Dungeness - mild, dry, sunny, se 3 - With John and Linda down for a days birding the portents were good as the fabled south-easterly airflow washed over the peninsula. We kicked off with a 30 minute seawatch from the hide during which time at least 50 Gannets, most of them very close to shore, passed up-Channel, plus singles of Med Gull and Brent Goose. As we made our way to the Patch hide we were delayed by several Black Redstarts, Mipits, a Grey Wagtail, Chiffchaff, 10 Swallows and a number of Goldcrests along the way.
We then flushed a small, brown warbler from the sea samphire by the power station wall and over the next hour or so had frustrating views of this little skulker as it flew between patches of cover. From the flight views the dark back appeared uniform in colour and eventually we glimpsed a strong off-white supercilium. I began to consider it being Dusky/Radde`s Warbler so alerted DW at the Obs who in turn informed the troops. The bill appeared to be tiny - and then it called twice, a hard and distinctive `check` note, similar to Lesser Whitethroat, which for me was the clincher, it had to be a Dusky Warbler. Unfortunately, it then flew along the wall, round the corner and out of sight in the direction of the lighthouse garden. However, it was relocated within the hour in Westbeach scrub, confirmed as Dusky Warbler and photographed by MC ( www.ploddingbirder.blogspot.co.uk ).
Although the rarity stole the show this morning we also had plenty of other migrants around the point including: 20 Black Redstart, 20 Pied Wagtail, 20 Mipit, 50 Goldfinch, 20 Goldcrest, 10 Blackbird, and a Ring Ouzel in the moat. Also seen this afternoon a Great Grey Shrike in the long pits/trapping area (TG) and a Dartford Warbler near the estate entrance (SG).
Burrowes - The main spectacle here was a mixed flock of Great White and Little Egrets, Grey Herons and Cormorants feeding on a shoal of fish at the north end, while a redhead Goosander and 2 Goldeneyes were our first of the season. Also noted a 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull, Kingfisher, Chiffchaffs, Tree Sparrows, Snipe, Turnstone, Golden Plovers and Pintails, plus a Continental Coal Tit by the return trail.
Scotney - All the usual feral geese on the front fields, plus 300 Golden Plovers, 500 Lapwings and a Ruff. Outback more geese, egrets, a Black-necked Grebe, Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Merlin, Peregrine, 4 Kestrels, 20 Skylarks, 2 Black Redstarts, 2 Swallows and a Stonechat, but no sign of the Rough-legged Buzzard.
A circuit of the range road revealed little apart from 5 Mistle Thrushes and Stonechats.
In summary a great days birding for the guests with 87 species clocked up in fine autumn weather.