Dungeness - 0900hrs - warm,dry and sunny sw1 - Very pleasant mornings weather to finish this weekends Birdwatching Break for Sarah and Jean from Sussex. Around the old light several singing Mipits, a few Pied Wagtails but no sign of any Black Redstarts from yesterday. However, a pair of Stonechats brightened up the scene, with sporadic bursts of song from the male which was a very bright individual: white rump, thick white neck collar, white wing patch and leading edge; orangey underparts, streaked on flanks; black head and tail; brown and black streaked mantle. I think this makes it of the continental race Saxicola toruatus rubicola that shows a white rump and larger neck patch than the British race, S.t. hibernans, but I`m open to offers... Anyhow, damn smart bird, whatever the race.
ARC -1100hrs Had another go for Bittern down at the Screen hide without success but plenty of wildfowl, more Marsh Harriers, a Kingfisher on Tower Pits and a small flock of Chaffinches in the pines. From the causeway road 2 distant Buzzards over Lade, plus the Great White and 2 Little Egrets on New Diggings.
A cracking weekends birding with the undoubted highlights for the visitors being: Great White Egret, Smews, Marsh Harriers, Barwits and Knots, Glaucous Gull, Little and Short-eared Owls, Black Redstarts, Stonechats and Tree Sparrows.
Somewhere-on-Romney-Marsh - 1645hrs Accompanied CP on the final harrier count of the winter where 18 Marsh Harriers came to roost. Also noted 2 Buzzards, Kestrel, Shovelers; calling Water Rails, Cetti`s Warbler, Dabchick, Reed Buntings, Wrens and at dusk a number of Snipes and White-fronts amongst flighting Grey Lags.
Most surprising of all was a screeching Barn Owl on the walk back to the car; but even better on this crisp early spring evening was the sight of the four planets, Saturn, Jupiter, Venus and Mars, shining brightly in the cosmos high above the Marsh landscape. What a stunning end to a superb day.