17 of us met in the car park at Oare for our group walk around this KWT reserve on the Swale. A whitethroat sang from a tree by the side of the car park, its beautiful clean white throat catching the light – great for a photograph, but I enjoyed watching so much I couldn’t bring myself to find the camera. A cetti’s warbler called nearby.
We set off some with lunch, the brave without! My Dad’s words rang in my ear “never get separated from your lunch”. From the slipway we saw black-headed gull, black-tailed godwit, redshank. Ian spotted a buzzard, as we watched a second appeared and then two marsh harrier circled over the Isle of Sheppey, the buzzard were doing their courtship flight with talons coming together as one bird flipped over for a second or two and then back again.
A movement spotted in the long grass by the side of the slipway turned out to be the whimbrel – they seem to prefer this side of the reserve and are often found here. We spent some time watching this great bird, which eventually showed well and for long enough to give everyone time to see it in the ‘scope. Eventually we moved on.
Reed and sedge warbler were singing from the reeds inside the seawall, with another cetti’s warbler adding to the sounds of the reserve. Greylag geese had three goslings, and avocet fed on the incoming tide. Along the side of Faversham Creek we watched little grebe, tufted duck, mallard and more redshank and godwit. A bearded tit “pinged” past us and dropped into the reeds. A lone greenshank was standing on the edge of the pool, and as a flock of redshank grew it felt a little intimidated and flew off. A small ladybird (probably a 24 spot) was found on the path. Near the sluice a wheatear perched on the top of an anthill.
Along the south path one of the group spotted a grass snake swimming across the ditch, marsh frogs were making a splash as they mated. Further along another wheatear appeared, again on an anthill two brilliant sightings of males. As we arrived at the East Hide four wheatears landed on the ground in front of us giving superb views. One stayed on a low shrub right in front of us for several minutes – hopefully some great photos taken.
Those of us with lunch tortured the rest as we munched and watched; a late pair of pintail, ruff, pheasant, starling, mediterranean gull, skylark, coot, teal, grey heron, cormorant, gadwall and swallow added to the list.
Some of the group decided to forego lunch and continue on towards the West Hide. They were lucky enough to spot a little owl showing well.
All fed and watered the rest of us made our way to try to see the owl. Unfortunately it had moved by the time we got there, but we had great views of robin, blackbird and house sparrow. From the hide we saw shelduck, canada geese, lapwing and another med gull. On the way back to the road we saw blackbird, green woodpecker, heard song thrush and that magical and most elusive song of a nightingale. Not yet in full song, but the warming of the throat in the mid-afternoon sun was a real delight to hear. Can’t wait to hear a full song. . . . .
Viewing the East flood from the road a couple of common tern were spotted the whimbrel flew overhead. Several of us carried on along the eastern sea wall to try for yellow wagtail, but as the heavens opened and hail fell we decided to call it a day and we were soon back at base ready for a very wet journey home.
Thanks to all those who attended and helped to make it such a great day out.