It was a little milder today but still a bit breezy at times. A Firecrest was in it's usual spot flitting between The Elms and Little Elms and three Water Pipits were on Worth marshes. There was still around 2,000 Lapwings too. An evening look at Pegwell Bay produced four Caspian Gulls and one Yellow-legged Gull in the roost, plus a Spotted Redshank.
Horrible conditions with 40mph wind and rain all day. Nothing to report bird-wise but note our Conservation Team will be meeting up again on Monday 2nd January. Anyone wishing the burn off the Christmas turkey is welcome to join. Meet just before 9am in the Observatory carpark. We hope to see you there!
Worth continued to be the main attraction. A Cattle Egret joined the Great White Egret with still 2,500 Lapwings and1,500 Golden Plovers on the marshes plus three Water Pipits. Elsewhere, four Woodcocks were on the Green Wall, two Caspian Gulls in Pegwell Bay, and a Firecrest on the Estate.
Merry Christmas from all at SBBOT
A Firecrest in the Little Elms brightened up a very grey Christmas Day. A Little Grebe on the Dragonfly Pond was the most unusual sighting of the day. There were still at least 2,000 Lapwings and 1,600 Golden Plovers on Worth marshes and seven Dunlins were also seen.
Great White Egret and Red Kite were on Worth marshes. Two Black Swans flew over the Observatory before settling in the fields by the Worth track. A possible Yellow-browed Warbler was glimpsed in The Elms area. A Yellow-browed Warbler this late in the year would be quite unusual and perhaps more likely to be the rarer Hume's Warbler, but unfortunately it avoided detection for the rest of the day. At least five Chiffchaffs and four Goldcrests were in the area so it's worth checking on over the Christmas period in case it returns.
The heaven's opened and made for a very wet morning. In the afternoon there were at least 3,550 Lapwings, 2,500 Golden Plovers, a Ruff, two Water Pipits, and two Merlins across Worth marshes.
There were 1,220 Lapwings and 660 Golden Plovers swirling around the fields by the North Pool on New Downs (TR340601). Two Water Rails, 72 Redshanks, 78 Curlews, ten Snipes, a Dunlin, two Green Sandpipers, three Rock Pipits, 70 Redwings, a Firecrest, and 36 Corn Buntings were also highlights. On the Estate there were two Woodcocks, a Firecrest, and a Tree Sparrow, plus five Yellowhammers among the hay bales behind the Observatory. The two Black Swans were still cavorting on Worth marshes whilst at the other end of the Recording Area there were singles of Caspian and Yellow-legged Gull and Merlin in Pegwell Bay.
Two Tree Sparrows on the Observatory feeders were a nice surprise first thing. There has been the occasional sighting of a bird with the House Sparrows in the carpark over the last few weeks, hopefully they will stay over the winter. A Bullfinch calling from The Elms was unusual, a Raven flew over Worth marshes, and two Black Swans were also present.
There was an influx of Lapwings and Golden Plovers to the area overnight, perhaps pushed south by the frosty conditions over the last week. At least 1,250 Golden Plovers were in the air over Willow Farm when a Peregrine whizzed through and another 460 were in Pegwell in the evening. A Woodlark flew over the Pinnock Wall very early on and a Great White Egret flew from Roaring Gutter to Willow Farm. Six Woodcocks were seen on the Estate in the afternoon.
A Black-throated Diver was just offshore and a Caspian Gull flew past. Six Dunlin over Restharrow Scrape was unusual and another 27 dropped into Worth marshes. Meanwhile a Waxwing was nearby at Betteshanger. Hopefully it will drop into Worth or the Green Wall soon.
The Cattle Egret was still on Worth marshes and the five White-fronted Geese were seen briefly again.
Another good day on Worth with two Great White Egrets, a Cattle Egret, four Marsh Harriers, and three Water Pipits. Five White-fronted Geese flew over the Observatory.
A frosty but sunny walk over Worth marshes produced five White-fronted Geese among 135 Greylag Geese, three Marsh Harriers, six Kestrels, two Sparrowhawks, Buzzard, Peregrine, 403 Lapwings, 59 Golden Plovers, two Dunlins, 57 Snipes, four Curlews, Black-tailed Godwit, and a Green Sandpiper. Two Yellowhammers flew over Blue Pigeons and an Egyptian Goose dropped in among 864 Wigeons by the Great Wood. Away from Worth, there was a Common Sandpiper on the Green Wall, a Tree Sparrow in the Observatory carpark, and four Ruffs nearby.
The field outside the Observatory continues to do well for waders with lots of Lapwings and Curlews, plus three Ruffs and two Snipes. Golden Plovers and Redshanks have also been seen there this week. There were five Short-eared Owls hunting on Royal Cinque Ports Golf Course in the late afternoon.
The latest Annual Report is now out in the Member's Area of the website. Those who opted for delivery should have received it in the post and some are at the Observatory for those who notified us that they would like to collect a copy. Work is also on-going to upload all past Annual Reports onto the website too. Enjoy.
The Estate was sunny but still quite chilly. Singles of Dartford Warbler, Water Rail, Woodcock, and Lesser Redpoll were the highlights, with three Ruffs, 670 Stock Doves, 83 Skylarks, and two Grey Wagtails also recorded. At least seven Caspian Gulls and a Yellow-legged Gull were in Pegwell Bay among 110 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
Looking back over the year and there has been an amazing diversity of species recorded (around 240-250 species). These ranged from Eleonora's Falcon, to Red-necked Phalarope, to Caspian Tern, and Pallid Harrier. Recent weeks have also seen Little Auk, Waxwing, and Green-winged Teall added to the year list. There are only a few omissions that could still turn up, namely Glaucous Gull, Smew, Red-legged Partridge, Black-necked Grebe, and Mandarin Duck. Perhaps there's an outside chance of Penduline Tit or Hume's Warbler if our luck continues. Happy spotting!
Two Ruffs and a Snipe were outside the Observatory and five Common Scoters offshore. In Pegwell Bay there was an Avocet, a 1cy Kittiwake, and an adult Yellow-legged Gull, with 150 Snipes and three Water Pipits on Worth marshes.
There was no sign of yesterday's Green-winged Teal on Restharrow Scrape but hopefully it is still in the area. Check through any local Teal flocks on Worth marshes for example. A Woodcock and two Firecrests were seen in The Elms and four Ruff were in the field outside the Observatory again. A Jack Snipe was also on New Downs.
It was just as cold as yesterday but with an added layer of dense fog, as such it made the WeBS counts at Pegwell and the Point almost impossible. Still, an attempt was made and three Dartford Warblers along Prince's Beach was a good enough reward. Two Tree Sparrows were also at Bloody Point on New Downs (TR340596) and a Hen Harrier cruised nearby. On an icy Restharrow Scrape three Black Swans would've probably been the birds of the day but for the discovery of a smart drake Green-winged Teal. This is the fourth record for the SBBOT Recording Area following birds at Pegwell Bay in April 2005, Restharrow Scrape in January 2012, and Worth marshes in October 2015. A Ruff was outside the Observatory with the Curlews and Lapwings again.
Icy conditions for the WeBS count across Worth marshes meant a lot of birds were either displaced into the fields or concentrated in areas of open water. Five Ruffs were outside the Observatory and one Ruff was on the other side of the railway. At least 70 Snipes were flying around and sitting in fields and a female Pintail flew over. There were 1,173 Wigeons near the Great Wood. A count of 97 Gadwalls on Restharrow Scrape was a new record for the site with 459 Teals also present.
Thank you to everyone who came along to our last in-house talk of the year. It was great to hear from Vicki about the work at RSPB Lydden Valley/Worth marshes. There will be walk(s) planned for Willow Farm in January so watch this space.
On the Green Wall there was a Treecreeper and two Lesser Redpolls, the former has been very scarce this year. An influx of over 1,000 Wigeons on Worth marshes was just in time for our WeBS counts this weekend. A Jack Snipe was also seen and a Hen Harrier ranged between the railway and the Estate. In Pegwell Bay there were at least two Caspian Gulls. I've also received a third-hand report of three Waxwings in Pegwell Bay in the last few days. No more info I'm afraid but with a sighting also on the 5th there could be some birds lingering in the area.
Two Red Kites over the Estate and Worth were highly unseasonal. We get hundreds moving through the area in spring but very few sightings in the second half of the year. In fact, it's our first December sighting since 2017. Elsewhere there was a Pochard on the Green Wall, a handful of Siskins on the Estate, and a Peregrine hunting the wildfowl on Worth marshes.
There was a little drop in wildfowl on Worth but still impressive numbers. Two Water Pipits were also present. A Rock Pipit was on the Estate beach and at least 140 Stock Doves were in the cut asparagus fields. Unfortunately a group of six deceased Pink-footed Geese were found de-breasted and dumped at Dickson's Corner, no doubt poached from somewhere nearby. Please keep an eye out of any unusual activity in the area and report it to the Observatory or the Police.
A northerly wind pushed 314 Herring Gulls, 104 Great Black-backed Gulls, 27 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, two Yellow-legged Gulls, and 33 Common Gulls north along the shore. There wasn't too much in the way of wildfowl moving but an immature Shag came past and a Snow Bunting flew north offshore, and another was hopping around on the Estate beach. Four Pintails and four Water Pipits were on Worth marshes and in the evening a ringtail Hen Harrier was hunting over the Estate asparagus fields.
Thank you to everyone who came along to yesterday's Christmas Fair and made it a great success. Today's wander around the Estate was productive in the gloomy conditions. Three Barnacle Geese flew south over the Estate, a Snow Bunting was on the beach just north of Sandilands, and a Brent Goose was on Restharrow Scrape.
A Merlin was on the Green Wall and Worth marshes provided two Pintails, two Black-tailed Godwits, and a Ruff. Bird of the day was a Waxwing which flew over Pegwell Bay, with a Caspian Gull also present among good numbers of waders and wildfowl.
There was an impressive concentration of birds on Restharrow Scrape including a record count of 85 Gadwalls (previous highest was 62 on 8th February 2015). An equally impressive 4,500 Cormorants were offshore and a Woodcock flew over the Observatory.
Singles of Caspian Gull and Razorbill were offshore, three Firecrests were in The Elms, and a very late Swallow was on the Estate. Two Water Pipits were on Worth.
A good day for numbers with wildfowl across the Recording Area increasing. On Restharrow Scrape 700 Teal were taking refuge and joined by 52 Gadwalls, 13 Mallards, six Tufted Ducks, and five Shovelers. Five Eiders were offshore and on Worth Marshes 1,500 Teals, 800 Lapwings, 180 Shovelers, 600 Wigeons, and 109 Gadwalls were residing. A dead Pomarine Skua was found on the beach.
We have now received an update that on January 1st, the segment filmed at the Observatory with David Lindo for Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh, will be broadcast on ITV 1. This will provide a good opportunity to watch the vital work carried out by the Ringing Team at the Observatory, presented by our new Patron!
A grey and dark day to start the final month of the year. A ringtail Hen Harrier flew over Prince's Golf Course in the morning, hopefully a bird we'll see throughout the winter whilst it lingers in the area. On Worth, the Shoveler numbers continue to rise, with 184 across the various water-filled pools that now can be admired on the marshes. Along the Green Wall a Firecrest, three Goldcrests, and a Coal Tit were present in a mixed tit flock and a Yellowhammer flew overhead.