Dungeness - 0615 - 0730hrs - mild, wet, ssw 3 - Joined the early birders in the hide for a seawatch in a sad and desperate attempt to year tick Arctic Skua ... A steady flow of Sandwich and Common Terns came and went from the Patch with some moving through, plus a trickle of up-Channel Gannets as well as 200 Common Scoter, 10 auks, five Black Terns, four Little Gulls, three Med Gulls, two Red-throated Divers, four Arctic Skuas, singles of Kittiwake and Bonxie and an odd small, pale duck in a scoter flock which was most likely a Garganey.
Dengemarsh - 1330hrs - With George and Anne down from Essex for a three day Birdwatching Break there was only one place to start - from the viewing ramp overlooking Hookers where MH had earlier found a Purple Heron. We had an hour to wait before it showed properly, but wow what a show it put on with cracking views of the bird wading along the reedbed edge, flying around and preening. As always a stunning rarity and let`s hope it stays around and finds a mate as in 2010.
Unfortunately my bridge camera was playing up so I dipped on any pics but I`m sure Plodding Birder will have some crackers on his blogsite. During the two hours on the ramp we had Hobby (new for the year) `booming` Bittern, Cuckoo, plus plenty of Sedge and Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings, Bearded Tit, Swallows, a Greenshank over, Shelduck, Pochard, two Marsh Harriers and plenty of Lapwings on the farmland, including a well grown chick.
The hayfields were largely empty with just a scattering of Little Egrets, Shelducks, Gadwalls, Ringed Plover and, thanks to a call from Craig, we saw a Little Ringed Plover on No 1 hayfield. Two Whimbrels went over, while on Dengemarsh the Common Terns were back in force. Whilst by the hayfields we watched a Hairy Hawker emergence.
ARC - Pretty quiet here with three Little Gulls amongst the Common Terns and Black-headed Gulls, five Little Egrets, two Shovelers and `booming` Bittern. Around the car park the usual Tree Sparrows, Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Linnets, Long-tailed Tit and Green Woodpecker.