Birds: May 2022
The CASPIAN TERN was still in Pegwell Bay this morning. Three drake Pochards on Worth marshes were unseasonal and at least 80 Red Kites flew north.
It poured down almost the entire day. It wasn’t until the evening that observers braved the outdoors and it was lucky they did as an immature WHITE-TAILED EAGLE flew over the Estate and Green Wall heading north towards Pegwell Bay. An observer waiting at Pegwell did not intercept the Eagle though so it must have gone inland over the Discovery Park. Not to be outdone though, a fantastic CASPIAN TERN was found roosting with Black-headed Gulls in the Bay. The bird went missing for a little while (perhaps roosting just out of sight around Shellness Point) before coming back and showing well until the late evening. A Spoonbill even dropped in and joined it on the mud! Interestingly, the Caspian Tern had a metal ring on the right leg and a red darvic ring on the left, suggesting it was ringed in Sweden. There has been a bird returning to the UK for the last few summers from the same project and so it’s not inconceivable that the Pegwell Bay bird is the same. Hopefully it will show closer at some point and the code on the red ring can be read. This is the sixth SBBOT record of Caspian Tern and recorded for the second year in succession.
It was nice weather for the AGM. Thank you to everyone who came along. Five Hobbies were using the thermals over Worth marshes and two Dunlins were new in on the pools. At midday a BEE-EATER flew over the marsh calling as it went.
There were heavy downpours from early on (a good thing considering the lack of rain over the winter and spring). In the afternoon there were Hobbies over the Estate and Worth marshes, a passage of 56 Swifts, and two Mediterranean Gulls. At least 27 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were in the gull flock by the toll gate and the first fledged Linnets by Restharrow Scrape.
Temperatures soared by mid-morning so it was better to be out early. A singing male Golden Oriole was the highlight on New Downs and a drake Garganey on Worth.
A BLACK KITE flew through Worth marshes just before 10am and at least three Spotted Flycatchers were dotted around the Estate.
A few showers in the morning dropped in a female Ring Ouzel onto the Estate. It showed well enough along the beach road looking towards Little Gully but could be mobile at times. Two Yellow Wagtails were in the field outside the Observatory and a Garden Warbler was in the Little Elms. In the evening 40 Swifts and a Hobby were over the Green Wall.
There was no sign of yesterday’s two star birds on Worth marshes but it was pleasing to note the first Redshank young on the pools. Two Canada Geese were in Pegwell Bay.
Unlucky for some, but not for us. It was a little breezy out there but that didn’t stop a few quality birds being found. A Golden Oriole was singing intermittently from the Great Wood on Worth marshes. There is no access into the wood so listen from the public footpath along the southern edge. Whether this is the same bird as seen in Worth village yesterday is up for grabs, but spring Orioles rarely stay more than a day and two new birds were also seen at St Margaret’s too. So it could just as easily be a new arrival. Mid-morning a Temminck’s Stint was then discovered on the muddy pool by the wooden bridge and was still present in the afternoon. On the Estate there were two Spotted Flycatchers, in The Elms and the Haven.
On New Downs there were Dunlin, Ringed Plover, four Common Sandpipers, a Yellow Wagtail, and an unseasonably high count of 50 Stock Doves. A Willow Warbler was on Worth marshes and just outside our Recording Area a Golden Oriole was singing in Worth village at dawn.
There was no sign of yesterday’s Hoopoe but considering the large area of available habitat and elusive nature of the species it could easily still be present. A few Cuckoos and a Wheatear were present. A Spotted Flycatcher in The Elms was our first this year, four Wheatears were on the beach, and a Siskin flew over the Estate. In Pegwell there were 89 Ringed Plovers and an interesting adult Lesser Black-backed Gull that showed features of the Baltic race L.f.fuscus. A Black Kite was reported there in the afternoon.
A drake Garganey was on Restharrow Scrape, our third there this spring. There was a burst of 75 Swifts over Worth marshes which were nice to see and later in the evening a Hoopoe was discovered at the northern edge of Prince’s Golf Course, bordering Hundred Acre field. If visiting the area please stick to the Kent Coastal Footpath.
A/the Osprey was seen in the afternoon heading north offshore. Two Bar-tailed Godwits and four Whimbrels were at Dickson’s Corner with a further nine Whimbrels on Worth marshes. Two Yellow Wagtails were on Restharrow Scrape and two Wheatears were south of Sandilands.
More news from Worth marshes where an Osprey and three Hobbies flew over. There were just the seven Black-tailed Godwits, plus a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel, two Green Sandpipers, and a Common Sandpiper.
Yesterday’s flock of Black-tailed Godwits on Worth marshes increased to 76. Two Wood Sandpipers were also with them and nearby there were good views of a purring Turtle Dove. A Yellow Wagtail flew over. Corn Buntings seem to be doing ok between Restharrow Scrape and the Chequers with at least seven birds present, plus four Wheatears. Two Bullfinches were also on the Estate.
It was always going to be hard to beat yesterday’s amazing sightings but a flock of 62 Black-tailed Godwits on Worth marshes was an excellent start. This is the third-highest Spring count in the last 30 years (beaten only by 78 on 4th May 2012 and 70 on 7th May 2011, both from Pegwell Bay). The warm breeze brought a little raptor movement with 15 Red Kites and a few Marsh Harriers north.
New guided walks are being added every week. Click HERE to book tickets for our guided walk around Gazen Salts nature reserve. We have also arranged a special series of guided boat trips along the river at Grove Ferry. We expect to encounter Turtle Doves, Hobbies, Kingfishers, and maybe even a Beaver! Places will go fast. You can book your places HERE.
An Osprey flew over Restharrow Scrape first thing in the morning and flew off west towards Worth. There was no sign of the Black-winged Stilt on Worth marshes today but ten Black-tailed Godwits dropped in, five Swifts flew over, and two Turtle Doves were seen. Meanwhile at the Observatory a few Red Kites flew north. An interesting mix at the Point included a drake Garganey, the drake Scaup, and four Canada Geese plus a smart male Whinchat on Prince’s Golf Course. There were also two Pochards on Prince’s Reservoir (TR349594) on New Downs. At around half one a White-tailed Eagle was seen drifting over Pegwell Bay and then the day got even better later when a female KENTISH PLOVER was discovered in the Bay. It showed ok, but distant, from the hide looking across the river to the beach.
The BLACK-WINGED STILT was still present on Worth marshes and a singing Garden Warbler was heard. A Wheatear was on Sandilands lawn and ten Whimbrels and a Bar-tailed Godwit were at Dickson’s Corner.
A BLACK-WINGED STILT was new on Worth marshes. It was favouring the muddy pool by the wooden bridge, just off the Pinnock Wall (TR347559). There was a Bar-tailed Godwit, two Common Sandpipers, and a White Wagtail present on the same pool. Three Hobbies, a Yellow Wagtail, and a House Martin were flying overhead. A nice male Black Redstart was back at the Observatory.
It took a while but our first Turtle Dove was purring away on Worth marshes this morning. A White Wagtail was also present on the pools. There were lots of warblers on New Downs with six Cetti’s Warblers, eight Sedge Warblers, 32 Reed Warblers, four Lesser Whitethroats, 33 Whitethroats, 12 Blackcaps, and seven Chiffchaffs recorded. A Greenshank, two Whimbrels, and a Wheatear added to the mix. There were three Lesser Whitethroats new in on the Estate too. Over in Pegwell a drake Scaup lingered for a second day and two Garganey were present, whilst a Stone-curlew was sound-recorded flying over Stonar after dark.
Intrepid participants on our Dawn Chorus Walk were lucky enough to have a BLACK KITE fly over their heads on Worth marshes. There was lots of other stuff to see (and hear) including a Great White Egret, Tree Pipit, nine Whimbrels, a few Hobbies, 12 Red Kites, two Common Sandpipers, and a Yellow Wagtail. When they got back the day got even better as a Honey-buzzard flew over the Observatory! Two unseasonal Barnacle Geese then dropped onto Restharrow Scrape but flew off shortly after. A drake Scaup was an excellent record in Pegwell Bay and three Cuckoos and a Water Rail were on New Downs.