Sandwich Bay Wildlife Diary

Day 1

After arriving at the centre and settling in, I made my way to Restharrow Scrape. The highlight was a Curlew Sandpiper on the scrape and a Bullfinch on the way. In the evening I went for a walk towards Worth Marshes in hope of a Barn Owl, but no luck.

Curlew Sandpiper
(Photo by Thomas Landgren –

Day 2

An early morning walk towards the golf course yielded Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, a Long-tailed Tit, Greater Spotted Woodpecker and a Common Whitethroat. Then onto Restharrow Scrape where there were 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Dunlin and 4 Snipe. Another Birder told me that there 4 Wheatears at nearby Sandilands Beach so I walked on there and was fortunate to see 2 of them. It was getting very hot so spent the afternoon watching birds around the centre before trying again in the evening to find Barn Owl. Again with no luck although I did hear a Little Owl calling very close to me but was unable to see where it was perched in the trees.

(Photo by Simon Stobart –

Day 3

Spent the morning at the ringing station, learning about how the ringing and recording of birds is used to monitor migration and behaviour. A special treat was seeing 3 Pied Flycatchers, a rare bird in the east of England – these on migration south. In the afternoon returned to the scrape where there were 3 Curlews. I also heard a Whimbrel calling but was unable to locate it. The evening walk was again in search of Barn Owl, again without luck even though the warden had told me there was a pair in the farmyard next to the centre.

Pied Flycatcher
(Photo by Hedera Baltica –

Day 4

Another morning at the ringing station. Today the migrants included a selection of common warblers plus a number of Long-tailed Tits. Then to the scrape where new birds included 3 Oystercatchers and a Yellow Wagtail. Walked up to Sandilands beach and again saw 2 Wheatears. Returned to the centre via Restharrow Dunes, where there were Willow warblers, Chiffchaffs and Long-tailed Tits present.

Yellow Wagtail.
(Photo by Corine Bliek –

Day 5

My final day at the centre and spent the morning finding out what had been attracted to the moth trap the previous night. Over 60 species were recorded (Sandwich Bay is one of the best sites in the UK for the diversity of moths). Then went down to Dickson’s corner on the way to Sandilands beach as a Whinchat had been seen there earlier. I couldn’t find it but did hear a Raven. From here came back to the centre via the scrape but no new species were present. In the evening I went out on my final barn owl hunt, but there was to be no fairy-tale conclusion and I again drew a blank.

Hummingbird Hawk Moth in centre garden

Day 6

Left centre after breakfast. My thanks to the staff for their hospitality during my stay and to the ringers and the mothers for sharing their knowledge and findings with me. a very enjoyable stay and one I am keen to repeat again in the future.

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