Thursday 30th

Bright again but still with a nagging cold wind, the morning produced 2 Garden Warblers, a few more Whitethroats and 4 Avocets, but there was virtually nothing moving. Interestingly, a group that visited Oye Plage on the French coast yesterday found a party of 16 Yellow Wagtails, all of which were flavissima types, so perhaps there is plenty yet to come. And where have we heard that before?

Wednesday 29th

The Pied Flycatcher was still in the Elms, a few more Whitethroats and Reed Warblers were apparent and, well, that was it. One sugar in mine, please.

Tuesday 28th

Bright again, but with an icy WNW wind, a three-hour session on the seafront produced the first 3 Swifts of the year, 168 Linnets and 42 Goldfinches and on the return through the Elms a female Pied Flycatcher was found amid the continuing din from the resident Blackcaps.

Monday 27th

This morning was bright but with a cold NE wind, in stark contrast to yesterday and the birding was predictably a good deal less exciting, with 19 Swallows, 40 Goldfinches and 148 Linnets along the shore and at least 9 Chiffchaffs in the bushes, rather than the usual one or two.

Sunday 26th

An overcast, wet and miserable day actually proved to be very good, with a Wood Warbler in the Elms and a constant procession of Swallows along the coast, though the bulk of the excitement was in Pegwell, where a Kentish Plover, 2 Garganey, an Osprey, 2 Spoonbills and a Scaup were recorded. There were also at least 50 Whimbrel, 320 Dunlin, a Hobby, the first Little Terns of the year, and a Pied Flycatcher.

Friday 24th

Fairly typically for this time of year, a calm, frosty and eventually sunny start once early mist had dissipated gave way to cloudy conditions just in time to walk the butterfly transect. Still, a few new migrants were seen, including a Hobby over the Elms, a Yellow Wagtail and 6 Whitethroats, while Blackcaps appear still to be arriving, with a couple of new birds in the gullies and unprecedented numbers of singing males on the Estate.

Thursday 23rd

Overcast and inhospitable with a light E breeze, the best thing that can be said for this morning is that there appears to be a change on the way, though it is far from certain that it will be for the better. Still, a Reed Warbler at Restharrow was our first on the Estate, an Egyptian Goose put in a brief and rather stroppy appearance at the scrape and the Elms and surrounding areas continue to be stuffed with Blackcaps, at least 16 of which were on the Estate.

Wednesday 22nd

With the weather stuck in the same vein for another day (before clouding over in late morning) there was very little change, except for a few more Whitethroats and some entertainment from a Blackcap in the gullies that was singing like a Reed Warbler, amongst other things.

Tuesday 21st

Much the same as yesterday, though the breeze was slightly stronger if anything, the morning featured 202 Linnets and 41 Goldfinches N in a couple of hours, 2 Med. Gulls over Sandown Road and 12 Whimbrel, 7 of which flew from inland and on to the beach by Royal Cinque Ports golf course. Speaking of which, someone reported a Hoopoe in the horse paddocks between the clubhouse and Deal.

Monday 20th

A bright morning with a rather chilly breeze along the shore, though inland it was warmer and a good deal more pleasant. Two hours of visible migration included 149 Linnets and 2 adult Med. Gulls, while 2 Firecrests were singing in the Elms and a walk along Worth track was rewarded with a singing lesser Whitethroat and a Cuckoo near Roaring Gutter. The first Hobby of the year was also seen, at Pegwell.

Sunday 19th

WeBS count day provoked extended coverage beyond the Estate and although the morning was chilly and overcast it turned into a very pleasant spring afternoon. Highlights included our first Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Cuckoos and Garden Warbler of the year and 2 Greenshanks, which were also the first of spring. 4 Common Sandpipers were on the river at Backsand Point, with 3 more on Willow Farm, a Little Ringed Plover and a Whimbrel were on new Downs and, back on the Estate, a Redstart and at least one Ring Ouzel were seen.

Friday 17th

Bright and breezy again, with the wind from the ENE, this morning was much the same as yesterday, but without the good bits.

Thursday 16th

The flirtation with summer over the last two days was all too brief and a chilly ENE breeze set the tone for the next few days, it seems. On the shore, 106 Linnets, 19 Swallows and 2 Med. Gulls flew N, a Little Ringed Plover flew N over the Estate and 3 Ring Ouzels were in the bushes. Just to confound the doubters, our first Reed Warbler of spring was nattering to itself along the Green Wall in the afternoon.

Wednesday 15th

Cloudless, calm and increasingly warm, this morning had the feel of a typical spring day where most things that stop are birds that intend to breed locally and visible migration is all but absent. Nevertheless, at least 24 Blackcaps were present on the Estate, a Green Sandpiper tittered overhead early on and 4 Yellow Wagtails were fiddling about with the cattle near the Chequers.

Tuesday 14th

Pied Flycatcher by Steve Ray
Pied Flycatcher by Steve Ray

A bright morning with a steadily developing SW breeze prompted a three-hour watch on the seafront that produced 324 Linnets, 23 Swallows, 9 Goldfinches and a Common Sandpiper on the sailing club jetty. A Whitethroat moved through some shoreside tamarisks, 11 Blackcaps, 10 Chiffchaffs and 3 Willow Warblers were on the Estate and the morning was rounded off very nicely by a lovely male Pied Flycatcher in trees across from the Elms and an equally spanking male Redstart in a garden at the north end of the Estate.

Monday 13th

The arrival of migrants continues to accelerate, with 7 Sedge Warblers and a Yellow Wagtail on Worth, Whitethroat at Mary Bax and at least 7 Willow Warblers, while 26 Swallows flew N along the shore or out at sea and a Ring Ouzel flew over the sailing club. Around 23 Chiffchaffs and 12 Blackcaps were apparent on Worth and the Estate and 5 Wheatears were our first for nearly 2 weeks.

Sunday 12th

Bright with enthusiastic SW breeze the morning produced another Ring Ouzel, our first Yellow Wagtail with the resident cattle near the Chequers and a Buzzard.

Saturday 11th

Another good spring day, with at least 3 Red Kites, a Hawfinch on Worth, our first Willow Warbler  and Tree Pipit of the spring and a Ring Ouzel.

Friday 10th

Another foggy start did have the good grace to lift earlier than yesterday, but it remained hazy well into the morning. 57 Linnets, a Swallow and a Sand Martin flew N early on, but the Estate was pretty quiet until a Red Kite and a Buzzard drifted over the Observatory at 11.05.

Thursday 9th

Early mist developed slowly into fog and then back again, with some watery sunshine in late morning. Under the circumstances, 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls and 3 Swallows was probably more than the conditions deserved and a Sedge Warbler on Worth was our first of the spring.

Wednesday 8th

The Day of the Linnet commenced with 172 N along the shore in a couple of hours and at least 210 on Worth, including a flock of around 180 on freshly-ploughed fields near HQ. Otherwise, at least 9 Chiffchaffs were on the Estate, 8 Swallows flew in and a Blackcap was singing in the Elms.

Tuesday 7th

Things are picking up at last and this turned out to be a really good spring day, although it has to be said that totals of 106 Linnets, 6 Swallows and 21 Meadow Pipits N along the shore and a Whimbrel flying at sea took 3 hours to achieve. Still, at least 2 Firecrests were present, one of which was singing lustily, though the same couldn’t be said of a mumbling Blackcap, and 2 Red Kites drifted N over the Whitehouse in mid morning, with a probable 4 more during the course of the day. A House Martin was seen in the afternoon and although there were no Sedge Warblers on Worth yet, 3 Green Sandpipers got up from the rills alongside the Delf Stream and tittered away into the distance and at Pegwell the first Whitethroat and Ring Ouzel were seen. Conjecture over the number of Buzzards that moved through suggest that at least 30 did so – 20 were seen from Pegwell and at least 14 were seen over Worth.

Monday 6th

The Easter weekend concluded with four white wagtails, a Raven and a Green Sandpiper on Worth.

Sunday 5th

A dreary start with a couple of light showers gave way to spring sunshine, though a light ENE breeze took the edge of the warmth. Early movement included 71 Chaffinches flying high S, with 17 heading out to sea in the opposite direction, at least 40 coasting Linnets and a noisy party of 6 Great Tits moving N through the Cellars. Four Firecrests were in the Elms and later on, as the sun emerged, a white wagtail was seen at the Chequers and 2 Swallows and a ringtail Hen Harrier were on New Downs.

Friday 3rd

A dismal, drizzly morning with nothing moving on land or at sea, though a Chiffchaff was singing forlornly on the track leading to the Obs. Still, there is promise of slightly warmer weather later in the Easter break, for those who have faith in such things. As things stand, colder than usual weather appears to be dominating Europe from the Iberian Peninsula to Turkey and migrants are responding accordingly.

Thursday 2nd

Overnight rain lasted into the early hours, prompting a three-hour spell on the seafront which was rewarded with 330 Brent Geese, many of which were well out at sea, 5 Avocets, 2 Sandwich Terns, 38 Lesser Black-backs and a trickle of passerines; mainly Meadow Pipits and Linnets. As the afternoon became steadily warmer, our first Swallow of the year was seen near the sailing club, along with a lone Wheatear, while 3 Garganey were seen in Pegwell.

Wednesday 1st

Pinch and a punch etc……. The new month got off to a bright but windy start with little more than a trickle of Linnets along the shore and a Buzzard that circled the scrape, though news of a Willow Warbler in Pegwell was at least slightly encouraging.