Dungeness - 0830hrs - Cold, cloudy, ne5, 2C max - A days birding with Wendy and Doug commenced with a 90 minute seawatch from the hide. It was yet another day in the freezer making birder id difficult as everyone we met resembled a mummy! As for the seawatch, well, the least said the better. A trickle of auks, divers and Gannets up-Channel was about it along with 3 Little Gulls, 5 Kittiwakes, 9 Common Scoters, 3 Brents, Med Gull, Sandwich Tern, a Merganser down and 5 Linnets in bound.
On the land a smart male Black Redstart and Wheatear near the old light both showed well.
Down at the Obs while swilling hot coffee and attempting to restore the blood flow to my fingers news came through via DW of a KP at Rye, so it was off to sunny Sussex.
Rye Harbour NR - 1115hrs - From the shelter of Lime Kiln Cottage not one but 2 Kentish Plovers (145) were on show about 100m from the track amongst a mixed group of Dunlins, Ringed Plovers, Redshanks and Avocets. We spent about an hour in all grilling the KPs, one of which was colour ringed, but they didn`t approach much closer to enable any detail. Was difficult to tell at this range but both appeared to have rusty crowns denoting males. Once again Rye scores with KP for the second year running, a deserved testament to the superb wetland management, and wouldn't it be great if they attracted a mate and stayed to breed...
PB joined us for a circuit of Ternery Pool and Quarry/Flat Beach and hides where the highlights were 50 Sandwich Terns, 100 Oystercatchers, 5 Blackwits and 2 Dabchicks on Ternery, plus 100 Dunlins, 25 Knots, 2 Grey Plovers, Turnstone and Sanderling at the latter. Back at the Cottage we had seconds on the KPs while 3 Med Gulls flew over calling.
As always a cracking session here and many thanks to the ever helpful staff at Rye Harbour NR for vehicular access.
Walland and Beyond - On the way back to Dunge we crossed the Marsh where the bunting flock at Tickners yielded a handful of Reeds and Yellowhammers. Further down the lane two large flocks of winter thrushes on pastureland comprised mainly Fieldfares, while a male Marsh Harrier criss-crossed a field flushing Woodpigeons looking for a weakling. The bird feeding station attracted all the usual tits and finches, although the Tree Sparrows were `chupping` away in cover. There was little to see on a wind swept Galloways but at Dengemarsh a Green Sandpiper flitted along the sewer and a close flock of 50 Wigeons grazed the field. A Great White Egret flew across ARC from the causeway road and we concluded back at Dungeness for a final look at a largely birdless sea.
A slow start to the day which came to life at Rye with the KPs being lifers for both Wendy and Doug.
Was also one of the coldest days I`ve spent in the field for a long time and Barney was quickly ejected from pole position by the fire side when I got home (only joking...).