Lade - cold, drizzle, overcast, ne 4 - Had a run around the peninsula this morning kicking off on the local patch where a rasping wind coming off the bay prevented any credible wader watching. The usual suspects were present on the incoming tide, plus plenty of Common and a few Mediterranean Gulls and three Shelducks. On south lake it felt like mid-winter with five Goldeneyes and a few diving ducks out in the middle, while everything else had retreated to the shelter of the willow swamp. There was little bird song due to the weather conditions.
The Dungeness RSPB reserve visitor centre and hides are now closed until further notice in line with governmental advice, as are the two beach hides at Dungeness managed by DBO, but the nature trails across the bird reserve and NNR remain open and accessible for now. I checked along the access road and up to Dengemarsh where it was eerily bereft of both birds and birders, although to be fair the wind didn't help.
At the point there was a few more visitors scattered about and the Glaucous Gull was patrolling the foreshore, although very little appeared to be moving on the sea with just a couple of small flocks of Common Scoters heading up-Channel. Around the old lighthouse one or two Black Redstarts, Wheatears and White Wagtails were present, along with a cluster of birders peering into the garden looking for the Short-toed Treecreeper that had been reported earlier.
I wandered over, keeping a respectable distance, and realised that none of the group were locals. After a few enquiries it was apparent that most were twitchers having travelled in from elsewhere. Now, I haven't got an axe to grind against the twitching fraternity (I`ve done my share in past years) but one of them had travelled to Dungeness from Doncaster by train and bus, via London! When I gasped and said (rhetorically), "are you mad?", he just shrugged and made some lame remark about the "rarity value" of a STC.
In these unprecedented times, an example of totally irresponsible behaviour.