Thursday, 9 October 2008

Thursday 9th.October 2008

Won't be many more days like this I thought to myself , so I took off for a birding day at RSPB Reserve Elmley on the Isle of Sheppey .
Along the track things were very quiet until I noticed a Marsh Harrier searching the ditches in the distance .
Gradually things improved , with good numbers of Lapwing ,
and even the Skylarks were up singing ,
On a post about halfway to the car park , was a female Kestrel enjoying the sun .
On the wetter areas , Curlew
and Grey Heron were found .
A cock Pheasant crossed the track , just before the car park .
Leaving the car park , a dead Hare was lying on the ground just before the stile . In the Willow on the end of the pond on the right , a family of Goldcrests were feeding . I passed a pair of Lapwing who were acting as if they were displaying .
Ducks were few on the Reserve , but in one ditch I found three Mallard and this single male Pochard .
As I got to the Wellmarsh Hide , a movement on the earth back stopped me in my tracks . I got the camera ready , and up popped a juvenile Wheatear .

It carried on feeding on the far side of the earth bank , and every now and again , popped up on top , just to make sure everything was OK .I must have stood for 10 minutes photographing it when it appeared , and even when a couple passed to get into the hide , it wasn't phased . At one point , whilst waiting for it to reappear , I heard a Stonechat call , and watched a male and female on the other side of the ditch . Eventually , I made my way into the hide , just in time to get a good view of a Merlin , just before it took flight . Just Shell Duck , a couple of Godwits and a flock of Meadow Pipits were the only things to be seen . On my way up to Swale Hide , several more views of Marsh Harrier and a fly past of four adult Mute Swans . At the end of the last ditch before the hide was a Mute Swan family of two adults and four cygnets . From the hide large numbers of Wigeon and Teal were feeding and resting on the mud flats , that was until something disturbed them , and the all took off in unison . Unruffled by the disturbance , three Curlew , a juvenile Herring Gull , four Turnstone , a single Grey Plover and three Redshank carried on regardless . On the way back to the car park Bearded Tit was heard , but not viewed , also seen were Little Grebe , female Shoveller , Little Egret and several Coots and Moorhen . Starling numbers were vast and as I drove down the track away from the car park , a massive mixed flock of them and Lapwing , erupted noisily into the air , and away from whatever the danger was . Just before joining the road , I saw a small bird in a bush , and reversed for a better look . I'm glad I did because it turned out to be a Stonechat , and posed for a couple of shots .

Also recorded were good numbers of Migrant Hawkers , a few Common Darters and 7 Red Admirals .

I drove home in the late afternoon sunshine , quite happy with having seen/heard 40 species .


Warren Baker said...

A most enjoyable day I'd say greenie. great Autumn birds, in great Autumn sunshine.

Steve said...

Sounds like a great day you had whilst i was at work....not that im jealous!