Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Tuesday 23rd. September 2014

With the weather looking good , I made a snap decision yesterday morning to visit Oare Marshes , and hopefully find some waders . It was patchy mist on the way down , but by the time I arrived , that had cleared but there was a keen wind blowing . I had the place to myself and although there were a couple of hours before the top of the tide , there were good numbers of species on the flood . As usual in the morning , anything sighted from the track is almost in silhouette , but along the roadside ditch ,
a Little Grebe was in full shade . After parking up and walking to the top of the sea wall , the full effect of that wind could be felt , with the reedbeds swaying from side to side , but I was still able to hear a Cetti's Warbler calling and a bit further along , 5 Bearded Tits make a short flight , then dive back into the reeds again .The Swale was almost birdless , with just the odd gull like this Lesser
Black-backed , drifting effortlessly past . A small flock of Linnet was no compensation for the hoped for rarity before reaching the seawall hide and a sit on the leeward side . Much of Faversham Creek was lined with birds , but once again , looking into the light didn't make ID easy . A couple of Reed Buntings on the way to the corner of the flood near the sluice , then with the light behind , I was able
to look through the roost of birds . This was just one small area of that roost , but a couple of minutes
later , this happened , as a Marsh Harrier flew from the sluice to the car park , causing probably every bird on the site to take to the air . Fortunately , within minutes things settled down again , and I was
soon looking at several Ruff , one of which seemed to have an exceedingly long neck . In the gully leading from the sluice were several more , including a very light individual with a white collar and
several juveniles . I wandered if this might have been a male , and the white collar the Winter replacement for it's breeding plumes . Singletons of Turnstone , Common Sandpiper and Wigeon were also picked out amongst the gathered species . By the time I left the sluice area it was past midday , so I sarted back to the car for a drink and a sandwich . On the way down the East side of the flood , I checked the ditches for Penduline Tit and Spotted Crake , both species that have turned up around this time in previous years , but they did not this time , or much more than a few Starling and the odd Blue Tit . A work party was on the scrub area of the West flood , so there was no point having a look there , but at the pull in , several birders were watching a Little Stint , one of the species I was hoping to see . I decided to wait a bit longer to let the light come round into a better position before taking any shots . Back at the car and refreshed , a look from the top of the sea wall westwards towards Dan's Dock produced two Wheatear , but too distant for a shot , and more or the
same Bearded Tits were seen . Beyond the West flood , several Konic ponies were busy , keeping the ground vegetation in check . Another mass take off announced a high flying Hobby , but by the time I got back to the pull in area , all had settled down again , and soon managed a first shot of one of the
Little Stints , of which there proved to be at least 3 . Ringed Plover were well represented , with many
juveniles around . The same species provided a size comparison with the Little Stint , even joining

them in syncronied preening . Other species on the flood included ,
Dunlin ,
Black-tailed Godwit , in large numbers ,
Avocet , 1 of 6 seen ,
Golden Plover , some of which were still sporting Summer plumage ,
and Common Snipe . No sign of the juvenile Curlew Sandpipers that have been reported , but with so many birds on the flood , it was impossible to look though them all . My last shot of the Little Stints
was of two of them settling down for another power-nap , no doubt followed by another frantic feeding session . At least 25 Clouded Yellow butterflies were seen , with probably a lot more on site , as the work party said they had been seeing them all day too . Still lots of Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers on the wing too .
A short visit up on the Common over the weekend produced a female Small Copper , egg laying on
the species foodplant Common Sorrel / Rumex acetosa . She laid several eggs in the area before
moving on , and when she did so , I found two of them , looking like mini golf balls .


Warren Baker said...

I tried to photograph the Grebes in the ditch Greenie, but it was hopeless!!

Rodney Compton said...

I hope the hernia clears up soon - thanks for all your work, it has been a pleasure catching up and comparing sights - small copper on the 22nd at BCommo, no clouded yellows down this end and not many butterflies at High Elms this week