On Sunday 25th September a group of 14 members met at the Observatory at Sandwich Bay. We unfortunately appeared to fill the car park with our vehicles but we were not the only group to be visiting that day and there was quite a crowd of us when we went into the ringing hut to see a couple of birds being processed by the volunteers. First up was a chiffchaff which seemed tiny up close. It was weighed, measured and feathers observed to age it. It was also checked to see how much fat it was carrying by blowing on the bird’s chest to part it’s feathers before finally getting it’s ring and being released. All these observations are recorded and it helps to build up a record of not only that bird but that species from where and when they might migrate, in what numbers to how much fat they need to put on for the journey.
After this interesting look into some of the observatory’s work we made our way around the reserve. First up was Restharrow scrape. A little quiet with only a few teal and moorhen to be seen but later, on a second visit, we added little egret, grey heron and a fall of meadow pipits who dropped in for a quick wash and preen. Following this we headed towards the small woodland to catch up with long-tailed tits, chaffinch, blackbird and some elusive chiffchaffs in the tree tops. Leaving this area a jay called out of sight and then a little owl was also heard by some but alas also not to be seen. We headed to the beach for lunch and a bit of sea watching.
Gannets and cormorants were seen flying out to sea but closer in a couple of turnstone were loafing about and oystercatchers were scooting along a little off shore. We were hoping for a bit of visible migration and we did see a few swallows, house and sand martins overhead but not in great numbers. Returning from the beach area we saw two kestrels having a noisy argument and then, a group of stonechats doing what they do best, perching on posts and fences, flying up and down and then returning. The hoped for whinchats eluded us. We made our way back to the centre where some of us had to leave for home and some of us had a very nice tea or coffee. A small group of us then just finished off with a walk out the back of the centre where we added stock dove, marsh harrier, goldfinch and a large group of linnet to our list. A very pleasant day. Thank you to all who came.
Thanks to Sally, Steve and Terry for the photographs.