Saturday 30th

A morning out on Worth scored the usual highlights with a couple of purring Turtle Doves and a Hobby zipping about. The trickle of returning waders continued this time with Greenshank and Whimbrel flying over.

Friday 29th

Despite the NE breeze we decided to spend the morning searching for Odonata and consequently spent most of the time looking downwards, though a few Swifts were whisking N along the beach and a Cuckoo detached itself from the trackside vegetation.

Thursday 28th

A drop in wind speed from yesterday but still very much grey, at least in the morning. An Osprey flew south over worth towards Betteshanger and at least 35 Swifts swept north overhead.

Wednesday 27th

Grey, overcast and breezy but another four Green Sandpipers were found on Worth implying some new autumn migrants are making their way through. In breeding news our first fledged Grey Herons were around the pools near the Great Wood and a family party of Goldcrests were on the Green Wall.

Tuesday 26th

Two Green Sandpipers, a Red Kite, and a Yellow Wagtail added to a decent variety on Worth but there was a lot less to talk about on the Estate today.

Monday 25th

Today was the first sign of the heatwave to come and yet the biggest surprise of the day came from a typical winter visitor. A Redwing caught in the mist nets in the Whitehouse was a shock to the system with no records for months. Could it be breeding in the outer reaches of our recording area? Or just a dispersing breeder? Not quite as unusual on a national scale, but just as odd for us in a local sense, was a Willow Warbler also caught. Another species not usually present in the area at this time of year.

Sunday 24th

A gentle breeze took the edge off the heat but it was nevertheless shirt-sleeve weather again. A walk over Worth was notable for a squealing Water Rail, two Buzzards and at least 8 Cetti’s Warblers, including some recently fledged young, while family parties of Blue Tits were marauding along the Delf Stream.

Saturday 23rd

Blisteringly hot throughout the day with light passage overhead noted including our first juvenile Grey Heron of the autumn, 25 Swifts, and small numbers of Lapwings and Black-headed Gulls. Best of all though was an unseasonal Shag offshore. Breeding birds are of course our main priority at this time of year and it was great to see our family of Kestrels fledge, to confirm breeding of Herring Gull again on the Estate, and also to record a very healthy 35 Whitethroats, no doubt a good breeding season for them again.

Friday 22nd

Non-passerines were of most interest today on New Downs. An early build-up of returning wildfowl included a male Wigeon, 59 Mallards, and 50 Tufted Ducks, and similarly 13 Little Egrets and a Mediterranean Gull are the first signs of what should come over the next few weeks.

Thursday 21st

An annoyingly brisk N/NW wind made searching for birds pretty difficult, though a few signs of autumn included a Black-tailed Godwit on Restharrow Scrape, five Curlews, a handful of Swifts moving north, and a Grey Wagtail flying over.

Wednesday 20th

Autumn is here. As the sun reluctantly peeked out from early cloud a juvenile Sand Martin was consorting with the mud-collecting House Martins on the scrape.

Monday 18th

Dull and drizzly it was at least reasonably warm – perfect if you are a moth. A stroll over New Downs turned up a pair of Common Terns among the squawking Black-headed Gulls, which have at least 24 young to show for their efforts. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew over, and 300 Swifts were on Worth, but it wasn’t until the afternoon that the Black-winged Stilt was re-found on Restharrow Scrape.

Sunday 17th

An early visit to Restharrow Scrape was rewarded with the sight of the fourth SBBO record of Black-winged Stilt, which sadly did not stay long enough to be enjoyed by more than the finder. Otherwise, the cloud and light rain held down about 20 Swifts over the marsh and a Turtle Dove was purring on Worth, where a Great White Egret appeared in mid morning.

Friday 15th

A lovely spring day with news of recently hatched Oystercatcher on Worth and plenty of breeding activity elsewhere. Avian interest was otherwise limited but some very interesting dragonfly sightings lifted the spirits.

Thursday 14th

After yesterday’s warm sunshine, the weather reverted to its good cop, bad cop routine, and this morning was definitely of the ‘he fell down the stairs sarge’ variety, overcast and chilly in a brisk SW wind. Still, the change in weather does seem to have stimulated some late migrant activity, as small groups of House Martins flew N and 20-odd Swifts drifted in off the sea, not looking too enthusiastic about it.

Wednesday 13th

And warm and sunny it was. The increase in temperature seemed to move a few migrants around, namely a Red Kite over the Estate, nine Hobbies (mostly on Worth), and a late/early Green Sandpiper (also on Worth).

Tuesday 12th

Instead of moaning yet again about the cool, overcast conditions with a nagging NE breeze, let it suffice to say that the good news is that there is no more bad news, at least so far as the imminent weather is concerned. Tomorrow will be warm and sunny, or we’ll all get our money back.

Monday 11th

Do not be alarmed, but there was some sunshine this morning, though the wind remains in the NE. Coverage of the Green Wall and bits of Worth more or less confirmed that spring is done and dusted but plenty of song from the residents indicated that second broods are well on the way.

Saturday 9th

This morning was very much a return to the grey overcast conditions of last week. New migrants were unsurprisingly scarce though an Osprey went north over nearby Stonar. Breeding birds however continue to provide interest with family parties all over the Estate including plenty of waterbird broods on Restharrow Scrape. As summer approaches non-avian sightings come to the foreground, you can catch up on all our Dragonfly, Moth, Butterfly, and Flora sightings Here.

Friday 8th

At last, a warm, sunny morning that, despite the shock, encouraged a walk along Prince’s beach and points northwards, which was very pleasant but still very quiet in terms of avian interest.

Wednesday 6th

Another overcast morning with the NE breeze continuing did at least have the good grace to allow some warm sunshine from midday onwards. Ahead of that, 2 Sandwich Terns dipped on to the scrape briefly before moving on and a Little Ringed Plover – rather like hen’s teeth this spring – was the highlight on New Downs.

Tuesday 5th

The north wind doth blow and thou shalt feel low, to paraphrase the ditty told frequently when I were a lad. It was another grey, chilly day with little to recommend it, although new babies keep popping up to insist that it’s not all bad, a fresh Oystercatcher nest was found on the Estate and 23 House Martin nests were located, the adults having arrived in full force only a week or so ago. Otherwise, it remains a case of waiting for tomorrow which, allegedly, will be much nicer.

Sunday 3rd

The blanket of sea mist finally gave way to give the best weather for almost two weeks. A spanking adult ROSE-COLOURED STARLING was discovered in the Pegwell area and two WHITE STORKS were seen heading north over the Estate in the morning. Two Mistle Thrushes and a Grey Wagtail heading north high overhead was a little unseasonal for ‘vismig’.

Saturday 2nd

Our second RED-RUMPED SWALLOW of the spring was the obvious highlight of the day. A delightful bird was picked out heading north over Pegwell Bay amongst a light hirundine movement. Two Egyptian Geese continue to lurk around the fields near the Observatory whilst a brood of seven Mute Swans cygnets were new on Restharrow Scrape. Four Hobby’s, five Cuckoos, two Ravens and two Turtle Doves were on Worth.

Friday 1st

A quiet day swamped in sea mist unfortunately. An increase in Lesser Whitethroat activity was obvious, presumably now that the breeding pairs have young to be fed, and three Pochards were on Worth.

Stonechat juvenile
Juvenile Stonechat by Steve Ray