Walking in a wader wonderland

Welcome to Bird Wise! We hope you enjoy discovering more about the birds that rely on the estuaries and marshes of north Kent for their survival, and ways that you can help to protect them.

The landscape surrounding the Thames, Medway and Swale Estuaries is popular for walking, running, boating, dog-walking and many more recreational activities, enjoyed by thousands of people every year. Many of those visitors are unaware of the international significance of the marshes, and the role they play every winter to the tens of thousands of birds that over-winter here.

Our feathered winter visitors have travelled from as far afield as the Arctic, to make the most of our warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours. It may not feel very warm to us humans, but to birds that come from the far north of Europe, where daylight is reduced significantly and their feeding grounds are frozen over for most of winter, our shores provide an ideal location for feeding. Not only do they need to refuel, rest is equally important as they must conserve energy to give them the best chance of survival through the winter and to make the long trip back to their breeding grounds in Spring. It’s a bit like us going on holiday and having a chance to recharge our batteries before getting back to normal life!

Spending time outdoors and connecting with nature has been shown to have benefits not only to physical health but also for mental health. The overarching aim of Bird Wise is to ensure that people are able to enjoy visiting our beautiful coastline, but in a way that avoids disturbance to birds and other wildlife. We will do this through education and positive engagement with visitors, to raise awareness and understanding of disturbance issues.

We will be posting regular updates from our rangers out on site on our social media pages so keep up to date by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So, the next time you are out and about on the north Kent coast, keep an eye out for our winter visitors as they are busy feeding or having a well earned rest, and appreciate just how resilient they need to be.