Thursday 27 August 2020

Continental Lizards, American Gulls and Arctic Waders - 27th August 2020

Sam phoned yesterday evening and asked if I fancied a potter out today so we met at mine at 830 and headed east to Oare Marshes in glorious sunshine and without a breath of wind.  I was grateful of the lack of breeze but was hoping that the early morning cloud would prevail a little longer.

As we came through Ospringe I remembered a post some months ago about Common Wall Lizards on the church so I paused to find it and within a couple of minutes we were parked outside this delightful building.  

The sun was on several parts of the main church so we slowly walked around and checked sunny gravestones in the process but had no joy. Sam found a Hummingbird Hawkmoth perched up on a window before it careened off once again and Badgers had been very active in several spots. 

Hummingbird Hawkmoth- Sam Shippey

Wall Rue
Cedar - not sure which species

We were almost back to the car when I spied a young Wall Lizard, well, on top of the wall. It posed briefly before flipping over the top. We walked around the other side and found a second, more olive toned juvenile sunning itself. 

Wall Lizard

juvenile Wall Lizard

juvenile Wall Lizard

Pleased that we had succeeded we made to leave when Sam found a huge male basking on the stone newel post.  He seemed a good couple of inches longer than any Viviporous Lizard with a long, almost spotty face and snaky dorsal stripe. On closer inspection you could see several blue spots on the visible sides of his belly.

male Wall Lizard

We watched him trying to catch flies before slipping out of view.  I had only ever seen them briefly at Portland before so this was a great start to the morning.

On to Oare where the East Flood was incredibly low but had a good splodge of waders in the middle in the grotty sunlight so we parked up at the end by the spring and decided to head around clockwise from there.

Two fawn Wheatears around the KWT building were a good start and Yellow Wagtails were zipping over and once up on the seawall a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper became almost the first wader that we saw as it snoozed with a Ringed Plover down on the mud.  The light was pants for gull chcecking so we ambled along and on the first scan back I picked up Napoleon as he plodded around picking up tiny worms from the sloppy mud with his Black-headed Gull buddies.  He was now in full winter plumage but still cuts a dapper little shape with his neat black bill, short pinky legs and big fat cheek spot.

Bonaparte's Gull

A Spitfire roared over with shark teeth mouth eating up the sky and Bearded Tits and Cetti’s Warblers called from the reeds while flocks of patchwork Starlings raided the Bramble clumps.

Down at Faversham Creek over 300 Redshank fed on both sides on the appearing mud with singles of Ruff and Dunlin amongst them. A Little Egret was stalking fishlets in the shallows. 

Little Egret

The sunshine was slowly not becoming a problem with a quickening breeze and bubbling cloud and the light was fine by the time we got to look at the Black-tailed Godwit flock.  Given how far the tide had dropped it was a little surprising that so many were still on the flood. Twenty-six Avocets, six Ruff, 30 Dunlin and 22 peachy Knot were amongst them and 13 Golden Plover and three Snipe were closer to the road.

Yellow and Pied Wagtails scurried around after flies on the dried up pool surface and Linnet and House Sparrows were around the edges.

A resuced Fox Moth cat from the path

An immature Peregrine made to sorties but surprisingly did not spook the Godwits and only the 80 Lapwing took to the air which was foolish of them and four Buzzards hovered over the Nagden Marshes with another standing sentinel on top of a dead tree out towards the West Flood.



While scanning that way we picked up three Whinchats feeding from the small hawthorns and brambles with a few Whitethroats and a single Lesser Whitethroat for company. I was beginning to wonder if I would actually see one this autumn.

Whinchat and a Whitethroat - honest!

I showed them to a very nice lady out taking pictures but could not find the Wheatears for her upon our return to the car. Lunch was taken sitting on the slipway watching a Yellow-legged Gull and some BHGs and reminiscing on past times...

The clouds were now looking rather ominous so we headed for home.


  1. Excellent post. I think we will go over to Ospringe the next sunny day, Sunday, to hunt lizards. I take it these were all on the churchyard wall?

    1. apologies - missed your comment - yes, the wall as park your car by the church. Good luck

  2. An inspirational blog! Lovely to meet you yesterday. I should have been with you earlier you made some great observations! I tried for the lizards but no luck...the sun had gone and with it the lizards! Search for Shalley Lewis on Flickr if you would like to see my wildlife photography. Hope to bump into you both again! Shalley

    1. Thanks Shalley - at least you know where to go now! Enjoy your ambles

  3. Have a look at this, you'll love it.

  4. Here's their blog site, another good read.