Saturday 30th

There was some surprise when the RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was re-found on New Downs. It was very mobile (again) but showed distantly on the North Pool, along with five Cattle Egrets and a Little Stint. A reminder that parking at the Polytunnels is only available for a few cars and members must display their membership card on their dashboard. There is no public access up to the pool itself but it can viewed distantly from the England Coastal Path between Bloody Point (TR340597) and Backsand Point (TR340605). Elsewhere there was another significant arrival on the Estate with at least 200 Blackcaps and 165 Chiffchaffs present, plus three Firecrests and a Garden Warbler. Two additional Cattle Egrets were also on RSPB Worth marshes.

Friday 29th

New Downs provided a good mix of waders with 28 Ringed Plovers, three Grey Plovers, a Curlew Sandpiper, 39 Dunlins, two Ruffs, two Greenshanks, two Green Sandpipers, and a Common Sandpiper. At least 600 Swallows went north over the Estate and small numbers of Wheatear, Whinchat, Siskin, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, and Goldcrest were present. A Pochard and two Ruffs were on RSPB Worth marshes.

Thank you to everyone who came along to our first Thursday talk of the autumn last night. Ken Chapman gave an excellent presentation on the Birds of Botswana. Our next talk is a very special one as our patron David Lindo 'The Urban Birder' will be here on 12th October to raise funds to purchase the Jubilee and Dragonfly Pond fields. Tickets are available only online so please click HERE to purchase, and spread the word.

Thursday 28th

A Pied Flycatcher on the Estate was the first record in over a month. Small pulses of Swallows went north and there was a noticeable increase in Starlings with four-figures on the wires outside the Observatory. A Spotted Redshank was on New Downs but there was no sign of yesterday's Phalarope.

Little Owl by S.Ray

Wednesday 27th

The 14th record of RED-NECKED PHALAROPE for Sandwich Bay was briefly on New Downs before flying off. It could not be relocated but a Spoonbill and three Curlew Sandpipers were present. On the Estate there was a small increase in Stonechats, as well as some Whinchats and Wheatears, three Firecrests, and an arrival of 80 Blackcaps and 70 Chiffchaffs. The mobile flock of White Storks was still nearby, reported today from near Woodnesborough.

Tuesday 26th

A Great White Egret and our first Lesser Redpoll of autumn flew over RSPB Worth marshes whilst offshore there was an Arctic Tern among 160 Sandwich Terns and a Manx Shearwater south (our third species of Shearwater of the week). There were only small numbers of warblers in the bushes and Siskins and Meadow Pipits overhead compared to the rest of the week.

Monday 25th

A/the Wood Sandpiper was back on Restharrow Scrape and over on RSPB Worth marshes there was a Honey-buzzard and a Cattle Egret. In the afternoon a flock of c.30 White Storks headed south over Pegwell Bay, no doubt from the Sussex release scheme.

Little Egret by N.Smith

Sunday 24th

A Tree Pipit flew over the Oasis and small numbers of hirundines passed through (surprisingly low compared to the tens of thousands noted just up the coast from us). Two Whinchats were also next to Restharrow Scrape.

Saturday 23rd

Not quite the numbers of yesterday but 75 Chiffchaffs on Worth was a good count. There was a pulse of 3,500 House Martins north through the Estate and two Little Stints were in Pegwell Bay.

Friday 22nd

There was an excellent fall of warblers into the area. Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were in abundance bouncing from bush to bush. The final totals for the area were 550 Blackcaps and 325 Chiffchaffs, most of which were on the Estate. There were also two Grasshopper Warblers, a Wood Warbler, and a Yellow-browed Warbler on the Estate. Factoring in the Reed, Sedge, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, and Garden Warbler present, and there was quite the variety of warbler species on offer. Not forgetting the Firecrest or the significant overhead movement of 920 Siskins and two Tree Pipits north. Another Yellow-browed Warbler was also seen on New Downs at Prince's Reservoir and a surprise Glossy Ibis flew over north.

Thursday 21st

The first calm day this week and birds were clearly taking advantage of the weather. Someone turned on the visible migration tap as Meadow Pipits and Siskins piled through until just after midday. Final morning totals produced 2,100+ Meadow Pipits south and 330 Siskins north, plus one Tree Pipit south, and a Mistle Thrush north. The first Yellow-browed Warbler of the year was in the Haven (I think the first in Kent so far), Great Spotted Woodpeckers were very mobile, Robins far more numerous, and an immature Shag flew north offshore. Four Canada Geese and a Ruff were in and around Restharrow Scrape.

Wheatear by L.Sole

Wednesday 20th

More seawatching produced five Balearic Shearwaters and two Arctic Skuas, the former being a new record count for Sandwich Bay (beating the three on 5th August 1972). Let's hope the Cliff Swallow at Joss Bay does the right thing and comes round into Pegwell Bay. There's some nice cliffs waiting for it.

Tuesday 19th

The day was dominated by a strong south-westerly gale punctuated by occasional squalls. Passerines were scarce unsurprisingly but there were some Meadow Pipits and House Martins sneaking through. Two Ruffs were on Restharrow Scrape and four Canada Geese on RSPB Worth marshes. Seawatching was far more productive with two Sooty Shearwaters, a Balearic Shearwater, and a few Arctic Skuas. 

Monday 18th

Despite the strengthening wind and the odd rain shower it was a reasonable day. A Wood Warbler was seen briefly in Waldershare Gully and a Merlin was on the beach. A Great White Egret, two Ruffs, and three Whinchats were the highlights on RSPB Worth marshes along with an odd influx of Grey Herons, with at least 20 birds present. Over on New Downs there were eight Ruffs, six Greenshanks, and 23 Ringed Plovers, and in Pegwell Bay there were three Spoonbills and singles of Brent Goose, Pintail, Eider, and Little Stint. Across the whole Recording Area there were increases in both Lapwing and Mallard, with 365 of the latter of particular note.

Unfortunately, news came into SBBOT this weekend that our previous Warden, Ian Hodgson, passed away on Saturday night. I'm sure many people will remember Ian's distinctive sense of humour and writing style on this sightings page over his ten years as Warden. He will be fondly remembered at the Obs and we wish his partner Karen and his family all the best.

Saturday 16th

The Black Redstart was still present, with two Whinchats and a Firecrest nearby, whilst totals of 11 Reed Warblers and 35 Reed Buntings were also good counts on the Estate. An impressive 1,500 Oystercatchers were in Pegwell, plus three Spoonbills.

Friday 15th

There was a sizeable arrival of warblers in the area with totals of 136 Blackcaps and 68 Chiffchaffs, most of which were on the Estate. Singles of Spoonbill and Curlew Sandpiper were in Pegwell Bay and a Cattle Egret was on RSPB Worth marshes. Our first Merlin of autumn zipped past Dickson's Corner whilst the Black Redstart was still nearby at Sandilands. Three Spotted Flycatchers were in the Little Elms and analysis of nocturnal recordings revealed an Ortolan Bunting calling over Stonar just past 1am. 

Spotted Flycatcher by P.Blanche

Thursday 14th

There was no sign of the Pectoral Sandpiper today but three Spoonbills and a Hen Harrier on Restharrow Scrape were excellent consolation. There was a light but persistent passage of Meadow Pipits heading north over the Estate, plus one Tree Pipit in attendance, and the immature male Eider was seen again offshore (the first for a few weeks). A Wryneck was seen on New Downs, near Backsands, but was particularly hard to see whilst a Great White Egret was on RSPB Worth marshes.

Spoonbills by M.Bridge

Wednesday 13th

For the second day in a row the Pectoral Sandpiper was on Restharrow Scrape early in the morning but quickly disappeared. A dark juvenile Pomarine Skua was a nice find offshore chasing the passing Tern flocks and three Spoonbills, three Curlew Sandpipers and a Little Stint were in Pegwell Bay.

Tuesday 12th

The Pectoral Sandpiper was still on Restharrow Scrape early in the morning but seemed to disappear soon after, perhaps due to the marauding Sparrowhawk, only to reappear in the rain at lunchtime. The Wood Sandpiper was still present though and lots of Snipes. A Grasshopper Warbler was seen in the Jubilee Field, small parties of Siskins and Meadow Pipits headed north overhead, two Whinchats were south of Sandilands, and four immature Mediterranean Gulls fed just offshore. Over in Pegwell Bay there were two Spoonbills, five Curlew Sandpipers, and a Little Tern.

Pectoral Sandpiper by J.Dodds

Monday 11th

There was somewhat of a clear-out of birds overnight. The Black Redstart was still at Sandilands, 30 Meadow Pipits flew north, a Hen Harrier was at Dickson's Corner, and two Goldcrests were in The Elms. Wood Sandpipers were still on RSPB Worth marshes and Restharrow Scrape, with the latter joined by a Pectoral Sandpiper in the evening.

Wood Sandpiper by S.Ray

Sunday 10th

A flock of five Great White Egrets flew over RSPB Worth marshes. A Black Redstart and five Wheatears were around the Sandilands area and 12 Reed Bunting nearby at Dickson's Corner.

Saturday 9th

A SAVI'S WARBLER was seen along the public footpath between the Observatory and Dickson's Corner, behind the asparagus fields. It showed well but only briefly and disappeared into the asparagus crop. If accepted, this will become the fifth record for Sandwich Bay. A Spotted Redshank on New Downs was the best of the rest on a very hot day.

Friday 8th

Out early before the heat produced a Great White Egret south along the shore, nine Grey Wagtails, 14 Yellow Wagtails, a Tree Pipit, and our first Tree Sparrow of autumn. There were swarms of hirundines consisting of 1,500+ each of Swallow and House Martin whilst two Wigeons, a Ruff, and a Wood Sandpiper were on Restharrow Scrape. Over on RSPB Worth marshes there a ringtail Hen Harrier and a Honey-buzzard flew through, with a Spotted Flycatcher on site. There were also a number of unseen Siskin flocks flying high overhead throughout the area. The next few weeks should be the peak time for this smart finch so it is worth familiarising yourself with their distinctive flight call. See HERE for examples. 

Little Grebe by J.Draper

Thursday 7th

In similar conditions to yesterday four Whinchats, 15 Siskins, and singles of Spotted Flycatcher, Yellow Wagtail, and Grey Wagtail were on the Estate. The Cattle Egret was on RSPB Worth marshes again. In the evening a Long-eared Owl was seen at the Observatory.

Our events team have been very busy recently and lots of new events are now ready to book on our website. There are visits to various places around Kent, online courses on bird identification, Harvest Mouse nest searches, and even an exclusive talk by our patron David Lindo. Tickets will certainly sell fast. See HERE for details. 

Wednesday 6th

The early morning fog soon burnt off and left behind a very hot and humid day. Four Spotted Flycatchers on the Estate included two in the Observatory carpark. There was a little overhead movement once things cleared with a Marsh Harrier, six Grey Wagtails, and 11 Siskins of note, plus the first trickle of Meadow Pipits north. A Wood Sandpiper and nine Yellow Wagtails were on Restharrow Scrape, with another Wood Sandpiper and 13 Siskins on New Downs. Two more Spotted Flycatchers, a Garganey, and a Cattle Egret were also on RSPB Worth marshes.

Sanderling by L.Sole

Tuesday 5th

The highlight of the day was an adult BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON which flew across RSPB Worth marshes in the morning. Also on site were three Wigeons, five Pochards, three Marsh Harriers, one Wood Sandpiper, three Yellow Wagtails, and a Whinchat. On the Estate there were still two Spotted Flycatchers and a Redstart in the Oasis, plus a Wood Sandpiper on Restharrow Scrape. In the evening a good mix of waders on New Downs comprised two Oystercatchers, 16 Lapwings, 12 Ringed Plovers, four Ruffs, 76 Redshanks, ten Greenshanks, seven Black-tailed Godwits, a Wood Sandpiper, five Common Sandpipers, and four Green Sandpipers.

Monday 4th

There was another good movement of Blackcaps with 71 recorded. These type of figures should now occur almost daily for the next month. Three Spotted Flycatchers, two Redstarts, six Whinchats, and four Siskins were also noted on the Estate with a Grasshopper Warbler on RSPB Worth marshes the best of the rest.

Spotted Flycatcher by S.Reynaert

Sunday 3rd

The switch to easterly winds brought our second Red-backed Shrike of autumn on the Estate. It was seen briefly around the Oasis area but soon disappeared. A Nightingale was ringed on the Estate and 85 Blackcaps signified the first major arrival of autumn. Three Spotted Flycatchers, a Black Redstart, and the first Goldcrest of autumn were also on the Estate, with a Wigeon new on Restharrow Scrape. Six Spotted Flycatchers on New Downs, another two nearby at the Point, and five on Green Wall meaning it was another excellent day count for this species. Similarly, there was a movement of 28 Buzzards north over the Observatory and the Green Wall late morning and a total of 131 Ring-necked Parakeets pre-roosting on New Downs in the evening.  

Nightingale by G.Lee

Saturday 2nd

Three Green Sandpipers, a Common Sandpiper, and a Wood Sandpiper were all on Restharrow Scrape. Elsewhere there were 12 Whinchats on RSPB Worth marshes, a Pied Flycatcher on the Green Wall, and 29 Golden Plovers over New Downs.

Common Sandpiper by J.Buckingham

Friday 1st

There was a good mix throughout the Recording Area after the early morning showers. The Green Wall held 12 Ruffs, 98 Ring-necked Parakeets, a Kingfisher, and eight Spotted Flycatchers, 13 Ruffs and a Spotted Redshank were on New Downs, whilst 28 Little Egrets, ten Ruffs, and 13 Turnstones were in Pegwell Bay. On the Estate there were three Spotted Flycatchers, a Whinchat, a Garden Warbler, and a Bullfinch and inland there were four more Ruffs and three more Spotted Flycatchers on RSPB Worth marshes. Over 650 Swallows and almost 30 Lesser Whitethroats were recorded in the total area.

Marsh Harrier by S.Ray