Dungeness - 0745hrs - cool, cloudy, rain, w 7 - The wind and rain increased through the early hours to gale force by daybreak as a deep depression moved up Channel off the Atlantic. The sea was a broiling mass of waves and spray and birding in these sort of conditions are usually pretty hopeless; but truth be told it was worth making the effort just to experience the power of the tempest. However, forty five minutes from the shelter of the seawatch hide did deliver a single Manx Shearwater (new for the year) along with a trickle of distant Gannets, Sandwich and Common Terns.
The rain dried up by mid-morning and the sun broke through, although the wind was relentless throughout the day. From Hanson hide a good selection of wildfowl hunkered on the islands included two pairs of Shoveler and Teal amongst scores of Pochards, Shelducks, Gadwalls and Coots. A pair of Little Ringed Plovers were present along with 50 Lapwings and two Oystercatchers, but the two Spoonbills from earlier had moved on. Also noted, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Cuckoo and several hundred Swifts and House Martins.
Over the road on Burrowes many more Swifts (maybe 300 or so) hawked over the lake where more eclipse wildfowl were present. Hobby, Peregrine and Marsh Harrier also noted. It was a similar picture on Lade pits with a couple of hundred Swifts careering over the water, but none with white bellies or rumps. An evening visit to ARC yielded similar fare to the morning, apart from a flyover Bittern.