A Trip to Sheppy

A Trip to Sheppy
A Trip to Sheppy
While visiting Margate over half term, Toby and I joined Nana and Granddad in a trip to the Isle of Sheppy (and Elmley Nature reserve you'll already have seen my picture of the week yesterday which was from this trip). 

It was to be a day of birding and looking for Owls and raptors (we left the girls to go to the cinema, bubs doesn't do well in cars, a bit like her older brother).lareg

Arriving around 11 we were due to stay as late as possible (dark, although Elmley now closes at 5!) in the great hope that the wintering short-eared owls would put in an appearance.


A Trip to Sheppy


The trip actually started at Funton Creek, it's an area that is great for roosting waders in winter (although high tide isn't the best time to visit). It was high tide when we got there! It wasn't all bad though, Tubs is pretty new to birding so almost everything we were showing him were new and the 1000's of Avocet that were turning the far bank white were amazing to see, as were the huge flocks of Knot. Brent Geese and Shelduck were swimming close to us and Curlew kept dropping into the thick salt marsh just in front of us.

But it was a passing Common Buzzard that gave us the most exciting moments as the large raptor soared over our heads for a good 5 mins passing low to the car at times. It was to be the first of many.

Common Buzzard
Common Buzzard

Leysdown on Sea


We headed onto Sheppy properly (not via the new bridge, but instead on the trusty old one) and headed east towards Leysdown, it is a great location to check out the sea from and we were lucky enough to see quite a few Red-throated Divers off out at sea, as well as Turnstone and Redshank on the beach and the usual gulls.

A Brief Pied Wagtail posed well for a few photos as did a lovely Carrion crow. We were also treated to a few views of Stonechat towards the nature reserve that is down that end of the island.

Carrion Crow
Carrion Crow

Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail

Raptor Watch Point


We headed from here to the raptor watch point down towards Harty Ferry, and we were treated to wonderful long (but often distant) views of male and female Marsh Harrier, a few Kestrels and quite a few Common Buzzards. It was also from here we were able to check through the huge Mute Swan flock and pick out the two resident Black Swan.

I was also lucky enough to photograph another Pied Wagtail (a different take than that of the one above, and a more pleasing one in my opinion). There were also fly over Grey Heron, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Pied Wagtail on a Fence
Pied Wagtail on a Fence

Elmley Nature Reserve


It was now time to head to Elmley nature reserve (formally RSPB but now back under the control of the owning family). And it wasn't long after arriving on the entrance track that we were looking at stunning Little Egrets and gloriously glossy Lapwing (you could really see where the name Green Plover comes from).

Little Egret feeding
Little Egret feeding

Lapwing (Green Plover)
Lapwing (Green Plover)

As we continued up the long drive, there were more Buzzard sightings and lots more Marsh Harriers flying past, including this stunning female.

Marsh Harrier (female)
Marsh Harrier (female)

Onto the Reserve


Being with a disabled driver (dad) meant that rather than the long walk down to the hides and sea wall we were able to drive (and some of you birders out there who sneer as a car passes really need to get a clue, there are reasons it is set up like this, stop being jealous pricks!).

Along the way we were treated to yet more raptor views, and a couple of stunning Little Grebes in the near by pools, as well as more Redshank, a lone Black-tailed Godwit, more egrets, dunlin and quite a lot more.

after some time in the first hide showing Toby the Shoveller, some geese and a small party of Grey Plover we headed back up the track to sit and wait in along the entrance track in order to wait for owls.

Entrance Track


Setting ourselves up with excellent views out over the wet, flooded fields and the old barn we waited for the sun to lower and hopefully lots of owls to come out.

While waiting we were treated to a spectacular diving and stooping display from one of the local Peregrine Falcons, as well as lots of Marsh Harriers and the odd Buzzard but alas no owls, the only consolation was the presence of a few Hare (although not boxing).

Hare
Hare
As the clock hit 5pm we headed off, grabbing one last shot of a little egret in the pink glow of the setting sun before finally leaving the reserve and heading home.

Little Egret in the failing light
Little Egret in the failing light


If you enjoyed this post, or found it useful, then please do share it with your friends using the links below

Please feel free to leave me a comment, I really appreciate the interaction and will reply as soon as I can. I apologise for any issues with posting comments, but sometimes Google's blogger platform plays up. ALL comments are moderated for SPAM, so please don't bother if the comment is unrelated to the post it will likely be deleted.

CONVERSATION

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Back
to top