Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Sunday 13th April

An early start, and forfeited lie-in, at Swale NNR. Tempted by Derek's postings on KOSnet and a a trip to Sheppey being long overdue, I found myself wandering along the seawall at 07:00. A couple of Red-breasted Geese were picked out distantly with Greylags in the corn field south of Elliot's Farm, but not the most satisfying of views as they periodically disappeared behind a hawthorn hedge that surronded the field. Closer in on the reserve a female Wheatear paused briefly on a fence post near the start of the seawall and 2x Swallows sped low overhead. The long-awaited song of a Reed Warbler was drowned out by the explosive call of a Cetti's Warbler. There were many Marsh Harriers drifting over the rape fields north of the reserve, but a stunning female Hen Harrier stole the show, giving excellent views as she drifted across the saltmarsh. A distant figure, the fine form of Derek Faulkner, loomed by the Swale Hide. I was very grateful to him for pointing out a couple of White-fronted Geese and a Bearded Tit. As ever time was against me but as I walked back to Harty Church the flock of geese took off and landed back on the reserve giving much better views of the Red-breasted Geese. An added bonus was 8x Common Seals hauled up on Horse Sands.

Back in Barming the weather had changed decidely nasty and so I spent much of the rest of the day indoors. However a brief sunny interlude had me looking to the sky, just in time to see the flickering and dropping flight of 3x House Martins moving slowly north - my first of the year.

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