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Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Isle of Sheppy December 28th

Weather wise not a great day to visit, it has been a long time since I last visited, probably 2 winters, overcast grey skies and drizzle greeted me on arrival.

Corn Buntings

Throughout the course of the late morning/afternoon the camera remained on ISO 1600, so apologies for the crap photo’s.

Marsh Harrier

Ringtail Hen Harrier

Started off at the RAPTOR WATCHPOINT down Harty Lane, in past years I have had up to 12 Marsh Harriers in view at the same time, today the most I could manage was only 4 separate birds, these were all in view at the same time. Scanning around provided no other sightings so presumably many have dispersed southwards due to the extreme weather.

I was hoping for an adult male Hen Harrier but could not complain with 2 Ring Tails seen off and on for over an hour, again I had both in view at the same time, even managed some dodgy photo’s. Whilst scanning I could hear Geese calling all the time and even had a skein of White Fronts overhead, even as I watched they started to drop, so headed over in that direction.

White Fronted Geese

Quite a sight

The bridle path came up trumps with a flock of around 60 Chaffinches, 5 Brambling and 12 House Sparrows. Best of all was a Tree Sparrow in with the Houses. Beyond this, in distant fields was an enormous flock of Geese, a large proportion Greylags, even at this distance I could pick out Whitefronts and Barnacles, as I scanned I picked up 2 very interesting birds that may well have been Pinkfeet Geese. As I watched the whole field took flight as a Marsh Harrier crossed overhead, the sight and noise was spectacular, probably around 500 Geese, magical to watch.

Brambling and Chaffinch


Decided to retrace my steps and walked out along the other footpath after seeing a good size flock drop in closer in a nearer field. Scoping through them produced 64 White Fronted and 37 Barnacle Geese, of the 2 I had seen briefly I could not locate.

Other species seen were

Common Buzzard – 1 on the A2 sitting on the lights

Sparrowhawk – 2 females seen

Kestrel – 1 down Harty Lane

Golden Plover – 11 in with Lapwing

Waxwing – 1 in with the hordes of Fieldfare and Redwing along the entrance road

Corn Bunting – 28 on the wires and bramble

Stonechat – 1 male

No Merlin or Peregrine sightings or Short Eared Owls, from talking to a local birder it seems the SEO’s are seen more at Shellness.

Barnacle Geese

White Fronted Goose

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