Cold and cloudy, NE 4 - A brilliant day in the field guiding for 13 members of the Worcester and Malvern birding group, during which time we recorded 80 species of birds. We kicked off with an obligatory one hour seawatch (it`s not everyone`s cuppa...) from the hide where there was a steady eastward trickle of Gannets, Guillemots and a handful of Common Scoters, Kittiwakes and Red-throated Divers, plus two Curlews. At least 200 Great Crested Grebes were on the sea, while both Harbour Porpoise and Grey Seal noted; the land was virtually birdless. Next stop was down the coast to Enbrook Park, Sandgate where we eventually located and had superb views and vocalisations (like a distant chew-wit of a Spot Shank) from the wintering Hume`s Warbler at the top of the valley. Also noted here: two Firecrests, three Goldcrests, a Blackcap, several Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Long-tailed Tits, a Grey Wagtail, a Blackcap and a Song Thrush. Back onto the Marsh and a pit stop at Littlestone overlooking the bay yielded hundreds of waders and gulls including 50 Turnstones, 200 Curlews, 500 Oystercatchers, 100 Common Gulls, six Redshanks, Sanderlings and Dunlins.
We struck lucky on Walland Marsh where 26 Bewick`s Swans were close to the road by Horse`s Bones Farm with another 21 near Midley Cottage along with three Whooper`s and a Black Swan. A Little Owl showed distantly nearby and a recently harrowed field attracted several hundred Fieldfares and Redwings along with a few Linnets and Goldfinches, a Stonechat, Kestrel, Common Buzzard and Marsh Harrier. At Cockles Bridge we cleaned up on seven Cattle and three Little Egrets, while the Glossy Ibis pair probed the turf for food by the gate at Cook`s Pool providing close views for the guests. Across Dengemarsh we logged more Marsh Harriers, egrets, common wildfowl, Goldeneyes, Lapwings, a Dunlin, 20 Pied Wagtails, four Ruffs, a `booming` Bittern and a Mistle Thrush. Considering the relentless nagging wind a decent birding day was enjoyed by one and all.