A stormy Saturday promised bird movements, and while some tougher souls staked out the north Kent coast, we opted for the protection of Deal pier, which has a convenient glass annexe sheltering us from the northerly gale. Meanwhile the high-tide waves thundered onto the shore, scouring the beach or much of the shingle that had been pumped onto it by contractors over the last month or so.
The lower decks of the pier were unsurprisingly closed, and as we stood there planks were torn away and tossed into the sea by the waves, and the pier shuddered and swayed alarmingly. The yellow wave recorder showed the peak wave heights to be over 2½m.
We were there, of course, to watch birds passing by, and although the movement was not large there were interesting birds to see and relatively close-to, all flying north into the wind........ flocks of dunlin flew past and occasional knot, eider ducks and scoter, the latter also forming a raft of 40-50 birds that floated past with the current.
There have been shocking reports of drowned birds off the coasts after becoming disorientated by the recent fogs and winds. Fishermen have told of flocks dropping into the sea around them, while RSPB Bempton said that large numbers of songbirds were clinging desperately to the cliffs on their first landfall.