Lade - 0700hrs - low cloud and rolling sea mist, clearing mid-morning to sunshine - Well, well, well. what an odd day. That`s the great thing about birding, you just never know what its going to throw up.
It started at 7am as I was standing out back supping on my first brew of the day watching Barney chasing the cat around the garden. The Dungeness fog horn was blaring away as a thick sea mist rolled over the cottage, and then I heard a distinctive `kerrick-kerrick` sound coming out of the gloom; surely, it couldn't be... perhaps an early Starling, even though it was barely light - and then a Sandwich Tern skimmed over the roof and headed inland! Incredible, first surprise of the day.
RSPB - 0930hrs - Down at the bird reserve the fog was coming and going, but by the time the guided walk started we were in bright sunshine with blue skies. The standard circuit in reverse delivered some quality sightings: from the ramp overlooking Hookers everyone had superb flight views of Bittern and several Marsh Harriers, plus a close Cetti`s Warbler, `pinging` Beardies, a Raven feeding on a swan carcass, Dabchicks and 2 Chiffchaffs. From Christmas Dell, 3 Snipes showed well just in front of the hide and the pair of Ravens `cronked` overhead. On Burrowes we eventually caught up with the Long-tailed Duck, plus 50 Golden Plovers and all the usual wildfowl. On New Diggings, 8 Smews and the Great White Egret.
Dengemarsh - 1400hrs - Walked down from Springfield Bridge and eventually located the Water Pipit at the far side of hayfield no. 3; had poor `scope views of a bird in winter plumage. Further Raven and Marsh Harrier sightings here.
ARC - 1500hrs - Finished off in style with reed obscured views of the Penduline Tit from a packed Hanson hide, that had been showing on and off throughout the day. Along the willow trail several Chiffchaffs and Long-tailed Tits.
As I say, a very strange day indeed that started with a Sandwich Tern in thick fog and ended with a Penduline Tit in bright sunshine. What a weird place Dungeness can be...
PS: The 2 Snow Buntings were reported from the Point (PB) this morning, while 2 Short-eared Owls were back on Littlestone Golf Course yesterday (SB).