Singles of migrant Greenshank, Ringed Plover, and Common Sandpiper were on New Downs, as well as 11 Corn Buntings and 140 Swallows (our highest count this year). Three Wheatears and four Whimbrels were on the Estate.
Three Wheatears are still hanging around the area south of Sandilands. Fingers crossed they will breed. Wheatears are now only occasional nesters at Sandwich Bay and a much-declined breeding bird in the County. Most pairs are found at Dungeness with a few also around the Samphire Hoe area. It’s been around four years since the last pair bred here so if you do see any breeding activity please do drop us a message. We were hopeful the light drizzle and easterly winds would drop some migrants in but it was surprisingly quiet. However, whilst prepping the Restharrow Scrape hides for opening on Monday, a Sandwich Tern dropped in.
The BLACK STORK must have roosted somewhere on Worth marshes as it was present at first light. It soon hopped over to Ham Fen though where it spent most of the morning before heading off again inland. Also on Worth were Greenshank, three Cuckoos, and Turtle Dove. Eight Whimbrels and three Bar-tailed Godwits were in the Dickson’s Corner/Mary Bax area.
With the Government Covid-19 restrictions due to ease the Trustees have agreed that the hides at Restharrow Scrape can open again on Monday 17th May. The hides will be limited to six people at a time with social distancing and facemasks essential. Hand gel will be provided. Please act safely and responsibly in the hides and I hope you enjoy being back.
A few singing Reed Warblers around the Oasis/Whitehouse area were perhaps new migrants, a Great Spotted Woodpecker heading high north certainly was. The wind soon picked up and made things rather difficult after. In the late afternoon a BLACK STORK was filmed flying over Worth marshes. This is presumably the same bird which has also been seen around Stodmarsh and Bekesbourne in the last few days.
An Osprey motored through Worth marshes, avoiding almost everyone, with another also seen heading north from Deal which must’ve come through here too. It’s amazing how large birds of prey can sneak through unnoticed. The satellite-tracking of the released Isle of Wight White-tailed Eagles shows this. There were still lots of Whimbrels around, plus a handful of Common Scoters, Mediterranean Gulls, and Sandwich Terns offshore. A Turtle Dove was a good sighting on the Green Wall. In the evening the heavens opened and was accompanied by impressive thunder and lightning. Hopefully the Purple Heron seen nearby at Ham Fen will do the right thing and drop by on Worth marshes this week.
The Estate was reasonably productive. A few Wheatears were along the coast, a trickle of hirundines flew through, and a Hobby sat on the beach early on (presumably having just made the sea crossing). An Arctic Tern went north offshore in the company of a few Sandwich Terns. A Bar-tailed Godwit in Restharrow Dunes was a strange sight whilst 40 Whimbrels were spread in various fields between the Drove and Restharrow Scrape, with seven Mediterranean Gulls calling overhead. A/the Cattle Egret flew over the Estate just before midday. A Turnstone on New Downs was unusual inland find, with Black-tailed Godwit and ten Greenshanks more expected.
Five Turtle Doves were on Worth marshes this morning and a Cattle Egret flew straight through heading inland. There were 24 Whimbrels, a Wheatear, and a late White Wagtail in fields between the Chequers and Dickson’s Corner. And then it hailed (again).
There wasn’t too much in the way of new migrants to shout about today but it was pleasing to note the Turtle Doves back on territory on Worth. It’s always a delight to hear their soft purring across the marshes. Just a reminder that the Kent Ornithological Society are organising a survey of Turtle Doves across Kent this summer. If you haven’t signed up yet please do, there are still plenty of squares available. Visit http://kosturtledoves.birdsurvey.org.uk/ for info.
There was enough passage offshore to keep us interested for a while, though it was hardly Cap Gris-Nez. A Hobby came in off, 32 Sanderlings and three Whimbrels went north, and 77 Sandwich Terns milled to and fro. A flock of 69 Dunlins in nice summer finery were on the Estate beach with 11 Whimbrels and a Curlew at Dickson’s Corner allowing close comparison. Fourteen Swifts and two Yellow Wagtails also went north.
Today was the first day without northerlies for a month. A Great White Egret flew south from the Sampher and three Turtle Doves and five Wheatears were on Worth. Over on the Estate 27 Whimbrels were in the fields around Dickson’s Corner, a few Mediterranean Gulls loafed around, and 14 Lesser Redpolls flew overhead (noteworthy in spring). Two Bullfinch in the Whitehouse were also unusual.
A Hobby over the Observatory was a good start to the day but Worth produced Spotted Redshank and Ring Ouzel to take top spot. A Wood Sandpiper flew over Stonar after dark.
A lovely male Whinchat was at Dickson’s Corner, a bird (and plumage) that is really quite rare here in spring. There was a Willow Warbler, an increase in hirundines, and lots of territorial Whitethroats also on the Estate. A Red Kite and 12 Buzzards flew over Worth marshes and a female Ring Ouzel dropped in.