Yesterday's Spotted Flycatcher was still in the same spot in the Little Elms and showing well from the gate and carparking spaces opposite The Elms. Restharrow Scrape was full of young birds and looking really good, perhaps it will attract something like a Pratincole species soon. Two more Spotted Flycatchers were along the edge of the northern-most pine plantation on Prince's Golf Course (approx. TR348609) and just nearby there was an excellent group of three singing Quails in the field (approx. TR346608). These can all be viewed/heard easily enough from the Kent Coastal Footpath.
It was hard work in the strong and harsh wind. Hardly spring weather but there were rewards in the form of a Spotted Flycatcher in the Little Elms and a brood of Shovelers on Restharrow Scrape.
There were little migrants of note on the ground but sustained passage above of over 300 Swifts and 100 House Martins. In the evening a RED-RUMPED SWALLOW was briefly on Worth before being spooked by the local Hobby. Elsewhere it was about breeding birds. It was good to confirm breeding of Stonechats on the Prince's Golf Course area, and also a territory of Goldcrests on the Green Wall, whilst the first groups of fledged Starlings are beginning to maraud the area.
The highlight of the day was an Osprey which flew right over the Observatory. A Red Kite was also seen. There were 12 Little Egrets taking advantage of the receding water levels on Worth, with four Grey Plovers also present, whilst there were 79 Sanderlings and 46 Ringed Plovers in Pegwell Bay.
A male Whinchat put in a brief appearance on Worth marshes whilst a Barnacle Goose did similar on Restharrow Scrape. Following on from yesterday's sighting there were two Siskins in The Elms. On the evening tide there were 41 summer-plumaged Sanderlings in Pegwell Bay.
There remained a good mixture of waders on Worth marshes including 60 Black-tailed Godwits, two Dunlins, six Greenshanks, a Little Stint, a Turnstone, two Common Sandpipers, and a Grey Plover, plus two intriguing and confusing 'flava' wagtails showing characteristics of the eastern races. A late Siskin flew over the Observatory and there was a flurry of House Martins which still seem to be arriving, perhaps held back by these continued north-easterlies.
Despite the sunshine it was still quite cool with the continued north-easterly breeze. The highlights on New Downs were two Common Sandpipers along the river, a pair of Stonechats with food, and a fair bit of Cuckoo activity. A Red Kite north and on Worth marshes there was a Great White Egret and a Little Stint.
It felt like a good day for raptor migration but in the end only a few Red Kites came through. Two Honey-buzzards skirted around the edge of our Recording Area without entering unfortunately. A Gadwall brood on Worth marshes was great to see and there were still four Garganeys and 43 Black-tailed Godwits on site, whilst in the afternoon there was a brief Bee-eater. At high tide in Pegwell Bay there was a good mix of summer-plumaged waders including 41 Ringed Plovers, as well as late winter fare in the form of a Brent Goose and an Eider.
As the weather improves, so visitors to the Field Centre are on the increase. In addition to offering visitors snacks and refreshments, the role of our shop team extends also to welcoming, signposting, and promoting the centre generally to new and returning visitors. Currently our opening hours are not as extensive as we would like and we are looking for additional volunteers. The current team of lovely volunteers are long standing, dedicated, and very much appreciated. We are looking for several additional volunteers to extend our opening hours and to ensure cover for absences. Various time slots are available and full training will be given. If you think you might be interested to join us, or know someone who might be, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or speak to us at the Field Centre. You will be very welcome and much appreciated!
Among the wader melee on Worth marshes were two Turnstones, probably the first record for the site, as well as 47 Black-tailed Godwits, 27 Ringed Plovers, and two Greenshanks. At least 100 Swifts were above and a late White Wagtail was on the pools.
A big thank you to everyone who came along on the guided boat trips at Grove Ferry. It was another great success with good views of Hobby, Kingfisher, Cuckoo, Garden Warbler, Nightingale, and even a Beaver!
A most overcast day with an increasing northerly wind. There was a small passage of Swifts over the Estate, plus a Yellow Wagtail north. Restharrow Scrape was full of activity and it was pleasing to see the first Oystercatcher and Black-headed Gull chicks to go with the Coot, Canada Goose, Mallard, and Lapwing offspring already on site. A male Mandarin was the highlight on Worth marshes, a bird we didn't record in the area last year.
A Bittern on Worth marshes was the most unusual bird of the day. There were also two Wood Sandpipers, a Garganey, a Whimbrel, three Pochards, and a Grey Plover on site. meanwhile Great Crested Grebe and 12 Black-tailed Godwits were on New Downs.
The four BLACK-WINGED STILTS and three TEMMINCK'S STINTS were all still present inland on Worth marshes as were two Great White Egrets and three Wood Sandpipers.
Yesterday's headlining birds all remained with four BLACK-WINGED STILTS, three TEMMINCK'S STINTS, two Garganeys, four Wood Sandpipers, and a Turtle Dove on Worth marshes. There was an added additional bird of note with a CASPIAN TERN reported in Pegwell Bay.
A thorough survey of Worth marshes in the morning sun produced four BLACK-WINGED STILTS, three TEMMINCK'S STINTS, seven Garganeys, three Wood Sandpipers, two Whimbrels, and a Turtle Dove. There was no sign of yesterday's Ibis but the above haul was more than enough! We're now coming up to a good time for bird of prey passage. Perfect for those who prefer a later start as peak activity tends to be between 09:30 and 13:00. Find an open vista and keep your eyes open for Red Kite in particular, but also Honey-buzzard and Black Kite which could appear.
The Estate produced six singing Corn Buntings and two Cuckoos chasing each other around. Inland on Worth marshes there was a drake Pintail, drake Garganey, a Great White Egret, a GLOSSY IBIS, four BLACK-WINGED STILTS, and 13 Black-tailed Godwits, with just the two Red Kites flying over today.
The main news of the day was the movement of Red Kites north through the area. Birds began to appear mid-morning and by early afternoon at least 44 Red Kites had flown through. A Mediterranean Gull was on Restharrow Scrape and a Cuckoo was calling regularly near the Observatory carpark. Meanwhile a female Redstart was seen at Pegwell.
A singing Wood Warbler around New Downs New Pool was an excellent spring find and continues the line of good records there this year. A Spotted Flycatcher by Mary Bax was a belated first of the year, as was a Great Skua offshore, and there were still lots of hirundines over the marshes inland.
A Great White Egret flew south over the Observatory early in the morning whilst a Turnstone on New Downs was an odd find. The highlights on Worth marshes included a drake Pintail, two Wood Sandpipers, our first Turtle Dove of the year, and a singing Quail. Fingers crossed more Turtle Doves come in soon otherwise its looking to be a bad year in the local area.
A drake Garganey and a Wood Sandpiper were on the pools on Worth marshes whilst it was pleasing to see over 100 House Martins hawking above as they've been late arriving in any decent numbers.
A Great White Egret dropped into Worth marshes whilst the Black-tailed Godwit flock increased to a rather impressive 72 birds. Over on New Downs six Red Kites were the highlight.
For those who are not yet aware, SBBOT has been given a great opportunity to purchase the area of land next to Restharrow Scrape, known as the Jubilee Field and the Dragonfly Pond Field. We really need your help to buy them. Please donate what you can HERE as any amount will help us reach our target. And also pass on the information to others, spread the word to local businesses and in the community, and help make our vision a reality. Thank you!
A Nightingale singing in the Whitehouse area was a rare spring record for the Estate. At least four Red Kites flew north in the late morning and seven Hobbies were hawking over Worth marshes, where 32 Black-tailed Godwits, two Ruffs, and a Wood Sandpiper were present.
A Little Egret, two Mediterranean Gulls, three Sand Martins, two Swifts, and a Yellow Wagtail were the best on the Estate today, whilst two Egyptian Geese sat on a house on King's Avenue were rather incongruous!
There are just two weeks left to grab a place on our special series of guided boat trips from Grove Ferry. Nightingale, Turtle Dove, Hobby, Cuckoo, Garden Warbler, Kingfisher, and even Beaver are all possible. Please see HERE for details.
The conditions were very nice for the Coronation weekend with lots of butterflies and dragonflies out for the first time this year. Bird-wise, the highlights were probably the eight Canada Geese and Garden Warbler on Worth, and the 14 Ring-necked Parakeets on the Green Wall; a higher-than-usual count.
A Cuckoo and a Garden Warbler were on the Estate and a Black-winged Stilt was on Worth marshes in the morning.
A reasonable haul on the Estate included an immature drake Eider sat on the beach, a Red Kite over, a Black Redstart at Sandilands, four Wheatears south of Sandilands, a handful of Swifts, and four Yellow Wagtails. There was an arrival of Bee-eaters into East Kent and at least one was heard calling over New Downs at around 9am but there was no further sign after. Two Common Terns and two Cuckoos were also seen. Four Wood Sandpipers headlined on Worth marshes with two Egyptian Geese and still at least 15 Ringed Plovers, 12 Ruffs, 21 Whimbrels, and nine Greenshanks on the various pools.
There was an impressive smorgasbord of waders on Worth marshes consisting of two Oystercatchers, 20 Avocets, seven Little Ringed Plovers, 31 Ringed Plovers, 12 Lapwings, six Dunlins, 18 Ruffs, three Whimbrels, one Curlew, 11 Redshanks, 13 Greenshanks, two Wood Sandpipers, two Common Sandpipers, and best of all, a Little Stint. The latter is a rare bird here in spring, especially away from Pegwell Bay. A drake Garganey was also present and singles of Razorbill and Common Scoter were offshore.
There was a good arrival of Wood Sandpipers (for spring) with four on Worth marshes and another on New Downs. Other waders on included 16 Whimbrels, five Greenshanks, two Dunlins, and five Black-tailed Godwits. A Nightingale was singing in Stonelees.
A quick reminder that next Sunday 7th May we have InFocus visiting the Observatory from 10am until 3pm. You can test out optics and accessories here at the Field Centre and Keith will be on hand to help you choose the perfect pair.
A female Redstart on the Estate continued the good spring for this species. The Wood Sandpiper was still on Worth marshes (probably the same bird lingering all week), plus 20 Whimbrels and five Greenshanks. Analysis of last night's Nocmig also revealed a singing Nightingale not too far from the Observatory.
There were singles of Hobby, Spotted Redshank, and Wood Sandpiper on Worth marshes, and the vocal Cuckoo on the Estate still.