101 species recorded so far in 2017
These are the species recorded in the area so far this year. It includes those seen from Oare Marshes e.g. over Sheppey and on the Swale, and on adjacent areas to the reserve itself, west to Uplees copse and in the trees and scrub opposite the cottages.
Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Pintail, Garganey, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Eider, Common Scoter, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Pheasant, Great Northern Diver, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Greenshank, Common Redshank, Turnstone, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Guillemot, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Short-eared Owl, Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Chiffchaff, Bearded Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting.
168 species were recorded in the area in 2016.
For a list of all the species ever recorded in the area see the Oare Marshes Species List and the Oare Marshes Check List
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0830-1030. March was welcoming spring in the usual manner with a gale of E/NE wind; leaden sky and 8 deg (in the lea) The E flood looked bleak, with circa 60 Shoveler the main duck sp in open water, whilst drake Pochards hugged the reed margins The incoming tide was lumpy—I feared for the yachtie who was precariously perched weighing anchor—but the Black-necked Grebe bouncing through troughs diverted attention. I hoped it would come closer than the Faversham Spit buoy; however the plumage seemed distinctly summery and on the odd occasion when light improved, the red eye, and gold feathering particularly was discernable. The high peaked crown was always a dominant aspect. Cetti`s sang, hidden in brambles; a female Marsh Harrier was tossed across the E flood and a small party of Brent Geesewere in the saltings. Mike R
15:00-16:20 Cloudy with a moderate SE wind. The female Eider was still present along the creek. Again, the duck numbers were lower. There were good numbers of Shoveler, 12 Gadwall but only one pair of Pintail, six Pochard and two Tufted Ducks. Apart from the Godwits, there was only a single Lapwing on the east flood and a Ruff flew across the creek. Geoff Burton
0730-1030 Full cloud with rain on the air in a near SW gale meant heads were down in the sheltered aspects of the E flood. A Cetti`s was again prominently showing; 12 Gadwall were mid-water, as were 13 Pochard—predominately drakes. A few Pintail lingered and again a single Ruff was with the sheltering Shoveler. A few Black-tailed Godwits (pictured left) were showing distinct plumage change, with upper scapulars, head and chest now taking on the stunningly bright copper / orange of summer dress. Occasionally the flock would be alert and wary with withdrawn bills ; then it was bills returned to feathered scabbard and nictitating membranes again became a prominent feature. A duck Eider hauled up on the creek mouth`s margin and subsequently lingered in the bay with 2 Great Crested Grebes. Linnets are retaining their flocking instincts, with small numbers atop the seawall—a flock of 28 was at South Swale yesterday. Curlews were numerous probing the mud; some Avocets were active and spread around the creek shallows; others were seemingly comatose in tight black and white flocks—–count the legs and divide by two; except for those birds standing on one leg ! A pair of Ravens, also seen by TR; flew, calling, through the air-space towards Sheppey. A Great Spotted Woodpecker undulated through the rear scrub. Mike R
06:55-11:55 – sunny with a light westerly wind and cooler. On arrival, there was a Chiffchaff singing in the car park bushes (another two were also heard during the morning). Duck numbers on the east flood were down generally but there were 55 Shovelers and six Gadwall. Around the cottages, it was very quiet but a single Long-tailed Tit was seen. A Red Kite was drifting around over Mockett’s Hill at 8.35 am and there were also four Buzzards. Birds of the day were two summer plumage Black-necked Grebes drifting east on the Swale just west of the causeway. Over the years, these have proved to be the rarest of the rarer grebes; my only previous record was of two on the Swale in November 1994! A walk to Uplees proved fruitless save for a group of four Ruff feeding along the shoreline opposite the copse. Back at the east flood, I counted 400 Black-tailed Godwits which included an unusual pale individual. A single Ruff was also on the flood and an apparent intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull and a pair of Mediterranean Gulls flew over heading west. Geoff Burton
0745—1130 A cracking morning; glaring sun; cloud and breeze bubbling up from the SW.Plenty of birdsong with singing Chiffchaffs both on-site and in the immediate locale—great to hear those distinctive notes again! The Little Owl came and went this morning but 4 Cettis were again singing on site; one prominent at the entrance gate atop a hawthorn. The bright sun gave a shimmering aspect to the seascape where at low tide waders were moving W, including a flock of 12 Bar-tailed Godwits and many Grey Plover. A Fox watched me at Uplees, keeping its head below the reed margins and seemingly causing consternation with Cettis and Green Woodpecker alike. Two Ravens flew across the Swale towards Sheppey—with unusually subdued squeaky, rattling calls which I don`t recall hearing previously. A Buzzard circled Mocketts and Marsh Harriers lingered awhile. Curlews were in small flocks in the pastures and Grey Herons again appeared in small groups flying W . A couple of Bearded Tits `pinged` from E flood reeds but were reluctant for a prolonged appearance as the breeze strengthened. About to exit the E flood, I was prompted to look skyward where there appeared to be raptors in and out of sunlight. A Buzzard; male Marsh Harrier and best of all, a Red Kite
languidly drifting NW—all quite high—the latter especially distinctive with deep forked tail and slim, patterned wings prominent, as the the sun caught both harrier and kite. The latter my first here this year. Mike R
0730—1130 Cool W air; bright sun and high cloud. Walked the E flood and creek then to Uplees. 3 Cetti`s were widely dispersed, plus a forth later at Uplees. The Little Owl was mobile around its favoured site and on the E flood 7 Gadwall were centre stage; with the other duck sps much as yesterday—save for the Garganey—–secreted or moved on. A Buzzard was perched openly and a Greenshank probed the creek`s ooze. 14 Curlew were a tight feeding group in the pastures and 8 Grey Herons commuted W . A single Ruff was with the roosting ducks. Little Grebes were noisy and a pair of Coots were half-hearted at house building. circa 400 Brent lined Sheppey shoreline with a small party of Avocets too. Towards Uplees a Water Rail squealed unseen; a cock Stonechat was prominently coloured;and Goldfinches were on the saltings. 4 Great –crested Grebes drifted through W . In the locale 2 further Greenshanks were roosting at Ham Pits; 6 Gadwall were with Tufted Ducks and Pochards and a min of 6 Mediterranean Gulls were bathing in a mixed gull melee, their black hoods most prominent. Mike R
0745-0945 High hazy cloud and warming. A quick visit and walk west; stopping for a catch up with JR who already had found a male Garganey on the E flood—thks for my first Spring migrant! A Kingfisher zipped through ,whilst two Cettis sang simultaneously, plus a third was centre W flood. There were numerous wildfowl , with Pintail; Wigeon; Teal; Tufted Duck and Pochard well represented, plus eight Canada Geese loudly announcing their presence. A male Marsh Harrier was prominent over the W flood and two Ravens jousting with Rooks and Carrion Crows over the sheep-fields at Uplees. Size differential very pronounced as they `cronked` across the Swale from Sheppey. Skylarks were in full song and a couple of Long-tailed Tits were agitatedly house hunting. Four Great–crested Grebes swam W on the rising tide and a couple of Mediterranean Gulls flew high W . Mike R
11:30-12:25 – cloudy and calm. A brief visit to see the reported Garganey which I found asleep on the east flood. There were also four Gadwall and three Turnstones on the flood. Five Snipe were in flight over the west flood and a Long-tailed Tit was at the cottages. Geoff Burton
08:05-11:50 – cloudy, light rain at first and a moderate SE wind. Ducks on the east flood included five Gadwall, 20 Pintail, 21 Shoveler and 11Pochard whilst 36 Tufted Ducks had relocated to the west main dyke. A female Great Spotted Woodpecker paused briefly at the cottages before heading east and two adult Mediterranean Gulls flew SE over the east flood; two additions to the year list. Four Red-breasted Mergansers, three drakes and a duck, were on the Swale east of the slipway and a flock of c10 Goldfinches were on the saltmarsh by Dan’s Dock. Geoff Burton
0830—1030 A cool SW breeze, but at least some half decent light in a cloudy sky. A slow walk, predominately round the E flood, although for starters the Little Owl gave good views from one of its favoured spots.On the E flood eight Gadwall were seemingly paired; a pair of Pochards increased to twelve, with several smart males appearing from the cover of reeds. c 30 Tufted Ducks were hunkered down, loafing in the lee, as they seem inevitably to do. Pintail; Shoveler and Teal made up the numbers with 16 Shelduck a tight knit group disputing potential partners. Greylagshave it sorted, so long as the cattle don`t scoff every tussock. That said, the hundreds of Lapwings , roosting primarily on the grazed areas, attracted a couple of Ruff within their scattered numbers. Best of all, distinctive`pinging` revealed two Bearded Tits in the reed-beds, the male a class apart with blue-grey head and drooping moustache. Black-tailed Godwits were in `low-tide` numbers, and c 25 seals were visible on Horse Sands. Cetti`s sang at the car-park; a Green Woodpecker sought ground sustenance; Skylarks were half-hearted at choral practice; Stock Doves were frenzied; and Grey Herons were on excursions from their near heronry—where clouds of Rooks and Jackdaws are into Spring with a vengeance. Bombus sps are ignorant of the cool conditions, and hedgerows are bursting with blossom. Optimism by mid-month for migrants as Spring beckons! Mike R
1000—1300. A brisk W/NW was a tad eye-watering; but after yesterday`s blow it seemed pedestrian. A pair of Red-breasted Mergansers flew W , whilst Sheppey skyline was seemingly inundated with Lapwings; long ragged lines of ca. two thousand with c 150 Golden Plover separate in a tight wheeling flock .Marsh Harriers were active along the saltings and around Mocketts, and a couple of Buzzards were noted. In the W flood main dyke 52 Tufted Duck and 18 Wigeon were in sheltered accomodation, as were the majority of Pintail, Shoveler and Teal, secreted in the reedy margins of the E flood. ca 180 Avocets were temporarily in residence, but as the tide ebbed numbers dwindled. There were a number of very visible ringed Black-tailed Godwits—at least the legs were visible, with indeterminate bodies, amongst the flock of five hundred or so birds. Sequences of yell/org/red; yell/black/white; blk/red/grn; and red/ blk/grn should be easily evaluated as to the birds` provenance.( Will check them out—plus my ability to colour read ! ). Skylarks were vocal; Greylags were sorting their pitches; and a couple of Ruff were amongst the roosting Teal and Shoveler. Pleased to find a (the) Little Owl at one of its favourite vantage points—for me , noticable by its absence to date ! Mike R
0800–0930 Feeling masochistic, I thought I would test Doris`s wrath and the effect it was having on Oare`s birdlife. A 200 m battering to the seawall hide; composure and a hot coffee, provided the following. Lapwings were tossed in ragged lines, or facing the wind—crests parallel with the upper body—unsteady in the gusting violence; Black-tailed Godwits swept in low over the seawall; Avocets , startlingly black and white against a grey sea-scape; Teal bobbing unconcerned on the incoming tide; Dunlins , a compact cloud manoeuvring high and low; Brent Geese leaving the last vestiges of zostera for arable pastures; gulls various, carefree, hanging, blown skyward; single Curlews wading tibia deep, scooped up at speed and tossed eastward; Turnstones probing bladderwrack in unconcerned attitudes; Great-crested Grebes, nonchalant in diving mode, in the wind-torn water which was in dark formations blown in the opposite direction to the incoming tide. This had a water-calming effect in the Swale with a grey and white rippling towards the NE. Amid a gathering off-shore violence, Sheppey features became misted through a `wall` of intense rain. Fast flying Shelducks appeared head-on out of the gloom, flying inches above the water to make for the reedy respite of E flood margins. Seals were inquisitive, heads up, working the creek`s shallows, relishing it seemed,the turbulence. The hide thumped—-unsurprising in a direct SW/NE tempest ! Daylight appeared in the form of a sunny interval, but the wind increased its severity .
0900—1115 A walk westward was a 2 hour `raptorial` bonanza. The sun provided some warmth against a fresh SE breeze. Scanning the low tide vista, it was apparent there was a lot of avian movement, with an immediate sight of 2 Buzzards; a female Marsh Harrier; a ring-tail Hen Harrier and Sparrowhawk all circling/skirmishing/chasing around Mocketts and Sheppey banks. The sunlight provided far better visability than has been the the case recently. With Cetti`s singing from the carpark reedbed, everything had a distinctly spring-like overture. 15 Greylags loudly dropped into the W flood; Skylarks were audible; 22 Goldfinches worked the saltings and a further large female Sparrowhawk hugged the margin of the near saltmarsh, periodically dropping to ground as it swept through. 24 Stockdoves were evenly spread round the sheep shelters—what a rise in temperature does to the avian brain! A Green Woodpecker probed the tussocks and 4 Gadwall and c 70 Teal were in the W flood dykes. At Uplees, a further 2 Buzzards emerged from the copse and were joined by a third as they flew languidly across to Sheppey, one distinctly smaller than the other two.The sunlight had awakened Marsh Harriers with a further count of 8 along the saltings and around Mocketts, with male plumages distinctive at some distance. Finally a Peregrine joined the circus performance, winging along the crest of Harty hill, with somewhat speedier intent than the Buzzards hanging in the updraught. A great couple of hours– without a Kestrel!
14:40-17:10 – Sunny with a light SE wind and a return to mild weather (11.5 C). There were five Pochard on the east flood, the first I’ve seen here this year, and also 26 Pintail. 150 Avocets were roosting on the flood at high tide and a single Ruff was also noted. 11 Turnstones gathered on the slipway. At dusk, a Peregrine circled over the flood before heading SW. In the scrub at dusk, 43 Fieldfares and a single Redwing appeared.
0930–1215 A tad less numbing today at 3deg , but layers of murk borne on the NE air made it a still uncomfortable walk—westwards into TQ to Luddenham Gut. Waders hugged the shoreline as the tide rose; a mix of Black-tailed Godwits, Grey Plover; Redshank and Curlew. c 400 Shelduck were in the lea of Harty marshes; 2 drakes and a duck Red-breasted Merganser were off Uplees and a Buzzard had the wind up its tail in direct flight westward. A female Marsh Harrier lingered around Uplees whilst the main drain in TQ held most of the wildfowl. Dismissing the decoys of Pintail, Wigeon, Teal and aberrant Scaup; the 60+ Mallard were the numbers winners with Teal and four Gadwall supporting. 4 Little Grebes were on the Swale with 3 Great Crested Grebes. The vulnerability of the seawall at Luddenham Gut is easily seen, with high water jetsam inches from topping. A Rock Pipit was on the seawall margin as I returned. In the Oare locale, 4 Greenshank were feeding together in the shallows of the pond adjacent to Oare creek—easily seen from a vehicle but flighty otherwise. Mike R
08:25-11:45 – cloudy and cold with a moderate NE wind. Ducks included four Gadwall on the east flood and there were 130 Avocets roosting there at high tide. Most surprising was my first sighting for years of the “pale” Curlew in the saltmarsh west of the slipway where it was habitually seen for many years.
0815—1000 The registering plus 2 deg seemed significantly below that, in a cutting NE breeze and fine sleet showers. With the murk thrown in, it seemed daylight was unlikely to happen today, with the landscape forty shades of grey and merging with the Swale waters ! A female Marsh Harrier quartered the W side dykes ; a female Stonechat was in the rank grassland E side whilst the flood was barren save for the ubiquitous Coots; and a handful of Teal; Mallard and Shoveler. With the rising tide, Dunlin in scores were at the water`s edge; Avocets swept the margins and started to depart to E flood roost; Brent were misty silhouettes along Harty banks and Horse Sands and a couple of well marked Bar-tailed Godwits with Grey Plovers were off the seawall hide with circa 250 Lapwings in sentinel pose facing the weather. Less than ten small passerines made an appearance on the circuit—at least the ground is presently not frozen solid; so where brambles and rough terrain remain, following significant clearance, there is some cover! A large female Sparrowhawk bombed through at reedbed height- probably seeing more buntings and pipits than I did. The Avocets gradually formed a tight knit phalanx on the flood with numbers quickly to 120+. Thank God for thermals and hot coffee! Mike R
08:05-12:00 – sunny with a moderate SE wind. Two Canada Geese flew west over the car park. There were two Tufted Ducks on the west main dyke and there were 52 on the east flood (a significant increase but still no Pochard). There were also four Gadwall on the east flood and 16 Greylag Geese came in. A Redwing in the hedge opposite the cottages was the first this year. A Kingfisher was by the sluice and there were three Ruff amongst roosting Lapwings at the mouth of the creek. A female Stonechat at Dan’s Dock was the only one recorded and, at Uplees, there was a flock of 12 Goldfinches.
15:20-16:45 – sunny, calm and high tide. A drake Tufted Duck was on the east flood and a Common Buzzard flew west low over the flood. A flock of 12 Fieldfares flew east towards the creek and another 18 were perched in trees east of the cottages. A Peregrine was perched on the second Nagden pylon, a few Bearded Tits could be heard calling in the reeds by the creek and there were two Little Grebes in the creek.
14:40-16:35 – sunny and calm but below freezing. The east flood was entirely frozen with very few duck present. A single Ringed Plover at the mouth of Faversham Creek was the first I have seen here this year. Across from the creek, a single Corn Bunting was perched in one of the sea wall bushes and two Skylarks were circling around over trhe saltmarsh. Three Fieldfares flew across the east flood towards the creek and another 28 were perched in the tall trees to the west of the scrub.
15:00 – sunny and calm. A redhead Goldeneye and five Little Grebes in Faversham Creek downstream from the Shipwright’s Arms.
08:15-13:00 – sunny and calm, frosty with the east flood mainly frozen. A single Canada Goose was at the bottom of the slipway. Birds on the open water of the east flood included a pair of Mute Swans still with their five cygnets in tow and a single Little Grebe. The scrub to the east of the cottages was noticeably devoid of small birds. A Peregrine was on the Nagden pylons, a Greenshank was feeding at the mouth of the creek and c300 Golden Plovers were on Horse Sands. A walk to Uplees produced five Great Crested Grebes on the Swale, a flock of 20 Goldfinches, two Rock Pipits and at least five Skylarks on the saltmarsh. On the return, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers flew down the Swale and landed behind Horse Sands and a sleeping female Common Scoter was between the slipway and Horse Sands.
11:50-14:30 – Sunny and mild with a fresh westerly wind. Visiting at high tide. On arrival, I met John Cantelo and Chris Cox as they were leaving. They had seen a ringtail Hen Harrier over Mockett’s Hill. A Kingfisher flew across the road onto the west side. There was the usual flocks of Black-tailed Godwits and Avocets on the east flood but only two Golden Plovers and five Ruff. A single Gadwall and nine Tufted Ducks were on the main dyke by the west flood. A flock of 14 Greylag Geese circled over the east flood several times before setting down on the water. Five Fieldfares flew across the creek heading towards the cottages.
08:30-12:45 Sunny with a light westerly wind. A very hard frost had frozen the east flood overnight but thi showed signs of thawing during the morning. A Water Rail was feeding in the open along the side of the road. Two drake Red-breasted Mergansers flew up the Swale. A walk up to Uplees found very little. A Rock Pipit was feedinng along the shoreline and a Kingfisher flew across the saltmarsh towards Dan’s Dock. Looking across the Swale on the return, a Buzzard wasperched on Mockett’s Hill, a Short-eared Owl circled over the hill and then headed east towards Sayes Court and a ringtail Hen Harrier was harrassing a Marsh Harrier that was trailing something from its legs (earlier Ted Lee had seen male Hen Harrier flying east across the east flood). The ice on the west main dyke was thawing and seven Gadwall had appeared. Another two Rock Pipits were feeding along the shoreline between the slipway and the creek. 150 Avocets were roosting in front of the sea wall hide and a Peregrine was roosting on the Nagden pylons. A single Fieldfare and Mistle Thrush flew into the trees to the south of the east hide. Back at the east flood, a single Little Grebe was present and c20 Greenfinches were in the scrub behind the sea wall.
14:05-16:20 Cloudy, dull with a little rain. A brief visit in the afternoon to kick off the year. An Egyptian Goose, that flew acoss the creek and continued up the Swale at 3.25 pm, and a Barn Owl hunting along the sea wall by th ee ast flood were the only birds of note.