A day out to the Capel Fleet/ Harty Marshes area with Laurence Pitcher proved very sucessful, with all the Sheppey specials giving themselves up one by one. A classic winter days birding!
As we were walking down from Mockett's to the marshes, one of the area's Rough-legged Buzzards, a juvenile, hove into view at 1150. We had fantastic views at first as the bird circled at close range. Over the course of about 7 minutes observation the bird slowly gained height and drifted off North eventually being lost to sight over the Swale. What a cracker!
We saw at least 2 ringtailed Hen Harriers on the marshes, in fact there was usually one on show for what felt like most of the time today! Very close views were had.
A couple of Peregrines made frequent forays across the area. We witnessed some real life and death chases as one adult male laid into a flock of Starlings. This bird pulled some moves worthy of the Red Arrows, including an almost complete loop-the-loop, something i've never seen before.
Other great birds included 1 Short-eared Owl, up to 3 Barn Owls, 67 White-fronted Geese, and about 20 Marsh Harriers.
We had a quick look at Shellness at high tide and were rewarded with great views of roosting waders including, Knot, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher and Bar-tailed Godwits. Amongst the flock of the latter species was 1 full summer-plumaged bird!