Blog Archive

Monday, 7 November 2016

Skydancer delight

Led a walk at Elmley today.  On the track into the main reserve we saw Marsh Harrier, Curlew, Skylark, and many Lapwing.   On the sacrificial crop near the farm Goldfinch and Linnet fed, and a Robin 'ticked' as it joined them.

Elmley is always a great venue, and even though the weather forecast was cloudy and rain, ten of us gathered at the car park on a sunny morning with a stiff westerly breeze but hardly a cloud.

The bird feeders had their usual House Sparrow and Goldfinch with the farm chickens pecking below and vying with Moorhen for fallen seeds.

See slow motion of Kestrel hovering above.

As we wandered along the track we had great views of Stonechat, Curlew and a very close Kestrel which was perched on a nearby fence post and then gave a wonderful show as it hovered in front of us.

On the lakes there were Mute Swan, Mallard, Coot and Teal.   The tide was out but there were a few Redshank, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit and Grey Plover on the mud flats of the river.   We continued our walk towards the hides finding Reed Bunting, Little Grebe, Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail on the way.

From the hides we watched several Common Buzzard, and at least five Marsh Harrier.   Flocks of Brent Goose, Shelduck, Shoveler and Teal flew onto the reserve as the tide came in.   Egyptian Goose, and White-fronted Goose were some way off but gave reasonable views.   The White-fronts had very well marked barring and were great to see.   Grey Heron, Greylag and Canada Geese, Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gull were all added to our ever-growing list.   A Merlin was seen perched first on a fence post and then on a piece of farm equipment, again great views were had by all.
Elmley looking wonderful!

A second visit to Well Marsh Hide provided the highlight of the day for me - a stunning ringtail Hen Harrier!   It flew low and quick and was a real treat.   We all dashed from the hide to follow its progress along the seawall!   A second pass a few moments later was more distant but the white rump still brightly visible.

After a while we re-traced our steps as the clouds gathered.   Turnstone were added as they fed along the edge of the river.

After our farewells we drove back down the long track with rain starting to fall - excellent timing.

Elmley had a final treat for some of us though - as Malcolm spotted a Barn Owl hunting.   An excellent end to a lovely day.

All our Wader sightings were sent through to Wader Conservation World Watch which took place on 5th & 6th November.