KOS support Raptor viewpoint on Sheppey
The RSPB, KOS and Medway & Swale Estuary Partnership have launched the South East's most exciting bird of prey viewpoint to the public.
Fleet viewpoint on Sheppey was officially opened on 25th November, with
accompanying TV, Radio and press coverage.
largest Marsh Harrier population in the UK now breeds on the island and
the viewpoint can almost guarantee views of these birds, and an opportunity
to scan for Hen Harrier, Merlin, Short-eared Owl and a range of other
raptors, particularly during the winter months.
November, a Rough-legged Buzzard was seen and in the summer, the viewpoint
is a good location to see Hobby.
The site has always been popular with local bird watchers and the Kent Ornithological Society contributed towards funding for the project. The RSPB is also very grateful for the support of farmer Stephen Atwood, who owns the land where the viewpoint has been built, and Medway and Swale Estuary Partnership were vital in securing European funding to enable the RSPB to carry out the work.
RSPB Capel Fleet bird of prey viewpoint is the elevated mound two miles
down the minor road from the B2231 (east of Eastchurch) towards the Harty
Ferry Inn. The car park is open at all times. During winter, the
viewpoint at dusk provides the spectacle of Marsh and Hen Harriers as
they gather for a large communal roost, just remember to wear your
A visit to Capel Fleet can be easily combined with a visit to the RSPB reserve at Elmley Marshes on Sheppey, where there are toilet facilities, long walks and observation hides. The RSPB took over the management of Elmley Marshes in 1974 and is part of the 3,000-acre National Nature Reserve, managed by the Elmley Conservation Trust. A visit to Elmley involves a safari like car journey across this expansive landscape and during the winter, thousands of ducks, geese and swans can be seen. For more information on this and Capel Fleet viewpoint, contact the RSPB North Kent Marshes team on 01634 222480 or 01634 222489.
Marsh Harrier conservation
Drainage of wetland and persecution reduced the number and range of the Marsh Harrier in the past and there was only one British nest in 1971. The RSPB has restored wetland habitat for Marsh Harriers, not only on the North Kent Marshes, but in East Anglia and parts of the North West and West Country.
This conservation effort has greatly contributed to the recovery of this species and up to 200 pairs now nest in Britain. The area surrounding Capel Fleet has benefited from the Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) Scheme, which offers incentives for farmers to improve their land wildlife. A new scheme has been launched in 2005 to build on the success of ESA and countryside stewardship, details can be found at www.defra.gov.uk
Birds of prey and the law
All birds of prey have been protected since 1954 (except for the Sparrowhawk which received protection in 1961). Despite this protection, birds of prey continue to be the target of systematic criminal activity. If you suspect any such activity, the RSPB’s investigations department can be contacted on 01767 680551.
RSPB North Kent Marshes
Some 300,000 waterbirds use this area each year, an international airport for birds moving between places as far afield as South Africa and the Arctic. Reflecting this, the RSPB has, over recent years, assembled here one of their largest chains of reserves anywhere in the UK.