Tuesday 31st

The last day of the month saw a brief Great White Egret drop into Restharrow Scrape. A drake Pochard was new in on Worth where the ELEONORA’S FALCON and Red-footed Falcon continued.

Eleonora’s Falcon by J.Dodds

Monday 30th

The activity was still mostly focused on Worth marshes where the ELEONORA’S FALCON and Red-footed Falcon continue to delight. Three Red Kites also flew over. There were lots of newly fledged Tit broods flitting around the Estate, a Garden Warbler sang in The Elms, and a Mediterranean Gull flew over.

Eleonora’s Falcon by B.Summerfield

Sunday 29th

Both the ELEONORA’S FALCON and Red-footed Falcon remained on Worth marshes, joined by a brief Golden Oriole.

Saturday 28th

The ELEONORA’S FALCON and Red-footed Falcon were still on Worth marshes and showed well to the masses present. Escaping the crowds produced Great White EgretSpoonbill, and Barnacle Goose on New Downs.

Friday 27th

As hoped, the ELEONORA'S FALCON was re-discovered on Lydden Valley/Worth marshes this morning and showed well up to mid-afternoon. With lots of observers present they also picked up a lovely female Red-footed Falcon. There was some suggestion that two birds may be involved? From late morning there was a continuous passage of Red Kites and by mid-afternoon at least 102 birds had flown north. As if that wasn't enough a dark-phase Honey-buzzard drifted over. Lots of Buzzards, Kestrels, Hobbies, and a Peregrine completed the raptor fest.


Follow directions to Worth village and then Jubilee Road. There is a track off Jubilee Rd at TR33715578. Follow the track down and park in the field on the right. RSPB staff and volunteers should be on site to guide you. The carpark should be open from early hours tomorrow morning. DO NOT park on Goretop Lane or in Worth village, please be considerate to the residents of the village.

Eleonora's Falcon in flight (top) and in bush (bottom) by G.Lee
Red-footed Falcon by G.Lee

Thursday 26th

Not a day goes by without something to report in what is turning out to be an extraordinary spring for scarcities and rarities. The CASPIAN TERN was reported as being still present in Pegwell Bay and the lone Spoonbill had been joined by another. There was no sign of the Kentish Plover though. The Great White Egret relocated across the river and showed well flying over Hundred Acre Field and Prince's Golf Course. However, biggest news of the day concerned a falcon photographed at Restharrow Scrape at 09:30. Originally reported as a Hobby, it was subsequently re-identified from photos as an adult pale morph ELEONORA'S FALCON. The key features being the dark underwing coverts, relatively un-barred underwing, circular cheek patch not extending to the nape, rusty colouration from undertail coverts up to the breast, long tail, long wings, and brown upperparts. The bird was not seen again but reported from nearby at Stodmarsh. Birds often move between the two sites so it could conceivably come back to the area. This constitutes the first record for Sandwich Bay and Kent, and only the ninth confirmed record for the UK. What next?

Eleonora's Falcon by T.Hambrook

Wednesday 25th

The terrific run of rarities continued with a smart male KENTISH PLOVER in front of the hide at Pegwell Bay. The CASPIAN TERN was still present as well as the Spoonbill and a Great White Egret. What a fantastic selection of birds! There were at least 120 Swifts and 11 Red Kites over Worth marshes.

Kentish Plover by J.Dodds
Kentish Plover (right) and two Ringed Plovers by J.Dodds. Note the sandy nape, lighter mantle, dark legs, 'open' facial expression, dark bill, and incomplete breast band on the Kentish Plover.

Tuesday 24th

The CASPIAN TERN was still in Pegwell Bay this morning. Three drake Pochards on Worth marshes were unseasonal and at least 80 Red Kites flew north.

Sedge Warbler by J.Buckingham

Monday 23rd

It poured down almost the entire day. It wasn't until the evening that observers braved the outdoors and it was lucky they did as an immature WHITE-TAILED EAGLE flew over the Estate and Green Wall heading north towards Pegwell Bay. An observer waiting at Pegwell did not intercept the Eagle though so it must have gone inland over the Discovery Park. Not to be outdone though, a fantastic CASPIAN TERN was found roosting with Black-headed Gulls in the Bay. The bird went missing for a little while (perhaps roosting just out of sight around Shellness Point) before coming back and showing well until the late evening. A Spoonbill even dropped in and joined it on the mud! Interestingly, the Caspian Tern had a metal ring on the right leg and a red darvic ring on the left, suggesting it was ringed in Sweden. There has been a bird returning to the UK for the last few summers from the same project and so it's not inconceivable that the Pegwell Bay bird is the same. Hopefully it will show closer at some point and the code on the red ring can be read. This is the sixth SBBOT record of Caspian Tern and recorded for the second year in succession.

Caspian Tern by J.Dodds
Caspian Tern (left), Shelduck (centre), and Spoonbill (right) by J.Dodds

Sunday 22nd

It was nice weather for the AGM. Thank you to everyone who came along. Five Hobbies were using the thermals over Worth marshes and two Dunlins were new in on the pools. At midday a BEE-EATER flew over the marsh calling as it went.

(top) Male Whitethroat with food by N.Smith and (bottom) Juvenile Whitethroat by P.Blanche

Friday 20th

There were heavy downpours from early on (a good thing considering the lack of rain over the winter and spring). In the afternoon there were Hobbies over the Estate and Worth marshes, a passage of 56 Swifts, and two Mediterranean Gulls. At least 27 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were in the gull flock by the toll gate and the first fledged Linnets by Restharrow Scrape.

Wednesday 18th

Temperatures soared by mid-morning so it was better to be out early. A singing male Golden Oriole was the highlight on New Downs and a drake Garganey on Worth.

Monday 16th

A BLACK KITE flew through Worth marshes just before 10am and at least three Spotted Flycatchers were dotted around the Estate.

Spotted Flycatcher by S.Ray

Sunday 15th

A few showers in the morning dropped in a female Ring Ouzel onto the Estate. It showed well enough along the beach road looking towards Little Gully but could be mobile at times. Two Yellow Wagtails were in the field outside the Observatory and a Garden Warbler was in the Little Elms. In the evening 40 Swifts and a Hobby were over the Green Wall.

Saturday 14th

There was no sign of yesterday's two star birds on Worth marshes but it was pleasing to note the first Redshank young on the pools. Two Canada Geese were in Pegwell Bay.

Friday 13th

Unlucky for some, but not for us. It was a little breezy out there but that didn't stop a few quality birds being found. A Golden Oriole was singing intermittently from the Great Wood on Worth marshes. There is no access into the wood so listen from the public footpath along the southern edge. Whether this is the same bird as seen in Worth village yesterday is up for grabs, but spring Orioles rarely stay more than a day and two new birds were also seen at St Margaret's too. So it could just as easily be a new arrival. Mid-morning a Temminck's Stint was then discovered on the muddy pool by the wooden bridge and was still present in the afternoon. On the Estate there were two Spotted Flycatchers, in The Elms and the Haven.

Temminck's Stint by G.Lee

Thursday 12th

On New Downs there were Dunlin, Ringed Plover, four Common Sandpipers, a Yellow Wagtail, and an unseasonably high count of 50 Stock Doves. A Willow Warbler was on Worth marshes and just outside our Recording Area a Golden Oriole was singing in Worth village at dawn.

Reed Bunting by N.Smith

Wednesday 11th

There was no sign of yesterday's Hoopoe but considering the large area of available habitat and elusive nature of the species it could easily still be present. A few Cuckoos and a Wheatear were present. A Spotted Flycatcher in The Elms was our first this year, four Wheatears were on the beach, and a Siskin flew over the Estate. In Pegwell there were 89 Ringed Plovers and an interesting adult Lesser Black-backed Gull that showed features of the Baltic race L.f.fuscus. A Black Kite was reported there in the afternoon.

Cuckoo by P.Blanche

Tuesday 10th

A drake Garganey was on Restharrow Scrape, our third there this spring. There was a burst of 75 Swifts over Worth marshes which were nice to see and later in the evening a Hoopoe was discovered at the northern edge of Prince's Golf Course, bordering Hundred Acre field. If visiting the area please stick to the Kent Coastal Footpath.

Swallow by J.Dodds

Monday 9th

A/the Osprey was seen in the afternoon heading north offshore. Two Bar-tailed Godwits and four Whimbrels were at Dickson's Corner with a further nine Whimbrels on Worth marshes. Two Yellow Wagtails were on Restharrow Scrape and two Wheatears were south of Sandilands.

Sunday 8th

More news from Worth marshes where an Osprey and three Hobbies flew over. There were just the seven Black-tailed Godwits, plus a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel, two Green Sandpipers, and a Common Sandpiper.

Black-tailed Godwits by S.Ray

Saturday 7th

Yesterday's flock of Black-tailed Godwits on Worth marshes increased to 76. Two Wood Sandpipers were also with them and nearby there were good views of a purring Turtle Dove. A Yellow Wagtail flew over. Corn Buntings seem to be doing ok between Restharrow Scrape and the Chequers with at least seven birds present, plus four Wheatears. Two Bullfinches were also on the Estate.

Friday 6th

It was always going to be hard to beat yesterday's amazing sightings but a flock of 62 Black-tailed Godwits on Worth marshes was an excellent start. This is the third-highest Spring count in the last 30 years (beaten only by 78 on 4th May 2012 and 70 on 7th May 2011, both from Pegwell Bay). The warm breeze brought a little raptor movement with 15 Red Kites and a few Marsh Harriers north.

New guided walks are being added every week. Click HERE to book tickets for our guided walk around Gazen Salts nature reserve. We have also arranged a special series of guided boat trips along the river at Grove Ferry. We expect to encounter Turtle Doves, Hobbies, Kingfishers, and maybe even a Beaver! Places will go fast. You can book your places HERE.

Grove Ferry river trip by S.Walton

Thursday 5th

An Osprey flew over Restharrow Scrape first thing in the morning and flew off west towards Worth. There was no sign of the Black-winged Stilt on Worth marshes today but ten Black-tailed Godwits dropped in, five Swifts flew over, and two Turtle Doves were seen. Meanwhile at the Observatory a few Red Kites flew north. An interesting mix at the Point included a drake Garganey, the drake Scaup, and four Canada Geese plus a smart male Whinchat on Prince's Golf Course. There were also two Pochards on Prince's Reservoir (TR349594) on New Downs. At around half one a White-tailed Eagle was seen drifting over Pegwell Bay and then the day got even better later when a female KENTISH PLOVER was discovered in the Bay. It showed ok, but distant, from the hide looking across the river to the beach.

Osprey by P.Blanche

Wednesday 4th

The BLACK-WINGED STILT was still present on Worth marshes and a singing Garden Warbler was heard. A Wheatear was on Sandilands lawn and ten Whimbrels and a Bar-tailed Godwit were at Dickson's Corner.

Black-winged Stilt by P.Coltman

Tuesday 3rd

A BLACK-WINGED STILT was new on Worth marshes. It was favouring the muddy pool by the wooden bridge, just off the Pinnock Wall (TR347559). There was a Bar-tailed Godwit, two Common Sandpipers, and a White Wagtail present on the same pool. Three Hobbies, a Yellow Wagtail, and a House Martin were flying overhead. A nice male Black Redstart was back at the Observatory.

From left-to-right: Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, and Redshank. By A.Lipczynski.

Monday 2nd

It took a while but our first Turtle Dove was purring away on Worth marshes this morning. A White Wagtail was also present on the pools. There were lots of warblers on New Downs with six Cetti's Warblers, eight Sedge Warblers, 32 Reed Warblers, four Lesser Whitethroats, 33 Whitethroats, 12 Blackcaps, and seven Chiffchaffs recorded. A Greenshank, two Whimbrels, and a Wheatear added to the mix. There were three Lesser Whitethroats new in on the Estate too. Over in Pegwell a drake Scaup lingered for a second day and two Garganey were present, whilst a Stone-curlew was sound-recorded flying over Stonar after dark.

Sunday 1st

Intrepid participants on our Dawn Chorus Walk were lucky enough to have a BLACK KITE fly over their heads on Worth marshes. There was lots of other stuff to see (and hear) including a Great White Egret, Tree Pipit, nine Whimbrels, a few Hobbies, 12 Red Kites, two Common Sandpipers, and a Yellow Wagtail. When they got back the day got even better as a Honey-buzzard flew over the Observatory! Two unseasonal Barnacle Geese then dropped onto Restharrow Scrape but flew off shortly after. A drake Scaup was an excellent record in Pegwell Bay and three Cuckoos and a Water Rail were on New Downs.

Barnacle Geese (above) and Whimbrels (below) by S.Reynaert