Thursday, 6 August 2015

Oare Marshes, Kent

Today I was in north Kent, near Canterbury, and after work instead of going back to the hotel, I made the short journey to the Oare marshes, partly in the hope of seeing the long staying Bonaparte's gull, but also because it's a place I'd never been to before.

The Bonaparte's gull hadn't been seen when I arrived, and negative news had been put out on Birdguides, but I found it within minutes swimming on the Swale with a few black-headed gulls. The evening light was perfect, and the gulls came closer inshore on the rapidly incoming tide as they picked insects off the water. I watched it on my own for an hour. This was my second Bonaparte's gull of the year following the bird in Cardiff Bay in April.

What a great reserve this is though, here's a brief summary of what I saw this evening:

Bonaparte's gull 1
Curlew sandpiper 15
Wood sandpiper 2
Little stint 2
Ruff 2
Greenshank 15
Dunlin 100
Black-tailed godwit 1000
Avocet 100
Little tern 220
Bearded tit 1
Marsh harrier 1 male

I also managed to miss 3 black terns and 2 spoonbills.

Bonaparte's gull (left) with black-headed gull.

The bird spent most of its time picking insects off the water in a very phalarope kind of way.

You can reallly see the size difference in this photo.

Little stint.

Part of the roosting Little tern flock.

Yes that's the Bonaparte's gull in the foreground!

A red shimmer of black-tailed godwits.

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