With more 'brownie points' than you could waggle a stick at , I set off yesterday morning to use some of them , not for the first time not knowing where I would finish up . The North Kent coast looked as if it was going to get any sunshine that was going , and by the time I got onto the M20 , I had decided that Oare Marshes was going to be the place to be . Mind you , as I climbed Wrotham Hill , headlights and fog lights were the order of the day , and I was questioning my decision . Dropping down the other side towards Maidstone , the fog cleared somewhat , but very little sign of brightness in the direction I was heading . I arrived at the Kent Wildlife Trust reserve in overcast conditions and no sign of any other birder . Half way down to the car park , I pulled into the lay-by , to have a look at the East flood . The tide was just about full , so there were a good number of species around . My
keeping their distance . Just before reaching the sluice , another pair of LBJs flew across in front of me and landed on the flooded saltmarsh . One disappeared completely , but I managed to find the
Passing the sluice and heading for the East Hide , a Kingfisher passed me , heading back towards the sluice , a favoured fishing spot I believe . I had a good look at the area where I had the Penduline Tit on my last visit , and even though the sun had broken through , there was no sign . It was heard the following day , but nothing since . Crossing the track to the car park , I found a few Redwings amongst the Hawthorn scrub , along with many Blackbirds and good numbers of House Sparrows . Heading for the West Hide , I got 'pinged' from the ditch on the right , and eventually saw three Bearded Tits , but so fleeting I didn't manage a shot . They disappeared into another reedbed , still
'pinging' . Almost at the hide , a pair of Stonechat , this time the male was the poser and the female the shy one . The view from the hide was disappointing to say the least , just a single Coot and several ponies grazing in the distance . Retracing my steps back to the track , the Bearded Tits had obviously moved on . Walking back passed the lay-by where I had stopped earlier , the light was
much improved , and the colours on the three Plovers showed better . On another island further out ,
it appeared that it was Golden Plover and Dunlin only territory , and this was just one small part of
the island . Even though , Golden Plover were still flying in and trying to find room to land . Some
chose spots away from the throng , perhaps for a bit of peace and quiet ? Mind you , with many
Lapwing / Peewit / Green Plover around , peace and quiet was a rare commodity . Some , like this
drake Teal , just got their head down regardless . A few shots of a fly by Common Gull were also
possible with the improved conditions . A last look for the Penduline Tit had the same result as earlier . With 53 species recorded , I decided to try for the Barn Owl on my way home , but on the
way into Oare village saw some brown lumps in one of the fields . The lumps turned out to be 7 Grey Partridge , arguably the rarest species if the day , and finished off the visit nicely .
I arrived at the Barn Owl site just as the light was going , and didn't have long to wait for the female to appear . She flew towards her favoured fence post , but just before landing on it , swooped onto the ground below it . She didn't reappear for a few minutes , but when she did , she had her tea in her
talons , and flew straight back to where she had come from . Well , you can't win them all . I headed off for my dinner , the species count up to 55 on the day .