Lade - 08000hrs - Cold, dry, sunny, light airs - Following a heavy overnight frost, when the temperature even down here on the coast plummeted to -3C, the day dawned bright and sunny once the fog had cleared. The cold snap had certainly moved thrushes from somewhere with small flocks of Redwings, Fieldfares, Song Thrushes and Blackbirds around the cottage and overhead.
Scotney - 0930hrs - Had a run out with the Joker this morning. First stop the causeway road and 2 Great Whites on New Diggings, plus hundreds of Shoveler, Teal and Gadwall on ARC where also 3 Mipits, 2 Pied Wagtails, a few more thrushes and a Dunlin. On the fields past Boulderwall we grilled a mixed flock of Greylags and Canada Geese just in case, where there was also more winter thrushes.
Scotney was back to its best with a flock of 20 White-fronts flying in as we pulled up on the bend. The Barnacle Goose flock had returned with 86 and 8 Snow/Emperor types, plus hundreds more feral geese roosting in the fields along with Wigeon, Lapwing and a few Goldies and Dunlins. Two Slav Grebes showed well and 20 Shelducks were on the far side of the pit along with a `redhead` Goosander and several Dabchicks. The fields by the farm entrance were also full of Wigeon and plovers, more thrushes and Starlings, plus 2 Goldeneyes and 4 Dabchicks on the water.
Galloways/Dengemarsh - A circuit around the range road produced a couple of Stonechats, Kestrel, plus a Little Owl and Stock Doves on the cow barns and turkey sheds. Stacks more Wigeon on Dengemarsh and a fly through Green Sandpiper along the gully. The fields around Lydd had decent numbers of Common Gulls and a covey of 12 Red-legged Partridges.
RSPB - The view from Hanson was relatively quiet but a trio of Goldeneyes proved entertaining with the dominant drake eventually getting his wicked way with a slutty `redhead`! Couldn`t find the tit flock on the flooded Willow Trail but there was plenty of Water Rail and Cetti`s Warbler activity thereabouts. Over the road on Burrowes a pair of Smew from Dennis`s and probably 4 more Great White Egrets. By now the sun had brought forth hordes of flying insects for several Chiffchaffs to snap up in the willows opposite Firth hide. Also noted several Marsh Harriers, Kestrel and Green Woodpecker.
Greatstone Beach - 1430hrs - Checked the beach at high tide where 100 Sanderling and several Grey Plovers. Out on the water hundreds of distant grebes, divers and auks towards St Mary`s Bay, plus a Grey Seal.
Dungeness -First time I`ve seen the sea here devoid of birds for ages; they were of course on Lade Bay. A few gulls on the shingle by the boats included several Kittiwakes.
Another good days birding around the Peninsula with a batch of year ticks all round.