Oare Marshes 2017

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92 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, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Pheasant, Great Northern Diver, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, 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, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Guillemot, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Barn Owl, Short-eared Owl, Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Bearded 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
To help keep this page as up-to-date and informative as possible, please send your sightings and any pictures taken onsite  to 

February 24

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 PintailShoveler 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

February 23

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 .
Mike R

February 15

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!
Mike R

February 14

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.
Geoff Burton

February 10

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 GodwitsGrey PloverRedshank 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.
Geoff Burton

February 9

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

Pale Curlew Oare Marshes February 2017

Pale Curlew Oare Marshes February 2017 Geoff Burton

February 3

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.
(Geoff Burton)

February 1

Seduced by the official forecast of `brightening later` I unwisely walked W to FSB in descending gloom and rain. Save for the circa 1500 Wigeon  flighting W off Mocketts and a bedraggled Buzzard plus five Great Crested Grebes, there was not too much to lift the spirits. Green Woodpecker and a `charm` of Goldfinches were coloured forms against a predominately drab grey backcloth at Uplees, where a Fox paused to assess my  intrusion. A low tide visible wildfowl count from the hide`s comfort on the E flood produced 52 Pintail; 19 Tufted Duck; 44 Shoveler; circa 250 Teal ; a few Wigeon; 40+ Mallards; a single Gadwall and the ubiquitous Coot. 3 Ruff were the bonus wader. Sheltering with Keith Witham in the seawall hide, produced 3 Long-tailed Ducks bombing westward at 1155 am—-no doubt the Milton Creek birds of same number and gender, two drakes  and a duck. The prominence of the drakes` head plumage emerging through the gloom was very evident. together with their streamlined `black and white` profiles.
Undoubtedly the bonus duck sp of the morning!
Outside Oare radar, Whitstable`s two Waxwings continue to demolish ornamental malus—the birds` number totally un-competitive with the Ramsgate and Malling flocks!!
Mike R

January 30

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.

(Geoff Burton)

January 26

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.

(Geoff Burton)

January 23

15:00 – sunny and calm. A redhead Goldeneye and five Little Grebes in Faversham Creek downstream from the Shipwright’s Arms.

(Geoff Burton)

January 17

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.

(Geoff Burton)

January 11

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.

(Geoff Burton)

January 3

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.

(Geoff Burton)

January 1

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.

(Geoff Burton)