After a week or so with only one or two birds the Cattle Egret flock at the Observatory increased again with five birds present in the morning. There's also been a flock of six nearby at Ham Fen. It isn't currently clear if they are additional or whether the birds are going to back and forth to us. The White-fronted Geese were seen again with a flock of 26 flying around whilst ten Pintails were still present and both Little Grebe and Tufted Duck numbers increased as birds returned to breeding sites.
The overwintering flocks of Tree Sparrow and White-fronted Geese were still present with eight of the former along the public footpath behind the asparagus fields and at least 30 of the latter inland towards the railway line. The Cattle Egret was at the Observatory and a Red Kite drifted over RSPB Worth marshes. A drake Goosander, 40 Fieldfares, and a Rock Pipit were all on New Downs, and a Mediterranean Gull and two presumed) migrant Lesser Black-backed Gulls were in the gull flock outside Royal St George's Golf Course.
There were over 200 Brent Geese in Pegwell, three Pintails and five Corn Buntings on New Downs, a Cattle Egret and two Corn Buntings on the Estate, and two Shelducks on Restharrow Scrape.
The annual build-up of Great Crested Grebes has begun with at least 114 noted offshore. These flocks can often increase to over 800 birds and can contain the odd Slavonian Grebe, so it's worth checking on over the next few weeks. A few Guillemots were in the surf which seemed to be feeding ok, but be aware that there has been reports of oiled birds washed up on the south coast this week. If you see any please report it to RSPCA Mallydams at 0300 123 0723.
Three Cattle Egrets, a Firecrest, and a Swallow were all seen on the Estate whilst dodging rain showers. The other Swallow was also seen on RSPB Worth marshes in the morning so the Estate bird is presumably different.
After yesterday's washout the area seems to be under a foot of water, including the carpark! So bring your wellies if visiting. There was plenty to see though with 43 White-fronted Geese, four Canada Geese, 95 Fieldfares, and ten Yellowhammers on RSPB Worth marshes, plus the re-appearance of both the Swallow and the SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF. Two Cattle Egrets were still at the Observatory and two Firecrests in The Elms.
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A day of increasing awful conditions. Despite this, the signs of spring continue to come with a singing Grey Wagtail on the Observatory building and a singing Firecrest on RSPB Worth marshes, with the latter also seeing a Swallow flying around in the lee of the Great Wood! This becomes our joint-earliest ever sighting with 21st February 1998 and 2008.
A wander to and around the Point produced 105 Sanderlings, 155 Curlews, 45 Snipes, six Rock Pipits, and nine Stonechats. Three Firecrests, four Chiffchaffs, and four Cattle Egrets were on the Estate.
A SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF was on RSPB Worth marshes, viewable on the edge of the Great Wood from the public footpath, and at least eight other 'standard' Chiffchaffs were also on site. The Tree Sparrow flock were still on the Estate and at least 49 White-fronted Geese on Willow Farm.
There were counts of 26 Wigeons and 33 Snipes on Restharrow Scrape whilst 12 Pintails and nine Pochards were on RSPB Worth marshes.
The 60+ White-fronted Geese remained in the RSPB Worth marshes area, five Chiffchaffs were singing, and there were now 16 Yellowhammers between the Observatory and the Worth track. Only one Cattle Egret was seen on the Estate today and over on New Downs there were three Pintails, eight Avocets, and a Mediterranean Gull.
Two Siskins, a Raven, at least five Cattle Egrets were highlights on the Estate whilst two Greenfinch were, depressingly, the first records for the Sandwich Bay Estate this year. Singles of Goldcrest and Coal Tit were singing on the Green Wall and a summer-plumaged Mediterranean Gull was in the gull flock outside Royal St George's Golf Course. The flock of nine Yellowhammers were still hanging around the hay bales behind the Observatory and 64 White-fronted Geese on the marshes.
Don't forget to book your place on our spring trip to Marquenterre (France). This visit will be timed to see the best of the spring migrants and breeding birds including possibilities such as Bluethroats, Night Herons, Savi’s Warbler, Crested Tit and many more. To reserve your place(s) please request a booking form by emailing Rob Rackliffe at firstname.lastname@example.org or pick one up at the Observatory reception.
A Little Grebe, an Avocet, and a summer-plumaged Mediterranean Gull were all new in Pegwell Bay whilst the growing Cattle Egret flock at the Observatory now numbered six birds. There were 40 White-fronted Geese, 15 Pintails, nine Pochards, three Oystercatchers, a Water Pipit, and two Siskins on RSPB Worth marshes whilst the large number of Gulls using the floods included 970 Black-headed, 845 Herring, and 240 Common.
The Cattle Egrets at the Observatory had increased to four birds and the flock of White-fronted Geese were seen briefly flying around inland of the asparagus fields. Over in Pegwell Bay there was a decent count of 61 Turnstones and a small increase in Lesser Black-backed Gulls, the latter perhaps a sign of early spring migration.
Despite the return to overcast and breezy conditions there were still plenty of singing and breeding activity on the Estate. The Long-tailed Tits have begun to separate into pairs, the Magpies were fighting over territories, the Grey Partridges were very vocal, and even the Blackthorn and Snowdrops are all beginning to flower. The flock of Linnets continues to build on the asparagus fields with at least 85 today, two Ravens flew over the Green Wall, and ten Pintails were on RSPB Worth marshes.
A lovely spring-like morning. Four Canada Geese moved around the Estate and all three Cattle Egrets were back together around the Observatory for the first time in a week or so. There was a lot of activity on RSPB Worth marshes with Spoonbill, Great White Egret, 15 Buzzards, 47 Dunlins, and nine Chiffchaffs.
Three Water Rails and a nice male Goosander were in Pegwell Bay, two Cattle Egrets at the Observatory, and four Water Rails and a mobile Great White Egret on RSPB Worth marshes. At least seven Short-eared Owls were found across the Recording Area.
The usual good selection of farmland species were on the recently-cut asparagus fields on the Estate including seven Grey Partridges, 240 Stock Doves, nine Tree Sparrows, and 65 Linnets, with 64 White-fronted Geese also showing well towards the railway. The regular pair of Oystercatchers were back on Restharrow Scrape prospecting breeding sites and a Siskin flew over. Coverage of RSPB Worth marshes produced a Black-tailed Godwit, three Ruffs, ten Stonechats, a Water Pipit, and nine Yellowhammers. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was in Pegwell Bay and our first Dartford Warbler of the year along Prince's Beach.
The White-fronted Goose flock numbered at least 51 today though they were quite mobile and more could be hiding in the fields and marshes. The two Cattle Egrets were still behind the Observatory and thousands of Gulls were taking advantage of all the standing water in the area.
In the afternoon a flock of 32 White-fronted Geese dropped into the fields just inland of the Asparagus fields, between the Estate and the railway line. Four Canada Geese were also near Restharrow Scrape and at least two Cattle Egrets were still around the Observatory area.
The main activity was offshore with two exceptional counts of 965 Red-throated Divers and 6,770 Cormorants, as well as one Black-throated Diver and two Great Northern Divers. A Firecrest in The Elms was the first there this winter whilst two Cattle Egrets were still at the Observatory. The other Cattle Egret was seen briefly on RSPB Worth marshes with 500 Golden Plovers, 27 Mediterranean Gulls, and three Water Pipits also present.
Two Water Rails, eight Pintails, a Ruff, 26 Dunlins, 100 Golden Plovers, two Black-tailed Godwits, and a Green Sandpiper were the best on RSPB Worth marshes with six Yellowhammers and three Cattle Egrets still near to the Observatory.
The three Cattle Egrets were still frequenting around the Observatory though they're wandering more widely now and can often be seen separately in different fields.
The nine Tree Sparrows were seen on the Estate and inland there were 3,500 assorted Gulls on RSPB Worth marshes.
A WHITE-TAILED EAGLE flew north over the Estate causing havoc as it went. The bird is presumed to be from the Isle of Wight release scheme. Nine Tree Sparrows were in the asparagus fields again and nine White-fronted Geese and five Canada Geese re-appeared.
A Red Kite and a Green Sandpiper were seen on RSPB Worth marshes but bird of the day went to a SERIN seen in the asparagus fields on the Estate. It follows on from a possible sighting in the same area a few weeks ago.
A very pleasant, sunny, and cool morning walking the Estate produced at least three Siskins knocking around and a nice fly-through female Merlin which headed north over the Haven area.