With the current temperature drop, the Recording Area was subject to a fine frost this morning. In Pegwell, a Great Northern Diver was present first thing, two Caspian Gulls were on the mud-flats and the Twite pair were still lingering near the Hoverport. Two White-fronted Geese flew north over RSPB Worth Marshes. A smart drake Velvet Scoter flew south offshore and the Snow Bunting was still present on the Point.
The two Twite were again present at Pegwell and a Jack Snipe flew over the Hoverport. Singles of Great White Egret and Cattle Egret were on Worth Marshes, where there had been a further increase in wildfowl numbers.
There were some further excellent counts of wildfowl on RSPB Worth Marshes with 2300 Wigeon, 1850 Teal, 220 Shoveler, 150 Gadwall and the five Bewick's Swans. At least 2000 Lapwings were also distributed across the area and a Great White Egret flew over, later being seen over New Downs. Wader counts at Pegwell Bay included 1090 Dunlins, 220 Sanderlings, 391 Lapwings, 293 Golden Plovers, 73 Bar-tailed Godwits, three Avocets and 76 Grey Plovers. A Caspian Gull was also present.
The Twite were again present at Pegwell but mobile and elusive. Another Woodcock was present on the Estate.
A pair of Twite on the saltmarsh at Pegwell Bay were a nice find and the first record for a number of years in the area. They may linger through the winter given the amount of saltmarsh available for them. On the Estate, a Woodcock was present with another reported at Pegwell. Four Yellowhammers were present on RSPB Worth Marshes.
There was a considerable wildfowl build-up on RSPB Worth Marshes with up to 2000 Wigeon, 600 Teal, 175 Shoveler and a Pintail. The five Bewick's Swans were joined by another three adults, with two Crossbills flying over and a Jack Snipe. Elsewhere, a Black-throated Diver flew north offshore.
A PALLAS'S WARBLER was a new discovery at St George's Bushes. It was quite mobile and with the Long-tailed Tit and Goldcrest flock. Three Woodcocks were also seen nearby. Three Snow Buntings dropped into Restharrow Scrape briefly before heading off north and a Brent Goose was in with the Lapwings next to the scrape, with another three flying over with Greylag Geese. There was an influx of wildfowl on RSPB Worth marshes and a Great White Egret was still present, as were the five Bewick's Swans this side of the railway. Despite the strong winds there was not nearly as much sea passage as expected but a handful of Wigeon, Shelducks, and Brent Geese were seen and there was a steady movement of Gulls along the shore, including at least four Caspian Gulls.
There were Dartford Warblers at Mary Bax and on Prince's Beach, with the Snow Bunting also still present at the latter. The five Bewick's Swans remained in among the Mute Swan flock still. Over in Pegwell Bay there were two each Caspian and Yellow-legged Gull, and the lingering male Eider.
Members will notice that the latest Annual Report is now out in the Member's Area of the website. Please get in touch with the Treasurer if you have any difficulties accessing the Member's Area. Those who have opted for physical copies can pick one up at the Observatory. Please speak to the volunteer on the shop and they will give you a copy. The remainder will be mailed out shortly. I hope you all enjoy the report and thanks again for all your records last year.
As if by magic two Lapland Buntings appeared in Pegwell Bay today (after mentioning it yesterday) as they flew out of the saltmarsh calling. There were some good counts at high tide including at least 1,750 Dunlins and 450 Sanderlings. On the other side of the river singles of Snow Bunting and Yellow-legged Gull were at the Point and a flock of 20 White-fronted Geese came in off the sea and inland. Four Bearded Tits, ten Rock Pipits, and a Pintail were the highlights on New Downs, three Blackcaps were on the Green Wall, and the two Cattle Egrets remained on the Estate. Yesterday's five Bewick's Swans remained in among the Mute Swan flock (just down from the Observatory towards the Worth track) and on RSPB Worth marshes there were three Great White Egrets, eight Water Rails, and three Water Pipits.
A thorough search of the marshes produced a family of five Bewick's Swans, two Egyptian Geese, a Great White Egret, a Ruff, three Water Pipits, and 140 Fieldfares, with another six Egyptian Geese on the Green Wall.
Once again there has been an impressive variety of species recorded at Sandwich Bay this year. With the addition of Bewick's Swan, Whooper Swan, and Waxwing in the last week there leaves only a handful of new species to possibly add to the Sandwich Bay year list. Scaup, Red-legged Partridge, Slavonian Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Crane, Purple Sandpiper, Iceland Gull, Woodlark, Common Redpoll, Hawfinch, and Lapland Bunting are all possible so still plenty to play for. Let us know if you find any!
After the rain spells had moved through there were at least five Tree Sparrows in the Jubilee Field and 21 Grey Partridges in total on the Estate. A Spotted Redshank was on RSPB Worth marshes and 42 Snipes on Restharrow Scrape.
A Red Kite and two Cattle Egrets were on the Estate.
An interesting mix of birds offshore comprised a drake Goldeneye south offshore, a female Pintail, a Yellow-legged Gull, and at least 250 Gannets.
The morning started well with a Brambling and two Cattle Egrets on the Estate, and two Great White Egrets and three Pintails on RSPB Worth marshes. Then got better with a Waxwing flying south over Pegwell Bay and two each of Caspian and Yellow-legged Gull on the mud.
There was some movement offshore with 300-400 Brent Geese, 110 Common Scoters, and 18 Little Gulls of note whilst the lingering Arctic Skua put in an appearance. RSPB Worth marshes provided a Great White Egret and four Water Rails and the Cattle Egret flock outside the Observatory now numbered three, with a Marsh Harrier hunting over the nearby asparagus fields.
The highlight of the morning was the two Whooper Swans which flew north over the Whitehouse early on. This a scarce species at Sandwich Bay, far more so than Bewick's Swan, but nationally-speaking these two similar species are on different trajectories. Bewick's Swan is declining fast in the UK due to 'short-stopping' (where birds no longer need to move as far south and west in Europe due to Global Warming induced Climate Change) whereas winter Whooper Swan flocks are on the increase (due to higher breeding populations in Iceland). Considering this, it should be expected that within the next ten years or so we will see a switch in circumstances and more Whooper than Bewick's Swans in Kent. In other news, there was an exceeding late Hobby on RSPB Worth marshes, with a mobile Grey Plover on the marshes too, plus a Yellow-browed Warbler on the Green Wall, and a male Hen Harrier at Pegwell.
The two Cattle Egrets continued to probe the fields outside the Observatory and the Velvet Scoter was seen offshore again, along with at least nine Sandwich Terns. Six Bearded Tits and a very nice male Merlin were on New Downs.
Another good mix of birds with a Goosander and five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, five Little Gulls and another Goosander in Pegwell Bay, two Cattle Egrets still on the Estate, and a Great White Egret also still on RSPB Worth marshes.
A surprise ROSEFINCH was trapped and ringed late morning, a late bird showing unusually dark plumage. It is only our third ever record but hot on the heels of our second last year. Soon after our first PALLAS'S WARBLER of autumn was discovered at Mary Bax. It was a mobile bird ranging up to the Drove with the nearby Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs. Two Great White Egrets were still on RSPB Worth marshes, a Jack Snipe on Restharrow Scrape, and two Water Pipits on the Green Wall. Three Pink-footed Geese flew north along the shore and a Velvet Scoter went south, whilst the two Cattle Egrets remained at the Observatory.
A still, grey morning before the rain hit in the afternoon. Three Great Crested Grebes and the Arctic Skua were offshore. A Dartford Warbler was amongst the Sea Buckthorn on the Point, whilst 39 Fieldfares were on Worth with a Water Pipit and the Great White Egret. The three Cattle Egrets were still present near the Observatory. A single Firecrest was on New Downs where 310 Golden Plovers and 360 Lapwings were in the fields and there was a good count of 41 Robins in the area.
The heavy rain limited coverage during the day. The two Cattle Egrets were still performing around the Observatory, perhaps they will linger like last year's bird. The Arctic Skua was still offshore and harassing the Sandwich Terns.
The Hen Harrier was mobile over Restharrow Scrape and the surrounding fields during the morning. Offshore, two dark-phase Arctic Skuas were loitering in the Bay, possibly the same birds seen over the past few days. An Arctic Tern, adult Little Gull, 12 Sandwich Terns, and two Razorbills were also close to shore. As the weather deteriorated into the afternoon, the sight of three Cattle Egrets and three Little Egrets hunkering down in the fields immediately by the Observatory was slight unusual. Singles of Water Pipit and Great White Egret were on RSPB Worth Marshes.
A/the very vocal SERIN flew over the Observatory early morning. It seems to be hanging around so it may be worth scanning through the local Goldfinch and Linnet flocks. A northward passage of Chaffinches was noted over the Estate with a smaller trickle of Lesser Redpolls and Siskins also occurring. The Spotted Redshank was back on Restharrow Scrape whilst 13 Tree Sparrows near Mary Bax were nice to see. Two Great White Egrets and a Cattle Egret were on Worth Marshes.
Three Cattle Egrets were on Worth with the Great White Egret still present. An Arctic Skua was close offshore near Sandilands and a Spotted Redshank was present on Restharrow Scrape. It or another Spotted Redshank was also reported in Pegwell Bay with a ringtail Hen Harrier. There was still a scattering of Lesser Redpolls and Siskins overhead on the Estate with a Firecrest, six Chiffchaffs and 14 Goldcrests in the bushes.
A single SERIN flew in off the sea and continued over the Estate. The ringtail Hen Harrier performed well over Restharrow Scrape and the Asparagus fields in the morning and a Jack Snipe flew over. At least four Arctic Skuas were offshore with four Arctic Terns. On the Point, the first two Dartford Warblers of winter were in the Sea Buckthorn, sharing the space with two late Wheatears. Over on Worth, there were two Merlins zipping around.
With further inclement weather, it was up to the sea to provide the interest. A fair passage of Kittiwakes was logged with 67 south through the day as well as three each of Little Gull and Arctic Skua and a single Great Skua.
The calm and sunny morning was a huge change from the previous day. Although the sea was quieter, it still held some highlights including a single LEACH'S PETREL flying north and our second Grey Phalarope of autumn, which was close to shore off Sandilands. A late Wheatear was also south of Sandilands whilst a pair of Egyptian Geese were on the Green Wall. On RSPB Worth Marshes, a Hen Harrier quartered over and on the beach-front, a Snow Bunting flew north. Meanwhile a SERIN south along Mary Bax was a nice surprise.
The full force of Storm Ciaran blasted through during the morning and attention was paid to the sea as a result. Fortunately, diligence of watching through into late afternoon was rewarded with some excellent birds. These included singles of Long-tailed Duck, Velvet Scoter, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, 54 Little Gulls, three Goosanders, a Short-eared Owl north and three Red-throated Divers. In the afternoon, it was also pleasing to tap into the substantial south-coast movement of LEACH'S PETRELS with at least eight logged offshore joined by up to four STORM PETRELS, there is only one previous occurrence of both these species being recorded on the same day in Sandwich Bay history. Elsewhere, two Little Gulls were on Restharrow Scrape with another pair on RSPB Worth Marshes. Five Tundra Bean Geese were also on the latter site first thing before flying south and three Water Pipits were present.
A sodden start to the month with rain all morning. Nine Little Gulls, five Sandwich Terns, three Goosanders, and a juvenile Kittiwake were logged offshore. In Pegwell Bay, 593 Dunlins, 47 Grey Plovers, 44 Golden Plovers, and an Eider were present.