Oare Marshes

08:15-12:15 It was a cloudy morning with a freshening SW wind and a low tide. Amongst the ducks on the east flood were a Garganey and a pair of Pintails. Waders included the juvenile Little Ringed Plover with a droopy wing, two Little Stints, a single Knot amongst the Black-tailed Godwits and, later in the morning, the adult Long-billed Dowitcher (first seen on August 12th). A Water Pipit was in the SW corner of the flood. Three Swallows flew SW over the cottages and, in the scrub opposite, there was a Fieldfare (first of the autumn), a male Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Mistle Thrush and two Jays. A Raven flew low over the cottages at 10.15 am and, later, one was seen circling over Mockett’s Hill. A Greenshank was in Faversham Creek, a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper was with Dunlin just east of the slipway, two juvenile Common Terns flew down the Swale and a Rock Pipit was just below the sea wall near the slipway.

A short visit in the afternoon at high tide. Noted there were c200 Avovets roosting with the Black-tailed Godwits and a group of ten Bar-tailed Godwits separate from the main godwit flock. Met the three Swedish birders who are doing a Big Western Palearctic Year List. They had spent much of the month on Corvo in the Azores and were now looking for the Wilson’s Phalarope. It fell to me to tell them that it hadn’t been seen since Sunday! However, we had an interesting chat (even touching on the infamous Tufted Puffin). When I left I asked them where next? “Maybe Denmark”, they said, but “we’ll think about it over a cup of coffee”. Good luck lads! They left Corvo with a list of 727 species. Unfortunately, Wilson’ Phalarope was not to be their 728th.
Geoff Burton

Fieldfare, Clouded Yellow / Photos Geoff Burton