Lucky souls who went on the Dawn Chorus Walk were rewarded with two BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS flying over. A male Whinchat was also present. A Cuckoo was on the Estate and Hobby, Cuckoo, and White Wagtail on New Downs.
A good variety of waders on Worth marshes included at least five Greenshanks, 17 Black-tailed Godwits, one Bar-tailed Godwit, and ten Whimbrels, plus 25 Swifts. There were eight Buzzards over the Observatory and strangely a Pink-footed Goose flew along the shore on Prince's Beach in the evening.
The low cloud brought at least 15 Swifts between the Estate and Worth marshes. A few Willow Warblers were in the Oasis area, 21 Whimbrels were on Worth, and a Cuckoo in Pegwell Bay. There was also a noticeable arrival of Lesser Whitethroats throughout the Recording Area. A stakeout on Worth marshes in the evening brought success in the form a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON which flew over at 20:30. Then, amazingly, a second bird was heard flying over the Green Wall at 20:50.
A Grasshopper Warbler was singing on the Green Wall and yesterday's male Redstart was now over by St George's Bushes. Singles of Cuckoo and Red-throated Diver were on New Downs and three Greenshanks were over on Worth marshes.
The male Redstart was still across from the Observatory in the Haven area. There were less waders on Worth marshes today but three Black-tailed Godwits were new in and a male Garganey was seen from the Pinnock Wall.
A number of new holidays have just been announced! Come join us as we visit the Isles of Scilly in October 2023, Tanzania in November 2023, and Goa in January 2024. Information on the trips can be found at the Field Centre and on the website. You can also read past trip reports. If interested, please get in touch at email@example.com.
A brisk morning out on Worth marshes brought rewards in the form of an Egyptian Goose, two Garganeys, five Ruffs, three Greenshanks, one Green Sandpiper, one Common Sandpiper, one Wood Sandpiper, seven Black-tailed Godwits, 21 Whimbrels, a Cuckoo, six Yellow Wagtails, and best of all, a male Whinchat (not a common bird here in Spring). Then, late in the evening, an adult BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was seen flying around near Roaring Gutter. It alighted on a bush for a while before flying off. Hopefully it will be seen again but these birds are notoriously secretive. The best idea is probably to stake out along the Pinnock Wall in the evening and keep your eyes (and ears) open. The HOOPOE was also still present over on New Downs, but not reported until late. A few more photos are included below of yesterday's colourful find.
The clear highlight of the day was a HOOPOE around the New Downs New Pool area. Instructions on how to access this area were posted on the 18th. There is limited parking facilities on site so I recommend either walking along the river from Sandwich Quay or from the Observatory.
On the Estate, the male Redstart was in the Oasis still, three Willow Warblers were singing along Guilford Rd, and four Wheatears were in the Restharrow Scrape/Dickson's Corner area. A late Fieldfare was inland on Worth marshes along with nine Whimbrels and a good count of 45 Sedge Warblers.
A new male Redstart was in the Oasis, the fifth of the spring and all males. A drake Garganey appeared on Worth along with a Black-tailed Godwit and six Greenshanks,.
There was a nice arrival of birds on Worth marshes with nine Green Sandpipers, one Common Sandpiper, five Greenshanks, a Ruff, 23 Whimbrels, a Great White Egret, four Yellow Wagtails, a Hobby, four Reed Warblers, and four Lesser Whitethroats, plus a flyover Osprey. Our first Cuckoo was at the Point and a super male Redstart on New Downs.
The Red-throated Diver was back on Prince's Reservoir and double-figures of Whitethroats were on New Downs. Two Wheatears bounced around on Prince's Beach with another in the Sandilands area of the Estate. Over on Worth marshes there were three apiece of Greenshank and Green Sandpiper, with another three of the latter also on the Green Wall. Elsewhere, a Hobby and four Whimbrels were at the Drove and a drake Pintail flew over the Estate.
There was a light but noticeable movement of waders through the area. Three Whimbrels, three Greenshanks, two Bar-tailed Godwits, and three Green Sandpipers were on Worth marshes. A small flock Bar-tailed Godwits and nine Turnstones were on the Estate beach. Another Bar-tailed Godwit was on Restharrow Scrape and a Green Sandpiper flew over the Estate. Offshore there were 43 Whimbrels, four Bar-tailed Godwits, three Grey Plovers, and seven Mediterranean Gulls north. It was also pleasing to see the first first Lapwing chicks of the year in the area.
There was a reasonable spread of interesting migrants in the area despite the strong breeze. Singles of Redstart and Willow Warbler were by The Elms, three Barnacle Geese flew north offshore, and seven Green Sandpipers were on Restharrow Scrape. On Worth marshes a Red Kite flew past and there were over 100 mixed hirundines, a Willow Warbler, two Whimbrels, singles of Common and Green Sandpipers, and a Greenshank. A Tree Pipit, a Goosander, and another two Green Sandpipers were on New Downs. In the evening a BLACK KITE came across Worth, perhaps attempting to roost in the Great Wood, but was seen off south by the local corvids.
As the weather improves, so visitors to the Field Centre are on the increase. In addition to offering visitors snacks and refreshments, the role of our shop team extends also to welcoming, signposting, and promoting the centre generally to new and returning visitors. Currently our opening hours are not as extensive as we would like and we are looking for additional volunteers. The current team of lovely volunteers are long standing, dedicated, and very much appreciated. We are looking for several additional volunteers to extend our opening hours and to ensure cover for absences. Various time slots are available and full training will be given. If you are, or think you might be interested to join us, or know someone who might be, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or speak to us at the Field Centre. You will be very welcome and much appreciated!
A few people have asked how to view the Richard's Pipit, Garganeys, and Red-throated Diver around the Prince's Reservoir area. Observatory members may drive towards the entrance of Royal St George's Golf Course, then turn left down the road immediately before the entrance, park at the Polytunnels (TR342587), and display their membership card on the dashboard. Then walk north down the lane, keeping the line of trees on your left, until reaching an area with New Downs New Pool on your left (TR348595) and Prince's Reservoir on your right (TR349594). This can be a good area for migrant passerines with Wryneck, Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Grasshopper Warbler, Nightingale, and Yellow-browed Warbler all seen here in recent years. Going through the kissing gate on your right, there is a raised mound (TR34845940) that allows a view across the reservoir. Come down off the mound and walk north along the fenced edge of the reservoir (on your right), until you reach a copse of Pine trees. Turn right and follow the footpath around the Prince's Golf Course greenkeeping area and look right across the scrubby area where the Richard's Pipit favours (approx. TR35175913). Stick to the path at all times and note the gates by Royal St George's are often locked early in the morning and late in the evening, so be careful with parking. Good luck.
The RICHARD'S PIPIT, Red-throated Diver, and two Garganeys all put in an appearance around the usual spot of Prince's Reservoir. A Red-throated Diver on an inland reservoir is strange but not unprecedented. It's been observed flying off to the sea and seems to be in ok health. On Worth there were 60 Swallows, 20 House Martins, ten Sand Martins, and four Ruffs.
Our first two Lesser Whitethroats of the year were on Worth marshes, with the Great White Egret still present, as well as a Whimbrel and now 35 Sedge Warblers. The two Garganeys, the Red-throated Diver, and the RICHARD'S PIPIT were all present around Prince's Reservoir.
The Great White Egret was joined by a Merlin, five Black-tailed Godwits, and two Willow Warblers on Worth marshes. The RICHARD'S PIPIT was seen again on Prince's Golf Course, with two Garganeys nearby on Prince's Reservoir.
There was an odd mix of winter and summer fare on New Downs with two Great Crested Grebes, singles of Green and Common Sandpiper, a male Ring Ouzel, a Fieldfare, and a Lesser Redpoll, as well as our first Greylag Goose brood of the year. Yesterday's Grasshopper Warbler was still singing on the Green Wall whilst on Worth marshes there were two Garganeys, a Great White Egret (a different bird to that on the 11th), and four Wheatears. Over 30 Sedge Warblers were in the Recording Area.
White Wagtails were on Restharrow Scrape and the asparagus fields, with a Yellow Wagtail nearby at Dickson's Corner. A few Willow Warblers were also on the Estate. The two Garganey were still on Prince's Reservoir on New Downs and the Red-throated Diver popped in yet again. A Willow Warbler and four House Martins were in the area. Our first Hobby of the year was on Worth marshes and over in Pegwell there were 152 Sandwich Terns, five Common Terns, the Spoonbill, and our first three Whimbrels of the year.
At least 110 Sandwich Terns were in Pegwell Bay, plus singles of Spoonbill, Common Tern, and Yellow Wagtail. A Grasshopper Warbler on Worth marshes was new for the year. There was another smart male Redstart, plus a Willow Warbler, four Wheatears, 32 Swallows, and a Red Kite.
There was a clear arrival of spring migrants throughout the area. Four Willow Warblers, two Whitethroats, two Wheatears, one Sand Martin, one House Martin, one White Wagtail, and one Brambling were on the Estate; topped off by a male Redstart flicking between the bushes in the Oasis area. The Tree Sparrow was still at the Observatory and 70 Linnets flew south along the beach. Seven Sandwich Terns were offshore and a few Swallows came in off the sea and over Prince's Beach, where two more Whitethroats sang. Inland, two Willow Warblers and a House Martin were around New Downs New Pool with two Garganeys on Prince's Reservoir next door. Worth marshes provided a Great White Egret, two Whitethroats, five House Martins, and a White Wagtail. A Reed Warbler on the Green Wall was new for the year whilst two Red Kites also flew north.
The rain grounded a Wheatear, 40 Sand Martins, 30 Swallows, and three House Martins on Worth marshes, whilst in the evening there were two Snow Buntings on Prince's Golf Course.
Despite the pea soup a Red Kite was spotted going over. Four Green Sandpipers at Roaring Gutter on Worth were perhaps grounded by the fog whilst five Water Pipits were still present. A Firecrest was trapped and ringed and six Mediterranean Gulls were on Restharrow Scrape. The next few weeks are the peak time for many species arriving into the UK. Look out particularly for Ring Ouzel, Grasshopper Warbler, Redstart, Garganey, Little Gull, and Nightingale in the area.
A mix of hirundines came through with at least 18 Sand Martins, three House Martins, and 33 Swallows. Two Red Kites also drifted over north. Singles of Goldeneye and Garganey were in Pegwell (with a Serin just outside our Recording Area in the cliff tops paddock above Pegwell).
A little quieter today but three White Wagtails, one Yellow Wagtail, six Sedge Warblers, four Little Ringed Plovers, and four Pochards were inland on Worth marshes.
A day of 'firsts' with our first Tree Pipit and House Martin of the year over Worth marshes and our first Whitethroat on the Green Wall. More Sedge Warblers are appearing with double-figures in the Recording Area today. A Spotted Redshank was also on Worth, as was a mobile White Stork, which seems to be different to the recent overwintering bird.
There was no sign of yesterday's Lesser Scaup unfortunately. Quite what a Nearctic diving duck was doing on the relatively shallow pools by the Great Wood but perhaps it wintered further south and stopped off on it's way north. This could explain it's all-too-brief appearance, but hopefully it will be found somewhere nearby. A drake Garganey was some compensation on Worth marshes today and our first of the year. There was also a small arrival of Firecrests and Blackcaps, with at least six of the former on the Estate.
There was no sign of yesterday's Pipit but that might not mean too much since it went missing for two months previously. The Goosander had also moved on but the Red-throated Diver was present in the morning on Prince's Reservoir before flying off. A Yellow Wagtail at Blue Pigeons was our first of the year. The main news of the day was a curious duck on one of the pools between the Great Wood and the Pinnock Wall on Worth marshes (approx. TR345561). The purply-brown sheen to the head with clear peak at rear, and small size, rule out (Greater) Scaup, whilst later photos suggested distinct vermiculation on the mantle coarsest at rear, white restricted to the secondaries, a wholly blue bill with no duskiness at base, and only a thin rectangular nail on the tip of bill. The consensus was a drake LESSER SCAUP. If accepted, this would be only the second for Kent after the Scotney bird of 2004/5. If visiting the area please park responsibly in Worth village or at the Observatory.
Although there was a cold north-easterly it was quite pleasant in the spring sunshine. There was some finch passage overhead with 260 Chaffinches, one Brambling, and 19 Siskins south. A Spoonbill and an Osprey went north over the Estate, as did three Canada Geese and three Mediterranean Gulls. The Tree Sparrow was on the Observatory feeders and a Firecrest in The Elms, whilst a high count of 49 Carrion Crows were mostly on the beach at low tide.
In the evening there was the brilliant rediscovery of the RICHARD'S PIPIT on Prince's Golf Course (last seen on 7th February). The bird performed reasonably well on the grassland and nearby bushes at TR352590, viewable from the footpath. Both a Goosander and a Red-throated Diver were also on Prince's Reservoir on New Downs. If visiting the area please stick to the footpath and be considerate of golfers nearby.
Four Red-breasted Mergansers were the highlight offshore, with two Sandwich Terns and a lot of Gull movement including three Mediterranean, 99 Common, and 355 Herring. Four Avocets were on the Garage Pool at Pegwell Bay and two Willow Warblers on Worth marshes.
The Cattle Egret put in a brief appearance at the Observatory, it's first for a week, and three Water Pipits on Worth marshes were looking very dapper in their summer plumage. Also on the marsh were two Ruffs, one Black-tailed Godwit, one Sand Martin, seven Swallows, and two Stonechats.