11th April

Dungeness we may not be, at least in spring seawatch terms, but today had a lot going for it with all-day entertainment for anyone keeping an eye on the water. In the fresh easterly both watchpoints were very well covered and, inevitably, there was a certain amount of overlap but minimum totals included 406 Common Scoter, 264 Sandwich Terns, 201 Whimbrel, 83 Arctic Skuas (...when was the last time we had a spring day-total of that magnitude?), 43 Bar-tailed Godwits, 73 commic terns, 22 Arctic Terns, 16 Mediterranean Gulls, 15 Eider, 13 Grey Plover, 12 Sanderlings, 10 Velvet Scoter, 6 Shoveler, 5 Gadwall, 3 Teal, 3 Little Terns and 2 Great Skuas. With a bit better coverage the land mightn't have been the poor relation it seemed from the meagre reports received: 2 Bramblings and a Pied Flycatcher were found in the shelter of Portland Castle, 2 Yellow Wagtails were at the Bill and the constant flow of inbound migrants over the sea included singles of Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Merlin.

The Portland Castle Pied Flycatcher © Mark Eggleton:

Whimbrel have been pretty tardy in getting here this year but they made up for that today © Pete Saunders:

A little bit of the Bill action - Arctic Skua, Common & Velvet Scoters and Teal & Gadwall...

...As can be seen from the foregoing images, it wasn't really a seawatch that offered much by way of gripping photo opportunities and, in a comedy of ineptness, we even managed to guff up the chance of having a fabulously close flock of Eider at our mercy when we were distracted by following something inconsequential for too long and completely failed to see them until they were disappearing behind Pulpit Rock - inevitably they were arse-end on when they came back into view! © Martin Cade:

The conclusion of a pretty decent sea-day © Joe Stockwell: