April 2021

A total of 114 species so far this year

113 species by the same time last year

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

September 2020

156 species so far this year

147 species by this time last year

A total of 110 species for the month equalled the highest in the last ten years and was significantly above the average of those years (103.7). The year total of 156 species was the higher than any of the previous ten years. The nine additions to the year list included the fourth record of Wryneck on 4th which remained to 9th; the longest staying and first for six years. A Redstart on 7th was, surprisingly, our first for five years. Other birds included an Osprey on 3rd and our second earliest Red-necked Grebe on 25th.

30th

There were three Great Crested Grebes offshore, four Little Egrets on the Hampton flats and a Grey Heron on the tidal ponds. Waders included seven Curlews and three Redshanks. There was a significant movement of hirundines, estimated at 2,000 birds an hour at 10 am; more House Martins than Swallows. Other vis mig included our first Crossbills of the year with a flock of five low over the football pitch and sewage works and a single bird later. Also c40 Chaffinches west, with a single Siskin, and a Reed Bunting briefly in the bushes by the Obs before carrying on west. Other birds noted included a female Great Spotted Woodpecker in the churchyard, three Skylarks, a pair of Stonechats, three Blackcaps and c10 Chiffchaffs.

A Wall butterfly’s brief appearance at the Obs was a surprise. Only the second recorded at the site with the previous one in 2010. Small White and Speckled Wood butterflies were also seen.

Wall – Geoff Burton
Juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull – Geoff Burton

28th

Cloudy with a moderate NW wind. In calmer weather, a Great Crested Grebe and Gannet flew west and wildfowl included 25 Brent Geese, a Shelduck, 25 Wigeon, including one obviously tired individual which dropped into the marshy edge of the remnant brook and wasn’t disturbed by close approaches from dogs and children, 23 Teal and nine Common Scoters – all heading west. Waders included 25 Oystercatchers on the shingle ridge, one Golden Plover west, one Grey Plover on the beach, a Sanderling, seven Dunlin west and two Snipe overhead. Also a brief view of a Merlin and a single Arctic Tern west. Other birds included Kingfisher and Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Skylark south over the area, another Rock Pipit, two Grey Wagtails, two Stonechats and a flock of 20 Siskins.

Wigeon – Geoff Burton

27th

Sunday is a day traditionally avoided by the regulars; too much disturbance, although that probably wouldn’t have been a problem on day 3 of the strong NW winds. A three-hour afternoon watch by Andy from the shelter of his balcony gave an indication of what might have been missed. It produced juvenile Long-tailed and Pomarine Skuas as highlights but was still not part of a mass movement that had been hoped for in these conditions.

26th

Cloudy, cool with a strong NW wind. Day 2 of these sea watching winds. More lively than day 1 with six Manx Shearwaters west the highlight; no more than one or two birds here in the most favourable of winds. Other birds on the move included 10 Gannets, three Arctic Skuas and 14 Great Skuas. Wildfowl included seven Wigeon, three Teal, a Pintail and a Shoveler all west and nine Common Scoters west, and another seven east. Waders included three Golden Plovers, two Grey Plovers, seven Knot and 50 Dunlin west. One Red-throated Diver west was our first returning bird.

25th

Cloudy, cool with a strong WNW wind. There had been a lot of anticipation of a good Friday for sea watching along the north coast of Kent. It proved to be a bit of an anti-climax. Perhaps there was too much of a westerly element to the wind, perhaps previous weather conditions meant most bird were further north in the North Sea. Perhaps most notable was the complete absence of any Gannets. Bird of the day was a Merlin which flew west over the sea at 8.25 am. Other birds noted over the sea were a single Gadwall, single Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit, a Great Skua and a Little Gull. There were seven Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach (an increase), five Sandwich Terns flew west and another nine rested on the beach. Little else to report, with ten Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, four Chiffchaffs and a Jay, but later Arnie had a Rock Pipit which, in the absence of any Spring records, was new for the year!

24th

Sunny periods and showers, a light SW wind. Three grebes, close inshore off the Obs, proved to be two Great Crested Grebes and an adult Red-necked Grebe. The trio drifted east then flew back west but were not relocated. This was the earliest record of Red-necked Grebe since a juvenile was recorded on 23rd August 2001. The only other September record was on the 25th September 2006. The third record for the year, after records in January and February. There were eight Little Egrets early morning, a single Sanderling on the beach and seven Sandwich Terns offshore. Other birds noted included 13 Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, both male and female Stonechats along the coastal path, a Song Thrush along the upper brook and 11 Chiffchaffs.

Sandwich Tern – Geoff Burton

23rd

Cloudy with a moderate SW wind. There were four Little Egrets and a Grey Heron on the beach. Waders imcluded two Sanderlings and a Redshank on the beach. Ten Sandwich Terns were resting on the tidal ponds. A significant movement of hirundines included c500 House Martins and 30 Swallows. There were 28 Pied Wagtails on the football pitch and two Grey Wagtails flew west. A male Stonechat in bushes along the coastal path was our first of the autumn and a Wheatear was well camouflaged on the dried out Marsh Pool. Other birds included a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the churchyard, many Chiffchaffs, a Jay, three Rooks moving west but lingering on the beach, a Brambling again along the east bank and Siskin.

A Water Vole showed well along the middle brook much to the delight of the visiting Nicole Khan and Jason Moule and Arnie!

22nd

Sunny and calm. The Brambling was still present along the east bank and two Lesser Redpolls were present in the Elm Wood. There was an abundance of Chiffchaffs with at leasy a couple of dozen present, there was a large movement of Swallows and House Martins and a Skylark was the first of the month.

Lesser Redpoll – Andy Taylor

21st

Cloudy with a light NE wind. There were four Little Egrets on the beach, 21 Brent Geese flew west and another nine were resting on the tidal ponds. Four Wigeon were on the shoreline, 12 Teal flew west, seven Common Scoters flew east and a duck Eider accompanied a group of Brent Geese flying west. A flock of 13 Lapwings flew west over the sea, there were four Sanderlings and a Redshank on the beach. Other birds included a female Kingfisher along the middle brook, two Grey Wagtails, ten Pied Wagtails on the football pitch, a Song Thrush along the east bank which was the first seen here since July, two Blackcaps and eight Chiffchaffs and a Brambling along the east bank. There was a count of 48 Carrion Crows on the beach (numbers appear to be down on recent years).

19th

Sunny with a fresh NE wind. A Barnacle Goose on the shoreline by the Obs was new for the year. Other wildfowl included 19 Brent Geese, 20 Wigeon, 12 Teal and a flock of 16 Pintails – all west. Two Great Crested Grebes flew west and a Red-throated Diver landed on the sea – our first returning bird. Two Gannets were seen offshore, an Arctic Skua and two distant, possibly Pomarine, Skuas flew west and there were four Sandwich Terns on the beach. One Siskin and one Redpoll flew west and a Reed Bunting was on the bushes opposite the Obs.

Butterflies continue to show with Small Whites, a Holly Blue in the churchyard and a Red Admiral by the scout hut.

18th

Three Bramblings were present in the bushes along the brook (those favoured by our recent Wryneck). These were the earliest returning birds for the site (by seven days). Also of interest, a pair of Tufted Ducks flew east in a flock of Common Scoters, there were small numbers of Gannets, Teal and Wigeon moving offshore, three Arctic Skuas and a Snipe flew SE over the football pitch.

Brambling – Andy Taylor

17th

Sunny with a fresh NE wind. Wildfowl on the move were a feature of this morning’s sea watch. Five Brent Geese (a three and a two) flying west were the first of the autumn, 112 Wigeon and 50 Teal flew west and 70 Common Scoters flew east. Waders included our first Golden Plover resting on the shingle ridge and a Common Sandpiper which dropped into the remnant brook. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew west and an Arctic Skua and two Great Skuas were noted offshore. Other birds noted included six Swallows, a Grey Wagtail and a high count of 18 Pied Wagtails on the football pitch.

A Comma in the Elm Wood was our ninth butterfly for the month.

16th

Cloudy, cooler with a moderate NE wind. Sea watching was the order of the day; a Manx Shearwater flew west close inshore, there were about 40 Gannets and 50 Common Scoters moving offshore, three Shelducks flew east, three Arctic Skuas and four Great Skuas flew west and six Sandwich Terns were offshore. Waders included 18 Oystercatchers and103 Ringed Plovers on the beach and five Dunlins circling over the beach. Other birds included a Yellow Wagtail, a Whinchat, ten Jackdaws over the area, 15 Pied Wagtails on the football pitch and a flock of 18 Linnet.

14th

Sunny and calm with fog rolling in for about 45 minutes from 7.45 am. There were three Little Egrets roosting in the pines. 20 Sandwich Terns flew east and an adult dark-phase Arctic Skua flew west close inshore at 11.30 am. Other birds included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, a Goldcrest along the upper brook, eight Siskins which landed in the elms by the scout hut and a Redpoll in bushes along the sea wall by the caravan park.

Once a rare odonata in Britain , a Willow Emerald Damselfly was seen from the bridge by the upper brook. Green-veined White, Common Blue and Peacock were additions to the butterfly month list now standing at eight species.

Willow Emerald Damselfly – Geoff Burton

12th

Sunny and warm with a light SW wind. A Little Grebe in the brook, on the first corner below the sluice (a favourite spot) was the first of the autumn and a bit early. One Gannet flew east and there were three Little Egrets on the beach. Four Egyptian Geese flew east over the area; another addition to the year list. Waders included a single Sanderling on the beach and three Dunlin flying west. Vis mig included c50 Swallows, seven House Martins, four Meadow Pipits and 60 Siskins west. Other birds included a Hobby west over the sewage works, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and two Grey Wagtails.

Sanderling – Geoff Burton

11th

A Garden Warbler in the Elm Wood was a new species for the year.

10th

Sunny with a light northerly wind. The Wryneck appears to have moved on. Where will it be now? Somewhere in France perhaps. 10 Shelducks flew west whilst waders included single Whimbrel heading west and a Common Sandpiper. A Hobby flew west over the estate, the four Lesser Black-backed Gulls were again on the football pitch and a Kingfisher was along the middle brook. One Swallow was seen, a Yellow Wagtail flew west, a Grey Wagtail flew west into the sewage works and warblers included two Lesser Whitethroats. A Jay flew from the Elm Wood to the churchyard. Business as usual after the excitement of the last week.

Common Sandpiper – Andy Taylor

9th

Sunny with a light NW wind. The Wryneck showed well again throughout the day. A single Gannet flew west late morning (our first of the month). Waders included 44 Ringed Plovers and 98 Turnstones roosting between the groynes at the e astern end of the beach and a single Common Sandpiper in the brook. There were two Mediterranean Gulls on the beach and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was being pursued across the football pitch, apparently unsuccessfully, by three juveniles. Other birds noted included a Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail , Wheatear, Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler and a flock of 12 Siskins heading west. Whilst watching the Wryneck late in the afternoon, a Great Skua flew over the heads of Murray Wright and Steve Clinch heading west over the scout hut car park.

Wryneck – Murray Wright
Lesser Black-backed Gulls – Geoff Burton

8th

The Wryneck delayed its appearance today until about 10 am when it showed well.

Wryneck – Nicole Khan

7th

Sunny with a light westerly wind. The Wryneck was present for its fourth day and, after yesterday’s performance, attracted an appreciative crowd. At one point in the morning, a motley selection of 27 twitchers, toggers and birders were counted. A female/immature Redstart showed well in the Elm Wood and along the east bank; unbelievably our first here for five years! Warblers included two Lesser Whitethroats and a smart juvenile Willow Warbler. Away from the brook, a male Marsh Harrier was circling over the sea early morning and, late morning, a party of 18 Siskins came in low over the beach and headed west whilst a Wood Sandpiper (our third in three weeks but only the fourth for the site) came in over the area dropping down on the beach. Other birds included three Grey Herons on the beach, a calling Whimbrel, a Mediterranean Gull on the beach transitioning from juvenile to first-winter plumage, a Kingfisher and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Wheatear on the football pitch, a Grey Wagtail, and two Jays in the sewage works.

Redstart – Mike Gould
Redstart – Mike Gould

6th

The Wryneck was present again but had adopted a more co-operative approach showing well on a number of occasions during the day. Many of Sunday’s worshippers enjoyed good views including Barry Wright, who had been a regular visitor to the site in the last century.

Wryneck – Peter Maton

5th

Sunny with a light westerly wind. The Wryneck was quickly relocated in the same area as yesterday and watched for about 15 minutes as it sat motionless in bushes on the far side of the brook taking in the early morning sun. However, it continued to be elusive for the rest of the day. Along the brook, with many eyes trained in that area, birds noted included Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, two Lesser Whitetroats and a Spotted Flycatcher (a good autumn for this species after a blank year in 2019). Also noted two juvenile Greenfinches. There were three Little Egrets on the beach, waders included three Dunlins on the beach and a Whimbrel flying west and three Meadow Pipits flew west.

Wrymeck – Andy Taylor

4th

Andy Taylor was on his own this morning. He found a Wryneck in one of the clumps of small trees and bushes on the football pitch side of the brook. The bird afforded two very brief views between 7.50 am and 8 am. News was put out but, despite searching, it was not found again until 11.50 am (observer unknown). This was the fourth record of this species on site and the first since 2014. Other birds noted included two Whinchats, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Willow Warbler.

3rd

Cloudy with a moderate SW wind. Bird of the day was our second Osprey of the autumn (and year). This bird was present for about half an hour, fishing successfully over the tidal ponds, and taking its fish off to the woods to the south. Four Wigeon and 13 Teal flew west, waders included 20 Oystercatchers, our first Snipe of the season flying west and a Bar-tailed Godwit which landed briefly on the shoreline before heading off west. There were 11 Sandwich Terns gathered on the beach and one Arctic Tern flew west. For the first time this Autumn, a significant movement of hirundines with 168 Sand Martins and 67 Swallows counted flying west in 30 minutes and one pulse of 70 House Martins flying west low over the sea (our first of this species since Spring!). Other birds seen included a Peregrine, two Wheatears and a Whinchat and two Greenfinches (the first for some time).

Butterflies included Holly Blue and Small Heath.

Osprey – Andy Taylor

2nd

Waders inluded 16 Oystercatchers, 32 Ringed Plovers, four Sanderlings. one Redshanks and 70 Turnstones. A Wheatear was also seen.

1st

Cloudy, with a little light rain and a light northerly wind. There were three Little Egrets on the Hampton Flats, three Wigeon circled over the tidal ponds, nine Teal flew west and a Common Scoter flew east. Waders included c60 Ringed Plovers ans singles of Dunlin and Redshank. Three Stock Doves paid brief visits to the beach, two Yellow Wagtails flew west and a Kingfisher was seen in the brook.

Butterflies noted were Small White, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral.

Whitethroat – Geoff Burton

August 2020

A total of 147 species so far this year

142 species by the same time last year

A total of 97 species for the month was significantly above the ten-year average of 89.8 species. Highlights included our fifth record of Garganey ( two west on 1st) and our second and third records of Wood Sandpiper on 17th and 26th. The strong winds on 26th and 29th and 30th of the month contributed to a higher than average total. Also, despite the obvious problems of this year, the total of 147 species so far compares with a ten-year average of 141.6 species.

31st

Cloudy at first then sunny with a light to moderate northerly. With much lighter but still northerly winds the “skua tap” of the last two days was well and truly turned off! No skuas, no Gannets with just two Little Gulls heading west as a clue to what had gone before. One Great Crested Grebe was noted, there were five Teal resting on the tidal ponds and another eight flew west. Waders included 24 Oystercatchers and two Curlews on the beach, 77 Ringed Plovers on the shingle ridge at high tide and two Dunlins and a Common Sandpiper flying west. Three Yellow Wagtails circled over the beach, three Swallows flew west and a Kingfisher was seen again along the brook. One Sedge Warbler (our third of the autumn and year), two Whitethroats and a male Blackcap were along the east bank. Later, Peter Hunt saw a Guillemot close inshore; this was the first large auk to be assigned to this species this year!

Butterflies included a rather tatty Common Blue.

Common Blue – Andy Taylor

30th

Ted put in another (4 hour) session of wind bashing. Again it was a skua fest with 78 Arctic Skuas, 47 Great Skuas and one Long-tailed Skua. Bit parts were played by c20 Gannets, c20 Common Scoters, 10 Wigeon, a Teal, four Sandwich Terns, three Common Terns and a Whimbrel.

29th

Cloudy with a strong NNW wind. Classic sea-watching conditions at the right time of the year. Birds were on the move over the sea from the start. The main participants were skuas with 65 Arctic Skuas, 65 Great Skuas and two juvenile Long-tailed Skuas noted during the morning. The supporting cast included two Fulmars, a Manx Shearwater, six Wigeon, three Teal, one Grey Plover, one Little Gull and a Black Tern and loads of Gannets. A Dunlin was on the shingle ridge, a Common Sandpiper in the brook, four Swallows flew west and a Whitethroat and a Blackcap appeared along the sheltered east bank.

The conditions also brought out the kite surfers in numbers. It was estimated that there were at least 100 off the Tankerton slopes and Long Rock. We spoke to one who, because of the wind direction, had travelled up from Brighton.

Arctic Skua – Andy Taylor
Kite surfer on the shingle ridge – Andy Taylor
Kite surfers everywhere – Andy Taylor

28th

There were two Great Crested Grebes. A Knot flew west with Turnstones and a Dunlin was also seen. Two Swallows flew west, a Wheatear was on the eastern end of the beach and two Whitethroats were noted.

27th

Sunny with a light SW wind in marked contrast to yesterday. However, the day did start on a wader theme with a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper keeping company with flocks of Ringed Plovers, about 60 in total. At high tide this flock were subject to much disturbance, the Ringed Plovers stuck it out but the Sandpiper soon disappeared. Other waders included 12 Oystercatchers, one Dunlin, four Curlews, a Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper. Other birds seen included a Hobby, Meadow Pipit, Whinchat and Willow Warbler.

Butterflies were represented by Small Whites and a Comma and Clouded Yellow.

Curlew Sandpiper – Andy Taylor

26th

Sunny with a fresh to strong westerly wind. A westerly wind, however, strong, can not be relied upon to produce a good seawatch. Nevertheless, a Shag flying west at 7.12 am and a Manx Shearwater at 8.10 am were both new for the year and a good start. A Great Crested Grebe flew west, seven Common Scoters flew east and an Arctic Skua appeared distantly offshore. The strength of the wind did seem to affect the waders. The high tide had waders seeking shelter on the shingle ridge. A Wood Sandpiper dropped onto the ridge briefly at about 8.30 am but moments later disappeared as a dog walker came along. Our third record for the site; the first came after 25 years of observations here; the second five years later and this third bird ten days after the second. It was assumed that the bird had moved on but it was seen again on the tideline at about midday. A female Ruff also dropped onto the ridge and hunkered down and was present for more than an hour (another addition to the year list). Other waders included three Sanderlings, one Dunlin and one Common Sandpiper flying west, a Whimbrel on the shoreline and a Greenshank that flew high south inland. An Arctic Tern flew west and, later one was resting on the beach with eight Sandwich Terns.

24th

Sunny periods with a light southerly wind. Waders included 37 Ringed Plovers, six Sanderlings and a Dunlin. An Arctic Tern flew west and three Sandwich Terns flew east. Single Hobby and Peregrine were seen. A Green Woodpecker was only our second record for the year but last year there was only a single record. Other birds seen included a Whinchat and two Lesser Whitethroats in the scrub and a Spotted Flycatcher and a Willow Warbler along the east bank.

A total of eight butterfly species seen included our first Clouded Yellow of the year.

Clouded Yellow – Geoff Burton

22nd

Sunny with a moderate southerly wind. A Common Sandpiper on the beach was the only wader of any note. Three Mediterranean Gulls flew west. One Sand Martin flew west and a Sedge Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat were along the east bank.

Sedge Warbler – Andy Taylor

20th

Waders included a Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper and 30 Swallows flew west.

19th

There were six Canada Geese and eight Teal, a Marsh Harrier and a Buzzard were noted, two Arctic Skuas flew west and a Whinchat was present again.

18th

Three Whimbrels and a Curlew flew west, three Swallows and four Yellow Wagtails flew west and a Whinchat and a Sedge Warbler (our first this year) were in the scrub.

17th

A Wood Sandpiper was on the beach early morning for about ten minutes before being flushed by a dog walker. This is only the second record for the site following one on 14th August 2015. Other waders included a flock of 54 Redshanks west, two Dunlins and a Common Sandpiper. Four Sanderlings were noted in the afternoon. Other birds noted included a Raven tussling with a Buzzard, four Yellow Wagtails and a Skylark.

Wood Sandpiper – Andy Taylor
Redshanks – Andy Taylor
Buzzard and Raven – Andy Taylor

16th

Three Green Sandpipers were seen overhead and a Whinchat was in the scrub.

13th

An Arctic Skua was our first of the year and six Gannets were also noted offshore. Waders included 22 Ringed Plovers, with four juveniles, and a Whimbrel. Four Yellow Wagtails and Sand Martin and Swallow were also noted.

12th

A Greenshank had taken up the place in the remnant brook vacated by the Knot. Four Yellow Wagtails flew over and a Kingfisher was seen along the brook.

Greenshank – Andy Taylor

10th

Sunny, warm with a light northerly wind. Four Little Egrets were again on the beach and waders included one juvenile Dunlin and 32 Turnstones on the beach. A Whinchat was in the scrub and a Spotted Flycatcher showed briefly along the east bank.

Butterflies included Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral and Migrant Hawker and Common Darter dragonflies were also seen.

Small Tortoiseshell – Andy Taylor

8th

Light cloud, very warm and calm. Three Gannets flew east and there were four Little Egrets on the beach. A flock of 12 Teal flew west and 64 Common Scoters flew east. Waders included 12 Ringed Plovers and two Sanderlings on the beach, two Green Sandpipers were heard but not seen and a party of eight Common Sandpipers alighted on the tideline. There were many terns distantly offshore early morning which included a party of 30+ Black Terns. [That afternoon a flock of c200 Little Terns and 80 Black Terns were roosting on the east flood at Oare Marshes]. Other birds included a Kingfisher along the middle brook, a Yellow Wagtail west and a juvenile Willow Warbler at the Obs.

Black and Little Terns at Oare Marshes – Geoff Burton

7th

Sunny, very warm, calm. Waders included 5 Oystercatchers and 15 Ringed Plovers on the beach and a flock of seven Whimbrels flew west. Other birds included a Stock Dove dropping onto the beach, a Great Spotted Woodpecker circling over the grassland, a Skylark circling over and dropping into the grassland and a Jay flying east from the Obs.

Small White – Geoff Burton
Holly Blue – Geoff Burton

5th

Sunny, warm with a light SE wind. Bird of the day was an Osprey, picked out amongst a cloud of gulls offshore. It drifted east clear of the gulls then headed south over the caravan park at 7.45 am. A Hobby made a couple of appearances as it hunted beyond the caravan park and over the estate. A Fulmar flying west was the first seen since June. Waders included 18 Ringed Plovers on the beach, the juvenile Knot for its sixth day and two adult Dunlins flying west. A flock of 11 Common Terns flew west close inshore. Four Swifts and 24 Swallows flew west and two juvenile Willow Warblers were along the east bank.

3rd

Sunny with a fresh northerly abating. A Shelduck flew east, four Teal flew west and four Common Scoters flew west with another east. Waders included the juvenile Knot for its fourth day, six Whimbrel west and a Common Sandpiper circling high over the area before drifting west. A Merlin that flew east over the area was unexpectedly early whilst a Peregrine over the beach was not. There were six Gannets offshore and a juvenile Kittiwake flew west. Other birds included a Kingfisher along the middle brook and three Jackdaws, scarce of late, heading for the beach.

Butterflies included two Speckled Woods and a Large White.

1st

Sunny with a light SW wind. Two Garganey flew west at 6.15 am; our fifth record, our first for six years and an addition to Andy’s site list. The juvenile Knot was still in the remnant brook. Other waders included 15 Bar-tailed Godwits, a total of 54 Whimbrels west during the morning, and a heard-only Greenshank. One Swift, one Wheatear and a Willow Warbler were also noted.

Butterflies noted were Gatekeeper. Small White and Green-veined White, Comma, Holly Blue and Essex Skipper.

Knot – Geoff Burton
Whimbrel – Geoff Burton

July 2020

A total of 136 species for the year

138 species by this time last year

A total of 74 species for the month was the same as last year and as the average for the last ten years (73.9). There were only three additions to the year list; our third and fourth Cattle Egrets on 9th (juvenile) and 16th (breeding plumage adult), our earliest returning Whinchat (27th) and a Knot (31st).

31st

Sunny, very warm with a light SE wind. Singles of Ringed Plover and Redshank were heard and there were 22 Turnstones. James Avery, a self-confessed astronomer rather than a birder, found a wader along the remnant brook which appeared to have an injured leg but, nevertheless, seemed to be feeding quite happily. It turned out to be a juvenile Knot, our first of this species this year which, fortunately lingered into August. An immature male Peregrine circled over the beach. The adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was still being pestered by two young birds on the beach. Two juvenile Willow Warblers were along the east bank and at the Obs; a good showing of this species in the last week of the month.

30th

Sunny, warm with a light westerly wind. Waders included five Ringed Plovers, a Lapwing, an adult Dunlin and 37 Turnstones on the beach and two Common Sandpipers. A raft of 90 juvenile Herring Gulls were resting on the sea. One Swift, a Sand Martin and seven Swallows flew west and a Wheatear was present in the grassland. There were also four Yellow Wagtails and four Willow Warblers.

29th

Sunny, warm, light NW wind. There were five Little Egrets whilst waders included four Oystercatchers, a Whimbrel and a Common Sandpiper west, a Redshank in the Marsh Pool and 18 Turnstones on the beach. 22 Swifts flew west but only single Sand Martin and Swallow were noted. There were three Willow Warblers again along the east bank with frequent snatches of song.

An immature Great Black-backed Gull amongst its smaller Herring Gull cousins – Geoff Burton

28th

There were three bright juvenile Willow Warblers along the east bank.

A Small Heath (only a few seen this year so far) was noted.

27th

Cloudy with showers, light SE wind. A better morning for waders with seven Oystercatchers, one west and six east, four Ringed Plovers on the beach, one Whimbrel and one Curlew, a Redshank on the beach, four Common Sandpipers and a significant increase to 65 Turnstones on the beach. Five Little Egrets were noted, a Marsh Harrier flew west behind the church, there were four Mediterranean Gulls, a Sandwich Tern and four Common Terns included one juvenile. Four Swifts flew west whilst a male Whinchat seen well but only briefly in the scrub was our earliest returning bird (after one on 29th July in 2006). A juvenile Willow Warbler was also present in the scrub.

25th

Cloudy with a little rain and a moderate SW wind. One Gannet and five Little Egrets (three on the Marsh Pool). Waders included one Oystercatcher west, three Ringed Plovers on the beach, a Whimbrel on the beach early morning and another eight west, a Curlew, a Common Sandpiper and 11 Turnstones on the beach. An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was feeding two juveniles on the beach, two Sandwich Terns were offshore and eight Common Terns flew east. Two Stock Doves dropped into the grassland, 73 Swifts and 11 Sand Martins flew west and two Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail were also noted.

23rd

Sunny. A quiet morning. Three adult Mute Swans flew west over the area at 7.20 am and were later seen on the sea off the Tankerton slopes. There were four Redshanks on the beach and a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool. There were two Swifts, five Swallows flew west and a Lesser Whitethroat was seen near the scout hut.

22nd

Sunny, warm and calm. There were eight Little Egrets on the beach. Waders included a Common Sandpiper on the Marsh Pool and 38 Turnstones roosting on the groynes but as parting shot a flock of eight Green Sandpipers flew west high in the sky and over the sea. A record count for this site. Otherwise, it was a quiet morning as befitted the weather conditions. A Jay flew from the sewage works along the upper brook.

20th

Sunny with a light northerly wind. One Gannet flew east and there were four Little Egrets on the beach. Two Oystercatchers flew east, three flew west and one was on the beach. A summer plumage Dunlin was with Turnstones on the beach, a Whimbrel on the beach flew off west, there were three Curlews on the beach and two Redshanks on the tidal ponds. 18 Mediterranean Gulls were on the beach and single Sandwich Tern was noted offshore. A Yellow Wagtail dropped onto the shingle ridge and a Lesser Whitethroat was seen along the east bank.

18th

Sunny with a light westerly wind. There were three Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool. Waders were represented by a single Oystercatcher, three Curlews and 21 Turnstones on the beach. A juvenile Willow Warbler along the east bank was the first returning bird and an early one. Other birds included one Sand Martin and four Swallows west and singles of Stock Dove and Jay.

A male Common Blue in the grass to the west of the skate park was new for the year and our 21st species.

16th

Cloudy with a fresh NW wind. A breeding plumage Cattle Egret was present early morning (at 5.50 am), with four Little Egrets in the remnant brook. Unfortunately, it was flushed by some random with camera who got too close; where is field craft these days? Although the second record this month, this is only the fourth record for the site of this on-the-increase species. There were 30+ Gannets offshore, two Teal circled over the brook before heading off west and a single Common Scoter flew east. Waders included a Ringed Plover on the shingle ridge and single Whimbrels heading south and west. A total of 27 Mediterranean Gulls were counted on the beach and the sea and an adult Common Gull was on the shingle ridge at high tide. 18 Swifts flew west and two Swallows were noted.

15th

Sunny with a light SW wind. There were three Little Egrets on the Marsh Pool, two Oystercatchers flew west and a Whimbrel circled over the beach. There were 18 Mediterranean Gulls (including three juveniles) and a Sandwich Tern with the Black-headed Gulls on the beach. One of the Mediterranean Gulls was ringed; the details were that it was ringed as an adult at Antwerp in Belgium in May 2020 and seen again there in June. Three Swifts and a Swallow flew west and a Kingfisher was seen along the middle brook.

Kingfisher – Geoff Burton

13th

Sunny, warmer, with a light NW wind. Two Gannets flew west, two Grey Herons flew west inland and there were ten Little Egrets (nine on the Marsh pool early morning). Waders were a single Ringed Plover on the beach, a flock of seven Whimbrel and a Redshank flying west and 15 roosting Turnstones. Looking to the skies to the south a Sparrowhawk, a Buzzard and a Hobby feeding on insects were noted. Four Sandwich Terns flew west. Vis mig included ten Swifts, seven Sand Martins and 12 Swallows. Other birds noted included a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Grey Wagtail.

In the warm weather, Andy’s attention was drawn to the bugs around the Obs. In addition to some of the usual butterflies, a Blue Mason Bee, a Wilke’s Mining Bee and a hoverfly (Eristalinus sepulcharalis) were all new for the site.

11th

Sunny, moderate SW wind. Six Gannets flew east, there were eight Little Egrets, seven on the Marsh Pool at one point, and two Grey Herons flew over. There were four Oystercatchers on the beach, another flew west, five Whimbrels flew west and a Curlew was on the beach. 53 Swifts flew west, a single House Martin flew west and a Yellow Wagtail was heard calling.

Confirmation of our first Brown Argus by the EA car park. Our 20th species for the year.

Brown Argus – Andy Taylor
Sparrowhawk and Kestrel – Andy Taylor

9th

Cloudy, light to moderate SW wind. Two Gannets and 11 Little Egrets and, at 10.45 am, a juvenile Cattle Egret flew west low over the brook and sewage works. A better day for waders with seven species in total; three Oystercatchers, two Ringed Plovers, five Whimbrels flew west singly, a party of six Curlews flew west with two more on the beach, one Redshank west, one Common Sandpiper and 13 Turnstones on the beach. 95 Swifts and single Sand Martin and Swallow flew west.

11 species of butterfly included a suspected Brown Argus.

8th

Cloudy, rain until 9 am, calm then light SW wind. There were eight Little Egrets and a Grey Heron on the beach. Two Ringed Plovers were again on the shingle ridge and single Curlew and Turnstone were on the beach. Two Common Terns were on one of the 8K buoys. A flock of eight Sand Martins flew west and 46 Swifts also flew west.

7th

Six summer plumage Dunlins were the first returning birds, there were also 16 Turnstones. There were six Little Egrets, a juvenile Marsh Harrier and a Buzzard, and vis mig included a Yellow Wagtail, four Sand Martins and five Swallows.

Another 14 species of butterflies were seen today including two Ringlets. A Magpie Moth and a pammene aurana were also seen.

6th

Sunny periods with a fresh SW wind. A Great Crested Grebe was within the tidal ponds and later one flew west. A Ringed Plover was on the shingle ridge, a Curlew on the beach and 23 Turnstones were feeding along the tide line on the incoming tide. A flock of 12 Mediterranean Gulls were feeding along the shoreline by the Obs. Today, only a single Swift was noted, flying west.

Despite the fresh winds, the warmth of the sun in sheltered areas encouraged a good variety of butterflies to be on the wing. A total of 14 species were recorded including our first Gatekeepers of the year in the scrub. Most species, however, were noted around the Obs. The full list was: Large, Small and Essex Skippers, Green-veined, Small and Large Whites, Holly Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Peacock, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Marbled White and Gatekeeper. A record day total for the site, I think.

Gatekeeper – Geoff Burton
Marbled White- Geoff Burton

4th

Cloudy with a fresh SW wind. A flock of 25 Common Scoters flew east, there were two Ringed Plovers on the shingle ridge, four Curlews on the beach and a Common Sandpiper dropped onto a sliver of shingle spit on the incoming tide. There was a steady movement of Swifts, several hundred birds, heading west as did a single Sand Martin.

A Ringlet was at the Obs, our 18th butterfly species of the year. There had only been two records of this species prior to 2018 but this is the third year running it has been recorded here.

Swift- Andy Taylor
Ringlet – Geoff Burton

2nd

Sunny periods with a moderate SW wind. There was one Great Crested Grebe on the sea. A Curlew and three Whimbrels flew west, a Ringed Plover and 13 Turnstones were on the beach. Three Sandwich Terns were offshore and 70 Swifts flew west.

A total of nine species of butterfly included our first Essex Skipper at the Obs.

Essex Skipper – Andy Taylor

1st

Sunny periods with a moderate SW wind. A single Gannet flew east and three flew west. 11 Turnstones roosting between the groynes at the eastern end of the beach were the only waders noted. There were at least six Mediterranean Gulls on the beach and offshore which included three second calendar year birds. A total of 51 Swifts were noted flying west in early morning and a single Swallow also flew west. A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew across from the sewage works to the churchyard. A modest, but not unexpectedly so, total of 38 species to start the month.

A total of seven butterflies were noted which included our first Peacock since March and two Commas.

Moorhen – Geoff Burton