Sue and I set off for Oare mid-morning and had a good trip down the M25, M26 and M20. We had just seen that traffic was at a standstill on the other carriageway as we drove up Detling Hill, as there had been an accident, but what we didn't know was that there had been a very bad accident on our side of the road too, about a mile and a half further on, and we were soon driving at a snail's pace. As we passed the accident it was obvious that whoever was involved must have been very seriously injured, or worse.
Eventually, we arrived at Oare and were welcomed by the spectacle of several hundreds of Golden Plovers and Black-tailed Godwits on the East Flood. Also present were at least 3 Ruffs, c10 Ringed Plovers and 2 Little Egrets. We decided to walk round the seawall but, with the tide being fairly low, we were not expecting to see very much.
GOLDEN PLOVERS in the foreground.
BLACK-TAILED GODWITS in the background.
Around 60 Avocets, 2 Curlew Sandpipers, a few Curlews, 6 Bar-tailed Godwits, around 100 Redshanks, 6 Little Egrets, 3 Grey Plovers and 4 Ringed Plovers were on the mudflats and in Faversham Creek. Sue scanned Horse Sands and spotted a SPOONBILL, which soon flew towards Shellness on Sheppey. We later spoke to a birder who had been seawatching at Reculver and he said that the Spoonbill had flown past there. About 8 seals were hauled out on Horse Sands. The Swale was like a mill pond and there was virtually no wind but still there were quite a few birders seawatching, presumably in the hope that a few of the Gannets, Sabine's Gulls and skuas, that had been seen over the past couple of days, may have remained.
AVOCETS on the mudflats.
More AVOCETS on the East Flood.
CURLEW SANDPIPER in Faversham Creek.
RINGED PLOVERS on the East Flood.
A Kingfisher also skimmed low over the mudflats and headed onto the reserve. Two Water Rails were heard squealing and 2 Cetti's Warblers were also heard.
A Peregrine flew over near the seawall hide and then circled over the reserve. The only other raptor that we noted was a male Kestrel near the West Flood.
Dunlin were present in good numbers with at least 100 birds on the mudflats and on the reserve.
Along the ditch by the seawall, a single Reed Warbler was seen and a Common Snipe flew over calling loudly. Ten Bearded Tits were also noted with six heard and another four seen.
BEARDED TIT near the car park.
We bumped into a couple of birders who kindly informed us that an Arctic Skua was on The Swale and also told us that the WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER was showing well on the eastern side of the East Flood.
We didn't locate the skua but headed for the group of birders that were along the path by the creek and one kindly put me onto the sandpiper.
Unfortunately, it was asleep and looked just like a Dunlin to me, although its primaries did protrude slightly past its tail and there was some streaking on the flanks. I couldn't see its rump or head pattern but the birder who pointed it out to me said it had been preening before we arrived and its white rump and bold supercilium had been obvious.
WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER asleep on the East Flood.
WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER still asleep on the East Flood.
A good bird to tick (as it was a lifer for me) but not one that set my pulse racing.
(My apologies for the extra-dodgy photos.)