Saturday, 27 April 2013

Birding in Kent

We drove down to Grove Ferry today hoping to catch up with a Cattle Egret that's been showing there on and off for a few days. Arriving at 7.30am we were lucky to meet Dave (a local birder) who gave us a run down of what's about and the best places to look for the Egret. We found a Turtle Dove (215)  calling along the entrance track. At the mound we scanned for the Egret without joy so we searched further around the reserve where Jimmy saw a Wood Sandpiper but I missed it whilst scanning further along the track. The bird was flushed by a Marsh Harrier but I somehow managed to miss it again and then a Sprawk settled on the bank and that ended any chance of the bird coming out of the reeds. On the walk back Dave called as he'd found a Turtle Dove and had it in the scope and we managed to get good views too.
We tried the back of the reserve as we drove around to Stodmarsh but didn't connect with the Egret here either. At Stodmarsh we found the water alive with Hirundines but none of the expected Hobby. There was lot's of Marsh Harrier activity and the reeds were humming with the sound of Reed, Sedge and Cettis warbler.

We had a quick walk around East Blean Woods in search of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker but managed just Great Spotted and Green. A second Turtle Dove was heard hear but not seen so we moved on to Oare Marsh were Whimbrel flew over and Yellow Wagtails showed well. I managed to catch a few shots of a smashing Little Egret as it hunted for Marsh Frogs. The Frogs were all over the place and really noisy so I'm sure the Egret had easy pickings.
Little Egret
Little Egret
From Oare we stopped at Elmley on the way home and here we enjoyed good views of Lapwing, Redshank and Yellow Wagtails.

Redshank sleeping on one leg
Redshank sinking a Marsh Frog
Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail with dung fly
Yellow Wag bath
The journey home was hampered by accidents and lane closures on the M25 and A2 but the day gave me another tick and moves me one bird in front of last years April total.

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