We are now several days into a period of westerly airflow, not one that usually brings birds to Dungeness, and so it is proving. Grounded migrants are thin on the ground and the overhead migration has reduced to a trickle, but we merry band of shingle bashers plod on and the birds are there if patience is maintained.
ARC pit is still enticing a few waders to drop in and linger, including late Little Stints and a Curlew Sandpiper, plus a long-staying Red-necked Grebe that goes AWOL every now and again but deigned to show itself to me last Sunday. On Monday there was a brief pulse of Goldfinches (700) and Meadow Pipits (150) flying south, along with small numbers of Redpoll, Tree Sparrow and Siskin. A couple of 'continental' Coal Tits and three Ring Ouzels dropped in, and a first-winter Caspian Gull was found on the beach, colour-ringed at a German breeding colony.
Today didn't seem promising - low cloud, drizzle and a steady WSW wind - but the sea (against expectations) produced a number of highlights that rewarded the 5-6 hours of sea watching, which included an extremely close Manx Shearwater, a Pomarine Skua and several Little Gulls, including a first-winter that fed along the beach allowing the boys with the big lenses to obtain exceptional images.
The westerly airflow looks set to stay for the foreseeable future. Not ideal, but with a promised lessening of the wind we may yet see more movement over the land, but as for the hoped for thrushes and crests, we may have to wait a bit longer. And those coveted Asiatic rarities may be beyond our reach this Autumn.
But birding rarely sticks to the script...