A thoroughly dismal day on the reseve today: low cloud, drizzle and a nagging northeasterly breeze. But of course, diesel pumps and livestock and other bits & bobs need attention, so we wrapped up warm & ventured out. Not a great day for observing birds of prey - I managed a couple of sightings of marsh harrier, but that was about it. However, there are still impressive numbers of waders around the reserve. I found myself down at Spitend on the rising tide, where 1200 knot & 2000 dunlin clustered on the shrinking area of mud. Also here were smaller numbers of grey plover, redshank, curlew, black-tailed godwit, turnstone & avocet. Off-shore, a pair of red-breasted merganser dived. On the Flood there were 1150 golden plover & 2500 lapwing, with another 6-700 golden plover & 1500 lapwing in fields to the east. The brent goose flock was just north-west of the Wellmarsh benches this afternoon and still contains at least 2 pale-bellied birds. There was a very distant small group of white-fronts, but I couldn't see any sign of a larger group. All of the dodgy barnacle & emperor geese were in the same area as the brents today, so my suspicion that some of the barnies might be "proper" as they were with the white-fronts/brents, looks likely to not be the case. Ah well.
I was off-site pretty much all day today, so I didn't see anything myself, although it's possible that it or another appeared today.
Having said that, your description that it "flashed past" doesn't sound all that much like a kite - they're not the zippiest birds of prey.
Hi Gordon, Did I spot that Red Kite today tween Beefsteak and Kingshill, it just flashed past me outta nowhere, it was around 2.45.