Winter birdwatching in Medway

Whether you're a naturalist, or relatively new to bird watching, you may know that this time of year is an exciting time in the migration-calendar for over 250,000 waders, ducks and geese that arrived in the autumn to overwinter on the north Kent marshes.

As Spring begins in the northern hemisphere, the Arctic breeding grounds will begin to thaw in readiness for their return. This will hopefully lead to another successful cycle of mating and chick-rearing.

If you're taking your daily exercise near the Medway coast, you may have spotted some species in preparation for their long journey north. The birds will be feeding to build up fat reserves that will keep them going on their journey.

During the migration journey, birds are likely to face:

  • predators
  • exhaustion
  • lack of food
  • bad weather

Many will not make it. They will need to remain in good condition and we can help them with their preparations. We can let them feed and rest undisturbed, and not waste energy trying to get away from us or dogs.

Image of birds in the Medway Estuary

The mud of the Medway Estuary provides food for thousands of birds every winter.

Birds you can spot in Medway

Image of Dark Bellied Brent Geese in Medway

You may see the dark bellied brent geese feeding on eelgrass and algae. They can be found close to the shore at The Strand or in fields around Hoo. They will be heading back to Northern Siberia, over 3,000 miles away.

The elegant black-tailed godwits can be found feeding at low tide along Otterham Creek. They will then head back to Iceland. 

The dunlin, our commonest wader, can be seen feeding on the tideline at Riverside Country Park. They will have their pick of various Arctic areas to breed in, including Scandinavia.

How to help birds on our coastline

Image of English Coastal Path signs

The new England Coast Path signs showing walkers how they can help protect our wildlife in Medway.

You can also find out more about the birds that depend on our coastline on the Birdwise website. You'll find tips on how we can make small changes to give them the space and rest they need for their journey.