15:20-17:00 – sunny with a fresh SW wind. The flock of Black-tailed Godwits on the east flood had increased to about 260 birds. There were also two Lapwings and five Avocets, the pair of Mute Swans with their three cygnets, a drake Pochard and a returning duck Teal. Overhead, there were about 200 Swifts. A juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker was by the cottages. Three Great Crested Grebes were on the Swale by Castle Coot and a flock of 30 Grey Plovers, a Curlew and a Turnstone were on Horse Sands.
In the next week or so, we can expect the first returning waders. The se will probably include Ruff, Green Sandpipers and Spotted Redshanks still in breeding plumage. I have seen comments to the effect that the “returning” Bonaparte’s Gull is late this year. Over the last four years, the first dates have been 22nd May in 2013 (when it was a second calendar year bird), 17th July in 2014, 20th June 2015 and 8th July 2016. It is unpredictable. It could turn up any time now or, of course, not all.
14:00-15:50 – sunny with a fresh southerly wind. There were about 220 Black-tailed Godwits on the east flood where Coot numbers were beginning to build with 101 counted. A single Little Tern flew east by Horse Sands and a flock of c15 Bar-tailed Godwits could be made out on the Sheppey shore beyond. A Yellow Wagtail flew over the sea wall near the hide (Geoff Burton)
110 Swifts were hawking low over the floods in the afternoon (Dave Perrin).
A male Montagu’s Harrier flew south over the west flood, the scrub and the rape fields beyond at 5.30 pm (Dave Perrin). This is the first to be recorded here since 2011.
06:05-11:15 – sunny and warm with a light easterly wind. On the east flood, the non-breeding flock of Black-tailed Godwits had reduced to 170 and the only other waders were two Avocets and the occasional Oystercatcher. The pair of Mute Swans were present with their three cygnets and ducks included 16 Gadwall, six Shovelers and three Pochard. There were two Turtle Doves in the scrub and, less common here, a Collared Dove on a TV aerial on the cottages. A Cuckoo, a Nightingale and a Lesser Whitethroat were in song. A Barn Owl was noted at 7.10 am and another Cuckoo, at the Uplees copse, flew across the Swale to Sheppey (Geoff Burton).
It has been a quiet month, especially in the second half when Jay was the only species added to the year list. 131 species at the end of the month is 12 behind last year’ total. Amongst the birds recorded earlier in the month were Curlew Sandpiper on 9th and a drake Garganey on 10th (also on 29th).
Of non-avian interest was a Cream-spot Tiger moth on the path along the creek between the sluice and the sea wall hide on 15th.