Sunday, 9 June 2013

A productive afternoon in Kent

It had been ages since I'd been out of London, and after checking that the female Long-tailed Duck was present on Canada Water (which it was), Karen and I headed out for the afternoon. Fortunately, just as we'd set off into Kent, there was news that a Black Kite seen yesterday was present again. To be honest, I'd pretty much forgotten yesterday's sighting, so it was a real bonus that after a short wait, the bird performed over a picturesque valley near Selling (southeast of Faversham). Excellent views, though the light was poor.

This was only my fifth Black Kite in Britain - following birds on Shetland in June 1997, Hampshire in September 1999, Cheshire in May 2005 and (the Black-eared Kite) in Lincolnshire in November 2006. Admittedly they're dross abroad, but still nice to see. The Yellowhammers and Skylarks singing across the rolling landscape, were also good to see/hear for someone like me stuck in London.

Nearby, after a quick stop in the pleasant town of Faversham, we headed to Oare where Mick S was papping some low flying swifts. I quickly located the 1st-summer Bonaparte's Gull as it roosted on an island on East Scrape. It was distant and inactive, but easily picked up nonetheless, amongst a load of Black-headed Gulls. A 2nd-summer Mediterranean Gull dropped in too, and a scruffy drake Garganey was also present. It must be a good few years since I'd been to Oare, and nice to see it hadn't changed much though the water levels seemed quite high.

Anyway, times have indeed changed as back in the day, I'd have been all over a Bee-eater within an hour or so of me. But today, I'd had enough of this twitching lark and headed back to London, where sure enough another check of the patch revealed nothing new though the Long-tailed Duck was still about this evening.

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