Sunday, 15 January 2012

RSPB group trip to Isle of Sheppey

We left around 6:45 to get to the pick up point were we would leave to go to the Isle of Sheppey. We arrived just on time. We then went into someone else's car and drove off. It took us about an hour and a half to get to our first stop.

Raptor Point is on Harty Ferry Rd. We looked out of the windows while we drove down the road looking for anything special. We first past a pair of Stonechats and stopped to have a better look at them. We also got out of our cars and set up some of the scopes so as to try and find anything else. We all had an eye out for a Rough-legged Buzzard which had been seen. We scanned for a while and only saw some Buzzards, Marsh Harriers and a Kestrel. We went on to the official Raptor Point and thats when thing began to get better. We first saw a pair of Reed Buntings in the reeds in front of us I went down to photograph them and when I turned round my brother signalled for me to come to him. At first I just thought he wanted me to leave the Reed Buntings alone. I went up and my brother said that there was a Short-eared Owl flying in the distance unfortunately I did not see it but then I decided to stay with the group. I took a scan my self. After a while someone pointed out a flock of White-fronted Geese and I trained the scope on them and saw the distinct features of a White-fronted Goose. After that I gave the scope to my brother to have a look. In that time I looked around anything else. At first there were some Meadow Pipits and A green Sandpiper which flow over but then someone found a Ring-tailed Hen Harrier and pointed it out to the rest of the group. Luckily I saw it and put the scope on it and followed it until it landed. We carried on looking after that but there was nothing much until we were about to leave and a local pointed out a Merlin. I first looked through his scope and after that my brother had already set it up to see it so I had another look through that scope.

When we arrived we went straight down to the beach and began looking for some stuff. On our way down we saw some Black-tailed Godwits and a Curlew .After we went on and looked over the sandy beach. Every one set up there scopes and started to look. There was a lot to see and so we didn't manage to see everything. I looked over part of the sand and saw a hug amount of Knots with some Redshanks. Also to the other side there were some Shelducks, Oystercatchers, Bar-tailed Godwits and some more Redshanks. Next to all those waders was a Great Black-backed Gull all alone. After that we saw the usual stuff like Marsh Harrier, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Brent Geese and then a Barn owl which was a very pleasant surprise. At first we thought it was a Short-eared Owl but as it got closer we recognised it as a Barn Owl. After this I decided to go onto a jetty which went over the beach, I could not go on the beach because it was quick sand. I managed to obtain a few pictures but none of them were very good.

Red Shank
Grey Plover in middle

After being at Harty Ferry for a while we went up and had our lunch. Some of the group wanted to go for a walk so we did that along the side of the beach. Nothing much happened on that part of the trip. One thing was a hug flock of Brent Geese which were in a field behind them there were some White-fronted Geese. After that we went on and saw some Avocet amongst a few hundred waders.

After coming back from the walk we went to Raptor Point again. This time I especially looked out for a Short-eared Owl and I saw one.

We went to another beach after Raptor Point were we saw hundreds of Sanderling and Turnstone there was also a big flock of curlew that flow over. The tide was very high so the Sanderling and Turnstone were very close which allowed me to get some good photographs.

Curlew in flight

All of the above are Sanderling.
Sanderling with Turnstone

All of the above are Turnstone

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