Dungeness - 0830hrs - Cold, murky start, light airs, sunny by midday, n3 - Spent the day birding with Wendy who set me a tough challenge of finding a Brambling; and not just a skanky fly over job!
We kicked off with a seawatch from the hide and over the coming hour had a pretty decent return with plenty of Kittiwakes milling around along with a trickle of Red-throated Divers, distant auks and Gannets, 6 Med Gulls, plus 15 Common Scoters, 30 Brents and 4 Eiders down-Channel and at least 180 Great Crested Grebes on the sea. The 3rd winter Glaucous Gull was noted heading towards The Patch. Several groups of Starlings came in off the sea during the watch, while throughout the day others were seen elsewhere, piling in from the east. Passerines around the Point included small numbers of Goldfinches, Pied Wagtails, Dunnocks, Mipits, Greenfinches, Blackbirds, Robins and singles of Stonechat, Song Thrush and Redpoll.
Midley - A run out onto Walland delivered the 2 adult Whooper Swans with the Mutes, plus plenty of Chaffinches, Mistle Thrush, Kestrel, Buzzard, Marsh Harrier and a few winter thrushes. Opposite the sparrow feeding station a patch of spilt grain proved most productive with up to 30 Tree Sparrows, Chaffinches, Greenfinches and joy upon joy a single Brambling, which showed well in the bright sunshine. Wendy was happy, and I couldn't believe my luck as Bramblings are far from easy to find down here on the Marsh.
ARC - News came through of a Penduline Tit from Hanson hide (BB & SB) just as we were heading back that way. Predictably, it was not seen again after the initial sighting, but no doubt it`ll crop up again sometime this week. The water level on ARC has risen so rapidly that all the low shingle islands are now covered, making for distant views of the dabblers. A few Lapwings were belly deep on one island and the only other waders we could find were a few Golden Plovers and a Dunlin. On the way out we missed a couple of late Swallows heading south (DB), while a flyover Shore Lark was reported earlier by SB.
Burrowes - At least 3 Great White Egrets and 6 Little Egrets here, plus all the usual wildfowl and a Long-tailed Duck, which looked a different bird from the one on Lade (still present earlier PB), being brighter on the face. A Raven was noted over the power station, another Marsh Harrier and more inbound Starlings.
Dungeness - Finished off at the boats where the adult Yellow-legged Gull showed well. The Glaucous Gull proved a little more difficult but eventually we found it over by the shoreline as the sun was setting.
In summary, a fair days birding with the highlight for Wendy the Eiders, Long-tailed Duck, Glaucous Gull, and bird of the day - Brambling!