Champions of the Flyway!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Oare Marshes, Kent - 2nd August 2009 (2)

Brief, digiscoped films of: Curlew Sandpipers, Black-tailed Godwits & Dunlins - Greenshank - Green Sandpiper - Ruff & Redshank - Avocet - Wood Sandpipers - and Curlew Sandpiper & Lapwings.

A lazy Sunday afternoon (and evening) in north Kent with Laurence and Phil, courtesy of the former's angelically-patient driving and new-ish motor (the green one sadly passed on, to be replaced by a slightly newer model). Only an hour and a half out of Hackney via the tunnel and the M2, exiting the motorway via quiet, narrow roads and straight into a bucolic, thatched-cottage postcard.

And a lovely reserve - tucked away and un-signposted, just beyond the sea defences overlooking east Sheppey, and an easy, productive and impressive wetland chocful of close-up, accommodating waders. In with a bullet on the fantasy local patch list.

Almost all gave great views (although most just beyond the reach of the DSLR), with swirling masses of Black-tailed Godwits and Redshanks, many Golden Plovers, Dunlin and Lapwings, liberally scattered Avocets, Greenshanks, Whimbrel and Ruff, a few Green Sandpipers, two very lovely Wood Sandpipers, and no less than thirteen Curlew Sandpipers, including eleven lined up together in various stages of moult (from bright crimson to almost-winter plumage grey).

With the requisite semi-residents (Marsh Harrier, Little Egret, Med Gull) and a few ducks (Teal, Gadwall, Shoveler, Shelduck etc.), this small, perfectly-formed wetland presented a fine late-summer / early autumn scene. After the Naze a couple of weeks ago, my thirst for summer-plumage waders direct from their breeding grounds is thus wholly quenched.