Today’s Field Trip started and finished with good birds around Car Parks, Shore Larks to begin with and a Short-eared Owl to finish. The weather was perfect for birding with some good light on Sheppey.

Our October KOS Field Outing was on the last day of the month and we spent the day on The Isle of Sheppey. A wet start found us working our way up the Elmley NR entrance track and then onto the hides. The Wellmarsh Hide was nicely sheltered from the elements and being high tide there was plenty of toing and froing especially dabbling duck suck as Pintail, Shoveler, Gadwall and Wigeon and waders like Redshank, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwits, Turnstone, Grey Plover and at least 30 Common Snipe. The latter species huddled together sheltering from the adverse weather. A brief sortie to the Counterwall Hide found it to be in the full force of the weather and unable to even open the flaps. Not so the Southfleet Hide this was again nicely sheltered and good numbers of duck could be studied and discussed at close range.

A field outing to Dungeness in September always produces something and our Sunday 19th trip was no exception. We recorded 77 Species, a list that was augmented by our afternoon Seawatch where we had 9 Arctic Skuas including birds that were harassing Sandwich Terns right in front of us. A breeding plumaged Red-throated Diver that sat on the sea was admired by all, a few Brent Geese, Common Guillemot, Common Tern and Common Scoter. A flock of around 40 Kittiwake also rested on the sea and among them were several Mediterranean Gulls.

I led today’s Kent Ornithological Society Field Outing to Dungeness, 21st August, and we had a great day out. Once again we had seasoned regulars with two newbies, experiencing a day that 84 species were recorded.

Nowadays we are getting used to running KOS Field Outings in extreme weather conditions and Sunday’s 18th July 2021 was no exception, with it being the hottest day of the year so far with very little shade for much of the day and virtually no breeze. Also by mid July there is little bird song to assist the location of passerines, but with that said we still clocked up 80 Species at Cliffe Pools and Northward Hill.

We started off this month’s field excursions just outside the county at Broadwater Warren NR which is a stones throw from Tunbridge Wells where we had an evening walk. On both occasions we had a mixture of seasoned birders and new KOS members and we all gelled nicely. A Garden Warbler sang near the car park and we marvelled at the numbers of singing Willow Warblers. As we strolled around the heathland a WW2 Spitfire flew over our head and we were surprised to hear a Nightjar churring at 6:30pm but alas we couldn’t locate him. We would have to wait another three hours before getting views and then they would be very different ones throughout the group, although we had at least four singing males heard.

We are back with our Outdoor Meetings and had a busy weekend 21st – 23rd April 2021 with 100 species recorded in challenging conditions that included three species Bittern, Willow Warbler and Cuckoo on our pre-meeting walk at Westbere.This was probably one of the most challenging weekends since my tenure as the leader as bitterly cold North-easterly winds prevailed throughout both days, becoming even stronger as the day wore on yesterday at Dungeness. It made communication difficult and every loose item had to be held onto. On a plus side it was dry the entire time.

Our outdoor meetings took place on 25th and 30th October and we visited Sheppey and Dungeness. Our new groups of ten worked out perfectly with Lyn leading one group and Myself the other.

On both outings the weather was not kind to us but we battled through. We started at Shellness where we got the tide perfect seeing a smart drake Common Eider in moult and an unexpected Purple Sandpiper found by Lys Muirhead. A host of commoner waders were seen close by including Knot, Sanderling and Bar-tailed Godwit. A flock of four House Martins were also seen.

Our recent September 2020 Field Meetings were a success being our first since the new booking rule.

We had a great turn out for our first Outdoor meeting post lockdown on Sunday 30th August 2020 and due to the weather conditions, a breezy wind East of North I decided to start at Shellness seawatching. Many other people had the same idea and so we socially distanced to the others but close enough to hear some of the shouts.Seawatching is tough birding as you have only a couple of minutes to get onto the bird usually before it disappears out of sight. One of the advantages of Shellness is that the seabirds get lost and so can come past on multiple occasions as they get their bearings adjusted. A problem though is the sound of the wind and with hoods up it can be difficult to hear the cries and instructions. A good spotting scope is essential.

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