I'll begin by saying that we didn't see the Purple Herons on our visit to Dungeness last Sunday. Nor did we see the Red-footed Falcon that was around. Now that's out of the way, let's look at what we did see. It was quite a sunny day, albeit with a bit of chill in the wind (but hey, that's Dunge). We visited the new hides at the ARC pit first.
We then went to the reserve proper. En route a Hobby flew right in front of us and I completely failed to get a picture, to my dismay. In the visitor centre, we read the news that Dengemarsh was the current hangout of the Red-foot, as well as the place for the Purple Herons. We set off at speed, but Rob had to turn back when he realised he'd left his tripod back at the ARC pits. I went on alone and walked fast to Dengemarsh, the most distant of Dunge's hides, though numerous birds waylaid me on the way around.
Rob showed up soon after, and got busy pointing the Sigmonster at the nearest birds - an Oystercatcher family on a raft in front of the hide. One of the adults was standing guard over at least two small chicks, while the other was going back and forth fetching little wiggly creatures for the babies. Helpfully, this bird announced its arrival well in advance with a volley of shrill piping calls, enabling Rob to get pics of it on the wing.
I hadn't realised that Oystercatchers provision their babies with food - I'd assumed they just left them to forage for themselves as is the norm with precocial chicks. I suppose, though, this species does often nest on small islands and other spots where food may not be that easy for the little 'uns to find.