind. The day started well (or badly if you missed it) with a Storm Petrel offshore being mobbed by Black-headed Gulls before dropping out of sight on the sea. A new bird for the site and the first, or only one, this year. A Great Northern Diver was again offshore, there were also 20+ Great Crested Grebes offshore, three Pintail flew west and four Common Scoters flew east. A Marsh Harrier flew west close inshore and a Water Rail showed well along the middle brook.

Water Rail – Geoff Burton

15th

50 Curlews were counted on the football pitch behind the caravan park in the afternoon.

14th

Sunny, mild with a fresh southerly wind. A Great Northern Diver was close inshore off the shingle ridge, two Red-throated Divers were also offshore, there were 85 Brent Geese along the shoreline, a Shelduck flew west and two Little Grebes were noted. A Marsh Harrier flew west over the sea at 8.25 am. Other birds noted included a second-winter Mediterranean Gull on the sea, a Goldcrest at the Obs and the flock of 20 Linnets on the shingle ridge.

A Water Vole was seen swimming across the middle brook.

13th

Cloudy, some drizzle then sunny, moderate SW wind. One Red-throated Diver offshore, 57 Brent Geese on the beach, two Shelducks west and six Common Scoters east. There were six Little Grebes, including five together in the brook below the sluice, and a Marsh Harrier flew west over the sea at 8.25 am. Waders included 37 Sanderlings along the shoreline on the incoming tide and single Lapwing and Snipe on the Marsh Pool. A Sandwich Tern was close inshore. Other birds noted included two Skylarks west, a Grey Wagtail, a Song Thrush in the bushes opposite the Obs, five Long-tailed Tits at the Obs and 18 Linnets on the shingle ridge.

12th

Sunny with a light westerly wind. One Red-throated Diver and six Common Scoters flew east and many Gannets were fishing offshore. There were 57 Brent Geese on the beach and waders included 55 Ringed Plovers, a Grey Plover, 68 Sanderlings and 52 Dunlin on the beach, a flock of 30 Golden Plovers west and a Snipe on the Marsh Pool. One Little Grebe was in the brook below the sluice. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the Elm Wood and a Grey Wagtail.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Geoff Burton
Long-tailed Tit – Geoff Burton

11th

Cloudy with a light southerly wind. A ringtail Hen Harrier flew west and a Slavonian Grebe was offshore. There were three Mute Swans. Waders included one Grey Plover west, 22 Dunlin on the beach and a Lapwing and four Snipe on the Marsh Pool. An adult Mediterranean Gull and two adult Little Gulls flew west and there were 18 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach. Other birds included a male Great Spotted Woodpecker in the Elm Wood, two Skylarks, and a Goldcrest in the churchyard.

Great Spotted Woodpecker – Geoff Burton

10th

A duck Goldeneye flew west, there were four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, including three eclipse drakes, and a Common Scoter was lingering offshore. A Goldcrest was in the trees behind the Obs and a flock of 40 Lesser Redpolls flew west.

9th

Cloudy, mild with a light SE wind. A good day for ducks with 12 Shelducks, 12 Wigeon, a Teal and two Shovelers west. Flocks of Common Scoters, both east and west, included one of 90 birds and a redhead Red-breasted Merganser was offshore all morning. A Little Grebe was in the brook below the sluice and waders included one Grey Plover west, c50 Lapwings north, three Dunlins on the beach and two Snipe on the Marsh Pool. Seven adult Little Gulls flew east. Other birds included a Rock Pipit in the remnant brook, c20 Long-tailed Tits including ten in a small bush behind the beach and two Reed Buntings.

8th

A Sandwich Tern was on the tidal ponds and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the churchyard.

Unusually, a young Common Seal was hauled out on the beach.

7th

Sunny, calm. There were two Red-throated Divers and 14 Great Crested Grebes offshore and ten or more Gannets were often sitting on the calm sea. A flock of 15 Wigeon, including three Gadwall, flew west and another three Wigeon also flew west, a duck Common Scoter was settled close inshore, four flew east and a flock of 20 flying west included three drakes. A redhead Red-breasted Merganser was also on the sea. Waders included a Grey Plover and two Lapwings on the beach and three Snipe on the Marsh Pool. An adult Mediterranean Gull, a juvenile Kittiwake and a Sandwich Tern flew east. Other birds included a Stock Dove, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, two Redwings along the east bank, a Chiffchaff at Lang Court, a Goldcrest at the Obs and a Redpoll west.

A Red Admiral was by the sea wall by the caravan park.

6th

Sunny with a light easterly wind. There were two Red-throated Divers offshore and another flew east. A Little Grebe was on the Marsh Pool, a Grey Heron on the tidal ponds, three Shelducks were by the tidal ponds, 20 Common Scoters flew west, a drake Red-breasted Merganser was in the tidal ponds and a pair flew east. Waders included four Dunlin west along the shoreline and a Snipe in the Marsh Pool. Four adult Kittiwakes flew east and three large auks flew east too distant for specific identification. An adult Peregrine flew west. Other birds noted included Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Chiffchaff and, best of all, a male Black Redstart perched atop an elm tree which disappeared into the sewage works.

5th

A Puffin flew east close inshore at 9.45 am. Our sixth record for the site (all falling within the dates of 30th October and 7th December). A small flock of Wigeon and Pintail flew west, an adult and an immature drake Goldeneye flew west, a duck Common Scoter was offshore and a Teal was on the Marsh Pool. Waders included good numbers of Lapwings on the move and a Bar-tailed Godwit on the beach. Skylarks were trickling through, there were good numbers of Fieldfares, three Redwings flew west in a flock of Starlings and two Mistle Thrushes were by the scout hut. Bramblings, Siskins and Redpolls were noted along with a single Greenfinch. Also noted were Great Spotted Woodpecker and Chiffchaff.

4th

Sunny, cool with a light NW wind. One Red-throated Diver flew east, there were 12 Great Crested Grebes offshore and a Slavonian Grebe, our second of the winter, was on the sea off the Obs. A total of 14 Shelducks and a group of four Gadwall flew west. A ringtail Hen Harrier flew west at 6.55 am (also our second of the winter), and a Woodcock was flushed from the churchyard by Geoff Racher, an addition to the year list. Other waders included a Grey Plover west and a Snipe and 17 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. There were two Sandwich Terns offshore. With the cooler weather, no hirundines were seen, but a Fieldfare dropped into the sewage works and two Bramblings and three Siskins flew west. Also noted were two Kingfishers and a Grey Wagtail.

A Red Admiral put in the briefest of appearances by the Obs.

Little Egret – Geoff Burton
Grey Squirrel – Geoff Burton

3rd

Sunny periods, a few showers, fresh SW wind. A Great Northern Diver landed by the tidal ponds at 9.40 am. There were ten Great Crested Grebes offshore and ten female/immature Common Scoters flew west close inshore. Waders included three Lapwings resting on the tidal ponds, a single Dunlin on the beach and a Snipe and 12 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A further increase to 25 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach and a Sandwich Tern offshore. Four Skylarks, three Swallows and four House Martins flew west. A Grey Wagtail was by the sluice.

2nd

A Red-throated Diver and a juvenile male Peregrine flew east.

1st

Cloudy, mild with a fresh southerly wind. Birds of the day were a close inshore Great Northern Diver (our first returning bird) and an immature Goldeneye which flew west at 11.45 am and was new for the year. Two Great Crested Grebes were offshore, three Gannets flew east and a Little Grebe was in the lower brook. Waders included 12 Sanderlings on the beach, two Mediterranean Gulls flew SW over the estate, six Sandwich Terns were hunkered down on the beach where there was an increase to 17 Great Black-backed Gulls. A few Swallows and House Martins were lingering in the area.

October 2020

169 species so far this year

161 by the same time last year

The total of 117 species recorded during the month was a record for the site. The previous record was 114 in October 2005 whilst there have been five months with totals of 113; two in September, one in October and two in November. The average total for October for the previous ten years was 109.3 species. The total so far this year of 169 species equals the whole year totals for 2018 and 2019 and the highest year total was 176 in 2001. Birds of the month included our fifth Richard’s Pipit on 7th (first for eight years), four Bearded Tits on 19th (our first for six years) and only our third Dartford Warbler on 20th and first for 17 Years.

31st

Cloudy and mild with a fresh SW wind. A ringtail Hen Harrier circled over the tidal ponds and drifted west at 8 am; our 169th species for the year and equalling the total for the whole of last year. Is it a record on the cards? This had been preceded by an immature Marsh Harrier, also drifting west at 7.10 am. A Red-throated Diver flew east, there were four Great Crested Grebes on the sea and 20+ Gannets lingered offshore. 55 Brent Geese were arranged along the shoreline at high tide and waders included 12 Sanderlings and two Dunlin on the beach. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew east and a group of eight Kittiwakes and a Great Skua flew west. Two Sandwich Terns flew west, one flew east. Hirundines were lingering in the mild weather with c20 Swallows and c10 House Martins. The main movement was of Chaffinches, c400 W, with a Brambling heard calling amongst them, Siskins were heard calling and a Redpoll and three Reed Buntings flew west. Great Spotted Woodpecker and Grey Wagtail were also noted.

A late Red Admiral lingered around the Obs.

Red Admiral – Geoff Burton

30th

A flock of 40 Golden Plovers flew west and 16 Sanderlings were on the beach. Chaffinches, Swallows and House Martins were on the move and four Redpolls were in the churchyard.

29th

Cloudy with a light SW wind. There were four Great Crested Grebes offshore and a few Gannets. A flock of 42 Brent Geese offshore included 14 juveniles. The Black-throated Diver was seen again late morning as it headed east towards Hampton and a Little Grebe was in the lower brook near the Marsh Pool. A Peregrine flew west over the sea. One Sandwich Tern was seen offshore. Waders included 18 Sanderlings on the beach and 15 Redshanks roosting on the Marsh Pool. Other birds included Kingfisher and Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Swallow flew west, a Redwing was along the east bank and a Grey Wagtail on the beach.

28th

Mostly cloudy, light SW wind. The dominance of SW winds for over a week now have put a block on additions to the year list (none since Dartford Warbler on 20th). However, even on a quiet day like today one’s perspective on the day can change within minutes. A Black-throated Diver flew west at 9.40 am close inshore and looked to be the same bird that Andy had seen off the slopes on 14th and the Obs on 17th. Immediately afterwards, we spotted a Slavonian Grebe close inshore off the Obs, it showed well before drifting east. As far as I know, there have only been two previous October records here including one on 25th in 2001. There were four Great Crested Grebes and c20 Gannets offshore and 48 Brent Geese along the shoreline waiting for the tide to recede. Waders included a flock of 12 Golden Plovers west, a Snipe and 12 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool, where there were also two Little Grebes, and 34 Curlews flew across to the fields behind the caravan park to roost. An immature Peregrine flew NW out to sea. Other birds included five Swallows and four House Martins west, 11 Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, two Goldcrests and single Redwing and Brambling.

27th

A female/immature Black Redstart in the scrub flew towards the bluethroat bush. Our second record of the year after one in April.

26th

Sunny with a light SW wind. In the mild, sunny weather hirundines were hawking around the Obs. About 20 or so Swallows and few House Martins who were joined by a single, late Sand Martin. Not the latest, we have had a couple of mid-November sightings, but one of our latest. Two Red-throated Divers landed on the sea, there were four Great Crested Grebes offshore and about ten Gannets. A group of 23 Brent Geese were on the beach containing 12 juveniles. Although the numbers have been small here, which is usual particularly early in the season, a third to a half of flocks have been juveniles which points to a successful breeding season. There has only been a small number of Sanderlings amongst the Ringed Plovers and Turnstones so far and so a count of 45 today represented a significant influx. Other waders included a Lapwing, two Snipe and 21 Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. An adult Mediterranean Gull was perched on the groynes at the eastern end of the beach. Other birds seen included a female Great Spotted Woodpecker in the churchyard, five Stonechats, two Blackcaps, a Goldcrest, Brambling and Redpoll.

In the mild weather, a few Small Whites were still to be seen.

Mediterranean Gull – Geoff Burton
Sand Martin – Andy Taylor

24th

Cloudy, light SW wind. There were four Great Crested Grebes offshore, four Little Egrets on the beach, 33 Brent Geese on the beach included 11 juveniles and one Common Scoter flew east. Waders included five Sanderlings and seven Redshanks on the beach, there were four Sandwich Terns offshore and an adult Peregrine flew west over the sea. 15 Swallows flew west and other birds included two Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest, a flock of 18 Linnets and four Reed Buntings.

23rd

Sunny with a light SW wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, seven Little Egrets on the beach and a flock of 30 Brent Geese included 12 juveniles. Waders included c50 Ringed Plovers, five Sanderlings and a Dunlin on the beach and one Snipe visible on the Marsh Pool. One Sandwich Tern was perched on one of the yellow buoys. Other birds noted included male and female Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Grey Wagtail, two Redwings along the east bank, a male Blackcap, a Chiffchaff behind the sea wall at the caravan park, a Goldcrest, three Bramblings, two Greenfinches in the bushes opposite the Obs and three Redpolls west.

The sun encouraged a few Small Whites and a Speckled Wood out to have a last look at the year and a Water Vole was again seen along the middle brook.

Dunnock (bird in a bramble cage) – Geoff Burton

22nd

Sunny, mild with a light SW wind. There were 11 Little Egrets on the beach early morning and a flock of Brent Geese there included nine juveniles. Waders included two Sanderlings and three Dunlin on Hampton flats, a second-winter Mediterranean Gull was on the beach and five Sandwich Terns flew west. Vis mig was dominated by Chaffinches with c400 west and also 19 Swallows and three House Martins. Other birds included five Stonechats, two Rooks which flew south by the Obs, flocks of 20 Linnets and 20 Redpolls and ten Reed Buntings.

20th

A Dartford Warbler appeared in the bushes opposite the Obs then flew behind the Obs into the sewage works never to be seen again! Only our third record and the first since 2003. A Common Buzzard came in off the sea and Siskins and Redpolls were noted on the move.

Dartford Warbler – Andy Taylor
Buzzard – Andy Taylor

19th

Cloudy with a light SW wind. There were two Little Grebes in the lower brook, two Great Crested Grebes offshore, four Red-breasted Mergansers by the tidal ponds and four Gannets, a Teal and five Common Scoters flew west. Eight Brent Geese also flew west and there were 24 on the beach which included six juveniles. Waders included a Grey Plover and two Sanderlings on the beach and 15 Redshanks roosting on the Marsh Pool. A flock of 40 Mallard on the Marsh Pool early morning was a record count. 10 Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach included nine adults. The highlight of the day was a party of four Bearded Tits in the bushes opposite the Obs just before midday which circled high over the Obs before turning east. Our first record for eight years. A Mistle Thrush, only our second this year, flew south over the estate. Other birds noted included c60 Swallows either heading west or hawking over the area, a single House Martin, three Redwings, a flock of 30 Redpolls flew west, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and two Goldcrests.

18th

A Purple Sandpiper was alone on the shingle ridge and there were two Rock Pipits in the dip on the ridge. A Red-throated Diver flew west. A flock of eight Crossbills and a male Yellowhammer flew west and Brambling, Siskin and Redpoll were also noted.

17th

Cloudy with a light NE wind. A single Great Crested Grebe was offshore, two Wigeon and two Teal flew west and, late morning, a Black-throated Diver was new for the year, and a Shag was close inshore off the shingle ridge. A total of 34 Little Gulls, in three flocks, flew west. Other birds included four Swallows. two male Stonechats, a Redwing in the scrub and, again, many Goldcrests, two on the beach, many in the churchyard, and birds coming in off the sea. Bramblings were heard and ten Redpolls flew west.

Goldcrest – Andy Taylor

16th

A male Merlin was the highlight of the morning. Wildfowl were on the move again with parties of Brent Geese, Wigeon, Teal and Pintail and a single Gadwall, which landed on the sea. A redhead Red-breasted Merganser heading west was our first of the autumn, three Canada Geese came in high over the sea and continued south and 14 Little Gulls flew west. More Goldcrests had arrived with 23 in one tree in the churchyard and others scattered about. There were at least six Stonechats in the scrub and four Chiffchaffs. Swallows, House Martins, Redwings and Redpolls were also on the move.

15th

Cloudy and cool with a fresh NE wind. Another day of wildfowl on the move with c300 Brent Geese heading west. It seemed that a lot of the groups would carry a single duck with them, one included a Barnacle Goose and another a Greylag Goose. Another two Greylags flew west. Other wildfowl included seven Shelducks, 60 Wigeon, four Teal and four Pintail. Other birds seen over the sea included our first, but all too brief, Leach’s Petrel, of the year, our first three Pomarine Skuas of the year, two Great Skuas, 30 Little Gulls and four Kittiwakes. A freshly dead Guillemot was found on the beach and a couple of large auk sps flew east. A Short-eared Owl also flew west over the sea. Other birds included an influx of Goldcrests (14+) and seven Crossbills west over the Obs.

14th

Sunny with a light east to NE wind. The large movements of winter thrushes over the last few days has not been replicated along our coastal strip as they seemingly prefer to move inland although still parallel to the coast. However, we added two thrushes to our site year list, a Mistle Thrush by the Obs (courtesy of Dave Rosair) and three Fieldfares, one in the churchyard and two in the scrub. There were also two Redwings along the east bank. There was a significant movement of Brent Geese with 570 heading west (a group of 11 on the beach included three juveniles). Other wildfowl included three Shelducks, 12 Wigeon, four Teal and 11 Common Scoters and a lone Greylag Goose which came in very high from the NE, continuing SW over the Obs. A flock of 100 Ringed Plovers were roosting between the groynes with three Sanderlings and a Dunlin and a scattering of Turnstones. Ten Curlews flew towards the fields at the back of the caravan park. One large auk sp flew east. A group of six Skylarks headed north over the sea(others were heard calling), there was a Rock Pipit and a Grey Wagtail on the Marsh Pool. A Goldcrest came in over the promenade and into the trees between the Obs and the skate park at 12.05 pm and Arnie, late to the party, saw another two in the churchyard and one at the entrance to the sewage works. Suggesting new arrivals?

Fieldfare – Geoff Burton
Redwing – Geoff Burton

12th

Cloudy with a light SW wind. Two more additions to the year list. A Yellowhammer was found in the scrub, a typical date for this now rare bird here, and a Pink-footed Goose came in over the beach from the NE, circled calling and then, much to our surprise, dropped onto the Marsh Pool where it remained for about 20 minutes before heading on west over the Obs. A little movement over the sea with one juvenile Gannet east, 36 Brent Geese and ten Teal west whilst a pair of Wigeon on the sea off the Obs drifted east towards Hampton. Waders included 115 Lapwings and a single Greenshank west, two Sanderlings and a Dunlin on the beach and two Snipe and nine Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. Vis mig with a steady passage of House Martins and Chaffinches, a few Swallows, 12 Skylarks, one Redwing, four Bramblings, three Reed Buntings and, exceptional for the site, a count of 190 Redpolls which included three flocks of c50 birds. Other birds included a Kingfisher, two Grey Wagtails, two Song Thrushes, three Stonechats, a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff.

Pink-footed Goose – Andy Taylor

10th

Cloudy with a moderate westerly wind. There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, 14 Mallards along the upper brook whilst waders included 85 Ringed Plovers and four Sanderlings on the beach and six Redshanks on the Marsh Pool. A second-winter Mediterranean Gull and five Sandwich Terns were offshore. There were westerly movements of Swallows, House Martins and Chaffinches and four Redpolls and three Reed Buntings flew west. Two Goldcrests were noted along the upper brook.

9th

A continental Coal Tit seen near the scout hut was new for the year. A Short-eared Owl was seen at 10.30 am and six Stonechats, six Blackcaps and six Chiffchaffs were also noted.

8th

Cloudy with a fresh SW wind. Two Sanderlings on the beach and ten Sandwich Terns offshore. A steady westerly movement of Swallows and House Martins, two Stock Doves came off the beach and a Grey Wagtail flew into the sewage works.

7th

Sunny with a moderate SW wind. Andy pointed out a large pipit which dropped into the grassland behind the sea wall just west of the caravan park. It hovered briefly before landing, showing conspicuous white outer tail feathers. Ted had noted exactly where it had landed and so the three amigos approached, before any dog walkers could get too close. A Meadow Pipit flew up and then the larger bird, sporting a long tail, rose up from the grass calling three times as it headed west and over the beach; the call, a diagnostic “shreep” confirmed our suspicions. This was the site’s fifth Richard’s Pipit. The first since October 2012; previous records were in 1990, 1996 and 2000. As with Wryneck, only even numbered years need apply! Otherwise, it was a fairly uneventful morning. A group of five high-flying geese led to brief thoughts of “pinks” but proved to be Greylag Geese, the early morning sun lighting up their behinds like afterburners as they flew west. A drake Wigeon west and a Common Scoter east were the only other wildfowl on the move. Waders included a lone piping Golden Plover heading high south over the football pitch and ten Redshanks roosting on the Marsh Pool. About 15 Sandwich Terns were feeding offshore. There was a steady movement of Chaffinches (over 300) flying west and five Redpolls also headed west.

Greylag Geese – Geoff Burton
Little Egret – Geoff Burton
Stonechat – Geoff Burton

5th

Cloudy, some rain, light SW wind. Eight Brent Geese flew west, a juvenile Gannet flew east close inshore and there were seven Little Egrets roosting on the Marsh Pool at high tide. Waders included eight Redshanks roosting on the Marsh Pool and c85 Turnstones on the beach. A Grasshopper Warbler, found in brambles alongside the middle brook, was our first of the year and our latest record for the site. Typically, it proved elusive! Three Lesser Whitethroats were also seen and three Stonechats. Finches were on the move including 20 Siskins, 21 Linnets and seven Redpolls.

Five Speckled Wood butterflies were noted.

3rd

Cloudy, a little rain and a light SE wind. This is what we like to think of as a classic autumn birding experience. On arrival, there was a Greenshank along the shoreline and a Gadwall resting offshore. Another three Greenshanks landed on the shoreline accompanied by a Ruff. A Marsh Harrier flew west out to sea and three Yellow Wagtails were strutting their stuff on the caravan park field (that bit which is not covered with caravans and pigloos). Nothing rare but something happening all the time. Seven Grey Herons flew west and another 13 were on the beach, most on the Hampton flats. It turned out that they were part of a bigger arrival along the east coast. Ducks included one Shelduck east, 25 Wigeon and two Teal east and a Gadwall later on the Marsh Pool. Other waders included parties of Lapwings, totalling 350, west, two Dunlin, a Snipe and a Bar-tailed Godwit and five Redshanks roosting on the now flooded Marsh Pool. A summer plumage Red-throated Diver and four Great Crested Grebes were offshore. In addition to the regular pair of Stonechats, there was a Wheatear on the shingle ridge and a male Redstart (our third this year) in the scrub. There were also five Skylarks whilst five Song Thrushes represented some kind of an influx.

Blackcap – Geoff Burton
Gadwall – Geoff Burton

1st

Cloudy with a light southerly wind. There were four Great Crested Grebes offshore, a single Gannet flew west and five Little Egrets were on the Hampton flats. Wildfowl included a single Brent Goose, 15 Wigeon and 13 Pintail flying west. Waders included 33 Oystercatchers and a Grey Plover on the shingle ridge at high tide. Five Sandwich Terns were noted offshore. Early morning, the bushes opposite the Obs were alive with flycatching Chiffchaffs (c15) and amongst them a Redstart (our second of the autumn). Other warblers included a Lesser Whitethroat and several Blackcaps. An immature male Reed Bunting was in the bushes opposite the Obs.

The Marsh Pool, dry throughout September, was showing a few pools of water.

Lesser Whitethroat – Andy Taylor