Naturelog: Thursday 30th October

Posted: October 31, 2014 in Birds, Butterflies and Moths, Dragonflies, Kent, Natural History, UK
Tags: , , , , ,

North Kent Marshes

A beautiful day and the chance to spend it birdwatching with Keith and Dave visiting various sites on the North Kent Marshes.

We started at the Strand in Gillingham where keen eyes spotted a Peregrine Falcon perched atop the gas holder. Then onto Funton Creek where there was a distant large flock of Pied Avocet (c200), some Redshank and Pintail. A late Red Admiral fluttered by – a sign of increasing temperature


Then onto Capel Fleet on the Isle of Sheppy where we saw Marsh Harrier and Buzzard patrolling the marshes and some excellent views of Stonechat in the reed-bed although unfortunately no sign of the Bearded Tits that had been seen earlier that morning. Perhaps the best bird was the small flock of Corn Buntings perched on the wires as these are becoming increasingly difficult to find in Southern England.


Corn Bunting
By Zeynel Cebeci (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Next stop was at Harty Ferry on the Swale, the strip of water which divides the Isle of Sheppey from the Kentish Mainland. Here there were a large flock of Brent Geese as well as Turnstone, Godwits and Curlew. A Common Darter was also patrolling the salt marsh.

Brent Geese at Harty Ferry

Brent Geese at Harty Ferry

Little Egret at Harty Ferry

Little Egret at Harty Ferry

Female Common Darter

Female Common Darter

Returning via Capel Fleet we were treated to a prolonged sighting of a Short Eared Owl as it sparred with a Buzzard. The flock of Corn Buntings on the wires now numbered over 20

Short-Eared Owl
By Kathy & sam from Beaverton (Short-eared Owl – Ruh-red Road – 1) [CC-BY-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Final stop of the day was Elmley NNR where more species were added to the days list including a large party of Golden Plover and a smaller party of Ringed Plover, but the highlight of which was a second sighting of Short-Eared Owl

Elmley Marsh

Elmley Marsh

Mallard and Teal

Mallard and Teal

An excellent days birdwatching both from the number of species seen and foe the views we had of the birds. The highlights for me were Short-Eared Owl and Corn Bunting.

Red-legged Partridge [sp] (Alectoris rufa)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Brent Goose [sp] (Branta bernicla)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Grey Plover [sp] (Pluvialis squatarola)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Bar-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa lapponica)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Short-eared Owl [sp] (Asio flammeus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Eurasian Rock Pipit [sp] (Anthus petrosus)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Corn Bunting [sp] (Emberiza calandra)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

  1. Keith Cutting says:

    A good write up of the day Peter. Shame neither had a camera to get a shot of the Shorty being mobbed by Buzzard! Keith

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