Tuesday evening I went out for a couple of Jars with Eddie Denson and Den and Doreen Capeling, Nightjars that is, not beer. We made our way to a location somewhere in Mereworth Woods at about 8.30pm, i'm not being secretive, I was just totally lost. Thankfully Eddie was in charge and he knew the route. It took quite a walk through the woods to get to the right area during which time we heard a solitary Tawny Owl call and a few Songthrushes singing in the evening halflight. By about 9.15 we were standing on a deserted track with nothing but late songsters to keep us company but about ten minutes later we heard our first 'churring' Nightjar (my first ever). We only heard one more later on and didn't actually see any but we did see three Woodcocks low overhead as darkness descended and a solitary bat before making our way back to the car by about 10.15 I think after a very interesting and quite exciting evening.
Today I have been at Oare Marshes with Alan Roman the first bird I saw as I put my boots on was a Reed Warbler in the car park, Alan didn't see it as he was busy filling his water bottle from the piped spring adjacent to the car park. I think it's this water that keeps him so youthful, I might try it myself next time!
The tide was right out when we arrived so the walk along the front to the seawall hide didn't produce too much, but there were plenty of Reed Buntings in the opposite reedbed as well as more Reed Warblers while on the other side Black Headed Gulls were busily pulling out lug or ragworms from the soft mud. From the hide we saw about 12 seals hauled out on the distant point and Avocets, Shelduck, Common Gulls and the ever noisy Oystercatchers all added to the scene.
The path to the East flood hide gives good views to the flood itself and we picked out among others, Little Grebe in fine 'whinnying' voice, Grey Herons, Greylags, Swallows, Pochards, Tufties a couple of Buzzards soaring gracefully on the thermals and about a dozen Black-Tailed Godwits looking great in their summer plumage. Best of all was when I heard the indignant call of a Mediterranean Gull and looking up saw two flying just overhead. The Common Lizard pictured below was found happily basking in the warm sun despite having apparently lost it's tail at some time in the past.
The East flood hide was surprisingly deserted when we arrived which left just us to appreciate the Teal, Gadwall, Redshank, Skylark, Little Egret, Meadow Pipit and Shovelers among others, all going about their business in the sunshine of a glorious afternoon.
Almost immediately after leaving the hide we saw three or four Hobby's giving their own version of the Red Arrows display team. Twists, turns, rolls, dives and stoops all played their part in the capture of their insect prey on the wing over the West flood. Unfortunately they were too fast and too far for the camera and anyway, even if i could have got a picture or two I didn't want to stop watching the great spectacle going on above us.LITTLE EGRET
From the West flood hide we watched the male Marsh Harrier harassing all and sundry, putting everything up including another flock of at least 30 Black Tailed Godwits which sparkled and flashed in the sun as they flew in tight formation up and away in a panic. Sand Martins, Swifts, Linnets, Stock Dove and Pheasant contributed to the picture while we had a lunch break.
We returned via the East flood and watched this Egret fishing in the shallows and the Greylag Geese pictured below being chased by a bad tempered Swan before walking back to the car park and adding Bearded Tit and Sedge Warbler to a list that finally totalled fifty species and some really good sightings.