Very late write-up, but better late than never.
My first day at Dungeness, and in fact my first day's birding on the South Coast proper. And I'll confess my sins and say straight out that twitching a couple of Glossy Ibises played no small part in my agreeing to drive Parus down there at 05:30 on a Thursday morning. Fortunately, they turned up.
First birds on leaving the car were a power line full of Linnets and a bush full of Meadow Pipits. Neither are rare exactly round these parts - you can pick them up over Rainham quite reliably each year - but I very rarely see flocks of either, and particularly not close enough to get a proper photograph (regular readers may have noticed the new banner). 10 minutes of Seawatching also got me a self-found Gannet, which was quite satisfying. My first 'proper' self found bird on a Seawatch and mainly due to my getting sick of the sight of them on the ferry to Jersey a few weekends ago. Black Redstart however seemed reluctant to put in an appearance. Along with Tree Sparrows, these were the big no-shows of the day.
We got plenty of Raptors - Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Hobby, Buzzard from the car - and plenty of Willow Warblers - the bird obs was crawling with them. Parus netted himself a Black Tern for his self found list, which I leached off of him. We also had fun watching Woodpeckers (Green and Great Spot) from the car park opposite the reserve. Credit/blame for the pictures is split fairly evenly between myself and Parus - 2 photographers and one camera.
Highlights of my day were the never ending stream of Clouded Yellow butterflies (unfortunately none of them sat still long enough for a photo), my first ever Small Copper, an incredible 10/15 second view of a Kingfisher hovering in front of our hide on the reserve (shitshitshitgetthecamera, bugger) and of course my 2 life ticks, Whinchat and Glossy Ibis. Definitely a worthwhile trip for me, though I won't be going back until this rain stops.
Lots of photos for this one to make up for the general lack lately. Life takes over in occasional waves. Should be getting back to normal soon.