Friday 31st

Pretty horrible conditions today but ten White Wagtails were on the Green Wall. The Black Redstart put in a brief appearance around the Observatory again, as did the Tree Sparrow. Then, in the late afternoon, an ALPINE SWIFT stormed north along Royal Cinque Ports Golf Course.

A brief head's up to raise awareness of the series of walks available for this spring and summer. There are more to be announced shortly so keep looking, but the next available is the Reptile and Mammal Walk on 16th April. This will be a guided tour round parts of the Estate to find field signs and search for a range of mammals and reptiles. Click HERE to book.

Thursday 30th

The male Black Redstart was still around the Observatory, even seen flitting around on the picnic benches. A Swallow, a Lesser Redpoll, and three Siskins passed over, and a Firecrest was ringed. There were now three Sedge Warblers and 15 Chiffchaffs on Worth marshes, and a Red Kite flew north.

Chiffchaff by P.Blanche

Wednesday 29th

A smart male Black Redstart and a Brambling were around the Observatory, a Raven flew over the Estate, and an immature drake Eider was sat on the sea north of King's Avenue. Worth marshes scored with the first two Willow Warblers of the year, Blackcap, six Sand Martins, and a Swallow. The Alexandrine Parakeet also resurfaced.

Tuesday 28th

Contrasting weather conditions from yesterday with rain on and off all day. The highlights on New Downs were 35 Siskins and a female/immature Goosander, possibly the same as the one seen there on the 18th. Our first Sedge Warbler of the year was on Worth marshes, plus White Wagtail and Grey Plover, and two Barnacle Geese were flying behind the asparagus fields in the evening.

I’m sure many of you know that Kent is a great place for Nightingales. This year the Kent Ornithological Society is organising a County-wide survey to see how their numbers are faring. It would be great if as many areas as possible can be surveyed this spring. It is extremely simple to help out. Go to click on a vacant square on the map, enter your details, and request to be allocated the square. Over this spring visit the square to see if any Nightingales are present. Hopefully you’ll strike gold! To read more click HERE.

Monday 27th

The highlight of the morning was an early Osprey which flew north over Worth marshes. Also present were the Dartford Warbler, six Ruffs, two Water Pipits, a Brambling, 14 Chiffchaffs, a Swallow, the White Stork, and three Little Ringed Plovers. On the Estate there were three White Wagtails and singles of Merlin, Tree Sparrow, Swallow, and Raven. Another Brambling was on New Downs.

Brambling by G.Lee

Saturday 25th

An ALPINE SWIFT was reported online as over the Country Park at Pegwell Bay at 07:40 and could conceivably be one of the flock seen on Thanet over the last few days. Another bird was to the south of us too at South Foreland so it is still well worth keeping an eye above at the moment. Also moving through today were five Red Kites and a Swallow, whilst 46 Sandwich Terns were in Pegwell and three Water Pipits on Worth marshes.

Friday 24th

It was still quite windy at times but on the whole it was a much nicer day than it has been recently. The Cattle Egret and three Firecrests were still in their usual spots on the Estate, a Peregrine hunted overhead, two Red Kites went north, and four Eiders were still on the sea. A handful of Chaffinches went south but most obvious was an influx of Black-headed Gulls with triple-figures around the Restharrow Scrape area and small flocks regularly noted going through. Six Mediterranean Gulls and a drake Pochard were also on Restharrow Scrape. A Great White Egret reappeared on Worth marshes with the White Stork and five Water Pipits still present, plus a White Wagtail.

Pochard by S.Ray

Thursday 23rd

Three Little Ringed Plovers and a Peregrine were on Worth marshes and ten Chiffchaffs and a Firecrest on the Estate. Despite looking hard we couldn't dig out another Alpine Swift. It's certainly worth keeping your eyes to the skies though, with four in Kent today. At least 40 birds are spread around England and Wales and another 60 in Ireland. There's never been a better time to find one!

Tuesday 21st

Breezy and overcast but overall pleasant enough out there. Singles of Spoonbill, Barnacle Goose, and Black Redstart were the highlights on New Downs. Over on Worth marshes our first Swallow of the year flew through, four Pintails were new on the pools, and there was a good count of 27 Chiffchaffs.

Ringed Plover by N.Hefford

Monday 20th

Highlights today included two Shelducks and a Pochard on Restharrow Scrape, two Yellowhammers and three Greenfinches around the straw bales behind the Observatory, the regular Cattle Egret, a Mediterranean Gull on the asparagus fields, two Sandwich Terns offshore, and a Cetti's Warbler and two Firecrests on the Estate.

We have a busy week ahead with the Nautical Archaeology Society here on Wednesday at 7.30pm to talk to us about the wrecks in the Sandwich Bay area. And then on Thursday we have Murray Orchard of Kent Ornithological Society to speak about the State of Kent's Birds. See you there!

Sunday 19th

Visitors to the coffee and cake morning were treated to both the Cattle Egret and the Tree Sparrow around the Observatory. There was some reasonable overhead movement with one Rock Pipit, 95 Redwings, 510 Fieldfares, 700+ Chaffinches, and nine Siskins north. A Black Redstart, a Firecrest, and four Bramblings were on the Estate and on Worth marshes there was the White Stork, two Little Ringed Plovers, two Sand Martins, two Water Pipits, and 600 Fieldfares.  An ALPINE SWIFT was seen briefly in the afternoon flying between the Observatory and Worth. This will become our ninth record with the last in April 2017.

Saturday 18th

A female/immature Goosander was on Prince's Reservoir on New Downs (TR349594) and was the first of the year. The Dartford Warbler reappeared on Worth marshes along the Pinnock Wall whilst a male Merlin also put in another appearance by Restharrow Scrape.

Goosander by G.Lee

Friday 17th

There were just a handful of hardy Chaffinches moving south in the rain today. A few Chiffchaffs were dotted on the shore, suggesting they were fresh in, and a Wheatear was reported by the hay bales behind the Observatory. There was no luck looking for the Wheatear at midday but six Yellowhammers were compensation. Yesterday's Little Ringed Plover was still on Worth marshes, along with 16 Black-tailed Godwits, Water Pipit, and the regular White Stork.

Please join us this Sunday as we host another coffee and cake morning. It's a chance to socialise with other members and meet some of the Trustees of the Observatory.

Thursday 16th

There was an arrival of Chiffchaffs with nine on the Estate, five on the Green Wall, and five on Worth marshes. A smart male Black Redstart was along Prince's beach and seven Siskins were in The Elms. There were also Firecrest and Tree Sparrow at the Observatory. Our first Little Ringed Plover and Spotted Redshank were on Worth marshes, plus White Stork, 14 Black-tailed Godwits, and a Water Pipit.

Black Redstart by G.Lee

Wednesday 15th

Dawn was sunnier than anticipated and the hoped-for low cloud cover didn't come in until the afternoon. This meant 'vismig' (visible migration) was not as good as it could've been. However, over 800 Starlings and 90 Chaffinches went south, 11 White Wagtails flew north, and there was a little movement of corvids along the coast. The four Eiders were still offshore. Cattle Egret, Mediterranean Gull, Rock Pipit, White Wagtail, and four Firecrests added to a lovely day to be out around the Estate. Singles of Brambling and Common Sandpiper were on New Downs whilst 25 Buzzards, five Mediterranean Gulls, and three Ruffs were the highlights on Worth marshes.

Firecrest (top) and Oystercatchers (bottom) by P.Blanche

 Tuesday 14th

Although a wet start to the day a Sand Martin on Worth marshes brightened things up. Once the weather cleared in the afternoon there were more signs of Spring with seven White Wagtails in with 12 Pied Wagtails on the asparagus fields on the Estate (approx. TR359568). A super adult male Merlin was perched by Restharrow Scrape and an immature Peregrine zoomed over and took a Starling out of the air. The White Stork was seen with the Mute Swan herd this side of the railway on Worth marshes and the Cattle Egret popped by the Observatory again. At least 380 Starlings flew north and another 800 were grounded. There was also a small trickle of Chaffinches through.

Monday 13th

A strong southerly gale reaching 55mph at times. The switch in wind direction brought our first spring movement of Sandwich Terns with 11 in Pegwell Bay. The Tree Sparrow was still at the Observatory.

This year the Kent Ornithological Society is organising a County-wide survey to see how Nightingale numbers are faring. It would be great if as many areas as possible can surveyed this spring. It is extremely simple to help out. Go to click on a vacant square on the map, enter your details, and request to be allocated the square. Over this spring visit the square to see if any Nightingales are present. Hopefully you’ll strike gold!

Sunday 12th

Wandering around the Estate produced Cattle Egret, Woodcock, two Firecrests, Siskin, and a Yellowhammer.

Siskin by S.North

Saturday 11th

Despite coverage of the northern sectors most activity was still on Worth marshes where White Stork, Great White Egret, Tawny Owl, drake Pintail, and three Water Pipits were recorded. A Black Brant was in Pegwell Bay, only our seventh confirmed record and the first since 2017, whilst a Little Grebe on the sea in the river mouth was unusual. There were also 14 Corn Buntings still on New Downs.

Friday 10th

When the rain finally abated in the afternoon there were 21 Dunlins on Worth marshes, the White Stork, and a Corn Bunting. There were still 25 Fieldfares around the Oasis and a Red Kite flew over the Green Wall.

Shoveler by S.Ray

Thursday 9th

A grim day for the second in succession. However, 30 Redwings, five Fieldfares, and a Woodcock were in the Oasis; perhaps grounded by the poor conditions. Great White EgretWhite Stork, and Water Pipit remained on Worth marshes, as did the Cattle Egret around the Observatory.

We're looking forward to seeing everyone tonight for Ashley Grove's talk about Sri Lanka. This Sunday we also have InFocus with us to showcase their optics and accessories. You can keep up to date on all our upcoming events by checking the calendar on the website.

Tuesday 7th

Conditions were almost perfect for 'vismig' but only a handful of Chaffinches and a few Meadow Pipits and Starlings flew through. It probably needs another week for things to get going. Offshore it was quite calm and 37 Brent Geese flew north, a Heron went south, and the usual five Eiders were still floating around. The Cattle Egret and Tree Sparrow popped in to the Observatory grounds and a Raven flew over the Estate.

Monday 6th

There were four Firecrest in The Elms and a small increase in Song Thrushes and Redwings on the rest of the Estate. The Cattle Egret was still touring around the building. Interestingly, there were at least six Buzzards circling the Estate and another 12 doing the same on Worth marshes, plus one Red Kite. All perhaps indicative of early spring movement. A Dartford Warbler along the Pinnock Wall on Worth was an excellent find whilst the Great White Egret and White Stork remained. Two Pintails and three Water Pipits were also present. The five Eiders remained on the sea along with 40+ Great Crested Grebes and a few passing Brent Geese and Teal. The rarest bird was a Bittern sound-recorded overnight at Stonar.

Tufted Duck by N.Hefford

Sunday 5th

The White Stork and Great White Egret were on Worth marshes and the Tree Sparrow still at the Observatory. Meanwhile lots of Brent Geese were moving offshore.

Note the Observatory building is back open again after our heat pump installation! Why not come visit us this Thursday evening as we welcome Ashley Grove to speak to us about Sri Lanka.

Saturday 4th

A Great Crested Grebe on Worth was new in and a rare sighting for the marshes. Meanwhile the Cattle Egret was back at the Observatory. It's been missing for most of the past week, perhaps becoming more mobile as the breeding season approaches. An impressive count of 1,400 Red-throated Divers were offshore in the afternoon and part of a wider movement through the Dover Strait. Three Black-throated Divers were also logged whilst the Glaucous Gull was also seen just outside the Recording Area near Sandown Castle.

Great Crested Grebe by N.Davies

Friday 3rd

The adult Glaucous Gull returned briefly late morning. It did a flypast at Sandilands and then patrolled along the shore. Five Eiders were offshore again, the same flock as seen recently. A Bar-tailed Godwit was new on Worth marshes with seven Black-tailed Godwits and two Ruffs still, plus the two Pintails, White Stork and Great White Egret. Singles of Dartford Warbler and Merlin were the highlights on Prince's Beach. There were still no signs of any Snow Bunting. Perhaps the first year ever (?) with no overwintering Snow Buntings.

Glaucous Gull by G.Lee


Merlin by S.Reynaert

Thursday 2nd

A Red Kite drifted through mid-morning. Sea passage was much reduced from yesterday with just a handful of Red-throated Divers and Fulmars. There was, however, some early Chaffinch movement with double-figures over the Estate. We are coming up to a key time for Chaffinch passage with peak activity usually in the second and third week of the month. Days with low cloud are best and then position yourself either on the beach or at a vantage point and look (and listen) for tight flocks of birds heading south high up. This can often be a good time to pick out passing Hawfinch and Woodlark too.

Wednesday 1st

The star of the show was an adult Glaucous Gull on the Estate beach, later moving north down towards Prince's beach. This is a different bird to the immature seen in Pegwell Bay over the weekend. Four Eiders and near 200 Red-throated Divers were recorded offshore. One Barnacle Goose was still present near the Shooting School, best viewed from the public footpath, and two Canada Geese were on Restharrow Scrape again. Two Ruffs were the best on Worth marshes.

Glaucous Gull by N.Davies