Monday, 26 August 2013

Spotted Crake Grove Ferry, Kent

After the short trip over to Rainham Marshes yesterday to bag a Sabine's Gull, The idea today was to wait and see if anything appeared close to home.
Yesterday a Spotted Crake was reported from grove Ferry along with a Wryneck and a brief sighting of a Red-back Shrike.
So when the Crake and Wryneck are reported again this morning, it's time to hit the road and head for Kent.
The 76 miles to Grove ferry went by without a problem, the delay being when the satnav took us to the wrong end of Grove Road.
Eventually the surroundings became familiar and the pay & display car park of Grove ferry Inn came into view. The next trick is crossing Grove Ferry Road!
Why cars have to park on this road when there is a car park opposite is a mystery to me. There's room for 2-3 cars by the gate that can safely park here without any problems, but parking half on the grass verge and half in the road is ridiculous and dangerous. Maybe they want to avoid the £1.70 Bank Holiday car park fees?

Having crossed the road without injury, I made my way along the footpath and up the slope to the viewing ramp. 
A small group of birders were already present and had seen the Crake briefly among the reeds from time to time.
This was not going to be easy, The area the bird was in was right at the back edge of the reeds and the sun was causing a serious heat haze.
Having got a few general pointers as to the most likely spot to scope, I started the search.
The call went up that the bird was out in front of the reeds, but I just couldn't get on it before it vanished back among the reeds. It was the same story for the next 15-20 minutes.
Then as I scoped back and forth across it's favoured area, the Crake suddenly appeared in the scope. A brief view was followed by a nice view of the bird in flight.
The Crake appears again in front of the shortened reeds and wanders from left to right along the front edge.
Brian on a family day out with Sue, Billy & Gemma managed to time he's arrival  just right and he's there to see the Crake before it's lost from view again.

While we were there the Crake's favoured area was around the shortest reeds just right of centre at the back of the water's edge in the photo above.

A short walk along the footpath in the hope of seeing the Wryneck proves unsuccessful. As we approached a small group called us over to say the Wryneck had just dropped onto the path.
But after a 15-20 minutes wait the Wryneck is not seen, A birder approaches from where the bird was seen to drop in and tells us that he had just watched a Sparrowhawk chasing the Wryneck and had seen it drop onto the path.
He had seen the Sprawk move off, without a Wryneck in it's talons. So as far as we are aware the Wryneck is still present and in one piece. 
It's at this point that we decide to make a move for home.

The drive home was eventful, when the car towing a trailer in front of us starting smoking. Then it started smoking a lot, then the trailer tyre exploded sending tyre parts all over the road.
Luckily it stayed in a relatively straight line and after what seemed an age pulled over onto the hard shoulder.

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