I took today off as a holiday - not a sickie, what do you think I am, a twitcher? As usual, I got the weather conditions wrong and instead of masses of birds flying past after the rough weather, I just got the weather. Actually, it wasn't too bad, as shelter was generally found, like the lower deck of Deal pier.
There was a trickle of birds through the morning - enough to keep us interested, as SteveR seems to have developed an unhealthy interest in identifying flying (Philadelphia?) ducks. He has also started writing lists in a notebook - he'll be sketching next.
SteveR's notebook says:
Auks sp 2
RB merganser 6 [above]
Teal 2 (though I think the ones in the picture are also teal so will be 7) [Good call - Ed]
Gt crested grebe 2
Little gull 4
Brent geese 237 [above, chased by a Shelduck]
Divers 3 (red throat I expect - the chance of any being black throat when only seeing 3 birds is minimal)
Kittiwake 2 on pier.
Common and herring gulls didn't count.
A few unidentified waders but again no counts.
A Kittiwake took up the usual Kittiwake position on the flagpole at the end of the pier, and the Turnstones were loafing around the anglers. A Stumpy bird was there, as was another whose only leg is being destroyed by fishing line.
Despite the challenging conditions and relatively sparse birds, the morning was enjoyable in good company - highlights were the six Eider, three males and then three females, in a row; and the four Little Gulls - always a favourite.
Lowlights included two Gannets close into shore, apparently joined at the hip - presumably by more fishing line.
The afternoon consisted of a divertisement at Oare marshes, again in good company, which produced a stunning flock of 17 Eider and two Pomerine Skuas which perversely flew inland. There were also some Little Gulls, but I missed them because of a mobile phone call from work. Murray just managed to keep a straight face when he told me.
As the gloom of late afternoon descended for the last time, more Brents flew over.
I hope that the OAPs enjoy tomorrow's birding.