A glorious day to visit some old haunts in Kent and renew a dormant birding partnership with Matt Jones. Like me, Matt is a former Kent resident who trumped my move to Dorset by becoming domiciled on New Zealand's Stewart Island with only Kiwis, Penguins (and loyal partner Jules) for company. Was it something I said? Despite high rolling with Kakapo and world listers in his adopted land, Matt is still able to enjoy the familiar sights of Green Sandpipers, Yellow Wagtails, Little Grebes and Avocets (all pictured here) on the North Kent marshes. Reed Warblers, Wheatears and Whinchats were also very much in evidence today. Birds that can fly clearly now appear as things of wonder to Matt...
Starting at Oare and working our way down to Grove Ferry, we were able to marvel at the continuing success of the former and the lack of visible water and mud at the latter, which seem to decrease with every visit. There has clearly been some investment in new facilities at Grove since our last visit, with new hides, a pond dipping platform and some sort of bus stop structure for visitors to enjoy - but you fear the full benefits of this investment might not be realised if the the reedbeds aren't managed a bit more to allow the same visitors to see what's in them! Looking up proved more fruitful, with a pair of Hobbies adding a dash of drama to an otherwise sleepy reedbed.
For images of the more exotic wildlife Matt is used to in NZ, check out his website.
6 months ago