Monday, 29 October 2007

Saturday 27th October

I was hoping to get up to Reculver for the Pallas & Dusky Warblers, but as the day progressesd the Pallas wasn't reported and the Dusky was becoming more and more elusive! Instead I decided to pay a long overdue visit to the Harty Ferry Road, Sheppey, enticed by recent reports of the Rough-legged Buzzard. I arrived around 3 pm, and sure enough the Rough-legged Buzzard was sitting on a mound of soil to the east of the prison, distant but identifiable. It preened, occasionally the white on it's tail feather showing through. After half-an-hour it launched itself off the mound and flew low, north giving the briefiest of views before disappearing behind some maize. Almost immediately a Common Buzzard took it's place! My annual pilgrimage to the RL Buzzard complete I ventured to the Ferry Boat Inn to see what was around. Shelduck, Golden Plover and Lapwings made up a small party on the exposed mud, with Curlew and Little Egret creeping around the saltings in front of the pub. As I scanned each fence post in the hope of Merlin or Short-eared owl and flock of Starlings flew up and I immediately locked onto a male Merlin, flying extremley low across the saltings, it's blue-grey back and dark edged wings catching the last of the sun. I always forget how small the males are, this one looked not much bigger than a Blackbird.

I returned to the raptor viewpoint to see if any owls would lurk out, but it wasn't to be, although 20 Marsh Harriers came into roost, some settling on the fields before flocking up and over the reeds. I also managed to disturb 7x Fieldfares that had settled into a hawthorn by the mound for the night.

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