Sunday, 10 January 2016

A morning birding in Kent

We kicked off the mornings birding at Capel Fleet, arriving at first light to watch several Marsh Harriers leaving the roost site. Unfortunately no Hen Harriers could be found with them. A year tick was added when a flock of Corn Bunting flew across the road and landed in a nearby hawthorn bush, a regular and reliable site for them in recent years.

With a Richard's Pipit still being reported at the Swale NNR site, this was to be our next stop. The track leading to the far end car park was pot holed and very uneven. If you haven't got a bad back you probably will have after this!
As we walked the sea wall the Richard's Pipit flew up and over our heads calling. Instead of walking back to try to re-locate it we continued on towards the far corner and found a large group of White-fronted Geese feeding in the far corner of the next field.  Brian scoping the large flock of Brent Geese on the far hillside had managed to pick out the Hooded Crow in flight. Several minutes later I found it feeding among the grass allowing good scope views.
As we began our walk back a Merlin flew fast and low across the sea wall and sat up allowing for great scope views. As we approached the car park the Richard's Pipit took to the air and landed in the short grass just across the ditch running alongside the field. Again allowing for some very nice scope views. I also managed to add Skylark and a male Stonechat to the year list while we drove (bounced) back along the entrance track.

Close to Swale NNR was Bartons Point in Minster. Which just so happened to have been hosting a single Shore Lark for the last few days. We walked the shingle bank noting several small groups of Ringed Plover and Dunlin. The Shore Lark was soon found among the shingle. Eventually giving good views as it began to feed among the vegetation opposite Bartons Point.

Shore Lark

We ended our mornings birding with a drive along the entrance track at Elmley, but apart from several flocks of Lapwings there were no other waders present despite improving water levels. 

A Buzzard was found on a fence post and several more Marsh Harriers were also observed before heading for home.

Year list now stands at 123

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