Dungeness - 0815 - 1030hrs - mild, overcast, light rain, sw 6-7 - As the wind picked up to gale force during the early hours, rattling the windows around the cottage, there was only one place to start the day... An hour long vigil in a shaky seawatch hide revealed a big sea running up-Channel and plenty of spray in the air. For the first 20 minutes nothing much materialised and then a steady flow of Gannets and Commic Terns trickled west along with four Fulmars and, eventually, 11 Manx Shearwaters, including three that flickered black and white inside the cardinal buoy.
I noticed the shearwaters were cutting in from the east and angling out sharply into the Channel murk so shifted position for the next hour to the fishing boats. The seabirds were a little closer here with more Gannets and terns moving west along with a total of 13 Manxies and a party of 11 inbound Swifts. Also noteworthy were two grey seals.
With the combination of wind strength and time of year I was hoping for a Stormy Petrel, but it was not to be, still 24 Manx Shearwaters in a couple of hours is a decent return at Dungeness where you can easily go all spring/summer without seeing one.
ARC - 1200hrs - From the causeway road a drake Garganey was tucked up asleep in thick cover alongside Gadwalls and Mallards, while out on the lake Swifts and hirundines swarmed. From Hanson hide a closer inspection of the swarm revealed mainly House Martins with a Hobby sending them skywards every so often. Also heard, despite the roaring wind, Cuckoo, Reed, Sedge and Cetti`s Warblers, Reed Bunting and Tree Sparrow.
Lade - 1600hrs - Checked north lake just in case anything had been blown in, but all was quiet apart from a hundred or so Swifts and hirundines, and still the wind and rain blasted across south lake.
Roll on summer...