It's interesting in some ways, to see Sheppey a bird watching, or should I say twitching, hotspot at the moment .One or two of us that bird watch the area on a regular basis know how good it can be most winters but few other people visit until a rare bird lures them in. This winter we have the Shorelark on Minster beach and the Richards Pipit on my patch, The Swale NNR. Both had been known to us for a little while before others found them and immediately broadcast the fact to the world in general.
The Richards Pipit, or at least, a Richards Pipit, was in the same place along the sea wall last winter and you never know, could of been there all summer as well.
As is my habit, I tend to be out there just after dawn and therefore miss a lot of the people that daily trudge the sea wall looking for the pipit. However of those I've seen or spoken too, it's clear that they tend to be of two types - the in, tick and out types and those that can be bothered to look at what else the site has to offer. The latter are often amazed at what they see, a Hooded Crow, White-fronted Geese, S.E.Owl's, male Hen Harriers, even a Twite or two and yet they'd of missed all of that if someone hadn't found a Richards Pipit for them.
Couple such excitement with a trip to Minster Beach, just a few miles away and they will of had a twitching good day. The Shorelark is along a shingle bank sea defence just a mile or so from my house and as I write this I can see from my window, people with scopes looking for it. I have walked over there a couple of times and had a look at a bird that is far more delightful to look at than the rather plain and non-descript Richards Pipit. The Shorelark is a very easy bird to get within a few yards of as well as it scurries about looking for food among the stones and the weeds but then I guess that where it comes from it doesn't normally have humans with cameras and scopes encircling it on a daily basis and therefore hasn't learnt fear. Generally, what I've seen there, most people have been content and delighted, to get within just five or six yards of the bird but there has also been the odd one that has to get that extra yard closer. That disturbs the bird up to fly further along the beach and off everybody then scurries to sometimes disturb it on again.
Roll on the Spring!