Dungeness - 0835hrs - Mild, cloudy, showery, ssw 6 - With a decent blow coming up-Channel there was only one place to start this morning, so belatedly joined MH, PB & DW at the fishing boats for a lively couple of hours. There was a big sea running with deep troughs and low sunlight making for difficult viewing, but boy was it worthwhile. The others had already rattled up some goodies and I was beginning to think I`d missed all the fun... Firstly, there was plenty of auks fizzing through, most of them Razorbills, plus a steady flow of close Gannets and Sandwich Terns. Bonxies tallied at least 12 whilst I was on site, plus a couple of Arctic Skuas and several more skua too distant to nail down. Little Gull, Kittiwake, Curlew and 3 Common Scoters were logged before DW, peering into that big Kowa of his, called a mid-distance Sabine`s Gull, which we all manged to get onto as it rounded the point. DW was on fire as he called a cracking close Leache`s Petrel followed by 2 distant Sooty Shearwaters amongst 3 Bonxies! Two more Soots followed, plus another Leache`s courtesy of PB, with another brief Sooty just before I had to leave.
Passerine wise, at least 50 Swallows went south, plus 150 Goldfinches and 10 Siskins along the coast and 5 Skylarks inland.
It was an odd sort of a seawatch with no divers or Brents, but the quality was outstanding and there was always something to hold the attention; it was also the first time I`ve had the hat trick of Sooty Shearwater, Sabine`s Gull and Leache`s Petrel on a Dungeness seawatch. MH kept a steady flow of jokes going (most of `em we`d heard before!) and even Barney seemed to enjoy himself.
For a definitive tally of todays seabirds check out the DBO website.
ARC 1500hrs - Called in at Hanson hide on the way back from Lydd where the only waders of note were a Little Stint, Snipe and 2 Dunlins, one of which was an odd looking adult in retained breeding plumage with a short, stout bill and dark neck collar. All the usual wildfowl present and a Sparrowhawk over.
Dungeness - 1545hrs - News came through this afternoon of an immature Glaucous Gull at the point found by PB. By the time I arrived DW had relocated it over the fishing boats and I had distant flight views as it dropped behind the sea containers. There was some suggestion that it may have been last winters stalwart, more of which anon no doubt...