Thursday, 26 January 2012

Medway and Sheppey

Bedlam`s Bottom - 0900hrs-  wet and windy morning, brighter later - A change of scene today, with Marshman and the Joker, `up-north`. After dropping off the ladies in Rochester we checked out the Medway from a couple of road side pull-ins. As it was low tide the mud was full of waders and wildfowl, the highlight of which was a flock of 262 Avocets. Also, hundreds of Dunlins, Redshanks and Knots, plus a decent supporting cast of both godwits, Curlews, Grey Plovers, Oystercatchers and Turnstone. Amongst numerous Shelducks and Wigeons were Pintail and Teal, several groups of Brents and Greylags, while on the far shore several Marsh Harriers drifted by.
Muswell Manor - 1045hrs - south of the manor we followed the track out onto farmland noting several ringtailed harriers and Kestrels. The highlight was a large mixed flock of passerines which included over 100 Skylarks and at least 50 Lapland Buntings; mostly calling birds in flight, plus one or two brief glimpses on the deck of what was the largest flock of Laps we`d seen seen for ages. Also, Mipits, Reed Buntings, Linnets and Greenfinches present. Two Green Sandpipers flushed from a ditch and on the walk back we picked out a Rough-legged Buzzard towards the prison along with 3 Common Buzzards and further views of ringtails and Marsh Harriers. A large Greylag flock contained a leucistic bird plus a lone White-front, also Little Egret, Grey Heron, Lapwings, Golden Plovers and Brents noted.
Harty Marsh - 1230hrs - On the approach to the viewpoint a single Stonechat, 20 Corn Buntings and a Sparrowhawk. From the ramp plenty of harrier activity, Buzzards and Kestrel plus huge numbers of distant plovers shimmering in the sunlight against the blackness of an approaching storm cloud, which I confidently forecast, "would miss us by a mile" - and then the heavens opened...
Elmley -  1400hrs - As the rain lifted we drove a good way down the access road looking for the field, "that`s always got Grey Partridges", mmm.... Anyhow, did see a very pale Common Buzzard, more harriers and a large flock of Curlews, Goldies and Lapwings.
In summary another cracking day, `on the island` that delivered loads of good birds for the year and as always plenty of laughs.

                                           The Medway                                         

                                          Capel Fleet, Sheppey

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