Eight of us met at Oare one of the group’s favourite venues.
After we had dealt with the important business of dividing up the home grown apples and the sweets it was off to view the river. A family with two young daughters were just starting out on their own walk, and Howard set up his telescope so that the girls could look at the birds on the mud. Although it was low tide there were black-headed gull, ringed plover, redshank, black-tailed godwit and curlew. A marsh harrier flew high over Sheppey. Along the seawall we saw yellow wagtail – bright in colour and elegant. A cetti’s warbler sang in a nearby hawthorn bush and several young reed warbler were chasing around in another bush. Several goldfinch flew around and a grey heron leisurely passed over our heads. Seal were hauled up on Horse Sands in their usual spot.
On the crest of the mudflats at the mouth of the creek were 109 (yes, I counted them all) avocets, and several knot. A few dunlin were feeding low on the water’s edge. As we watched from the hide at the end of the creek more avocets were flying in, at least another 80 (I didn’t count these quite so accurately!). Three bearded tit hung in the reeds just long enough for most of us to get good views. At one point all the avocets took to the air and Paul pointed out that with their black wing tips they looked like fluttering confetti in the sky.
Three ladies were watching the avocet back at the creek mouth and one of them came along to ask us what they were, we confirmed that her idenfication was correct – which delighted her – then asked if she wanted to look through the telescope. This turned into a public relations session with all three of them taking advantage of the ‘scope and as we walked back to join the rest of the group where the bearded tit were, we got them onto a reed bunting as well.
As we moved along the creek wall several other people joined us and we had a good time sharing our bird sightings and enjoying the day. On the pool there were several hundred ruff showing their bright orange legs, black-tailed godwit in various stages of plumage, some remarkably bright and others in full winter plumage. Several oystercatchers mingled with the huge number of lapwing and starling. Three little egret fed along the side of the pool, redshank and little grebe were also seen. Along the creek both common and sandwich tern fed. A young sedge warbler sang from the top of a hawthorn bush and two curlew flew over.
We moved around to the south side of the pool and took lunch in the hide. Paul spotted a greenshank, and several cormorants were positioned like sentries on stones in the water. Swallow and sand martin fed, and jackdaw, rook and crow were also present.
Neil took the butterfly list for us and we managed: common blue, meadow brown and both large and small white.
As we watched the golden plover from the road, Howard spotted another knot.
We also spotted a ruff and black-tailed godwit both with colour rings which will be reported. I will put an update when/if received.
Thanks to all those who attended and added to the overall enjoyment of the day.