Lade - 0730hrs - grey, miserable, mildish, light airs - Decided on a tour of the Peninsula this morning starting at the local patch where a fine drake Smew on south pit was the first of the winter here; on north pit the lone Brent was still present.
Dungeness - Picked up the Joker and onto the Point where 2 Snow Buntings had been reported by OL. We soon located them along the tideline near the boats where they posed for pictures before heading off high to the north (and, no we didnt flush `em!). Joined DW for a half hour seawatch during which time the 2nd winter Glaucous Gull put in an appearance, following an absence of several weeks. Offshore, hundreds of Great Crested Grebes, a few auks and Gannets, single Fulmar and two groups of 7 and 11 Brents east.
RSPB - Eight Smews and the GWEgret on New Diggings from the causeway road with another redhead from Hanson plus all the usual wintering wildfowl including 12 Goldeneyes and 3 Pintails, Little Egret, 50 Curlews, 2 Lottis and 2 Chiffchaffs. Water Rails, Cetti`s Warblers, Reed Buntings and Great Tits were in good voice and a couple of Marsh Harriers and a Sparrowhawk drifted over. From Boulderwall the obligatory Tree Sparrows, whilst out on the fields a scattering of Curlews, Wigeons and 50 Stock Doves.
Whilst chatting to NH from the ramp overlooking Hookers, a Bittern flew across the reedbed and tussled with a harrier before dropping into cover. A large flock of Lapwings and 50 Goldies on the back fields, several more harriers close by and another view of a Bittern from the hide. Long-tailed Duck on Burrowes and Stonechat at the Corral completed a decent mornings birding.
Lade Bay - On a receding tide this afternoon easily bagged all 10 species of shorebirds between the Lade car park and the Tavern. Of particular note was the number of Knots present; at least 250, which is well up on the norm.