Whenever I visit my old man we try to get out for a spot of birding at least once, our day this time round was a day out in search of owls and raptors at one of the best winter destinations for seeing such birds, the Isle of Sheppey.
It was mid morning when we set out, three of us bins at the ready, a later start to the day than normal, but with owls as our quarry we would be there later, so it made sense. After driving for what always seems way too long we soon arrived on the island, crossing the high road bridge, one of a number that have been built over the years, the arch of this new crossing raising high into the Kent skies. Our first destination on the islands the car park beyond Leysdown, where we settled down to snack on our Subway's and enjoy the views over the island, such as the opening photo on this post!
As we looked out across the fields and marshes, a couple of wintering Marsh Harrier could be seen as they quartered the drainage ditches, the golden headed female slowly making her way tantalisingly close before once again drifting off into the marshes. On several fence posts Buzzard could be seen perched in anticipation, while some of my old favourites Stonechats flew between rough patches.
A quick trot up the bank and the grey seas looked stunning as the distant waves lapped up on the sandy shore. In the distance, among the ever growing skeletal figures of windmills, the shape of 7 stilted platforms could be seen looming out of the mist. The Red Sands Sea Forts, built in WWII as the first line of defence, are pretty spectacular to see.