Saturday, 11 August 2012

Kent Birding: Cliffe Pools & Oare marshes

Today we are heading for Kent. But before we do there's time for a quick stop at Cornmill Meadows and yet another search for the Wood Sandpiper.
Reaching the hide  and scanning the pool it has an all too familiar feel to it. A single Green Sandpiper is found in the far left corner and then a second one appears.
Common Snipe
While scanning the area hoping that the Wood sandpiper might still be present, some idiot decides that he is going to completely ignore the "Wildlife Refuge Keep Out" signs and the wire fence that encloses the whole area and walk straight through the metal gate and make his way right up to the waters edge. Thus flushing anything that may have been there.
The guy had a camera with a long lens, But obviously not long enough. This is the sort of behaviour that gives bird and wildlife photographers a bad name. Thankfully I haven't come across this kind of selfish behaviour very often. 
Ok rant over and off to Kent.

Cliffe Pools is the destination, The track down to the Black Barns is full of pot holes and it's slow going making sure the car stays in one piece.
At the viewing mound there's a couple of Greenshank present and a Spotted Redshank flies in to join them.
There's good numbers of Black-tailed Godwits and Common Snipe seen and a single Ruff and Golden Plover. An adult Whinchat drops in and perches on a small bush along the edge of the pools.
Brain has a scan along the back edge of the pools and finds a Wood Sandpiper. A really nice find but a bit painful as well as I have tried four times to add this bird to my patch year list at Lee Valley without any luck.
There's a very happy local birder present as he needs the Wood Sand for his year list. 
We drive round to the car park and take the path to Ski Pool. There's plenty of Dunlin here and good numbers of Ringed Plover, in amongst these is a single Little Stint. This is a year tick for all three of us. So everyone is pleased with this find.

Next stop is Oare marshes. It's difficult to find a parking space as the site is really busy. Eventually we manage to park and scan across East Flood.
There are large numbers of Black-tailed Godwits and Golden Plovers. A Peregrine appears from nowhere and causes mass panic amongst the flocks. It's a fantastic sight as it tries to pluck a meal from the massed flocks. It seems to knock a bird out of the air and follows it down but comes back up without it's prey and moves on.
Turtle Dove
After a tip off from another birder that there's a Turtle Dove in the area, "But it may involve a long walk to find it." we head off hoping to locate it. Walking back up the entrance road Brian spots a dove perched in a bare tree quite close to the road. It's the Turtle Dove and I manage to grab a shot before it flies along the tree line and lands on a telegraph wire.
Returning to East Flood there's another surprise when a Wood Sandpiper is spotted along the reed edges. It moves out into the open water and gives great scope views.
Another year tick added today with the Little Stint and it's time to head for home.

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