Swale Wader Group


The Swale Wader Group is an informal group of amateur birdwatchers and ringers (banders) who study the waders and other birdlife of the Swale in North Kent, UK.

The Group has operated ringing sites at a number of locations around the Swale since 1960 and has ringed over 26,000 birds in this time - mainly waders. Regular Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) surveys are carried out in the area to monitor populations of visiting estuarine birds the breeding populations of the local waders and birds of prey are assessed, too.

All the members of the Group are volunteers and the ringing is carried out as part of the national bird ringing scheme organised by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

The scientific aims and results of our efforts are explained on this website, together with some of the highlights of our work from the last 50 years.

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Opportunities exist for ringers with all permit classes to take part in wader ringing throughout the autumn. Our season normally begins in mid-July and runs through to the end of the year. Anyone interested should contact us by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or through the contact form.

Friday 11th and Monday 14th November 2016

Over the most recent set of tides two catches have been made, the first at Spitend on the 11th and the second at Harty on the night of the 14/15th November. Conditions were good for both nights with thick cloud cover taking our the light from the 'super moon' and calm winds. The Spitend catch was atypical in that the catch of 21 birds was made up of Starlings and Herring Gulls as well as waders. The Harty catch was more normal for a damp night in November.

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Friday 29th October 2016

I team of 11 ringers assembled at Well Marsh, which is at Spitend on Elmley, on Friday 29th October 2016 and had a catch of 76 birds. On a warm, dry and moonless night,the weather conditions were ideal, we erected 9 nets covering the main extensive but very shallow pool. A steady catch of birds started with the first as the nets were being set in place.

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Friday 14th October 2016

A team of 10 ringers went to Elmley on Friday 14th October and managed to catch a total of 60 birds. With ideal weather conditions on a mild windless night with heavy cloud keeping out the moon, nine nets were erected over the Well Marsh pool which was also in an ideal condition for catching waders with very shallow water and a lot of exposed mud. A lot of waders were present, with a small high tide roost of Dunlin on the eastern side of the pool, and a lot of other waders calling that included Spotted Redshank and Greenshank, making for an interesting evening.

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