Birds: March 2021
The Geesefeast continues. There were five Barnacle Geese, 82 White-fronted Geese, one Tundra Bean, one Brent, one Pink-footed, three Egyptian, six Canada x Barnacle hybrids, and many Greylag Geese in the fields behind Restharrow Scrape. The first signs of spring vismig comprised 110 Chaffinches flying north whilst 11 Pintails were on Worth marshes.
Cold and still a touch misty. Brent Geese were on the move though and a few hours watching the sea produced 830 birds north, plus a nice selection of other birds heading north including ten Shelducks, two Teals, two Shovelers, four Common Scoters, two Red-breasted Mergansers, two Goldeneyes, 226 Red-throated Divers, one Black-throated Diver, 62 Great Crested Grebes, 50 Gannets, 99 Cormorants, and 68 Dunlins.
If you know of anyone who has taken an interest in nature during lockdown, please direct them to our Art and Photography competition. Primarily, but not exclusively, aimed towards children and young people, we would love them to contribute a piece of work that captured their spirits during lockdown. The competition will be judged by guest judge Richard Taylor-jones, wildlife cameraman for Springwatch, CountryFile, and the One Show on BBC. Entrants could win a wildlife trail camera, games and activities, and their piece displayed in the hides at Restharrow Scrape.
It was another morning of dense fog, only today it refused to clear. A murky wander to the Chequers and back produced six Canada Geese, four Barnacle Geese, one Pink-footed Goose, and 91 White-fronted Geese, mostly on the fields behind Restharrow Scrape or on Willow Farm. There were also lots of displaying Lapwings despite the poor conditions.
Over the next few weeks I expect the first wave of spring migrants to make landfall. Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Wheatear, Sand Martin, Swallow, and House Martin are all likely whilst it’s also a good time to find scarcer species such as Woodlark, Lapland Bunting, and Spoonbill.
A very foggy start that didn’t clear until mid-morning. There were still 20 Tree Sparrows in the ploughed field between the Clay Pigeon shoot and the sandpit area at Dickson’s Corner. A flock of 42 White-fronted and four Barnacle Geese were mobile in the area. It’s amazing how quickly we become blasé about that number of White-fronted Geese. We’ve become spoilt with them this winter with flocks of over 600 seen before the New Year. In any other winter 40+ birds would be excellent. Enjoy them while you can as they’ll be on their way back to their breeding grounds shortly.
On Worth there were now ten Chiffchaffs, as well as eight Pintails, four Pochards, five Green Sandpipers, and two Water Pipits.
At a very cold Pegwell Bay, there was a nice drake Pintail showing well on the Garage Pool and two summer-plumaged Mediterranean Gulls on the mud. A top tip at this time of year is to lookout for the jet-black hoods of Mediterranean Gull as they moult through earlier before Black-headed Gulls. Its often an easy way to flick through a mixed flock of Gulls quickly, though it won’t be long before Black-headed Gulls are also in full summer plumage. There was no sign of the recent Sandwich Terns in the Bay. A Red-legged Partridge on Worth was the rarest bird of the day, with Hen Harrier, Water Pipit, and five Chiffchaffs also present.