Trip reports

Oare Marsh - 19 September 2015

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Oare Marsh - 19 September 2015

Weather - Sunny with a cool breeze from the east.

Ten members assembled in the puddle strewn car park at Oare and it was nice to have some new faces among us. The tide was low and the mud by the slipway was almost bird free with just common and lack- headed gulls dotted here and there.
Turning inland we stopped to look to the right of the road where we found a few Mallard and Tufted Ducks, Mute Swan, a distant Marsh Harrier, female reed bunting, sand martins and swallows. Further along and to the left we found the water level higher certainly than I am used to seeing it. A small muddy island was heaving with starlings, a few lapwing and teal, and a couple of active ruff. Most of the birds visible were silhouetted in the bright sunlight so we had to move further to see the colours of the many golden plover high and dry near the road, and to check the plain coffee coloured backs of the black-tailed godwits standing "knee-deep" further out. With a quick look at a single dingy looking ringed plover we moved further still and in the fields to the west I spotted a small bird on brambles that I initially identified as a pale Wheatear. When it turned to show its patterned back and white supercillium the bird suddenly became a Whinchat! Encouraged by this sighting we went through the gate towards the West Flood Hide and were treated to a veritable chorus of squeals from at least two water rails hidden among reed filled ditches. This hide produced only clouded-yellow butterfly and a distant marsh harrier perched on a bush so we retraced our steps, noting a rook that was having trouble balancing on a telephone wire.
At the East Flood Hide the high water meant that most of the birds were quite distant but an eagled-eyed lady came up trumps with a yellow wagtail that was only obvious, even through a scope because of its brilliant yellow colour - unmistakeable. As we reached Faversham Creek a very grey pied wagtail (that had me wondering) was perched on the railings of the sluice. When an adult bird appeared, and fed it, I stopped wondering! Redshanks and godwits fed along the creek but back in the fresh-water pool a less common wader gave us good views as it fed. It was a green sandpiper, bobbing slightly as it walked to and fro, but it was paler on the back than I expect them to be. Bearded tits were heard rather than seen as we followed the sea wall and we reached the hide overlooking the Swale in time to view avocets, dunlin, great crested grebe and oystercatcher while enjoying a snack. Little of interest appeared as we walked by the Swale but at the very end of the path, back near the slipway, two turnstones were spotted on the weed covered rocks below us. Beautifully camouflaged they could so easily have been missed. I have missed out a few birds (Heron, House Sparrow etc.) but I think I have given a flavour of what for me was an excellent four hours birding in good company on a perfect early autumn/late summer day.
After we had said our farewells, and were driving away, a member of the group who was stopped along the road flagged us down so that we could see the two little stints that he had spotted only six or seven yards beyond the fence. So disappointing that they weren't there earlier for the whole group to admire!
TB