Went back out onto the Hoo Peninsula again today, this time with Lisa. If you need a toilet stop when you are in between Cliffe and say Northward Hill then the public toilets, separate men and women's, at Cooling are worth knowing about. Situated just past the church on a relatively little used road and very clean. Stopped off at the lookout at Bromhey Farm again and managed to get distant views of a couple of marsh harriers and a couple of buzzards one of which might have been a rough-legged but Lisa was getting cold so we headed back to the car before I could get decent views. Don’t forget there’s a toilet at Bromhey Farm another good clean example although only a single loo for all visitors to share. I then drove to Grain to try and get some photos of the shorelark in the wonderful winter sunshine. On the way driving through High Halstow there is another toilet opportunity with public loos available although I don’t know what these ones are like. Shortly after starting to wander along the seafront at Grain a canary flew past us making a sound not unlike a snow bunting but it was a canary. On approaching the beach we noticed a couple with their dogs were wandering along it, bugger! It would have been the perfect photo opportunity with the sun behind me but unfortunately the bird wasn’t there. Lisa and I then went for along wander around the Grain area, down west lane to see if the Bewick’s Swans were visible but we couldn’t see them, but a nice flock of 102 lapwings. On returning to the car I decided to give the shorelark another try and drove to the power station perimeter gate, parked up and jumped out for a quick look at the beach on the rising tide. Bumped into Alan and Brenda Fossey who had not seen the lark either and then Jerry Warne turned up as well. I think it has been a while since so many birders had been in one place at Grain, As the lark was not being seen I decided to call it a day but received a message later to say that the shorelark was still there presumably appearing on the beach with the rising tide (odd), I wonder if it turned up with any turnstones?
There are also public toilets at Grain but I've never been brave enough to go near them.
Going back to the two rough-legged buzzards I saw on the 10th, although both birds were very distant, one I certainly thought was a juvenile with pale head, light bases to the primaries and what appeared to be buff washed coverts with the obvious white based tail and broad dark trailing edge.
And finally… Airports
As per the comment on my 10th Jan post (thank you), yes certainly the Hoo Peninsula and especially Grain could have a very final episode within my lifetime. It’s hard to believe that twice now the general area has come under threat with the very dubious honour of hosting a new UK airport. On one of my weekday visits to Grain last year I happened to be interviewed by a journalist for one of the local radio stations who was trying to get views from locals. I was watching the journalist for a while as anyone with a microphone trying to drum up comments from folks sitting enjoying the views into the estuary is a bit different from the norm. What I found odd was that the locals she attempted to talk too were not willing to comment and therefore I was itching for her to approach me. I stood in the same spot and probably out of desperation to get some comment from someone I had my chance. She asked me what was special about the area and what did I think about the proposal to build a Thames airport. I managed to provide what I considered to be a reasonable answer and only managed to mention Boris Johnson once where I said that ‘I thought he was the Mayor of London and didn’t realise the London boundary extended this far i.e. Grain. I suggested that he concentrated on keeping Londoners happy and left the people of Kent alone’. No doubt further posts on this subject will appear in due course.