We needed some waders, so off to Shellness but there was not much to see, all the gull count went up. Onto Minster beach, where I picked out a distant flock of Sanderling, only for James to point 2 on the beach right under our feed! Ken of Halling fame also showed well - a new life tick for me, wonder when I'll get him on my patch list! Onto Sheerness, up and down any number of stairs just east of the sailing club looking for a Purple Sandpiper, but we were out of luck.
Elmley was the next and last port of call on the island. We failed to see the Merlin along the entrance track, and kicking through the oaks only added Goldcrest to the list. Down to the hides; Wellmarsh was very disappointing considering it was high tide - only a scattering of Ringed Plover proved their was life out there. However Southfleet was much better with good numbers and views of Avocet. The Swale held very little - I'd heard there'd been a clear out of wildfowl over the last few weeks. Only the Water Pipit further along the seawall could drag us up now. As we approached the beach where it had been reported a pipit flew up high of the wall and across the path and onto the pasture - was it the Water Pipit....I'll never know, it didn't return! Scanning across to relocate a GBB Gull I picked out a Peregrine sitting out some harassment from a group of irrate Lapwings. Then possibly one of the best sightings of the day for me - a Hedgehog! Sad I know but I've not seen a live one over 2 years. It curled up as we approached, before rolling own the slope! James' pessimism of finding a SE Owl would have had us back to the car in no time, but my optimism and Gordon Allisons's update on SE Owl sightings from the previous day saw us sitting out on the bench at Wellmarsh waiting for an owl to turn up. A second and third Peregrine were seen while we waited and right and cue at 16:15 a SE Owl slipped across the saltmarsh and put on a fantastic show for 10 minutes or so. James was happy so off we trotted, taking in a Pochard on the way (we'd written this off for the day). Back at Kinghill Farm we dipped on Little Owl but added a secon sighting of Ken. He was just off to the hides, and how I'd wished I joined him - Garganey grip off...grrrrrrrrrrrr! Final port of call was Rose Hill Wood, Bobbing for Firecrest - it was always a long shot and we failed, but at least added the elusive trio of Goldfinch, Song and Mistle Thrush to the list. A respectable 80 species, with some quality birds, on the list......and then 81 as a flock Fieldfares flew overhead as we strolled into The Bull, Barming!