A typically schizoid Bank Holiday weekend produced the familiar mix of sunshine and rain, but birds were very interesting. A Hoopoe, first seen outside Deal a few days before, was found on the 28th and on the 30th an outstanding 51 Whinchats and 23 Wheatears were present, with a Little Stint on the scrape this morning.
Last night’s clear conditions prompted most birds to move out, though Blackcaps had increased and were easily the most conspicuous of those in the bushes. Under the circumstances, the continuing presence of 4-5 Redstarts around the car park was a bit of a surprise.
Another dull and rainy morning saw most of the waders previously on the scrape having disappeared, though 2 Wood Sandpipers reappeared in mid morning. An adult Nightingale (one of the local breeders?) was trapped early on, 4 Siskins and 5 Yellow Wagtails flew over and there were still at least 3 Redstarts, 2 Spotted Flycatchers and 2 Pied Flycatchers in the bushes.
An increasingly filthy day was by no means without its good points, with 5 Ruff, 3 Blackwits, 2 Wood Sandpipers and a Garganey on the scrape and 3 Redstarts and 2 Spotted Flycatchers around the Observatory car park.
Yesterday’s rain cleared around midnight and despite a subsequently clear sky it seems that many birds chose to stay put. 12 Whinchats, 9 Wheatears and at least 5 Redstarts were scattered about, a Pied Flycatcher was in the Elms, a Tree Pipit and 9 Yellow Wagtails flew N, with another Tree Pipit trapped later in the morning and Greenshank and Spotted Redshank flew N from the scrape. However, the bird of the morning was a Wryneck that was discovered in the Observatory car park.
With most occupied at the Birdfair over the weekend, coverage was reduced, though a Honey Buzzard flew over Worth on Friday and a Spotted Flycatcher and a Redstart were seen yesterday.
As for this morning, ahead of a steady deterioration in the weather, 140 or so Swifts flew S on a broad front that included a couple of parties out at sea, where an Arctic Skua flew S. When the rain eventually relented before returning in the afternoon 3 Redstarts were performing around the Observatory car park.
A gloomy, drizzly morning was just the sort that promises new arrivals at the scrape and this morning did not disappoint, with a Ruff and 4 Temminck’s Stints dropping in to join the Little Ringed Plover, Spotted Redshank, Green Sandpiper, duck and Garganey that were already present. A Short-eared Owl was seen again and 10 Whinchats and 4 Wheatears were in assorted places between Dickson’s Corner and the sailing club.
The scrape was again productive, with 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Wood Sandpipers, a Spotted Redshank, 2 Dunlins, a Little Ringed Plover and a Green Sandpiper. A Short-eared Owl was seen over the golf course, 2 Hobbies shot past the Observatory, 10 Whinchats were on fences near Dickson’s Corner, a Marsh Harrier flew in from the NE and an Osprey drifted over at 10.35.
Among the comings and goings at Restharrow on a gloomy, rainy morning were 2 Green Sandpipers, 3 Dunlins and a Ruff that dropped in briefly before mostly moving on again.
With apologies for the absence of news whilst yours truly was away in Dorset, getting rained on, to teach him a lesson for his traitorous behaviour, there have been a couple of bits of news, best of which was an Icterine Warbler, trapped on the 14th, and 2 Spoonbills on the 16th that were in Pegwell and at Backsand. There were also up to 19 Whinchats on Worth, though few were on the Estate.
As for this morning, a Wood Warbler was in the Elms but rather elusive, a Spotted Flycatcher was nearby in Waldershare Gully, a couple of Hobbies were tearing about and 2 Black-tailed Godwits were on the scrape.
The rain that fell just after first light clearly did so just a bit too late to precipitate the hoped-for arrival of migrants, but an overcast, utterly calm and eventually dry morning made for some very pleasant birding. Apart from small numbers of the usual warblers, 2 Coal Tits were flitting noisily about, 3 Whinchats, 2 Wheatears and a Stonechat were along the shore and a party of tiny Grey Partridge chicks on the golf cannot have been more than a day old.
The weekend’s efforts were rewarded with a Nightingale in the nets on Saturday, plus a very smart Black-tailed Godwit on the scrape that was still poking about enthusiastically this morning. Otherwise, today’s highlight was a Turtle Dove flying N over the Oasis, sadly a really scarce migrant these days, while much the same could be said about 4 Yellow Wagtails that flew over Worth.
A clear sky overnight and no wind was not promising for an arrival of migrants and it was indeed a morning when things just ticked over, with a scattering of warblers in the bushes, a horde of 30 Grey Partridges at Dickson’s Corner and 2 Yellow Wagtails and a Wheatear along the shore.
A calm start with a fleecing of high cloud lasted long enough to whet the whistle for a good morning, with 8 Lesser Whitethroats in the Oasis and George’s bushes, amongst other things, but the wind got up around 8.30 and sent everything scurrying for cover.
10 Garden Warblers were recorded this morning, chat numbers increased to 6 Wheatears and 4 Whinchats and a Little Egret flew across the marsh from the NE, while at least 180 House Martins had gathered on rooftops, wires and the hanging tree near Restharrow.
Cricket fans will appreciate the allusion to the 3 ‘W’s that amounted to this morning’s highlights – 9 Whimbrel on Royal Cinque Ports and 2 Whinchats and 2 Wheatears nearby. However, the place to be was Pegwell, where a Pectoral Sandpiper was seen on the dropping tide, along with a supporting cast of 2 Spoonbills, 14 Curlew Sandpipers, 60 Mediterranean Gulls and a Little Stint.
Despite a calm start it was not long before a frisky breeze got up, making assessment of the contents of the bushes rather trying. Still, another Wood Warbler was found in the nets and the scrape held 3 Greenshanks, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and the duck, while 5 Wheatears and a Whinchat were tastefully arranged along the fences near the sailing club.
60-70 Willow Warblers were in the area this morning, along with the first Whinchat of autumn and 2 Treecreepers that turned up in the nets, while 2 Hobbies and a Buzzard flew S.