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.

Sunday 6th August 2017

Not too many birds but a good session to start the season. Good conditions apart from the full moon and no cloud cover whatsoever!

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Sunday 11th December 2016

The last wader catch of 2016 was made at Harty on 11th December 2016 when a team of nine managed to catch 44 birds,  38 of these were Dunlin, mainly adults, and included a same season retrap and a Finnish control. The other birds caught were 3 adult Redshank and three Bar-tailed Godwits, two of which were juveniles, aging the other bird caused some discussion but we eventually decided that it was an adult.

We have had a good autumn's ringing with exactly 500 new waders ringed and over 500 re-sightings of our colour ringed Black-tailed Godwits.

Saturday 26th November 2016

A team of nine ringers carried out a catch at Harty on the night of the 26th/27th November. With the calls of Lapwing, Brent Geese and other waders in the background 8 nets were erected over the shallow saltmarsh pool. High tide was at 11.00 pm. The weather was fine and dry, the temperature about 7C, and a light easterly. With no moon, a very dark night was created, giving ideal conditions for making a good catch. November is always a good month for numbers of birds and we were not let down this time. A catch of 141 birds was made, comprising 134 unringed birds plus 5 retraps and 2 controls.

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