It was certainly windy (some gusts exceeded 60mph) so the four of us decided not to walk down to Swale NNR. Instead we headed to Harty Marshes straightaway. We could hardly stand up at the Capel Fleet raptor watch point so soon moved onto the footpath behind Elliot’s Farm, near the medieval church. The first field held nothing of interest, nor did the second from a first glance. But a lovely pair of red-legged partridges could be seen on the edge of the grass. As we were a little more sheltered we stayed a little longer and were rewarded first with a distant marsh harrier and then, from the far side the field we were watching, over a hundred geese suddenly flew up and away from us. Although difficult to get a precise identification, these were most likely part of the flock of 200+ white-fronted geese that had been reported regularly from this site. Brown-backed, relatively short-necked geese unlike the greylag with their relatively pale backs and wings. A refreshing coffee at the Harty Ferry Inn gave us a chance to look over the estuary towards Oare Marshes on the far side.

 

Our short stay at Leysdown shoreside (at low tide) had produced curlew, oystercatcher and a few turnstones. Those returning towards lunchtime also picked up sanderling.

 

I headed to Elmley Nature Reserve noting that the Sheppey bridge crossing had been closed mid-morning. A drive-through produced redshank, little egret, dozens of curlew and five ruff (seen very close to the road and in Spring plumage including some with a white blaze at the top of the bill).

 

So a somewhat truncated field trip but not wholly unproductive.