Dungeness - cool, cloudy, SSW 5 - 0730-1000hrs - With a southerly airflow there was only one place to start this morning. The seawatch hide was full, so we decamped to the Patch hide for shelter where the guests enjoyed superb close views of 15 Bonxies and 18 Arctic Skuas on the move up-Channel (more were seen throughout the morning, plus nine Pomarine Skuas, all of which were very distant PB). However, seabird of the watch was Manx Shearwater with a steady down-Channel flow of up to 100; infact a record count of 400 plus was eventually recorded throughout the day (see DBO website for details). Also noted two flocks of 20 and 30 Arctic Terns, 10 Fulmars, 50 Common Scoters, 20 auks, two Little Terns, two Red-throated Divers and a steady trickle of Gannets, Common and Sandwich Terns and inbound Swallows.
Moving onto the bird reserve where a flock of nine Barwits showed well close to the access road by Cook`s Pool, while further along the track a Spoonbill roosted on Tanner`s Pool. An adult Little Gull was still on Burrowes amongst more Arctic Terns, hirundines and Swifts, plus Greenshank, Turnstone, Barwits, Ringed Plover and Redshank on the islands in front of the VC.
A fine mornings birding to end the three day bird tour for Clare and Peter, during which time we rattled up a respectable 105 species with the highlights being the seabirds and waders.
On the way back from Ashford I called in at ARC where 100 more Arctic Terns and two Black Terns had been brought down by the rain, plus hundreds of Swifts and hirundines. At Lade north this evening 30 Arctic Terns briefly dropped in, making for a fine end to a classic early May day at Dungeness.