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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Isle of Sheppey - January 17th

Since Monday I have been off work with back trouble, rest is the only option and a visit to the Osteopath to speed things up, they never cure you unfortunately.
I decided on a visit to Sheppey as I was climbing the walls, also I could do most of the watching from the car, Harty Lane, Leysdown Sea front and the Swale Car park were ideal and meant no walking.
I have been going to Sheppey for years being a bird of prey nut; it never disappoints and always produces good birds, especially Raptors.
I decided on arrival to visit Leysdown on a falling tide, a spectacular sunrise greeted me along with a number of waders already arriving from roost. Scanning the sea produced 32 Great Crested Grebes, 19 Red Throated Divers and 44 Dark Bellied Brent Geese, a very good start, quite happy to sit in the car, it was bloody freezing.

Sunrise at Leysdown (click on photos to enlarge)

Upwards and onwards I headed for Harty Lane and the Raptor Watchpoint on the way down Lapwing and Golden Plover were everywhere, in amongst them I also located 5 male Ruffs. Nearing the watchpoint produced 36 Corn Buntings, 2 Kestrels and 2 Stonechats; I also managed to squeeze of a few photos.

Corn Bunting

Male Ruff



I stayed at the Watchpoint for an hour and picked up at least 6 individual Marsh Harriers, 2 Common Buzzards and a distant flock of 30 White Fronted Geese; from here I headed to the Swale Car Park in hope of a distant view of the Rough Legged Buzzard. This did not happen but compensation was provided by a calling Snow Bunting going over, unfortunately it carried on and did not land.
After an hour here I headed back to Harty Lane where I added another 6 Marsh Harriers, a superb Ring Tail Hen Harrier, a male Merlin and a pair of Peregrines. The Falcon was seen to take a female Teal.

Marsh Harriers

Again I scanned around for the elusive Rough Legged Buzzard but it was not to be, neither did I see Short Eared Owl, although if I had stayed late afternoon no doubt I would have caught up with one.
If the back persists I can see myself going back down there, what better way to convalesce.

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