It’s proving to be a decent autumn for Tree Pipits, Wood Sandpipers and Garganeys. Restharrow Scrape held onto it’s two eclipse male Garganey’s and the showy Wood Sandpiper, with the Estate supplying singles of Spotted Flycatcher and Tree Pipit plus a couple of Whinchats and 270+ Linnets moving around the Sandilands/Mary Bax area. A total of 11 species of wader on New Downs was impressive and included 13 Greenshanks and 16 Black-tailed Godwits.
A cloudy, grey start to the day kept the hirundines low over the Estate before things started to clear mid-morning. Things weren’t too bad with a Wood Sandpiper and two Garganeys on Restharrow Scrape, a Spotted Flycatcher in Little Gully, a Tree Pipit in the Oasis, and four Whinchats at Dickson’s Corner. Worth got in on the Garganey action with a single plus another lingering Wood Sandpiper.
A decent scattering of warblers on the Estate on a much brighter and warmer day than most of this week. Three Tree Pipits in the RSGGC/Oasis area and another over the Green Wall added to their consistent run this week. The Sailing club area held two Whinchats and two Wheatears whilst a Spotted Flycatcher was in the Elms and a Wood Sandpiper showed well on Restharrow Scrape. New Downs was productive for waders as usual with a Greenshank perhaps the most notable, however a Treecreeper near the Green Barn was the clear highlight.
The day will be remembered mostly though as Ian Hodgson’s last day as Warden here at SBBOT. Over the past 11 years Ian has truly done a fantastic job at the helm and we all wish him the best with his retirement. But don’t think we’ve got rid of him completely yet, the word on the street is Ian still plans to pop by each Sunday for a coffee, a catch-up, and maybe a few birds. Stepping into Ian’s iconic wellington boots will be Steffan Walton, our current Assistant Warden, promoted up the ranks to now a fully fledged Warden.
An overcast and increasingly breezy morning did little to fan the embers of enthusiasm, though the eighth Tree Pipit this week was trapped, the Garganey remained on the scrape and a few Yellow Wagtails were scattered about, but chats and warblers were in very low numbers.
Things continue to pick up gently, with 11 Yellow Wagtails on the golf course, two Spotted Flycatchers in the Elms, two Crossbills that were oscillating between the Haven and Whitehouse, two Tree Pipits and three Whinchats on the shore.
A reasonable tally of warblers on the Estate this morning with Whitethroats most numerous with 39. A Wood Warbler spat bursts of song from the Elms and a Tree Pipit lurked near the Oasis. A Wood Sandpiper was the highlight on Worth and the Garganey continues to find Restharrow Scrape very homely.
Monthly WeBS count day was notable for a Wood Sandpiper on New Downs though not much else there apart from an incongruous Aylesbury Duck. Pegwell and the Point did well with four Curlew Sandpipers, one Spotted Redshank, 27 Whimbrels, 28 Mediterranean Gulls, 370 Sandwich Terns, 19 Common Terns, three Arctic Terns, and two Little Terns. A Grasshopper Warbler was trapped and ringed on the Estate whilst Raven and Redstart were on Worth. A decent scattering of Whinchats and Wheatears were seen throughout the recording areas.
Yesterday’s rain seems to have stimulated a change in the birds too, with good numbers of warblers on the Estate, particularly Sedge Warblers and Common Whitethroats, a Pied Flycatcher in the Elms, with a Barn Owl drifting across the road nearby, a Hobby flying north and a Tree Pipit in the Oasis. The Garganey also re-appeared on the scrape after two foxes had mooched off to cause trouble somewhere else.
The weather has certainly changed, with a slight chill in the NW breeze and heavily overcast, gloomy conditions ahead of rain that arrived in late morning. Highlights were mainly on the shore, where an adult Curlew Sandpiper flew N, as did 111 Sandwich Terns and two Med. Gulls. There was a decent scattering of warblers on the Estate too, particularly Lesser Whitethroats and Garden Warblers, whilst two Yellow Wagtails flew north and four Coal Tits floated around the Elms.
A Grasshopper Warbler was flushed from long grass in the Oasis and a Whinchat at Dickson’s Corner broke the Worth monopoly on this species for the autumn so far, but warblers were in pretty small numbers, despite initially overcast conditions. A Kingfisher turned up in the nets, much to everyone’s surprise.
A Grasshopper Warbler was flushed from long grass in the Oasis, two Wheatears were on the beach and two Pied Flycatchers were present, while on Worth were six Whinchats and three Black-tailed Godwits.
A cloudy morning gave some welcome respite from the summer sun and the perfect opportunity to trek across New Downs. The pools are beginning to dry up (especially the north pool) but the river was productive as usual. A total of 21 Common and two Green Sandpipers, one Ruff, two Greenshanks, 35 Redshanks, four Snipes, and seven Whimbrels were logged across the site. On the Estate at least two Pied Flycatchers and one Redstart remained from yesterday in the Whitehouse/Oasis area.
Onwards and upwards, at least five Pied Flycatchers, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Wheatear and a Redstart were found this morning, while on Worth a food-carrying Hobby was the highlight.
Despite continuing cloudless conditions by day and night there was an arrival of 3 or 4 Pied Flycatchers this morning, while warblers appeared to be slightly down on yesterday. Four Yellow Wagtails were on the scrape, where the Garganey was lurking unspectacularly.
The Garganey remained on the scrape, being a tad more adventurous than yesterday, and as well as handfuls of Lesser Whitethroats and Reed Warblers the Estate held 16 Willow Warblers and 38 Whitethroats. However, the best bird of the day was a Common Treecreeper which showed to a few in the Elms, though if your name isn’t Steve, don’t bother.