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Saturday, 5 August 2017

North Kent, 4th August 2017

I picked Bob, visiting from the States, up from London in the early hours and we headed to our first site, the Ashdown Forest. None of the heathland specialists I was hoping to show Bob were on offer within easy reach of the car park but he was delighted to be able to spend time watching some characterful common birds such as Bullfinch, Treecreeper, Nuthatch and Goldcrest. The highlight for me was a family group of Lesser Redpolls. Next up was Oare Marshes, the natural choice for introducing a non-Brit to easy birding within reach of the city. We enjoyed fantastic views of the usual common waders, including several Golden Plovers and Ruff, while two Spotted Redshanks were tucked among the hordes of Black-tailed Godwits. A couple of Yellow Wagtails flicked around the margins and Bearded Reedlings called unseen from the island in front of the hide. Keeping an eye on the Black-headed Gulls eventually paid off with the resident adult Bonaparte's Gull loafing on the main spit, not to mention the scattering of Mediterranean Gulls.

We just about had time to whizz around a couple of sites on the Isle of Sheppey before getting Bob back to town. We drove up and down the entrance track at Elmley, using the car as a hide to photograph Yellow Wagtails, Marsh Harriers and Buzzards. Bob was still hoping to tick off Oystercatcher and Red-legged Partridge and a drive to Harty Ferry sorted that out.

we eventually picked out the adult Bonaparte's Gull on the East Flood at Oare
several Yellow Wagtails showed well along the entrance track at Elmley