Lade - 0700hrs - cool, sunny, nw 2 - A stunning start to the day with a cool northerly airflow and bright blue skies, perfect for a circuit of the local patch. We timed it so that the tide was on the way in forcing the shorebirds close to Greatstone beach, and being as it was before the bucket-and-spade brigade were at large they remained largely undisturbed. Best of all were two juvenile Curlew Sandpipers, my first of the season, in a flock of 35 Sanderlings, and a tight flock of nine small, darkish Ringed Plovers that were probably of the Tundra race. Also, 210 Oystercatchers, 142 Curlews, 55 Dunlins, 14 Barwits, 12 Ringed Plovers, and four Turnstones, plus the usual gulls and 25 Sandwich Terns. The pits remained full of waterfowl as yesterday, while a scattering of Willow Warblers, Whitethroats, Reed and Sedge Warblers were feeding around the ponds. At least 10 Yellow Wagtails passed overhead, plus a group of five grounded on the beach.
ARC - Spotted Redshanks were up to two on the distant islands from Hanson hide, from where also 75 Lapwings, 48 Golden Plovers, 10 Dunlin, nine Blackwits, six Redshank, four Snipe and a Knot. Elsewhere around the lake Red-crested Pochard, Black-necked Grebe, Garganey and four Wigeon.
Burrowes - Pretty thin on waders here with just a few Dunlin, Common Sands, Lapwing and a Blackwit in front of Firth.
Lade - Its not every day a knock on the door delivers a Common Scoter onto your garden list! Local birder Christine Keeling was clutching the drake sea duck, which her son had found floundering around on the beach and in obvious danger from predators, including dogs. As it appeared to be uninjured I suggested releasing it on the sea at Dungeness, which they did, and off it swam back out into the Channel, apparently none the worst for its ordeal.
An evening visit to the gravel pits was notable for a flock of 20 Yellow Wagtails feeding along the fence line.