Oare Marshes

0800-1030  Initially a still and icy dawn and an impressive sunrise. Cetti`s was a low key greeting; a Water Rail squealed and Fieldfares and Redwings lifted off from low level roosts. There appeared to have been a serious influx of Blackbirds with groups of 5-6 common around the perimeter of the E flood—-by the time I had walked the circuit and visited the W hide up to 60 was not an overstatement. Tide was rising, and the mouth of the creek was awash with hundreds of Lapwings; c 110 Avocets with the  Black-tailed Godwits leaving the shoreline for the E flood roost. c 22 Pintail and predominately Teal were on the flood. Seals were numerous, with c 60 on the last of Horse Sands prior to immersion, and also in the creek and Swale shallows where at least another 15 were counted. A cock Stonechat was thumping a large furry caterpillar senseless, allowing close views. A male Marsh Harrier was persistent round the marsh, and 3 Bearded Tits were mobile as the sun came up and the frost thawed. Significant numbers of Shelduck lined Sheppey banks and c 1500 Wigeon went whistling westward from Mocketts. Just 4 Gadwall were in front of the W hide, from where distantly, corvids on Sheppey slopes failed to give up yesterday`s reported Hooded Crow.

Mike R