Saturday 30th

Singles of Hobby and Marsh Harrier were both working the Estate and a Siskin flew over the Observatory carpark. A few Whimbrels and Bar-tailed Godwits were present, either offshore or on the fields near Restharrow Scrape. A Common Sandpiper was on the scrape itself and a Grey Plover on the beach. Three Wheatears were south of Sandilands and a Willow Warbler was singing in Waldershare Gully. It was a little quieter over on Worth marshes but 15 Whimbrels were notable and there was an increase in hirundines.

Black-headed Gulls by S.North

Friday 29th

There were now two Wood Sandpipers on Worth marshes and singles of Tree Pipit and Swift both flew overhead. An Arctic Skua and 80 Dunlins passed by offshore, with a Cuckoo north and a few Siskins and House Martins over the Estate.

Whimbrel (above) and Common Sandpiper (below) on Restharrow Scrape by P.Coltman

Thursday 28th

It was worth being out early on Worth marshes as an Osprey flew north just after dawn. It must’ve roosted somewhere nearby (Betteshanger CP?). There was a good mix of waders with Oystercatcher, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Grey Plover (2), Lapwing, Whimbrel, Redshank, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, and Wood Sandpiper all recorded. A Sand Martin was at Roaring Gutter, a Cuckoo sang along the Pinnock Wall, a Yellow Wagtail flew over, and a male Redstart was along the Worth track making for an excellent assemblage of summer migrants.

Wednesday 27th

The low cloud improved the conditions for seawatching. A pale-phase ‘fully-spooned’ Pomarine Skua was the highlight of the morning, it went north offshore at around 09:30. There were also small numbers of Brent Geese, Bar-tailed Godwits, and 16 Whimbrels. A Cuckoo and three Siskins were on Worth marshes and a Hobby on New Downs.

Whitethroat by N.Smith

Tuesday 26th

A drake Red-breasted Merganser on the North Pool (TR338601) on New Downs was a rare inland record and a White-fronted Goose was our first record since February. There were seven Greenshanks (a good spring count) and a Cuckoo at New Downs New Pool (TR348595) was new for the year. So all in all a good wander around New Downs. Yesterday’s Whinchats were still present on Worth marshes along the fence lines near Roaring Gutter (TR351551). There was an Arctic Skua north offshore and another Cuckoo on the Green Wall.

New events are being put on our TicketTailor page regularly at the moment so keep checking. You can join us on Sunday 1st May for Dawn Chorus Day with an early morning guided walk looking and listening to Cuckoos, Turtle Doves, and lots of Warblers. Tickets available HERE.

Monday 25th

The breezy conditions continued. A spell of seawatching wasn’t too productive but our first Arctic Skua of the year pushed north. On Restharrow Scrape there were singles of Common Sandpiper and Yellow Wagtail. Over on Worth marshes and a pair of Whinchats was a nice find. They are always a scarce sighting here in spring. There was a little movement of Whimbrels and Bar-tailed Godwits going over, with 14 and 25 recorded, respectively, and a group of 15 House Martins were zipping around near the Great Wood too.

Linnet by S.Reynaert

Friday 22nd

There was an arrival of Green Sandpipers with two on the Green Wall and nine on Worth marshes. Worth also provided five Bar-tailed Godwits, 15 House Martins, and four Sand Martins. Another Bar-tailed Godwit was on Restharrow Scrape. This time of year usually sees large numbers passing offshore or stopping off in Pegwell Bay. A Whimbrel flew over the Observatory and a Gull flock near the entrance of Royal St George’s Golf Course contained two Caspian and one Yellow-legged in among 400 Herring, 30 Lesser Black-backed, and a handful of Mediterranean Gulls.

Thursday 21st

Whitethroat was the commonest warbler on the Estate today. It wont be long before they are singing in every available Bramble patch in the area. A few Swallows flew north and three Wheatears were south of Sandilands.

Ring-necked Parakeet by P.Blanche

Wednesday 20th

A Tree Pipit was a nice find at St George’s Bushes as it is always a hard bird to find here in spring. Elsewhere on the Estate there was a flyover Green Sandpiper, six Wheatears, and a Siskin. Over on Worth marshes the total of 25 Cetti’s Warblers was a new record count. There was also a Red Kite, 11 Mediterranean Gulls, two Lesser Whitethroats, a Yellow Wagtail, two Sand Martins, and six House Martins.

Tuesday 19th

Singles of Wheatear and Whimbrel were on Prince’s Beach and 20 Mediterranean Gulls went north along the shore. Worth marshes provided a Great White Egret, a different bird to the one at the weekend as this one has a black bill whereas the other was yellow, and 17 Red Kites flew north. The highlight on New Downs was another drake Garganey, two Greenshanks, and the first Greylag Goose broods of the year on the pools.

Skylark by S.North

Monday 18th

Worth marshes was a cacophony of sound with at least 38 Sedge Warblers present. Two Whimbrels were also seen. A drake Garganey on Restharrow Scrape was the best bird of the day and five House Martins were on the Green Wall.

Garganey by C.Hill

Sunday 17th

The Great White Egret was still on Worth and a Red Kite flew over (but not the Black Kite which toured around the coast nearby). there were still good numbers of Wheatears near Sandilands and a probably Hoopoe was glimpsed. Hopefully it’ll be re-found.

Mediterranean Gulls seem to be passing through all the time at the moment. Their distinctive calls can be heard overhead so it’s worth familiarising yourself with it if visiting the area.

Wheatear by N.Hefford

Saturday 16th

A/the Ring Ouzel was seen again, this time on Royal St George’s Golf Course, and our first Garden Warbler of the year was in The Elms. A Great White Egret dropped into Worth marshes.

Friday 15th

A few Whimbrels were in Pegwell Bay, a Ring Ouzel was in the Haven/Oasis area, and seven Wheatears were at Sandilands. Late news came in of a Stone-curlew recorded over Stonar last night.

Thursday 14th

A really lovely spring morning to be out exploring the area. Three Willow Warblers, a Greenshank, and 20 Mediterranean Gulls were on Worth marshes. In Pegwell Bay a Red-breasted Merganser was a good find. Three Whimbrels were the best on offer amongst the wader assemblage, but as it is prime Kentish Plover time it is worth checking the site regularly.

Wheatears by J.Dodds

Wednesday 13th

There was no sign of the Ring Ouzels out on the marshes today but a brief female was seen at the entrance of the Worth track (TR350569). There was a marked arrival of Sedge Warblers with 19 singing from the ditches on Worth marshes, plus eight Whitethroats and our first Reed Warbler of the year. The ringtail Hen Harrier drifted through towards the Observatory and a Yellowhammer was singing near the railway at Blue Pigeons. On the Estate there were at least three Willow Warblers.

Teal By G.Lee

Tuesday 12th

A good day to be out and about and plenty of birds to report. On the Estate two Yellow Wagtails flew north, three Sandwich Terns came from inland and went over Restharrow Scrape and out to sea, and a fem/imm Black Redstart was at Sandilands, plus three Wheatears, Willow Warbler, two Whitethroats, Brambling, 14 Siskins, and a Mediterranean Gull. Offshore there was another Mediterranean Gull and 60 Sandwich Terns flew north, plus another 94 additional birds in Pegwell Bay. Over on Worth marshes there were two Whimbrels, eight Mediterranean Gulls, two Wheatears, 16 Sedge Warblers, Willow Warbler, and two Whitethroats, plus yesterday’s Barnacle Goose now present on Willow Farm. Top billing went to five Ring Ouzels (four male and one female) which were mostly around the Roaring Gutter area. Late in the day a Grasshopper Warbler was also singing near Blue Pigeons.

As the breeding season is well underway now it is worth reminding yourself of the guidelines in watching, photographing, or reporting breeding birds. Many species, though not particularly rare or scarce, are very sensitive to disturbance. It may surprise you what species are on the Schedule 1 or RBBP lists. Information on these can be read HERE and HERE. If you come across an interesting bird, have a think whether it is in suitable breeding habitat, and if possible keep your distance. At SBBOT we always err on the side of caution. If you come across a potential rare breeding bird in the Sandwich Bay area you can contact the Warden at info@sbbot.org.uk.

Monday 11th

There were Whitethroat and Willow Warbler on the Estate today, the former was our first of the year, and at least 12 Sandwich Terns were offshore. Three Whimbrels on New Downs were also new for the year with four Pintails and a Little Ringed Plover also seen. A Swallow and two Sedge Warblers were the best on Worth in the morning but an afternoon session produced five Black-tailed Godwits, a Barnacle Goose, and two Yellow Wagtails (another new species for the year).

Sedge Warbler (above) and Marsh Harrier (below) by S.Reynaert

Saturday 9th

Singles of Hen Harrier, Great White Egret, and Red Kite were seen moving through Worth marshes and there was a noticeable arrival of Blackcaps across the area.

Blackcap by P.Blanche

Friday 8th

A Barnacle Goose was an odd arrival on Willow Farm this morning. The White Stork was still present whilst a Jack Snipe and two Little Ringed Plovers were seen from the Pinnock Wall. Sedge Warblers, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, and Cetti’s Warblers are singing across the marsh now, it won’t be long before Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, and Reed Warbler join them. A Brambling in The Elms was the only sighting of note on the Estate and a Wheatear was seen along the edge of Hundred Acre Field.

Collared Dove by C.Hill

Thursday 7th

Two Swallows and both our first House Martin and Greenshank of the year were seen in very windy conditions on Worth marshes.

A reminder that a ‘Telegram’ Group has been set up for SBBOT members to share sightings of scarce, rare, or sought-after birds (and other taxa) in or around the SBBOT Recording Area. It works like a communal WhatsApp group and is a great way to get real-time updates from the area. If you wish to participate (or just read updates) you will need to first download the Telegram app onto your mobile phone and then email your name and mobile number to fatbirder@gmail.com. You will then be sent a link to join.

Wednesday 6th

A singing Willow Warbler near the Cellars was the first record of the year. A Swallow went south along the beach and another was at the Chequers. Small parties of finches went north overhead. Meanwhile a group of Common Scoters were sound-recorded overnight at Stonar.

Mistle Thrush by S.Reynaert

Tuesday 5th

Three Sedge Warblers were singing at Roaring Gutter on Worth marshes and five White Wagtails were on the various pools. Over on New Downs an evening wander produced two Pintails, Spotted Redshank, Mediterranean Gull, White Wagtail, Brambling, and 46 Redwings.

Monday 4th

The mini-influx of Caspian Gulls continued with one on Restharrow Scrape, plus a Swallow and a White Wagtail. A Brent Goose flew over the Ancient Highway and over on Worth marshes a flock of 16 White Wagtails was a nice find.

Sunday 3rd

There was a Red Kite over the Estate and two Caspian Gulls on the beach, plus another on Restharrow Scrape. There two White Wagtails also on Restharrow Scrape and nearby there were Firecrest, Brambling, and six Siskins in The Elms. The White Stork was still on Worth marshes as well as a Swallow and 11 Mediterranean Gulls.

Siskin by S.Ray

Saturday 2nd

Worth marshes was busy enough with Red Kite, White Stork, two Little Ringed Plovers, five Mediterranean Gulls, ten Siskins, and a Brambling. Ringed Plover and two Dunlins were new on Restharrow Scrape and a few Avocets were in Pegwell Bay.

Starling by J.Dodds

Friday 1st

There were no fools this morning as most of us hid inside from the barrage of hail. When it cleared there were two Canada Geese on Restharrow Scrape and a Firecrest by the Little Elms. Six Red-breasted Mergansers and five Avocets were in Pegwell and another two Mergansers flew north offshore. Small parties of Brent Geese came along the shore and among c.300 Herring Gulls were double-figures of Lesser Black-backed Gull and singles of 2cy Yellow-legged and 2cy Caspian Gulls.

News has come in on the White-tailed Eagles seen last month. The first bird on 15th March was a female with the leg ring code G818. She was translocated and released in 2021. She didn’t hang around here long and went straight up to Norfolk and then Yorkshire after. The Eagle seen on 23rd and 24th March was a different individual. It is G463, a male released on the Isle of Wight in 2020, and a bird that has recently spent a number of months abroad in continental Europe. You can look for updates on these birds (and others) throughout the year on the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation website HERE.