Monday, 16 January 2012


Distant record of bird with black neck collar with white "K" and SY on side

The forecast was for a clear still sunny day perfect for a visit to Sheppey. I parked at Muswell Manor and walked down the track (about half a mile) to the raised bank between the RSPB fields. A little way down the bank I heard the first Lapland Bunting in with some Skylarks. A little further on a large mixed flock of Lapland Buntings and Skylarks got up from the middle of one field and wheeled around high dropping into the middle of the next field. This was the general pattern for the next hour and I estimate that there was around 30 present. Occasionally a Lapland Bunting could be seen briefly scuttling in the field but only through the telescope. While I was watching them a Great White Egret flew past, a Merlin  perched on some ironwork, a ring tail Hen Harrier sat in a field and 3-4 Marsh Harriers were hunting.
A long plod out to the Swale NR to look at the Geese was rewarded with good but distant scope views of c150 Greater White-fronted Geese but no Tundra Bean. Also seen along the bank another ring tail Hen Harrier, 1 Short-Eared Owl and 3 more Marsh harriers.
From the Harty raptor viewpoint 2 Common Buzzards, 1 Short-Eared Owl, 1 ring tail Hen Harrier, 1 Merlin, 4 Marsh Harriers and 1 Ruff.

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