Saturday, 29 December 2018

Last Weeks Of December With A Couple of Surprises

17th Dec.

A nice sunny and mild day so I walked up almost to Castle Coote finding 2 marsh harriers, c1250 golden plovers in the fields behind, 2 marsh harriers and c.1000 lapwing took to the air for some reason.  A dozen linnets were feeding on the beach where a little egret flew west just off the beach, far out were c.1500 knot and on Horse Sands I counted 117 common seals. Other birds noted were 1 green woodpecker, 2 stonechats and several skylarks.

19th Dec.

A short afternoon visit to Seasalter again, this time I was checking the marsh harrier roost which revealed five birds going down onto the plots, plus a barn owl.

20th Dec.

I went to photograph the brents again, the flock still holding up to 2000 birds at times. Behind the white post I counted 143 curlew on the field, a place they never used to use at high tide, noticed them there several times now, a similar number of dunlin as well. Two marsh harriers and the usual golden plovers and lapwing were present as well. The biggest surprise this morning was a buzzard sp coming my way but a chap with a dog was talking to me but a got a couple of shots as it shot by thinking it was just a pale buzzard. However, looking at it on the PC at home showed it wasn't a common buzzard and confirmation from Geoff B gave me a lifer for the site, rough-legged buzzard.

22nd Dec.

Another walk along the South Swale LNR I noticed it was a very high tide today and this had lifted a lot of the roosting waders off Sheppey and they were wheeling around looking for somewhere to land. It looked like Castle Coote was where they were heading so I pushed on quickly and arrived as they landed.  On route I took a few shots of the grey plovers sitting out the high tide on the remains of the breakwater bythe start of the concrete seawall.  Hundreds of knot, dunlin and a few grey plovers and as when they feed they mostly stayed with their own group.  It was the first time I have ever seen these big numbers on C.Coote, a fantastic sight. On the 'pool' at C.C. there were 30-40 wigeon.

Mainly dunlin 

Mainly Knot

24th Dec.

A very short visit to SS this morning where I counted 19 sanderling but I returned in the afternoon. Just a short walk up to the wall seeing waders coming across to feed as the tide was dropping in the late afternoon sun. I got some shots of the 70 bar-tailed godwits that came down to feed along with some dunlin but the light was poor and I needed high ISOs to produce anything.

Bar-tailed godwits and knot

Temperatures were dropping fast and I could see across the fields a mist was beginning to rise up which was a shot I wanted to get. So I got back to the car quickly and drove just up to the 'rise' beyond the Sportsman where I walked along the path to get my photos.

26th Dec.

Another walk along the LNR Boxing Day taking photos of the brent and one lone curlew that flew within range but nothing special......I thought.   Just today I started looking at the many photos I took that day and the first one showed a pale-bellied brent.

 Pale-bellied brent goose among the dark-bellied

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