Birds: August 2017
Pre-dawn rain, forecast to peter out after an hour or two, lasted in fits and starts for much of the morning. Nevertheless, there was a fair bit of interest, with 4 Tree Pipits in the Oasis, single Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher nearby, 2 Firecrests in the bushes and at least 17 Mediterranean Gulls, 14 of which were roosting on the beach with a collection of Sandwich Terns and other gulls. Best of all, though, was a Stone-curlew on the saltings in Pegwell.
5 overflying Tree Pipits and a Nightingale in the nets promised a good morning, but in the event it was a bit soporific, with 10 Lesser Whitethroats, at least one Redstart and a Spotted Flycatcher the highlights.
Pre-dawn rain took a while to clear and a soggy repeat visit to New Downs found it very much quieter than yesterday, with the exception of 2 Kingfishers and an increase to 11 Golden Plover.
New Downs was reasonably productive, with 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Wood Sandpipers, a Little Stint, 7 Avocets, 6 Golden Plover and 2 Ruff, though the bird of the day was a Quail that was heard calling on Worth, where another Wood Sandpiper was found in the afternoon. Effective coverage of Pegwell on the afternoon tide was not helped by the all too familiar disturbance from canoeists landing right by the ‘NO LANDING’ sign at the Point, but waders included 2 Curlew Sandpipers and 2 Little Ringed Plovers along with 43 Little Egrets, 2 Spoonbills and the usual suspects.
A good all-round day with a bit of interest just about everywhere. A flock of 33 Whimbrel flew N offshore, 6 Wheatears and a Whinchat were on the beach and in the bushes were 3 Spotted Flycatchers and a Redstart, while by no means the least of it all was a Melodious Warbler on Worth.
Praise be! A warm, sunny day for Day 1 of our Ringing Course was welcomed by all and the expanded effort was rewarded with plenty of birds around the nets. Most notable were Garden Warbler (a remarkable 19 were trapped), Reed Warbler (about 60), Willow Warbler (75), Sedge Warbler (30), Grasshopper Warbler in the Heligoland trap, Nightingale on the first round of the morning and, away from the nets, 2 Whinchats and 3 Wheatears and at least one flyover Tree Pipit.
Well, we seem to be paying for the good spring and summer and this morning featured some hefty showers, driven on by a frisky NE breeze that made looking seawards the only sensible option. However, apart from around 400 Gannets and 80 Common Scoter it was pretty underwhelming, with just an Arctic Skua and a few waders and terns of note. A tour around the Oasis and Whitehouse confirmed the impression that little had arrived overnight.
A good deal brighter than yesterday but still with decent numbers of Willow Warblers and Whitethroats kicking about, plus a Red-backed Shrike on Worth.
Overcast and calm with an approaching band of slow-moving rain, this morning was really atmospheric, with passerines seemingly everywhere. 2 Common Redstarts were present, plus 90 Willow Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher, a flyover Tree Pipit and several sightings of Hobby. Rather unexpectedly, given the calm conditions, a Balearic Shearwater fluttered by as the rain began around 10.
Whilst it was clear that yesterday’s arrival of warblers had not been repeated, it was nevertheless an interesting morning with a juvenile Cuckoo on New Downs, plus 4 Whinchats and 3 Wheatears on Worth.
Despite a chilly start to proceedings it soon warmed up and it was clear early on that despite the clear overnight conditions there had been a significant arrival of Willow Warblers, not to mention our third Wood Warbler of the autumn that appeared in the nets on one of the early rounds. Approximate totals included 160 Willow Warblers, 30 Whitethroats, 15 Lesser Whitethroats and 12 Reed Warblers, while the first Wheatear of autumn was perched on the shingle. 2 Hobbies flew over and a Black-tailed Godwit colour-ringed in Portugal (and probably from the Dutch breeding population) was on the scrape.
With the wind still a significant force most interest was offshore, where among around 400 Common and 250 Sandwich Terns at least 17 Black Terns were recorded and a Roseate Tern flew by close inshore, while 2 Hobbies were seen over the Estate.
Overnight rain cleared before dawn to leave a calm start to the day, but the wind soon began to increase to a strong south-westerly and by mid morning the sea was fizzing with terns, mostly heading into the bay to feed or shelter. With all the comings and goings totals were rather approximate but around 400 Common Terns, 250 Sandwich Terns, 80 Gannets, 7 Med. Gulls and an Arctic Skua were involved. The strong wind ensured that making sense of what was in the bushes was all but impossible, but before the worst of it a Wood Warbler was found with around 60 phylloscs on the sheltered side of the Great Wood on Worth.
An overcast, humid start to the morning soon gave way to fresher conditions as the wind got up and a few spots of rain began to fall, which seemed to encourage the early gathering of around 120 House Martins and 120 Swallows to move away to the south along with small numbers of Sand Martins. Otherwise, about 30 Willow Warblers were in the bushes, but not much else.
The month started off in fairly deliberate fashion, with a few bits and bobs that included 4 Whimbrel along the shore, a Yellow Wagtail N, a Sparrowhawk flying off with a Green Woodpecker in its mitts (until the woodpecker struggled free) and small numbers of warblers in the bushes. However, the evening tide at Pegwell was notable for a Roseate Tern, 4 Little Stints, 3 Arctic Terns and 2 Curlew Sandpipers.