Saturday, 15 June 2013

Black Kite, Faversham

Since news broke of a Black Kite reported at Faversham in Kent on the 8th, I've been trying to get down there to hopefully connect with the bird.
Brian's text message yesterday evening asking if I wanted to try for the kite, was all the encouragement I needed.
Meeting at 6.30am it's only 60 miles from here to Faversham, with most of the route along the A2 and M2 exiting at junction 7 onto Brenley Lane in Faversham.
Arriving just after 7.30am to find two birders already present. One informs us that he has seen the bird a short while ago but very distant.
Although the day had started quite brightly, the wind was already very strong. Shelter from the wind was found behind some handily positioned hedgerows.
Some two hours pass without any sightings of the kite, more birders joining the search, including the original finder from the 8th, and Marco a familiar face from Rainham.
Then just after 9.30 the kite appears on the horizon and just above the tree line. It's distant and having to look into the sun as well was not helping. But with so little sun seen this year I'm not going to complain about the sun.

Black Kite

Good scope views helped pick out some of the kite features, and aided in picking it out among regular Buzzard sightings. The kite stayed in the air for fifteen minutes before dropping down below the trees and out of sight. It occasionally re-appeared from time to time after this but was not in view for very long each time.
With the clouds gathering and the first drops of rain falling we took this as a sign to leave and headed for the car.
Driving the lanes hoping for another chance to view the kite, we chanced upon two Turtle Doves feeding in a garden. Just as the camera came out two cyclists came round the corner and spooked the doves into the nearby trees.
The only shot that I could get was of a single bird among the tree foliage, before it headed off across the road and into the opposite field.

Pulling into the car park of the 13th century parish church of St Peter and St Paul in Boughton, produces sightings of three Spotted Flycatchers in the church grounds. With possibly another two around the car park itself.

From here it's only 2 miles to Oare Marshes. On arrival there's no sign of the Bonaparte's Gull, but with the tide out it's probably spending it's time out on the creeks until the tide pushes it back onto the pools at Oare.It was later to be reported from East Hide at 5.10pm.
Plenty of Black-tailed Godwits were present along with hundreds of Swifts. The overcast weather conditions forcing them to feed low over the water and surrounding grasslands.
There was constant background noise coming from the Marsh Frogs and their curious "Laughing" call. I eventually managed a shot of one through the tall grasses.

On the way home we stopped off at Elmley Marshes, and drove the entrance track up to the car park. On both sides of the track plenty of Little Egrets were seen, with a count well into double figures.

Hares were also seen along with plenty of Redshank and lapwings, with both species having youngsters around.

Marsh harriers were also seen, with one female seen up close before crossing the road and heading off across the fields.
A good day, with a new addition to the life list and although the Black Kite remained distant throughout the time we spent there it still allowed some good scope views and was well worth the weeks wait.

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