This month's Kent Ornithological Society Field Trip began on Sunday 24th April at Dungeness seawatching hide, where we started an epic day that yielded 84 species (no Moorhen again!) and stunning views of many of the birds seen.

The usual Gannets were passing the Ness , and we also saw Sandwich and Common Terns, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Common Scoter and a fair passage of Bar-tailed Godwits and Whimbrel.
Two Black Redstarts were on the Power Station fence, often displaying and chasing each other. A Peregrine was discoverd by telescope perched on the building.  At the Patch Hide there was a tame Sandwich Tern that may have been in some distress on the beach.
We then moved up to the Bird Observatory area where the warden, David Walker, informed us a Black Kite had been seen earlier.   We were admiring Northern Wheatears -  that were almost certainly of the Greenland race -  when David Higham  - on his first outing with us -  picked up a large raptor in the distance. I immediately got the scope on it and identified it as a Kite that flew  closer and closer and passed over our heads  - a Black Kite.  Numerous Stonechats and Linnets, looking their best at this time of year were present and a Raven came past us with its hackles flared and a strongly wedged-shaped tail, being pursued by a Carrion Crow.  The size difference was vast.
At the RSPB reserve in the late morning we looked at Hookers Pit before having lunch at the view point.  Two/three Hobbys were hawking over our heads and a male Bittern flew past us, landed in the reeds and started booming.  Bearded Tits were in evidence.  Cetti's and Sedge Warblers were both numerous and showed well, as did Common and Lesser Whitethroats and Reed Buntings.  At Denge Marsh we picked up a smart drake Garganey, as well as Common Snipe and red Black-tailed Godwits.
On the Hayfields we found a Little Ringed Plover and heard a Wood Sandpiper that was later tracked down - with us all obtaining good scope views. Burrows Pit gave us Greenshank, Common Sandpiper and Common and Mediterranean Gulls in their full livery.
We finished the day at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve to catch the high tide but the light was against us and the wind had risen to a c20 mph Nor-easterly. We still added more Whimbrel, some fine brick-red Bar-tailed Godwits, black-bellied Dunlin, Golden and Grey Plovers and many Avocets. Our 84th species was Collared Dove!
Once again, Dungeness  - and Rye Harbour  - had delivered!  
Thanks to all the participants, Lyn, DBO, Dave Walker, Owen Leyshon and Martin Casemore for their help.
Ray O' Reilly

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