Dungeness - 0900hrs - mild, cloudy, showery, sw3 - A cracking days birding around the Peninsula with 26 members of the Land-lubbers Bird Club (well, you couldn`t live much further from the sea!). Great to see loads of old faces (and a few new ones) and catch up on gossip from the Old County.
The Mathematician kindly did the moths for us at Boulderwall (even though a diving beetle stole the show!) after which we walked the circuit in reverse, starting at Dennis`s Hide where a flock of passerines contained Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Blackcap and Long-tailed Tits. Viz mig included a passage of Swallows and Sand Martins, plus 3 Sparrowhawks, a few Yellow Wags and Mipits. On Burrowes, 2 Green and Common Sands, Ruff and Greenshank. Around the Return Trail more Whitethroats, 2 Wheatears, 2 Stonechats, Cetti`s, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Reed Buntings, Linnets, Green Woodpecker, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, 2 more Sparrowhawks and a Grass Snake.
Dengemarsh yielded the long-staying Great White Egret, 3 Spot Shanks, 15 Redshanks, 2 Greenshanks, Common Terns, Garganey, Little Gull, Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel and Peregrine.
A flock of some 30 Yellow Wagtails and several Mipits were grounded by the track near Christmas Dell.
From Makepeace hide 3 Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Pintail, a Merlin, plus a couple of hundred Sand Martins south.
After a spot of lunch and plenty of banter we tried and failed with the Cattle Egret in the fields by Boulderwall. Slim compensation came in the form of 4 Whinchats, 2 Wheatears and a Hobby
ARC - 1330hrs The much forecasted rain eventually arrived but by then we were camped in Hanson hide. A goodly selection of waders, before they were spooked by goodness-knows-what included: 300 Lapwing, 200 Goldies, 100 Oystercatchers, 15 Dunlins, 5 Curlews, 3 Curlew Sandpipers, 3 Barwits, 2 Little Stints and singles of Ruff, Snipe and Common Sandpiper. Also, Little Gull, Dabchick, Goosander, Wigeon and Pintail.
Fishing Boats - 1445hrs - A 90 minute seawatch proved to be the highlight of the day for many of the land-locked-birders as we had cracking close views of up to 10 Arctic Skuas, 10 Guillemots, 4 Little Gulls, 25 Black Terns, 2 Kitts, 50 Gannets, 100 each of Common and Sandwich Terns, 10 Turnstones, a Med Gull and the old favourite, on the beach, Shortie the Glaucous Gull (although he/she seems to be growing a tail) plus a supporting cast of mammals comprising 10 or so Harbour Porpoises and a Grey Seal.
A log call revealed a combined day list of 103 species (including Balearic Shearwater, Bonxie, Little Tern, Yellow-legged Gull and Grey Wagtail seen earlier by the Dunstable Four).
Finished up back at Boulderwall where we failed again with the Cattle Egret; the only dip, during what had been a successful days birding.
A thoroughly enjoyable day and I trust all you Beds Birders negotiated the M25 without too many delays and arrived safely back home.
See you all soon...