Having decided to trust the weather forecast yesterday – “sunny spells, light rain” - we drove to Whitstable in "low cloud, heavy rain" convincing ourselves all the way that it would clear up. After a hearty full English breakfast, the rain still fell, so we curtailed the planned local walk along the coast towards Herne Bay and instead drove straight up to Oare Marshes, a lonely coastal nature reserve overlooking the Swale Estuary and the Isle of Sheppey. Our stoicism was rewarded - hundreds of black tailed godwits awaited our arrival. Still dodging showers and hunkering down in bird hides to keep out of the damp cold, we managed to spot a pretty reasonable list of soggy, feathered friends.
Here goes: reed bunting, coot, cormorant, crow, collared dove, dunlin, little egret, gadwall, black tailed godwit, goldfinch, black headed gull, herring gull, great black backed gull, heron, kestrel, lapwing, magpie, mallard, moorhen, redshank, ruff, snipe, starling, swallow, pied wagtail, wood pigeon - audible curlew.
The stars of the show were the ruff and snipe - both secretive waders, difficult to spot. Here are some facts about a snipe that you may not know: