Not much change from yesterday. A Sparrowhawk chasing a Swallow on the fields behind Restharrow Scrape was an interesting sight. A new audio post has been installed between our two hides on the Restharrow Scrape reserve. A lovely spot to stop and learn some bird sounds or hear a little bit more about our reserve areas.
A cloudy and drizzly day produced little to talk about. Regular birders are instead turning their sights north to more interesting migrants on Bempton Cliffs!
The Turtle Doves on Worth have become difficult to spot, blending in so well to the grassy banks of the pools! A mist really settled in in the evening making the day generally very heavy and humid. A flock of 13 Curlew seen on Worth and a further two seen flying over the Observatory in the evening, seemingly migrating back after their breeding season.
A bit more excitement today with a female Red-footed Falcon seen over Worth, along with a mobile Cattle Egret and a Tree Sparrow, and good numbers of Mistle Thrush. Reed Buntings are a great one to spot this time of year as the very smart males sing loudly from the tops of reeds. Listen and look for them along the Pinnock Wall and Green Wall.
Wader chicks on the Worth Pools were probably the best sighting reported today with lots of other juvenile birds about. Small flocks of Starlings and Wood Pigeons can be seen. On this slow news day here’s a picture of a Marsh Harrier!
More Cuckoos were plucking caterpillars off the Sea Buckthorn along Prince’s Beach this morning. A Coal Tit and a Great Spotted Woodpecker in northern most pines along the edge of Prince’s Golf Course were likely juveniles dispersing from breeding sites on the Green Wall or New Downs. A few groups of Sand Martins going north were true autumn migrants through.
A Cuckoo on the Estate was probably on it’s way back south, as was the Common Sandpiper on New Downs. A Yellow Wagtail also dropped into Restharrow Scrape. There was no report of yesterday’s Stilt but a Red-backed Shrike was reported from Worth in the evening.
Another curious visitor to Restharrow Scrape with a smart summer-plumaged Great Crested Grebe on show today. This is a remarkably rare occurrence with the last record on the Scrape on 29th December 2010. A handful of Common Terns dodged the squalls offshore. A Black-winged Stilt was reported from Worth in the evening.
A Sandwich Tern on Restharrow Scrape late morning was our second occurrence on the site this spring. Hopefully they will continue to take an interest and stay to breed in subsequent years. There’s also been a noticeable increase in Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the area and some light Swift passage (which should pick up).
It was pleasing to see a Gadwall with 12 ducklings on Restharrow Scrape this morning. Over on Worth a Green Sandpiper remained. We’re in a bit of a lull period regarding migration with just the first signs of autumn starting to show. We’ve seen the start of failed breeders passing through, such as Greenshank, Lapwing, Curlew, and Green Sandpiper already. The first returners are always adults with juvenile waders not expected for a few weeks. The next month will be peak time for Curlew passage so it’s a good time to pop down to Pegwell Bay at the high tide, particularly in the evening, and see the large numbers come in to roost.
In the afternoon there was a co-ordinated effort to survey the northern parts of the Recording Area together. A/the Great White Egret was in Pegwell Bay again, there were above average numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gull and Stock Dove, and the first signs of early autumn build-up of Lapwing and Little Egret, with 38 and 13 respectively. Two Greenshanks were also on Worth marshes.
Still very hot at times so bring your sun lotion. A 2cy Mediterranean Gull was on and around Restharrow Scrape and an adult male Marsh Harrier hunted nearby. On Worth marshes there were at least two female Marsh Harrier and lots of Hobbies.
Presumably the same Great White Egret as yesterday appeared on the northern pool on New Downs. A Red Kite flew over and there were now 38 Lapwings. Six Turtle Doves were on Worth marshes and a young Grey Wagtail was seen not far from the Obs.
A Great White Egret was on the garage pool at Pegwell Bay and lots of young wader chicks were seen on Worth marshes.
Four Bee-eaters were hawking over Blue Pigeons mid-morning before moving off north, where they stayed briefly with House Martins on the Green Wall before continuing onwards. Singles of Great White Egret, Greenshank, and Green Sandpiper were also on Worth marshes and a handful of Mediterranean Gulls drifted over the Estate.
The Estate was covered early before the heat made things unbearable. There was a lot of Whitethroat activity and despite going through hundreds of Starlings there was nothing pink. The northern end of Royal Cinque Ports Golf Course does look good for one though. Late morning a smashing adult Caspian Tern was seen on Willow Farm before heading swiftly north. If accepted, this will be the first in Kent for seven years and the fifth Sandwich Bay record following birds in 1969, 1977, 1980, and 1997. Two Great White Egrets also went south over a little later and a Green Sandpiper was seen.
It was difficult to live up to yesterdays’ excitement. However, it was interesting to note a few odd wildfowl around with Teals on New Downs and Shovelers on Restharrow Scrape, New Downs, and Worth marshes. Some may be lingering breeders, particularly the Shovelers, but whether the others are late spring migrants or early autumn migrants who knows. A Spoonbill was also on New Downs again and so were 19 Lapwings, which I’m inclined to suggest are already autumn migrants (having failed to breed somewhere nearby).
A sunny start meant that birds of prey began moving through quite early. A succession of Red Kites passed continually through and by early afternoon at least 84 had move north through the area. There were a handful of Buzzards and Hobbies going through at the same time. Eager eyes spotted not one, but two, different Ospreys and a Honey-buzzard too. In the afternoon, when we thought all the excitement was over, a superb Rosy Starling flew north over Worth marshes and was followed not 30 minutes later by a female Red-footed Falcon hunting near the Great Wood.
There’s been no sign of the Rosy Starlings yet but it was still a good day, if it a little wet later. Four Little Terns went north offshore, a Great White Egret flew north over the Green Wall, a new breeding-plumaged Spoonbill was on New Downs, and a few Red Kites drifted over Worth marshes.
I love it when a prediction works. Mid-morning a flock of FOUR ROSY STARLINGS were found around the Sandilands area. Despite a lot of searching we haven’t seen them again since. Hopefully they’ll resurface somewhere else shortly.
Over on New Downs the Spoonbill remained on the northern pool and was joined by a stunning summer-plumaged Grey Plover and seven migrant Ringed Plovers. There were at least six Hobbies on Worth and one on the Estate, with a few Red Kites north too.
Nothing to report yet but with lots of stuff happening around us it can’t be long before it kicks off here too. There has been a huge movement of Rosy Starlings west across Europe and they’re just started hitting the east coast of the UK yesterday. There was a flock at South Foreland this morning. Keep an eye out for a splash of pink in among the local Starlings. Also to be aware of, is the White-tailed Plover seen at Stodmarsh too. The movement of birds between Worth marshes and the Stodmarsh area has been well documented in the past (e.g. Bewick’s Swans, Glossy Ibis, Black Stork, Red-footed Falcons all in the last few years) so hopefully it will pay us a visit shortly.
There was glorious summer sunshine all day. A morning stroll over New Downs produced the bird of the day in the form of a BITTERN which came out of the South Pool. This is a rare bird here at any time, let alone early June. Not quite what we were expecting! The Green Wall was also nice and had a few Cuckoos and a singing Coal Tit.
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