Lade - 0630hrs - misty, murky, cold start, sunny later, ne 2 - An early morning walk with Barney over the pits before doing breakfasts paid off handsomely with 2 Sand Martins over south lake, my first of the spring. While Sand Martins are a numerous autumn passage migrant down here, surprisingly spring birds can be few and far between.
Dungeness - 0845hrs - En-route to meeting Wendy and Doug at the point for a days birding I stopped off by Jarman`s where a Wheatear was flitting about by the old sheds. It was a shy and retiring individual and I only managed a poor record shot, but as it was the first one and all that I`m afraid you`ve got to suffer the appalling pic below (sorry SG!!). Anyhow, Wendy and Doug turned up and saw it and we also enjoyed Skylarks, Mipits, Linnets, Pied Wagtails and a Black Redstart in the same area. Several more Black Redstarts (seven at least) and a Stonechat were seen around the power station and Obs, while a 30 minute seawatch from the hide delivered single figures of Gannet, Red-throated Diver, Kittiwake and hundreds of gulls. We then trekked out to the Trapping Area for the Hume`s but drew a blank, although it was reported earlier.
Dungeness - En-route to the reserve three Black-throated Divers were noted on New Diggings. From Dennis`s hide overlooking Burrowes we had good views of a drake Scaup which was our first of the year (not that I`m keeping a year list...); this former regular wintering duck has now almost changed status to that of an irregular passage migrant. We spent a fair bit of time checking every duck across the pit but could find no sign of yesterdays Green-winged Teal. However, Slavonian and Black-necked Grebes were noted, plus three Smew and eight Pintail. Also noted around the site Kestrel, Marsh Harrier, Little and Great White Egrets.
Dungness - A return to the point for seconds on the Wheatear drew a blank but we did have good views of the 1st winter Glaucous Gull on the shingle. In all a decent days birding in great company with three firsts for the year and lots else besides.
NB: Also reported today from Dengemarsh Gully, Wheatear, Firecrest and a fly over Shore Lark (AP).