Birds: November 2019
A morning’s wander on Worth produced an interesting haul of two Bean Geese (which flew north, perhaps the Stodmarsh birds), four Water Rails, two Green Sandpipers, Common Sandpiper, Water Pipit, and Merlin. A Yellow-legged Gull was once again on Restharrow Scrape and a jaunt across New Downs recorded 775 Lapwings, 340 Golden Plovers, Woodcock, and 24 Corn Buntings, whilst in Pegwell a ringtail Hen Harrier was the best.
A fierce northerly gale came through overnight producing some good seawatching. Most interesting were 83 Brent Geese, 189 Wigeons, 36 Teals, 34 Gadwalls, one Pintail, one Shoveler, 19 Eiders, nine Common Scoters, two Red-breasted Mergansers, two Goldeneyes, one Black-throated Diver, 48 Dunlins, and one Purple Sandpiper, all mostly going north. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was on Restharrow Scrape.
There was persistent rain all day but a Red-breasted Merganser went north offshore, a Bar-tailed Godwit was on Restharrow Scrape, and a Water Pipit was on Worth marshes.
A Lapland Bunting that headed inland over Worth was the clear standout bird of the day. A Water Pipit was found nearby and the Brent Goose was on Restharrow Scrape again. Offshore a Sandwich Tern drifted past and a Firecrest, a few Lesser Redpolls, and a couple of Corn Buntings were on the Estate. It’s looking like the new hide for Restharrow Scrape will be arriving on the 18th and we expect it will take a few days to get it into position, so be aware there will be some disturbance during that time. It’ll be worth it in the end. If you want to get involved in the ongoing Restharrow Scrape Project we have a Volunteer’s and Evaluation Day on Friday 22nd November 10-1pm, sign up at the Field Centre or at email@example.com.
A wander around the Mary Bax and Chequers area produced 24 Grey Partridges. Surely Sandwich Bay must be the best place to see this species in Kent? Meanwhile on Restharrow Scrape a Water Pipit and Caspian Gull dropped in and a Brent Goose spent some time commuting between there and Worth, where another Water Pipit was present.
It was a grim start with a series of heavy showers throughout the morning. A spell on Worth found Common Sandpiper, two Firecrests, and the escaped Yellow-billed Teal which has turned up sporadically in the area in the last few years. Two Yellow-legged Gulls were on Restharrow Scrape.
A bit of easterly overnight was promising. A Hume’s Warbler was on the agenda but three Yellow-legged Gulls and seven Corn Buntings on Restharrow Scrape was the best we could do. The ringtail Hen Harrier was seen in Pegwell again and a House Martin flew over the Observatory.
After a clear night it was very cold at first light. Thankfully it was flat calm as with a stronger wind it would’ve been biting on the beach front. The Estate supplied a few bits of interest, namely the lingering Yellow-browed Warbler, two Woodcocks, two Firecrests, and a Brambling, whilst 15 Sandwich Terns and a Swallow remain the last vestiges of summer. The Water Pipit dropped in and out of Restharrow Scrape, the male Mandarin re-appeared on New Downs on the river at Bloody Point, and the Dartford Warbler was still on Prince’s Beach.
A light frost overnight gave way to a rather lovely sunny morning. The find of the day was probably the female Red-breasted Merganser discovered on the river by Vigo Sluice (approx. TR337581), a highly unusual place for this species. Five Tree Sparrows flew north over Worth and both Green and Common Sandpipers were seen on New Downs reservoir.
Gulls certainly seem to being in vogue at the moment. More grilling on Restharrow Scrape produced three adult Yellow-legged Gulls, now our sixth and seventh individuals recorded recently (minimum of three adults, three second winters, and a third winter). There have been more records on Restharrow Scrape in the last two weeks than in the last two years. A wander around the Oasis and Whitehouse area found the Yellow-browed Warbler still present at the south end of the Haven and a Brambling was flying around, and a Short-eared Owl flew high north over the Estate.
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A spell of sunshine in the morning was the rarest sight this week though by the afternoon it had all clouded over. Prince’s Beach turned up Dartford Warbler and Snow Bunting whilst a Water Pipit and a third winter Yellow-legged Gull was on Restharrow Scrape; the latter being the fifth different individual on there in the last week and a half. Yellow-browed Warblers were in the Haven and on New Downs, with two Goosanders also at the latter. Singles of Great Skua and Goldeneye were offshore with eight Sandwich Terns still hanging on.
The heavy showers overnight and early morning worked well topping up the water levels on Restharrow Scrape. There was an increase in Teal to 56 and the Water Pipit was seen again briefly. A bit of seawatching saw Black-throated Diver and Velvet Scoter go south and on the Estate a Yellow-browed Warbler was particularly vocal around the Whitehouse area. The Bearded Tit was still present on the Green Wall.
There was a brief gap in the weather this morning between the deluge overnight and another at 11am. A wander along Prince’s Beach produced three Snow Buntings and a Dartford Warbler whilst the Green Wall had a Brambling and a Bearded Tit (in the reedbed by the river). New Downs reservoir held the male Mandarin and seven Pochards and a smart Tree Sparrow was seen between the Observatory and the Worth track.
It was a much nicer day today. At first it seemed like there had been a clear out of migrants but gradually a few bits and pieces were found. A Yellow-browed Warbler was presumably new in at the Chequers with another still loitering on the Estate. There were three Firecrests and a Short-eared Owl on the Estate too with a Ruff, a Mediterranean Gull, and a Water Pipit on Restharrow Scrape. Worth produced the lingering Ring Ouzel plus a Hen and two Marsh Harriers.
With some really awful conditions outside, coupled with a certain Rugby game, it meant there was few people around early doors. However, a bit of intrepid seawatching late in the day scored a flock of three CRANES going south offshore. Then, just before dark, a Snow Goose (of unknown origin) was found on Worth flying from Roaring Gutter to the deep pool by the Great Wood.
Light coverage of the Estate confirmed the Yellow-browed Warbler was still present around the Whitehouse and Haven and good numbers of Goldcrests still. Offshore six Little Gulls flew south early on and four Dunlins and a Yellow-legged Gull were on Restharrow Scrape. At least one ringtail Hen Harrier was still on Worth.