Friday, 13 December 2013

Sheppey and Oare

Still neglecting the patch a bit at the minute, with busy weekends and work but a couple of days out over the last week were very enjoyable with generally calm days and a bit of brightness thrown in.
Saturday we arrived at Elmley at around 7.15ish the entrance track produced a couple of BUZZARD, BARN OWL and a possible MERLIN, with good numbers of CURLEW and LAPWING present. A brief stop at the farm found at least 2 BARN OWLS in residence in the owl box also 2 PEREGRINE were stationed on gate posts to the north of the car park, we scanned for SEO in the rough areas but with no success there were a few MARSH HARRIERS though, also just a lone BLACK TAILED GODWIT was in the pools again north of the farm buildings. As we left Elmley a small covey of GREY PARTRIDGE were viewable in fields near the entrance to the reserve. Next stop was Shellness point via Muswell Manor a good flock of finches was near the barn at Muswell including good numbers of GREENFINCH and CHAFFINCH, it was nice to find 1 BRAMBLING in amongst the flock. Shellness point was really quiet the sea/swale was a long way out, we did add the expected waders KNOT, BAR TAILED GODWIT, SANDERLING to name a few but no sign of any Snow Bunting. The high and lowlight of the day was firstly watching a MERLIN chasing a Pipit then landing not too far away for brief scope views then later it was seen on one of the posts on the saltmarsh, as we were leaving the drama unfolded as 2 PEREGRINE drifted over and started harassing the MERLIN, it took flight and within 50 yards or so 'BANG' it was in the talons of the larger female PEREGRINE, I've rarely seen Peregrine actually take a bird but for it to take the Merlin was certainly not what we were expecting at all! Our last stop was the raptor view point we gave it a good go but didn't really add many species a couple of GREEN  SANDPIPERS were whizzing around and another MERLIN sat for a while without incident, 73 species at the end of the day was nice as it seemed a quiet day at times.
On Tuesday this week Dad and I went to Oare Marshes, the water levels understandably high after the recent conditions. There were several Ruff on the west side as we drove up to the car park, we spent the first 5 minutes just watching from around the car park a WATER RAIL was seen disappearing into a ditch next to the approach road and REED BUNTINGS were very evident, as was the explosive CETTI'S WARBLER announcing its presence nearby The light was superb as we walked the sea wall towards Dan's Dock, the were good numbers of COMMON SNIPE and CURLEW, a BUZZARD was seen on the south side of the reserve and the odd MARSH HARRIER commuted across the Swale. After a quick bite we headed to the sea wall hide there were lots of DUNLIN and REDSHANK, with a nice gathering of 94 AVOCET at the mouth of Faversham Creek. 1 CORN BUNTING flew up from the saltings along the east path and there were 20 or more PINTAIL scattered around the east flood with more of both TEAL and SHOVELER also present. Another enjoyable day 64 species and a misty drive home.
Reed Bunting




Reed Bunting


Marsh Harrier