I stuck with the seawatch until around 10.40am. The highlights were, GREAT SKUA 5, POMARINE SKUA 4, (originally I thought these were Arctic, lack of experience with juv. Skuas being my downfall, thanks to Bob Price for putting me right), MEDITERRANEAN GULL 50+, COMMON SCOTER 12, SWALLOW 13, BRENT GOOSE 20, ARCTIC TERN 5, DUNLIN 3, AUKS sp. 300+, (including about 20 definite RAZORBILLS), KITTIWAKES 200+, GANNETS 200+, CURLEW 1 and the GLAUCOUS GULL put in an appearance on several occasions, notably when I joined for a while by Bob Bland and Alan Woodcock.
The other highlight was the constant flocks of GOLDFINCHES passing along the shore with a few SISKIN and REDPOLL thrown in probably numbering a few thousand in all.
Next stop was Hanson hide on the reserve, it started quite well when I picked out a RING OUZEL flying over towards the water tower, the next bird to arrive, in between at least 3 MARSH HARRIERS that were coming and going, was an immature SPOONBILL, it stayed for nearly an hour before leaving with 3 LITTLE EGRETS. There were a couple of PINTAIL on the water and WIGEON were arriving sporadically, as we watched these, a BITTERN flew up from just in front of the hide, it flew directly away and ended up over towards the viewing screen, I was quite enjoying my prolonged stay in the hide!! I think it was getting close to 2pm and I was thinking about moving on when the PENDULINE TIT came into view on the bull rushes in front of the hide!! It's fairly sure that this ringed bird is returning to winter for maybe the third time, let's hope it continues to do so and give great views.
There were a few children in the hide, half term I think, but hearing their excitement when they saw the bird was great, we certainly need these youngsters to have an interest for the future of our wildlife. I left the hide with the bird still showing and headed to Dengemarsh, for once my luck was out with the Great White Egret, I took a slow drive back across the marsh adding a couple more SWALLOWS and a fine male HOBBY, surely the last one I'll see this year.
I had a call from Stephen while I was out, and back on the patch he had found a Tree Sparrow, now a rarity at the castle, with maybe one or two records a year, I looked for it this morning with no success.