Dungeness RSPB - warm, dry, sunny, light airs to start, windy and cool from midday - Spent the day with old birding friends from Bedfordshire. We kicked off on the bird reserve where we had a decent clutch of passage warblers, chats and the like before the wind increased. Around the car park scrub and Return Trail we noted 10 Wheatears, five Whinchats, two Stonechats, two Common Redstarts (including a stunning male) and a host of Common and Lesser Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers, Reed Buntings, Great Tits, Green Woodpeckers, Goldcrest and Linnets, plus Greenfinch, Yellow Wagtails and Mipits overhead.
Plenty of Marsh Harriers and Kestrels were noted throughout the circuit, plus Hobby and Merlin at Boulderwall, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine and superb views of an Osprey catching a fish at Dengemarsh. Also from the hide two Cattle Egrets, a Spoonbill, Ruff, 10 Snipe, Great White Egret, Kingfisher and hundreds of Sand Martins. On Burrowes five more Great White Egrets, a Goldeneye, Common Sandpipers, Ringed Plovers and Dunlins.
After a spot of lunch we moved across the road to ARC where the Osprey was seen again over Kerton Road pit; also further views of Hobby and Merlin scattering the hundreds of Sand Martins over the lake, plus 25 Blackwits, 10 Dunlins, Dabchick, Black Tern, Garganey and Pintail amongst scores of wildfowl and Lapwings.
NNR - We finished off at the point where we tried for the Wryneck on the Desert, but due to the strong wind it was a no show. At the fishing boats the usual procession of Sandwich Terns and Gannets offshore, plus five Arctic Skuas. A call from DW alerted us to a juvenile Caspian Gull in the puddles by the parking area, so we joined the army of long-tom locals and took a few pics of what was a highly vocal individual.
It had been an enjoyable days birding with the landlubbers from Bedfordshire and I hope they all had a safe journey home.