Dungeness - 0830hrs - cool, cloudy, e 5 - With Lew down for a couple of days birding at Plovers we started in the seawatch hide. Despite the unfavourable weather conditions an hour delivered a Black-throated Diver from the off followed by a trickle of Gannets, Sandwich and Common Terns, 2 Red-throated Divers, 2 auks, a Kittiwake, a Fulmar, 12 Barwits and 7 Whimbrels, the first of many we were to see today. Down at the Patch 20 Common Terns were milling over the boil amongst a host of immature gulls.
The land was predictably quiet in the rasping east wind, but we did manage to pin down a pair of Wheatears opposite Jarman`s, several Pied Wagtails and a scattering of Linnets.
RSPB - My pessimism for the day was quickly unfounded as the 2 Slavonian Grebes showed well on New Diggings along with a small flock of Swallows over the lake and several Whimbrels and Greenshanks over calling, but unseen. At Boulderwall Tree Sparrows were in the garden followed by a Wheatear opposite and along the access road 30 more Whimbrels dropped in. From Dennis`s hide a Black-necked Grebe in summer plum showed at the northern end of the lake, plus House Martins amongst the Swallows and the first Swifts of the spring over the car park. Around the circular trail, Common and Lesser Whitethroats, Sedge, Reed and Cetti`s Warbler performed well, the Tundra Bean Goose was still on the fields at Dengemarsh along with a Bar-headed Goose, Wigeon and Shelducks, while Marsh Harriers came and went. From the hide two flocks of Greenshanks moved through totalling 12 birds, a Bar-wit was on the hayfield and a pair of Garganey flew over. We finished on a high with our first Cuckoo of the year by Scott hide, a Yellow Wagtail by the Dipping Pool and several more Whimbrels over calling.
Scotney - In the afternoon sunshine several Yellow Wagtails and Corn Buntings showed well past the farm along with a cracking male Marsh Harrier, 8 Egyptian Geese and 2 Avocets.
ARC - We finished a successful days birding with more warblers, hirundines and Common Terns, plus a Grey Plover over the lake. However, the day was memorable for the number of Whimbrels and Greenshanks on the move, many emitting their evocative calls, as they pressed on towards their northern breeding grounds.
PS: The first 2 Pomarine Skuas of the spring were logged past the point this afternoon (DBO).