Tuesday 28th

A cold and breezy ending to the month. A Yellowhammer was at the hay bales behind the Observatory building and a Bullfinch along the Worth track. Two Barnacle Geese were in with the Greylag Geese next to the Shooting School at Mary Bax. The flock of five Eiders were on the sea again and three Firecrests present in The Elms. Two Ringed Plovers were the first of the year on Worth marshes, with a Ruff, 11 Black-tailed Godwits, and three Dunlins still present. There was an increase in Golden Plovers to 200 and Lapwings to 1,000+, plus three Pintails, White Stork, and Great White Egret.

Monday 27th

The two Canada Geese were still on Restharrow Scrape, perhaps prospecting for a nesting site. Two Firecrests were around The Elms/Little Elms and a handful of Redwings along the Observatory entrance track. Three Pochards were also on the Green Wall. Although just outside our Recording Area, a Black Redstart has been regularly around the dilapidated barn opposite the Chequers.

Canada Goose by N.Hefford

Sunday 26th

The Glaucous Gull was seen at Pegwell Bay again. The Water Pipit was on the Green Wall and two Canada Geese on Restharrow Scrape. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was a smart find on Worth marshes with the White Stork and Great White Egret still present, and a record count of 233 Shovelers.

Turnstone by G.Lee

Saturday 25th

A 2cy Glaucous Gull in Pegwell Bay was the star bird of the day. A Water Pipit was on the Green Wall, 260 Cormorants were offshore, and there were two Ravens and the White Stork on Worth marshes. 

Friday 24th

A bit of movement today around the Recording Area. Three Spoonbills circled over Worth marshes before heading north and two new summer-plumaged Black-tailed Godwits joined the flock to make 14. The White Stork, Great White Egret, and Pintail were still on show, as well as two Ruffs and two Water Pipits. A Siskin flew along the shore and five Eiders were on the sea (three immature drakes and two females). There were now four Firecrests in The Elms. The Cattle Egret was nearby on the Green Wall, as well as five Pochards, Siskin, and Blackcap, and the Buzzards were already nest building.

Spoonbills by N.Davies

Thursday 23rd

Two Canada Geese were on Restharrow Scrape and both the Cattle Egret and the Tree Sparrow were still outside the Observatory. A few Wigeons and Fulmars were offshore and hundreds of Black-headed Gulls were in the newly-ploughed asparagus fields. At the Drove two Marsh Harriers, the White Stork, and two Stonechats were on view. 

Tuesday 21st

The semi-regular Barnacle Goose flew behind Restharrow Scrape towards Willow Farm in the company of seven Greylag Geese. Two Woodcocks were on the Estate, as well as the usual Cattle Egret, plus lots of singing Dunnocks and Robins establishing territories. Both the Great White Egret and White Stork were on Worth marshes.

Pochards by A.Lipczynski

Monday 20th

Our second Red Kite of the year came through in the sunny conditions. Most of the early records usually refer to adults on their way back to their breeding sites. In May, we will see the immature birds (usually told by their active wing moult) roaming the area in large flocks. On Worth marshes there was a Pintail, White Stork, two Green Sandpipers, six Black-tailed Godwits, three Water Pipits, and a Rock Pipit. The Cattle Egret was on the Estate.

Please note the Observatory building will now be closed for the next two weeks as the heating system is replaced. The carpark, outside toilet, and all our reserves will be open as usual. The installation of air-source heat pumps is a major step in making the building more resilient, sustainable, environmentally friendly and ‘future proof’ in terms of energy use. To read more on how the Observatory is 'going green' click HERE.

Sunday 19th

There were now smaller numbers of wildfowl across the northern sectors of the Recording Area but 155 Brent Geese in Pegwell Bay still. A flock of 330 Sanderlings was notable. A Merlin and two Ravens were at the Point and 19 Oystercatchers and five Avocets on New Downs, plus a Firecrest. There was an influx of gulls onto Worth marshes with at least 1,550 Black-headed, 200 Common, 12 Lesser Black-backed, 150 Herring, and six Great Black-backed, plus the White Stork still. An additional 220 Black-headed Gulls and a Mediterranean Gull were on the Green Wall and a Barnacle Goose was among the Greylag Goose flock on the Estate in the evening.  

Saturday 18th

There was thorough coverage of all the pools on Worth marshes for WeBS. For interest, there were counts of one Canada Goose, two Greylag Geese, seven Shelducks, 952 Wigeons, 324 Teals, 75 Gadwalls, 54 Mallards, one Pintail, 183 Shovelers, 26 Tufted Ducks, three Little Grebes, one White Stork, one Great White Egret, one Little Egret, 11 Grey Herons, six Water Rails, seven Moorhens, 142 Coots, nine Golden Plovers, 972 Lapwings, eight Snipes, six Black-tailed Godwits, 16 Curlews, one Redshank, and two Green Sandpipers. Two Water Pipits and a Yellowhammer were the highlights on the passerine front.

On the Estate there were Cattle Egret, Tree Sparrow, and Dartford Warbler. There was a small arrival of Fieldfares on the Green Wall and two Tawny Owls calling after dark.

Friday 17th

The regular pair of Oystercatchers have now returned to Restharrow Scrape, another sure sign of spring approaching. The Cattle Egret and Tree Sparrow were still around the Observatory. Three Pochards were on the Green Wall and Worth marshes provided just under 1,000 Wigeons and the White Stork.

Dartford Warbler by P.Blanche

Thursday 16th

Cattle Egret, Tree Sparrow, Little Owl, Mediterranean Gull, Grey Wagtail, and Siskin were all recorded around the Observatory during the morning. Over on Worth marshes the White Stork is still proving popular. Three Egyptian Geese north were arguably the birds of the day.

Wednesday 15th

Singles of Bullfinch and Heron were unusual on the Estate and another new Blackcap was ringed. All perhaps signs of early spring movement. There were also two Coot on the Dragonfly Pond, where there had been none over winter, and a few pairs of Mallards in various ditches. Both are signs birds are now splitting into pairs and searching possible breeding sites. Spring is definitely around the corner. The Cattle Egret and Tree Sparrow were still around.

Over on Worth marshes there were two Pintails and the Great White Egret still, two Chiffchaffs, and four Water Pipits. A/the Rock Pipit dropped in and new were 14 Black-tailed Godwits, another sure sign of early passage.

Tuesday 14th

A Blackcap along the Green Wall was only the second sighting this year. I expect the first returning migrants to be here in a few weeks. The White Stork was still on Worth marshes, as well as three Chiffchaffs, three Water Pipits, and two Pintails. The Cattle Egret and Tree Sparrow were still at the Observatory, and a Rock Pipit was on Restharrow Scrape.

This coming Friday 17th February, Pam Worrall (Chair of Trustees) and other Trustees will be at the Observatory and would like to invite you to a Coffee and Cake morning from 11 to 1pm. It would be lovely to spend some time meeting and chatting with you all, so please check your diaries and see if you can manage to pop over.

Monday 13th

Chiffchaffs were singing and Long-tailed Tits nest building on the Estate today. A Dartford Warbler was also in Restharrow Dunes. Most action was on Worth marshes where there were now seven Pintails, a Barnacle Goose, seven Pochards, two Ruffs, four Black-tailed Godwits, and five Water Pipits, plus the White Stork.

Common Gull by S.Reynaert

Sunday 12th

The Barnacle Goose was still on New Downs. Two Avocets on the northern pool were the first arrivals 'this spring'. Also recorded were Woodcock, nine Rock Pipits, and 33 Corn Buntings. The Cattle Egret was still in the fields around the building.

Saturday 11th

As well as the White Stork and Great White Egret, there were four Black-tailed Godwits new in on Worth marsh, two Ruffs, and four singing Chiffchaffs,

Friday 10th

Tawny Owl and three Barnacle Geese were unusual on the Estate with Firecrest and Tree Sparrow more regular fare. The year's first Red Kite went south over the Estate and Worth marshes. Two Ruffs were back on Worth again with the White Stork and Great White Egret still present. 

Goldcrest by P.Blanche

Thursday 9th

A good variety of species were on New Downs including the lingering Barnacle Goose, Great White Egret, Water Rail, Woodcock, four Rock Pipits, and 29 Corn Buntings. The Cattle Egret was still on the Estate. Coverage on Worth marshes produced the White Stork, Great White Egret, Peregrine, Green Sandpiper, two Water Pipits, and seven Yellowhammers, the latter a particularly high count for recent years. The Alexandrine Parakeet was still around Blue Pigeons. Lastly, it may be not the most exciting of birds but there were significant numbers of Woodpigeon with almost 600 recorded across the area today.

Curlew by N.Hefford

Wednesday 8th

There was no sign of yesterday's Richard's Pipit. It is a big area with lots of rough grassland and areas to hide though. It seems plausible that the bird arrived in the late autumn and has avoided discovery until yesterday. Hopefully we can nail down the area it favours, but any visitors looking for the bird please be careful not to trespass onto Prince's Golf Course or Hundred Acre field. Five Tree Sparrows were nice compensation whilst looking for the aforementioned Pipit.

The White Stork was still on Worth marshes but surprisingly elusive at times. The Cattle Egret was seen around the Observatory too and on the Green Wall two Tawny Owls were present after dark.

Tuesday 7th

A very frosty and foggy start gave way to a lovely warm and clear day. It was positively spring-like by mid-morning with many species singing or displaying on the Estate. The highlights were two Firecrests, Tree Sparrow, Cattle Egret, and a Siskin, with yesterday's immature drake Eider now sitting offshore just north of King's Avenue. The male Merlin performed well again on New Downs with a Brent Goose also present. Over on Worth marshes the Great White Egret and White Stork remained with Ruff and 12 Water Pipits also of note. In the late afternoon a RICHARD'S PIPIT flew north at the Point but could not be relocated.

Cattle Egret by X.Taylor

Monday 6th

Dense fog meant there was little chance to see anything in the morning. When it cleared an adult Caspian Gull was in Pegwell Bay along with 840 Wigeons and an immature drake Eider.

Did you know that grants for up to £250 are available to support young people (aged 24 and under) to visit a Bird Observatory? Applications are open until the end of the month so if you or anyone you know would like to stay at SBBOT please take a look HERE.

Sunday 5th

A female Eider and a Black-throated Diver were offshore and two Firecrests commuted between the Elms and Little Elms. A White-fronted Goose dropped into Worth marshes in the evening with White Stork, two Ruffs, and a Merlin also present.

Saturday 4th

New Downs was productive with a smart male Merlin, a Barnacle Goose (presumably the bird seen in Pegwell Bay on 28th January), and a Rock Pipit.

Merlin by A.Lipczynski

Friday 3rd

After a month around the Observatory the Cattle Egret moved over to Willow Farm, and oddly the White Stork over this side of the railway too. At least 1,550 Lapwings were on the marsh with another 360 in Pegwell Bay. A Blackcap on the Estate was the first of the year.

Thursday 2nd

A Firecrest was in The Elms. Over on Worth marshes both White Stork and Great White Egret showed and two Yellowhammers were seen briefly.

A reminder that a ‘Telegram’ Group has been set up for SBBOT members to share sightings of scarce, rare, or sought-after birds (and other taxa) in or around the SBBOT Recording Area. It works like a communal WhatsApp group and is a great way to get real-time updates from the area. If you wish to participate (or just read updates) you will need to first download the Telegram app onto your mobile phone and then email your name and mobile number to treasurer@sbbot.org.uk. You will then be sent a link to join.

Wednesday 1st

Two Great White Egrets were viewable on Willow Farm from the Drove. Two Tree Sparrows popped in and out of the Observatory feeders and the Cattle Egret was not far away.

Short-eared Owl by S.Ray