In not the best of conditions, Martin Jeffree, Bob and Judy Johnson , Al Nottage and Sue Phillips, met at the visitor centre.
Whitethroat and reed bunting had been seen along the entrance track and egyyptian goose earlier at Scotney Pit. From the car park, chaffinch were on the feeders, then a couple of linnet and a pied wagtail went over.
Since we early and the visitor centre was yet to open, we made a start outside Dennis hide overlooking Burrowes Pit. In an increasing breeze, we saw ringed plover, house and the odd sand martin, pochard, great-crested grebe, cormorant, shelduck, tufted duck, common and sandwich tern, nesting common gull, gadwall, coot, lesser black-backed gull and very briefly from inside, cuckoo too.
After checking in at the Visitor Centre (and an early coffee break!) we walked up to Firth hide. With reed warbler being heard along the path, we added avocet, little ringed plover and cettis warbler to our list. Venturing farther on to Makepiece hide didn’t provide anything further, though we did have a better view of the cormorants from here! With the weather now deteriorating, we took the brave decision to relocate to the beach by the Power Station!
Heading out along the Reserve entrance track we had a nice view of a hunting marsh harrier near the road and mute swan on Hansen ARC as we drove past. It was pretty windy at The Point, so we didn’t linger, but taking shelter in the lee of the (locked) hide, we gave it a go and though we couldn’t find any auks, we did see several groups of gannets going west. Brief views of a small bird within the Station enclosure might have been black redstart, but it wasn’t the day for them really.
Re-tracing our steps, we returned, via the Hansen ARC pit, to take lunch and here, walking up to the to the hide, were sedge warbler, great tit and some evening primrose, with black-tailed godwit, knot, shoveller duck, dunlin, a little egret, moorhen, blackcap, little grebe and black-headed gull all seen over sandwiches. A fortuitous fly-by of the presumed earlier cuckoo gave us all better view this time.
Sue and Al headed home via Pett, seeing curlew, fulmar, buzzard and swallow.