Sunday, 19 October 2014

Cattle Egret & Long-eared Owl in Kent

We started the morning with a spot of seawatching on the beach by the fishing boats at Dungeness.
Strong winds and heavy rain showers greeted our arrival at the boats, but the rain soon faded into light showers.
A two-hour session produced a single distant Bonxie following a ship, Large numbers of Gannets, several Kittiwakes and Sandwich Terns as well as Great Crested Grebes, Common Scoter and Turnstones.
Two Swallows were seen flying out to sea and later a further group of 10 Swallows were also watched. Good numbers of Turnstones were seen picking at fish scraps left by the fishermen.
An Arctic Skua was seen flying fast and low across the water and then a second bird was watched as it headed straight towards us and gave great close up views as it harassed the local gulls close to the water's edge.
From here we made our way towards the trapping area and managed to locate 4 Ring Ouzels but little else of note. Two Stonechats were seen on the power station fences as we approached the observatory.
After picking up a Great White Egret on the drive round to the reserve entrance, we parked up and started scanning the cattle fields close by.
After several minutes of scanning the Cattle Egret made a brief flight, and after a quick wade through high reeds, took flight and landed on the back of a nearby cow.

Cattle Egret

The Egret was constantly harassed by the local Magpies, but it seemed to be giving as good as it got.
After another brief flight to an adjoining field, it returned and landed on the head of another cow.

On the way home we stopped at Elmley Marshes, and after scanning through the orchard trees, eventually located one of the Long-eared owls that have been present for a few days again this year.
The bird remained well hidden among the foliage and there was no chance of any decent shots with the camera.

Long-eared Owl

On the drive back down the track a single Wheatear was seen on the road ahead of us, and in the fields either side of the track were Skylark, Lapwing, Curlew, and Marsh harrier.

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