31st

Apart from a Jack Snipe on the scrape, the most significant event involved the Red-flanked Bluetail, which trapped itself for the umpteenth time, bringing the good news that it has put on weight since it arrived over a week ago.

30th

Another mostly overcast morning with a brisk SE wind continued yesterday’s theme, though a Firecrest was in the Elms with one of a few bunches of Goldcrests.

29th

A brilliant autumn had the feel of fizzling out in more overcast conditions this morning, with a late Wheatear and 10 Crossbills very much against the run of play.

28th

Overnight rain lasted until around 8.30, clearing reluctantly to leave a mostly dull, dank and quite humid morning. Highlights were few and far between, though a Wheatear and a Black Redstart were at the sailing club.

27th

Snow Bunting by Steve Ray
Snow Bunting by Steve Ray

A spectacular crimson sunrise prefaced a dull, overcast morning with a light SE breeze, during which 2 Dartford Warblers and 2 Snow Buntings were relocated along the beach, around 40 Goldcrests were fizzing about and, though they rarely make the dizzy heights of these updates, a covey of 36 Grey Partridges was noisily evident on the field adjacent to the scrape.

26th

A calm, sunny start to the day gave way after a couple of hours to overcast, chilly conditions, driven on by a freshening SE wind. In the still of the early morning one of the Dartford Warblers showed well, a Merlin flew along the beach, 2 Lapland Buntings flew over and 2the first 2 Snow Buntings of the autumn were on the shingle, while 2 Bearded Tits were calling from reeds along the river and a fresh influx of around 100 Goldcrests was apparent.

25th

Dartford Warbler by Steve Ray
Dartford Warbler by Steve Ray

Bright and sunny with barely a breath of wind, most interest was centred in the north of the recording area where a Rough-legged Buzzard, a Merlin and 12 Black-tailed Godwits were seen on New Downs and at least 3 Dartford Warblers were reported, including this cracking photo of one in buckthorn along the beach.

24th

Overcast, mild and gloomy, the morning was similar to yesterday, but with fewer birds, though a Brambling flew over, a few Chiffchaffs and a couple of parties of Goldcrests were working their way through the bushes and 80 or so hirundines were feeding over the Estate.

23rd

Overcast and calm conditions created a soporific morning on which everything seemed to be catching its breath after recent events. Visible movement was pretty much all over the place, though 690 Goldfinches, 214 Chaffinches, 6 Bramblings and 490 Starlings flew N and about 250 Swallows flew N then confused the issue by milling about over the Estate. 2 Peregrines were tearing about and a Short-eared Owl was doing much the same but with a good deal more decorum.

22nd

Surprisingly, perhaps, given more or less persistent overnight drizzle that ended just before dawn, there had obviously been a mass clear-out of Robins and Goldcrests. However, in heavily overcast conditions for the first hour or so 2,180 Goldfinches, 25 Crossbills, 42 Meadow Pipits, a Sparrowhawk, 185 Siskins, 5 Bramblings, a Bullfinch and 44 redpolls flew N, a Short-eared Owl drifted in from the sea about 400 feet above the shore and 2 Ravens flew S across Restharrow Dunes, while several Blackbirds dropped in from the clouds.

21st

An initially clear night clouded over and by dawn light rain was falling. With a light W breeze at most it was slow to move and it was obvious that most Robins and Goldcrests had moved out anyway. The same could not be said of the bluetail, which trapped itself with the regularity of an over-enthusiastic redpoll, while 2 Short-eared Owls were floating about over the golf course and a Woodcock was the first of the autumn.

Red-flanked Bluetail by Steve Ray
Red-flanked Bluetail by Steve Ray

20th

A bright, calm start to the morning produced a Short-eared Owl over the golf course and some quite difficult vis.mig. conditions, during which 116 Linnets, 68 Greenfinches, 116 Goldfinches, 2 Bramblings, 41 Meadow Pipits, 14 alba wagtails, a Sparrowhawk and 80 Siskins flew N and a Rock Pipit flew in off the sea and on to the sailing club jetty. However, all of this was brought to an abrupt halt by news of a RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL that had turned up in the nets – the first at the Bay since one was infamously killed by a weasel in 1956. No more than five minutes after its release, a juvenile Great Grey Shrike was also trapped – our 4th this autumn, with an adult at Mary Bax later on making 5.

19th

Pallas's Warbler by Martin Sutherland
Pallas’s Warbler by Martin Sutherland

Dull and heavily overcast with a light ENE breeze, some intermittent visible movement included 1,650 Goldfinches, 79 redpolls, 15 Reed Buntings, 46 Greenfinches, 3 Bramblings and 2 Tree Sparrows, which have been a bit better this autumn, not that it would be difficult. Down on terra firma were at least 80 Robins, 60 Blackbirds, 130 Goldcrests, 3 Ring Ouzels, 2 presumably new Yellow-browed Warblers (one in the Elms and one trapped) and a very pleasant little Pallas’s Warbler near Dickson’s Corner.

18th

A Great Grey Shrike at Dickson’s Corner was probably the third in the last few days and it was accompanied by an arrival of 80 Blackbirds, 45 Song Thrushes, 2 Black Redstarts and 400 Goldcrests, while an eastern Lesser Whitethroat was trapped and 360 Siskins and 80 Redpolls flew N.

15th

Overcast and gloomy, movement didn’t pick up until late morning when the ENE wind backed slightly to the NE. However, relief was at hand in the form of 2 Great Grey Shrikes on Worth, returning from which a spell of movement from 10am onwards amounted to 71 Redpolls, 130 Goldfinches, 95 Siskins and 60 Chaffinches. Robins were more conspicuous than previously in the autumn – we estimated 100 in the area – and at least 2 Firecrests were fizzing about with 100 or so Goldcrests, while several Redwings and Fieldfares and 35-40 Blackbirds were present.

14th

This morning was a heady mix of heavy, squally showers, bright spells and impressive rainbows against contrasting glowering backdrops, all driven on by a chill N wind. Seawatching was similar to yesterday, with just over 160 Brents, mostly moving north, and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers among small numbers of other bits and bobs, while 160 Goldfinches tumbled N along the shore in between showers. How many Goldcrests were present is anyone’s guess – 50 were in the Elms around 9am and 186 were counted moving N along the road either side of mid day, suggesting that well over 250 were involved.

13th

Snipe at Restharrow Scrape by Steve Ray
Snipe at Restharrow Scrape by Steve Ray

Despite the promise of a relatively benign morning a sharp shower around 5am prefaced a blustery morning with a fresh to strong NE wind that stimulated a bit of offshore movement but encouraged most things to keep their heads down, though

Brambling by Andrew Lipczynski
Brambling by Andrew Lipczynski

a Brambling was showing well in the lee of the wind at the Elms. Pick of a motley bunch offshore was a drake Eider that landed on the sea and a few small flocks of Brents heading up and down Channel. Across on Worth, 5 Ring Ouzels remained in the hedgerows, despite the best attentions of one of 2 Merlins.

12th

Overcast with a light NE breeze, this morning’s vis.mig. session turned into 3 hours of Disco Birding, given the proximity of some builders playing Radio Gaga nearby. Nevertheless, it was productive, with northward-moving migrants including a Richard’s Pipit, 2010 Goldfinches, 106 Meadow Pipits, 2 Sparrowhawks, 32 alba wagtails, 69 Redpolls, 13 Reed Buntings and 58 Siskins, while a  Coal Tit flew in the opposite direction. About 130 Goldcrests, 3 Bramblings, 4 Firecrests and 20 or so Chiffchaffs were present in and around the bushes and, by way of interest, we controlled a Latvian-ringed Goldcrest yesterday. Last but not least, 10 Ring Ouzels were in the hedgerows over on Worth.

10th

The latest spell of clear easterlies set in overnight and predictably reduced visible migration to 61 Redpolls, 56 Goldfinches and 25 Siskins, while numbers of yesterday’s warblers and crests were clearly well down. However, a Short-eared Owl was hunting over the meadow road side of the Haven just after first light; a nice way to start any day.

9th

A misty, chilly start soon gave way to a bright blue morning. Northward movement included 109 Redpolls, 3 Crossbills, 33 alba wagtails, 146 Goldfinches, 76 Meadow Pipits, a Brambling and 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Blue Tits continue to be conspicuous, with 10 moving past Mary Bax and another 7 along the shore first thing, a Short-eared Owl was flopping about over the golf course and the Jack Snipe was back in front of the hide at Restharrow, while the bushes held 100 Chiffchaffs, 50 Blackcaps and 40 Goldcrests.

8th

A steadily brightening day with a barely perceptible breeze was notable for an arrival of around 130 Chiffchaffs and 70 Blackcaps, while overhead movement included 18 Reed Buntings, 56 Redpolls, a Crossbill and 9 Tree Sparrows. A Whinchat and 7 Stonechats were present along the shore, mostly around the sailing club.

7th

A similar day to yesterday, but without the birds or fish joke-provoking offshore goings-on, gave the impression that this may be the point at which we pay for such an excellent September.

6th

Gloomy, calm and humid until mid morning, the highlight was the sight of a Grey Seal trashing a skate or something similar in the shallows offshore. Otherwise, the Jack Snipe was still asleep on the shore of the scrape, but the bushes were pretty quiet and overhead/offshore movement just about non-existent.

5th

Jack Snipe on Restharrow Scrape by Steve Ray
Jack Snipe on Restharrow Scrape by Steve Ray

This morning brought an end to the highly productive recent run of easterlies, with the wind having moved to the SE accompanied by drizzle from not long after dawn. The first spell of rain appeared to bring in more Goldcrests, around 120 of which were concentrated mainly in two flocks in the gullies and the Whitehouse, but movement was very subdued. The best action came from a Jack Snipe that was bobbing up and down characteristically in front of the hide, even when apparently asleep!

4th

Calm and cloudless, it turned out to be a lovely October morning. Most obvious to start with was a mass clear-out of Goldcrests, though Robins were more numerous than so far this autumn and several Blackbirds in the Oasis were clearly overnight arrivals. A productive three-hour spell of northward visible movement along the shore included 126 alba wagtails, 304 Goldfinches, 418 Meadow Pipits, 29 Skylarks, 23 Reed Buntings, 7 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Grey Wagtails and 85 Linnets, while several greyish Chiffchaffs were bouncing about.

3rd

Despite persistent fog about 250 Goldcrests were zipping about this morning, with few retraps among the 90-odd that were caught indicating fresh arrivals. A previously unrecorded Yellow-browed Warbler was found on New Downs and a Jack Snipe was on the scrape.

2nd

Apart from 630 Goldfinches, 86 Siskins and 69 Redpolls mostly flying N visible migration was something of a dog’s dinner, despite similar conditions to the last few days, though the ENE wind was a good deal lighter. However, there was more than adequate compensation in the form of a huge fall of at least 600 Goldcrests (a staggering 357 were ringed during the course of the morning), with 40 Chiffchaffs, 8 Firecrests and 4 Yellow-browed Warblers, which we assume were birds that were here yesterday, plus a Hobby and 3 late-ish Willow Warblers.

1st

Expecting more of the same, with the wind firmly stuck in the east and not a cloud to be seen, it was pleasantly surprising to encounter a morning of respectable numbers of birds on the move or in the bushes. Most obvious to start with were Goldcrests, which were everywhere – we estimated 150 – while 4 Yellow-browed Warblers were seen or heard, including a probable new arrival at the north end of the Haven. If movement was a bit random at times, a three-hour sojourn out of the wind produced totals of 1,150 Goldfinches (1,010 N and the rest S), 84 Swallows N, 47 Redpolls (mostly N), 81 Siskins (including 47 S) and 2 Tree Sparrows, which are rarer than Yellow-browed Warblers these days.