Lade - cold, frosty, sunny, light airs - A stunning morning for a wander down to the Kerton Road pit and back across the Desert to Mockmill. On the first `official` day of winter the clear overnight skies had delivered a frost on the shingle and ice in the sewers. A scattering of Reed Buntings, Mipits and Skylarks were flushed from the storm ridges while Mockmill held a couple each of Snipe and Stonechat, a Cetti`s Warbler, Sparrowhawk and Water Rail. As if to confirm winter`s arrival the first two redhead Smews were on north lake plus three Goldeneyes on south.
Dungeness RSPB - There was no sign of either the Cattle Egret or Ring-necked Duck at Boulderwall this morning, although the duck had reappeared by mid-afternoon, while the Long-eared Owl was also absent from its usual roosting perch. Two more Smews were on Burrowes, but mobile, along with 15 Pintail, five Goldeneye, two Blackwits and hundreds of Cormorants, wildfowl and gulls. The bird feeders in the car park were busy with tits and finches where I was surprised to see a Brambling, a scarce winter visitor in these parts.
Over the road on ARC we had cracking views of a Water Rail in front of Hanson hide and a very pale Common Buzzard, plus Kingfisher, Redshank, two Marsh Harriers and all the expected gulls and wildfowl.
We couldn't find the Bewick`s Swans at Cockles Bridge or anywhere else on Dengemarsh, but the Black-throated Diver was still showing well on Brett`s pit at Scotney.