I didn't want to go too far this morning as the weather look far from certain so I stayed local and went back to Seasalter again. The tide was up on the beach and still coming in so any feeding waders were well gone leaving the high tide, 'island roost' where I counted 29 ringed plovers and c.600 dunlin. Apart from 4 g.c.grebes the sea looked empty although much later I did see 5 distant gannets. I headed for the 'plots' it looked pretty quiet with half a dozen moorhens and a gadwall in the dyke and in the bushes, 12 goldfinches, 1 cetti's and a pair of stonechats.
I walked up to the old 'pill box' finding a sparrowhawk perched high up in a popular tree and a kestrel was on the wires near the main road. Someone told me they looked in the pill box once finding a barn owl but not for me. A handful of mipits and great tits were feeding just over the bridge along with a single male reed bunting which was wearing a leg iron.
Moved on up to S. Swale NNR on the way seeing the two resident rooks on the seawall near the toilet block, these two having been here for the past few years. Nothing around the beach huts but a few turnstones at the bottom of the beach plus a grey plover. Further along and sat in the middle of the freshly germinated crop was a merlin which I was able to show to a couple of regular dog walkers who had always wished to see one on their walks. Of course no golden plover or lapwing flock seen here as the merlin was still there even when I left for home.
On the walk back a handful of goldies flew past and a couple of lapwings bringing the morning list up to 41. In the distance over the plots I scoped a marsh harrier and just managed to lock onto half a dozen skylarks over the arable. As the sun had been out for the last hour I was pleased to see two clouded yellows on the bank and plus another pair of stonechats in the field margin.