Tuesday, 20 November 2012
Sheppey Bird of Prey Bonanza
Today the bird group of which i am part of,The Boozy Birders went to North Kent,the term Boozy Birders goes back to a wet,cold,windy january day a few years ago,where,when supposed to be birding,we too refuge in a pub,The Ferry Inn,Harty on the Isle Of Sheppey.Today we went back to the same pub in better conditions.
We started at mine around 6.30am,making the short journey to Riverside Country Park,near Chatham,Picking up Howard on the way.On arriving at the park around 7.30am the weather was drizzly and windy but the forecast,although not too bad was for windy conditions,this was right.
At Riverside we had plenty of Waders but as the tide was a way out,they tended to be a way out,although through a scope you could make out the Redshank,Grey Plovers,Godwits,Lapwings etc etc.Other species included the usual ducks,Geese,pipits etc,we managed a Sparrowhawk on the walk farther up the road and a few finches and thrushes.We didn't hang around too long,after a quick pit stop at the visitors centre we made our way along the Grain to Funton where we scanned over the Mud,thousands of waders ioncluding Avocets,Dunlin,godwits,redshanks,curlews etc,a Few Brent Geese were around,Great Crested and Little Grebes along with the odd Red Brest Merganser,we also had a very Pale Common Buzzard of which i got a decent shot of,somewhere below and a Marsh Harrier.Great Spotted Woodpecker was another bird we had behind us and i am sure i have missed a bird or two from the site list,oh yeah,Rock Pipit,think we had 3 .Talking of birds,as we pulled up at the site,some old tart was bouncing up and down on here old man in a car park,so we can add Shag to the list for the day,mucky bastards!!!!
Next we went to the Kent riviera and Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey,strange place really,basically its a holiday village that seems to close for the winter although we found a bakers that did a nice Curry slice while the rest of the group demolished the cakes on offer.Going down to the front we had a few meadow pipits,a Jay and around 100 Oysercatchers,again,we had a few other waders knocking about but the tide was still way out.Next we went to the mound at Capel fleet on Sheppey,widely renowned as the best Raptor Viewpoint in the country,in terms of the numbers of harriers etc and different types.We had around 40 minutes there before lunch where we had Marsh & Hen Harrier,Merlin,Peregrine,Sparrowhawk and Kestrel,also Stonechat,Chaffinches,the odd goose,Swan and pipits.
At lunch i demolished Scampi and chips in the Pub while the others either stayed outside and ate their lunch or came inside for a crafty pint,not a bad idea but something i couldn't do as i was driving.
After lunch we made our way down to the church,parked up and went for a walk,on the walk we had Ringtail & Male Hen harriers,dodgy pic below of the Male,Plenty of Marsh Harriers with around 10 in the air at one point.Kestrels a Couple of Buzzards,Red legged Partridge in the field and plenty of Fieldfares,the most i have seen since my trip to Norfolk the other week.
Lastly we went back to the Raptor Viewpoint but it was very windy and we couldn't even seem to get the basic photos right because of being blown around.Grey Heron,Marsh Harrier,Buzzard,Hen Harrier were all seen as was 2 Green Sandpiper by Pat after being spooked by a Marshy.
A rewarding day with a total of 80 Species seen,and a top day with the usual suspects.Havent decided where to go tomorrow as i am off again,no work till Thursday Morning,may hit the Essex Coast although i think i will see what the wind is like first....