Saturday, 7 January 2012

Oare Marshes 6-1-2012

Friday was a lovely day with lots of sunshine and with a drop in wind from Thursday the perfect birding weather, Thus with a song in my heart and a skip to my step I made my way to Oare Marshes. Parking up I made my way up to the ramp to find the tide was already on its way out. Despite a tide table that Wendy has given me, I never seem to catch it right at Oare, I am either just too late for the tide going out or far too early waiting for it to come in. From the ramp I saw Curlews, Ringed Plovers, Dunlins, Redshanks and a Grey Plover feeding on the shore whilst a Common Gull watched me from a nearby pole. 

Redshank - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
I had decided to go anti-clockwise today and so walked back up the road passing a small flock of Greylag Geese to my right. On the East Flood my first scan revealed a couple of Snipe (sleeping), some Teal, Pintail Ducks, Starlings, Moorhens, Lapwings and Black Tailed Godwits on the islands, whilst in the water I saw some Shovelers, Mallards, Coots  and Wigeon.
I then made my way to the West Flood Hide, you never know your luck – the West Flood Hide either has nothing or a couple of nice surprises. On the way there I saw a Green Woodpecker, whilst from the hide itself a Greenshank was clearly visible and then a Green Sandpiper showed up (I am willing to be corrected see photo below), 2 Pheasants also chose to feed nearby one walking across straight in front of the hide, a Dunnock was in some distant Brambles and a heron flew overhead.
Greenshank - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

Greenshank & Green Sandpiper - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

Green Sandpiper - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Back walking around the East flood I found a Robin and a Blackbird to the south of the Path and a Little Egret which took off from near the hide, fresh looks over the flood revealed a Ruff feeding nearby with Coots and Tufted Ducks out on the water. A check of the reeds on the opposite bank provided a Dabchick. Walking towards the sluice gate a Reed Bunting sat and posed on a wire fence, but not long enough for me to get the camera out of its case.
Pheasant - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
The creek banks were home to loads of Redshank and Dunlin, a few Oystercatchers were interspersed among them. From the Seawall hide I saw Turnstone with one feeding quite close to the hide, it was interesting watching him climbing over the rocks and with his whole head bulldozing the seaweed around searching for food. A small flock of Brent Geese flew east, a Cormorant was the only non-Gull amongst the Herring and Black Headed Gulls on the Swale. Looking across the Swale Common Seals were basking on Horse Sands whilst in the far distance a flock of Avocets could just be seen. Some Shelducks were over towards Whitstable and on most of the exposed sandbanks in the Swale.

Turnstone - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Having warmed up again in the hide I walked back towards the car park, I had one last look at Sheppey from near the ramp top where 2 other birders were with their scopes; and what wonderful people they were initially pointing out 2 Kestrels, one in a tree on the west flood, the other on a tree half way up Mocketts on Sheppey and then guiding me to a Short Eared Owl which was patrolling the fields and ditches to the East of Ferry House Inn. I doubt if I would have picked out any of them myself. A fantastic finish to the day. Seen but missed off the list above are Magpie, Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Mute Swan and Great Black Backed Gull. The tally was 46, not bad for me.
Greenshank - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

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