We arrived at Reculver just after dawn and parked in the car park near Reculver Towers.
Overcast, chilly and with a brisk wind blowing in off the sea, we sheltered behind the towers for a seawatch which was less than productive with just a few Brent Geese and 3 Common Scoters flying east.
RECULVER TOWERS (Graham)
We walked along the seawall to Coldharbour Lagoon and noted 5 Little Egrets, a Common Snipe, 10 Oystercatchers, around 15 Redshanks, 2 Turnstones, 10 Grey Plovers and a Shelduck. Disappointing but, as high tide had been before dawn, not that surprising.
We then headed along the embankment know as the Green Wall and noted one Stonechat, but little else was showing. On reaching the railway, we crossed the line and headed along the scrub-lined track.
The bushes held many Goldcrests with at least nine birds seen and others heard. There were also plenty of Redwings flying out of the hawthorn bushes, but no Ring Ouzels as we had hoped for. Fifteen or more Skylarks were over the fields and a male Pheasant was along the field-edge whilst a female Sparrowhawk flew low past us and at least 3 Chiffchaffs were in the bushes.
MUTE SWAN (Graham)
On the way back to Reculver Towers a flock of around 70 Golden Plovers flew overhead but we failed to locate any Grey Partridges, as we had hoped to do, so we had a drive around the lanes in the hope that some would make an appearance, but no such luck.
On turning down one lane near Chislet, we found that we had inadvertently driven down a private farm track so we looked for somewhere to turn round. Paul suddenly noticed a flock of finches flying up into trees on the edge of a field close to the road. A few white rumps were amongst them and before long we were looking at a flock of around 30 Bramblings feeding with a few Chaffinches. It is many years since either of us have seen a flock that large. Many males were amongst them and, although we could have stopped and got photos, we decided not to push our luck as we were inadvertently trespassing so we turned round and headed back. By then, the flock had flown to the other end of the field and were flying off the stubble and perching on a hedge. A superb sight.
We drove along the Thanet Way to St. Nicholas-at Wade and turned round and headed back to the M2 and then turned off towards Faversham. Our destination, and one of our regular favourite sites, was Oare Marshes NR.
As we got out of the car at the car park, we were greeted by a loud burst of Cetti’s Warbler song and just along the access road 3 Bearded Tits flew high out the reeds by the ditch before dropping down again on the west side of the reserve. Another male was in the reeds near the road by the East Flood.
Out on the East Flood, we noted 6 Ruff, a Common Snipe, 250+ Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Grey Plovers, 40+ Golden Plovers, 15 Ringed Plovers, 40+ Dunlin and 2 LITTLE STINTS. Two Marsh Harriers and two Kestrels were also in the area.
BLACK-TAILED GODWITS, RUFFS & REDSHANK (Graham)
LITTLE STINTS (Paul)
A watch for the last hour or so of the rising tide from the seawall hide produced many hundreds of Brent Geese, a Red-throated Diver on The Swale (still showing much of its summer plumage), ten Common Scoters (all appeared to be females), 2 Turnstones, 6 Avocets, 12 Little Egrets and 2 SPOONBILLS (on the Sheppey side of The Swale), 3 adult and 4 immature Gannets (distantly towards Shellness), a Common Buzzard (circling over The Swale from Sheppey and heading south) and a SHORT-EARED OWL being mobbed by crows over the area between the Harty Ferry Inn and Harty Church on Sheppey.
HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN YOU CRAM INTO A ONE-MAN BOAT WITHOUT SINKING?
BRENT GEESE (Graham)
RED-THROATED DIVER (Paul)
COMMON SCOTERS (Paul)
With the stiff breeze and overcast conditions it was not the best of days for digiscoping, so many attempts to photograph the birds resulted in blurred shots.
We left Oare and headed home just after sunset (one of the few times we had glimpsed the sun during the day).
SUNSET AT OARE (Graham)
Paul & Graham