A bit of a change in the weather this morning, all the low cloud and mist had gone and more like the seasonal conditions we normally expect. My first stop was at the Seasalter high tide 'island' roost finding; 292 ringed plovers plus a handful of dunlin, turnstones and a couple of redshank. The strong north easterly was pushing a few brents into the Swale and the prospect of skuas looked good. Further on by the Sportsman I saw a total of 14 Arctic skuas, 10 of them sitting on the water and getting up to fly occasionally, 10 wigeon plus a flock of c.90 brents flew east out of the Swale. Also noted was a strong passage of swallows and small passerines (mipits mainly) flying diagonally across over the sea towards Sheppey, appearing to have come from the Stour valley/Clowes woods direction.
Another check on the roost revealed the usual amount of ringed plovers ie c.250 plus 1 sanderling and a couple of egrets etc. Then I parked up at the Sportsman and wandered up to the wall finding just one wheatear but lots of mipits (c. 30 at least feeding in the grasses) and swallows. NB coming back from Canterbury earlier that morning I noticed jays in several places and another over the garden when I got home but none at Seasalter.
Whilst busy at the computer that afternoon a call from Geoff Burton alerted me to a red-backed shrike he had seen whilst testing his repaired scope. Leaving my freshly made cup of tea I zoomed down to the Seasalter YC where the juvenile bird was found in and around the garden of the small wooden dwelling 'Wye Worry'. The lovely late afternoon light made photography easy and the bird seemed very tame, at one time flying straight over our heads to pounce on something it had seen in the grass behind us. Also a whinchat and wheatear have been seen over the past couple of days plus a red kite and sparrowhawk seen by Steve Ashton the next morning. The shrike was still present Wednesday 23rd at the time of writing.
Juvenile Red-backed Shrike