Shellness and Capel Fleet
So a new year dawns, and a rather dull, grey and damp scene met the intrepid few who ventured out on Sunday. At least, for once, we seemed to have timed the tide quite well, with high tide around 9.00 am. As we arrived there were huge numbers of Black-headed, with several Herring, Great-Black Backed and a few Common Gulls around. On the fields behind us were Golden Plover, with flocks of Starlings circling around over the trees.
As the group gathered there was a slight improvement in the weather and huge rafts of Brent Geese appeared in the distance offshore with Shelduck, Teal, Wigeon and Mallard also seen. A couple of divers made a rather hasty appearance, not quite long enough for a full id though.As we walked along the seawall towards the hamlet large numbers of Redshank, Sanderling, Oystercatcher, and Grey Plover moved along ahead of us. Unfortunately a couple of dogs put everything up – but at least we got great views of the birds flying in huge flocks which revealed the true numbers present.Meadow Pipits and Skylark were singing over the fields and Red-legged Partridge fed among the grazing cows.
On the beach near the hamlet we spotted a couple of Knot, and after some scanning through telescopes everyone managed good views.Marsh Harrier floated over the distant marshes of Swale NNR. In a low bramble bush telescopes again came into their own and revealed Corn Bunting, Reed Bunting and Blackbird.The weather closed in again and we decided that lunch was calling us, some dined by the seawall, others decided to move on to Capel Fleet and eat there. However we all met up again at the Viewpoint at Capel Fleet where Kestrel, Marsh Harrier and Corn Bunting again entertained us through the gloom. Minutes before we arrived another birder had seen a Rough-Legged Buzzard but as Roy went to see it in the ‘scope it dropped off the perch not to be seen again.Despite all our efforts we saw little else of note but managed a creditable 41 species for the day (apologies for any omissions!)