Saturday 10th February 2018

We started our day down on the coastal strip at Dungeness where a seawatch from the fishing boats produced RED-THROATED DIVER, NORTHERN GANNET, GUILLEMOT, RAZORBILL, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE, GREAT CORMORANT and GREAT CRESTED GREBES.

Moving round to ‘the patch’ it didn’t take long to locate a first-winter GLAUCOUS GULL roosting on the beach. Luckily for us it was flushed by a RED FOX and flew our way, where it gave fantastic views overhead delighting all of the group!

It was then time to head to the RSPB reserve where we had lunch in the hide which was sheltered from the blustery wind and light rain. A couple of GOLDCRESTS showed well in front of us whilst we tucked into our food.

Afterwards we made our way to Christmas Dell hide where it was quite busy and soon found a fine juvenile BLACK-THROATED DIVER that spent more of its time underwater then above, plus a winter-plumaged SLAVONIAN GREBE that gave good views.

A EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK zipped through and on the adjacent pool we had poor views through reeds and vegetation of two redhead SMEW.

Moving on to Dengemarsh hide, it was rather quiet due to the weather but undoubtedly the best bird was a male MERLIN that flew past the hide just 20ft away – superb!

We headed back to the centre to warm up and get out of the cold rain before concluding the day over at the ARC pit. A GREAT EGRET was seen several times in flight, as was a male WESTERN MARSH HARRIER. After a welcome slice of cake, we headed home after what had been a very eventful day down at Dungeness.