I was up and out of the house this morning at 4.30am where after a few minutes I was listening to the Nightingale in the darkness, always a nice start to the day. I then had a brief drive around the area soon noting 1 Little Owl, 2 Red legged Partridge, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Blackcap, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Whitethroat and 2 Chiffchaff. I then called in to a site inland at Reculver and with the sun just rising I hoped that the Barn Owl would show for me. Predictably the conditions were good but the Owl failed to show but I did see 14 Tufted Duck, 2 Greylag Geese, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Great crested Grebe, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Shoveler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 1 Whitethroat. As I left the sunrise looked fantastic causing the camera to capture the moment.
Sunrise at Reculver
I then parked up at Reculver where I then walked down to Coldharbour and inland to Chambers Wall before walking back along the embankment and seawall. Most of the session was in brilliant sunshine but as the morning went on the clouds started to build and the wind got up. A good list of species were seen including 22 Whitethroat, c70 Sand Martin were at the colony and I noticed that the sun was catching the cliffs so I spent a while watching them and managed a few shots in the sun.
Moving on I noted 1 Fulmar west, then back east, 1 Curlew, 56 Swallow, 1 Little Owl, 1 Green Woodpecker, 13 Turnstone, 3 Ringed Plover, 8 Oystercatcher, 5 Meadow Pipit, 13 Reed Bunting, 1 Green Sandpiper flew high west at sea calling, 1 Chiffchaff, 13 Sedge Warbler, 3 Shelduck, 4 Redshank, 2 Little Egret, 1 Greenshank, 1 Cuckoo, 14 House Martin west, 2 Reed Warbler and a Swallow posed nicely for a few shots in the sun.
There were 2 Common Tern, 2 Sandwich Tern, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Jay west, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler, 3 Corn Bunting, 1 Marsh Harrier, 4 Skylark and as I sat at the towers in the sun 1 Mediterranean Gull flew west. With an hour to spare I thought I would drive over to Shuart to see if any butterflies were on the wing. On arrival 1 Ring necked Parakeet was heard as was 1 Blackcap and 1 Garden Warbler. The undoubted highlight of the session was when just above the tree line 2 of 3 Red Kites seen today suddenly appeared and steadily flew off west, landing at one point in a field with 2 Mute Swans, a bizarre sighting. They eventually moved off low west and I thought I would stand in an area overlooking where the Kites had come from in case other raptors were on the move. This proved to be a good move as a few minutes later I saw another Red Kite flying low over the fields, landing occasionally to walk about before continuing on towards me. With the other 2 passing over nearby earlier I stood in the same area and after a few minutes this stunning raptor was just above me passing over. It was slightly flying into the sun but I rattled off a number of shots with the best of them below, if only the sun was behind me and the sky was blue on this occasion.
Nonetheless, a brilliant spectacle at close range and the Kite drifted off west just as the others had. Whilst scanning I also noted 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Kestrel and 2 Common Buzzard ended a nice session. A rest day tomorrow but hopefully I will be able to get out Monday morning for a few hours birding.