Oare Marshes 2016

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168 species have been recorded in the area so far this year 

A list of the species recorded so far this year can be seen here OM-2016-species-list
For a list of all the species ever recorded in the area see the Oare Marshes Species List
To help keep this page as up-to-date and informative as possible, please send your sightings and any pictures taken onsite  to 

(Geoff Burton)

December 12

0800-1030  Initially a still and icy dawn and an impressive sunrise. Cetti`s was a low key greeting; a Water Rail squealed and Fieldfares and Redwings lifted off from low level roosts. There appeared to have been a serious influx of Blackbirds with groups of 5-6 common around the perimeter of the E flood—-by the time I had walked the circuit and visited the W hide up to 60 was not an overstatement. Tide was rising, and the mouth of the creek was awash with hundreds of Lapwings; c 110 Avocets with the  Black-tailed Godwits leaving the shoreline for the E flood roost. c 22 Pintail and predominately Teal were on the flood. Seals were numerous, with c 60 on the last of Horse Sands prior to immersion, and also in the creek and Swale shallows where at least another 15 were counted. A cock Stonechat was thumping a large furry caterpillar senseless, allowing close views. A male Marsh Harrier was persistent round the marsh, and 3 Bearded Tits were mobile as the sun came up and the frost thawed. Significant numbers of Shelduck lined Sheppey banks and c 1500 Wigeon went whistling westward from Mocketts. Just 4 Gadwall were in front of the W hide, from where distantly, corvids on Sheppey slopes failed to give up yesterday`s reported Hooded Crow. Mike R

December 7

0800-1030  A southerly breeze and near full cloud and occasional bright sun. The tide dropping as I walked west. Coots and Tufted Ducks on the W dyke with Wigeon leaving Mocketts in big  numbers—2000 plus and perhaps just too late for the sky-fulls of last week. Nice to hear Skylarks acknowledging the sun`s warmth and Stock Doves active around the sheep enclosures. The Great Northern Diver was typically spending long periods immersed close to the Uplees buoy. On one occasion, there was a lengthy onward rush with much splay- winged splashing before snorkelling—-etablissement piscicole pour gavia came to mind ! A well marked ring-tail Hen Harrier quartered the Sheppey foreshore and three Buzzards disputed flight paths—-a further two flew through later—all westward. Marsh Harriers were active around the Mocketts arena,  and a Little Grebe was mid-channel unaware the dykes had thawed! At Uplees copse 6 Fieldfares continue berry stripping the hawthorns, and Goldfinches, Linnets and Greenfinches worked the teasels and saltmarsh jetsam. A male Stonechat was near gawdy against a grey backcloth and two Kestrels gyrated and touched talons—–all of a sudden, a couple of hours anyway, a tad like Spring but  with remission awaited—-well, bulbs are emergent and there`s flora to find !  Mike R


November 24

0745-1045—–9deg in a strong NE wind with the tide filling. The seawall hide was a degree of respite, with birds being blown in all directions. Very evident that Great Black-backed Gulls were more numerous than of late; waders were seeking the sheltered Sheppey banks and roosting high ground was now limited on the E flood after the recent rains. 2 Great Crested Grebes and a duck Common Scoter were in front of the hide and 3 smart drake Velvet Scoters flew close, westward. Hoped for skuas didn`t materialise, unlike further east of Whitstable. The flocks of Brent Geese were widely dispersed across the Swale, whilst the E flood hosted mainly Teal (circa 400) and Shoveler (80+)
6 Fieldfares and 4 Redwings again disputed hawthorn berries and a Cetti`s Warbler sang close, behind the W flood. Black-tailed Godwit `witterings` carried some distance in the wind, and amongst the close to the road flock, I was pleased to find the Long–billed Dowitcher—albeit with only a brief bill view , less restless than the Godwits and prone to lengthy periods of inactivity. Just off Oare marshes radar, the OGW was sheltered and a 20 min circuit produced a male Sparrowhawk with passerine prey; Kingfisher in the main leat with Grey Wagtail; 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a small party of Long-tailed Tits.
Mike Roser


November 21

0800-1100 ebb tide; 11 deg; cloud 8/8

A circuit of the E flood in very overcast conditions. A tight flock of c.400 Dunlin alighted near the ramp.The car-park Cetti`s called and Water Rails squealed.There were 94 Avocets and c 600 Lapwings at the mouth of the creek.c.700 Golden Plover were on Sheppey Banks and seals were hauling out on Horse Sands (17+and counting) A Sparrowhawk was in low level attack mode through reed-bed cover; 2 Jays and a Green Woodpecker were in Little Owl territory (but no Little Owl! ) A further 2 Cettis were widely separated.

A cock Stonechat had `everyday` plumage, and 12 Fieldfares, 2 Redwings, and 2 Song Thrushes disputed the berry larder in one small bush. Heavy rain ! But sheltering in the W hide gave compensation in the form of a hunting Fox, disturbing a Grey Heron and Mallards. The performance included` trampolining `as it stalked and caught unknown aquatics in the reed margins.The flood had significantly increased in area and depth, with little wader activity. Teal remain the prominent duck sp.—c. 280; with Shoveler; Mallard, 18 Pintail, and 6 Wigeon in support.
Mike Roser

Oare Marshes Latest Sightings – November 2016

18.11.2016 0730—1200

Eye-watering in a chill 3deg SW at low tide. Walked W with a male Marsh Harrier quartering the dykes; Cetti`s singing mid-marsh (three on the circuit) and five Tufted Duck and 2 Little Grebes in the main dyke. Goldfinches worked both saltings and Teasel heads. Wigeon lined Sheppey shoreline in impressive numbers stretching W—an estimate of 3500 after several counts was not excessive. 29 Great Crested Grebes were in the Swale and South Deep channel and two pairs of Stonechats were either side of Uplees copse. A Green Sandpiper was mobile along a marshland ditch and seaside Green Woodpeckers undulated off the seawall. 16 Pintail were with Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon on the E flood. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was at the rear of E flood and a ringtail Hen Harrier disturbed the Lapwings as it ranged along the seawall main dyke.

Three duck Common Scoters were mussel diving off the point; a drake Red-breasted Merganser flew E and c 100 Avocets swept the creek banks. 33 seals were hauled up on Horse Sands where several hundred Golden Plover were roosting. A further pair of Stonechats were on the E flood plus 11 more Great Crested Grebes around the creek mouth. A Kingfisher and Peregrine were also reported.
Mike Rosen

Oare Marshes Latest Sightings – October 2016

 

October 18th

(11:00-14:30) I went with a group of friends to Oare Marshes today –  it was dry but very windy. This is a list of the birds we saw:- Cormorant, Little Egret, Shelduck,Shoveler, Mallard, Gadwall, Teal, Pintail, Kestrel, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Little Stint, Long-billed Dowitcher, Ruff, Black tailed Godwits, Curlew, Whimbrel, Redshank, Great black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Sonechat, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch. The highlight was the juv Long-billed Dowitcher.
(Nick Baelz)

October 17th

(07:45-11:15) Cool S/SE air and a lovely Autumn morning; clouding up and hint of rain. Walked west; a Whimbrel on the saltmarsh with Curlews was possibly the one on the creek saltings on the 12th. C.80 Stock Doves were in a tight flock to the rear of W flood, and 2 Green Woodpeckers flew through. Male and female Stonechats were at Dan’s Dock and there was a mix of wader species along Uplees shoreline – Bar-tailed Godwits; c.100 Black-tailed Godwits; Grey Plovers and Oystercatchers. A Raven flew from Sheppey across the Swale, calling, and 10 mins later returned to Sheppey. 3 Little Stints were on the E flood with the usual duck species including a smart male Pintail; and 3 Ruff. 2 Cetti’s Warbler called loudly and Water Rails announced their presence. Behind the W flood, I caught up with an elusive young male Ring Ouzel, with silvery wings, in the hawthorns. It flew further into the shrubbery showing a somewhat low-key crescent on the breast. Another Ring Ouzel was later reported from Uplees copse. There were c.20 seals on Horse Sands and c.40 Little Egrets viewed fom the Sea Wall hide, round the incoming tidal margins. Bearded Tits were active in the main reedbed and up to 12 were reported. 2 further Stonechats were to the rear of E flood. Just off the Oare Marshes radar, a large juv Sparrowhawk was centre road with its kill; flying forward three times by 20m and finally leaving the Starling remnants on a grass bank.
(Mike Roser)

October 14th

(07:20-12:10) Sunny periods, cool and calm on arrival with a light easterly wind developing. Putting aside thoughts of Siberian Accentor up north, I spent the morning here. Looking across the Swale, I was pleased to see a Great White Egret dwarfing the Little Egrets on Horse Sands. There was also a few Great Crested Grebes on the Swale which have been scarce of late. A quick look at the west main dyke revealed two Tufted Ducks and five Little Grebes including a half-grown chick being fed a small fish by one of the adults. As I walked back up the road, a Grey Wagtail flew across and landed out of sight on the east flood. By the cottages, a Redwing in the scrub was my third year tick of the morning and I also noted two Jays and a flock of 12 Long-tailed Tits. Two very vocal Ravens flew west low over the flood. I walked up to the Uplees copse where there was a Short-eared Owl being harassed by crows over the fields to the south (4th OMYT). Another Grey Wagtail flew over the copse. On the way back, I picked out a Green Sandpiper flying east over the fields behind the scrub. Back at the  east flood, it was nearing high tide; there were three Little Stints (an adult and two juveniles) and c.500 Dunlin but I could not find any Curlew Sandpipers. It was reported that the Long-billed Dowitcher had been seen earlier. At least 6 Stonechats had been seen by the road, at Dan’s Dock and at the copse.
(Geoff Burton)

October 10th

(07:30-11:00) A cool NW breeze and glaring early sun which dimmed my thoughts of looking at the E flood. A Cetti’s Warbler called; Water Rail squealed. BUT I was mighty surprised to see the juvenile Long-billed Dowitcher feeding and wading close-in some 50—80m from the pull-in. On occasion the light emphasized the supercilium to a distinct ‘V’ shape when facially forward, giving a ‘capped’appearance. There was a marked demarcation of colour at centre breast and distinctive spotting on flanks to under-tail. Smaller size was accentuated alongside the Black-tailed Godwits and later, Curlew. Westwards there were 4 Buzzards around Mocketts plus one through the W flood. Skylarks continued W in small parties. A Wheatear moved E along the seawall. There were 2 Clouded Yellows on the W flood and a further one at St Peter’s churchyard on the exit road where 5 Redwings were skittish, diving into canopy; a party of Long–tailed Tits and a Jay plus a tatty Small Copper and numerous darters completed the picture in the warmth of the sun on the sheltered S side.
(Mike Roser)

October 4th

(14:30-16:00) Met up with Terry Paternoster for an hours watch at high tide by the Sea Wall hide. A strong E breeze and somewhat hazy conditions, but circa 600 Brent Geese were at the mouth of the creek and into the Swale with 30+ Shelducks. Small flocks of Teal and 3 Great Crested Grebes were noted. 4 Sandwich Terns were in the near vicinity;  2 Greenshank and c.30 Avocets flew E ; Grey Plovers, Bar-tailed Godwits and Curlew lined Sheppey saltings; 4 Buzzards came in from the E and Marsh Harriers were active over Sheppey. Additionally met up with Dave Perrin who had an interesting record of a flock of  Red-legged Partridges alighting in the sea near Horse Sands and subsequently apparently drowning as they floated away!
(Mike Roser)

October 3rd

(07:30-11:30) Low water. Autumn with a vengeance against a stunning early dawn, with ground mists across the marshes, and the car’s bell at 3C, warning of skid potential! It rapidly warmed within two hours, but provided an early spectacle of c.1800 Wigeon high in ragged lines from the E. 2 Buzzards drifted through Mocketts;  male and female Blackcaps were at ripened blackberries at the copse with 3 Chiffchaffs. A flock of  Meadow Pipits and Goldfinches exceeded 80 birds and Linnets and Reed Buntings added further to the passerine numbers. Skylarks were in sub-song in the gathering warmth, and contact calling as they passed through. A few Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwits were at the shoreline plus 42 Avocets Sheppey–side. Slightly west of FSB there were 30 Great Crested Grebes on the Swale. Back at the W flood the main dyke held 4 Little Grebes; a Cetti’s Warbler was centre marsh and there were c.180 Golden Plover on the E flood, plus 50+ Shoveler. C.20 seals were on Horse Sands and a dozen or so Bearded Tits in the reed beds. A flock of c.180 Grey Plover were Sheppy-side. A bright Clouded Yellow typically perched with folded wings, offering only tantalising views of the upperside yellow-orange and  black borders whilst it nectared on Bristly Oxtongue. 1 Little Stint; 4 Ruff and single Curlew Sandpiper on E flood with the Black-tailed Godwit/Redshank flock. I only saw Marsh Harriers this morning!
(Mike Roser)

October 2nd

(16:30-18:45) This afternoon with Steve Clinch and Dave Perrin:- 12 Gannet, 1 Great White Egret, 1 Osprey (seen by Steve flying towards Whitstable), 1 Common Crane (on the mud on Sheppey found by Chris Gibbard), 13 Curlew Sandpiper (on mud), 14 Arctic Skua, 1 Long-tailed Skua (an adult flying high up the Swale with group of Arctic Skuas then back out), 11 Common Tern,  and 1 Arctic Tern.
(Julian Russell)

October 1st

(13:15-15:00) With the much needed rain easing, it was great to get a Kent tick viewing from the local patch. The Pallid Harrier gave prolonged aerial views between the church and Harty Ferry pub – albeit not as close as the group on Sheppey, sea-side of Harty Church. The bird spent time apparently grounded with prey and a good half hour on its favoured saltings post with a kill, before again taking flight. C.260 Ringed Plovers and c.240 Golden Plover were again on the E flood, and my attention was drawn by colleagues at the slipway to what appeared to be the 17 Spoonbill flock roosting at the eastern end of Castle Coote – distant but on Oare Marshes radar!
(Mike Roser)


Oare Marshes Sightings – September 2016

158 species have been recorded in the area so far this year 

A list of the species recorded so far this year can be seen here OM-2016-species-list
For a list of all the species ever recorded in the area see the Oare Marshes Species List
To help keep this page as up-to-date and informative as possible, please send your sightings and any pictures taken onsite  to Murray Wright by clicking

September 30th

 (07:45-08:30) A scan for the Osprey found it on the usual fence line on Sheppey saltings – in sentinel pose. 5 Bearded Tits in seawall reedbed; 3 Cetti’s Warblers; Peregrine putting up the Lapwings with c.80 Golden Plover plus c.300 Black–tailed Godwits from the parched E ‘flood’. Adjourned for horticultural duties,the elements of which could also do with 36 hours of steady wetting!
(Mike Roser)

September 26th

(07:30-11:30) Cool initially; cloud 7/8 with high tide 09:30‏. Noticeable on run in, were Blackbird numbers coming off the stubble, with a flock of 14 making for the hedgerows. There were 14 Little Egrets at the tideline and 9 Turnstones with a dozen or so Ringed Plovers. A male Marsh Harrier flew through – with 2 female/juvs further along Sheppey saltings. 7 Greenshank and 4 Ruff flew as a group over the E flood – the former calling persistently. 26 Wigeon flew high over Mocketts. Met up with Terry R, with  both of us searching for the elusive Osprey. A Kingfisher was at the sluice, and whilst counting the waders from the seawall hide, TR left to resume scanning the Sheppey shoreline. There were 24 Avocets; c.150 Lapwing; c.350 Black-tailed Godwits; c.20 Ruff; and 3 Curlew Sandpipers. A large flock of  c.80 Ringed Plovers flew in with a min of 12 Little Stints, and a min of 300 Dunlin. Up to 400 Redshank were alongside the godwits. A call from TR sent me back to the seawall to watch the Osprey around its favourite site – a sentinel, then mobile and ‘missing’ but seen again later. Bearded Tits were vocal with two parties of 15 min in the seawall dyke. The Uplees trek was notable only for a Green Sandpiper; secreted Snipe; 3 Little Grebe and a Pochard plus 3 Tufted Duck. 3 Bar-tailed Godwit and c.80 Black-tailed Godwit were on the foreshore plus c.160 Grey Plover on Sheppey-side, many in vestiges of summer plumage. 2 Kestrels and a Chiffchaff was the limit at the copse!
(Mike Roser)

September 12th

A short circuit this morning in spiralling temperatures with the E side reminiscent of the Med, provided for me at 07:15,  unprecedented numbers of c.300 Ringed Plovers, well scattered around the roadside E flood margins with c.30 Little Stints – an exceptional year it seems for the latter species. The  flock of c.250 Golden Plovers were disturbed by a Peregrine. 2 Wheatears were around the site; and worth mentioning the flock of 38 House Sparrows along the road. At the slipway 8 Bar–tailed Godwit were feeding with more Ringed Plovers and Dunlin. An overall total of 350 Ringed Plovers was not an over estimation for the site.
(Mike Roser)

 September 11th

(06:15-10:15) Sunny and warm with a light and variable breeze. A Little Owl called a few times shortly after I arrived. Steve Clinch joined me for an amble around the East Flood. The fairly low high-tide was around 07:15 and waders we noted on the flood included at least 11 juvenile Little Stints, circa 30 Curlew Sandpipers (two adults and the rest juveniles), circa 50 Knot and 8 Bar-tailed Godwits secreted amongst the mass of Black-tailed Godwits and Redshanks, circa 300 Ringed Plovers (easily the best numbers using the flood this autumn for some years) and circa 250 Golden Plovers. Other bits on the flood included a lone Common Tern, the injured duck Pintail still, 23 Canada Geese early on, 7 Grey Herons and 10 Little Egrets. A Grey Wagtail flying south while we were on the slipway was my first here this year. A Wheatear was also around the flood and two more were in the stubble field south of the cottages. In the scrub/paddocks there were several each of Chiffchaff (one singing on and off), Lesser and Common Whitethroats and Blackcaps – but no Turtle Doves this morning.
(Murray Wright)

September 7th

(07:30-09:30) Overcast and humid; becoming very warm. A meander round the E flood. Initially at least 24 Little Egrets and 15 Grey Herons around the margins – small eels were being taken by a couple of the herons. Water Rails squealed; a Green Sandpiper was near the road, plus 2 Snipe and c.6 mobile Little Stints. At the slipway another 8 Little Stints were within a mixed flock of Dunlin and Ringed Plovers, with the Black–tailed Godwits strung out on the tidal mud for 400m to the Sea Wall hide. A flock of Linnets were on the Sea Lavender seeded plants in the saltmarsh and c.30 seals were hauled up on Horse Sands. A Peregrine was on Nagden pylon and Migrant Hawkers were prominent in the dykes. A Kingfisher flew across the flood and Common Whitethroats were ‘black-berrying’.
(Mike Roser)

September 6th

A Purple Sandpiper seen and photographed on the mud today was about the 4th record for the site. The winter plumage adult Bonaparte’s Gull was still present too.

September 5th

(08:00-12:00) Initially 14C; a cloak of mist and fine rain, but perversely it was a pleasant change after the eight weeks of dry, if it did only lay the dust! With the tide low I didn’t expect great things, and much of the exposed E flood was a now hardened surface. 5 Little Stints were feeding in the lea of reeds close to the road plus a Green Sandpiper. 8 Ruff were on the soft margins plus a further 10 in the NE corner. Lapwings were the most numerous wader on the flood, given that the vast flock of Black-tailed Godwits were strung out across the foreshores of the Swale and Faversham creek. Water Rails squealed unseen near the sluice; and pulses of Sand Martins and Swallows flew SE, with 1 House Martin noted. The walk west was wet with only 1 Wheatear, and a brazen Fox eyeing my fruit picking at the copse. Lesser Whitethroats, a Willow Warbler, a Common Whitethroat and Linnets moved around the shrubbery, and hirundine numbers continued throughout the period. Little Stints at the E flood were now in two feeding parties of 6 and 5 respectively and were joined by a further 3 with the total flock flying away W at 11:30.
(Mike Roser)

Today’s highlights at Oare Marshes – c.400 Ringed Plover (I’ve never seen so many here before), 11 Little Stint, 12 Curlew Sandpipers and 2 Green Sandpipers, 2 Wheatear and a single Turtle Dove behind the cottages.
(Gordon Hay)

There were 10 Turtle Doves along the wires and in the stubble fields west of the cottages today, plus the adult winter Bonaparte’s Gull was showing well still.
(Philip Goacher)

September 4th

(06:00-10:45) A sunny start but cloud soon building on a strong WSW breeze. A relatively quiet low-tide visit. On the East Flood there were up to 15 juvenile Little Stints, 11 Curlew Sandpipers (one adult and ten juveniles), 1 juvenile Little Ringed Plover, 1 Spotted Redshank, 2 Greenshanks, the juvenile Garganey and the injured duck Pintail still. A Hobby flew over the flood. 4 Turtle Doves were over the scrub/paddocks, plus several Lesser and Common Whitethroats still. A male Great Spotted Woodpecker was on a telephone pole in front of the cottages and a calling Chiffchaff was in the trees opposite. A Stonechat was in brambles by the disabled parking bay.
(Murray Wright)

September 3rd

(15:00-17:45) Cloudy, with a moderate SW wind and the expectation of rain. It was high tide when I arrived. I met John Tilbrook and Mike Cotterell who had counted 22 Curlew Sandpipers and nine Little Stints and had also seen a Swift, two Stonechats and a Whinchat. The juvenile Shelduck and female Pintail were again on the flood and also present was the juvenile Garganey. There was a flock of 200 Ringed Plovers that soon dispersed when the tide receded. At a rough estimate, there were 1,000 Black-tailed Godwits. Two Great Black-backed Gulls, an adult and a juvenile, were on the flood and a Common Tern was fishing from the slipway poles. Up at the cottages, there six Turtle Doves, adults and juveniles, five on the wires across the fields at the back and one on a telegraph pole opposite the cottages. It rained briefly!
(Geoff Burton)

September 2nd

(06:40-12:20) A sunny morning with a moderate SW wind and feeling noticeably cooler. The first thing of note was a Spoonbill feeding towards the back of the east flood. Up to the cottages where a Willow Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat were noted and there were two Turtle Doves – an  adult and a juvenile – but no sign of yesterday’s anonymous Wryneck? Ducks on the  east flood included a juvenile Shelduck, two drake Wigeon and the injured female Pintail. Waders included one juvenile Little Ringed Plover, an adult breeding plumage Grey Plover, which dropped into the mass of Black-tailed Godwits, at least seven Little Stints and five Curlew Sandpipers (difficult to count), a Spotted Redshank and a Green Sandpiper. Two Sparrowhawks were seen, an adult Hobby flew west low over the floods and a juvenile Peregrine soared, dive-bombed and chased ineffectively around the flood.
(Geoff Burton)


Oare Marshes Sightings – August 2016

156 species have been recorded in the area so far this year 

A list of the species recorded so far this year can be seen here OM 2016 Species List
For a list of all the species ever recorded in the area see the Oare Marshes Species List
To help keep this page as up-to-date and informative as possible, please send your sightings and any pictures taken onsite  to Murray Wright by clicking

August 29th

(09:00-18:00) Hot, sunny. High tide c.10.00. East Flood. 2 Wigeon, 1 Pintail, 1 Garganey, 1 Osprey east along the Swale then south at 15:15, circa 55 Avocet, 7 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers, 13 Knot, 30 Little Stint at high tide, 32 Curlew Sandpiper at high tide, 14 Ruff, 3 Snipe, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Whimbrel, 2 winter plumage Spotted Redshanks, 3 Greenshanks, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Turnstone and 1 Whinchat.
(Jan Wilczur)

August 28th

(06:00-10:30) A sunny start but cloud soon building with a brisk SW wind. When I arrived there was a noisy gathering of 72 Canada Geese on the East Flood, easily the biggest flock I’ve ever seen on the flood – they flew off to the south-east around 06:30 but most had returned again mid-morning. The adult Bonaparte’s Gull, now more or less in winter plumage, was feeding amongst the hundreds of Black-headed Gulls on the flood, plus a dozen or so Little Egrets. Good numbers of Sand Martins were over the flood first thing before drifting off to the south. 2 Green Sandpipers were on the almost dry (New) West Scrape. 2 Whinchats and 2 Stonechats were on brambles west of the pull-in. 2 or 3 Hobbies were hunting over the West ‘Flood’ and occasionally straying over the East Flood. 2 Turtle Doves (an adult and a juvenile) were atop posts in the scrub/paddocks, plus a fly-over Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 juvenile Willow Warbler, 5+ Lesser Whitethroats and several each of Whitethroat and Blackcap. A Wheatear was in the tilled field south of the cottages. While checking the bushes I somehow managed to miss a flock of up to 200 Black Terns reported circling high over the Swale at around 08:00! The rest of the session was spent going through the waders gathering on the flood at high tide (circa 09:15). It was very busy with birds and amongst them I noted 16 Little Stints (two adults and fourteen juvs), 18 Curlew Sandpipers (three adults and fifteen juvs), 5 Little Ringed Plovers (together in the north-east corner), up to 300 Ringed Plovers, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank and 1 Greenshank, plus circa 50 Knot in amongst the numerous Black-tailed Godwits and Redshanks. A group of 8 Turnstones headed south-west, and a single Whimbrel dropped in briefly before flying off. A single Common Tern was roosting on the flood with a second on the posts along the slipway. 2 Common Buzzards were over Mocketts. Still plenty of Reed and Sedge Warblers around and several Yellow Wagtails were feeding around the flood.
(Murray Wright)

August 27th

This morning there were 5 Hobbies west of the road, and a Yellowhammer atop the big bush W side of Oare Creek opposite the Shipwright’ Arms and south of power lines – the first record for the area this year.
(Graeme Backhurst)

August 26th

(07:00-12:30) A light cloud soon broke up and revealed a sunny morning with a light NE wind. There were 18 Little Egrets on the east flood with the duck Pintail on the main island in the NW corner. 12 Little Stints were alone together in front of the east hide, Curlew Sandpipers were scattered about, a single Greenshank was present and a juvenile Little Ringed Plover was in the NE corner of the flood. A flock of 35 Canada Geese came in from the east across the creek and settled on the flood. A Stonechat was along the west side hedge and a Peregrine was on one of the Nagden pylons but little was seen in the scrub and by the cottages. One Green Sandpiper was on the west main dyke but there was nothing on the new west scrape. A trip to the Uplees copse produced two Whinchats  – my first here this year. Back at the east flood the calls of Golden Plovers were dominant and c.500 birds were present.

(17:30-18:30) An en route to Sainsburys visit. I met Trevor Hatton who told me there had been two Sanderlings amongst the Dunlin on the east flood. I managed to pick out one of these – another year tick for me. A Sandwich Tern was perched on one of the slipway poles.
(Geoff Burton)

August 25th

(17:00-19:00) From the roadside pull in, viewing the east flood with water levels low, a small group of us observed, 100+ Ringed Plovers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 30+ Golden Plovers, 500+ Black-tailed Godwits, 18 Little Stints, 11 Curlew Sandpipers, 3 Knot, 9+ Ruff and 120+ Redshanks. The Bonaparte’s Gull was asleep on the shingle island, 3 Sandwich Terns dropped in late on, then joined by 7 Little Terns (3 adults 4 juv) who stayed for the rest of my visit. Two flocks of Whimbrels, 9 and 11 but could have been the same birds circling. A few Reed and Sedge Warblers flew up and down the ditch while a good number of Yellow Wagtails flitted about
(Steve Bray)

August 24th

(06:45-10:45) Like the Camargue on the E flood; with Chris Roome the lone migrant from mid-Kent already ensconced to do ID battle with the wader  and gull hordes. Catch–up time before I retreated W to search and claim my day’s target species – Whinchat!  A Hobby was already gyrating round the W ‘flood’ ensnaring dragonflies in what was already 21C. Greenshanks were to the fore; and Green Sandpipers lingered in the evaporating west side pool. 2 Whimbrels were knee deep on the ebbing tide, calling as they flew. Migrant Hawkers and Common/Ruddy Darters were 07:00 sightings and Yellow Wagtails in family parties were along the seawall. A Whinchat at Uplees was my first for the autumn passage, among mixed  flocks of Goldfinches, Linnets and Meadow Pipits. Whitethroats remain amongst the ripening blackberries and seaside Green Woodpeckers were again mobile. Ringed Plover flocking was noticeable with c.50 strung out along the shoreline near the FSB. 8 Canada Geese flew S and the resident copse Corn Bunting was still in the area. Cetti’s Warblers were singing again after an August sojourn, and Terry Laws was the second mid-Kent migrant back at the carpark. Not a day for lingering as the heat really kicked in!
(Mike Roser)

Kath and I just got back from an excellent trip to Oare today, where we added two new year ticks (I believe): first a Wood Sandpiper (on the East Flood) – in addition to 2 Common Sandpipers and 2 Green Sandpipers also on the flood, and, best of all a Wood Warbler in the tree in the paddocks (only the second record for the patch) – another birder got excellent photos of it too. Also present were Little Stints, Curlew Sandpipers and a Bar-tailed Godwit, in addition to the usual swarms of Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Avocets, Golden Plovers, several Ruff and many others.
(Allan Willis)

August 17th

(06:15-12:45) The year list has been stuck on 149 all month (as far as I know). Wood Sandpiper and Whinchat were perhaps most likely to break the spell. There was a light NE wind but the clear skies were perhaps not ideal for migrants. It was low tide when I arrived. Six Canada Geese flew over the sea wall heading east. There were seven Green Sandpipers on the pool on the western side of the road (originally called the new west scrape). A Little Stint was feeding in the SW corner of the east flood and a Common Sandpiper called as it flew across the flood. A Stonechat was on the west side and up at the cottages there was little activity but I noted a Lesser Whitethroat and a Blackcap. Looking across the fields to the east, there were two Turtle Doves on the wires including a juvenile bird. In the hedge beyond the east hide, there was a juvenile Willow Warbler, the juvenile Garganey was on the flood, the female Pintail was present, there were three Pochard and a Tufted Duck flew over. The two Spotted Redshanks were feeding vigorously in deep water as usual, a Curlew Sandpiper flew around with a group of Dunlin, a juvenile Little Ringed Plover circled around over the creek calling madly. In the NE corner, there were four Little Stints but I was not sure whether they included the earlier bird. A walk up to Uplees, with thoughts of Whinchat and Wheatear, produced neither but there was a Corn Bunting and a  Clouded Yellow butterfly and a Grey Plover in full breeding plumage circled overhead before flying off up the Swale.  Back at the east flood with the tide coming in, there were 40 Ringed Plovers but only one Golden, four Bar-tailed Godwits noisily circled over their Black-tailed cousins and then flew off with three Knot in tow. Three Sandwich Terns circled over the flood but moved on. So there was to be no 150th species, but 86 for the day including 23 species of wader.
(Geoff Burton)

August 16th

(07:15-11:15) 16C and initially  a hint of autumn with dew, mist and hazy sun; a brisk N/NW breeze. Evidence of many juvenile birds on the walk west, with Reed Warblers; Sedge Warblers and a family party of Common Whitethroats. Adult and juv Yellow Wagtails were numerous (E and W ); A Whimbrel ‘played’ with a large crab on the foreshore; Golden Plovers flew W and 3 Greenshank were in the roadside W pool with a Green Sandpiper. Stock Doves with a juv Green Woodpecker were at the sheep shelters and both fem and male Marsh Harriers circuited the W ‘ flood’. Clumps of Toadflax and Marsh Mallow appeared to have spread lea-side. Best of the walk W was a Common Redstart at Uplees Copse – dropping to the ground from the wire fence work on several occasions – somewhat subdued plumage suggesting a first year female bird; a noticeable pale eye-ring and undertail a pale peachy flush. Numerous juv Golfinches and Linnets indicated successful breeding. At the E flood where there was now a hundred and one eyes and ears; waders were in good numbers with 2 Little Stints amongst the Ringed Plovers and Dunlin; 2 Ruff, a Knot and a few Bar-tailed Godwit amongst the gathering hordes of Black-tailed Godwits ahead of high tide. The Golden Plover were well camouflaged against the muddy background and Avocets rued the wet early season high water, as opposed to the rapid present evaporation . A Peregrine was on the pylons. A Kingfisher zipped through, and Water Rails were vocal, and a silent Cetti’s Warbler working its way through a bramble bush. Just one Black-tailed Skimmer and numerous Ruddy Darters . Little Ringed Plover was reported by Bob Bland and his group.
(Mike Roser)

August 9th

(09:00-12:00) We arrived at 09:00 to a sunny morning with a brisk NW wind. On the East Flood we noted amongst the numerous Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Redshank and Avocet, the following:- 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Stint, 3 Spotted Redshank, 6 Ruff, 8 Little Egrets and 2 Green Sandpipers. Around the circuit we noted 2 Ringed Plover, 1 Whimbrel, numerous Yellow and Pied Wagtails (incl. juveniles) and over Mocketts 4 Common Buzzard. We departed at noon after a reasonable morning’s birding.
(Barry Woolhouse and Malcolm McVail)

August 8th

Made a short visit for the high tide late afternoon today and saw: 2 Little Stints, 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 1 Spotted Redshank, 3 Ringed Plovers, a few Ruff, 2 Whimbrel and 1 Greenshank in addition to usual Black-tailed Godwits, Avocets, Redshanks, Little Egrets etc. I think there may have been a Rock Pipit near the sluice but it disappeared very quickly.
(Pete Maton)

Little Stint © Pete Maton

Little Stint © Pete Maton

August 7th

(05:30-09:30) Warm and clouding over with a brisk SW breeze. Hide tide was around 03:45 so it was dropping when I arrived and many of the birds had/were already leaving the East Flood roost. However, amongst the waders seen over the next few hours there were 2 fresh juvenile Little Stints (my first of the ‘autumn’), 1 adult Curlew Sandpiper, 3 winter adult Spotted Redshanks, 5 Greenshanks (with another on the West Scrape), 3 Green Sandpipers, circa 15 Ruff, 15 Golden Plovers and 2 Snipe. The moulting adult Bonaparte’s Gull was feeding amongst the Black-headed Gulls first thing, when there were at least 25 Little Egrets gathered, plus the young Garganey still. A Sparrowhawk flew south through the flood putting everything up, a Peregrine was tearing into some prey on the first pylon east of Faversham Creek, and a Common Buzzard was over Mocketts. Lots of Sand Martins were over the reserve early doors, and good numbers of Yellow Wagtails were along the seawall. Nice to catch up with Dick Bailey and Keith Privett this morning too.
(Murray Wright)

Little Stint © Murray Wright

Little Stint © Murray Wright

This Glossy Ibis popped in at about 14:00 until flying off NW at 15:45.
(Neil Randon)

Glossy Ibis © Neil Randon

Glossy Ibis © Neil Randon

August 3rd

(06:30-09:15) Cloudy with a fresh SW wind. It was low tide and, consequently, there were few waders on the east flood. However, there were two Green Sandpipers in the SW corner and a Spotted Redshank was reported from the SE corner. Bird of the day was a superb juvenile Willow Warbler by the road opposite the cottages (an OMYT for me). A quick walk up to Dan’s Dock with a juvenile and immature male Marsh Harrier over the west flood and saltings, a Peregrine over Mockett’s Hill and the Corn Bunting singing from one of the concrete blocks in the field by Dan’s Dock. A phone call alerted me to the need to attend a meeting in Suffolk and so my visit was cut short.
(Geoff Burton)

(09:00-14:00) Westward in warm and windy conditions. 2 Whimbrel, several Curlew, 3 Greenshank feeding together in a muddy runnel, 1 Wheatear just W of the copse and 4-5 Painted Lady, 1 Brown Argus; Black-tailed Skimmers and Ruddy Darters. Further butterflies in the dense mats of clover, Ragwort and sea-of-lavender on the saltmarsh. Golden Samphire prominent. East Flood enticing the waders with Black-tailed Godwits now in impressive multi-dress numbers; black-bellied Dunlin; 3 Curlew Sandpipers; a Spotted Redshank; Common Sandpiper; Green Sandpiper and numerous Golden Plover. The Bonaparte’s Gull was roosting close to the road (thanks Chiddy) and John Shilling reported a flyover Red Kite earlier. Plenty of eyes and ears today so there should be further obs!!
(Mike Roser)

August 2nd

(05:30-10:00) Down at Oare Marshes this morning, and saw 6 Ruddy Shelduck on the far side of Faversham Creek – not sure of the status of this species in the area. Enjoyable morning otherwise, with quite a few Bearded Tits, Yellow Wagtails, Corn Buntings, Linnets and Sedge Warblers  – all fairly unusual on my home patch, so good to see. The Bonaparte’s Gull was behaving well, being close to the road, also 3 Spotted Redshank early morning, and a single Curlew Sandpiper towards high-tide.
(Ray Baker)

August 1st

(12:50-15:25) Cloudy with a light westerly wind. I arrived at high tide. The juvenile Garganey was again on the east flood. Waders on the flood included an increase to 33 Golden Plovers, a Spotted Redshank and two Greenshanks, the resident three Green Sandpipers and, at last for me, the adult Curlew Sandpiper (which I believe was not seen yesterday). The adult Bonaparte’s Gull was asleep in the SE corner of the flood but then flew off towards the creek. Four Swifts were hawking over the flood.
(Geoff Burton)


Oare Marshes Sightings – June 2016

145 species have been recorded in the area so far this year 

A list of the species recorded so far this year can be seen here OM 2016 Species List
For a list of all the species ever recorded in the area see the Oare Marshes Species List
To help keep this page as up-to-date and informative as possible, please send your sightings and any pictures taken onsite  to Murray Wright by clicking

June 28th

(06:10-09:15) Sunny and calm and high tide. The first surprise was that some work has been done to repair the road surface. Good, but the Harty Ferry end not yet done as, apparently, it was still under water when they came to do it. Talking of under water, the east flood remains at a very high level which does not bode well for autumn waders. We need a long hot dry spell or some action from KWT? There were two broods of 6 and 12 Gadwall and two broods both of four Pochard on the east flood and the pair of Shelduck with six young were in the creek. The Turtle Dove showed well on one of the telegraph poles and a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker came to the cottage feeders. Two Peregrines were on the Nagden pylons and a Sandwich Tern was calling loudly as it headed east beyond the creek (a belated addition to the year list). A single Great Crested Grebe was on the Swale.
(Geoff Burton)

June 27th

This morning I walked north along Oare Creek just before 06:00, the tide was full, and a few spots of rain. Little of note: a sole Swallow quartering low over the sea wall and saltings opposite The Shipwrights, a Great Crested Grebe swam across, a Cuckoo called a few times from the recycling site the other side, a single Common Tern low over the water, and two Whimbrel flew over calling. Walking west from the point, there were three more Great Crested Grebes close in on the Swale, c.20 Swifts over the flood but no hirundines, five cygnets with their parents and a small number (tens, but no formal count) of Black-tailed Godwits; the water level was high. On the way up the road a Cuckoo called briefly from the off-roading/paintball area. On the 24th I heard what I reckon were two different Turtle Doves calling at 06:20, the first in the scrub immediately east of the Church Road houses and another near the church itself. None heard this morning.
(Graeme Backhurst)

June 26th

(06:30-10:00) The Turtle Dove was heard purring and then seen on the weather vane again. A Barn Owl was hunting in front of the East Hide and a Cuckoo landed in the scrub behind the hide. I walked west and from Dan’s Dock I had a Mediterranean Gull fly over the Swale, 2 Cuckoos over the fields and a Collared Dove flew past. At Uplees Copse there were three Cuckoos two of which headed over the Swale. A Hobby was sitting in a bush just beyond the copse. Back at the East Flood there were c.40 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Ruff, 7 Knot and a brief visit from a lst summer Little Gull. Also the potholes have been repaired!
(Richard Roberts)

June 21st

A Barn Owl showed well at around 20:50 this evening, although light levels were not ideal. Nothing else of note.
(Pete Maton)

BarnOwl210616PM1a

Barn Owl © Pete Maton

June 19th

(06:50-10:45) It was sunny and warm with a light but strengthening southerly wind. As I got out of the car, a Green Sandpiper flew west over the road and continued towards Uplees – a new addition to my year list. A Barn Owl was hunting on both sides of the road. A good start! I checked the cottages and the scrub but apart from two Cuckoos, the vane Turtle Dove and a singing Chiffchaff, it was rather quiet. A young Swallow was on the telegraph wires. At 08:00, I spotted a Red Kite by the west hide low to the ground and heading towards the road. It circled, gaining height, and headed north across the Swale where it was dive-bombed by a pair of Avocets – another addition to my year list. I did a circuit of the east side; there were ten Curlews on Horse Sands but little else to report. On the east flood, there was a brood of 12 Gadwall and  still many adults, 15 Teal, three Pochard, two Shoveler, 104 Coot and 37 Avocets. The pair of Mute Swans and five cygnets were still there and a first-summer Mediterranean Gull joined the godwits on the spit. Two Buzzards were hovering over Mockett’s Hill and looking west, I noted another, plus a Hobby hunting over the west flood and a Sparrowhawk circling to the south. With the Peregrine on the pylon on the new acquisition, and Marsh Harrier and Kestrel, I had seen a total of seven raptors. A loosening of the grip of the mid-summer doldrums?
(Geoff Burton)

June 18th

A few sightings from this morning. A Turtle Dove was on the weather vane in the scrub/paddocks again, plus a Cuckoo opposite the cottages. A summer plumage Ruff was on the East Flood, plus Pochard, Tufted Ducks and Gadwall, and Mediterranean Gulls over. Still plenty of common warblers around the reserve.
(Richard Roberts)

Most notable amongst the 43 species recorded around lunchtime today by two friends and myself was a fly over duck Red-breasted Merganser – it flew quite low, and the three of us got clear views of the pale reddy-brown head and white wing markings on the grey wings of a ‘thin’ duck with a sawbill.
(Nigel Harris)

June 12th

(07:25-12:05) Cloudy with a light southerly wind and a little rain. There has been an obvious influx of ducks onto the east flood. There were 64 Gadwall (plus a duck with at least seven ducklings), 36 Teal where there had been none four days earlier, the duck Pintail and drake Pochard and nine Shoveler. The pair of Mute Swans were still present with their five cygnets. Two Buzzards hung in the wind over Mockett’s Hill,  another soared around over the fields south of the scrub, and there were two Peregrines on one the Nagden pylons. Two Little Terns were fishing at the mouth of the creek and one (possibly of these) gave excellent views by the slipway. A Whimbrel and a Curlew were on Horse Sands. A trek to the Uplees copse provided little but a Lesser Whitethroat was singing there and, on the seawall path a Cream-spot Tiger moth was resting. A male Great Spotted Woodpecker was on the feeders back at the cottages, a Cuckoo was flying around (one was seen to fly south over the Swale), the Turtle Dove had returned to the weather vane and a Lesser Whitethroat was singing in the bottom corner of the paddock.
(Geoff Burton)

Cream-spot Tiger © Geoff Burton

Cream-spot Tiger © Geoff Burton

June 8th

(10:20-12:30) A warm and sunny morning. Another very quiet mid-summer visit. There were 19 Gadwall and single Pintail, Shoveler and Pochard on the east flood as well as the pair of Mute Swans with five cygnets. There was a flock of c.200 Black-tailed Godwits on the flood, c.10 Lapwings flew north over the flood and a single Curlew was on Horse Sands. A Turtle Dove was on the telegraph wires to the west of the cottages.
(Geoff Burton)

June 4th

(15:15-17:30) Sunny and a bit warmer with a light NE wind. The tide was falling and on the east flood, in  addition to the flock of Black-tailed Godwits, there were a few Avocets, Oystercatchers, a Redshank and a Lapwing. The pair of Mute Swans were resting on an island with their five cygnets and ducks included 12 Gadwall, the female Pintail, and  pairs of Shovelers and Pochard. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls dropped onto the flood briefly. A single Buzzard was over Mockett’s Hill, a Great Crested Grebe was on the Swale and a Little Tern was fishing by Horse Sands. A male Yellow Wagtail was on the grazed area below the sea wall. The pair of Shelduck in the creek had nine ducklings. A Lesser Whitethroat was singing near the east hide, a Cuckoo was calling from the scrub and the Turtle Dove was on the weather vane. On the west side, the pair of Canada Geese were with their five goslings. Two Painted Ladies were seen along the sea wall.
(Geoff Burton)


Oare Marshes Sightings – June 2016

145 species have been recorded in the area so far this year 

A list of the species recorded so far this year can be seen here OM 2016 Species List
For a list of all the species ever recorded in the area see the Oare Marshes Species List
To help keep this page as up-to-date and informative as possible, please send your sightings and any pictures taken onsite  to Murray Wright by clicking

June 28th

(06:10-09:15) Sunny and calm and high tide. The first surprise was that some work has been done to repair the road surface. Good, but the Harty Ferry end not yet done as, apparently, it was still under water when they came to do it. Talking of under water, the east flood remains at a very high level which does not bode well for autumn waders. We need a long hot dry spell or some action from KWT? There were two broods of 6 and 12 Gadwall and two broods both of four Pochard on the east flood and the pair of Shelduck with six young were in the creek. The Turtle Dove showed well on one of the telegraph poles and a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker came to the cottage feeders. Two Peregrines were on the Nagden pylons and a Sandwich Tern was calling loudly as it headed east beyond the creek (a belated addition to the year list). A single Great Crested Grebe was on the Swale.
(Geoff Burton)

June 27th

This morning I walked north along Oare Creek just before 06:00, the tide was full, and a few spots of rain. Little of note: a sole Swallow quartering low over the sea wall and saltings opposite The Shipwrights, a Great Crested Grebe swam across, a Cuckoo called a few times from the recycling site the other side, a single Common Tern low over the water, and two Whimbrel flew over calling. Walking west from the point, there were three more Great Crested Grebes close in on the Swale, c.20 Swifts over the flood but no hirundines, five cygnets with their parents and a small number (tens, but no formal count) of Black-tailed Godwits; the water level was high. On the way up the road a Cuckoo called briefly from the off-roading/paintball area. On the 24th I heard what I reckon were two different Turtle Doves calling at 06:20, the first in the scrub immediately east of the Church Road houses and another near the church itself. None heard this morning.
(Graeme Backhurst)

June 26th

(06:30-10:00) The Turtle Dove was heard purring and then seen on the weather vane again. A Barn Owl was hunting in front of the East Hide and a Cuckoo landed in the scrub behind the hide. I walked west and from Dan’s Dock I had a Mediterranean Gull fly over the Swale, 2 Cuckoos over the fields and a Collared Dove flew past. At Uplees Copse there were three Cuckoos two of which headed over the Swale. A Hobby was sitting in a bush just beyond the copse. Back at the East Flood there were c.40 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Ruff, 7 Knot and a brief visit from a lst summer Little Gull. Also the potholes have been repaired!
(Richard Roberts)

June 21st

A Barn Owl showed well at around 20:50 this evening, although light levels were not ideal. Nothing else of note.
(Pete Maton)

BarnOwl210616PM1a

Barn Owl © Pete Maton

June 19th

(06:50-10:45) It was sunny and warm with a light but strengthening southerly wind. As I got out of the car, a Green Sandpiper flew west over the road and continued towards Uplees – a new addition to my year list. A Barn Owl was hunting on both sides of the road. A good start! I checked the cottages and the scrub but apart from two Cuckoos, the vane Turtle Dove and a singing Chiffchaff, it was rather quiet. A young Swallow was on the telegraph wires. At 08:00, I spotted a Red Kite by the west hide low to the ground and heading towards the road. It circled, gaining height, and headed north across the Swale where it was dive-bombed by a pair of Avocets – another addition to my year list. I did a circuit of the east side; there were ten Curlews on Horse Sands but little else to report. On the east flood, there was a brood of 12 Gadwall and  still many adults, 15 Teal, three Pochard, two Shoveler, 104 Coot and 37 Avocets. The pair of Mute Swans and five cygnets were still there and a first-summer Mediterranean Gull joined the godwits on the spit. Two Buzzards were hovering over Mockett’s Hill and looking west, I noted another, plus a Hobby hunting over the west flood and a Sparrowhawk circling to the south. With the Peregrine on the pylon on the new acquisition, and Marsh Harrier and Kestrel, I had seen a total of seven raptors. A loosening of the grip of the mid-summer doldrums?
(Geoff Burton)

June 18th

A few sightings from this morning. A Turtle Dove was on the weather vane in the scrub/paddocks again, plus a Cuckoo opposite the cottages. A summer plumage Ruff was on the East Flood, plus Pochard, Tufted Ducks and Gadwall, and Mediterranean Gulls over. Still plenty of common warblers around the reserve.
(Richard Roberts)

Most notable amongst the 43 species recorded around lunchtime today by two friends and myself was a fly over duck Red-breasted Merganser – it flew quite low, and the three of us got clear views of the pale reddy-brown head and white wing markings on the grey wings of a ‘thin’ duck with a sawbill.
(Nigel Harris)

June 12th

(07:25-12:05) Cloudy with a light southerly wind and a little rain. There has been an obvious influx of ducks onto the east flood. There were 64 Gadwall (plus a duck with at least seven ducklings), 36 Teal where there had been none four days earlier, the duck Pintail and drake Pochard and nine Shoveler. The pair of Mute Swans were still present with their five cygnets. Two Buzzards hung in the wind over Mockett’s Hill,  another soared around over the fields south of the scrub, and there were two Peregrines on one the Nagden pylons. Two Little Terns were fishing at the mouth of the creek and one (possibly of these) gave excellent views by the slipway. A Whimbrel and a Curlew were on Horse Sands. A trek to the Uplees copse provided little but a Lesser Whitethroat was singing there and, on the seawall path a Cream-spot Tiger moth was resting. A male Great Spotted Woodpecker was on the feeders back at the cottages, a Cuckoo was flying around (one was seen to fly south over the Swale), the Turtle Dove had returned to the weather vane and a Lesser Whitethroat was singing in the bottom corner of the paddock.
(Geoff Burton)

Cream-spot Tiger © Geoff Burton

Cream-spot Tiger © Geoff Burton

June 8th

(10:20-12:30) A warm and sunny morning. Another very quiet mid-summer visit. There were 19 Gadwall and single Pintail, Shoveler and Pochard on the east flood as well as the pair of Mute Swans with five cygnets. There was a flock of c.200 Black-tailed Godwits on the flood, c.10 Lapwings flew north over the flood and a single Curlew was on Horse Sands. A Turtle Dove was on the telegraph wires to the west of the cottages.
(Geoff Burton)

June 4th

(15:15-17:30) Sunny and a bit warmer with a light NE wind. The tide was falling and on the east flood, in  addition to the flock of Black-tailed Godwits, there were a few Avocets, Oystercatchers, a Redshank and a Lapwing. The pair of Mute Swans were resting on an island with their five cygnets and ducks included 12 Gadwall, the female Pintail, and  pairs of Shovelers and Pochard. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls dropped onto the flood briefly. A single Buzzard was over Mockett’s Hill, a Great Crested Grebe was on the Swale and a Little Tern was fishing by Horse Sands. A male Yellow Wagtail was on the grazed area below the sea wall. The pair of Shelduck in the creek had nine ducklings. A Lesser Whitethroat was singing near the east hide, a Cuckoo was calling from the scrub and the Turtle Dove was on the weather vane. On the west side, the pair of Canada Geese were with their five goslings. Two Painted Ladies were seen along the sea wall.
(Geoff Burton)


Oare Marshes Sightings – May 2016

143 species have been recorded in the area so far this year 

A list of the species recorded so far this year can be seen here OM 2016 Species List
For a list of all the species ever recorded in the area see the Oare Marshes Species List
To help keep this page as up-to-date and informative as possible, please send your sightings and any pictures taken onsite  to Murray Wright by clicking

May 30th

(07:10-11:10) It was cloudy and cool with a fresh northerly wind. At high tide when I arrived the only waders on the east flood, besides the flock of c.170 Black-tailed Godwits, were pairs of Oystercatchers and Avocets and a single Redshank. Ducks included 12 drake Gadwall, pairs of Shoveler and Pochard and the duck Pintail with the damaged wing. Two Teal were seen in flight over the west flood and, later, a drake was asleep on the east flood spit. A pair of Mute Swans had five cygnets and there were also two cygnets on the west side and the pair of Canada Geese with five well-grown goslings. I met Stuart Williams by the pull-in and he had just found a Turtle Dove, looking across to the weather vane from the road; an OMYT!. At the cottages, two Cuckoos chased each other around the scrub, a Lesser Whitethroat was singing opposite the cottages and the Turtle Dove was again on the weather vane. A male Yellow Wagtail was feeding at the feet of the highland cattle on the new acquisition and three late Whimbrel, which came in from Nagden and flew down towards the mouth of the creek, were a surprise.
(Geoff Burton)

May 29th

(09:00-12:20) I was due to join my colleague Phil Sharp at Oare Marshes at 09:00. It seemed a good place to start our day as we planned to do a walk from Conyer to check the gulls on Fowley Island. There had also been a report of a drake American Wigeon on the East flood the day before so it definitely seemed a good decision. As it happens I was delayed and didn’t arrive until 09:30. As I drove down the hill I could see Phil looking through his scope in a surprisingly W direction. As I pulled up I was greeted with the words “you should have arrived 45 seconds earlier, the bird of the day has just flown over!” I was then informed that a Great White Egret had flown low over the road from the E and appeared to land somewhere to the west of the W flood. It dropped just as my car pulled up! Phil had heard that there was no sign of the Wigeon so we decided to walk along the sea wall to see if the GWE was visible, without success. A smart male Marsh Harrier was hunting over the area which returned to Sheppey with its eventual prey. A pair of Yellow Wagtails flew over the sea wall and across to the floods. There was nothing of interest on the Swale, and just two Little Egrets otherwise, so we decided to walk to the Sea Wall hide in the hope of spotting some Little Terns off Castle Coote. We duly saw two birds soon after our arrival and saw or heard 4-5 Bearded Tits in the reeds. A pair of Shelduck were on the mud at the mouth of Faversham Creek with a family of 13 ducklings – my first young Shelduck of the year. Although the Wigeon had not been reported, we decided to complete a circuit anyway. We noted four Pochard (3 drakes) and a duck Pintail, which appeared to have a damaged wing. Apart from Coots, Mallards and a couple of Mute Swans, the only other interest was a roosting flock of 205 Black-tailed Godwits. These contained two colour ringed birds which both had what subsequently proved to be a Kent site code of Red/BlackRed on their right legs. The left legs, reading down, were Green/Black/White and Green/Orange/Blue. I subsequently reported the birds on the C/R BTG website. We departed at 12.20.
(Murray Orchard & Philip Sharp)

May 25th

(15:00-18.00) An enjoyable afternoon at Oare Marshes LNR, my first visit to the site, despite thick cloud cover and a blustery northerly wind off the Swale. Plenty of activity in the reed beds alongside the sea wall, which was dotted with Purple Salsify. Large numbers of Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings feeding. Turning the corner along Oare Creek several Sedge Warblers in the reeds, along with a male and several female Linnet. A comfortably chubby Wood Pigeon nestled contentedly in a bush among the Cow Parsley, ignoring the large and determined clouds of midges! Several ducks and waders on the scrape inland from the creek, including male and female Pochard and a busy Black-tailed Godwit in beautiful summer plumage feeding in the saltmarsh. An Oystercatcher on a islet and two Little Grebe also spotted. A pair of Mute Swans with four small cygnets seen from the hide looking north over the main scrape along with numerous Greylag Geese and Shelduck. A male Cuckoo was heard calling persistently across the marsh from the west for at least 20 minutes, and a lovely Kestrel seen perched and then hovering by the car park. Grey Heron by reeds nearby and Black-headed Gull in the seaweed back on the Swale at low tide.
(Nick Morrison)

Wood Pigeon © Nick Morrison

Wood Pigeon © Nick Morrison

 

Salsify © Nick Morrison

Salsify © Nick Morrison

May 18th

(05:30-10:30) Cloudy with a fresh southerly wind. Arriving at low tide, the east flood looked fairly empty of birds. Oystercatcher and a few Black-tailed Godwits were the only waders. The Great Crested Grebe was again on the flood and ducks included two drake Gadwall, a female Pintail and a pair of Shovelers. A Cuckoo was calling near the car park and, looking east from the slipway, a Little Tern was fishing off the mouth of the creek – new bird for the year. Up by the cottages, brief snatches of Nightingale song could be heard and warblers included singing Lesser Whitethroat and Chiffchaff. I scoped the weather vane in vain for a Turtle Dove but a Collared Dove on a chimney pot of one of the Uplees cottages was a year tick for me. The pair of Canada Geese and their five goslings were near the west main dyke where a pair of Mute Swans were asleep sheltering their cygnets (at least three could be seen). The hike up to Uplees is usually a triumph of hope over experience. This time there was a Whimbrel on the foreshore by the copse, three Great Crested Grebes on the Swale, a Chiffchaff singing in the copse and two more Little Terns flew east close inshore. A Buzzard was “hanging” over Mockett’s Hill and a Lapwing was in the field south of Dan’s Dock where a noisy frogs chorus was taking place. A few Yellow Wagtails were seen over the floods flying towards the fields and,  as I left and the rain started, Swifts, Swallows and House Martins hawked over the east flood.
(Geoff Burton)

Marsh Frogs © Geoff Burton

Marsh Frogs © Geoff Burton

May 16th

(07:30-11:30) High cloud; a modicum of warming sun in a cool E/SE breeze. A rising tide. Cetti’s Warbler remains vocal at the car park; the Canada Geese were one less gosling from last week but the Mute Swans on the W flood had 4 cygnets in tow. Lesser Black-back Gulls were on opportunity duty.  Pairs of Pochard remain, plus 6 drake Gadwall circuited the marsh. A male Marsh Harrier was in the vicinity and a Cuckoo called from somewhere S of the marsh. 3 Whimbrels were noted in the saltmarsh. The lea of the seawall was a sea of Salsify. Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Blackcap were vocal at the copse. A single Great Crested Grebe was on the Swale. From the Sea Wall hide area, 2 Little Terns were watched around the creek mouth and Castle Coote (OMYT) – yes, still accumulating first views of migrants! 3 Swifts were high ( they`re back at their breeding sites in the locale too) and the male Cuckoo bombed through the W flood. Yellow Wagtails were evident in the New Aquisition; plus Lapwings and Redshank – no doubt with thanks to the ‘longhorns’. The Black-tailed Godwit roost remained at c.120 towards high tide. Orange Tips and my first Common Blue Damselfly were notebook additions. .
(Mike Roser)

May 10th

(07:15-11:15) A morning of continuous light rain and a freshening easterly wind. There were seven Gadwall, a pair of Pintail and a drake Shoveler on the east flood and, more unusually, a Great Crested Grebe as well (later this bird had swum up to the sluice). At first there were no Black-tailed Godwits on the flood but a flock of 70 dropped in mid-morning when there was also a Common Sandpiper, three Common Terns and a pair of Mediterranean Gulls on the islands. Single Whimbrel were seen on the saltmarsh, in the creek and on one of the islands on the east flood. In the scrub opposite the cottages, Cuckoo, Nightingale, Lesser Whitethroat and Chiffchaff were in song. On the west side, a pair of Canada Geese had five goslings.
(Geoff Burton)

Great Crested Grebe © Geoff Burton

Great Crested Grebe © Geoff Burton

May 9th

(07:00-11:00) Cool NE air and warming steadily in the hazy sun. Nice to be back in the locale playing catch-up with our migrants, as opposed to those across ‘The Pond’. Common Whitethroats; Yellow Wagtails and Swallows dominated the run-in; Whimbrels were dotted around the saltmarsh and Cetti’s Warblers continue to be vocal. Tufted Ducks and Pochards were on westerly dykes and in the rapidly drying West ‘Flood’. Mediterranean Gulls shared the sheep pastures with Black-headed Gulls, and were vocal overhead. Marsh Harriers quartered the saltings and inland marsh. Dan’s Dock area was a cacophany of Marsh Frog sound, bettered by far by Skylarks. A Cuckoo calling loudly, circuited the marsh with another in tow, before both flew across the Swale with the sound still very audible. A dead Stoat atop the seawall prompted thoughts as to its possible predator – just maybe an early dogwalker? Well, possibly the dog! Reed Warblers were further west in the dyke – no hoped- for Turtle Dove in the copse though (not even a Rufous!). Canada Geese had a brood of six in tow, whilst on the E flood Avocets have little chance with the water still high. A Lesser Whitethroat called behind the E hide. 90+ Black-tailed Godwits in the SE corner still in a range of dress-codes. C.22 seals were on Horse Sands. The New Acquisition reed bed is all but demolished by Longhorns and Koniks; but at least the main seawall reed bed was alive with Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers and Bearded Tits. The fast flying large dragonfly was undoubtedly a Hairy – to go with the garden’s first Holly Blue of the year! Still not a Swift in sight – but they won’t all be Chimneys.
(Mike Roser)

May 1st

(09:00-11:40) After a successful visit to Otford, I dropped in here on the way back. It was low tide and  there were few birds on the east flood. A pair of Gadwall, three Teal and a pair of Pintail were present  augmented by the long-staying second-summer Little Gull. CuckooNightingale and Lesser Whitethroat could be heard in the scrub and a Raven was circling high to the south of Uplees. A Hobby was hawking over the west flood.
(Geoff Burton)


Oare Marshes Sightings – March 2016

119 species have been recorded in the area so far this year 

To view the complete list of species recorded so far this year please see OM 2016 Species List
To help keep this page as up-to-date and informative as possible, please send your sightings and any pictures taken onsite  to Murray Wright by clicking

March 31st

(08:00-12:00) A cool N air; hazy sun and windless! Greeted by my first Swallow on Pheasant Farm’s wires, then another zipping through the W flood as I parked up. Cetti’s Warbler in good voice plus Chiffchaff. C.320 Black-tailed Godwits feeding on the W side and another Cetti’s at the carpark, which is again defaced with a burnt out car. As the tide receded at Horse Sands, 48 seals were well silhouetted. Walked W to FSB. At the copse, 2 Bearded Tits were in a low hawthorn bush from which they departed high E. 18 Great Crested Grebes were on the Swale; 2 Common Buzzards over Mocketts and c.250 Curlew lifted off the pastures W of the copse and dropped back closer for ease of count. Met Ian Carpenter walking E from Conyer who was on a long all day hike. We both watched the drake Goosander in Faversham Creek near the barge wreck. 12 drake and 7 duck Pochards were on the E flood; 4 Ruff and a few remaining Pintail. A Peregrine flew to a pylon. Earlier IC had 3 White Wagtails in the horse paddock. In the locale, Kingfisher; Green Sandpiper and a very obliging Willow Warbler (IC) seen low down and briefly singing near Ham Pits made for a good end of month session. A further 3 Common Buzzards were circling high.
(Mike Roser)

There was a Bittern on the West Flood this afternoon.
(Mark Chidwick)

March 30th

(08:30-11:00) At Uplees Copse this morning there were 2 Ravens displaying before moving over the Swale to Sheppey – they were followed shortly by a third heading in the same direction. Plus Goldfinches, Linnets and Skylarks there, but still no Wheatears seen. As I was leaving a Swallow flew through. Back at the reserve I was standing by the disabled parking bay chatting to Geoff Burton when a second Swallow came through. Baza couldn’t make an early run today but went down p.m. and had a Wheatear on the seaward side of the sea wall at the copse!
(Terry Ryan)

(10:15-14:05) Sunny with a moderate SW wind. It was low tide, the water levels on east flood were exceptionally high and there were few waders or ducks to be seen. A single drake Pintail and five Pochard were present. I met Terry Ryan who had been as far as Uplees, saw no hoped for Wheatears, but he did have one Swallow heading west. As I spoke to him, he picked up another Swallow heading west low over the grassland behind the west flood. Four Lesser Redpolls were in the bushes along the path to the east hide. A Chiffchaff was singing in a clump of brambles on the ‘SE scrape’ (another was in the car park). A surprise was awaiting me when I reached the creek in the form of a more or less winter plumage Spotted Redshank feeding along the western edge of the creek. There were c.100 Brent Geese across the Swale behind Horse sands. Two pairs of Wigeon were resting on the grass by the main west dyke. There were three Buzzards hanging in the wind over Mockett’s Hill and a Raven, flying west, paused briefly to circle low over the west flood.
(Geoff Burton)

March 27th

(08:15-11:45) Sunny spells and heavy, squally showers on a strong SSW-S wind. A fairly ‘wild’ morning – and a tad more interesting than yesterday’s ‘dullest’ session of the year so far! A female Sparrowhawk landed on a fence post in the scrub/paddocks and then ‘post-hopped’ a couple of times before heading off south. A Chiffchaff was singing on and off from the trees opposite the cottages, plus at least 3 Goldcrests in the Yew trees nearby. All 5 Lesser Redpolls were feeding along the path near the East Hide. 3 Greenshanks were feeding together in Faversham Creek. 18 Little Egrets were on the ‘new’ acquisition, plus a pair of Little Owls in the dead trees on the west side of the fields there. Out west Mark Chidwick had a (the?) Great Northern Diver way out on the Swale off Uplees Copse. Back at the car I had a catch up with Trevor Hatton who’d seen a Red Kite last Saturday (19th March) making its way west through the reserve mid-morning – an addition to the OMYL.
(Murray Wright)

Great Northern Diver © Mark Chidwick

Great Northern Diver © Mark Chidwick

We were at Oare Marshes this afternoon and saw a Little Ringed Plover on the East Flood from the East Hide. My friend, an experienced birder from Dublin, also confirmed the sighting.
(Mick Henniker)

March 25th

(07:30-11:30) Early cloud and drizzle soon clearing and then sunny with a NW breeze. A lovely morning though the birding was quiet to say the least – no sign of yesterday’s Spoonbills, and no hirundines for me. The 5 Lesser Redpolls were still along the path near the East Hide first thing. There were 16 Pochard (nine drakes and seven ducks) on the East Flood. The walk west was ‘enlivened’ by a couple of calling pairs of Mediterranean Gulls circling over, and a (the?) Red-throated Diver which was drifting west along the Swale at the same pace as me. The various points of interest notices erected for the Uplees ‘Explosive Walk’ (see Mike R’s post below) made fascinating reading. At Uplees Copse there were 2 Chiffchaffs (one in song and the other calling), but little else of note. 75+ Curlew were in the field west of the copse, plus 2 Common Buzzards. At least 4 more Common Buzzards were around Mocketts on Sheppey. Back at the flood there were 5 Ruff – the first I’ve seen for a while, and half a dozen Avocets.
(Murray Wright)

(11:30-13:30) My ‘Wheatear’ walk turned into the ‘Explosives’ walk at Uplees, where the area has been opened up to the public for a week or so, to document the anniversary of April 1916 and its association with armaments production, and subsequent tragedy. Fascinating to see the scale of the 500 acre site from photos around the route, particularly Dan’s Dock and its flotilla of craft. If you’re into local history, recommend take time out to follow the signposted route – carparking at Uplees Farm saves the walk from Oare Marshes KWT carpark. Well worth the effort! However, no Wheatear activity; missed Faversham Red Kite flyover, but Marsh Harriers were tumbling and displaying over Mocketts and the high tide displaced Snipe from the covered saltings.
(Mike Roser)

March 24th

2 Spoonbills were in the SE corner of the East Flood early afternoon before later flying off high NW. Plus 5 Sand Martins were over the flood as the rain arrived.
(Mark Chidwick)

Spoonbill © Mark Chidwick

Spoonbill © Mark Chidwick

Spoonbill © Mark Chidwick

Spoonbill © Mark Chidwick

March 23rd

(08:00-12:00) Difference a day makes, with full cloud and cool NW air. Bracing plays soporific! Walked briskly westward after an early morning chat with TR, the cycling birder, who regaled with tales of seventy years previous, of crossings made of the Swale by boat to school (by others it must be said). Two or three Wigeon lingering with the widely dispersed Tufted Ducks and Shovelers; Pochard pairs to the rear of the W flood and Little Egrets patrolled the marsh (white beacons in the local heronry again). The stomp to Fowley Island was worth the effort. From different angles off the seawall I saw in excess of 300 Mediterranean Gulls. It was a cacophany of noise with the Black-headed Gulls. Also sharing the Island were 6 Canada Geese; 8 Oystercatchers; a pair of Lesser Black-backed Gulls; a single Great Black-backed Gull; 60 Black-tailed Godwits; 20 Dunlin; 6 Curlew; c.50 Avocets; 12 Turnstones and a Little Egret. C.250 Brent Geese were at the margins plus 4 Great Crested Grebes.  As the tide filled the Spit c. 600 Golden Plovers were spread towards the FSB. Separately, 30 Grey Plover were roosting. Returning, a superb drake Red-breasted Merganser dropped in near the copse. At the car park, Anthea Skiffington advised of a Swallow seen earlier – plus some first hand Texas knowledge imparted from her partner. A great morning – even without the Wheatear!
(Mike Roser)

March 22nd

(06:15-08:25) Sunny, calm and frosty. A short visit and a circuit of the east flood. Little on the east flood, another decline in duck numbers, but there was a pair of Pochard present. There were five Lesser Redpolls on the path between the east hide and the sluice. The drake Goosander was on the creek by the Shipwright’s but there was no sign of any Greenshanks.
(Geoff Burton)

(08:15-11:15) Initial light ground-frost; bright but hazy sun and soporific by mid-morning. Greeted by a Cetti’s Warbler at the E flood entrance – one of 4 scattered separate individuals. 5 Lesser Redpolls were still active with Goldfinches to the rear of the flood, and a pair of Green Woodpeckers and single Great Spotted Woodpecker were in the trees E of the cottages. A pair of Bearded Tits were in reeds in the ‘Long Horns’ field and Avocets lined the creek’s banks. C.40 seals (mirage notwithstanding) were on Horse Sands. Sadly, no obvious sign of Lapwing activity in the livestock fields but a Little Owl was scoped in the dead elms westward  looking from the creek across the Konick pastures. Further Bearded Tits were pinging in both the seawall  reedbeds, and 2 male Marsh Harriers separated – one eastward and one westward. No spring migrants on this particular circuit – plenty of song and a placid incoming tide.
(Mike Roser)

March 19th

(06:15-11:00) Cloudy with occasional drizzle/light rain and a brisk NE wind. A chilly and slow morning for Richard and I. At least 3 Lesser Redpolls were around the path to the East Hide again. A Jay was heard over the scrub/paddocks. On the East Flood there were still 68 Pintail, plus small numbers of Teal, Shoveler and Mallard, a pair of Wigeon, 5 drake Gadwall, 21 Tufted Ducks and a pair of Pochard. A male Stonechat was near the sluice. There were circa 50 Brent Geese around the slipway with small groups moving west along the Swale throughout. Circa 40 Wigeon were on the dyke west of the Watch House. On the flood at high tide (circa 09:15) there were 5 Turnstones, 60 Redshanks, circa 75 Black-tailed Godwits and 27 Avocets. A male Sparrowhawk flew low past the East Hide. 2 female Marsh Harriers were hunting around the reserve. 3 Common Buzzards were over Mocketts.
(Murray Wright)

March 13th

(06:30-11:30) Bright, hazy sunshine with a fresh ENE wind. A Redwing in the ‘Wryneck’ tree west of the cottages was an overdue addition to the OMYL, plus a Chiffchaff and 6 Long-tailed Tits nearby. A ‘yomp’ west didn’t produce a great deal save for several adult Mediterranean Gulls passing over head and a Common Buzzrd flying north over Uplees Copse. For a change I walked a bit further west in the hope of getting a scope view of Fowley Island Spoonbill – no luck there, but I did find a pair of Corn Buntings (the male in song) and 4 more Long-tailed Tits in some bushes about a quarter of a mile beyond the patch boundary. Also, it was sad to find a dead drake Common Scoter washed up on the concrete of the sea wall – almost certainly the bird we saw on Friday. It looked pretty fresh and I couldn’t see any obvious reason for its demise. Back at the slipway the non-diving (I haven’t witnessed it dive a single time so far!)  Red-throated Diver was floating mid-channel on the Swale. A Greenshank was in Faversham Creek near the Shipwright’s Arms again. The pair of Stonechats were still near the sluice. The 5 Lesser Redpolls were still with Goldfinches along the path between the East Hide and the road.
(Murray Wright)

Common Scoter © Murray Wright

Common Scoter © Murray Wright

March 11th

(06:30-11:30) Calm and foggy until 09:30 then bright, hazy sunshine with a very light ENE breeze picking up. It was pretty foggy when I left home which meant that it should be even foggier at Oare Marshes – it was! A Barn Owl floated past the car when I arrived. A walk west hoping to find an early Wheatear along the sea wall drew a blank. However, I could hear good numbers of Mediterranean Gulls passing over head and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was ‘drumming’ somewhere to the south. The 5 Lesser Redpolls were still along the path behind the East Hide. A pair of Stonechats were near the sluice. The fog eventually lifted enough to see the pylons, on one of which a Peregrine was sat. From the Sea Wall hide I picked up a drake Common Scoter on the Swale diving around the yellow buoy – an addition to the overall OMYL. It gradually floated west on the incoming tide settling off the end of the slipway. I teamed up with Mike R and we walked down the slipway where we got reasonably close (probably the closest I’ve got to this species) and got fantastic views and a few passable pics. A (the?) Chiffchaff was singing and showing well around the car park bushes. A final scan of the East Flood produced a Bar-headed Goose – the first I’ve seen here for a few years and a very smart bit of ‘exotica’. As I drove out a quick glance to the west produced one of the Little Owls enjoying the now warming sunshine in its favoured spot.
(Murray Wright)

(08:00-11:30) Remaining foggy, even for late starters; with more soundings than sightings. Walked westward with Cetti’s Warbler; Little Grebe; Curlew; Skylark; Brent Geese and Green Woodpecker out there somewhere. At 09:30, through  mist and haze, it was possible to discern the foreshore mud from the very low tidal Swale. Long rafts of Teal and Wigeon; 11 Great Crested Grebes and c.50 Avocets plus a scattering of waders on not often seen ‘islands’. A seal ‘porpoised’ in the shallows – and a text from MW alerted me to a drake Common Scoter – a half hours walk back! Well it was an OMYT! We watched it from the slipway close to shore. Next was the E flood Bar-headed Goose – no doubt lost from the usual mid-Kent supplier of exotics. At least the calling, circling Mediterranean Gull was my best shot at a  harbinger of Spring – lest one suggests the car park Chiffchaff?
(Mike Roser)

Common Scoter © Murray Wright

Common Scoter © Murray Wright

Common Scoter © Murray Wright

Common Scoter © Murray Wright

This afternoon the Spoonbill was at east end of Fowley Island again. The drake Common Scoter had drifted up beyond Uplees but still very close in – beautiful views and pics. The ‘leucistic’ Curlew was on the salt marsh on the walk back. The Bar headed Goose was a bit of a surprise!
(Danny Chesterman)

March 10th

I visited Oare Marshes this afternoon and had a Water Pipit in the meadow to the left of the path as it approaches the East Hide – pale pink flush on the breast too! There was also a Water Rail showing well on the banks immediately before the roadside viewing areas as you approach from the carpark, by a large tangle of Hawthorn, and a pair of Stonechats by the sluice.
(Chris Roome)

March 8th

(07:25-11:15) A sunny, calm and cold morning. There was a noticeable reduction in the numbers of ducks on the east flood although Pintail, with a count of 69, was an exception. Later, a group of nine Pochard (four drakes and five ducks) were on the flood for some time. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming and a Sparrowhawk was perched in the trees west of the scrub. A visit to the west hide revealed only one duck Pochard. On the Swale, the Red-throated Diver was drifting slowly west with the incoming tide and two Red-breasted Mergansers were near Horse Sands. A Peregrine was on the Nagden pylons but there was no sign of the Goosander or any Greenshanks in the creek. A young Common Seal was resting on a recently sunk boat in the middle of the creek. A fine male Lesser Redpoll showed briefly near the disabled car park. A few Dunlin came in on the high tide to the east flood and there were three Turnstones on the islands. Five Common Buzzards circled, hovered and skirmished above Mockett’s Hill.
(Geoff Burton)

Common Seal © Geoff Burton

Common Seal © Geoff Burton

March 7th

(07:45-10:30) A film of ice here and there; a  WNW breeze with an edge too, but sunny. A stroll around the E flood delivered the three Redpolls and five Goldfinch flock; a party of five ‘wheezing’ Greenfinches and a Cetti’s Warbler singing near the entrance gate. Two Great Crested Gebes were in the creek and the foreshore was dominated by Shelduck and Avocets, the latter flying onto the E flood to roost. There were c.30 seals on Horse Sands; two Common Buzzards and three Marsh Harriers were over Mocketts and a male Marsh Harrier over the flood. On the W flood a pair of Little Grebes and three pairs of Pochard were in front of the hide. The Little Owl was sunning in its usual sheltered spot.
(Mike Roser)

Redpoll © Mike Roser

Redpoll © Mike Roser

March 6th

(06:30-10:30) A cloudy start, but turning sunnier with a brisk, cold NW wind. A Barn Owl was hunting around the West Hide, and a Little Owl was hunkered down in its favoured spot. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was ‘drumming’ out west again. 4 Pochard (a drake and three ducks) were on the pool in front of the West Hide. I only managed 2 Lesser Redpolls with the Goldfinches behind the East Hide this morning. Alan and Paul tipped me off about a Red-throated Diver in Faversham Creek near the confluence with Oare Creek (possibly yesterday’s bird seen on the Swale) – a ropey record shot below. There was no sign of the drake Goosander again, and no sign of any Raven activity either. 10 Little Egrets were sheltering along the western edge of the new acquisition. A Kingfisher flew out from the sluice. From the Sea Wall hide an adult Mediterranean Gull flew west along the Swale, and single Peregrine and Common Buzzard flew north to Sheppey. On the flood at high tide there were circa 50 Dunlin, single Ringed and Grey Plover, circa 75 Black-tailed Godwits and 32 Avocets.
(Murray Wright)

Red-throated Diver © Murray Wright

Red-throated Diver © Murray Wright

March 5th

(06:30-11:00) A frosty start, but clouding over by 10:00 with light rain and a brisk and raw NW wind picking up. I joined Richard on what was initially a lovely ‘winter’ morning. A Barn Owl was hunting around the reserve as usual, and a pair of Marsh Harriers flew through. The Chiffchaff around the car park bushes was singing occasionally, plus a pair of Stonechats there. 10 Turnstones were feeding along the slipway. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was ‘drumming’ regularly from the trees around the fishing ponds. A male Bullfinch in the scrub/paddocks provided a nice splash of colour. One of the Little Owls was sat on the rubbish pile behind the caravans etc. 5 Lesser Redpolls were with Goldfinches and Greenfinches behind the East Hide again, plus a second pair of Stonechats there. A Great Crested Grebe on the East Flood was notable, and at (the low) high tide (circa 08:45) there were just 10 Avocets, circa 80 Black-tailed Godwits and a handful of Redshanks. A Red-throated Diver was drifting east along the Swale past the slipway on the ebbing tide.
(Murray Wright)

March 4th

(08:00-12:00) A cool W breeze in wall-to-wall sunshine; a cracking morning after the heavy overnight rain. Walked W initially; 22 Wigeon; 40 Tufted Duck and 6 Gadwall on the W side dyke. 3 fem Stonechats encountered – where were the males? 4 Little Grebes were whinnying – well at least one was! 26 Curlew shared the pastures with a score of Stock Doves – the latter in and out of their breeding sites. Best was Skylark song – vibrant and shared among several birds towards Uplees. Rafts of many hundreds of Wigeon were mid-channel on the ebb; and Sheppey banks were alive with waders departing towards Conyer. A couple of Mediterranean Gulls flew W high and calling. c.80 Avocets were opposite Uplees buoy where a Red-throated Diver was working its way E; and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers (3 drakes and 2 ducks) were engaged in courtship display. The light was superb. Brent Geese continued W all the time; but not forming a localised flock today. At c.10:50am there were 10 Common Buzzards circling Mocketts plus one drifting through the W flood  (whether emigrants or immigrants or residents, eleven is my personal largest number together in this locale). A total of 19 Great Crested Grebes were on the Swale back to the E flood, where c.50 Pintail remain. There were c.120 Black Tailed Godwits roosting and 124 Avocets at the mouth of the creek. The small Goldfinch/Lesser Redpoll flock continues to be mobile at the rear of the E flood. At start of play, at Graveney, c.15 Grey Herons were aerial above the Heronry.
(Mike Roser)

March 2nd

(06:30-10:45) A sunny start, but cloud soon building on a strengthening SW wind. A chilly morning! High tide was around 05:00, but other than the numerous Lapwings there were few waders left on the East Flood when I arrived – just 2 Grey Plovers, a few Redshanks, circa 80 Black-tailed Godwits (one bird in near full summer plumage and a few others starting to show a bit of rufous coming through), a pair of Oystercatchers and a lone Avocet. Amongst the diminishing numbers of dabbling duck there were still 64 Pintail. The only Barn Owl this morning was being hassled by a Kestrel over the field east of the Ferry House Inn on Sheppey. A Little Owl was hunkered down out of the wind in its favoured spot. On the way back from the usual futile visit to the West Hide I got an OMYT as a pair of Collared Doves flew over towards the scrub/paddocks! 5 Lesser Redpolls were feeding along the path beween the road and the sluice. No sign of the drake Goosander in Faversham Creek this morning, but Terry and Barry Ryan saw it there yesterday afternoon. One of a pair of Peregrines was ‘dive-bombing’ the pair of Ravens around the pylons with little success. 7 Little Egrets and 5 Grey Herons were amongst the Highland Cattle on the ‘new acquisition’. There were 90 Avocets roosting at the mouth of the creek, and 11 Great Crested Grebes were on the Swale. 3+ Common Buzzards were over Mocketts.
(Murray Wright)

March 1st

(13:55-17:05) Cloudy with a fresh SW wind after morning rain. A male Great Spotted Woodpecker was around the paddocks and distantly two stick-wielding Ravens could be seen on the pylons over Nagden. A Peregrine was also on one of the pylons. There were 11 Turnstones on the rocks between the slipway and the point, three Common Buzzards hung above Mockett’s Hill and there was a pair of Stonechat at the Uplees copse. A Rock Pipit was on the rocks by the Sea Wall hide and the drake Goosander was in the creek resting on the water’s edge opposite the wrecks. I met Dave Perrin who had seen a Greenshank further up the creek and also a Kingfisher. The Barn Owl appeared on the west side at about 16:45 and flew across in the direction of the east hide. The ‘low’ high tide did not bring any small waders onto the east flood.
(Geoff Burton)


Oare Marshes Sightings – March 2016

119 species have been recorded in the area so far this year 

To view the complete list of species recorded so far this year please see OM 2016 Species List
To help keep this page as up-to-date and informative as possible, please send your sightings and any pictures taken onsite  to Murray Wright by clicking

March 31st

(08:00-12:00) A cool N air; hazy sun and windless! Greeted by my first Swallow on Pheasant Farm’s wires, then another zipping through the W flood as I parked up. Cetti’s Warbler in good voice plus Chiffchaff. C.320 Black-tailed Godwits feeding on the W side and another Cetti’s at the carpark, which is again defaced with a burnt out car. As the tide receded at Horse Sands, 48 seals were well silhouetted. Walked W to FSB. At the copse, 2 Bearded Tits were in a low hawthorn bush from which they departed high E. 18 Great Crested Grebes were on the Swale; 2 Common Buzzards over Mocketts and c.250 Curlew lifted off the pastures W of the copse and dropped back closer for ease of count. Met Ian Carpenter walking E from Conyer who was on a long all day hike. We both watched the drake Goosander in Faversham Creek near the barge wreck. 12 drake and 7 duck Pochards were on the E flood; 4 Ruff and a few remaining Pintail. A Peregrine flew to a pylon. Earlier IC had 3 White Wagtails in the horse paddock. In the locale, Kingfisher; Green Sandpiper and a very obliging Willow Warbler (IC) seen low down and briefly singing near Ham Pits made for a good end of month session. A further 3 Common Buzzards were circling high.
(Mike Roser)

There was a Bittern on the West Flood this afternoon.
(Mark Chidwick)

March 30th

(08:30-11:00) At Uplees Copse this morning there were 2 Ravens displaying before moving over the Swale to Sheppey – they were followed shortly by a third heading in the same direction. Plus Goldfinches, Linnets and Skylarks there, but still no Wheatears seen. As I was leaving a Swallow flew through. Back at the reserve I was standing by the disabled parking bay chatting to Geoff Burton when a second Swallow came through. Baza couldn’t make an early run today but went down p.m. and had a Wheatear on the seaward side of the sea wall at the copse!
(Terry Ryan)

(10:15-14:05) Sunny with a moderate SW wind. It was low tide, the water levels on east flood were exceptionally high and there were few waders or ducks to be seen. A single drake Pintail and five Pochard were present. I met Terry Ryan who had been as far as Uplees, saw no hoped for Wheatears, but he did have one Swallow heading west. As I spoke to him, he picked up another Swallow heading west low over the grassland behind the west flood. Four Lesser Redpolls were in the bushes along the path to the east hide. A Chiffchaff was singing in a clump of brambles on the ‘SE scrape’ (another was in the car park). A surprise was awaiting me when I reached the creek in the form of a more or less winter plumage Spotted Redshank feeding along the western edge of the creek. There were c.100 Brent Geese across the Swale behind Horse sands. Two pairs of Wigeon were resting on the grass by the main west dyke. There were three Buzzards hanging in the wind over Mockett’s Hill and a Raven, flying west, paused briefly to circle low over the west flood.
(Geoff Burton)

March 27th

(08:15-11:45) Sunny spells and heavy, squally showers on a strong SSW-S wind. A fairly ‘wild’ morning – and a tad more interesting than yesterday’s ‘dullest’ session of the year so far! A female Sparrowhawk landed on a fence post in the scrub/paddocks and then ‘post-hopped’ a couple of times before heading off south. A Chiffchaff was singing on and off from the trees opposite the cottages, plus at least 3 Goldcrests in the Yew trees nearby. All 5 Lesser Redpolls were feeding along the path near the East Hide. 3 Greenshanks were feeding together in Faversham Creek. 18 Little Egrets were on the ‘new’ acquisition, plus a pair of Little Owls in the dead trees on the west side of the fields there. Out west Mark Chidwick had a (the?) Great Northern Diver way out on the Swale off Uplees Copse. Back at the car I had a catch up with Trevor Hatton who’d seen a Red Kite last Saturday (19th March) making its way west through the reserve mid-morning – an addition to the OMYL.
(Murray Wright)

Great Northern Diver © Mark Chidwick

Great Northern Diver © Mark Chidwick

We were at Oare Marshes this afternoon and saw a Little Ringed Plover on the East Flood from the East Hide. My friend, an experienced birder from Dublin, also confirmed the sighting.
(Mick Henniker)

March 25th

(07:30-11:30) Early cloud and drizzle soon clearing and then sunny with a NW breeze. A lovely morning though the birding was quiet to say the least – no sign of yesterday’s Spoonbills, and no hirundines for me. The 5 Lesser Redpolls were still along the path near the East Hide first thing. There were 16 Pochard (nine drakes and seven ducks) on the East Flood. The walk west was ‘enlivened’ by a couple of calling pairs of Mediterranean Gulls circling over, and a (the?) Red-throated Diver which was drifting west along the Swale at the same pace as me. The various points of interest notices erected for the Uplees ‘Explosive Walk’ (see Mike R’s post below) made fascinating reading. At Uplees Copse there were 2 Chiffchaffs (one in song and the other calling), but little else of note. 75+ Curlew were in the field west of the copse, plus 2 Common Buzzards. At least 4 more Common Buzzards were around Mocketts on Sheppey. Back at the flood there were 5 Ruff – the first I’ve seen for a while, and half a dozen Avocets.
(Murray Wright)

(11:30-13:30) My ‘Wheatear’ walk turned into the ‘Explosives’ walk at Uplees, where the area has been opened up to the public for a week or so, to document the anniversary of April 1916 and its association with armaments production, and subsequent tragedy. Fascinating to see the scale of the 500 acre site from photos around the route, particularly Dan’s Dock and its flotilla of craft. If you’re into local history, recommend take time out to follow the signposted route – carparking at Uplees Farm saves the walk from Oare Marshes KWT carpark. Well worth the effort! However, no Wheatear activity; missed Faversham Red Kite flyover, but Marsh Harriers were tumbling and displaying over Mocketts and the high tide displaced Snipe from the covered saltings.
(Mike Roser)

March 24th

2 Spoonbills were in the SE corner of the East Flood early afternoon before later flying off high NW. Plus 5 Sand Martins were over the flood as the rain arrived.
(Mark Chidwick)

Spoonbill © Mark Chidwick

Spoonbill © Mark Chidwick

Spoonbill © Mark Chidwick

Spoonbill © Mark Chidwick

March 23rd

(08:00-12:00) Difference a day makes, with full cloud and cool NW air. Bracing plays soporific! Walked briskly westward after an early morning chat with TR, the cycling birder, who regaled with tales of seventy years previous, of crossings made of the Swale by boat to school (by others it must be said). Two or three Wigeon lingering with the widely dispersed Tufted Ducks and Shovelers; Pochard pairs to the rear of the W flood and Little Egrets patrolled the marsh (white beacons in the local heronry again). The stomp to Fowley Island was worth the effort. From different angles off the seawall I saw in excess of 300 Mediterranean Gulls. It was a cacophany of noise with the Black-headed Gulls. Also sharing the Island were 6 Canada Geese; 8 Oystercatchers; a pair of Lesser Black-backed Gulls; a single Great Black-backed Gull; 60 Black-tailed Godwits; 20 Dunlin; 6 Curlew; c.50 Avocets; 12 Turnstones and a Little Egret. C.250 Brent Geese were at the margins plus 4 Great Crested Grebes.  As the tide filled the Spit c. 600 Golden Plovers were spread towards the FSB. Separately, 30 Grey Plover were roosting. Returning, a superb drake Red-breasted Merganser dropped in near the copse. At the car park, Anthea Skiffington advised of a Swallow seen earlier – plus some first hand Texas knowledge imparted from her partner. A great morning – even without the Wheatear!
(Mike Roser)

March 22nd

(06:15-08:25) Sunny, calm and frosty. A short visit and a circuit of the east flood. Little on the east flood, another decline in duck numbers, but there was a pair of Pochard present. There were five Lesser Redpolls on the path between the east hide and the sluice. The drake Goosander was on the creek by the Shipwright’s but there was no sign of any Greenshanks.
(Geoff Burton)

(08:15-11:15) Initial light ground-frost; bright but hazy sun and soporific by mid-morning. Greeted by a Cetti’s Warbler at the E flood entrance – one of 4 scattered separate individuals. 5 Lesser Redpolls were still active with Goldfinches to the rear of the flood, and a pair of Green Woodpeckers and single Great Spotted Woodpecker were in the trees E of the cottages. A pair of Bearded Tits were in reeds in the ‘Long Horns’ field and Avocets lined the creek’s banks. C.40 seals (mirage notwithstanding) were on Horse Sands. Sadly, no obvious sign of Lapwing activity in the livestock fields but a Little Owl was scoped in the dead elms westward  looking from the creek across the Konick pastures. Further Bearded Tits were pinging in both the seawall  reedbeds, and 2 male Marsh Harriers separated – one eastward and one westward. No spring migrants on this particular circuit – plenty of song and a placid incoming tide.
(Mike Roser)

March 19th

(06:15-11:00) Cloudy with occasional drizzle/light rain and a brisk NE wind. A chilly and slow morning for Richard and I. At least 3 Lesser Redpolls were around the path to the East Hide again. A Jay was heard over the scrub/paddocks. On the East Flood there were still 68 Pintail, plus small numbers of Teal, Shoveler and Mallard, a pair of Wigeon, 5 drake Gadwall, 21 Tufted Ducks and a pair of Pochard. A male Stonechat was near the sluice. There were circa 50 Brent Geese around the slipway with small groups moving west along the Swale throughout. Circa 40 Wigeon were on the dyke west of the Watch House. On the flood at high tide (circa 09:15) there were 5 Turnstones, 60 Redshanks, circa 75 Black-tailed Godwits and 27 Avocets. A male Sparrowhawk flew low past the East Hide. 2 female Marsh Harriers were hunting around the reserve. 3 Common Buzzards were over Mocketts.
(Murray Wright)

March 13th

(06:30-11:30) Bright, hazy sunshine with a fresh ENE wind. A Redwing in the ‘Wryneck’ tree west of the cottages was an overdue addition to the OMYL, plus a Chiffchaff and 6 Long-tailed Tits nearby. A ‘yomp’ west didn’t produce a great deal save for several adult Mediterranean Gulls passing over head and a Common Buzzrd flying north over Uplees Copse. For a change I walked a bit further west in the hope of getting a scope view of Fowley Island Spoonbill – no luck there, but I did find a pair of Corn Buntings (the male in song) and 4 more Long-tailed Tits in some bushes about a quarter of a mile beyond the patch boundary. Also, it was sad to find a dead drake Common Scoter washed up on the concrete of the sea wall – almost certainly the bird we saw on Friday. It looked pretty fresh and I couldn’t see any obvious reason for its demise. Back at the slipway the non-diving (I haven’t witnessed it dive a single time so far!)  Red-throated Diver was floating mid-channel on the Swale. A Greenshank was in Faversham Creek near the Shipwright’s Arms again. The pair of Stonechats were still near the sluice. The 5 Lesser Redpolls were still with Goldfinches along the path between the East Hide and the road.
(Murray Wright)

Common Scoter © Murray Wright

Common Scoter © Murray Wright

March 11th

(06:30-11:30) Calm and foggy until 09:30 then bright, hazy sunshine with a very light ENE breeze picking up. It was pretty foggy when I left home which meant that it should be even foggier at Oare Marshes – it was! A Barn Owl floated past the car when I arrived. A walk west hoping to find an early Wheatear along the sea wall drew a blank. However, I could hear good numbers of Mediterranean Gulls passing over head and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was ‘drumming’ somewhere to the south. The 5 Lesser Redpolls were still along the path behind the East Hide. A pair of Stonechats were near the sluice. The fog eventually lifted enough to see the pylons, on one of which a Peregrine was sat. From the Sea Wall hide I picked up a drake Common Scoter on the Swale diving around the yellow buoy – an addition to the overall OMYL. It gradually floated west on the incoming tide settling off the end of the slipway. I teamed up with Mike R and we walked down the slipway where we got reasonably close (probably the closest I’ve got to this species) and got fantastic views and a few passable pics. A (the?) Chiffchaff was singing and showing well around the car park bushes. A final scan of the East Flood produced a Bar-headed Goose – the first I’ve seen here for a few years and a very smart bit of ‘exotica’. As I drove out a quick glance to the west produced one of the Little Owls enjoying the now warming sunshine in its favoured spot.
(Murray Wright)

(08:00-11:30) Remaining foggy, even for late starters; with more soundings than sightings. Walked westward with Cetti’s Warbler; Little Grebe; Curlew; Skylark; Brent Geese and Green Woodpecker out there somewhere. At 09:30, through  mist and haze, it was possible to discern the foreshore mud from the very low tidal Swale. Long rafts of Teal and Wigeon; 11 Great Crested Grebes and c.50 Avocets plus a scattering of waders on not often seen ‘islands’. A seal ‘porpoised’ in the shallows – and a text from MW alerted me to a drake Common Scoter – a half hours walk back! Well it was an OMYT! We watched it from the slipway close to shore. Next was the E flood Bar-headed Goose – no doubt lost from the usual mid-Kent supplier of exotics. At least the calling, circling Mediterranean Gull was my best shot at a  harbinger of Spring – lest one suggests the car park Chiffchaff?
(Mike Roser)

Common Scoter © Murray Wright

Common Scoter © Murray Wright

Common Scoter © Murray Wright

Common Scoter © Murray Wright

This afternoon the Spoonbill was at east end of Fowley Island again. The drake Common Scoter had drifted up beyond Uplees but still very close in – beautiful views and pics. The ‘leucistic’ Curlew was on the salt marsh on the walk back. The Bar headed Goose was a bit of a surprise!
(Danny Chesterman)

March 10th

I visited Oare Marshes this afternoon and had a Water Pipit in the meadow to the left of the path as it approaches the East Hide – pale pink flush on the breast too! There was also a Water Rail showing well on the banks immediately before the roadside viewing areas as you approach from the carpark, by a large tangle of Hawthorn, and a pair of Stonechats by the sluice.
(Chris Roome)

March 8th

(07:25-11:15) A sunny, calm and cold morning. There was a noticeable reduction in the numbers of ducks on the east flood although Pintail, with a count of 69, was an exception. Later, a group of nine Pochard (four drakes and five ducks) were on the flood for some time. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming and a Sparrowhawk was perched in the trees west of the scrub. A visit to the west hide revealed only one duck Pochard. On the Swale, the Red-throated Diver was drifting slowly west with the incoming tide and two Red-breasted Mergansers were near Horse Sands. A Peregrine was on the Nagden pylons but there was no sign of the Goosander or any Greenshanks in the creek. A young Common Seal was resting on a recently sunk boat in the middle of the creek. A fine male Lesser Redpoll showed briefly near the disabled car park. A few Dunlin came in on the high tide to the east flood and there were three Turnstones on the islands. Five Common Buzzards circled, hovered and skirmished above Mockett’s Hill.
(Geoff Burton)

Common Seal © Geoff Burton

Common Seal © Geoff Burton

March 7th

(07:45-10:30) A film of ice here and there; a  WNW breeze with an edge too, but sunny. A stroll around the E flood delivered the three Redpolls and five Goldfinch flock; a party of five ‘wheezing’ Greenfinches and a Cetti’s Warbler singing near the entrance gate. Two Great Crested Gebes were in the creek and the foreshore was dominated by Shelduck and Avocets, the latter flying onto the E flood to roost. There were c.30 seals on Horse Sands; two Common Buzzards and three Marsh Harriers were over Mocketts and a male Marsh Harrier over the flood. On the W flood a pair of Little Grebes and three pairs of Pochard were in front of the hide. The Little Owl was sunning in its usual sheltered spot.
(Mike Roser)

Redpoll © Mike Roser

Redpoll © Mike Roser

March 6th

(06:30-10:30) A cloudy start, but turning sunnier with a brisk, cold NW wind. A Barn Owl was hunting around the West Hide, and a Little Owl was hunkered down in its favoured spot. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was ‘drumming’ out west again. 4 Pochard (a drake and three ducks) were on the pool in front of the West Hide. I only managed 2 Lesser Redpolls with the Goldfinches behind the East Hide this morning. Alan and Paul tipped me off about a Red-throated Diver in Faversham Creek near the confluence with Oare Creek (possibly yesterday’s bird seen on the Swale) – a ropey record shot below. There was no sign of the drake Goosander again, and no sign of any Raven activity either. 10 Little Egrets were sheltering along the western edge of the new acquisition. A Kingfisher flew out from the sluice. From the Sea Wall hide an adult Mediterranean Gull flew west along the Swale, and single Peregrine and Common Buzzard flew north to Sheppey. On the flood at high tide there were circa 50 Dunlin, single Ringed and Grey Plover, circa 75 Black-tailed Godwits and 32 Avocets.
(Murray Wright)

Red-throated Diver © Murray Wright

Red-throated Diver © Murray Wright

March 5th

(06:30-11:00) A frosty start, but clouding over by 10:00 with light rain and a brisk and raw NW wind picking up. I joined Richard on what was initially a lovely ‘winter’ morning. A Barn Owl was hunting around the reserve as usual, and a pair of Marsh Harriers flew through. The Chiffchaff around the car park bushes was singing occasionally, plus a pair of Stonechats there. 10 Turnstones were feeding along the slipway. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was ‘drumming’ regularly from the trees around the fishing ponds. A male Bullfinch in the scrub/paddocks provided a nice splash of colour. One of the Little Owls was sat on the rubbish pile behind the caravans etc. 5 Lesser Redpolls were with Goldfinches and Greenfinches behind the East Hide again, plus a second pair of Stonechats there. A Great Crested Grebe on the East Flood was notable, and at (the low) high tide (circa 08:45) there were just 10 Avocets, circa 80 Black-tailed Godwits and a handful of Redshanks. A Red-throated Diver was drifting east along the Swale past the slipway on the ebbing tide.
(Murray Wright)

March 4th

(08:00-12:00) A cool W breeze in wall-to-wall sunshine; a cracking morning after the heavy overnight rain. Walked W initially; 22 Wigeon; 40 Tufted Duck and 6 Gadwall on the W side dyke. 3 fem Stonechats encountered – where were the males? 4 Little Grebes were whinnying – well at least one was! 26 Curlew shared the pastures with a score of Stock Doves – the latter in and out of their breeding sites. Best was Skylark song – vibrant and shared among several birds towards Uplees. Rafts of many hundreds of Wigeon were mid-channel on the ebb; and Sheppey banks were alive with waders departing towards Conyer. A couple of Mediterranean Gulls flew W high and calling. c.80 Avocets were opposite Uplees buoy where a Red-throated Diver was working its way E; and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers (3 drakes and 2 ducks) were engaged in courtship display. The light was superb. Brent Geese continued W all the time; but not forming a localised flock today. At c.10:50am there were 10 Common Buzzards circling Mocketts plus one drifting through the W flood  (whether emigrants or immigrants or residents, eleven is my personal largest number together in this locale). A total of 19 Great Crested Grebes were on the Swale back to the E flood, where c.50 Pintail remain. There were c.120 Black Tailed Godwits roosting and 124 Avocets at the mouth of the creek. The small Goldfinch/Lesser Redpoll flock continues to be mobile at the rear of the E flood. At start of play, at Graveney, c.15 Grey Herons were aerial above the Heronry.
(Mike Roser)

March 2nd

(06:30-10:45) A sunny start, but cloud soon building on a strengthening SW wind. A chilly morning! High tide was around 05:00, but other than the numerous Lapwings there were few waders left on the East Flood when I arrived – just 2 Grey Plovers, a few Redshanks, circa 80 Black-tailed Godwits (one bird in near full summer plumage and a few others starting to show a bit of rufous coming through), a pair of Oystercatchers and a lone Avocet. Amongst the diminishing numbers of dabbling duck there were still 64 Pintail. The only Barn Owl this morning was being hassled by a Kestrel over the field east of the Ferry House Inn on Sheppey. A Little Owl was hunkered down out of the wind in its favoured spot. On the way back from the usual futile visit to the West Hide I got an OMYT as a pair of Collared Doves flew over towards the scrub/paddocks! 5 Lesser Redpolls were feeding along the path beween the road and the sluice. No sign of the drake Goosander in Faversham Creek this morning, but Terry and Barry Ryan saw it there yesterday afternoon. One of a pair of Peregrines was ‘dive-bombing’ the pair of Ravens around the pylons with little success. 7 Little Egrets and 5 Grey Herons were amongst the Highland Cattle on the ‘new acquisition’. There were 90 Avocets roosting at the mouth of the creek, and 11 Great Crested Grebes were on the Swale. 3+ Common Buzzards were over Mocketts.
(Murray Wright)

March 1st

(13:55-17:05) Cloudy with a fresh SW wind after morning rain. A male Great Spotted Woodpecker was around the paddocks and distantly two stick-wielding Ravens could be seen on the pylons over Nagden. A Peregrine was also on one of the pylons. There were 11 Turnstones on the rocks between the slipway and the point, three Common Buzzards hung above Mockett’s Hill and there was a pair of Stonechat at the Uplees copse. A Rock Pipit was on the rocks by the Sea Wall hide and the drake Goosander was in the creek resting on the water’s edge opposite the wrecks. I met Dave Perrin who had seen a Greenshank further up the creek and also a Kingfisher. The Barn Owl appeared on the west side at about 16:45 and flew across in the direction of the east hide. The ‘low’ high tide did not bring any small waders onto the east flood.
(Geoff Burton)


Oare Marshes Sightings – February 2016

111 species have been recorded in the area so far this year 

To view the complete list of species recorded so far this year please see OM 2016 Species List
To help keep this page as up-to-date and informative as possible, please send your sightings and any pictures taken onsite  to Murray Wright by clicking

February 28th

(12:00-14:00) A strong ENE wind. Checked out the Fowley Spit buoy area with Baza. We found a Slavonian Grebe feeding around the buoy and another two on the far side of the Swale in front of the Spitend hide on Sheppey. The bird feeding by the buoy ‘disappeared’. On returning back to the car park we found a Slavonian Grebe over by the slipway on the Sheppey-side – this could have been the first bird we found near the buoy earlier or maybe a fourth!
(Terry Ryan)

February 27th

(06:30-11:30) Mostly cloudy with a raw and strengthening E wind. Straight to the East Hide, open the flaps up and there’s the adult Spoonbill asleep in the south-east corner of the East Flood – nice when things go to plan! Richard soon joined me and we watched it have a bit of a preen and a feed before it flew off east towards Nagden Marshes at 06:47. Steve Clinch joined us 5 mins too late! Amongst the numerous flocks of Black-headed Gulls moving inland we saw and heard at least 20 adult Mediterranean Gulls (and surely many more were missed). At least 3 Marsh Harriers appeared around the flood. A Barn Owl was hunting along the seawall on the east side of Faversham Creek. We walked south along the creek where the drake Goosander was still in residence, and a Greenshank flew in and landed below the Shipwright’s Arms as usual. Sheltering by the Sea Wall hide, at around 07:50, Steve spotted the Spoonbill (an adult and presumably the same bird as earlier?) flying east along the Swale and dropping onto the marsh to the east of the Ferry House Inn on Sheppey, from where, at around 08:15, it took flight and headed south across the Swale before changing course and disappearing high to the west. At least 4 Common Buzzards were lingering around Mocketts. The 4 Lesser Redpolls were feeding with a dozen Goldfinches between the car park bushes and the seawall – later flying back south towards the East Hide. Our walk west was initially quiet, however, a Red-throated Diver flying west overhead and then along the Swale at Uplees Copse was our first of the year. We continued walking west to the next gate in the hope of finding the Black Brant, however, the Dark-bellied Brent Goose flock were Elmley-side and too far away. However, we found a pair of Slavonian Grebes around the Fowley Spit Buoy as recompense, plus a drake Red-breasted Merganser, and later Julian found the Great Northern Diver in the same area again too. Heading back we saw a Sparrowhawk fly north across the Swale, and a  Merlin shot through the copse and headed north over the water too. Finally, from the cottages we watched the pair of Ravens (a long overdue OMT for Steve!) busy around the pylons again, with one or two Peregrines obviously feeling somewhat aggrieved. A very enjoyable session – 4.79 miles of avian entertainment!
(Murray Wright)

The adult Spoonbill was back in the south-east corner of the East Flood this evening (though not visible from the road). Also, I got a surprise in the stiffening NE wind – a Fulmar (the first seen here since one ‘wrecked’ in Oare Creek in April 2012) being relentlessly harried by large gulls and eventually flying up Faversham Creek!
(Danny Chesterman)

February 26th

(06:30-11:00) A calm, cold and frosty start with hazy sunshine, but high cloud gradually building with a light SSE breeze picking up. A pleasant morning though the birding (for me!) was a bit samey as is often the case in late February. A Barn Owl was hunting around the reserve early on, and 2 Common Buzzards flew low north to Sheppey. 4 Lesser Redpolls were with 10 Goldfinches and a couple of Greenfinches between the East Hide and the road. 6 Long-tailed Tits were in the trees opposite the cottages. A chilly looking Little Owl was on the pile of rubbish behind the ‘blue boat’ in the scrub/paddocks again. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was ‘drumming’ occasionally from the trees around the fishing ponds. A female Marsh Harrier was around the West Flood. The pair of Ravens were active around the pylons again much to the annoyance of the local Peregrines – a cracking picture of one of the birds taken by Chiddy in sunny conditions yesterday afternoon posted below. A Greenshank was in Faversham Creek, plus a Kingfisher, but no sign of the drake Goosander which may have been further ‘upstream’ during the low tide. A Sparrowhawk flew west over the flood carrying prey. 14 Gadwall were on the dyke west of the Watch House.

This afternoon I received a text from Mark Chidwick reporting a Spoonbill, an adult bird, on the East Flood in the south-east corner – the first here this year. A couple of the regulars managed to connect with it before it flew off east towards Nagden Marshes. Perhaps the bird seen on Sheppey this winter? Hopefully it’ll be back in the morning!
(Murray Wright)

Spoonbill © Mark Chidwick

Spoonbill © Mark Chidwick

Raven © Mark Chidwick

Raven © Mark Chidwick

February 24th

(06:30-11:00) Sunny and calm after a hard frost. A chilly -1C to start with but in the sunshine, with no wind, it felt almost warm by the time I headed off. A Barn Owl was around the East Flood as usual first thing and a Sparrowhawk flew high east. A lone drake Pochard was amongst the Tufted Ducks on the flood, plus 3 Ruff. At least 2 Lesser Redpolls were still with the Goldfinches behind the East Hide. A Peregrine was atop a pylon west of the cottages fro a change. Another Sparrowhawk was around the fishing ponds, plus a Common Buzzard circling over too. 5 more Pochard (three drakes and two ducks) were on the pool in front of the West Hide, plus a female Marsh Harrier hunting. A walk west produced the adult Black Brant with circa 75 Dark-bellied Brent Geese along the southern edge of the Swale opposite the copse, and a pair of Black Swans with Mute Swans on the water towards the Fowley Spit Buoy. The drake Goosander was still dozing along Faversham Creek beyond the Shipwright’s Arms. A pair of Ravens were keeping busy around the pylons. A pair of Long-tailed Tits were gathering nesting material near the disabled parking bay. Just before I left one of the Little Owls was taking the sun in its favoured spot.
(Murray Wright)

February 23rd

(14:30-17:00) The difference a day makes! Warm afternoon sun and atmospheric as the tide ebbed. Walked west with shadows developing to cricket pitch length. Impressive rafts of c.2500 Wigeon; Teal and Shoveler drifting E with the tide plus 18 Great Crested Grebes associated with them and two drake plus one duck Red-breasted Merganser in mid channel. Opposite the copse the ducks took flight again westward with a cacophany of sound. Sheppey banks were thick with wader species – Curlews, Bar-tailed Godwits, Avocets, Golden Plover, Grey Plover and Dunlin. One male Marsh Harrier flew through and a Buzzard was amongst the Sheppey shrubbery. Brent Geese were in their hundreds returning E to South Swale and Horse Sands. Back at the car parks, Les Rumsey pointed out a Short-eared Owl  quartering the seawall dyke W of the hide and simultaneously a Barn Owl (previously two reported) flew through E and W floods. Kevin D reported the Lesser Redpolls to the rear of E flood whilst the Peregrine was visible high on Nagden pylon. A pleasant walk – rapidly cooling as the sun dropped.
(Mike Roser)

February 22nd

(08:00-10:45) A wet, brooding grey-scape – mercifully no wind – a typical Monday! Two Cetti’s Warblers sang  from different locations around the flood. Two male and a female Stonechat were roadside. The Barn Owl illuminated the murk, hunting around both floods between 08:45-09:15. Sheppey shapes came and went in the mist and rain, but the drake Goosander showed well in the mirror calm creek. Avocets lined the shorelines as the tide rose; a just visible Raven ‘cronked’ atop a nearby pylon before flying W.  There were lesser numbers of Tufted Duck, Pintail and Teal than of late, with just one drake each of Pochard and Gadwall visible. The Lapwing flock were spooked by an unseen predator – Peregrine the suspect – whilst a single Ruff rejoined the melee as they settled. A bedraggled fem Marsh Harrier flew through and a handful of Black-tailed Godwits shared the W pastures with a dozen Wigeon. Thoughts of a tramp to the copse and a ‘might be’ became a ‘won’t do’ as the conditions worsened!
(Mike Roser)

February 19th

(06:30-11:30) Bright sunshine after a hard frost with just a light S breeze picking up later. I met up with Richard on what was a glorious late winter morning. True to form, there was no sign of yesterday’s  the drake Red-crested Pochard. At least 1 Barn Owl was hunting around the reserve. We took a walk west. At Uplees Copse we eventually found the adult Black Brant amongst the circa 750 Dark-bellied Brent Geese gathered along the water’s edge. The Great Northern Diver was fishing amongst 20 or so Great Crested Grebes around the Fowley Spit buoy to the west, plus a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers flew west. 2 or 3 Common Buzzards were around the fields to the west of the copse, plus circa 50 Golden Plover, circa 200 Curlew and a Kingfisher. Back at the East Flood for high tide (circa 09:30) there were just 20 Dunlins amongst the circa 75 Black-tailed Godwits, plus a few Redshanks, 1 Ruff, 7 Avocets and lots of Lapwings. 2 Lesser Redpolls were with 8 Goldfinches between the road and the East Hide, and a pair of Long-tailed Tits were in the bushes to the east. 2 Peregrines were sharing a Nagden pylon, but there was no sign of any Ravens this morning. The regular pair of Stonechats were around the Sea Wall hide again. A Sparrowhawk and 5 Common Buzzards were sharing the airspace over Mocketts. A final scan of the Swale came up trumps with a Slavonian Grebe mid-channel off the slipway and drifting east on the ebbing tide – in exactly the same spot where we saw one on January 1st! 2 pairs of Canada Geese were west of the road.
(Murray Wright)

Black Brant © Murray Wright

Black Brant © Murray Wright

(14:50-16:50) Sunny periods and showers with a strengthening southerly wind. Unhelpfully, I was in deepest Berkshire when the news of the Red-crested Pochard broke. However, despite negative news on that score, I thought it might be worth a visit. I met Arnie Van Orsouw by the slipway who had just been told that the Goosander was showing well in Faversham Creek again. We walked along towards the Sea Wall hide and looking up the creek soon found the drake Goosander resting on the water’s edge near the large wreck. Black-headed and Common Gulls were coming in from the south to roost on Horse Sands and we could hear, but not see looking into the sun, a Mediterranean Gull calling. A single Redpoll was in bushes by the path to the East Hide, a pair of Canada Geese were resting in the field west of the road and five Common Buzzards were hanging over Mockett’s Hill together. As I left, 13 Fieldfares were in the tallest “shrike” tree at the back of the scrub. No sign of the Barn Owl but a boost of four OMYTs.
(Geoff Burton)

February 18th

After an unpromising start to the day with drizzle and a poor forecast I had more or less resigned myself to a day inside, but by 11:00 it had started to brighten up so I decided to pop in to Oare Marshes and see if I could find the Great Northern Diver that had been seen a few days earlier at Uplees. Starting along the seawall westwards I stopped to admire a trio of Bearded Tits (2 males and a female) which showed beautifully in the reeds, and  was just checking out the usual array of ducks on the West Flood when I noticed a drake Red-crested Pochard on its own, sitting on the water. Although it was against the light I had good views, and an hour or so later it was in the same area, just resting on the water. In between times I wandered up to Uplees and saw the leucistic Curlew fly on the edge of the salt marsh about half way along, its traditional location. The Great Northern Diver was crabbing off Uplees and there was a huge flock of Brent Geese alongside the Swale. Carefully examining each one I could not make out anything unusual. A few minutes later a few small flocks flew in from Conyer direction and I checked again. A big  and well marked Black Brant was right opposite showing really well. I noticed that occasionally the other Brents took a peck in his direction, as if conscious he (or her) was a bit different. Wonder if it was the same one that I saw off Seasalter in October? Eventually they all took flight and landed in the field just past the copse. Pretty good for a short visit!
(Danny Chesterman)

(15:00-17:00) Sunny with a gentle NW breeze. Following a text from Danny this morning (thanks!) and after a quick post-lunch haircut(!) I popped down to see the drake Red-crested Pochard which was snoozing (it did wake up briefly) on the dyke just west of the Watch House viewed from the seawall – a very good OMYT as the only others recorded here, that I’m aware of, were single drakes seen on January 18th 2006 and February 8th 2012. Whilst waiting for the pochard to wake up a Corn Bunting called as it flew west and landed on a patch of Brambles along the edge of  the flood – a second addition to the overall OM year list. A pair of Red-breasted Mergansers sat on the Swale off the slipway soon flew off west. From the Sea Wall hide at least 10 adult Mediterranean Gulls (all with pretty full black heads) were picked out amongst the hundreds of mostly Black-headed and Common Gulls gathering on the Swale and Horse Sands. A pair of Ravens were ‘mucking about’ around the pylons while a Peregrine looked on disparagingly from nearby. As I returned to the car a pair of Barn Owls were  hunting around the reserve. Not a bad session at all!
(Murray Wright)

February 17th

(06:30-11:00) Mostly sunny with a freshening S breeze. A chilly 1C when I arrived with a sharp frost. An excellent start with a pair of Canada Geese on the East Flood being my first this year! A Barn Owl was hunting around the flood again. A Chiffchaff was in the car park bushes. 12 Turnstones were on the slipway just after high tide (circa 06:50). A second pair of Canada Geese(!) flew in from the east along the Swale and landed amongst a group of 30 Brent Geese just to the west – small flocks of Brent were moving west all morning. The only waders on the flood other than Lapwings were 28 Golden Plover, 25 Black-tailed Godwits and a single Avocet. A dozen or so Common Snipe flushed as I headed to the West Hide. Male and female Marsh Harriers were quartering the West Flood. 2 Common Buzzards were over the trees around the fishing ponds. The drake Goosander was still along Faversham Creek south of the sluice. A Peregrine was on one of the Nagden pylons. At least 5 Common Buzzards were together over Mocketts. A pair of Ravens were around the pylons south of the cottages. A Goldcrest and 2 Long-tailed Tits were in the bushes by the disabled parking bay, plus a Kingfisher fishing in a dyke nearby.
(Murray Wright)

Turnstone © Murray Wright

Turnstone © Murray Wright

February 13th

(06:30-11:15) Cloudy with light rain from 09:45 and a cold, brisk ESE wind. I met up with Richard on an initially frosty morning. A Sparrowhawk flew low past the East Hide early doors again, and a Barn Owl appeared from around 07:15. A Common Buzzard flew east towards the cottages being mobbed by a couple of Carrion Crows. 2 imm./female Marsh Harriers were hunting around the West Flood. A Little Owl popped up briefly on the blue boat in the scrub/paddocks. 10+ Long-tailed Tits were in the trees opposite the cottages. At least 3 Lesser Redpolls were feeding with Goldfinches along the path between the road and the East Hide, plus a pair of Stonechats there, and a lone Goldcrest in the bushes. After its absence yesterday a.m. the drake Goosander was back and showing well along Faversham Creek just south of the sluice. A pair of Stonechats were around the Sea Wall hide again. With the rain and wind increasing we decided to abandon our planned walk west and headed to the shelter of the East Hide – a fortuitous move for me as, during a random scan west through the scope, a Bittern (another species I failed to see here last year) appeared in my field of view flying low over the reeds and dropping on to the West Flood. A female Sparrowhawk landed on the grass between the flood and the sea wall.
(Murray Wright)

Goosander © Murray Wright

Goosander © Murray Wright

February 12th

(06:30-11:45) A clear and frosty start, but gradually clouding over with a freshening SE breeze. A chilly session. 2 Fieldfares ‘chuckled’ their way east early doors. There was no sign of any Barn Owls this morning. I met up with Geoff along the road. A Little Owl was sat on the pile behind the caravans in the scrub/paddocks. 4 Lesser Redpolls were feeding along the path between the East Hide and the road – an excellent run of records this year for a species which isn’t usually seen here until the autumn. We couldn’t find the drake Goosander or any Greenshanks in Faversham Creek, however, the bright sunshine looking east was difficult. However, there were 1 or 2 Kingfishers fishing along the creek. A lone Common Buzzard was sat in a tree on Mocketts. 10 Gadwall were on the dyke west of the Watch House. A lone Knot was on the mud in front of Uplees Copse, and a female Marsh Harrier flew north across the Swale. A Great Northern Diver ‘crabbing’ along the southern bank of the Swale looking towards the Fowley Spit buoy was an OMYT for Geoff. Hurrying back east I saw the ‘leucistic’ Curlew on the saltmarsh just east of Dan’s Dock (a little elusive so far this winter), which was quickly followed by a Raven ‘cronking’ its way south (having crossed the Swale) that eventually alighted on a pylon south of Uplees. Bird of the day for me was a Whimbrel which I first heard call and then picked up circling over the West Flood before it appeared to drop behind the West Flood, though it couldn’t be relocated later – only my second winter record here, although one or two regularly winter nearby in the Medway estuary. After I left Geoff had a Jay flying low over the scrub.
(Murray Wright)

February 11th

Today I watched a Great Northern Diver on the Swale near the Uplees buoy. The drake Goosander was in Faversham Creek. Also, a Barn Owl was hunting first light over both floods, and a Little Owl was seen in trees near the cottages.
(Neil Frampton)

(11:00-16:30) A bright crisp morning and  a still calm Oare Marshes greeted my wife and I upon our arrival. Our walk east along the sea wall from the car park saw us encounter the first of several pair of Stonechat showing well around the reserve. There were also  11 Turnstone working their way along  the seaweed at the bottom of the wall. There were many Shelduck and Avocet on the mud with over 150 Avocet feeding on the incoming tide on the far side of the creek. The morning highlight though was the drake Goosander who was fishing in the shallows directly in front of  the Sea Wall hide. He spent about 20 mins there before swimming up the creek but in that time successfully caught and managed to eat, with a struggle, two small ‘flatties’. The view from the East Hide revealed nothing more than the usual suspects of ducks and waders  with a large number of Dunlin  present although the arrival together of  around  a dozen Mute Swans was quite exciting. On leaving the East Hide we spotted a group of finches  feeding on the edge of the path and blocking  our route back to the road and lunch. Closer inspection through the scope   revealed two Redpolls and seven Goldfinch who  fed quite happily for about 15 minutes  before flying off. A Little  Owl was present for most of the afternoon sunning itself atop a concrete slab on the top of the rubbish pile behind the caravans. In mid afternoon we set off to the West Hide, as usual more in hope than expectation and upon arrival it was very quiet. However, our perseverance was rewarded when from 15:30 onwards for 30 minutes we had a ringside seat for a Barn Owl quartering the West Flood with several  passes right in front of the hide. A female Marsh Harrier briefly played a supporting role as it too was hunting around this side. After this  Barn Owl disappeared westward we set off on the path back to the road and a Green Woodpecker crossed our path  before we encountered two further  Barn Owls hunting, one of which initially perched on the lone Elder. After a while they both disappeared over to the East Flood and from  the road we saw one devouring prey on a fence post  next to the path to the East Hide. It had  Redpoll  and Goldfinch for company in the spot where we had seen them earlier. As we made our way along the road  back to the car park we saw both owls fly off westward. A fine end to a good day’s birding!
(Mike Harrison)

February 10th

(06:30-11:00) Mostly cloudy with a few light showers and a chilly and brisk W-WNW wind. A Sparrowhawk flew low past the East Hide first thing. On the East Flood there were 2 duck Pochard amongst the Tufted Duck flock and 14 Mute Swans had roosted overnight. There was still a lone Redpoll (there were three on Saturday morning) associating with the Goldfinches and Greenfiches along the path behind the hide. A Kingfisher was fishing in the dyke near the disabled parking bay, plus a pair of Stonechats there – the first of three seen this morning. A pair of Little Owls were sat on the rubbish pile behind the caravans in the scrub/paddocks. A female Marsh Harrier was around the West Flood. The drake Goosander was still in Faversham Creek though beyond the Shipwright’s Arms at around 08:45, plus a Greenshank nearby. 2 Common Buzzards were over Mocketts. Back at the scrub/paddocks, while trying to get an image of one of the Little Owls, I heard the familiar ‘cronking’ of Ravens and located the pair sat on the pylon due south of the cottages, my first of the year – they soon flew off north over the West Flood and headed towards Sheppey.
(Murray Wright)

Redpoll © Murray Wright

Redpoll © Murray Wright

 

Little Owl © Murray Wright

Little Owl © Murray Wright

I went back down with Barrie this afternoon as he hadn’t seen the Goosander this year. We found it as usual in Faversham Creek and again it swam towards the sea and out to the green buoy after seeing us. However, when we moved into the Sea Wall hide it swam back fairly close to the hide and started diving around the saltmarsh in front of the hide allowing Barrie to get the pic below.
(Terry Ryan)

Goosander © Barrie Ryan

Goosander © Barrie Ryan

February 9th

On a quick circuit of the East Flood today from around 14:30 I located the drake Goosander in Faversham Creek fishing by the sluice, then making its way seaward across the creek and hauling itself out on the far bank opposite the Sea Wall hide where it started preening in the afternoon sunshine. Also 2 Stonechats mid way along the sea wall on the way back to the car park.
(Terry Ryan)

February 7th

Following a report on Twitter I went down around 14:00 to see the drake Goosander which was still present on Faversham Creek between the Sea Wall hide and the sluice. Also a Peacock butterfly seen.
(Julian Russell)

February 5th

(06:30-10:30) Mild and mostly cloudy with a brisk SSW breeze. A Barn Owl was hunting around the reserve again first thing. At around 07:10 I heard White-fronted Geese calling and picked up the ‘flock’ of up to 200 in several ragged skeins coming in high over the Swale from the east, however, they soon turned around and flew back NE towards Sheppey – a good job too as there was, unusually so far this season, a lot of shooting around the reserve this morning. Wildfowl on the East Flood included 17 Mute Swans, 60+ Greylags, 65 Pintail, 4 Pochard (two drakes and two ducks) and 88 Tufted Ducks. Waders around the flood included 5 Ruff, circa 500 Lapwings and circa 20 Common Snipe. A pair of Stonechats were around the East Hide again. A lone Fieldfare and 2 Long-tailed Tits were in the scrub/paddocks. A Peregrine was sat on one of the Nagden pylons, and a Kingfisher flew out from the sluice. This morning’s high tide was around 09:30 but was pretty low – 12 Ruff were feeding amongst the Redshanks and Lapwings on the mud between the sluice and the Sea Wall hide. I didn’t see any small waders on the flood, however, circa 150 Black-tailed Godwits dropped in for a while, plus a single Avocet. On the dyke west of the Watch House there were 8 Gadwall, 2 female Pochard and 25 more Tufted Ducks. 3 Marsh Harriers were hunting around the West Flood again, and a Peregrine put up the Curlews from the sheep fields. A second pair of Stonechats were near the car park. A last look at the horse paddock opposite the cottages produced a Chiffchaff, plus 2 Redpolls over.
(Murray Wright)

Pintail © Murray Wright

Pintail © Murray Wright

February 3rd

(06:30-10:30) A bright sunny start, but cloud and some light rain later with a freshening W breeze. A chilly morning with a touch of frost and perfect conditions for a bit of star gazing first thing – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn all duly noted. The only Barn Owl this morning was one hunting the rough field east of the Ferry House Inn on Sheppey. High tide was around 07:00 but was pretty low so not too many waders came in to join the circa 500 Lapwings roosting on the East Flood, however, the wintering Little Stint was prominent amongst the half a dozen Dunlins present, and other bits included 3 Ruff and a lone Avocet. A Little Owl was sat on the rubbish pile behind the caravans in the ‘breakers yard’ again. A Greenshank was scopeable in the weeds and rocks below the Shipwright’s Arms. A pair of Stonechats were still around the Sea Wall hide, and a Common Buzzard flew over and headed across the Swale to join the four more hanging over Mocketts. A pair of Red-breasted Mergansers flew west along the Swale. 3 Marsh Harriers (one adult male) were hunting the West Flood again. Circa 200 Curlews on the sheep fields were disturbed by the sixth Common Buzzard of the session, and the seventh was sat in the trees at Uplees Copse. The only Black-tailed Godwits I saw this morning were 20 or so probing the wet grass around the West Scrape. A quick visit to Oare Pits produced 2 more Greenshanks feeding in Oare Creek, plus a Kingfisher there. There was no sign of the drake Scaup at Ham Road GP’s.
(Murray Wright)

February 1st

(08:15-10:45) A strong SW; dull light and with Monday pessimism, though Cetti’s Warbler sang at the car-park. C.160 Avocets being blown sideways, lined the tide’s edge; and c.2500 Lapwings were scattered skywards in ragged flocks from the E. 12+ Ruff darted about the marsh. Brent Geese were dark masses on Horse Sands with c.45 seals accompanying them. Tufted Ducks were semi-secreted in the lea of reeds – no Scaup here! A male Marsh Harrier made little progress westward; but amongst the Common; Herring and Black Headed Gulls was an adult Mediterranean Gull baring hooded beginnings (OMYT). C.40 Pintail up-ended in the shallows and Wigeon grazed westward whilst Little Egret plumes were re-arranged. 2 Mallard were lifeless at gunner’s feet at the car-park; and the video then watched  of the northern isles Polar Bear seemed too extraordinary even for Feb 1st! No Scaup either at two of Ham Road GP’s where c.60 Pochard (mainly drakes) vied with c.60 Gadwall on t’other. Hard going today, but Mistle Thrushes were singing and chasing in the locale!
(Mike Roser)


Oare Marshes Sightings – January 2016

102 species have been recorded in the area so far this year 

To view the complete list of species recorded so far this year please see OM 2016 Species List
To help keep this page as up-to-date and informative as possible, please send your sightings and any pictures taken onsite  to Murray Wright by clicking

January 31st

(06:30-10:30) Overcast with drizzle and a gentle SSW breeze. 2 Little Owls were calling to each other from either side of the cottages, but no Barn Owls this morning (one was floating around the East Flood first thing yesterday). One or two Kingfishers were darting about around the East Flood. On the flood there was a duck Pochard amongst the 110 Tufted Ducks again. A group of 12 Greylags coming across the Swale from Sheppey had two White-fronted Geese in  tow – they were high enough to escape the wildfowlers guns and the whole group continued off to the west. A pair of Stonechats were around the East Hide. 2 Mistle Thrushes on the wires west of the cottages were my first of the year (99 species so far – couldn’t quite reach the century before the end of January!). A male Great Spotted Woodpecker was on the telephone poles in front of the cottages. A Peregrine was on the first pylon east of Faversham Creek. A Greenshank was on the mud below the Shipwright’s Arms again. A second pair of Stonechats were around the Sea Wall hide. 15 Ruff and a lone Golden Plover were amongst the Lapwings around the flood. The drake Scaup was still on Ham Road GP’s.
(Murray Wright)

January 30th

(14:00-15:30) Bright afternoon sun and a strong SW fresh breeze. A short visit, but watched two Greenshank in Oare/Faversham creek area, as the tide filled. The Little Stint was again located feeding amongst the roosting Dunlin and Grey Plovers on the E flood. From the W hide in lovely light, 6 Buzzards and 2 Ravens were gyrating and circling above and around Mocketts amongst the hundreds of Woodpigeons and other corvids. Plenty of disturbance to the rear of the site as the Barn Owl hurried through – it only lingered briefly before disappearing towards Ham Marshes. Further east, 290 Curlew and c.1200 Golden Plover were earlier in the sodden fields opposite the Sportsman.
(Mike Roser)

January 29th

(06:30-10:45) Cloudy with a strong SW wind. Hard going in the strong and blustery wind – still pretty mild for January though. It was no surprise that there wasn’t any sign of owls this morning. A lone drake Pochard was among the 85 Tufted Ducks on the East Flood, and other bits noted on the flood included just 3 Mute Swans, 14 Ruff, 1 Avocet, circa 75 Black-tailed Godwits and 11 Common Gulls. A single Fieldfare was the only bird of note in the scrub/paddocks. 3 Marsh Harriers (a male, a female and an imm.) were hunting around the reserve throughout. A Greenshank was feeding amongst the rocks below the Shipwright’s Arms in Faversham Creek. Resting on the mud on the opposite side of the creek was a smart drake Goosander – probably(?) the bird present on Oare Pits and creek into late December last year, though not reported since as far as I know (where’s it been?). I got a few record shots of the bird before it sat down on the mud and went to sleep – a species I didn’t see in OM ‘waters’ in 2015, so a welcome addition to the year list. From the Sea Wall hide a drake Red-breasted Merganser was fishing in the Swale, and 164 Avocets were roosting on the mud at the mouth of the creek. I’d been standing there for a while looking through the waders when I noticed the drake Goosander washing and preening in the mouth of the creek – it was low tide and it soon hauled itself out on the mud. Terry Ryan gave me a call to say he’d seen the bird from the path in front of the Shipwright’s but it had spooked and swum off north along the creek before he had time to get his camera. A single Common Buzzard was ‘hovering’ over Mocketts. 6 Gadwall and 18 more Tufted Ducks were on the dyke west of the Watch House. On the drive out I checked out Ham Road GP’s where the drake Scaup was still present, though it only had 2 Tufted Ducks keeping it company.
(Murray Wright)

Goosander © Murray Wright

Goosander © Murray Wright

January 25th

(08:00-10:45) A beautiful sunrise at Whitstable – blustery and a glaring sun at Oare Marhes. Lapwings lined the creekside with c.70 Avocets; and there were c.600 Golden Plover also on Horse Sands. A short view of a hovering pale buzzard with significant white on upper-tail was a Common Buzzard. The drake Scaup was again missing from the E flood but was later seen at Ham Road GP’s (as per MW’s report y’day). A Peregrine put up the shoreline waders and a Marsh Harrier flew to South Swale. 2 Stonechats were at the W roadside and 5 Ruff on the E flood marsh. Celandine; Snowdrops; Chiffchaff and Goldcrests were in the locale, as well as the Scaup with c.30 Tufted Duck and 16 Pochards.
(Mike Roser)

January 24th

(06:30-11:00) Overcast and mild with a light S breeze. The session started as usual with 2 Little Owls calling from just east of the cottages, and a Barn Owl, which didn’t appear until around 08:00, hunting around the West Hide. There was no sign on the East Flood of yesterday’s drake Scaup, however, Tufted Duck numbers were back up to 65. From the Sea Wall hide I picked up a Great Northern Diver fishing off Castle Coote which was a nice addition to the OMYL. However, bird of the morning was a superb male Hen Harrier which flew east across the flood and then off over Faversham Creek towards Nagden Marshes around 10:00 – my first on the reserve this winter! From the road there were 9 Ruff on the flood. On the way out I popped into Ham Road GP’s and found the drake Scaup back on the northern pit with 23 Tufted Ducks and viewable from the road to the Shipwright’s Arms.
(Murray Wright)

Scaup © Murray Wright

Scaup © Murray Wright

January 23rd

(06:30-11:30) A calm and sunny start, some cloud building later with a light S breeze picking up and milder than recently – circa 5-10C during the morning. I met up with Alan Ellery for a stroll around the patch – no Rubythroats for us(!), but a good few year ticks for Alan and an OMYT for me! A Little Owl was calling to the west of the cottages with a second singing somewhere further towards the fishing ponds. We joined Julian and his rope assortment along the road where 2 Barn Owls were ‘performing well’ either side.  13 Mute Swans were on the now thawed East Flood. 2 imm./female Marsh Harriers drifted west. A Little Owl was again sat on the pile of rubbish behind the ‘breakers yard’ in the scrub/paddocks. A pair of Stonechats by the disabled parking bay were the first of three seen around the reserve today – but no sign of the Whinchat reported on Thursday. The ice free flood had attracted some Tufted Ducks back (just two on the flood on Wednesday), amongst which we found a drake Scaup (an adult coming out of eclipse?), possibly the bird seen by Danny Chesterman at Ham Road GP’s earlier in the week – either way a species which is less than annual at OM (and one which wasn’t recorded in 2015), so a bit of a bonus. A male Marsh Harrier was hunting around the new acquisition. From the Sea Wall hide we saw 2 Bar-tailed Godwits on the mud, and several hundred Wigeon were in the mouth of Faversham Creek. A Knot was on the mud just to the west of the slipway, plus the usual dozen or so Turnstones on the rocks.  Half a dozen Bearded Tits were in the reeds to the west of the Watch House. Back along the road we found the wintering Little Stint among the Dunlins gathering prior to high tide (circa 11:45), plus a decent count of 82 Avocets came onto the flood to roost.
(Murray Wright)

January 21st

(08:00-11:30) 0C; another hard frost; atmospheric again, but clouding up with a brisk south easterly. Walked west for the exercise which extended well into TQ. Brent Geese were moving west over the period and subsequently  I found the very extensive flock at Luddenham Gut – quite the largest number for some time for me. Spent a fair time assessing numbers and felt that 2800 was conservative. Two other species were dominant; feeding with, and on the fringes of the geese – Black-tailed Godwits numbered c.450; and Curlews c.550, the latter again as large a flock as I’ve witnessed recently. Could the geese feet have ‘warmed’ up the pastures to provide good probing for the long billed waders alongside? Very obvious that Lapwings and Golden Plover were totally absent. 5 Marsh Harriers were noted; a large female Sparrowhawk was in hunting mode at reed height; 2 Rock Pipits were at the high tide`s margin; and 4 Stonechats at intervals too. C.560 Shelduck lined Sheppey banks and 8 Great Crested Grebes were on the Swale. Distantly, Conyer was ‘shrouded’ in Wigeon!
(Mike Roser)

January 20th

(06:30-11:15) Cold, calm and mostly cloudy with some hazy sunshine. A chilly -3C when I arrived with a hard frost. A Little Owl called from just east of the cottages, and 2 Barn Owls were performing well around the reserve. The East Flood was frozen except for a small area near the pull-in which was packed with the usual waterfowl and waders – the Coots and Lapwings sporting a coating of frost. On the slipway prior to high tide there was a lone Ringed Plover, 12 Turnstones and 2 Rock Pipits. 3 Lesser Redpolls circled over the car park before flying north. I met up with Geoff Burton along the road. High tide was around 08:30 and roosting on the ice on the flood there were circa 350 Dunlins (no sign of the Little Stint), 18 Golden Plovers, 1 Grey Plover, circa 500 Lapwings, 3 Ruff and 80 Black-tailed Godwits. A Little Owl was sat on a pile of rubbish behind the ‘breakers yard’ in the scrub/paddocks, plus a Sparrowhawk over being chased by corvids. A male Great Spotted Woodpecker was on the cottage feeders. A pair of Stonechats were along the road. We took a walk west along the sea wall. A male Marsh Harrier was hunting around the West Flood. From Dan’s Dock we picked up a Merlin flying past Uplees Copse and then chasing waders over the Swale as it headed towards Sheppey. A group of circa a dozen Knot flew west along the Swale, and 7+ Great Crested Grebes were on the water. A Common Buzzard was perched in bushes on the southern edge of the sheep fields. Geoff headed on to the copse where he saw a Mistle Thrush and found a Black Brant (last winter’s bird returned?) amongst the Dark-bellied Brent Geese in the field just to the west. I headed back finding a lone Knot and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits on the mud just west of the slipway.
(Murray Wright)

January 18th

(15:30-16:00) 5 Lesser Redpolls; Barn Owl; male Marsh Harrier and Buzzard. The redpolls were feeding behind car park adjacent to seawall on the ‘weedy’ recently turned ground – they seemed to like the area with its seed mix.
(Mike Roser)

January 17th

(07:45-11:15) Cloudy and calm. A chilly and grey morning though there was blue sky not too far away to the east, however, it didn’t quite reach OM while I was onsite. After a bit of a ‘lie in’ I arrived to the sight of the Barn Owl hunting along the road and settling on the fence posts before it drifted off west. From the slipway 6 Red-breasted Mergansers (four drakes and two ducks) flew west along the Swale – one of the drakes peeling off and joining a pair of Teal drfting back east on the ebbing tide, plus 5 Great Crested Grebes on the water. At around 08:15, while still on the seawall, I first heard and then located a pair of adult Bewick’s Swans flying high west over the reserve towards Conyer – which was nice. A female Sparrowhawk was causing some mayhem amongst the wildfowl and waders on and around the East Flood, which included circa 400 Teal. The 3 Marsh Harriers were hunting around the West Flood again. 2 female Bullfinches feeding unobtrusively in the hedge west of the cottages were an OMYT for me. A Peregrine was looking on from the top of the first pylon east of Faversham Creek. I lingered at the Sea Wall hide for a while which was fortuitous as, at around 10:20, I picked up a noisy skein of 68 White-fronted Geese coming in high from the east in a single ‘V’, they continued high west along the Swale and then over Uplees Copse towards Conyer (seems to have been a bit of an influx around the county today) – another addition to the OMYL and easily the biggest flock I’ve recorded here since 75 did something similar on January 6th 2008. A pair of Stonechats were between the hide and the slipway again. 3 Common Buzzards were perched in bushes around Mocketts. An enjoyable morning.
(Murray Wright)

Stonechat © Murray Wright

Stonechat © Murray Wright

January 16th

(06:30-11:00) Mostly sunny with a chilly NW breeze. Met up with Richard and Philip for the first time since NYD. A Barn Owl was active around the reserve prior to sunrise, and 3 Marsh Harriers (an adult male and two imms/females) were quartering the West Flood again. We actually saw a Little Owl (as opposed to just heard) for the first time this year which was sunning itself in the scrub/paddocks, plus a Great Spotted Woodpecker over towards the cottages. A dozen Ruff were around the East Flood. A pair of Stonechats were around the Sea Wall hide. There were 13 Gadwall and 47 Tufted Ducks on the dyke west of the Watch House. The ‘leucistic’ Curlew dropped onto the saltmarsh near Dan’s Dock, plus a second pair of Stonechats nearby. 20 or so more Ruff were amongst the Curlews and Lapwings out on the sheep fields, plus a few Black-tailed Godwits. 3 Common Buzzards and several Marsh Harriers were around Mocketts. At Uplees Copse there was a lone Fieldfare. 2 Bar-tailed Godwits were on the mud in front of the copse and circa 160 Brent Geese were grazing the field just to the west. Danny Chesterman had a Merlin fly high south over the west side of the reserve.
(Murray Wright)

Nice cameo over a 10 min period around 15:30  today. A Short-eared Owl on W side being harried by corvids, but continued to hunt to the rear of the site; a male Hen Harrier causing mayhem as it scythed through the E side (intent on reaching roost at Stodmarsh?); and Kingfisher giving good views near the E flood entrance gate.
(Mike Roser)

January 15th

(06:30-11:00) Sunny with a strong and raw WNW-NW wind. A bitter morning which didn’t produce much of note. Not surprisingly there was no sign of any owls first thing. 3 Marsh Harriers were hunting around the West Flood. On the East Flood there were just 4 Mute Swans, 114 Pintail and 110 Coot, plus a single Avocet, 6 Black-tailed Godwits and circa 20 Ruff. 5 Little Egrets flew west. A drake Red-breasted Merganser flew west along the Swale. A male Stonechat was near the Sea Wall hide.
(Murray Wright)

January 13th

(06:30-11:00) Sunny with a W breeze. A chilly and fairly uneventful low tide session – with no OMYT’s! 2 Little Owls were very vocal from the scrub/paddocks again – one singing at length and the other calling in response. A Barn Owl appeared around the East Hide at 07:20 and floated past the West Hide an hour or so later – a second was hunting over the field east of the Ferry Inn on Sheppey. 3 Marsh Harriers (a male and two imms/females) were hunting around the reserve much of the morning. A Chiffchaff was in the trees opposite the cottages. A Common Buzzard flew into the trees around the fishing ponds. Being low tide, apart from the many Lapwings, good numbers of Common Snipe and 30+ Ruff still, there was just an Avocet and 6 Black-tailed Godwits roosting on the East Flood. The Little Stint was reported again on the flood at high tide (circa 14:30). A Greenshank was feeding amongst the rocks below the Shipwright’s Arms in Faversham Creek. A pair of Stonechats were in brambles near the sluice. 6 Great Crested Grebes were on the Swale. 2 Rock Pipits were on the slipway. 8 Gadwall were on the dyke west of the Watch House.
(Murray Wright)

January 9th

(06:30-11:30) Mostly cloudy with occasional light showers and a strengthening S breeze. Just a single Barn Owl was seen briefly around the East Hide early doors, and a lone Little Owl was calling from east of the cottages. 19 Mute Swans had roosted on the East Flood overnight. 3 Lesser Redpolls were preening in the lone Hawthorn in the horse paddock, a Goldcrest was in the ‘Christmas’ tree opposite the cottages, and 3 Long-tailed Tits were along the hedge to the west. A pair of Stonechats were between the East Hide and the sluice. 2 Greenshanks flew south along Faversham Creek past the Shipwright’s Arms. A Kingfisher was fishing from the sluice. A Peregrine was atop a Nagden pylon. There were good numbers of Wigeon and Teal on the Swale out towards Castle Coote, plus a few small groups of Mallards. At around 10:30 a (the?) duck Goldeneye flew west along the Swale, and a few minutes later my first Red-breasted Merganser of the year, a drake, did the same – a bit few and far between so far this winter. The Little Stint was amongst the circa 500 Dunlin on the flood prior to high tide (circa 11:45), plus 500+ Lapwings, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Golden Plover, 16 Grey Plovers, 150+ Redshank, circa 30 Ruff, 3 Turnstones, circa 250 Black-tailed Godwits and 10 Avocets.
(Murray Wright)

January 8th

(06:30-11:00) Sunny with a light SW breeze. A chilly 2C start under a starry sky with Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn all on display, plus the waning crescent moon just risen in the east. Little Owls were vocal again with a bird singing and another calling in reply just east of the cottages, and another bird calling from the scrub/paddocks to the west. 2 Barn Owls floated past the East Hide before sunrise – my first multiple sighting here for a while. On the East Flood there were at least 117 Pintail, and other wildfowl included 3 Gadwall, a lone duck Pochard amongst the Tufted Ducks, and 14 Mute Swans.  2+ Goldcrests were in the Yews by the cottages, and a Jay flew west. A male Great Spotted Woodpecker was on the cottage feeders. A pair of Stonechats were near the East Hide. A Kingfisher was fishing from the wreck in Faversham Creek just north of the sluice. A female Goldeneye was diving amongst the Shelducks on the east side of the creek mouth before flying off north – something of an influx here currently! 11 Turnstones  were roosting on the Louise (F1). At least 3 Common Buzzards were perched on bushes on Mocketts and two more were circling over Uplees. 27 Wigeon were on the West Scrape and another 9 flew over. The higher high tide this morning (circa 11:00) brought up to 400 Dunlin onto the flood amongst which the wintering Little Stint was prominent, plus 5 Grey Plovers, 3 more Turnstones, circa 75 Black-tailed Godwits and 4 Avocets, and Ruff around the flood numbered at least 32.
(Murray Wright)

(08:15-11:30) Obligatory walk W on a cracking morning; 3C and some blue skies. Left the E side to MW and walked well into TQ. Initially 2 Marsh Harriers were quartering the West side; and a pair of Stonechats were sampling the ‘E(xtinguish)’ Agency’s handywork; 2 Skylarks were in spring mode, in continual subsong as the sun rose and circa 160 Curlew were in the pastures. 2 Collared Doves flew through the copse (exception rather than the rule) and Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings lined the foreshore. Again, around 09:00, 2-3000 Wigeon (predominately) cascaded across the sky from Mocketts area, whilst later, a duck Goldeneye flew W close to shore (Faversham Creek bird?) into TQ. A further male Marsh Harrier inspected the seawall dyke; and a Peregrine was hassled by corvids but kept its ‘cool’. Found my bogey bird a.k.a. Corn Bunting at Luddenham Gut where 12 Gadwall and a couple of Little Grebes and a further pair of Stonechats were active. Back at the slipway caught up with familiar faces and the morning’s news, and watched 4 Buzzards circling low over Mocketts. At the OGW Nuthatch; Coal Tit; Goldcrest and Long-tailed Tits were loosely together, plus Firecrest was seen earlier.
(Mike Roser)

January 6th

(06:30-11:00) A very calm morning with cloud breaking and some pleasant sunshine. The weather forecast suggested fog and I was in two minds as to whether it was worth venturing down first thing, but it turned out to be a beautiful morning. A Little Owl was calling from just east of the cottages, and the Barn Owl was hunting west of the road. A Common Snipe ‘drummed’ a couple of times overhead again around 07:00 – presumably the same individual I’ve heard on most visits recently. There were 13 Mute Swans and 27 Greylags on the East Flood first thing. High tide was around 09:00 but was fairly low and consequently there weren’t many waders roosting on the flood:- 6 Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Golden Plover, 27 Ruff, circa 60 Black-tailed Godwits and 4 Avocets. There was no sign of any Pochard amongst the 90 or so Tufted Ducks. A male Marsh Harrier flew through the flood, and a Peregrine was atop one of the pylons. 6 Bearded Tits were in the reeds just west of the Watch House and 6 Gadwall were along the nearby dyke. 7 Turnstones were roosting on the Louise. The highlight of the session was a drake Goldeneye sat on the mirror calm Swale out towards Castle Coote – a species I failed to see here last year. A last look at the scrub/paddocks produced a male Lesser Redpoll again, a Chiffchaff (encouraged to sing briefly in the ‘warm’ sunshine) and at least 3 Long-tailed Tits.
(Murray Wright)

I walked along the road to the east of Oare Creek this morning. As I was returning, at 08:50, I saw a raptor flying east. It was a kite species (I saw the forked tail) – presumed a Red Kite but I could not say Red or Black for sure as it continued out of sight and I never had a better view. I mention it in case anyone else has seen one. I also saw 3 Greenshanks together at the edge of one of Oare Pits.
(Graeme Backhurst)

January 5th

(10:00-13:15) Noticing some blue cracks in the wall-to-wall rain promised by the weather forecasters, I dropped down to Oare Marshes and enjoyed three hours without a drop of rain and mostly blue skies. There were few roosting waders on the east flood (two hours after high tide) but I counted 26 Ruff and the ducks included 87 Tufted Ducks (with another nine on the west main dyke) and four Pochard, two drakes and two ducks. Looking across to Nagden, a Peregrine was on the pylons, and across the Swale, a Buzzard on a bush on Mocketts Hill, two year ticks for me. Walking to the Sea Wall hide, there were four Turnstones on the rocks. There was nothing of note looking out of the Swale and a trip up the creek failed to add the hoped for Greenshank. However, I noted a Mistle Thrush over towards the cottages and then there were two in the field directly north of the cottages. A smart male Lesser Redpoll posed briefly in the scrub, and a Long-tailed Tit paused in a roadside rosebush and flew on into the scrub. I could hear a Raven calling from up the road. One bird flew across the road and perched, almost hidden, on one of the pylons in the field to the east. Later it flew over the cottages towards the sluice, was joined by another, they circled round for some time and then flew off south pursued by crows. A last look from the slipway before I left, produced three adult Little Gulls which flew south and over the east flood, a group of four Linnets by the watch house and a Rock Pipit on the tideline. I had raised my Oare Marshes year list to 75 and added six species to my year list, now 103 (all local).
(Geoff Burton)

January 2nd

The Slavonian Grebe was still on the Swale around 14:00 this afternoon drifting east past the slipway viewed from the Sheppey side.
(Adam Whitehouse)

January 1st

(06:30-16:15) A bright, cold and frosty start, but cloud gathering throughout the morning with drizzle late afternoon and a freshening SE breeze. Richard Roberts and Philip Goacher joined me for the duration on what was my 10th consecutive New Years Day at Oare Marshes, with Paul joining us for much of the morning and plenty of other familiar faces seen during the day. We finished up with a total of 81 species – the third highest tally so far (a peak of 85 in 2013 and a trough of just 67 in 2014). The day (almost) began with 2 Little Owls heard – one calling and the other ‘singing’. Our local Barn Owl failed to show during the morning, but one hunting the fields east of the Harty Ferry Inn on Sheppey was an ‘insurance’ tick. A Common Snipe was again heard ‘drumming’ a couple of times. 2 duck Pochard were with the Tufted Ducks on the East Flood, where there were up to 25 Ruff. 2 Lesser Redpolls feeding quietly in the Willowherb in the scrub/paddocks were a ‘write-in’ for Jan 1st. A male Great Spotted Woodpecker was on the cottage feeders, and a lone Fieldfare flew W. A pair of Stonechats were near the sluice with a second on the not-so-new acquisition. Our first attempt failed to find any Greenshanks in the creeks – a usually reliable species though one we missed last year. A Kingfisher, the first of several sightings,  was fishing from rocks in Faversham Creek. Our only Bearded Tits were 4 feeding quietly in the reeds at the east end of the flood, only ‘pinging’  occasionally. Our walk west along the sea wall added several Rock Pipits, Green Woodpecker (one of only two seen), half a dozen Skylarks, 15 Linnets in Uplees Copse and our only Common Buzzard. The Shelduck x Ruddy Shelduck hybrid was amongst the Shelducks roosting Sheppey-side again.  A Peregrine was hassling a Marsh Harrier over Mocketts. Back at the cottages, after lunch, we finally caught up with a pair of Pied Wagtails. A Greenshank eventually showed up in Faversham Creek at our second attempt and after a bit of a wait. The highlight of the day was a Slavonian Grebe found on the Swale drifting  west where it lingered just passed the slipway – after two blank years a welcome return to the OMYL. Also welcome were groups of 8 and 4 Little Gulls (one 1st winter and the rest all adults) flying low east out of the Swale – a good NYD species here. We finally caught up with ‘our’ Barn Owl hunting west of the road around 15:30. I hung on until 16:15, when it was pretty damp and murky, in the hope that the Little Stint might appear amongst the gathering 150 or so each of Dunlins and Golden Plovers, but no luck – high-tide was just too late at around 17:00. In addition to what we saw Stuart Williams saw a pair of Bullfinches (another NYD bonus here) in the hedge west of the cottages, plus a Mistle Thrush, and Mike R (see below) had a Merlin fly through the flood (his GND just outside the recording area) . So a decent total of 84 species that I know of. Another enjoyable start to the year.
(Murray Wright)

(07:15-11:00) An atmospheric dawn; calm and -1C.  An urban Fox was in scavenging mode as I drove in; greeted MW and other dawn watchers who had eyes on an extended day. I walked westward; a crunching frosty ground unlike December just departed. C.30 Stock Doves were on the ‘sheep shelters’ and c.50 seals were noted on the north bank of Horse Sands. C.2000 Wigeon came off Mocketts, dispersing westward. 8 Great Crested Grebes were in the Swale at Uplees; 65 Black-tailed Godwits were along the shoreline and 145 Curlew in the pastures. Sadly no Red-breasted Mergansers, but compensation was a Great Northern Diver, crabbing westward along Sheppey banks. A Rock Pipit was along the seawall apron and a Common Buzzard was the only raptor seen; that is until upon return, when the E flood erupted as a Merlin passed through. A Cetti’s Warbler gave a short burst of song at the roadside dyke. Additionally, there was a Peregrine atop Nagden’s pylon. In the locale Kingfisher; Lesser Black-backed Gull and 10 Little Grebes were again in residence.
(Mike Roser)