What looked a mundane slog around the Sandwich Bay estate last Thursday morning (16th) in the company of Alan Ashdown and Bernie Weight, turned out to be one of the years better sessions. News reached us of an Isabelline Shrike seen out on the Worth Marsh and after being given directions over the phone by Steve Ray, the three of us parked up in Worth and walked about 500 metres down a public footpath, stopping at a small group of local birders all peering into a bush, signalling that we had found the right spot. We immediately saw the Shrike on top of a small Hawthorn which was a new bird for all three of us. The bird showed very well, albeit somewhat distant, and for most of the day it sat in the direction of the sun and always seemed partially hidden by the surrounding vegetation. Alan and I decided to spend most of the day with the bird and eventually it landed in the tree we were standing under allowing for a few photos free from clutter and with the sun behind us. Whilst there we also noted 5 Common Buzzards, 2 Marsh Harriers, a Kestrel and 2 Sparrow Hawks.
During the afternoon we were told that a Dartford Warbler had been seen in Gorse opposite the Restharrow scrape so we drove back to the scrape on the estate, parked up and immediately caught sight of the Warbler as it flitted around a small Gorse bush in the company of 2 Stonechats. We had a few minutes with the bird before we headed off to the Obs for tea and to duck a passing shower. This was another new bird for Alan and the first I have seen since a showy individual photographed at St Margaret's in October 2009, 5 years ago to the day. Unfortunately this bird was a fair way off but after the Shrike and this being a new bird for Alan, we were not complaining.
The bird seen at Hope point between Kingsdown and St Margaret's on October 15th 2009. This one was a lot more approachable.
A Little Egret landed on the island in front of the Restharrow hide windows, allowing a few photos to be taken before it quickly alighted and a good number of Skylark's were seen and photographed around Dickson's corner. One of this years better days.