Tuesday, 1 March 2016

.....and now on to The Isle of Sheppey

17th February 2016

After a lie-in and a full cooked breakfast, time to head off for the Isle of Sheppey which was only 20 minutes away. First stop was Harty Ferry Road where there were the usual  8+ Marsh Harriers flying along the distant sea wall, but not much else. Thankfully the resident Corn Buntings were sunning themselves in the roadside Brambles and offered a couple of opportunities. On the way back a single Golden Plover was posing well just outside the car window.

Now on to Elmley Marshes and during the drive up the entrance track it is always worthwhile having your camera on your lap as the Lapwings come ridiculously close. Just look at the colours on this bird which changed every time it moved position by just a few degrees.

The car park has now been re-arranged  and there are some feeders in the trees by the new car park. Mainly the usual suspects here and as you all know I do not photograph birds on feeders, but this Goldfinch was very cooperative while it waited for its turn.

The walk down to the hides was fairly uneventful until a female/juv Merlin appeared on one of the many gates and sat there for at least 20 minutes. Inside the hide most ducks were on the far side of the scrape but there were a few fly-bys by Marsh Harriers, as was the case for this female. There were also a pair of distant Peregrine Falcons sitting on the cattle fencing beyond the next hide and some movement of ducks as the tide on the Swale started to come in.

But the star of the show today from a photographic point of view was this female Stonechat which followed us along the path until we had left its territory

So overall a superb couple of days and we were so lucky with the weather with wall-to-wall sunshine on both days. Over the two days we clocked up 88 species, which is not bad as both sites are fairly specialised with the emphasis being on quality rather than quantity.. WE'LL BE BACK in 2017!!!

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