Having missed them on their way through in the Spring , I decided to see if I could catch up with Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail on their way back to warmer climes . I headed for RSPB Elmley , on the Isle of Sheppey , arriving in very mixed conditions , but still that very strong wind , made worse by the flatness of the reserve . The track from the road to the car park is usually good for picking up a few species , but today , it was like a cemetery . Had the cattle not been around , the only thing to look at was a pair of immature , I think , Marsh Harriers , that seemed to be playing in that wind . When they turned , it appeared that one had some food , possibly in it's talons , and the other was attempting to take it . Perhaps a practice at a food exchange ? Amongst the cattle mentioned , were a number of bulls , and I arrived at a gate almost at the same time as the farmer , who stopped his tractor and ran towards the animal which was lying on it's side . The farmer climbed the gate and shouted and whistled at the bull , which eventually got up , much to the relief of the farmer . Mind you , it looked a good animal , so not surprised the farmer was worried . The farmer's shouting and whistling did me a favour , disturbing two Brown Hares from the ditch side , and after a quick look to see what all the noise was about , ran off at speed into the distance . One Lapwing , one distant Kestrel and two Grey Heron later , I reached the car park . Very little apart from House Sparrows in the area , until I noticed a Swallow flying into the Gents toilet . Following , I found a brood of four , only just fitting into the nest , just behind the door , sittting very quiet . That was until the next visit from the adult , when it became each man , or woman , for themselves , to get the food . It won't be long till they fledge . A couple of marquees were being erected on the enclosed lawned area , which would explain why the car park was so quiet . I decided , that as it was so quiet along the track , I would not walk down to the hides , as the probability was that it would be just the same , so headed back down the track , finding these two very large cockerels with white flaps on the sides of their heads , looking like 'joke ears' . Only difference on the way back down were several juvenile Pied Wagtails like this one . I drove to Capel Fleet , and once off the main road , drove slowly along the lane , checking the wires and bushes alongside . A good sized flock of House Sparrows and a few Greenfinch wasn't much of a result . Near the raptor viewpoint , a male Kestrel was hovering with ease in the wind . A few seconds later , he dropped like a stone into the stubble in the field and probably caught a meal , as he didn't re-appear whilst I watched . Arriving at the Ferry Boat Inn , as far as you can go along the lane , and with the tide going out , I had a walk down to the waters edge , and I was pleased that I did , as I found 3/4 very mobile Wheatear around the high water line . I said very mobile , and as you can see , the one above was just about to lift off as I got the shot . A female Pheasant with seven youngsters and a distant Marsh Harrier were seen on the way back . I stopped just past the bend at Capel Fleet , seeing a small shape on a distant post . The shape did get closer and was joined by another . Two more Wheatear .Nearby , a flock of Starlings were following the cattle in the field , collecting the disturbed insects , and on checking with binoculars , found my other target species , a juvenile Yellow Wagtail . In the distance , a black bank of cloud was approaching , so I decided to call it a day and head home . As I passed the Elmley entrance , a Little Egret was circling some open water , and I just managed a shot before it dropped in and disappeared into the reedbed .
Two heavy showers on the way home , just hope weather for the next two days volunteering is a bit more settled .