Saturday, 21 February 2015

Owling in Kent

We took a drive down to Kent this afternoon, stopping first to see if the Wood Sandpiper at Elmley would reveal itself for us but after a drive down the track and back we failed miserably to locate it amongst the Lapwing, Redshank, Curlew, Blackwits, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Skylark, Little Egret, Kestrel and Marsh Harrier that were present.

We moved on to Shellness taking the "road" to the far car park. We parked and walked the sea wall where a Short-eared Owl came up from the bank and flew away as we approached. Most birders were returning to their cars having seen the reported Richard's Pipit and Dave B. was on site and had just heard the target as we approached. We waited with Dave a while but he left before the bird revealed itself to us with a brief flight as it moved down the sea wall before returning over our heads to the ditch from which it had come. The bird called to help us establish it's presence. The Hooded Crow was seen by others but with dark rain clouds approaching we returned to the car spotting Stonechat, Reed Bunting, Rock and Meadow Pipit as we marched along the sea wall.

Short-eared Owl Shellness NNR
Our final destination was Hart Ferry Lane where we found two very obliging Barn Owls and large numbers of Marsh Harrier coming in to roost. Corn Buntings were sitting in the usual bushes but the highlight of the day was the views enjoyed of the Barn Owls which even continued to hunt in driving rain.

Barn Owl at Harty Ferry Lane
Barn Owl
Barn Owl
Barn Owl at Harty Ferry

Year list now 149

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