Trip reports

Reserve Visit: Oare Marshes

Reserve Visit: Oare Marshes

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Oare Marshes is a birder's delight, that is, if you don't mind being without basic facilities for 5 1/2 hours. The stalwart band of likeminded folk that included our new Group Leader couldn't wait to get to Oare and what the world of ornithology offered us on this day was sheer delight. Mind you, without the excellent bird identification skills of Neil Greenaway, with contributions from Sedley Underdown. Peter Calladine and David Goddard many of us would have been digging into rucksacks, scrambling for books and missing everything in front of us.

It was Neil that, in amongst the numerous gulls swimming in the first main body of water, or seated on the islands and spits identified Bonaparte's Gull (pictured). Clearly this North American species of gull took a wrong turning somewhere, but decided that Oare Marshes was a jolly good place to rest and relax. I don't know how many birders have seen a Bonaparte's Gull but it truly does take a great deal of skill to identify a gull that has slightly greyer wings, a black spot behind the eye and when seated is smaller that most of the gull species. Neil has that skill in abundance.

Other birds seen were common tern, green woodpecker, buzzard, wren, turnstone, avocet, black tailed godwit, dunlin, little stint, curlew sandpiper, redshank, greenshank, common sandpiper, ringed plover, lapwing. golden plover, cormorant, little egret, heron, crow, magpie, water rail, snipe, wood pigeon, stock dove, marsh harrier, kestrel, mallard, teal, shoveler, shelduck, Canada goose, little grebe, mute swan, coot, moorhen, house sparrow, starling, linnet, goldfinch, pied and yellow wagtail, meadow pipit, dunnock, swallow, and five species of gull, the black headed, common, herring, lesser black backed and great black backed.

The weather also played its part and provided us with a mild, sunny day, rain and wind free. Close to a near perfect day, one might say, save for the complete absence of one bird species. Now to some, at the mention of the name it might not raise an eyebrow or even worth a care, but for yours truly I did miss its presence ....... an OYSTERCATCHER.


SMB