Several suggestions were made for the title of this trip report, including ‘Feeding Frenzy’ – but I don’t think you want to read about our picnic lunches! Perhaps more appropriate is a round-up of a wonderful day out at Oare, enjoying a wide variety of wildlife and attended by over 20 members of the group. With such a large group it was only natural for us to see different species, so apologies for anything missed in this report.
With a receding tide we started off along the road looking over the fields and the East Flood hoping to catch the waders before they moved off to their feeding grounds. Our first birds were green sandpiper, greenshank and ruff – a great start. On the main flood there were large numbers of black-tailed godwit, and redshank. A large flock of avocet provided a brilliant black and white contrast against the blue and green backdrop in the bright sunshine. Whilst along the edges of the islands there were dunlin feeding – some still showing dark bellies. Some careful scanning also found golden plover.
A raptor flew overhead and after examining one of Chris’ excellent photographs it was confirmed as a hobby – sadly we could not identify the dragonfly it was eating! During the rest of the day we also added marsh harrier, buzzard, and saw a kestrel being mobbed by a group of swallow.
From the hide, some of the group saw water rail, yellow wagtail, little grebe, and thanks to Malcolm, spotted redshank. Outside a pair of whitethroat were feeding in a bramble bush, a group of house sparrow explored the reed bed, whilst linnet and goldfinch flew overhead. A Cetti’s warbler was heard nearby.
At lunch a sedge warbler appeared several times carrying food to a nearby reedbed – presumably still feeding young.
The afternoon started with a walk along the seawall path towards Conyer, looking for whimbrel. We were not disappointed and saw several birds. Some members of the group saw bearded tit here, but others had to wait until we got to Oare Creek.
Stock dove were flying around and settling on their usual perches – the top of the concrete pill-boxes. Next stop was the hide at the mouth of Oare Creek, with a few pied wagtail along the way, and a definitive sighting of the Bonaparte’s gull, feeding on the shore with black-headed gulls which gave us an excellent comparison.
Sandwich tern was our next addition, although there was much debate (and continues to be) about the leg colour!
Better views of curlew sandpiper were to be had as we walked along Oare Creek. Swallow were joined by house and sand martin, and late swift were seen by some.
The final star of the day was one of Malcolms favourites – a garganey. There was some debate over this juvenile bird, but we finally had agreement when the white eye-stripe finally showed well.
With the addition of lapwing, mallard, pochard, shelduck, coot, grey heron, mute swan with cygnets, magpie, crow, green woodpecker, dunnock, wren, chaffinch and reed bunting the picture was complete.
We had a great time watching a huge selection of both migrating and resident birds. Butterflies, in particular gatekeeper and small white, and migrant hawker dragonflies also played their part. Not to mention the galls . . . . .
Thanks to everyone who attended and made it such a great day, to Chris for the great photographs, Malcolm and Sally for co-leading [I managed to lead from the back yet again] and best wishes to Cliff and Sue in their new home.