A mixed variety across the Recording Area. A Razorbill was on the sea, as was a drake Eider which provided good views before drifting south. The Estate Curlew flock continues to increase with 32 present today. Four Dartford Warblers were scattered across the area, two at the Point, two on the Estate. Despite not being recorded in over a month, four Bearded Tits were on the Green Wall where two Pochards were also recorded.
Spells of drizzle from the north were a feature of the morning, resulting in the darkness lingering for some time. The sea was quieter than expected with a northerly wind, but still managed to rustle up some highlights in the form of a Black-throated Diver, two Little Gulls, a juvenile Shag, and three Eiders. There were also 28 Grey Plovers, 148 Wigeons and 17 Ringed Plovers. In the Haven, at least 40 Redwings and 20 Blackbirds were in the bushes. A Merlin and two Water Pipits were on Worth Marshes.
A still morning. Three each of Firecrest and Goldcrest were in the Elms, a lone Chiffchaff was also doing the rounds. On Restharrow Scrape 312 Teals were recorded with 46 Snipes. Over on Worth, six Water Pipits, 250 Common Gulls, and 108 Shovelers were all good counts.
A horrible day with constant rain. Despite this, 298 Teals and 51 Snipes were recorded on Restharrow Scrape.
Plenty of life at Pegwell for the weekend event. A Red-throated Diver flying inland was slightly atypical, with another exhibiting more characteristic behaviour by sitting in the mouth of the Stour. Wildfowl and waders were certainly numerous with a drake Pintail, 82 Wigeons, 47 Shovelers, five Great Crested Grebes, 843 Oystercatchers, 631 Lapwings, 22 Grey Plovers, 87 Golden Plovers, 14 Knots, 26 Black-tailed Godwits, 238 Dunlins, 162 Sanderlings and 81 Curlews all recorded.
Back on the Estate, 80 of both Blackbird and Fieldfare were supported by 35 Song Thrushes, 26 Redwings and a vocal Mistle Thrush. Six Yellowhammers were among 35 Reed Buntings and whilst the Humpback Whale reported to the south was never spied, a Lapland Bunting was on Prince's Beach.
A calmer, sunny day. A Snow Bunting flew north over Prince's Beach and 307 Sanderling were on the Point. On Worth, a Firecrest was present with three Water Pipits. On New Downs, 75 Shovelers, 78 Teals, 471 Lapwings, 131 Golden Plovers, a drake Pintail, two Green Sandpipers and three Ruffs were present on the various water bodies.
A quieter morning than yesterday. Five Chiffchaffs on the Estate was the highest number for a little while, whether they are simply over-wintering birds or late migrants is unclear. There were 27 Blackbirds, eleven Redwings and seven Song Thrushes in the bushes around the Oasis first thing and a Merlin was at the Drove. Over on Worth, a Lapland Bunting flew north over the Pinnock Wall.
In some very exciting news, Sandwich Bay and Worth Marshes has been nominated in the 2022 Bird Guides Birder's Choice Awards as Site of the Year thanks to our impressive run of rarities in both spring and autumn! The Eleonora's Falcon has also been nominated for the Star Bird of the Year. It is a vote-based competition, so please cast your votes by following this link here: Birders' Choice Awards 2022 - BirdGuides.
Torrential rain throughout the morning limited things somewhat. Once again, the sea held the quality with a single Little Gull, two Arctic Terns, and a Grey Phalarope south amongst a good number of Gannets. The number of Teal on Restharrow Scrape continues to build-up with an afternoon count of 214 recorded.
A still and warm morning after last night's storm had passed through. A flock of 31 Fieldfare flew over the Observatory first thing with another two in the Whitehouse bushes. Eight Goldcrests were dotted around the Estate, particularly associating with a mixed Tit flock in Little Elms that also contained a solitary Blackcap. A Greenfinch was also present and two Siskins flew over. In the morning, a Great White Egret flew over the Drove. On Worth, nine Pintails and six Ruffs were hanging around with three Water Pipits and ten Stonechats also recorded.
The morning was the best time to be out before the foul conditions hit the area in the afternoon. Although not as busy offshore as the previous day, singles of Red-breasted Merganser and Razorbill were logged. Three Sandwich Terns were still lingering in the Bay, likely to be the same individuals from yesterday. A small thrush arrival was recorded first thing on the Estate with 30 Blackbirds providing the majority of the numbers.
Worth was busier with upwards of 150 Redwings and 450 Fieldfares. There also appeared to be a build-up in wildfowl with 500 Wigeons, 750 Teals, 105 Shovelers and 72 Gadwalls recorded. A ringtail Hen Harrier was flying around and a single Grey Plover was present on the marshes.
Large numbers of seabirds are being logged further north of us and thankfully Sandwich Bay got in on the action with a surprisingly good mix of birds offshore. The two main highlights were a Red-necked Grebe which flew south close in and a Little Auk which drifted north on the sea into Pegwell Bay. A good mixture of wildfowl and waders passed offshore, including a Goldeneye, there were still three Sandwich Terns, and a Short-eared Owl was watched flying in off, with 21 Lapwings in too.
Low cloud and a hint of northerly in the wind was enough to stir up some movement. There were small numbers of Siskins through and 32 unidentified 'Grey Geese' flew over Worth marshes. On the marsh there were singles of Spotted Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, and Ruff, four Green Sandpipers, an increase to 450 each of Teal and Wigeon, and still around 400 Fieldfares present. Ten Bewick's/Whooper Swans flew over the Hoverport.
A Red-rumped Swallow was hawking around the bird hide at Pegwell Bay. Last week there were two Red-rumped Swallows regularly around Palm Bay, Margate, and one was also at Sandown Castle, Deal. Then, yesterday, two were seen at Kingsdown. How many birds are in Kent?
A movement of 2,620 Woodpigeons went north over Worth marshes and the Estate between 08:30 and 10:00. Also on the Estate were a Peregrine, eight Stonechats, eight Chiffchaffs, and a Firecrest. There were two Firecrests, eight Goldcrests, and six Stonechats on the Green Wall, and 55 Carrion Crows on Prince's Beach.
Two Tree Sparrows were seen in the asparagus fields behind Restharrow Scrape, viewable from the public footpath. Two Firecrests, six Goldcrests, two Chiffchaffs, and a Woodcock were in The Elms, and three Mediterranean Gulls were in with 220 Common Gulls in the flooded field near the entrance of Royal St Georges/Sandown Rd.
Awful weather for most of the day but a 1cy Caspian Gull dropped into Restharrow Scrape for a little while.
A fantastic drake Long-tailed Duck flew in off the sea, whirled around the Estate, and flew back out, sitting on the sea just off King's Avenue. This wasn't the only odd sighting of the day as 13 Sanderlings were found on Worth marshes, likely the first ever record for this species on the site. Clearly the fierce conditions were moving birds around. Am minimum of 450 Fieldfares and 150 Redwings were also on Worth before the weather stopped play.
An overnight arrival brought good numbers of thrushes and Robins on the Estate, plus two Woodcocks and the lingering Firecrest. A great count of 75 Snipes on Restharrow Scrape was a record count for the site. Meanwhile there were 300 Fieldfares, a Ruff, and two Water Pipits on worth marshes.
The second day of our WeBS weekend, this time covering the northern sectors. On New Downs there were 114 Teals, 80 Shovelers, one Pochard, two Water Rails, 680 Lapwings, 440 Golden Plovers, one Ruff, 31 Redshanks, 51 Skylarks, six Rock Pipits, 26 Pied Wagtails, one Firecrest, two Bearded Tits, 11 Siskins, and one Corn Bunting. Another Dartford Warbler was along Prince's Beach and in Pegwell Bay there were 606 Wigeons, one Pintail, 1,460 Oystercatchers, 765 Dunlins, 390 Sanderlings, 47 Knots, 58 Grey Plovers, two Avocets, 209 Redshanks, and 40 Black-tailed Godwits. A bit of movement offshore comprised 123 Brent Geese and 16 Pintails, and surprisingly a Little Grebe sat on the sea! A Woodlark flew over Sandilands and a Tree Sparrow was on the Observatory feeders, whilst four Short-eared Owls and the late Wheatear were still present on the Estate.
The water levels on Worth marshes had increased considerably since last month's WeBS counts. The pools produced 43 Mute Swans, 172 Greylag Geese, 182 Teals, and 122 Wigeons, the majority of the wildfowl across the marshes. There were also counts of 13 Grey Herons, four Water Rails, two Black-tailed Godwits, four Green Sandpipers, 40 Stonechats, six Water Pipits, 357 Fieldfares, 70 Redwings, 17 Cetti's Warblers, two Dartford Warblers, 62 Long-tailed Tits, one Raven, 32 Reed Buntings, and one Corn Bunting. There was a similar arrival of thrushes and Water Rails on the Green Wall and a surprising Dartford Warbler along Sandown Rd. Two Tawny Owls were calling early in the evening.
On the Estate there were Peregrine, Marsh Harrier, a few Lesser Redpolls and Siskins overhead, and Goldcrests in the bushes. Two Dartford Warblers were at Dickson's Corner, two Mediterranean Gulls on Restharrow Scrape, 32 Shovelers came in off the sea and an immature Caspian Gull flew through. A Snow Bunting was on the beach in line with the Chequers. A very late Hobby on Worth marshes was notable. Meanwhile the Red-rumped Swallow performed well nearby on the southern end of Royal Cinque Ports Golf Course. No sign of it entering our area today.
There was still a secretive group of Lesser Redpolls in the Gullies and a Firecrest in The Elms. Four Ravens flew over calling. A Red-rumped Swallow was discovered just outside the Recording Area, hawking over the southern end of Royal Cinque Ports Golf Course and north Deal for most of the day, but thankfully did us a favour and diverted over the Chequers briefly late morning.
The weather was better today but still with a strong south-westerly breeze. There was a increase in Gadwall on Restharrow Scrape and still around 25-30 Snipe present. There were at least 25 Lesser Redpolls in the Gullies and a small but noticeable arrival of Thrushes in the area.
Stormy conditions again. Over 100 Gannets were offshore but not much else other than a few Kittiwakes and Terns. A flock of 324 Sanderlings on the Estate beach was an excellent count though. This species has been increasing each winter for the last few years (in contrast to Turnstone which seems to be in a steep decline). There were also 220 Fieldfares on Worth marshes near Roaring Gutter.
Yesterday's weather was pretty foul and this morning wasn't much better. Three Egyptian Geese and two Wigeons were new on Restharrow Scrape.
We have a busy week ahead of us. Our guided walk on Wednesday 9th is at Minnis Bay and the second part of our online course on Discovering British Birds starts that evening too. Click HERE to book. On Thursday we have Leigh Marshall, reserve manager at Welney WWT, telling us all about the fantastic reserve. We hope to see you all there.
The main talking point of the day was the movement of Woodpigeons. From dawn there were significant flocks of hundreds at a time coming in from the south and heading north over Worth marshes and the Estate. At least 11,000 flew through up to midday. The late Wheatear remained south of Sandilands and three Firecrests were dotted around on the Estate, plus at least 150 Lesser Redpolls, 30 Siskins, and 20 Swallows. Eight Pink-footed Geese flew south over Worth marshes and another seven went past offshore.
After two weeks of southerlies the wind finally swung around to the north. This meant it felt a lot colder but it did encourage some movement through the area. Offshore there were a handful of wildfowl and waders, 23 Sandwich Terns, and a smart 1cy Little Gull. Overhead 29 Skylarks, 39 Swallows, two House Martins, 39 Meadow Pipits, three Bramblings, 19 Siskins, and eight Lesser Redpolls went north. A late Wheatear was a surprise on the beach south of Sandilands and two Firecrests were in The Elms area.
Downpours throughout the morning meant the only bird to report was a Goosander on Worth marshes, a belated first for the year.
There was a gap in the weather early in the morning and it produced a flurry of interesting sightings. A Swift species was reported though it eluded most of us. Singles of Lapland Bunting and Dartford Warbler were at Dickson's Corner and two Tree Sparrows were at the Drove. A Jack Snipe was nearby on Restharrow Scrape and five Firecrests were dotted around the Estate.
Four Pintails and a Merlin were new on Worth marshes, with a Water Pipit seen too, and on New Downs there was a late Wheatear, a Firecrest, a Grey Plover on the river, and three Ruffs on the North Pool.
Strong wings from the south-west buffeted the Bay and made for uncomfortable birding. There were a handful of Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests hiding out in the Gullies, a mobile Grey Wagtail, and three Swallows near Restharrow Scrape.