RSPB
Skip navigation
Print page

Recent sightings

  • 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 www.birdgroups.co.uk/kos/News.asp

    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

  • 14 February 2014

    Happy Valentine's Day to all the birds at Cliffe Pools

    It has been raining all day today, so I admit it, I have not been down to the reserve, but yesterday!? I counted 5,500 black-tailed godwit. They were using the islands especially cleared of scrub to create a high tide roost for the waders pushed off the high tide. The dunlin, 5 to 10,000 of them, were like a giant airborne amoeba, and when they met the godwits in flight the sky was just black with birds and, quite frankly, I love it!

    I was down at Cliffe Pools with a BBC film crew filming for BBC TV London and an episode of 'Inside Out' that will be broadcast on February 24th at 7:30pm. The presenter was Mike Dilger, and he told me he had never seen so many godwits in one flock before. Last year we had 9,000 at Cliffe Pools, so it is worth keeping an eye on them should their numbers continue to swell. Mike was so impressed he tweeted about it, and immediately got a reply from our RSPB Chief Executive, Dr. Mike Clarke. Dr. Mike grew up on the North Kent Marshes, so our news always holds a special place in his heart, and he will be speaking at the Medway local group meeting next Tuesday evening, in Gillingham and you are invited to come along.

    The Medway group are celebrating their 40th year, and Dr. Mike Clarke felt this was a fitting excuse to take a little time out from his busy schedule and visit his 'home patch', and share his thoughts with us on the RSPB at a critical time. If the marshes are not to become an airport hub under Lord Foster's plans and Boris Johnson's backing, the RSPB will have been a key player in the decision. You can meet Mike on Tuesday evening and all the details can be found on the Medway Local Group page, on this website under Things To Do. See you there!

     

    Posted by Rolf W RSPB

  • 3 February 2014

    Spoonbill spotted at Cliffe Pools

    We have received two recent reports of a Spoonbill on Flamingo Pool at Cliffe.  This was last spotted yesterday at around 2.30pm by Debbie Sowter.  Have you seen it yet?

    Also, other sightings reported over the last few days include: 1 Black-necked Grebe on North Quary with 138 Gadwall, seen by Keith Cutting on Saturday, and 130 Pintail (at least, on Black barns 3), 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine Falcon and 6 Green Shank, seen on Friday by Mike Puxley.  Information kindly provided by KOS, for access to their website please follow this link www.birdgroups.co.uk/kos/News.asp

    Posted by Marie C

  • 31 January 2014

    Reported sightings at Cliffe Pools on 24th January

    Murray Orchard visited Cliffe Pools between 14:20 and 17:00 on 24th January, when it was cold and overcast, but calm, with rain arriving at dusk.   He took counts of birds on all pools/quarries - focussed on diving ducks, so most dabblers not counted.
    434 Shoveler (343 on RSPB reserve), 637 Pochard (including 79 on RSPB reserve and 436 on Alpha Pool. Two "drake Lesser Scaup" aythya hybrids; one on Timber Lake and one on Ski Pool), 268 Tufted Duck (52 on RSPB reserve), 1 Scaup (female/juvenile on Alpha Pool), 8 Goldeneye (birds dispersed, incomplete count; 4 drakes on Radar Pool), 1 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Barn Owl (hunting Black Barn Pools at dusk).  Murray recorded his sightings on the KOS website which they have kindly agreed for us to share with you. To access their website, please follow this link www.birdgroups.co.uk/kos/News.asp

    Posted by Marie C

  • 23 January 2014

    Cliffe Pools Sightings, 22 January

    Details of sightings taken from the KOS website and provided by Mike Puxley following his visit to Cliffe Pools yesterday between 9.20-12.30 (low tide): 68 Pintail (BB3), 8 Goldeneye, 2 Grey Partridge, 1 Black-neck Grebe (Radar pool), 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Water Rail, 3 Greenshank, 2 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 30+ Meadow Pipit, 3 Stonechat, 2 Fieldfare, 4 Song thrush, 2 Redwing, 1 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Jay, 10+ Greenfinch, 4 Reed Bunting, 15 Corn Bunting.  You can visit to KOS website, using the following link  www.birdgroups.co.uk/kos/News.asp

     

    Posted by Marie C

  • 4 July 2013

    Recent Sightings - species list May to June

    Black-necked grebe, great-crested grebe, black-headed gull, Mediterranean gull, little grebe, mute swan, greylag goose, shelduck, gadwall, shoveler, teal, pochard, tufted duck, avocet, oystercatcher, greenshank, redshank, spotted redshank (6th June), little ringed plover, wood sandpiper, whimbrel, black-tailed godwit, black-headed gull, common tern, cuckoo, barn owl, short-eared owl (in May), little owl, long-eared owl, peregrine, hobby, marsh harrier, raven, stonechat, wheatear, nightingale, Cetti's warbler, swift.

    Glow worm on Pickles Way (25th June).

    Posted by Rolf W RSPB

Your sightings

Grid reference: TQ7275 (+2km)

Avocet (3)
22 Apr 2014
Cuckoo (1)
22 Apr 2014
Ring Ouzel (4)
22 Apr 2014
Nightingale ()
22 Apr 2014
Whimbrel (10)
22 Apr 2014
Spotted Redshank (2)
22 Apr 2014
Cetti's Warbler (3)
22 Apr 2014
Little Ringed Plover (2)
19 Apr 2014
Tree Pipit (1)
19 Apr 2014
Corn Bunting (1)
19 Apr 2014

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.