Become a member

Help us save nature at places like this. From £3 a month.

Print page

Recent sightings

  • 26 August 2014

    Bird count taken on Sunday 24th August

    Murray Orchard, a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic birder and volunteer of the RSPB, conducted a bird count at Cliffe Pools on Sunday 24th August confirming the following sightings:

    Avocet 1,425 (Flaming Pool / Ski Pool), black tailed godwit 875 (Ski Pool / Black Barn Pool),  common redshank 166 (Elf Pool / Conoco Pool), grey plover 48 (Ski Pool / Flamingo Pool), black tailed godwit 1 (Ski Pool),  dunlin 27 (Ski Pool), sanderling 1 (with the dunlin), ringed plover 6 (Flamingo Pool), greenshank 12 (mostly on Radar Pool), common sandpiper 1, green sandpiper 1 & teal 245 (Ski Pool / Black Barn Pool), garganey 1 (Black Barn Pool), shoveler 16 (Ski Pool / Black Barn Pool), pochard 23 (Black Barn Pool), little egret 43,  marsh harrier 4 (Black Barn Pool / marsh), whinchat 4, stonechat 1, Cetti's warbler 1, linnet 145 (marsh / roadside scrub).

    On Alpha Pool there were at least 4 fledged common terns on the islands. Two adults with fish appeared to be attending unseen young within the vegetation. 43 adults were feeding on the Thames by the fort / jetty.

    We apprecaite Murray sharing this information with us, if you have a story to share or details of what you've seen at our reserves send them to us at


    Posted by Marie C

  • 13 August 2014

    Sightings at Cliffe Pools

    Dave Carey has kindly shared with us details of some of the birds he spotted at Cliffe Pools yesterday evening.  These include a male Ruddy Duck from the Black Barn viewing mound this evening, as well as 2 Curlew Sandpiper still with their rusty red chests, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 11 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover and 2 Grey Plover, with about 600 Avocets and 100 Greater Blacked Gulls on Flamingo, and 4 Common Tern roosting with the Black-headed Gulls there, also a Green Sandpiper on a ditch alongside the Meadway, and finally about a dozen Greenshank on Radar Pool, close to the Black Barn. 

    If you have any sightings you wish to share, please email the details to

    Posted by Marie C

  • 11 July 2014

    Today's sightings at Cliffe Pools

    Thanks to the fast upload of information on the KOS website, I can share with you sightings recorded by Mike Puley between 10.00 and 12.00 today.  Mike recorded 6 ringed plover, 1 grey plover, 3 bar-tailed godwit, 12 whimbrel, 48 curlew, 32 greenshank, 1 green sandpiper and 4 common sandpiper.  You can visit the Kent Ornithological Society's website at

    Posted by Marie C

  • 26 June 2014

    Rcecent Sightings June 25th

    Thanks for the reserve. Much improved since I was there last in 2007. I had forgotten how far it was all the way round!! I hope the attached info is of some use.


    Total species experienced 60


    Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Spoonbill, 2 Black Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Hobby, Pheasant, Coot, 4 Oystercatcher, Avocet, Lapwing, 5 Ringed Plover, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Curlew, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, 6 Common Tern, 2 Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, 2 Cuckoo, Green Woodpecker, Skylark, Sand Martin, Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Song Thrush, Blackbird, 3  Stonechat, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Bearded Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting.




    RSPB Cliffe Pools:- Spoonbill, 2 Black Swan, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Hobby,  4 Oystercatcher, Avocet, Lapwing, 5 Ringed Plover, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Curlew, Redshank, 6 Common Tern, 2 Stock Dove, 2 Cuckoo, Sand Martin, Swallow, 3  Stonechat, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Bearded Tit. – PRH



    Patrick Hart


    Posted by Rolf W RSPB

  • 28 April 2014

    This mornings sightings

    So far this morning, the following have been sighted at Cliffe Pools; 1 spoonbill, 9 grey plover, 10 bar-tailed godwit, 5 whimbrel, 2 spotted redshank, 4 greenshank, 2 cuckoo, 2 lesser whitethroat.  Information kindly provided by KOS.  You can visit their website for more local sightings data at

    Posted by Marie C

  • 23 April 2014

    Recent sightings

    On bank holiday Monday 1 widgeon, 1 grey partridge, 1 hobby, 60 Mediteranean gull and 1 wheatear were reported at Cliffe Pools, along with the calling of a cuckoo. 

    Information kindly provided by KOS.  You can visit their website to see all other local sightings information at

    Posted by Marie C

  • 7 April 2014

    Recent Sightings by Murray Orchard

    Yesterday from 17:15 to 18:00, Murray undertook a bird count from Allen's Hill at RSPB Cliffe Pools.  It was a mild day, mostly cloudy with occasional sun and a fresh south-westerly wind.
    3 Barnacle Geese (still present on grazing marsh north of pools), 148 Shelduck, 95 Shoveler, 1 Scaup (female on Black-Barns 4), 1 Spoonbill (roosting on Flamingo Pool), 260 Avocet (high tide roost of 175 on Flamingo Pool and 85 on Hidden/Radar Pool island), 450 Dunlin (high tide roost on islands), 1650 Black-tailed Godwit (high tide roost on Ski/Hidden Pool islands.  A superb mass of reddish brown!), 330 Redshank (high tide roost on islands).

    Posted by Marie C

  • 5 March 2014

    Shoveler numbers are on the up

    On Sunday afternoon Murray Orchard visited Cliffe Pools where it was increasingly cloudy with a fresh southerly wind.  His count at the reserve was taken at high tide (13.11) and he reported - 131 Shelduck (Flamingo Pool), 905 Wigeon (Ski/Hidden Pools), 97 Pintail (Black Barn Pools and Ski/Hidden Pools), 910 Shoveler (yet another record count - 720 on Black Barn Pools, 190 on Flamingo/Ski/Hidden Pools), 20 Goldeneye (11 on Flamingo Pool, 9 on Radar Pool - total of 5 drakes), 2 Marsh Harrier, 30 Avocet (leaving roost as I arrived at 13.30. Not sure why all the waders left at high tide, perhaps too much raptor disturbance (Marsh Harrier)?), 3000 Dunlin (estimate of flock attempting to roost on pool islands, very flighty and left by 14.00), 500 Black-tailed Godwit (estimate of flock attempting to roost on pool islands, very flighty and headed off north at 13.40), 1 Mediterranean Gull, and 1 Kingfisher.  Close by at Cliffe Marshes Murray also reported 2 Ravens (often seen together, probably a pair), which were on sheep marsh near Cliffe Fleet.  One was mobbed by/mobbing a Marsh Harrier.

    Posted by Marie C

  • 15 February 2014

    Recent sightings at Cliffe Pools

    The number of birds at Cliffe Pools this week has presented something of a challenge. The enormous flock of Black-tailed Godwit were beyond my abilities, so I took a picture, and then, once home, increased the contrast, gridded the image and started counting... it took a good hour before I arrived at 5,257, so, adding the ones just off the bottom of the image I thought 5,500 was a good estimate. I don't know how one of our regular ornithologists arrived at his estimate but, if he was counting them on site through a telescope, his figure of 5,320 is remarkably close! That's skill.

    Consequently I hold great store in his estimate for the other birds down at Cliffe Pools this week, around 5,000 Dunlin, 620 Shoveler, 183 Pintail, and 232 Gadwall. There were large numbers of Teal and Wigeon also.

    While filming with the BBC on the marshes we commented on the Gadwall - such an understated duck, and yet so beautiful. They appear just plain grey with pitch black 'sterns' and occasionally a lovely flash of white in the wings. Our wildlife cameraman, Graham Hatherley, commented on their plumage close-up, "Have you ever held a Gadwall?" he asked, as if this was a normal thing to have done. "The vermiculations in the feathers!" I remembered this detail, the fine, meandering lines through the flanks, from a working drawing by the renowned avian artist Charles Tunnicliffe. What I did not know, that Graham proceeded to inform us, is that 'vermiculation' the word, comes from the Latin for 'worm', and the intricate pattern is reminiscent of worm casts or trails. So,  be sure to be mesmerised by the wheeling flocks of birds this winter out on the marshes, but never forget also to look for the detail. 

    Posted by Rolf W RSPB

Your sightings

Grid reference: TQ7275 (+2km)

Avocet ()
29 Jun 2015
Cuckoo (1)
29 Jun 2015
Spotted Redshank (1)
21 Jun 2015
Caspian Gull ()
21 Jun 2015

Contact us

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 51.45404,0.47706
  • Grid reference: TQ722757
  • Nearest town: Rochester, Kent
  • County: Kent
  • Country: England

Get directions

Note: Some reserves are not served directly by public transport and, in these cases, a nearby destination (from which you may need to walk or take a taxi or ferry) may be offered.