Birds: September 2019
A very interesting walk along the Green Wall this morning recorded 69 species including six species of wader surprisingly and a Great White Egret north overhead. The first Brent Geese group of the autumn went by offshore. Stonechats continue to appear with seven on the Green Wall, six on New Downs, and eight on Worth. The first Mistle Thrushes for a few months were noted flying over the Estate and similarly a Corn Bunting was seen near the Toll Booth.
A little quiet today but our first Firecrest of autumn was caught by the ringing team. The Wood Sandpiper continues to enjoy Worth marshes and 16 Stonechats were spread around in little groups.
An influx of Stonechats was apparent today with 22 on Worth and another eight on the Estate. Worth held the Tree Pipit and Redstart again whilst good numbers of Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, and Goldcrests were on the Estate.
Another day writing about Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. Far from being laborious it is always a thrill being on the Estate at dawn and watching the migrant flocks bouncing from bush to bush. Today’s haul consisted of 168 Blackcaps and 107 Chiffchaffs whilst 16 Goldcrests was their first arrival of autumn. Despite perfect conditions it was surprising not too see more overhead migration with 214 House Martins north making up the bulk of today’s movement. However, with calm northerlies set in for the next few days i fully expect another one of those big Sandwich Bay hirundine movements any time now.
A slog around Worth marshes today for WeBS counts produced little of note in the way of wildfowl though a Wood Sandpiper, two Green Sandpipers, and 17 Snipes continued on the pools. The main talking point was Chiffchaffs with a minimum of 90 present (surely a record total for Worth). A Tree Pipit, one Yellow Wagtail, three Grey Wagtails, two Redstarts, three Whinchats, and one Stonechat added to the variety whilst a Coal Tit was a rare record for the marshes. Back on the Estate and a sizable arrival of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs totaled 126 and 58 respectively, with a Spotted Flycatcher in the Gullies and 155 Meadow Pipits north overhead. Dunnock is a species we don’t often mention in these reports but there was clearly some migration in action today with a minimum of 65 recorded. And lastly 15 Snipes were on Restharrow Scrape. Don’t forget that tomorrow is the day that excavations begin on site. We’ll keep you updated on it’s progress over the these next few weeks.
Hot out there. Five Whinchats, five Wheatears, and a Spotted Flycatcher were recorded on the Estate. A movement of 23 Buzzards was noted over Worth with four Whinchats present. And continuing on the Whinchat news another three were on the Green Wall, where 47 Ring-necked Parakeets flew over in the evening, presumably off to roost at Ramsgate.
The light northerlies at dawn looked good for visible migration along the coast and sure enough the first two hours brought 124 Sand Martins, 375 Swallows, 555 Meadow Pipits, one Rock Pipit, one Yellow Wagtail, two Grey Wagtails, and 54 Linnets north. There was not a sniff of yesterday’s Swallow flock which must’ve moved on late last night or very early this morning. The Estate bushes held 48 Blackcaps and 26 Chiffchaffs with five Whinchats and 13 Wheatears on the beach and an Arctic Skua offshore. A further two Whinchats and 11 Wheatears were on Prince’s Beach, 365 Sandwich Terns were showing well at roost at the Point, and a Wood Sandpiper was in Pegwell. Worth held a Wood Warbler, with five more Whinchats, a Redstart, and a Wood Sandpiper whilst New Downs again held a good variety of waders, including 90 Dunlins, 52 Redshanks, and seven Greenshanks.
There wasn’t much in the way of migrants on the Estate though a nice male Redstart brightened up the morning somewhat. Worth wen’t one better with two Redstarts plus a Tree Pipit and a handful of Whinchats. New Downs was really where the action was though as waders build on the northern scrape. Counts today were two Curlews, 185 Lapwings, 86 Redshanks, six Greenshanks, three Spotted Redshanks, 154 Dunlins, four Curlew Sandpipers, two Ringed Plovers, and one Ruff. Hopefully Hurricane Dorian will do us a favour and drop an American wader or two in with them this week.
Late in the evening a mega flock of at least 10,000 Swallows descended on the Sandwich Bay Estate. They roosted overnight in the maize crop between the Guilford Rd and the Worth railway line. A spectacular sight on the Observatory’s doorstep.
Despite the increasingly blustery conditions there was another sizable arrival of warblers on the Estate with totals of 152 Blackcaps and 48 Chiffchaffs. A male Redstart was flitting around and two Coal Tits were unusual whilst six Yellow Wagtails, one Tree Pipit, and 28 Meadow Pipits flew north.
Blackcaps were not nearly as numerous as yesterday but Chiffchaffs thankfully supplied interest. A wander around the Estate produced no fewer than 51. A good spell of ‘vismig’ resulted in 142 Meadow Pipits, one Yellow and six Grey Wagtails, 38 Linnets, and six Reed Buntings all going north. Three Spotted Flycatchers and four Whinchats were around the Oasis area and a Garganey was on Worth. There was no sign of yesterday’s Wryneck but they do have a habit of going missing for a few days and re-appearing in the same place. So do keep your eyes open.
It was clear from dawn that there had been an arrival of birds on the Estate. Standing by the Haven and Oasis there were small flocks of Blackcaps bouncing from bush to bush and the delicate ‘hu-eet’ of Chiffchaffs calling all around. A few hours counting and 224 Blackcaps had been logged in that small area alone. The ringing team provided a Brucie-bonus too in the form of a smashing WRYNECK, our first on the Estate for a few years.
Hundreds of waders were on the North Pool on New Downs again though not much different other than five Greenshanks. Four Yellow Wagtails, 146 Linnets, and 1,500 Starlings were knocking around the site but best was lovely point-blank views of a Grasshopper Warbler at New Downs New Pool (TR348594). It’s worth shouting out about that area as it’s a spot that always looks very birdy and get’s very few visitors. In recent years Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Redstarts, Yellow-browed Warblers, Nightingales, Marsh Warbler and Wryneck have been found there. On the Estate a Cuckoo and a Redstart were caught by the ringing team and there was a little movement of wildfowl offshore.
A spell on the beach first thing clocked up 86 Sandwich Terns and a few Knot offshore. A late juvenile Cuckoo and a Coal Tit were on the Estate and 30 Meadow Pipits flew north.
Brrrrr. It’s getting cold at dawn now that autumn approaches. An early wander around the Green Wall was good for species diversity but the Estate held today’s star bird, a Wood Warbler caught by the ringing team. Good numbers of Blackcap and Chiffchaff were present again and during the night a Tawny Owl was heard calling from the Green Wall.
A steady passage of birds offshore this morning included 286 Sandwich Terns, one Little Tern, 28 Knots, one Grey Plover, one Whimbrel, one Turnstone, and one Mediterranean Gull. Two Whinchats, two Wheatears, and a Stonechat were around the Restharrow Dunes area and a trickle of overhead migration included Swallows, Sand Martins, Meadow Pipits, and a few Grey Wagtails.
An Arctic Skua hassling Terns offshore was the best we could do in squally conditions this morning.
A little foray onto the Willow Farm side of Worth produced 112 Mallards in the stubble fields not far from the Observatory and a Spotted Redshank calling overhead. The Estate held 64 Blackcaps, a Redstart, two Stonechats, and two Whinchats and a Grasshopper Warbler was caught by the ringing team.
An impressive day on the Estate. An arrival of 135 Blackcaps was most notable but four Grasshopper Warblers were close behind. Kingfisher, Redstart, two Tree Pipits, and a Cetti’s Warbler were also found. On Worth 13 Kestrels was a high count whilst New Downs supplied three Curlew Sandpipers and a Spotted Redshank. At least 12 Whinchats were dotted around all areas.
A female Pintail on Restharrow Scrape was new in. Singles of Hobby, Peregrine, and Turtle Dove flew over the Estate with 12 Yellow Wagtails a good vismig count. In the bushes the highlights were two Spotted Flycatchers, one Pied Flycatcher, and one Coal Tit. Two Greenshanks, two Green Sandpipers, and two Redstarts were on Worth.