Weather - Dry, mild, sunny morning, cloudy afternoon, SW 3 - Joined up with Chris P and Phil L for our traditional NYD jaunt around the Marsh in fine, spring-like weather conditions; infact it was so warm today that not only were no hats and coats required but we also saw two small bats active in the woods amidst a myriad of flying insects. However, a Barn Owl on the Marsh was a good start en-route to Park Wood where a host of woodland regulars were noted including Tawny Owls, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Jay, Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Nuthatch and Goldcrest, set amongst a stunning blood-red sunrise. Nearby farmland and the RM Canal delivered the likes of Redwing, Fieldfare, Kingfisher, Stonechat, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting and Bullfinch, but only small numbers of each and very little elsewhere across the farmland wastes.
Back on the coast at Scotney and birds flew onto the list: thousands of Golden Plovers, Lapwings and Wigeons, plus 18 Ruffs, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Little Owl and eight Corn Buntings to name but a few. Onto Lade bay from the Tavern viewpoint and despite hoards of people and dogs on the beach we rattled up the expected waders including Knot, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits and Mediterranean Gull. News from Lade south told of (thanks Dave S) a flock of 10 Goosanders which we just got before they flew off north. A seawatch from a busy Dungeness duly delivered a feeding flock of mostly Gannets, auks, gulls, Cormorants and Red-throated Divers just offshore from the fishing boats, plus Brent Goose, Kittiwakes and our 100th species for the day, a Bonxie down-Channel. We finished off on the bird reserve with Goldeneye, Cattle Egrets, Pintails and a Peregrine, but no sign of the Smew seen earlier. However, it was a thoroughly enjoyable day`s birding in superb weather and fine company, and many thanks to Chris for driving the 76 miles across the Marsh. The final tally was a respectable 104 species of birds.