After waking up today to a sunny morning I decided to make the most of it and go out birding to Dungeness.I spent my time on the reserve knowing that there was some good birds there, knowing is one thing though, seeing them is another, but as it happens all came good. First place visited was Christmas Dell Hide where I had great views of the drake SMEW. I was hoping to see it before it leaves, and I don't know if I will see one next winter. I then had a quick look from Scott Hide but all was quiet there apart from c25 Tufties all huddled together in the right corner out of the wind and some Cormorants nest building.
I then spent quite a while in Firth Hide.There was a good number of birds on the water, nearly all of what one would expect to see, apart from a couple, the first being a couple of female GOLDENEYE and 2 lovely female GOOSANDER which was preening on one of the islands near to the Makepeace Hide. The other species seen was: Mallard, Gadwall, Shelduck, Shoveller, Teal, Pintail, Coot, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Cormorant, G/B/B/Gull, L/B/B/Gull, Herring Gull, B/H/Gull, C/Crow. The only waders seen here was 2 Oystercatcher.
I couldn't leave this part of the reserve without looking at the LONG EARED OWL, I say owl because only one had been reported being seen.
I then went to Denge Marsh Hide, and by now although it was still bright sunny the wind had suddenly increased. I did see 1 of the 2 EGYPTIAN GEESE that have been reported. Other birds added to those seen so far was: Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, G/C/Grebe, 2 Marsh Harrier(1 stunning male), Moorhen, Mute Swan, Lapwing, W/Pigeon, C/Dove, Magpie, Jackdaw.
From here it over to the ARC Pit, Hanson Hide. With the wind hitting the back of the hide and all calm in front made it a delight to sit there. It wasn't brimming with birds, but what had to be the brightest bird on the water was a drake GOLDENEYE, there was also 2 females with him and another 4 female in the far right corner, but what I wasn't expecting to see, although I don't know why not because it is about that time for them to arrive and that was 2 SAND MARTIN. I then decided to make my way back to the car, I had kept Pamela waiting long enough.
So, my "Bird of the Day" is to be the ** SAND MARTIN**. Watching these little birds franticly feeding and then thinking about the hours on the wing that these two have spent to get here, many don't make it, makes these two of the lucky guys.