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Thursday, 27 January 2011

ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD at Oare Marshes, Kent!


  Johnny wanted to go and try for the Hooded Crow that's been present on the Isle of Sheppy for the last two years. We arrived in the bloody cold weather with the wind coming from the NE. As we drove towards Harty Church, a fem Hen Harrier flew close by, followed by another fem and then an imm Marsh Harrier. Past the the Church and down a single track, looking on to Harty Marshes, In front of us on the track, was a single Brambling with over 60 Chaffinches. Ten mintues later, I picked up the Hooded Crow flying away from us way in the distance. Infact, every bird we saw today of note after this, was distant. We drove further down the track and found the crow feeding with lots of Carrion Crows, two fields away. There were also 300+dark-bellied Goose and just down the road at Capel Fleet raptor watchpoint, there were over 100 White-fronted Geese feeding in the fields. As we left the site, heading towards Oare Marshes on the otherside of the Swale, a pair of Peregrines flew low over the car.

Hooded Crow at Harty Marshes, distantly

Fem Hen Harrier at Harty Church being mobbed by Carrion Crows

Over 100 White-fronted Geese from Capel Fleet raptor watchpoint, distantly.

fem Peregrine low over the Isle of Sheppy

  At Oare Marshes, the only birds of note were, 86 Avocets, roosting out on the Swale. However, there were 3 birds showing a little closer in the creek. Lots of Shoveler, Pintails, Teal and Wigeon and up to 4 Black-tailed Godwits. After we had walked around one part of the marsh, we decided to leave. We were a mile away from the marsh, when I spotted a raptor, in the distance, being mobbed by 2 crows. I stopped the car and put my bins up 'ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD!!' I have never seen Johnny Bushnell move so fast. He was out of the car like a flash. I never knew he could move so fast. As the buzzard banked, you could clearly see the white tail with the black band. Johnny got the scope out and two birders driving by, stopped and asked what we were looking at? They to, were out of the car pretty fast and started observing it. All the time, it was circling away from us. This was only my third ever R-l Buzzard that I've seen. The first one I ever saw was on the Isle of Sheppy, Nov '94. Everyone was very happy and I quickly put the news out.
 Was this a new Rough-legged Buzzard or was it the Reculver bird, just east up the coast, that has not been seen for over two weeks? I think that it is more than likely that we have stumbled across the Reculver bird. It's a Rough-legged Buzzard and was a very good bird to end yet another good day.

86 Avocets roosting out on the Swale, distantly

Avocet feeding in a creek at Oare Marshes. This was the first Avocet since back in June '97, when Ren found one on the Abbey Pool Tresco.

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