5 Bee-eaters were seen at Pegwell yesterday afternoon and this morning a party involving several individuals was heard over the Estate, heading south but invisible in the bright blue sky. A Siskin flew along the Haven (one or two have been recorded daily since Tuesday) and a Black-tailed Godwit alighted briefly on the scrape, attracting the ire of the resident Oystercatchers.
An hour of peering out to sea in a chilly NW wind was repaid with a flock of 40 Common Scoter and a few Gannets. There were also 3 Hobbies over Worth.
Overnight rain cleared in mid morning, leaving the sun to poke its nose out grudgingly from time to time. Avian highlights were sparing, to put it mildly, so here’s a Water Vole, photographed on the Delf Stream last week and more appropriate to conditions early on this morning.
Following a vain search for the Red-backed Shrike, enlivened by a Med. Gull calling inland of the Chequers, we were enticed by the lure of New Downs, which was a tad muddy after yesterday’s rain. Even so, both of the ponds have now dried out, leaving the resident waders looking a bit confused, and the best birds were at Backsand where 3 Spoonbills rose from the scrape and at the farm, where a party of 8 Mistle Thrushes was bouncing about.
A bright start didn’t last and the morning subsided into an overcast and cool affair that would not have been out of place in September, but without the birds. A Snipe was on the scrape and with a few Lapwings flying about aimlessly over the last few days it seems that the annual build-up of waifs and strays may have started already. However, just to prove that it can’t be all bad, a splendid male Red-backed Shrike was discovered between the Chequers and Deal, though for the majority it proved terminally elusive. 2 Red Kites were also present, patrolling over the hay fields.
A walk across Worth was notable for 3 family parties of Lesser Whitethroats, a Sparrowhawk and a Buzzard and back at HQ at mid day another Buzzard and a Red Kite flew N and a Hobby circled over.
The Garden Warbler is still singing in Little Gully, two weeks after it first appeared, and 2 adult Med. Gulls were mewing over the Oasis at butterfly transect time.
A better day than yesterday, not that it would be difficult, produced Hobby, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk on Worth, plus encouraging numbers of families of Reed and Sedge Warblers.
It’s Friday, so it must be warm and humid, or at least that has been the way of things for the last two weeks. A few early showers brought no obvious change, though a Great White Egret flew N over the Green Wall and the Garden Warbler was still singing in Little Gully, over a week after it first appeared. As thunder clouds gathered in the afternoon, at least 2 Bee-eaters appeared from the south, but predictably didn’t linger.
The breeze slipped round a bit to a warmer easterly and it was consequently a good deal more pleasant than the last few days. The bulk of the morning was taken up with counting lizard orchids on the Estate (not very good numbers and many stunted by the arid conditions and persistent wind) but close views of a Hobby over the Cellars was well worth a mention.
Another bright and breezy day that featured a Cattle Egret on Worth, predictably clearing off before anyone but the finder could clap eyes on it, and a Red Kite that was also seen over Worth. Most other things were keeping their noses down in the wind.
Registering high on the weird-ometer, a Long-tailed Duck appeared in Pegwell over the weekend (actually probably on Friday) and a Great Crested Grebe was floating about on Roaring Gutter. Back to sanity, a Red Kite, a Buzzard and a Hobby were seen over Worth this morning.
An atmospheric morning began warm and sunny but with ominous cloud over Thanet and it wasn’t long before the first shower arrived, though typically the rain mostly avoided us. The Garden Warbler was still singing in the gullies and a few Swifts flew over but it was otherwise pretty uneventful.
It seems that there were 2 migrant Garden Warblers yesterday, with an additional individual on Worth. Today brought some welcome sunshine and a Greenland-type Wheatear on Worth, where there were also a Hobby, 6-7 Turtle Doves, similar numbers of Cuckoos and a Marsh Harrier.
A good deal more pleasant than yesterday, this morning started a tad chilly but became increasingly warm. Birds were fairly typical of early June, though a lustily singing Garden Warbler in the gullies suggested that some immigration is still taking place.
It’s that time of year when most days contain variations on the theme of ‘the usual suspects’ and today was no exception, a walk over Worth producing a Little Egret and a hitherto undiscovered Blackcap territory, which brings to 31 the numbers of territory-holding males in the recording area. This reflects the increase of suitable Blackcap habitat, of course, but the increase of around 50% in the last two years underlines just how abundant they have recently become.