Sunday, October 7, 2012

Elmley Marshes

Have had a fun weekend with some very cool birds. It started off on Friday with my visit to Staines Reservoir with a wonderful Garganey. Saturday I spent a few hours poking around West Sussex, specifically to twitch the Pectoral Sandpiper at Pulborough Brooks RSPB. Unfortunately this rare north american shorebird was a no show. I then headed up to Burpham in search of raptors; here I found 10 Common Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Red Kite. Today Lori and I headed out to Elmley Marshes in Kent; departing Woking at 07:10 am with a fly-over Kingfisher adding itself to our garden list. Not a bad start! 

RSPB office and farm house

After making a slight 'detour' on the Isle of Sheppey we arrived at Elmley Marshes at about 09:20am. On the drive across the marsh to the reserve we got our target bird: MERLIN! A bird I new well in Canada but a bird that had eluded me in the UK. Anyhow, the pressure was off immediately and we had a fairly casual walk ( casual..ish..the far hide is a real slog...won't be going to that one again) around the reserve getting good looks at Marsh Harrier, including a stunning male, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. In fact, the best opportunity I've ever had at getting a photo of a Kestrel. Other species of note included: Green Sandpiper, Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Ruff, Dunlin. Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Snipe, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Corn Bunting and Little Egret.



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