A day off work provided an opportunity to escape into the countryside in search of some good birding. Unfortunately, Dan had School commitments for the very last time, save exam visits, so it was strictly solo.
In the light of recent reports, I decided to start at Chambers Wall and picked up some typical farmland birds as I approached the car park in the hope of Quail. No such luck, no song, call nor sniff. Modest compensation was in the form of a boisterous Yellow Wagtail and a hunting male Marsh Harrier. After an hour, I drifted down to Coldharbour, Tufted Ducks were on the Wantsum and Cuckoos were very active. Coldharbour contained a pair of Gadwall, 3 Redshank, a few Meadow Pipit and roosting Black Headed Gulls. A passing House Martin was pleasing on the eye as these once common birds become increasingly scarce.
A brief seawatch produced 9 Common Scoter, 3 Gannets, a pair of Mallard and an array of Gulls.
The Farmer had been spraying the Wheat, presumably insecticide, and on my return he was working the Quail's field so no point stopping. So, a dash to Grove Ferry was in order.
Hirrundines were very active with Sand Martins, Swallows and Swifts darting above the reeds. A single female Marsh Harrier quartered the Feast Hide area with a couple of Hobbies as a supporting cast.
Other than an unseasonal Wigeon there was little to raise the spirit. With time moving on I moved on to Oare Marshes.
A pleasant circular walk produced thirty five species including another Wigeon but no Lesser Whitethroat which I had been after. It was noticeable that none of the Avocets were attending young additions, I hope there has been no predation on these elegant waders.
En route home I popped into Clowes Woods for a brief march to the pond and back in the hope of a Crossbill flock passing overhead. Disappointment here was offset by a party of four Marsh Tits working through the trees and I am always struck by the beauty of a Goldcrest which occupied the bushes around the pond. I finally crashed with three additions to my Kent annual list.