Oare Marshes

It was 5 deg and feeling like 0 deg.Over the E flood, Swallows and Sand Martins were `hawking` unseen diptera, and surprisingly 17 Knot were with the Black-tailed Godwitsclose to the road, but were spooked before any chance of a pic. It was eye-watering walking west; Whimbrels were scattered around the saltings and muddy foreshore with upwards of 20 birds present, one taking time to demolish a mussel A lame Curlew with weed and line around the right foot was feeding at the water`s margin. 4 Wheatearswere in the sheep fields; a Cuckoo called from Uplees direction and a small passage of Common Terns was continuous W up the Swale. Whitethroats; Blackcap; Cetti`s and Linnets were prominent at the copse. 2 pairs of Little Grebes were breeding candidates. From the seawall hide at 1030, 3 distant, all very dark `skuas`, though small, undulated and gyrated W along Horse Sands,quickly becoming apparent as summer dressed Black Terns. Todays bonus bird ! Also distantly, Lapwings were harassing a Marsh Harrier.Small numbers of Avocets lined the creek and a Greenshank called. Both Pochard and Tufted Duck were distinctly paired—the former hopefully to mirror last years success. The sky darkened substantially with visible precipitation to the North , but deep cracks have now formed on parts of the Reserve and the continuous dryness does not bode well for some species successful breeding. In a S sheltered `microclimate` on the fringe of the Reserve, Orange-tips and my first Small Copper were much in evidence, with Blackcap, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff all vocal. Mike R

Clockwise from left: Orange-tip, Whimbrel, Small Copper