Thursday 30th

The mixture of Brent Geese, Red-throated Divers, and Great Crested Grebes offshore made it feel rather like winter. A Kestrel came in off the sea but most activity was from Meadow Pipits as a steady progression of birds came along the shore or in off. At least 368 went south. Little Owls were vocal on the Estate and plenty of Blackcaps were in the bushes, 87 in total. The Spoonbill remained faithful to Worth but the two Cattle Egrets had found a new friend as there were now three birds, plus a Merlin.

Wednesday 29th

Windy again and the forecast for the coming week looks similar. The south end of the Estate was busy with Chiffchaffs. ‘Vismig’ along the shore comprised 500 House Martins, six Siskins, a trickle of Linnets and Meadow Pipits, a Merlin, plus a handful of Sand Martins and two late Swifts. Three Rock Pipits dropped onto the jetty near Sandilands and at least five mobile Jays were bouncing around. There are reports of large numbers of Jay on the move on the continent so these could be migrants. There was not much new to report on Worth marshes but a Turtle Dove was seen and the Spoonbill and two Cattle Egrets continued to please.

Tuesday 28th

Quieter in the Estate bushes but a reasonable spread of Chiffchaffs, plus another 20 on the Green Wall. Just under 1,500 House Martins went north overhead and a Mediterranean Gull was on Royal St George’s Golf Course. Offshore was good again with a Balearic Shearwater south and a dark phase Arctic Skua chasing Gannets and Herring Gulls. The first two Siskins of autumn were on Worth, plus a small arrival of Pochard, a Spotted Redshank, a Wood Sandpiper, and the regular Spoonbill.

Spoonbill by N.Hefford

Monday 27th

It was hard work in the rain early on but worth it with Pomarine Skua, Arctic and Great Skuas, Little Gull, two Manx Shearwaters, and two Black Terns offshore. The Spoonbill and Cattle Egrets were still present inland on Worth marshes.

Sunday 26th

Both Spoonbill and Barn Owl over the Observatory in the morning was unusual. The regular Spoonbill was still on Worth marshes (so the Estate bird was different) and the two Cattle Egrets remained. There were 41 Chiffchaffs and hundreds of House Martins on the Estate.

Cattle Egret by S.Reynaert

Saturday 25th

The usual Cattle Egrets and Spoonbill were on Worth marshes, joined by 120 Stock Doves, a Tree Pipit, and an increase in Stonechats. A Honey-buzzard flew north in the afternoon.

Peregrine bathing on Worth marshes by N.Smith

Friday 24th

There was no sign of the recent Sabine’s Gull but the two Cattle Egrets and the Spoonbill remained on Worth marshes. A Spotted Flycatcher was on the Estate as well as lots of Chiffchaffs. Small numbers of Linnet and Goldfinch moved along the shore, I expect numbers to pick up over this next week.

InFocus will be at the Observatory this Sunday. Stop by from 10am-4pm to test, purchase, and get information on all the latest optics.

Thursday 23rd

The juvenile Sabine’s Gull, Spoonbill, and two Cattle Egrets all remained on Worth marshes, plus a Merlin and two Ruffs. Singles of Coal Tit and Tree Pipit were the best on the Estate.

Spoonbill by M.Simm

Wednesday 22nd

Another excellent day with a massive movement of hirundines north through the area. By mid-afternoon 34,300 House Martins and 3,900 Swallows had been recorded. A walk along the Green Wall provided good numbers and diversity with 37 Chiffchaffs, 25 Blackcaps, ten Little Grebes, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Yellow Wagtail, four Coal Tits, and best of all, a vocal Nuthatch. This is only our tenth ever record, though the third to be recorded here in the last four years.

On the Estate another big fall of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs occurred with 139 of the former and 89 of the latter. A Wood Warbler was in Waldershare Gully, 600 Meadow Pipits and ten Grey Wagtails flew through, and an Owl species was seen around the Whitehouse area at dawn (but wasn’t refound). New Downs pools held 117 Wigeons, a Water Rail with two fluffy chicks, four Ruffs, five Black-tailed Godwits, and three Greenshanks. Worth marshes didn’t miss out on the fun and provided a Spoonbill, two Cattle Egrets, and a nice male Redstart. Then, in the evening, a fantastic juvenile Sabine’s Gull was found in among the large gull flock on the ploughed field at Blue Pigeons.

Wheatear by J.Buckingham

Tuesday 21st

The forecast was for low cloud all day but it was quite a clear (and cold) start. There were lots of warblers around the Estate once again, predominantly Blackcap and Chiffchaff, with final totals of 170 and 58, respectively. Visible migration was also good with 931 Swallows, two Tree Pipits, 233 Meadow Pipits, two Yellow Wagtails, four Grey Wagtails, and 131 Linnets moving north. The bushes were busy with ticking Robins, 33 in total, as well as singles of Redstart and Brambling and six Ravens. An interesting ‘brown’ Lesser Whitethroat was seen in the Haven and was later caught by the ringing team. It looked like a good candidate Eastern Lesser Whitethroat C.blythi at first but biometrics and tail pattern suggested otherwise and was most likely just a nominate Lesser Whitethroat C.curruca. On Worth the two Cattle Egrets re-appeared and a Spoonbill dropped in briefly, with Wood Sandpiper, Short-eared Owl, Whinchat, and at least 20 Chiffchaffs also present.

An interesting Lesser Whitethroat with brown colouration extending from the mantle onto the crown. By S.Walton.

Monday 20th

After a damp start 158 Meadow Pipits, three Yellow Wagtails, and four Grey Wagtails flew north, and 22 Brent Geese and a male Merlin were seen offshore. There was a small but noticeable increase in Song Thrushes on the Estate and lots of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. The two Pectoral Sandpipers were still on Worth in the company of three Ruffs, six Ringed Plovers, three Green Sandpipers, and a Greenshank.

Chiffchaff by S.Ray

Sunday 19th

A busy day on Worth marshes again. As well as the two Pectoral Sandpipers there were 16 Grey Partridges, a Peregrine, a Spotted Redshank, two Little Ringed Plovers, a Grey Plover, a Mediterranean Gull, a Short-eared Owl, 215 Meadow Pipits, three Whinchats, four Wheatears, and two Tree Sparrows. A Brambling was at the Hoverport in Pegwell Bay.

Pectoral Sandpiper by S.Reynaert

 

Adult Mediterranean Gull (centre) among Black-headed Gulls by S.Reynaert

Saturday 18th

A busy day full of talking points. It started off with the first Black-throated Diver of autumn north offshore. The two Pectoral Sandpipers were still present on worth marshes from yesterday and were briefly joined by a Curlew Sandpiper (actually rare on Worth than Pectoral Sandpiper), followed swiftly by a Great White Egret, and then a RED-THROATED PIPIT for a few lucky observers. Unfortunately the Pipit continued on straight through and could not be relocated.

Greenshank by N.Smith

Friday 17th

A Pectoral Sandpiper dropped into Worth marshes briefly mid-morning before heading off towards Betteshanger. Later in the evening a search revealed two birds on the muddy pool by the wooden bridge, south of the Great Wood. On the Estate there was another decent fall of Blackcaps and our first Brambling of the autumn in the Gullies. Visible migration finally ‘kicked off’ with 240 Meadow Pipits, 1,040 House Martins, a few Grey Wagtails, and one Tree Pipit heading north. Five Tree Sparrows were also seen around the sandpit area at Dickson’s Corner, the same site they were present at the end of last year.

Marine Conservation Society are organising a series of beach cleans around the Thanet coastline as part of the Great British Beach Clean. Tomorrow afternoon there is such an event around the Pegwell Bay hoverport. Click HERE for details. In addition, Kent Wildlife Trust have organised a beach clean at Sandwich Bay for 26th September from 10am. If you could help spread the word about the event that would be greatly appreciated. Anyone interested in joining in on the day please drop an email to Agostina.Campodonico@kentwildlife.org.uk and they shall provide you with more details.

Thursday 16th

There was a significant arrival of Blackcaps on the Estate at dawn. Birds were bounding around the bushes in the Haven, Whitehouse, and Oasis area. The final total was 139 birds. Also in the area was a Hobby, a Coal Tit, and the first Firecrest of autumn. Around 70 Meadow Pipits went north.

Wednesday 15th

The Dotterel once again flew over Worth marshes calling. Quite where it is hiding I don’t know, perhaps on one of the nearby salad fields just outside the area. It’s certainly worth checking any stubble or close-cropped field nearby. A Garganey was hiding in among the Teal flock on the pool near the wooden bridge, with Black-tailed Godwit and Wood Sandpiper on the same water, plus Turtle Dove, four Whinchats, and a few Corn Buntings also seen during the morning’s wander. A few Wheatears were on the sea front on the Estate, a Hobby flew north offshore, and two Water Rails were on New Downs South Pool.

Sedge Warbler by P.Blanche

Tuesday 14th

A quieter day than usual. To be fair, it’s been rather good recently with White Stork, Iberian Chiffchaff, Purple Heron, Barred Warbler, Cattle Egret, etc, and more to come. A few Wigeon were offshore, a Pied Flycatcher was around the Whitehouse, and a late Swift flew over Prince’s Golf Course.

I would also like to draw your attention to the Observatory’s 200 Club. By joining our 200 Club you will be contributing to the running costs of Restharrow Scrape and our other nature reserves. And you have the chance to win some great cash prizes too. Greater participation results in larger prizes! To join our 200 Club you can either pick up an application form at the Field Centre, or you can go to https://sbbot.org.uk/support-us/200-club/ and print the form and post it to us. It’s a very easy way to support our work!

Monday 13th

A Cetti’s Warbler was on the Estate, plus a Redstart, three Whinchats, six Wheatears, two Pied Flycatchers, and a Coal Tit. Keep your eyes peeled for the large flock of White Storks seen leaving Knepp and flying into Kent yesterday.

Sunday 12th

The White Stork was on Worth still but later seen heading along the coast near St Margaret’s. Singles of Turtle Dove, Pied Flycatcher, and Redstart, plus six Yellow Wagtails were on the Estate and there was an arrival of at least 80 Blackcaps. Five Wheatears, eight Whinchats, and four Stonechats were on Prince’s Beach in the afternoon.

Sparrowhawks by S.Reynaert

Saturday 11th

The most interesting news of the day concerned a strange calling phylloscopus warbler at the same spot as the recent Barred Warbler on Worth. Analysis of the recordings of the call and comparison of sonograms seem to suggest Iberian Chiffchaff. An unringed White Stork turned up on Worth in the evening with a Wood Sandpiper also present.

White Stork by N.Davies

Friday 10th

The elusive Dotterel put in another appearance on Worth briefly and Spotted Redshank flew over calling. In the evening a Tawny Owl called on the Green Wall.

Thursday 9th

Five Yellow and 12 Grey Wagtails moved north overhead and a good spread of Warblers and a Pied Flycatcher were on the Estate. On Worth a Spotted Flycatcher was in a mixed warbler/tit flock along the Pinnock Wall and a Great White Egret dropped in.

Wednesday 8th

The Barred Warbler was seen in the hedge along the track south of the Great Wood. It was skulking but gave reasonable views occasionally. Ten Ruffs and four Little Ringed Plovers were on the pools nearby, a Dotterel flew around, and the Cattle Egret was still around. Over on New Downs Great White Egret and Wood Sandpiper were the highlights. Pied and Spotted Flycatchers were on the Estate.

Tuesday 7th

Two Pied Flycatchers, a Redstart, and another batch of Blackcaps were on the Estate. Nine each of Yellow Wagtail and Grey Wagtail flew north and a separate flock of Yellow Wagtails was on the Green Wall. Its been a good year for them so far. Most mornings see a handful on both the Estate and Worth. This contrasts with Tree Pipit which has been very poor. The Cattle Egret remained on Worth and a Barred Warbler was along the path leading inland from Great Wood towards Jubilee Rd, in the bushes by the sluice gates. This is very close to the where the ‘large pale warbler’ was seen on the 2nd. Perhaps it’s been lurking here the whole time?

Snipe by N.Smith

Monday 6th

The first autumn arrival of Blackcaps occurred on the Estate with 43 seen. It won’t be long before they are everywhere (September and October last year saw almost 2,500 bird-days). There were also small increases in Swallow and House Martin, particularly sitting on the wires around Sandilands and the rooftops on the Estate. Most interesting was a call recorded overnight at the Observatory that sounds very much like Purple Heron. It will be sent off to European experts to confirm. Fingers crossed.

Sunday 5th

A busy day with lots of birds and lots of people. A Dotterel was the pick of the bunch, flying over Willow Farm and Royal Cinque Ports Golf Course. A Nightingale was reported in Waldershare Gully with at least two Pied and one Spotted Flycatcher also present. Over on Worth marshes a Garganey was new in among the Teal flock, the Cattle Egret remained, and the muddy pools produced 11 Little Ringed Plovers, nine Dunlins, eight Ruffs, two Greenshanks, and three Green Sandpipers. A major influx of Whinchats also occurred throughout the area with 28 on the Estate and 12 on Worth, plus another in Pegwell. At least 11 Yellow Wagtails, four Grey Wagtails, and 15 Wheatears added to the day’s tally.

Whinchat by S.Reynaert

Saturday 4th

Two Pied and two Spotted Flycatchers, a Redstart, a Short-eared Owl, and a good scattering of Lesser Whitethroats and Whinchats were on the Estate, a decent haul considering the strong breeze. The Cattle Egret was still on Worth marshes, as well as 16 Yellow Wagtails, and an Egyptian Goose was on Restharrow Scrape. There were a few Pied Flycatchers around the Hoverport bushes at Pegwell too and an Egyptian Goose on Restharrow Scrape.

Egyptian Goose by S.Ray

Friday 3rd

Two more Pied Flycatchers were on the Estate and there continues to be lots of Whinchats around, including 14 on New Downs. Cattle Egret and Wood Sandpiper remained on Worth with a Black-tailed Godwit new in and an increase in Teal to 600.

Thursday 2nd

Bang on cue the first Cattle Egret appeared on Worth marshes. It moves around a bit but mostly if you find the cattle then you find the bird. The two Little Stints were near Roaring Gutter still with one Wood Sandpiper, ten Whinchats, and eight Corn Buntings good too. An intriguing large pale warbler at the corner of the Great Wood unfortunately avoided firm identification.

Cattle Egret by N.Davies

 

Little Stints by N.Davies

Wednesday 1st

A Grasshopper Warbler at the Drove was the best bird of the day. Overhead passage consisted of 44 Sand Martins and three Grey Wagtails north. There were plenty of Whinchats with at least ten in Restharrow Dunes, another seven at the Drove, and three on Worth. A handful of Willow Warblers, one Spotted Flycatcher, and seven Pied Flycatchers were around the Estate (mostly in The Elms and Gullies). Also on Worth marshes were two Ruffs, a Little Stint, and a Raven.

Visitors to the Observatory will also see a new face helping out with our work. Carla is a long-term volunteer staying at the Observatory and will be with us until next summer. Don’t forget to say hi if you see her around.

 

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We welcome your photos and records from our Recording Area.

Please send us your sightings at info@sbbot.org.uk