Leybourne Lakes Country Park - cold, showery, n 4 - Spent the day `up north` with the Joker, site recceing for articles. I must say standards were slipping as he didn`t crack a gag `til midday but soon got into his stride during the afternoon... This is the first time I`ve been to Leybourne and a very well laid out country park it is too with a series of lakes and associated woodland and scrub. All the expected wildfowl noted including Goldeneye, plus Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Goldfinch and a mixed passerine flock that contained Long-tailed Tit and Chiffchaff.
Funton Creek - Next stop the Medway at low tide where a fine selection of waders and wildfowl were on show out on the mud, if mostly distant. Highlights were 100 Avocet, 100 Blackwit, 20 Grey Plover, 20 Brent and 50 Pintail amongst hundreds of Dunlin, Curlew and Redshank. Due to the rain few raptors were noted apart from a couple of Marsh Harriers.
Harty Marshes - On the island we checked from the usual watch points along the road, which incidentally in one section has had an adjacent, deep drainage ditch dug, so beware. Anyhow, a distant Mute Swan flock held at least 10 Bewick`s Swans, while a closer flood attracted 20 Shelduck, 2 Dabchick and 200 Mallard. By now the rain had eased so Marsh Harriers were constantly in view along with Kestrel and a white-tailed Common Buzzard. A stubble field was full of Starling, gulls, Lapwing and Woodpigeon, plus small flocks of Skylark and goodness knows what else, if only it was accessible.
Oare Marsh - With high tide approaching it was a case of sit back and enjoy the show and the best views of waders coming to roost anywhere in the south-east. Several hundreds each of Dunlin, Blackwit and Redshank made up the bulk along with smaller numbers of Avocet, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover and a few Snipe around the margins. Plenty of Pintail were also on show along with Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler. Also, noted Little Egret, Marsh Harrier, Meadow Pipit, Skylark and a Stonechat.