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Monday 17 December 2012

North Kent Marshes

December 15th

We weren’t due to start our survey until 11.49am so myself and Paul decided to firstly visit Lakeside at dawn and then move onto Cliffe RSPB, this is next to where we are surveying towards Egypt Bay.
Not surprisingly given the hour, the light was not great at Lakeside but nonetheless we drove to Costco’s and 5 Waxwings were present for a while and were then joined by 9 others briefly. A passing Sparrowhawk sent all on their way unfortunately.

Thirsty work

Couple of dodgy looking characters without a doubt.

Next stop was Cliffe, we firstly located the Velvet Scoter dozing as usual, the whole lake it was on seemed to be covered with Little Grebes, certainly 100+ just for this lake. Scanning all over produced 2 Goldeneye, several Pintail, around 800 Black Tailed Godwits and a couple of Kingfishers.
From here we moved up to the North Pit, this was teeming with wildfowl, we ended up with Common Scoter female, 3 female Scaup, 1 1st winter drake Scaup, Greenshank and around 14 Goldeneye.

A good start to the morning and some quality birds.

Where we are surveying on Grain does seem to suffer from low flying aircraft, we had it last year with some idiots flushing all and sundry, Geese, Ducks and Waders all suffer from this disturbance, Saturday was no different.
Firstly a microlight aircraft buzzed all the roosting waders inland and then a Helicopter flew low along the sea wall and flushed around 600 Wigeon, the chopper actually veered away from these seeing the danger, the fact of the matter is they would not have flushed if he was up high.

Flushing all

It would be good to know what the laws are against low flying, they are a pain.

Still no Hen Harriers or Rough Legged Buzzards as yet but at least 4 Common Buzzards and 3 Marsh Harriers are regular on site as are a pair of Peregrines.
I went right through the Greylag flock looking for some wild Geese, again no luck as per last week, they do not seem to have arrived as yet in any numbers.

Short Eared Owl

A river watch produced 2 Red Throated Divers, Red Breasted Merganser, 2 1st winter Drake Scaup and rather bizarrely a Short Eared Owl flying upriver. For as long as I watched it going west it never veered into Essex or Kent, very odd probably raised by Skua’s.

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