Todays highlight was one of those "right time, right place" moments - a late afternoon turn around the reserve and suddenly a harrier appeared over the counterwall. There has been a ring-tail hen harrier around until last Sunday at least, and at first I thought that this bird was it. But as it headed across in front of me heading north, one or two things didn't look quite right. It was clearly not bulky or broad-winged enough for a female hen and the almost white lower underparts, with rusty streaks indicated that this was an immature male Montagu's harrier. The whole sighting was over in under a minute, as it flipped to the other side of the Windmill Creek dam. One of our rarest breeding birds, migrants pass through the UK in spring en route north from their African wintering grounds. They are almost annual at Elmley, but most records are of late summer or autumn migrants.
The 3 spoonbills remain, although have tended to favour flooded fields east of the Flood over the past couple of days. There were also still 5 wood sandpipers, although they were quite mobile. Other waders included 18 whimbrel, 2 greenshank & single spotted redshank and common sandpiper. Garganey was reported this morning and a cuckoo was again around Kingshill Farm.