Sunday, 10 January 2016

Shorelark at Minster in Kent

We headed back into Kent this morning and watched the Marsh Harriers leave the roost at Capel Fleet in the early light. No Hen Harriers or Owls were seen today but a few Kestrel and Common Buzzard made interesting birding. The Corn Buntings were in the usual area and a few distant Grey Geese appeared to have White-fronts with them.

Moving on we visited the Swale NNR and after a bumpy drive down the water logged track we walked a windy sea wall out towards the hide. Whilst between the first and second bend we had the wintering Richard's Pipit fly up over our heads calling to give a year tick. A walk further down gave good views of a large group of White-fronted Geese and several hundred Brents. A male Hen Harrier was reported but not seen during our visit. I picked up the Hooded Crow in flight before Jimmy managed to find it on the ground allowing good scope views. On the reserve we found a gathering of Knot and I had a group of Golden Plover in flight. On our walk back we picked up a fine Merlin in flight and it too obliged by sitting up and allowing time to get the scope on it. Just as we approached the car park the Pipit then flew up again and this time I managed to follow it to the ground and again we enjoyed great scope views. Skylark was an additional year tick whilst here.

From the Swale we drove the short distance to Minster and parked in the Barton Point CP car park.
A short walk along the shingle beach soon had us looking at Shorelark and a group of roosting Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Turnstone for our trouble too. We watched the Lark for a while before leaving for a whistle stop drive along the Elmley Track where we saw yet more Marsh Harrier and Common Buzzards but wader numbers were very low save the odd Lapwing.

A decent morning in Kent with the year list now sitting at 128

Shorelark at Bartons Point Minster 
Shorelark at Minster 
Common Buzzard at Elmley
Lapwing at Elmley
White-fronted Geese (and a couple of Greylags)
Marsh Harrier on a kill home to find Siskin and Lesser Redpoll on the garden feeders with the usual Gold and Greenfinch group.