Scotney Pit, Dungeness, Camber, Pett Pools – 31st January 2013

Al, Martin, Mick and I set forth at about 08.45 on a bright but blustery morning. Birds seen on the way were collared dove, song thrush, house sparrow, blackbird, magpie, herring gull, rook, crow, jackdaw, robin, black headed gull, mute swan. Camber produced a flurry of sanderlings on the shoreline, and oystercatcher. On the way to Scotney Pit, we saw a big flock of fieldfares. We were hoping to see the Tundra bean goose at Scotney, but there was no sign of it, though there were greylag and barnacle geese there, and large numbers of wigeon, golden plover and lapwings. Mick found a few dunlin, and we added starling, pied wagtail, tufted duck, pintail, teal, mallard, gadwall, shelduck, moorhen, lesser black backed gull, common gull, redshank and skylark to the list.

At Hanson ARC, we noted tree sparrow, reed bunting, kestrel, redwing, dunnock, great tit, chaffinch and blue tit. From the hide, we saw fly-over bittern, a couple of marsh harriers, about 8 red head smew, male and female goldeneye, shoveler, pochard, great black backed gull, cormorants and a kingfisher. A short stroll along the Willow Trail produced chiffchaff, water rail, long tailed tit, Cettiā€™s and wren.

The Visitor Centre car park had greenfinches and tits on the feeders, and a green woodpecker appeared briefly. Mick found a goosander on the left hand side of the pit.

On the way to the shore, we saw plenty of feral pigeons and had a brief glimpse of a great white egret.

Mick showed us a new seawatching area. Although we were practically blown off our feet until we sheltered behind a large fishing boat, we did manage to see hundreds of guillemots/razorbills flying west, with plenty of red throated divers going the same way. Kittiwakes were seen here, and a flock of scoter heading east; one great crested grebe was logged. Al and Martin pointed out a gannet, which I managed to miss. The number of birds over the crashing waves was absolutely amazing, and almost too much to cope with.

We headed back for another look at Scotney, with a stock dove seen on the way, but the TB goose was nowhere to be seen. Then we drove to Pett Levels, where we managed to find little egret, grey heron, Brent geese, Canada geese, and curlew. The wind was blowing even harder now, so we decided to call it a day and head for home.

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