Worth marshes felt lovely in the light breeze and spring sunshine. More and more birds are beginning to set up territory, it was pleasing to hear the Reed Buntings singing from the ditches and hedgerows and the Lapwings were displaying in the fields. The White Stork was seen originally in flight over Willow Farm but relocated to the northern flood by the Great Wood. A Water Pipit flew around, two Pintails were on the deep pool, and a Water Rail darted across the path. At least four, perhaps six, Tree Sparrows were still at Dickson's Corner and a handful of Kittiwakes and Guillemots were offshore.
The White Stork was seen on Worth again and so was the Spotted Redshank in Pegwell Bay. Three Ruffs on New Downs may have been new in as we often see light spring passage early in March. However, a few birds have been seen in the area sporadically this winter, but have been elusive for the last few weeks.
Four Pintails and five Avocets were new arrivals on New Downs and a Water Pipit was also seen. A trickle of Lesser Black-backed Gulls went through Worth marshes, where a Canada Goose was seen again. The evening was a bit of an owl-fest with at least seven Short-eared Owls, two Barn Owls, a Tawny Owl, and a Little Owl spread through the area.
The first calm morning for some time and it was nice to be out with lots of Skylarks singing on the golf courses. The White Stork flew around briefly behind the Clay Pigeon shoot before dropping down onto Willow Farm. There was also a Siskin at the Observatory, perhaps the start of spring passage.
As some of you may already be aware there are a few Trustees stepping down from SBBOT Council in May. There are also lots of vacancies for manning the shop, fund-raising, leading guided walks, event planning, etc. In short, the Observatory is looking for new people to join the team. Anyone can make a real difference and you don’t have to be an expert ornithologist or scientist as all sorts of skills, talents, and experiences can enrich the Trust. A willingness to get involved and help the trust secure a useful future are far more important that any qualifications. Moreover, the more diverse the council, the more diverse will be those attracted to it and its work. We want EVERYONE to share our love of birds, wildlife, and the natural world. If you have any spare time and fancy joining us please send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop by the Observatory some time for a chat.
Though it was still rather windy there were lots of birds singing on the Estate. There was an increase in wildfowl on Restharrow Scrape and two Mediterranean Gulls dropped in for a bathe. Singles of Spotted Redshank and Pintail were seen in Pegwell Bay again and there were two Goldcrests and Coal Tits on the Green Wall.
Storm Franklin hit last night and built up more and more throughout the day. A check of The Elms revealed a number of fallen trees and so we've taken the decision to close it temporarily. We'll have it open again shortly. Most of the wildfowl on Worth marshes were sheltering in the lee of the Great Wood, including two Pintails, 100+ Shovelers, 300+ Wigeons, two Pochards, and the Great White Egret. The stormy conditions may be hard work but can often turn up some interesting sights, particularly Gulls. Little Gull is a good bet at this time of year but Glaucous and Iceland are outside chances, and if we're really lucky, a Ross's Gull would be nice.
A calmer and sunnier morning was enjoyed before the winds picked up again. The White Stork was present on Worth.
The Recording Area was subject to the full force of Storm Eunice, and with the Observatory and most of east England plunged into the dark ages, the birds were rightly hiding. A Little Egret, hunkering down in the field outside the Observatory, was slightly unusual to see and likewise a Great-crested Grebe on the river by Vigo Sluice was noteworthy. A bold but brief sea watch excursion revealed little more than a handful of Red-throated Divers against the winds.
A sunny but blustery day. A Coal Tit was singing amongst the pines along the Green Wall and the ringtail Hen Harrier also drifted through. A Canada Goose was again on Restharrow Scrape and a second-winter Caspian Gull was present in Pegwell Bay.
The weather continues to deteriorate, with the strengthening wind making for slim pickings today. The White Stork was present again on Worth whilst seven White-fronted Geese were lingering with the Greylag Geese on the Estate. Three Tree Sparrows were at Dickson's Corner.
Conditions got worse throughout the day, but the morning was at least dry. The highlight was a record count of Cormorants offshore with at least 4,670 logged. A Canada Goose was on Restharrow Scrape again.
There were ten White-fronted Geese and two Canada Geese in among the 163 Greylag Geese on Restharrow Scrape this morning. Breeding birds are also beginning to re-appear with a few Little Grebes now present (last seen on 26th November). There were still four Pochards on the deep pool by the Great Wood on Worth marshes and eight Rock Pipits were at the Point.
Stormy conditions in Pegwell Bay but the Pintail and 24 Black-tailed Godwits were still present on the Garage Pool and 1,800 Lapwings and 328 Golden Plovers out on the mud, with smaller numbers of Sanderlings, Dunlins, Curlews, and Redshanks.
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The wind picked up overnight but the White Stork and the Great White Egret were still on Worth marshes. The Black-throated Diver and over 2,500 Cormorants were seen offshore.
A Great White Egret was back on Worth marshes, as well as two Pintails, a Canada Goose, and a Rock Pipit. The Black-throated Diver was offshore again, one-two Woodcock were in the Gullies, and five Tree Sparrows were at Dickson's Corner.
Any day now we will start to see Lesser Black-backed Gull movements through the area and the first Sandwich Terns begin to pass by offshore. We're approaching peak time for scarce gulls, such as Caspian and Glaucous, as well as species such as Woodlark, Slavonian Grebe, and Crane.
The Black-throated Diver was seen offshore again and 418 Red-throated Divers flew north, our highest count since January 2013. There were a few new things on Worth including a Raven, an increase in Tufted Ducks, and a Rock Pipit on one of the pools, presumably all signs of Spring. Over in Pegwell Bay there were 3,050 Lapwings and 295 Sanderlings, plus a Spotted Redshank.
The White Stork was still on Worth marshes, plus two Water Pipits and a Common Sandpiper. Five White-fronted Geese flew over the Observatory and at least five Short-eared Owls were spread throughout the Recording Area. An evening walk to the Point produced two Jack Snipes, Woodcock, ten Rock Pipits, and 550 Jackdaws north to roost (at Ramsgate?).
The White-fronted Geese were quite active today with at least 121 seen flying around Worth marshes, the Estate, and offshore throughout the morning. Two Siskins flew over the Cellars and lovely views of a hunting Marsh Harrier were had by the Haven. A Greenfinch over the Observatory was a rare record for this year so far. Two Chiffchaffs on Worth marshes included our first singing individual.
I'll also draw your attention to the great new lectures that have just been announced for Thursday evenings. From the Rewilding of Knepp, to Orchids, to Birding in Uruguay. See HERE for details.
A lovely morning out on Worth marshes in the spring sunshine. There were 145 White-fronted Geese, two Pintails, White Stork, and Water Pipit of note. A flock of 11 Barnacle Geese flew over the Estate and out to sea, with 15 Tree Sparrows and a Dartford Warbler at Dickson's Corner. Please note there is no access into the sandpit area at Dickson's Corner. This is private property owned by Royal Cinque Ports Golf Course. You can view the birds quite easily from the road or the public footpath.
Lapland Bunting and two Spotted Redshanks in Pegwell Bay were new for the year. There were also over 1,560 Cormorants offshore and Bewick's Swan, White Stork, and Great White Egret on Worth marshes.
The Great White Egret was on Worth, a Water Pipit on the Green Wall, and a Merlin along the Ancient Highway.
Two Bewick's Swans and a Great White Egret were on Worth marshes again. There were three Pochards on Restharrow Scrape
There were two Dartford Warblers and still at least 20 Reed Buntings in the sandpit area of Dickson's Corner. The White Stork, two Great White Egrets, 30 Barnacle Geese, and 100 White-fronted Geese were on Willow Farm. Six Snow Buntings dropped into Restharrow Scrape again.
An excellent day in the Recording Area. The Quail (last seen on 16th Jan) was seen well in flight over the sandpit area at Dickson's Corner, with the Dartford Warbler and Tree Sparrows still present. The White Stork was on Willow Farm, as well as 133 White-fronted Geese, 22 Barnacle Geese, Hen Harrier, and two Short-eared Owls. On the other side of the railway there were two Bewick's Swans, the Great White Egret, two Canada Geese new in, and 150 Fieldfares came into roost.
A blustery start to the month. The two Bewick's Swans and the White Stork were still on Worth marshes and a few signs of spring on it's way with the first Redshank on the marsh and a passing Lesser Black-backed Gull. Singles of Coal Tit, Kingfisher, and Marsh Harrier were on the Green Wall.
For those who haven't seen, the annual Bird Observatory Council newsletter has been published. It's another fantastic document promoting our work at Observatories around the UK. Click HERE to read.
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