The first notable birding session was a seawatch after work on the 8th from Stokes Bay. Visibility was poor but I was convinced stuff would be moving. On occasions the sea mist did lift and I could see Gannets passing through The Solent which is always a good sign. In a slightly prolonged clear spell I picked up my first Little Gull and Arctic Skuas of the year heading East before the mist limited my view again. I knew the weather was meant to improve early evening so I stuck around till then. Within moments of clearing more Arctic Skuas passed through with a number of Commic Terns including two distant Roseates, a Whimbrel and strangely a Turtle Dove flew up the beach. But the creme de la creme came with a stunning adult Pomarine Skua with spoons East down the beach providing excellent views. Shortly after another did the same but without such an impressive tail.
In many ways it was a similar scenerio to the Cream-coloured Courser last year, and there was no way I could continue trying to sleep knowing that that was about. I hopped out of bed and wasted an hour or so fannying about with the car before I picked up the Fullers and began the journey to Kent, with the aim of getting there just before first light.
About 300 others had the same idea. But nobody knew the whereabouts of the bird within the grounds of Margate cemetery. There were thousands of headstones and all we had to go on were a few photos that provided some clues to where the Thrush may have been frequenting. The first showing a partially covered headstone with Ivy. The other, an Ash tree with the leaves still yet to emerge. A bit of team work was required. Dan Pointon rather impressively located the headstone (perhaps he's done this kind of thing before?), but there was still no sign of the bird.
An hour later I took a wander around the back to see if it was lurking beyond the trees directly infront of us. No sooner had I done so, when I noticed a small Thrush sat motionless in a tree. I knew immediately what it was, whistled to alert others, and the rest was history. It continued to show well on and off for the remainder of the morning till we left.
Following the appearance of the Dusky Thrush, a number of discussions have ensued relating to the amount of rufous in the flanks. It's difficult to find much information on these birds and the intergrades within them, but Chinese birders (who are in regular contact with the species') think it may carry Black-throated Thrush genes, whereas Lars Svensson deems it to be bang on.
On the way home I went in search of butterflies at Noar Hill with several each of Duke of Burgundy, Dingy Skipper and Grizzled Skipper being the highlights. Not a good day for photography as I again had the wrong lens with me.