Birds: July 2014
Cloudless and pretty hot, with very little wind, today was similar to yesterday, but with 4 Wheatears along the shore, including this stunningly beautiful totally white individual. A Whinchat was close by, a Green Sandpiper flew invisibly N somewhere in the ether and large numbers of Meadow Pipits – at least 85 – were between Dickson’s Corner and the Chequers.
For passerines at least, today could be said to have been the first of autumn. A Whinchat and a Wheatear were on the field near the sailing club, an alba wagtail flew N, as did about 80 Sand Martins, and 4 Lesser Whitethroats were bouncing about in the Oasis area. Otherwise, a Hobby whipped over the Whitehouse and a brown Saker-like falcon flew over the Obs, upsetting the local corvids. It was also interesting across the railway, with 4 more Whinchats near Roaring Gutter, the first summer Golden Plovers and 150 Linnets – a notable gathering these days, sadly.
An overcast, cheerless morning was brightened by an adult pale phase Arctic Skua that flew S offshore and the sight of 7 Tuftie chicks on the scrape, crowning an excellent breeding season there in which four pairs of Little Grebes, Shoveler and Tufted Ducks have all bred.
Today brought a rather intermittent trickle of Sand Martins and other hirundines along the shore and some heading N out at sea may have been the attraction for a Peregrine that headed out over the waves and continued north low over the sea.
Another Wood Sandpiper and a summer-plumaged Knot were seen on New Downs in the evening.
Today’s highlights included a Greenshank flying N, 2 Yellow Wagtails and plenty of warm sunshine. Best of all, a Wood Sandpiper was found at Roaring Gutter and a Black Tern was in Pegwell in the evening.
The morning was overcast and chilly in a northerly breeze and a walk across Worth struggled to lift the spirits. The best bits were Green Sandpiper and Whimbrel overhead, a few Sand Martins N, 2 Yellow Wagtails and a Turtle Dove.
A steady northward trickle of hirundines etc included 72 Swifts, 70 Sand Martin and 100-120 each of Swallow and House Martin, though it was otherwise very quiet.
Life’s like that, isn’t it? You flog all the way along the beach to the river for a Sandwich Tern and a Skylark, return to the Observatory feeling like something out of an oven and there is a family party of 3 Black Redstarts, clearly having bred undiscovered somewhere local, like the farmyard.
On another day of hot sunshine a Common Sandpiper was on the scrape, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard were seen over the Estate and, of local interest, 3 Bullfinches were calling along Worth track. Incidentally, there were at least 9 Med.Gulls ‘anting’ over the town last evening.
Back from a rainy week in Slovenia (as opposed to a rainy night in Georgia) it was great to walk about in wall-to-wall sunshine. In truth there weren’t many migrants to wax lyrical about, except for about 20 Sand Martins, though a fresh brood of Little Grebes was on the scrape.
It has now been raining intermittently for about 72 hours and everything is dank and drear, though warm with it. A Red Kite was reported flying over to the North and a Barn Owl appears to have taken up residence in the area, from repeated sightings in the St. George’s bushes area. A small movement of 200 Sand Martins and 165 Swallows went North over the beach. In the afternoon, the weather built up to deliver torrential downpours. In past years, such weather at this time of the year would have routinely produced movements of hundreds, if not thousands, of Common Swifts. These days, none……
The weather has turned resolutely grey, humid and depressing, it seems. The only sighting of any note was of about 500 House Martins milling about over the Estate beach
A quieter day, with little to stir the interest except for various parties of young birds around the area.
Generally quiet around the Estate, but a Red Kite flew over Sandown Road heading South and there was a Hobby in the same area. Young birds are much in evidence around the area – on Worth Marshes these included Mute Swan, Tufted Duck and Grey Partridge. 2 Cetti’s Warblers and a Sparrowhawk were seen there also
A visit to New Downs / Backsand area produced, amongst other things, 4 Little Ringed Plovers and a Green Sandpiper.
Around 400 Sand Martins were massed around the dunes and fairways of Royal St.George’s, augmented by 200 or more that arrived from the NE during the morning, many of which were swirling around Restharrow Scrape in late morning. A Buzzard was perched on fences not far inland, frequently dropping into the grass to feed.
A jaunt across Worth marshes turned up a couple of Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk and 2 Grey Herons flew N along the shore from the direction of Deal.
The new month began with 7 Tufted Duck chicks on the scrape, joining the 3 Little Grebe chicks that have been around for a few days.