Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Seasalter 10K

This morning I thought I would walk up to the Faversham Creek mouth which is also to the end of the concrete wall and according to my phone app. was 10K by the time I got back to the car at the Sportsman. I wasn't expecting to see much but a flock of 31 mipits dropped in just as I started and seemed to follow me along the way.  It was a sunny morning and skylark song filled the air, I noted 14 on the beach at the eastern end of Castle Coote and a pair of stonechats appeared on the wall a few hundred yards beyond the white post.  Small groups of brents were flying up and down the coast all morning finally settling on a field near C.Coote with the white morph amongst them. The numbers appeared to be half of that seen yesterday numbering about c.500.

Reaching the western end of C.C. a large flock of wigeon came into view just off the beach plus a few shelduck and one egret was on the marsh.  The fields behind seemed empty, I didn't see any harriers or merlin which I was hoping for. Out on Horse Sands 22 seals were hauled out, their numbers well down on the hundred plus just before Xmas.

From the sluice I could see a flock of 92 avocets sheltering below a mud bank in the mouth of the creek. From the reedbed behind the wall I could hear some beardies, the first I have recorded at the LNR for sometime but the ears couldn't get a fix on them. Also a couple of reed bunting appeared on one of the bushes (I dearly hope the KTNC don't remove these bushes).

A couple of egrets were in the open areas in the reedbed having a bit of an arguement allowing me to get a few photos.

On the wall apron near the sluice I saw a rock pipit feeding in the floatsam, a year tick plus got a few photos. It never came out the grassy mess but was quite happy with my presence and I left it to carry on after a few minutes.

On the way back a peregrine swept in over the Coote and continued west along the wall and a couple of minutes later the raven appeared, coming from the direction of the Nagden cottages, maybe from a pylon? It flew over the Coote looking as it was going over to Sheppey but turned back towards Seasalter, both peregrine and raven to distant for decent photos.  As the tide was coming up to the beach dunlin and knot were fairly close but a pale barwit attracted my attention although far out I took a couple of shots as it was tiny through the bins..

A Pale Morph Barwit

As I neared the white post a message from Geoff B who was three miles away on Wraik Hill informing me of a pair of pintail on the flooded flelds on the Seasalter Levels. After the 10K walk I made my way onto the top of Wraik Hill and saw the pintail which I think is a first, actually seen on the 'land' and not on the sea where we normally record them.

Late afternoon, a short visit to the 'rise' near the Sportsman produced 27 linnets gathering to roost in the large tree but no sign of the owl or raven but I was only there thirty minutes.


Warren Baker said...

Like those Rock pipit images Mike. The 'Little Egret in fight' pics aren't too bad either :-)

Bernie Weight said...

Nice account of a good days birding Mike and some great images to show for it.