Birds: April 2019
The grey and cool conditions were some contrast to yesterday but perfect for a long walk out on New Downs. A 2cy Little Gull was good find on the North Pool, whilst a Common Tern was hopefully prospecting the area, and the year’s first Swift bolted through.
Jolly nice out there but a little quieter than expected. Still, a few singing Willow Warblers were new in on the Estate, a Hobby was on Worth, and eight Greenshanks were loitering on New Downs.
Single Arctic and Great Skua were the highlights offshore, no doubt enticed in by the Tern melee continuing in Pegwell. Meanwhile a drake Pintail was on Worth and in the late afternoon a Great White Egret flew across the marshes heading towards the Observatory.
An increasingly windy and cloudy day started well with a Manx Shearwater north offshore and a distant Skua sp. A male Marsh Harrier was floating around the Estate and a Whimbrel was on Restharrow Scrape. Mid-morning a fine Osprey drifted over Worth towards Betteshanger CP and then off inland.
A mixed bag weather-wise but a Wheatear, a Greenshank, and our first Lapwing young were on Worth, whilst a blizzard of 620 Sandwich Terns were in Pegwell again at high tide.
A struggle in the wind and the grey. A Spoonbill and an Arctic Tern were in Pegwell, a few Whimbrels were on Willow Farm and Restharrow Scrape, a Greenshank flew over the Estate, and a male Hen Harrier flew north way offshore.
The low cloud cover seemed to down a few birds in Pegwell, namely a smart male Kentish Plover, an adult Little Gull, 128 Bar-tailed Godwits, 1,300 Sandwich Terns, and a Spoonbill. A Red-legged Partridge near Restharrow Scrape was rarer than all of these though. Out on Worth two Wood Sandpipers were the first of the year, with 16 Whimbrels, a Greenshank, and a Tree Pipit welcome notepad fillers. A male Ring Ouzel was near the Chequers and a singing Firecrest by the Elms.
Overcast conditions for the first time this week signaled the changing of the weather. Wind speeds are due to pick up and (hopefully) some decent showers of rain will appear too. Singing Firecrests were on the Estate and the Green Wall whilst out to sea five Eiders and a Red-breasted Merganser were Sandwich Bay’s contribution to the melee of birds currently passing south coast seawatch spots. Four Spoonbills and a late Jack Snipe were of note in Pegwell.
Another early start produced good numbers of singing warblers on Worth. It was clear an arrival of Lesser Whitethroats occurred overnight with most territories now occupied. Singles of Green Sandpiper and Yellow Wagtail were around whilst an Egyptian Goose was on Restharrow Scrape and quite a few Mediterranean Gulls were in the fields. Pegwell turned up the goods once again with three Cattle Egrets north, singles of Spoonbill, Grasshopper Warbler, and Redstart, plus two Turtle Doves, the latter two both new for the year. A bit of raptor movement in the afternoon concerned 27 Buzzards, one Sparrowhawk, one Hen Harrier, and a probable Montagu’s Harrier north.
Getting out early before the sun dominated produced a Cattle Egret flying over Worth, a reeling Grasshopper Warbler at the wooden bridge again, a Tawny Owl hooting in the Great Wood, and two Cuckoos equally vocal. On the Estate 13 Wheatears was a good count, a late Brambling was about, two Yellow Wagtails flew over, and a Red Kite drifted north.
Arguably the best weather of the year so far. A Tree Pipit in the Cellars was new for the year, as was a brief Cuckoo singing near the Observatory and another on New Downs, whilst five Wheatears and a few late Redwings were dotted around the Estate. Warblers continue to arrive everywhere and today’s highlight was a singing Grasshopper Warbler near the wooden bridge (over the Delf) on Worth marshes.
An early jaunt on Worth was nice but the haze continues to limit sightings. Eight Greenshanks was a good spring count though. Pegwell provided a Cattle Egret flying south, a Great White Egret north, and two Nightingales singing in the Country Park. Three Red Kites drifted north and Mediterranean Gulls continue to be picked out with their cat-like calls overhead. In the afternoon our first Hobby zipped over Worth marshes.
A warm, sunny, but hazy walk around New Downs saw a female Pintail, male Garganey, seven Whimbrels, and six Mediterranean Gulls take top billing. The less said about the Alexandrine Parakeet flying south high overhead the better. On Worth similar highlights included Little Ringed Plover, Whimbrel, Pintail, and two Mediterranean Gulls whilst a Lesser Whitethroat was singing along the Green Wall and the Ring Ouzel was at the Observatory for it’s eighth day.
All the action was on Worth. An arrival of Warblers included our first two Reed Warblers, plus 17 Sedge Warblers, 20 Cetti’s Warblers, and five Whitethroats. Two Spotted Redshanks were a decent spring find amongst a clear arrival of warders which included single Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, five Whimbrels, and a Greenshank. Cream of the crop though was a Tree Sparrow at Roaring Gutter. On the Estate a Little Ringed Plover and male Pintail flew over the Observatory (not together), two Ring Ouzels included the lingering bird in the carpark, whilst a Firecrest and six Willow Warblers were dotted around, and a Red-breasted Merganser flew past offshore.
At least three Garganeys continue on Worth with two new Little Ringed Plovers, a Ring Ouzel, and the scratchy songs of our first Whitethroats. On New Downs the White-fronted Goose was surprising STILL present, a Pintail was new in, and another two Little Ringed Plovers were nice to see.
A walk to the Point in brisk conditions produced a male Marsh Harrier, two Wheatears and 46 Sanderlings, whilst on Worth the drake Garganey lingers. Another three Wheatears were on the Estate beach and the Ring Ouzel continues to perform at the Observatory.
A strange day with glorious sunshine interspersed with showers of hail. An immature Kittiwake on Willow Farm was befitting the strange conditions. Elsewhere on Worth a ringtail Hen Harrier flew through, with a drake Garganey and a Greenshank on the pools. The Ring Ouzel was still showing at the Observatory, with Firecrest and Brambling on the Estate.
Overcast, breezy, and a bit cold out there. The male Ring Ouzel was still showing around the Observatory and a Firecrest was in the Elms. Other than a Willow Warbler on Worth there wasn’t much else, though a Yellow-legged Gull dropped into Pegwell at high tide.
Gone was the drizzle and mist of the last few days, and gone were the birds too. Or more specifically gone were yesterday’s White Stork and Cattle Egrets. The Ring Ouzels were still showing well in the Obs carpark and at the Drove, whilst on Worth a Grey Plover was notable, and two Little Ringed Plovers and a Green Sandpiper were about. A drake Pintail and an Egyptian Goose were cavorting around the sheep feeding trough between the Observatory and the Haven . . . very strange.
These misty and drizzly conditions continue to drop incoming migrants into the area. A WHITE STORK was a pleasant discovery on Worth marshes this morning. No doubt the bird that toured around the Kent coastline yesterday and previously seen around the UK. It is best viewed from the public footpath that runs along the Pinnock Wall. The bird favours the marsh between Roaring Gutter and the Great Wood. Also around on Worth were three/four Garganey’s, 113 Fieldfares, 23 Redwings, one male Ring Ouzel (at Roaring Gutter), and three Ruffs. More male Ring Ouzels were seen at the Drove and in the Observatory carpark/overflow. In the afternoon two CATTLE EGRETS were discovered outside the Observatory, favouring the field with hay bales and sheep.
Misty conditions again but a fair few migrants were grounded. A nice male Ring Ouzel at the Drove was joined by a few Willow Warblers new in, and a female Garganey was on Willow Farm. On the other side of the railway another male Garganey was on the deep pool, along with a Green Sandpiper, whilst the first Yellow Wagtail of the year flew over and a few Sedge Warblers were singing away. Two summer plumaged Water Pipits were in Pegwell and a probable Purple Heron dropped in on the tideline before disappearing into the murk.
A difficult morning in the dense fog. There was little activity until mid-morning whereupon Ring Ouzels were simultaneously discovered at Roaring Gutter on Worth, and between Restharrow Scrape and the Shooting Club. Four Ruffs and three Garganey’s were also still on Worth.
The day started well with an Egyptian Goose south over the Estate. A spell looking offshore struggled with the visibility though with just the year’s first Arctic Skua of note. A Water Pipit was along the river on the Green Wall, six House Martins flew over Roaring Gutter, and the rarest birds of the day, a Red-legged Partridge was discovered near the Chequers.
Rare birds continue to arrive thick and fast. A BLACK KITE over Pegwell today was just rewards for those who missed yesterday’s goodies. Also on offer was a decent flock of 120 Sandwich Terns at high tide and a female Pintail. On the Estate a Cetti’s Warbler was unusual in the Whitehouse, our first House Martin of the year flew over Restharrow Scrape, and a Great Skua was offshore.
A grey, cold but productive morning. No doubt the highlight of the day would’ve been the SAVI’S WARBLER reported from Pegwell. However little information has been forthcoming on this sighting. Drop us an email if you know more. On the flip side those already in Pegwell discovered a nice KENTISH PLOVER, continuing our fantastic run of records at this site, and a Spoonbill dropped in. On Worth three Garganey’s were still by the Great Wood whilst on New Downs the lone White-fronted Goose continues and our first Greylag Goose goslings of the year were found. A Pintail and two Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore from the Estate and a Water Rail was on Restharrow Scrape.
A morning in-and-out of fog. Three Garganeys were on the deep pool by the Great Wood on Worth and 60+ Sand Martins dropped in during a dense foggy spell. A Treecreeper was heard and the first Sedge Warbler of the year was singing at Roaring Gutter. However an interesting white-tailed Buteo sp flying west into the fog looked very similar to an adult Rough-legged in the brief views obtained before lost to view in the fog. Let’s hope it re-appears. In Pegwell 30 Sandwich Terns, three Whimbrels, and two Pintails were the best.
Our first two Sand Martins of the year zipping north over the Estate were probably the highlight of the day. A Firecrest was knocking about and 135 Linnets was a high count on the RSGGC, as was 51 Sanderlings on Prince’s Beach.