Lade - 0700hrs - Cool, cloudy, ne2 - Whilst checking the moth trap 4 Redwings over the cottage calling were the first of the autumn. The gardens and storm beaches produced an influx of 20 grounded Blackbirds, 10 Robins and 10 Chiffchaffs, whilst overhead small parties of Siskins, Goldfinches, Mipits and 2 Redpoll passed down the coast.
Dungeness - 0900hrs - We kicked off with a seawatch from the hide with a calm sea and birds moving both ways which included a steady flow of Gannets and Sandwich Terns, 100 Brents, 50 Wigeons, 12 Common Scoters, 2 Med Gulls, 2 Shelducks, Red-breasted Merganser and Guillemot.
At the Patch singles of Arctic Tern and Little Gull, 10 Common Terns and a Red-throated Diver on the sea. Along the power station wall, Wheatear, Mipits and Linnets.
Down at the Obs there was a fine gathering of locals optimistically hoping for the `Big One` to be found in a mist net round; but it was not to be, with just a few common warblers and a viz mig of finches and Mipits to speak of. A Sparrowhawk perched in full view by the moat and a Raven put on a show over the pylons, as news came in of a Richard`s Pipit at Dengemarsh Gully (BM).
RSPB - 1115hrs - On to the bird reserve and Jay and Tree Sparrow at Boulderwall, Kestrel and Marsh Harriers from the access road. On Burrowes a big increase in duck numbers was noted from last week. The track to Christmas Dell and beyond to Dengemarsh produced a decent return with a flock of 12 Long-tailed Tits, 10 Chiffchaffs, 2 Goldcrests, 2 Stonechats, Whinchat and Common Redstart, plus 4 Redwings, 50 Goldfinches, 2 Siskins and Grey Wagtail over. We had brief views of 2 Bitterns and a large flock of Golden Plovers and Lapwings over.
Scotney Pits - 1415hrs - The usual flock of 75 Barnacles and 8 oddities on the grass, plus 50 Golden Plovers, 10 Corn Buntings and a Brent.
Dengemarsh - 1500hrs - Galloways produced 3 Stonechats and Kestrel while we had good views of the Great White Egret from Springfield Bridge. Down the Gully we dipped with the Firecrests but scored well with a perched Merlin and a Lesser Whitethroat by the dam.
ARC - 1630hrs - Finished the day in some style with a juv Little Stint from Screen hide followed by 2 Common Redstarts, Spotted and Pied Flycatchers and a cracking male Black Redstart at the pines (thanks to PB & CT for the calls).
In summary, Stuart and Raymond had a great day, and its been a while since I`ve had a 5 Chat Day on a bird tour.