Wednesday 23rd

The morning was largely spent sea-watching in the hope that the easterlies would push something interesting inshore. A Goldeneye whizzed past and there were handfuls of Gannets and a few Razorbills to keep us occupied. A flock of Fieldfares were on Worth and a Barn Owl was found roosting on the Estate where up to six Firecrests were recorded.

Chiffchaff Oct19 SRay

Chiffchaff by S.Ray

Tuesday 22nd

The omens looked good for more visible migration but it didn’t take long for the winds to swing around to the south and the low cloud to disappear. As such there was very little moving though small groups of Stock Doves and Woodpigeons were heading north early on. Two Black Redstarts were moving around the Sailing Club area including a brief foray over to the disturbed ground at Restharrow Scrape (where water levels were much higher). The morning’s best sighting was a Dartford Warbler in the Sea Buckthorn along Prince’s Beach. Although a traditional wintering spot for this species this is our first record since the ‘Beast from the East’ took it’s toll.

Dartford Warbler Oct19 AML

Dartford Warbler by A.Lipczynski

Monday 21st

A thorough drenching all day limited observations however a Woodcock was flushed from Waldershare Gully, two Pintails flew north offshore, and a few birds on Restharrow Scrape included Little Grebe and a nice adult Yellow-legged Gull.

Sunday 20th

It’s always exciting when the forecast is a light northerly breeze with low cloud. There was movement from first light with a Marsh Harrier, 61 Skylarks, 114 Meadow Pipits, five Grey Wagtails, 56 Pied Wagtails, one Fieldfare, ten Blue Tits, three Great Tits, 293 Chaffinches, five Greenfinches, 213 Goldfinches, 37 Siskins, 45 Linnets, 16 Lesser Redpolls, one Yellowhammer, 44 Reed Buntings, and one Lapland Bunting all recorded flying north. A Rock Pipit was on the Estate beach, a late Garden Warbler was ringed, and two Bullfinches were floating around. Meanwhile on Worth a Water Pipit and a Ring Ouzel were the best on offer.

Saturday 19th

The first few hours at dawn produced 150 Meadow Pipits flying north and two Ring Ouzels on Worth marshes. Later in the afternoon members were led around the new excavations on Restharrow Scrape producing sightings of Red-legged Partridge and Mediterranean Gull, with 450 Swallows going through and two Coal Tits in the Observatory carpark.

Friday 18th

A Tree Sparrow in the Oasis was more than welcome considering their increasing rarity value in the area. Further interesting sightings included three Great White Egrets north, 11 Bearded Tits at Roaring Gutter (our first batch of the autumn), and strangest of all, a Kittiwake going inland over Worth.

Tree Sparrow Oct19 AML

Tree Sparrow by A.Lipczynski

Thursday 17th

A real mixed day weather-wise. The morning started off calm but overshadowed by grey clouds and occasional drizzle. This gave us the best ‘vismig’ for a few weeks with 23 Skylarks, 150 Swallows, 124 Meadow Pipits, one Grey Wagtail, six Pied Wagtails, one Mistle Thrush, 60 Starlings, 23 Chaffinches, four Greenfinches, 168 Goldfinches, 95 Linnets, 18 Reed Buntings, and a Short-eared Owl. Most birds were heading south. The bushes were fairly active too with 52 Robins, 22 Blackcaps, 98 Chiffchaffs, 32 Goldcrests, four Firecrests, and a Yellow-browed Warbler, with a late Spotted Flycatcher by the Observatory carpark. On Worth two Ring Ouzels were at Roaring Gutter and there was a late Sedge Warbler, whilst a flyover Alexandrine Parakeet was unusual and presumably the bird which has been appearing intermittently in the area for the last two years.

Tuesday 15th

The Warden was tied up most of the day interviewing candidates for the Assistant Warden post but Merlin and Mediterranean Gull were seen from the Observatory building and there were lots of hirundines over the asparagus fields. A little group of Siskins were in the Haven.

Monday 14th

A Merlin was hunting around the Estate and an Egyptian Goose was flying around too whilst warbler numbers consisted of 28 Blackcaps, 83 Chiffchaffs, and 24 Goldcrests. There was an increase in Swallows with at least 125 hawking around.

Sunday 13th

The weather was a little better but still very grey and dismal. Worth marshes held a Merlin, 295 Lapwings, two Egyptian Geese, a Green Sandpiper, and a Yellowhammer, with a Yellow-browed Warbler calling away at the Drove. Meanwhile at least one, possibly two, Yellow-browed Warblers were on the Estate, five Great Spotted Woodpeckers flew south, and a Coal Tit was shouting everywhere it went.

A little plug here for those that don’t know yet but members are welcome to join us for a free guided walk on Restharrow Scrape on 19th and 20th October. This is an opportunity to see the completed re-modelling from a different perspective. Please sign up on the sheets in the entrance of the Observatory or email us at sbbotmail@gmail.com.

Saturday 12th

There was good coverage in murky and drizzly conditions which produced a very reasonable selection of migrants. A Yellow-browed Warbler and a Firecrest were caught by the ringing team and elsewhere on the Estate a Merlin was flashing around the Sailing Club with a Black Redstart nearby at the Cellars. Two Ring Ouzels and two White Wagtails were on New Downs, a Spotted Redshank was in Pegwell, and seven Mediterranean Gulls were on Worth.

Thursday 10th

Time was spent this morning taking the long Kent Coastal Path to the outer reaches of New Downs bordering the Sampher. There was plenty of berries on the hawthorns out there and sure enough a Ring Ouzel was found. It looks good for Great Grey Shrike too. Another Ring Ouzel was found near Backsand Point and there had been an influx of wildfowl onto the North Pool, plus two Greenshanks still hanging on. Three Pochards were on New Downs Reservoir (by the Polytunnels) and there was a reasonable smattering of migrant Chiffchaffs calling away before the breeze picked up.

Wednesday 9th

Yellow-browed Warbler was calling in the Haven again, presumably yesterday’s bird, and a Ring Ouzel was along the Worth track.

Tuesday 8th

Strong westerlies seem to be set in for the next week or so. We keep on regardless though. A Short-eared Owl flushed from the Estate beach early on was a good omen but a walk to the Point failed to produce anything better except a few Rock Pipits, Corn Buntings, and Stonechats. At least 137 Goldfinches flew north whilst a Razorbill was drifting south slowly offshore, with the latter a rare sighting this year. Back on the Estate a Yellow-browed Warbler was calling in the Haven with another at the corner of King’s Avenue and Guilford Rd.

Monday 7th

Good October birding on the Estate produced two Yellow-browed Warblers (one in the Haven and another at RSGGC bushes), a Rock Pipit, 41 Robins, eight Stonechats, a Wheatear, 65 Song Thrushes, six Redwings, 45 Blackcaps, 74 Chiffchaffs, 61 Goldcrests, and one Firecrest. This was matched by overhead passage going north including 132 Meadow Pipits, four Grey Wagtails, 54 Pied Wagtails, 39 Blue Tits, 80 Chaffinches, 161 Goldfinches, 16 Siskins, 111 Linnets, one Lesser Redpoll, and 42 Reed Buntings, plus 134 Brent Geese, 33 Shelducks, 46 Wigeons, 17 Teals, 13 Common Scoters, a Mediterranean Gull, and an Osprey moving offshore. Another Yellow-browed Warbler was at Vigo Sluice in the afternoon.

Sunday 6th

Despite the nasty conditions our first Jack Snipe and Ring Ouzel of the autumn were found on the Estate, with a Rock Pipit also up at the Sailing Club, a Firecrest, and good movements of 18 Pied Wagtails and 312 Goldfinches north.

Saturday 5th

After an early rain spell there was a bit of movement including an Arctic Skua and just under a hundred Brent Geese offshore. Five Grey Wagtails went north whilst two Coal Tits and a Treecreeper were on the Green Wall.

Friday 4th

Today was a lot quieter compared to yesterday but 45 Brent Geese were offshore and at least 1,775 House Martins flew north. There was still increased Tit activity in the bushes and a Firecrest was trapped and ringed.

Thursday 3rd

Today was the first calm day with light northerlies this autumn and unsurprisingly there was a big movement of birds. Chiffchaffs dominated with at least 247 birds, most of which on the Estate. Blackcaps numbered at least 118 and Goldcrests 29. What was surprising was the northward movement of Tits through the area with 59 Blue Tits at Mary Bax, another 69 on the Estate, and 39 on Worth, plus over 100 Long-tailed Tits roaming in flocks. A Yellow-browed Warbler called early on from the Whitehouse but rarest of all (in Sandwich Bay terms) was a Nuthatch which went over the Chequers. It becomes our ninth ever record. A Treecreeper and two Coal Tits were caught by the ringing team in the Haven, a few Siskins, Redwings, and Jays flew over, and on Worth a Tawny Owl was being mobbed in the Great Wood.

Wednesday 2nd

A switch to northerly caused a nice movement of birds offshore. The end of the day totals were 690 Brent Geese, 49 Shelducks, 27 Wigeons, seven Teals, seven Mallards, three Common Scoters, one Great Crested Grebe, one Grey Plover, six Knots, four Sanderlings, 46 Dunlins, two Redshanks, one Arctic Tern, plus two bonus birds; a Purple Sandpiper and a smashing juvenile Sabine’s Gull. Both of the latter are particularly rare at Sandwich Bay with the gull the first record for six years. On New Downs two Spoonbills and five Greenshanks were on the north pool, two Pintails were in Pegwell, and at least one Turtle Dove continues at the Obs.

Tuesday 1st

A trip to Pegwell brought a good variety of waders plus at least 45 Wigeons and most surprisingly an immature Gannet on the mud. Meanwhile at the Observatory there were two late Turtle Doves (and adult and a juvenile) showing well from the carpark, a male Redstart was flitting about by the Oasis, and a Firecrest, with 15 Stonechats on Worth.