June 1st 2018:
“The weather was very humid and stuffy, a light breeze came from the Swale across the floods. There were plenty of thermals around. The estuary itself on the Oare side was surprisingly bare apart from a few Black-Headed Gulls wading in the shallows. The West Flood had several groups of Mallard and also a group of Greylag Geese which all stayed put for the duration I was out. Most birds were on the islands and surroundings of the East Flood. A family of Mute Swans with seven cygnets and both parents patrolled the waters edge with several Little Egrets dotted around the place. There was a group of Teal over the far side and a good scattering of Coot. Several Grey Herons came up regularly over the reserve.
A mixed group of Gadwall and Tufted Duck disputed in the water. Most of the islands were filled with a mixture of Bar-Tailed and Black-Tailed Godwits, adults in their summer plumage along with some paler juveniles; there must have been well over two hundred individuals over the two species. There was a single Shelduck and a couple of Avocets within the Godwits. Some Redshank were at the island edge and were joined by a single Oystercatcher. Black-Headed, Common and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were flying overhead constantly along with the usual Sparrows popping up here and there.
We spotted and book identified a male Reed Bunting as well as a Grasshopper Warbler in the rushes, a new species for the 2018 list. A Cormorant joined the island birds. We witnessed a Spotted Flycatcher, another new 2018 list bird, catch an insect mid-air close to us.
As we returned to the car, we were treated to a Female Marsh Harrier rising from the West Flood and flying towards the Isle of Sheppey, we saw this individual on two occasions and on the second she passed right in front of the West Flood hide. Another Marsh Harrier was spotted in the distance through the scope but it’s sex was unidentifiable.”