Saturday, 11 August 2012

Kent birding

Picked up the Jims and decided to head down to Kent in search of a year tick today...when you get over 250 they get a lot harder to come by. A quick stop at Lea Valley to see if Jim can get Wood Sandpiper on his patch but all we see are Greens, Lapwings and a plonker walking around the edge of the scrape with his camera oblivious to the fact that he was flushing everything in sight......some people!!!!
Anyway back in the car and across the QE11 bridge into sunny Kent and by 8.30am we're driving down the rough (and I mean rough) track at Cliffe towards Black barn pool. We stopped to check Radar pool to find lot's of Godwit/Avocet and 7 Greenshank amongst the Ducks, Grebes, Herons and Egrets and then further on up the sump busting track.
Stopping to scan from the mound at the barn we quickly find loads of Snipe (30 plus) a few Green Sands and a Spotted Redshank then I pull out an adult Whinchat before locating a Wood Sandpiper and Golden Plover. A Marsh Harrier puts everything up and the sky is alive with birds for a minute until it drifts off without a catch.
We make our way round to the car park (back along the track that would test Colin Mckray) and then it's another walk to Ski Pool..take the track from the car park and then the second track on the left Ski Pool is on the right followed by Flamingo pool.
A couple of birders are alreay at the site and have Little Stint in their scope and after a couple of directions...."See the BH Gulls...go right....see the Dunlin.....see the Ring Plovers to the left......well the Stint is between them."  Nice work guys and I have a year tick. Cracking little bird it is too.
Satisfied we head off down the M2 to Oare Marsh but not before a Sparrowhawk flies through the car park after the finch flock.

We scan the Marsh from the car (no we're not that lazy we got out of the car before we scanned it)
Hundreds of Black Tailed Godwit, Good numbers of Avocet and Golden Plover. Lapwings and a few Ruff along with Redhank and Greenshank. Duck, Geese, Egrets and Herons show before a large female Peregrine puts every bird on the Marsh into the air as she stoops and flies throught the crowd to feed catching a Godwit only to come away with just feathers. A real pleasure to watch this incredible bird go about it's routine before drifting up high and away.
Before Peregrine

After Peregrine
Once this had settled down we decided to try for Turtle Dove by the entrance and anticpated a log walk around the maze field. Our luck was in as we found the target from the track sitting in a dead tree purring away. Time for a quick record shot before it flew to the other side of the field onto the telephone wires. Satisfied with the view we'd had we walked the circuit of the East Flood, Bearded Tit ping along the top of the reed bed and on our return leg we found a single Wood Sandpiper which gave really good scope views. All in all a very nice days birding in Kent.

A few record shots from Oare Marsh
Peregrine, Little Egret, Turtle Dove and Wood Sandpiper
Boat race on the Swale

Year list now stands at 254 and I've found 4 of the ten I wanted before the end of August.

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