Birds: August 2021
A grey and windy day again but there seemed to be birds around. Willow Warblers continue to call from the bushes. Peak passage has probably passed now and in the next week or two we will see the number of Willow Warblers drop and the number of Chiffchaffs increase. There were Pied Flycatchers in the Haven/Whitehouse area and The Elms and at least eight Whinchats at Dickson’s Corner. Two Little Stints were now on Worth, another 12 Whinchats, and a Tree Pipit. Three Little Ringed Plovers were on Restharrow Scrape and a flock of 14 Snipe flew around a few times before heading off. There was also a steady passage of Terns, Waders, and Wildfowl offshore.
An increase in wildfowl on Worth marshes produced 11 Pochards, 175 Teals, 40 Wigeons, and a mega count of 160 Coot. The Little Stint was still present.
A busy day for our Wildlife In Close-up event. There was a nice selection of birds around for people to see including Pied Flycatcher in the ringing room. The autumn’s first Short-eared Owl was at Dickson’s Corner before flying off towards Mary Bax. At least 13 Wheatears and ten Whinchats were good counts nearby. A Little Stint was also an excellent find on the pool near Roaring Gutter pumphouse on Worth. Two Wood Sandpipers were the pick of the bunch on New Downs.
Two Tree Pipits flew over and almost 100 Linnets were around Dickson’s Corner. Meanwhile two Lesser Redpolls around the Great Wood on Worth were unseasonal.
Another day, another Wryneck! Our third of the autumn was found in the paddock and along the fence line south of Sandilands. It soon moved onto the lawn at Sandilands and showed spectacularly well. There were at least nine Wheatears, 14 Whinchats, and two Stonechats on the fences nearby, a few parties of Sand Martin moved through, and a Pied Flycatcher was along the path from the Cellars to the Gullies.
Not one but two Wrynecks were in the Downsbridge area today. For those who don’t know how to get there take a wander down Sandown Rd towards the Sandwich Bay Estate. Before the entrance to Royal St George’s Golf Course (on the left) there is a track on your right hand side. Walk down that track keeping the river on your left. At the end turn left around the back of the reservoir and along the edge of the fields. The birds are favouring a barbed wire fence along a cut hay field (north of the Worth track and the green model aircraft hanger) (about TR348571).
A decent movement of Yellow Wagtails occurred early on with 26 going over, as well as a Tree Pipit. Six Whinchats were at Dickson’s corner and another two around the Oasis area. A Redstart was in the Jubilee field and a Shag also went north offshore. The first Pied flycatcher of autumn was along the edge of the Great Wood on Worth and a few more Whinchats were seen. In the evening a Wryneck was found in the Downsbridge area.
A Great Skua passed offshore but there was too much glare to stay long. The bushes held a few warblers but that was equally hard with the strong breeze. With lots of Pied Flycatchers reported around the coast in the last few days we should expect to see them here any day now. Somewhere in the lee of wind e.g. The Elms, the Haven, or the Gullies seems the best bet.
There was a big increase in Teal on today’s WeBS count with 71 around Pegwell Bay, 212 on New Downs, and 200 on Worth marshes. New Downs, the Point, and Pegwell all recorded a good selection of migrant waders with 17 species on offer including a pure albino Oystercatcher in the flock in Pegwell. Six Wood Sandpipers and four Little Ringed Plovers were also additional on Worth marshes.
The group of Whinchats and Wheatears remained around Sandilands, now joined by five Yellow Wagtails. Worth marshes continued with a good variety of waders highlighted by four Wood Sandpipers, seven Greenshanks, four Ruffs, and two Little Ringed Plovers, with at least nine Yellow Wagtails also around. The House Sparrow flock along the Green Wall riverbank area continues to build to impressive numbers. At least 230 birds were seen in the evening.
An unseasonal summer-plumaged Red-throated Diver was sitting just offshore. Over on New Downs the best was a flyover Spotted Redshank whilst Worth held its usual selection of waders plus at least 100 Mediterranean Gulls.
There was a Great White Egret, two Wood Sandpipers, and increase in Garden Warblers and Lesser Whitethroats on Worth in the morning. A Cattle Egret was also reported online. Meanwhile the fourth Wood Warbler of the autumn was on the Estate and 49 Mediterranean Gulls were just offshore.
There were now 11 Wheatears around the Sandilands/Dickson’s Corner area. A brief pulse of Swallows pushed through and a handful of Willow Warblers with a few Garden Warblers thrown in were on the Estate. At least one Redwing persists. Worth marshes was where it’s at (again) though. Three Wood Sandpipers, two Green Sandpipers, two Common Sandpipers, seven Greenshanks, three Little Ringed Plovers, four Ruffs, 35 Lapwings, four Dunlins, and six Snipes were on the pools with six Wheatears, two Whinchats, and ten Yellow Wagtails also dotted around.
Nine Wheatears and a Whinchat were dotted around Dickson’s Corner area. A Kingfisher flying along the Ancient Highway was peculiar. Six Greenshanks, three Green Sandpipers, two Wood Sandpipers, one Common Sandpiper, two Ruffs, two Little Ringed Plovers, four Ringed Plovers, and eight Snipes were on the pools on Worth, plus three Yellow Wagtails. The selection of waders on New Downs was similar with two Ringed Plovers, one Golden Plover, 50 Lapwings, one Ruff, one Whimbrel, four Curlews, 36 Redshanks, eight Greenshanks, two Green Sandpipers, and eight Common Sandpipers. Two Hobbies went over the Observatory early this morning, 30 Swifts went south, and ten Golden Plovers dropped into the Green Wall.
Nine species of wader were on the Estate including a nice group of Sanderlings, Ringed Plovers, Dunlins, and Turnstone on the beach by Sandilands. Six Wheatears and three Mediterranean Gulls were also next to the wader flock. Hirundine passage was noticeable with 300 Swallows and smaller numbers of Sand Martin and House Martin moving through. A good mix of Warblers were present in the bushes with Willow Warbler and Reed Warbler most common. Numbers of Warblers are still low so far though. It will be interesting to see whether this picks up or whether the particularly cold start to the breeding season had an affect on productivity. The autumn’s first Tree Pipit also flew north.
A reasonable mix of birds offshore included an Eider, an Arctic Skua, and three Great Skuas, plus a handful of Terns and Waders. The Great White Egret was still on the pools on Worth along with four Wood Sandpipers, four Dunlins, two Ruffs, and five Greenshanks.
A Wood Warbler was caught and ringed on the Estate. It was present around the Haven later in the day. Five Wood Sandpipers and a Great White Egret remained on Worth marshes.
A Great White Egret dropped into Worth marshes mind-morning with at least six Wood Sandpipers present.
Wood Sandpipers love Worth marshes at the moment with at least seven, and perhaps up to nine, present on the pools. Maybe not quite as eye-catching to visitors but it was interesting to us to see an increase in Coot to 121, probably a Worth record.
A really good mix of waders were seen today. Worth marshes held 90 Lapwings, two Ruffs, 46 Snipes, six Greenshanks, 20 Green Sandpipers, and five Wood Sandpipers, with Ringed Plover on the Estate beach, a Ruff and three Common Sandpipers on Restharrow Scrape, and three Oystercatchers, 55 Lapwings, one Whimbrel, one Curlew, 23 Redshanks, seven Greenshanks, seven Green Sandpipers, one Wood Sandpiper, and 13 Common Sandpipers on New Downs. Pegwell Bay in the evening held 575 Oystercatchers and 195 Curlews. It was also great to confirm breeding Water Rail on New Downs.
A Tawny Owl was perched in the Whitehouse at dawn before flying off towards the Haven. Sightings of this woodland Owl are particularly rare, especially on the Estate. Most records are of the odd bird heard in spring on the Green Wall or, more recently, from the Great Wood on Worth marshes. There was another good mix of migrant Warblers on the Estate again including Reed, Willow, Sedge, and Garden, plus Whitethroats and Blackcaps. Three Wheatears were also at Sandilands. A flock of 40 Snipe on Worth was a surprise with two Wood Sandpipers still present.
A good arrival on the Estate this morning with the first Redstart of autumn, four Wheatears, a Wood Warbler, 23 Willow Warblers, three Garden Warblers, and small parties of Swifts and Sand Martins heading through. It’s been a slow start to autumn compared to last year but there should be plenty of activity from now on. The next few weeks will be the peak time for Grasshopper Warbler, Garden Warbler, and Lesser Whitethroat so keep an eye out for them, particularly around the Gullies and the Oasis area.
Double-figures of Sand Martins were hawking over Restharrow Scrape, with two Common Sandpipers on the muddy edges and two broods of Little Grebes vying for photographer’s attentions. In the evening a large flock of gulls were on Worth marshes which included around 100 Mediterranean Gulls.
Nightingale and Treecreeper were both good finds on the Estate. Warblers passage is still not more than a trickle but Garden Warbler was new in today and Reed Warblers are more noticeable.
Four Spoonbills dropped into Worth marshes briefly before heading off inland. There were also two Wood Sandpipers and an influx of 120 Sand Martins.
Two Whinchats were on the fences by Restharrow Scrape. There was some good movement offshore with 210 Sandwich Terns and 108 Common Terns going north in just over an hour, plus a handful of Kittiwakes and waders. Garganey and Wood Sandpiper were on Worth.
The wader selection on New Downs was still good with 90 Lapwings, six Dunlins, three Whimbrels, 178 Redshanks, ten Greenshanks, five Green Sandpipers, and 22 Common Sandpipers. One Wood Sandpiper remained on Worth marshes along with 110 Lapwings and a Pochard new in. On the Estate were two Wheatears at Sandilands, four Willow Warblers, a Marsh Harrier, plus two Greenshanks and two Common Sandpipers on Restharrow Scrape.
A few species were moving around on Worth with now eight Grey Herons and 86 Coots plus a Water Rail and two Willow Warblers new. Two Golden Plovers were on the Estate and an Arctic Skua was offshore.
A handful of Willow Warblers made landfall on the Estate. Ten Whimbrels were on Royal Cinque Ports Golf Course near Dickson’s Corner and three Wheatears were nearby at Sandilands.
A Garganey and four Wood Sandpipers were on Worth marshes in the morning. The Estate was good with Whinchat, four Sand Martins, Cuckoo, Garden Warbler, and eight Willow Warblers, plus the hybrid Swallow x House Martin which continues to be seen around the Oasis and Royal St George’s Golf Course area. A Wigeon in Pegwell was the first of autumn with a few hundred Sandwich Terns still present.
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