Trip reports

Sunday 23rd October 2016 - Sheppey

Thursday, 10 November 2016

A pit stop in Leysdown saw several dark billed male Blackbirds, suggesting a continental origin. Scanning the beach revealed a mix of Black-headed, Common and Herring Gulls. A few Brent Geese were on the sea and waders included 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, dozens of Black-tailed Godwits and Oystercatchers, Curlews and Redshanks. Several Pied Wagtails, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks flew around and there was a single Rock Pipit. Scanning inland from the seawall we quickly found Kestrel, Marsh Harrier and Buzzard around the fields. Walking down past Muswell Manor there was a Red-legged Partridge on an earth bank. The first good bird of the day was a female/immature Merlin perched on a gate post eating its elevenses! This was soon followed by a Cetti's Warbler and then a couple of Bearded Tits in a reed fringed channel as well as several Reed Buntings and a charm of Goldfinches. The first Mute Swan of the day flew past. Walking back there were a couple of Green Sandpipers flying towards a channel and a Snipe and a Little Grebe were in the water. A check of the barn at Muswell Manor by Roy found a Little Owl in the guttering, while at least three Collared Doves were on the wires. A male Stonechat flitted around a nearby field. Back at the beach we added Grey Plover, Dunlin, Sanderling and Ringed Plovers together with several Little Egrets.

After lunch we drove down to the beginning of the track down to Shellness hamlet, then walked down hoping, but failing, to find the Twite that had been reported earlier at roadside puddles. We did, however, find large numbers of Golden Plovers on the adjacent fields. Down at the Swale NNR we located the Great White Egret and Crane, although views were distant, but wildfowl were in short supply.

Our final destination was the raptor viewpoint at Capel Fleet. Driving past the fleet we had a large gathering of Coot. Sadly, apart from a couple of Kestrels and a few Marsh Harriers coming in to roost, there were no raptors or owls on offer here.
John Birkett