Friday 31st

There was an arrival of waders on Worth marshes with three Wood Sandpipers, ten Green Sandpipers, and three Greenshanks, plus two Whinchats.

Thursday 30th

A scorching day. The ringers were up early and were rewarded with yet another Wood Warbler. This is our fifth of the autumn so far. More surprising though, they also caught an adult female Redwing. It was undergoing wing moult and had the remains of a brood patch; all signs of a local bird post-breeding. Very intriguing. There were quite a few Willow Warblers and Reed Warblers also recorded on the Estate, and on Worth there were two each of Spotted Flycatcher and Whinchat. Along Prince’s Beach there were a few Wheatears and almost 100 Sandwich Terns showing well at the Point. Lastly, but outside our Recording Area slightly, there were over 450 Mediterranean Gulls ‘anting’ over Sandwich in the afternoon.

Wednesday 29th

Another Wood Warbler of the autumn was trapped and ringed on the Estate. There were at least 31 Willow Warblers present, plus three Garden Warblers, four Sedge Warblers, and four Reed Warblers, plus Raven and Coal Tit, and a lovely brood of Grey Partridges.

Tuesday 28th

Wood Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher was reported from the Point.

Monday 27th

The passing squalls dropped in a few migrants, mostly Willow Warblers, with at least 24 on the Estate. A smart Wood Warbler was seen along the edge of the Great Wood on Worth and at least 63 Swifts flew north.

Sunday 26th

There were singles of Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher on Worth marshes in the morning whilst a boat trip down the river counted 47 Common Sandpipers. In the evening there were over 200 Mediterranean Gulls in Pegwell Bay.

New Downs South Pool by H.Willis

Saturday 25th

With little happening today i thought a roundup of the breeding news from this spring and summer might be of interest.

The main event on Restharrow Scrape has been the colonisation by Black-headed Gulls, up from three nests last year to a minimum of 27 this year, with at least 47 young fledging. Though not one of our original target species, Black-headed Gulls are an amber-listed species in the UK and a rare breeder in our part of Kent with no pairs between the Medway and Dungeness. They are often helpful in attracting other breeding species too, such as Common Tern and Avocet, so hopefully our little colony continues to do well. A pair of Canada Geese attempted to breed (but failed), five broods of Tufted Duck have hatched, and Little Grebe have fledged young successfully for the first time in a number of years. Oystercatchers had young but did not survive to fledging, however, there were at least three Lapwing broods which did. A pair of Herring Gulls attempted to breed on an island (but failed) and represents the first breeding attempt on Restharrow Scrape for this species. Obviously it has been a huge shame that Restharrow Scrape has not been open this season for people to witness these events, but the Trustees are continuing to monitor the situation and the latest Government advice and will open as soon as it is possible to do so.

It was pleasing to note that Greenfinches have had a productive season on the Estate with plenty of young around. However, the large numbers of people on the beach over the summer meant all Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover nests failed. On a better note, Gadwall, Shoveler, and Little Ringed Plover bred on Worth marshes with above average numbers of breeding Redshank too.

Friday 24th

A few more Crossbill flocks went over and the Wheatears were still near Sandliands. A nice group of Whimbrels have also been hanging around the southern end of the Estate this week.

Whimbrels by S.Ray

Thursday 23rd

Worth marshes was very enjoyable before the wind picked up mid-morning. There were two Spotted Flycatchers along the edge of the Great Wood whilst two Crossbills, a Red Kite, three Sand Martins, a Yellow Wagtail, and three Ravens flew overhead. Three Green Sandpipers were on the pools and our first Snipe of autumn was seen moving through. A Yellowhammer was singing at Blue Pigeons. There were good numbers of warblers with three Willow Warblers, 48 Reed Warblers, 19 Sedge Warblers, 14 Cetti’s Warblers, and 17 Whitethroats.

Wednesday 22nd

Our first Spotted Flycatcher of autumn was moving around the Oasis and Haven. The juvenile Redstart was still present in the same area and a Black Redstart was up at the Sailing Club.

Redstart by S.Reynaert

Monday 20th

Another hot, but very productive, walk around the Estate. A Wood Warbler was caught by the ringing team (the first this year) and the Redstart was still in the Oasis. There were singles of Mediterranean Gull, Cuckoo, and Short-eared Owl, three Sand Martins, five Wheatears, five Willow Warblers, and two Coal Tits. A bit of wader activity included a Dunlin, three Green Sandpipers, and a Common Sandpiper.

Willow Warbler by P.Blanche

Sunday 19th

Three Whimbrels and two Garden Warblers were on the Estate, a Siskin flew north, and a couple of Common Scoter were lounging offshore, whilst a Little Egret at St George’s Bushes was a peculiar sight.

Saturday 18th

A Scorching day. The Redstart was still present with two Coal Tits, two Sedge Warblers, and a Yellow Wagtail also on the Estate.

Friday 17th

Three Wheatears and a Whinchat were around the Sandilands/Dickson’s Corner area and a Redstart was flitting between the Oasis and St George’s Bushes. There was another Garden Warbler in the Whitehouse and a few Mediterranean Gulls overhead.

Wheatear Jul20 SRay (2)
Wheatear by S.Ray

Thursday 16th

Our first two Wheatears of autumn were at Dickson’s Corner, along with yesterday’s Whinchat, and a Garden Warbler was trapped and ringed on the Estate. Mediterranean Gulls continue to build with 53 on the Estate beach, ten moving offshore, and another 38 on Worth marshes. A Great Skua was also recorded offshore.

Wednesday 15th

A walk around the Estate produced two Whimbrels, a Little Egret, a Coal Tit, and a handful of over-flying Siskins. A Whinchat was at Dickson’s Corner and another three were on Worth marshes.

Unfortunately, it also looks like our good friend Clive the Cockerel may have bitten the dust. From being unceremoniously dumped on us in September last year he’s gone on to become a bit of a local celebrity. Certainly i’ve met many people who keep bird seed in their car just for him. He’s been AWOL for a week or so now and, although not conclusive, i’m sure he’s no longer with us.

Chicken Aug19 SRay

Tuesday 14th

The weather changed to mostly overcast with spells of rain. Ten Mediterranean Gulls went north offshore and another was on the Estate. There was a good count of 155 Linnets on Worth marshes and a Crossbill flew over. Willow Warblers continue to trickle through with one on the Green Wall.

Monday 13th

Willow Warblers continue to filter through with singles on Worth and the Estate whilst a few Sand Martins were still around from yesterday. Overhead six Mediterranean Gulls were ‘anting’ over the Observatory and another four over Worth marshes, with three Siskins north. Later in the day at least 60 Mediterranean Gulls were in Pegwell Bay.

Sunday 12th

It may be summer weather but it’s clearly autumn birding now. Two Yellow Wagtails were on Prince’s Beach, a Whimbrel flew north, and an early Whinchat was on 100 Acre. Over on the Green Wall and a Redstart was equally early. There was also an arrival of Sand Martins with a minimum of 103 noted.

Friday 10th

An afternoon’s wander on New Downs was very productive. A juvenile Red Kite was floating around, two Crossbills flew over, and a Willow Warbler was at New Downs New Pool. Biggest surprise were four Sandwich Terns on the North Pool, possibly the first occurrence of this species there. There was a good diversity of autumn waders too with 13 Common Sandpipers, two Green Sandpipers, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Curlews, two Dunlins, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, 40 Redshanks, 91 Lapwings, eight Avocets, and eight Oystercatchers.

Thursday 9th

The RSPB have begun their diggings again on Worth and today 44 Mediterranean Gulls were feeding on the disturbed ground. A few Sand Martins were seen at Dickson’s corner, and a good flock of 95 House Sparrows were along the footpath which runs behind the asparagus fields.

Wednesday 8th

A handful of Sand Martins were on the Estate and Worth marshes, and the first Mistle Thrushes, Great Spotted Woodpecker, and juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull of autumn were on the Estate. Also of note, was confirmation of breeding Herring Gulls on the dilapidated barn at The Chequers, a first for the site.

Herring Gull chick Jul20 NSmith
Herring Gull chick opposite The Chequers by N.Smith

Tuesday 7th

Over on Worth marshes there were singles of Greenshank, Green, and Common Sandpiper, plus four Little Egrets and 14 Mediterranean Gulls. A juvenile Cuckoo was seen on the Estate and there were good numbers of young warblers around the Whitehouse area.

Sedge warbler
Adult Sedge Warbler by N.Smith. Note the worn edges to the tertials, tail and primary tips, and the overall dull, sun-bleached look indicative of adult birds. Juveniles would look much fresher and contrasting and often show a ‘necklace’ on their upper breast.

Saturday 4th

A coordinated count across the northern parts of our Recording Area for WeBS produced a handful of returning waders, namely Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Common and Green Sandpiper.

Thursday 2nd

A Crossbill was feeding in the pines outside Middle Field along the Guilford Rd, with Siskin and Coal Tit also flying around nearby. There were 40 Lapwings at the Drove and later 70 Swifts moved through in front of a squall.

Buzzard Jul20 NHefford
Buzzard by N.Hefford

Wednesday 1st

Today’s biggest talking point was the discovery of a Shoveler brood at Roaring Gutter. This is still a very under-recorded breeding species in the UK and confirmed records such as this are always worth passing on to your county RBBP representative. The first autumn build-up of 55 Redshanks was on New Downs, whilst singles of Cuckoo, Mediterranean Gull, and Siskin flew over the Whitehouse/Oasis area, with a Sedge Warbler trapped and ringed too.

Shoveler chicks Jul20 NRD
Shoveler ducklings by N.Davies