We started at the 'Patch' and despite the wind we enjoyed the usual suspects and our only duck species was a Red Breasted Merganser. In amongst the Cormorants flying up channel we picked out a couple of Shags. Gannets passed westerly at some distance and closer in shore was a regular movement of Guillemots. We also had the good fortune to have a pair of Razorbills.
We were challenged by a distant Diver flying well above the horizon, it was considerably bigger than the Red Throats passing by and the chunky head & neck and lack of white markings suggest it could have been a Great Northern.
A fellow birder turned up and he was blessed with a key to the hide so we retired to the relative comfort of the indoors. We enjoyed watching a Mediterranean Gull at close quarters and a small number of Little Gulls joined us. Our new found friend told us if we moved round the spit the birds should be closer in shore in this westerly wind.
Hundreds of Great Crested Grebes were fishing just yards off shore. The winter plumage meant it took a while to check them all for a Red Necked but sure enough they were all GCG in the note book. The guillemots and Red Throats provided a canopy of black & white birds. Easy to separate at this distance but an opportunity to study fishing habits and flight.
Dan was distracted by the constant intrusion of Kittiwakes checking us for fishing scraps. The photos impressed me. A couple of fishing lines were attacked by Gulls who ended up caught on the line with the fish. Thankfully the fishermen released them and they flew away undamaged for the experience.
With only an hour and a half of light left we decided to pop in to the RSPB reserve. We had a Great White Egret either side of the road, once a rarity, my first at Hersden in 1990. Dan is now experiencing the same as I did twenty years ago with Little Egret. We picked up the Tree Sparrow colony, a pair of Marsh Harriers and read the sightings board. We decided the ARC pits would offer the best chance of interest.
The usual duck species were present and most pleasing was the seventeen Goldeneye, only five males. A Peregrine flew through without causing too much unease and as we left Lydd a Buzzard flew along side and alighted on a fence post. A nice end to the day and work tomorrow looms with some time set aside for New Year planning.
|No need for the scope as a Kittiwake flies past|