Tuesday 31st

A productive walk on the Green Wall on the last day of the month produced Yellowhammer, Lesser Redpoll, two Coal Tits, Bullfinch, Grey Wagtail, Redshank, and Short-eared Owl. On the Estate the highlight was a male Merlin on Royal St George's Golf Course, plus Cattle Egret, five Goldcrests in the Elms/Gullies area, and a Little Egret on Restharrow Scrape.

In some very exciting news, Sandwich Bay won Site of the Year in the 2022 BirdGuides Birder's Choice Awards! And as if that wasn't enough the Eleonora's Falcon also won Rarity of the Year. A big thank you to all who voted for us and for those who contributed to sightings in 2022. I've left a selection of photos below of some of last year's exciting birds.

Eleonora's Falcon by J.Dodds


Yellow-browed Bunting by S.Reynaert


Pallid Harrier by G.Lee


Black-winged Stilt by P.Coltman


Red-footed Falcon by S.Ray


White Storks by N.Davies


Monday 30th

Three Pintails and 780 Cormorants were seen offshore and a Great White Egret was by the Chequers 

Turnstone by J.Dodds

Sunday 29th

There was a very impressive count of 15 Water Pipits on Worth marshes, a record for SBBOT, an influx of 3,000 Starlings and, oddly, an Alexandrine Parakeet. Two Coal Tits were seen again on the Green Wall again.

Friday 27th

On Worth marshes there were large numbers of Shovelers gathering on the floods by the Cornfield Wood. A Raven flew over whilst three Water Pipits and both the White Stork and the Great White Egret were dotted around. There were 110 Stock Doves on the asparagus fields on the Estate, the Cattle Egret, and a Kittiwake offshore.

Barn Owl by M.Simm

Thursday 26th

An Eider, two Pintails, two Fulmars were the highlights offshore. At least 58 Snipes, plus one Jack Snipe, were in the melee on Restharrow Scrape. Lots of birds are using the site at the moment. The Cattle Egret and Tree Sparrow were at the Observatory and the White Stork on Worth marshes.

Wednesday 25th

A mass of 550 Cormorants was at the Point and a Short-eared Owl hunted nearby. White Stork, Great White Egret, Peregrine, two Green Sandpipers, two Grey Wagtails, four Water Pipits, and a Firecrest were all on Worth marshes, plus a sighting of a Greenfinch (which seems to be the first this year). The Cattle Egret and Tree Sparrow were at the Observatory and Little Owls were more vocal than usual on the Estate. There was an increase in Great Crested Grebes to 50 offshore plus the strange sight of a Song Thrush sat on the sea, which after a while flew in and landed on the beach.

Stonechat by J.Buckingham

Tuesday 24th

Not to get blasé but it was a day for all the regular performers with the Cattle Egret and Tree Sparrow duo at the Observatory and both the White Stork and Great White Egret still on Worth marshes.

White Stork by S.Reynaert

Monday 23rd

Both the Cattle Egret and Tree Sparrow performed well around the Observatory building. There was some wildfowl and Red-throated Divers moving offshore, plus an adult Mediterranean Gull north. The White Stork was still on Worth marshes.

Great White Egret by A.Lipczynski

Sunday 22nd

The White Stork was on Worth marshes still. Flocks of 13 White-fronted Geese and 30 Corn Buntings were on New Downs and there was a small but regular movement of wildfowl offshore. There were combined totals of 240 Lapwings, two Black-tailed Godwits, 181 Bar-tailed Godwits, 45 Knots, 30 Redshanks, 350 Dunlins, 122 Sanderlings, 127 Grey Plovers, 178 Curlews, 1,155 Oystercatchers, three Avocets, Turnstone at the Pegwell/Point high tide roost.

At this week's Thursday Talk we hear from Michael Lee of Bird Wise East Kent. Michael and his team are on the frontline of conservation locally, and advances the interests of coastal birds against growing human disturbance.

Saturday 21st

There was a surprise appearance of a White Stork by the Round House, Worth, late last night. Today it spent most of the day in the Blue Pigeons fields on Worth marshes, viewable from the Pinnock Wall (TR347652). It is presumably the same bird seen here last winter.

Friday 20th

A thorough survey of Worth marshes produced 1,800 Wigeons (a new site record count), Great White Egret, Peregrine, Water Rail, and two Dartford Warblers. There were 107 Gadwalls on Restharrow Scrape, another site record, and two Ruffs with Lapwings outside the Observatory, where the Cattle Egret and Tree Sparrow were also still present. Redshank, two Coal Tits, and Siskin were the highlights on the Green Wall. 

Grey Partridges by S.Ray

Wednesday 18th

Though most of the pools on Worth marshes were frozen there was an open pool by the Great Wood which contained most of the wildfowl, plus the Great White Egret. Two Water Pipits and 45 Snipe were also present. There were an additional 37 Snipe on Restharrow Scrape, now two Tree Sparrows on the Observatory feeders, and the Cattle Egret nearby.

Tuesday 17th

Yesterday's deluge, coupled with clear skies and a northerly breeze overnight, brought ice across the area today. There were a few water bodies still available for wildfowl on New Downs and they contained 138 Shovelers. Water Rail, Barn Owl, three Rock Pipits, six Bearded Tits, and 11 Tree Sparrows were also seen. The latter were in the Hawthorns along the footpath next to New Downs Pool (TR338589). The Cattle Egret was probing around outside the Observatory as usual and the Great White Egret was on Worth marshes. 

Cattle Egret by S.North

Monday 16th

Bird of the day was an unidentified medium-sized dark hirundine which flew north along the shore. Unfortunately it disappeared in the heavy rain and wasn't seen again. A Shag was a good find among 220 Cormorants offshore, whilst over 30 Snipes were on Restharrow Scrape. The Tree Sparrow and Cattle Egret were still on show around the Observatory building, as were Great White Egret and Pintail on Worth marshes. 

Coming up soon is our DISCOVERING BRITISH BIRDS online course. The course will consist of five lectures studying bird ecology and behaviour on Wednesday evenings with John Buckingham. See HERE for details.

Sunday 15th

The Estate held two Firecrests and two Lesser Redpolls (the first this year) and the usual Cattle Egret and Tree Sparrow combo were at the Observatory. The escaped Yellow-billed Teal was back on Restharrow Scrape and was joined by an Egyptian Goose. Over 900 Cormorants were offshore and a Raven flew over the Green Wall.

Friday 13th

A few Kittiwakes and Auks were passing distantly offshore and two Mediterranean Gulls were on Restharrow Scrape. The Cattle Egret was still outside the Observatory. Meanwhile over on Worth marshes there was a Great White Egret, two Water Pipits, and two Ravens.

Fieldfare by J.Buckingham

Thursday 12th

A miserable day weather-wise. Nine Egyptian Geese, three Pochards, and four Water Pipits were the highlights on Worth marshes. The Cattle Egret was still outside the Observatory and a Ruff was on Restharrow Scrape.

Teal (and Lapwing) by S.Reynaert

Wednesday 11th

The Estate was quite quiet but three Goldcrests were in The Elms and a singing Corn Bunting at St George's Bushes. The Cattle Egret put in an appearance outside the Observatory. There were at least 3,000 Lapwings in Pegwell Bay and a Pintail on Worth marshes. 

Tuesday 10th

A very wet and windy day. A Great White Egret and two Pintails were on Worth marshes. At the Observatory the Cattle Egret was feeding in the fields still and the Tree Sparrow popped in and out of the feeders all day.

If you're looking for the Tree Sparrow please also keep an eye out for ringed House Sparrows (see photos below). The Observatory has been running a special RAS project where birds are fitted with unique red-and-white rings that can be read in the field. The aim of the project is look at survival rates, productivity, and longevity between young birds and adults, males and females. They are most numerous around the Observatory building but have also been seen as far as Sandown Rd, Blue Pigeons (on Worth), Looker's Cottage (on New Downs), and at the Chequers Cookery School. Anyone can get involved and it's especially easy if you own a camera. If you see any please let us know.

Tree Sparrow by G.Lee


House Sparrow 'B97' by A.Lipczynski


House Sparrow 'CP4' by A.Lipczynski

Monday 9th

A Great White Egret on Worth marshes played second fiddle to a 2cy Glaucous Gull which motored over heading inland. This is our first record for a couple of years so hopefully it'll settle down in the area for more people to see. The Cattle Egret and Tree Sparrow continued to show well around the Observatory.

Buzzard by P.Blanche

Sunday 8th

All the usual suspects were in place; the Cattle Egret and Tree Sparrow both around the Observatory, and the Little Gulls commuting between Restharrow Scrape and the dung heaps behind the asparagus fields (where they were also joined by an adult Mediterranean Gull). Nine Canada Geese could be seen on Willow Farm and two Coal Tits were on the Green Wall. An escaped Yellow-billed Teal was also on Restharrow Scrape and is perhaps the same bird seen sporadically in the area over the last four-five years. 

Friday 6th

The Cattle Egret was once again very mobile around the fields surrounding the Observatory. The Jack Snipe was still on Restharrow Scrape and at least one Little Gull was present. The Great White Egret showed on Worth marshes and both Yellow-legged Gull and Caspian Gull were in Pegwell Bay in the morning.

Thursday 5th

A much brighter and calmer day prompted lots of bird activity. The Cattle Egret was mobile around the Observatory and Haven area all morning. Two Chiffchaffs and two Bullfinches were on the Estate, a Yellowhammer flew over the Toll Gate, a Dartford Warbler was at Dickson's Corner, and there were now three Little Gulls in the fields behind the asparagus. An Eider was sitting offshore and 36 White-fronted Geese flew over Worth marshes, perhaps fresh in off the sea. There were the usual three White-fronted Geese still floating around Worth marshes and a Great White Egret dropped in.

Little Gull by A.Lipczynski

Wednesday 4th

A Jack Snipe showed well on Restharrow Scrape throughout the day, as did the Cattle Egret by the Observatory, and the three White-fronted Geese were still present in the usual spot. The sea was a little busier than usual with some Auks moving south, lots of Cormorants, and our first Black-throated Diver of the year. A Spotted Redshank was new on Worth marshes.

Gadwall by N.Hefford

Tuesday 3rd

Yesterday's Little Gulls were still visible on the fields between the Estate asparagus and the railway (TR355570) and were joined by three White-fronted Geese. A Cattle Egret was by Restharrow Scrape early in the morning but quickly relocated over to the fields by the Observatory.

Cattle Egret by S.Ray

Monday 2nd

It was the best day weather-wise of the year so far but the wardening team were either on holiday or ill, so there wasn't much in the way of sightings until the evening when two adult winter Little Gulls were discovered on the dung heaps viewable along the path behind the asparagus fields. A male Hen Harrier also flew north over the Estate and at least 3,900 Lapwings were in Pegwell Bay. A Little Swift in neighbouring Sussex suggests anything is a possibility in these unseasonal southerly winds.

Short-eared Owl by R.Denison-pender

Sunday 1st

Happy New Year from all at SBBOT!

The recent influx of Lapwings shows no sign of stopping with at least 12,000 on Worth marshes this morning! At least 2,000 Golden Plovers and four Marsh Harriers were also present. A Coal Tit was on the Green Wall and a Ruff on the Estate.