Friday, 9 May 2008
Thursday 8th May
My first Swifts of the year were seen reeling over the High Street, East Malling this morning. I went back at lunchtime to admire them, but they dispersed in response to a female Sparrowhawk that drifted towrads them, high above the King & Queen pub. I continued on the to deserted orchard alongside the railway line at the back of Cottenham Close. Up to 5 Whitethroats called and a single Chiffchaff, but no Nightingale song. Speckled Woods were abundant and a single Holly Blue was seen, but otherwise very quiet.
After work, I took up the offer of a lioft from Ross to Swale NNR to see if the Collared Pratincole was still to be found. As we walked down towards the reserve a Whimbrel flew from the saltmarsh and across the Swale towards Oare. This was trumped moments later by a fantastic female Red-footed Falcon that drifted right across our path, following the seawall on the reserve side before turning back over the seawall, right in front of Barry Wright, and back on itself across the saltmarsh. Our position couldn't have been better with the evening sun highlighting the orange breast and orange/red talons. A fantastic bird. Eventually we reached the small crowd that had collected in the hope of connecting with the Pratincole. After about 40 minutes of scanning and a couple of misidentifications, including a Greylag's head, the Collared Pratincole was called out as "hawking high", but it flew low, twisting and turning furiously along the earth bund by the small hide before eventually settling down on the ground behind a grass tussock, virtually out of sight. A fantastic evening, and all credit due to Derek Faulkner for posting the news. With the light fading we walked away, a Barn Owl quartering over the saltmarsh for company.
No pstings for the next 2 weeks unfortunately!