Thursday, 22 January 2015

Winters Day Birding .....On Sheppey

Little Egret.

On Tuesday 20th January i decided to have a winters day birding trip to the Isle of Sheppey , i had quite a few target species in mind especially Grey geese and raptors , i drove through some light snow flurries on my way to Sheppey and finally ended up at Capel Fleet which in my opinion is one of the best sites in Kent for Raptors .

I parked up at the top of the hill and located hundreds of grey geese in the distance , 200+ White Fronted Geese  were busily feeding in the fields and were keeping company with 300+ Greylag Geese , despite my best efforts and nearly an hour of scanning  i could not pick out any Bean Geese , they were just to distant .

Marsh Harrier.

There were lots of Marsh Harriiers and i saw a single Peregrine fly over head being mobbed by a Kestrel which was quite spectacular to see , i then headed down to the Raptor watch point and saw a male Merlin perched on a very distant fence post plus several more Marsh Harriers , 2 Common Buzzards and up to 5 Kestrels , there was a supporting cast of Little Egret , 2 Green Sandpipers , Water Rail and pinging Bearded Tits.

Sanderling running along the tide line.

After another hour standing in the cold i headed of to Leysdown for a warm up in my car and to check for waders and Gulls , i saw several Sanderling & Turnstones plus Redshank , Curlew & Oystercatchers .

Turnstone & Sanderling in flight.

On my way back out of Leysdown i checked out a small gull roost on the playing field and was rewarded with an adult winter Med Gull among the Black Headed & Common Gulls.

Adult winter Med Gull.

We have take off.

I decided to head back to Capel Fleet in the hope of seeing Owls as it was now late afternoon , as i drove down the hill at Capel i could see that the grey geese had moved a bit closer but still quite distant so i decided to have another go at trying to locate the Tundra Bean Geese , i spent another 30 mins scanning the flock and was about to give up on my quest when a couple of cows which were standing in front of part of the geese flock decided to move off and i had one more scan and there they were 2 Tundra Bean Geese .

Tundra Bean Goose in front of the Greylag Goose.

Both Tundra Bean Geese.

I was really pleased to see these as i never saw any last year , smaller than Greylag Geese , dark headed with quite thick necks and only a small amount of orange on a dark bill are the main id features.

As i sat in my car feeling very pleased and having another warm i could hear a little Wren singing its heart out on a post .

Braving the cold , Wren.

I then headed to the Raptor watch point again and after about an hour i was rewarded with both Short Eared Owl & Barn Owl which was the cherry on top of a really enjoyable Winters day birding on Sheppey.

Barn Owl.