I'm not doing a year list this time, surprise surprise! In fact I didn't do one last year either. However, January does bring about a fresh sense of keenness as it provides the fresh opportunity to catch up with birds I didn't manage to get in the all too short year of 2014. With a good portion of excitement Chris, Paul, Ephraim and I all headed down to Dungeness in the pouring rain to mop up on a selection of scarcer species. To kick start our day we pulled up at Dengemarsh Road where we soon saw both the long staying Cattle Egrets sheltering under a trailer in the rain. Our next stop involved a bit of a drive around until we finally found Horses Bones Farm and the 73+ Bewick's Swans that were lingering in a field nearby. We also picked out the single Whooper Swan amongst them and 3 Tundra Bean Geese.
Mix of Bewick's Swans, Whooper Swan and Bean Geese
The reserve was next on the cards and with an initial failure at locating the Tree Sparrows at the entrance gate, we moved on to check out the pits. Here we connected with 12+ Smew, 1 Great White Egret and Little Egret (completing a three egret day!). Other highlights included 100's of Shoveler, half a dozen drake Pintail on Burrowes Pit and a Firecrest in the sea-buckthorn near the Makepeace Hide. A visit down to "The Patch" came next but not before we finally located 5+ Tree Sparrows in the back garden of the house near the entrance gate. In the dwindling hours we had left at the point, at least 20+ Red-throated Divers flew past (mostly West), 100's of Great Crested Grebes were lingering offshore and 2 Bonxies flew East.
A final stop at the Cattle Egrets was well worth the second visit as they were showing at a much closer range feeding in and amongst the cattle.