Dungeness - 0830hrs - muggy, cloudy, E2 - Spent the day showing Luke from north Kent the birding delights of the Dungeness Peninsula. The recent rainfall had freshened up the vegetation and brought forth a floral flush of great swathes of creamy-topped Sea Kale, sulphur Prostrate Broom and the first Yellow-horned Poppies. Painted Ladies, Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshell were all on the wing when the sun broke through.
At the Patch the second year Iceland Gull showed well feeding along the scum line, plus two Mediterranean Gulls loafing on the beach. A few Gannets drifted by out to sea while a party of Barwits moved up-Channel and a Whimbrel came in off. Several Sandwich and a Little Tern coasted west and at least five Harbour Porpoises were feeding just offshore.
All the usual birds noted on land: Whitethroats, Linnets, Mipits, Pied Wagtails, a Black Redstart on the power station and Wheatear opposite Jarman`s on the beach. We called in at the Obs and jammed in on a recently trapped Tree Pipit in the hand, something of rarity these days and many thanks to the staff for a photographic opportunity.
RSPB - Pretty quiet here with the usual Tree Sparrows and scrub warblers showing well at Boulderwall, plus a pair of Avocets on Burrowes and the expected ducks, grebes, terns and gulls across the lake. From Springfield Bridge, two Corn Buntings, two Ravens, Marsh Harrier, a party of Swifts and up to six Hobbies over the reedbed. A circuit of Galloways produced a pair of Stonechats and Little Owls, plus a Mistle Thrush.
Scotney Pits - Yellow Wagtails, Corn Bunting, Skylark, Buzzard and Little Owl were all present around the farm or out back, where the Avocet colony appears to be doing well with 20 pairs either still sitting or attending to recently hatched young. Other waders noted included Common Sandpiper, Ringed Plover and Redshank.
Walland Marsh - A circuit out on the Marsh in gloomy light produced Tree Sparrows, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Cuckoo and a Kingfisher, but no sign of any Turtle Doves.
ARC - From the shelter of Hanson hide, with the rain pelting down, a Little Ringed Plover and a three species flock of hirundines made for a fitting end to a decent day`s birding in fine company. We racked up 86 species of birds for Luke, before rain stopped play, and both agreed that the Tree Pipit was Bird of the day.