We checked the mouth of the Swale and found about 15 COMMON SCOTER, with a few hundred MALLARD and several TEAL. The waders in the roost were the usual mix of KNOT, BAR TAILED GODWIT, with one very light grey individual, OYSTERCATCHER, DUNLIN and a few scattered TURNSTONE, GREY PLOVER and SANDERLING. On the salt marsh were around 30-40 CURLEW, many REDSHANK and the odd LITTLE EGRET.
We made our way back to the car park for a walk along the seawall, a distant HEN HARRIER was our first of the day and a calling LAPLAND BUNTING was new for a couple of our party as it flew west. On the way back to the car a MERLIN shot out from a bush in front of us and more owls started to appear near the car park and over the fields south of Muswell Manor, at least 4 were seen giving good views and occasionally coming together hissing loudly at each other as they tangled claws, fantastic! We got 2 more owls at Muswell Manor, hunting behind the houses, taking the total for the day to a possible 7!! On Capel Corner we picked up SNIPE and a distant BARN OWL.
|Red Legged Partridge and Mute Swans - Capel Corner.|
The Raptor viewpoint was our final stop, as we approached 2 more SEO's appeared one right next the car, following the ditch, probably the best views of the day, in all we saw at least another 4 birds making the total for the day a conservative 11!!! At times they seemed to be the only birds around, one appearing as another dropped out of sight, a truly memorable day! The viewpoint also gave us our only PEREGRINE of the day 2 SPARROWHAWKS and 30 or so CORN BUNTINGS, along with several sightings of probably just one female HEN HARRIER. Finally we headed home after 4pm as the temperature dropped. Got a bit carried away with the photos!!