Instead of heading up the A12 we headed down the M20 arriving at a very murky Dungeness at first light. We attempted a short seawatch but the mist was a real problem as was the rain and lack of wind. We had a few Auks, Gannets and Sandwich Terns along with a single raft of Scoters and several Porpoise before we gave up and headed back out to the reserve picking up our first Wheatear of 2018 by the RNLI shed.
On the reserve we collected another year tick with many calling Sedge Warblers along the track and from Dengemarsh bridge we found the Slav Grebe which is now almost in summer plumage.
We decided to head over to Oare and give the Long-billed Dowitcher another go (our third try this year) and we walked down the creek before heading back up to view the flood from the sea wall picking out a Common Tern for our trouble. The Blackwits had flown in to roost on the banks of the flood and as we headed off thinking we’d failed a call back from two other Essex birders had us on the bird as it sat amongst the Blackwits. We thanked them and offered up a pair of Little Owl in return which was well received.
Our final stop was Elmley where we watched as a pair of Marsh Harriers collected sticks and the Hares lazed about along the track whilst the Lapwings battled the Redshanks for nest sites and Skylarks sang above us.
Still kicking myself for going south and missing the chance of connecting with the American Bittern at Carlton Marsh. Here’s hoping it decides to stay until next weekend as that’ll be the first chance I get to go after it now.
Year list now 178