I paid a visit to Oare Marsh Nature Reserve today along with my friend Ian. We arrived at 10.45am. When we arrived we was greeted by high water level on the east flood, and a fairly strong south easterly wind, but at least it was dry.Why the warden hasn't lowered the water level from the east flood via the sluice, I don't know.
The first place that was scanned was from the road. The tide was just on the turn, coming in, and there wasn't a great deal of birds on the flood. After a cuppa we decided to have a look from the Sea Hide. It was going to be a slow walk, but the wind was behind us so that helped. Once in the hide I started making my list. There was good numbers of Brent Geese around. Then after scanning the water I saw 3 birds diving for food, and it wasn't until they came up that I could see very clearly that they was 3 female Common Scoter.I then scanned around to see if there was any more, I found 1, a male. so not a bad start to the day.Thank goodness for telescopes.
The other species seen from the hide was: Shelduck; Curlew; Redshank; Dunlin; Cormorant; G/B/B/Gull; B/H/Gull; Herring Gull; Common Gull; G/C/Grebe; C/Crow; Little Egret; Magpie; Avocet; Turnstone; Pied Wagtail; Meadow Pipit; Ringed Plover; Grey Plover.
After leaving the hide we headed to the hide, south of the East Flood, but not until after lunch. The wind by now had dropped quite a bit. Once settled in the hide I started to add to the days total. The bird number was now increasing, as the tide was a lot further in. The waders started to come in, in dribs and drabs, then the numbers got bigger. By around 2.30pm the waders had covered the muddy islands that was showing, After scanning through them 2 good birds showed themselves, they were 1 Little Stint, and 1 Spotted Redshank. As I was scanning through the hundreds of Black Tailed Godwits I noticed one with leg rings (left leg, top ring red - bottom ring white with a number 8 on it), then I found another bird with leg rings, a Ruff, this one had rings on both legs( blue at the top of both legs, left leg, white with white below, right leg,white with red below). I will email these off to see if I can find out whee they was ringed.
The total list of species seen from here was: Redshank;Dunlin; Ringed Plover; Grey Plover; Curlew; Oystercatcher; Black Tailed Godwit; Little Stint; Spotted Redshank; Lapwing; Turnstone; Snipe(6); Avocet; Little Egret; Grey Heron; Mute Swan; Cormorant; Mallard; Teal; Shoveler; Shelduck; Gadwall; G/B/B/Gull; Herring Gull; B/H/Gull; Common Gull; Moorhen; Coot; Dabchick; Greylag Geese; Wigeon; Pintail; Tufted Duck; Kestrel; Marsh Harrier; C/Crow; Magpie, Starling; Blackbird; Stock Dove; W/Pigeon; Wren; Chaffinch; H/Sparrow; Green Woodpecker.
From this hide it is a good place to scan over the river for Raptors, and Owls. The usual species seen was Pheasant; Marsh Harriers; Brent Geese; Kestrels, along with 27 Red Legged Partridges feeding in the corner of one of the fields.
I was hoping for a Hen Harrier, but no such luck, but what I did see from 3pm onwards was not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 Barn Owls. They was quartering the fields between the Harty Inn car park, right as far as the field below Harty church. I was Ian who actually spotted them. We saw 2 here and there but than a short while later the 4 individual birds were seen. They seemed to be staying in pairs. I never thought the day would come when I would ever see more than 2 Barn Owls, like I have done before. You just never know with birding.
We left at about 3.45, the wind had now dropped, but it was now raining instead. So, I had a good days birding at Oare, seeing a total of 52 species over about 5 hours.
The only other wildlife seen today was: 1 Common Seal swimming off Horse Sands, and 6 Polish Konik Horses grazing on the west side of the reserve.
My Bird species of the day has to be the ** 4 Barn Owls.**