Stonechat Saxicola rubicola ©Nick Smith Website

The recording area of Kent (areas 15 & 16 in the Watsonian system) is c-terminus with the ceremonial county of the same name. Kent is a county in the South East England region, the closest county to continental Europe. It borders Essex across the entire estuary of the River Thames to the north; the French department of Pas-de-Calais across the Strait of Dover to the southeast; Sussex to the southwest; Surrey to the west and Greater London to the northwest. The largest settlement is the county town of Maidstone. Other large towns include Gillingham, Dartford, Charham, Ashford, Rochester and Margate. It is the fifth most populous county in England, the most populous non-metropolitan county and the most populous of the Home Counties, an area influenced by the capital such as commutes and transport connections to the capital. There are approaching two million people living in Kent, an area of c.3,750 k² (c.1500 square miles).Twenty-eight per cent of the county forms part of two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: the North Downs and The High Weald.

The major geographical features of the county are based on a series of ridges and valleys running east–west across the county. Kent’s principal river, the River Medway, rises near East Grinstead in Sussex and flows eastwards to Maidstone. Here it turns north and breaks through the North Downs at Rochester, then joins the estuary of the River Thames near Sheerness. The Medway is some 112 kilometres (70 mi) long. The river is tidal as far as Allington lock. The other two main rivers are the Darent and Stour. The Darent is a chalk stream as are the Nailboure and others including some of the tributaries of the Stour such as the Little Stour. The Royal Military Canal runs between Hythe and Rye.

Birding Kent

Kent’s landscape is well known traditionally by the epithet the Garden of England. Facing mainland Europe, only 25 miles from France, the gleaming chalk White Cliffs of Dover are undoubtedly England’s most famous natural landmark. But, there is more to Kent’s landscape than either agriculture or its chalk backbone. Diverse habitat includes the North Kent Marshes which represent a large proportion of the whole country’s remaining inter-tidal grazing marsh, whilst at Stodmarsh-Grove Ferry the county has one of the country’s largest reed beds adjacent to the Stour River Valley, Dungeness’s almost unique shingle peninsular (it’s the second biggest in the world) supporting countless rare flora and fauna, whilst the whole county is surprisingly well wooded.

Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve

To enhance these assets the county has no less than 5 RSPB reserves and, uniquely, two dedicated bird observatories (Dungeness & Sandwich Bay). Superb examples of recent habitat management can be found at many locations including; Grove Ferry, Elmley, Dungeness and Oare. All of which bodes well for birding in the county.

Even in a county as well watched as Kent, the sudden prominence in recent years of Bockhill and Kingsdown (St. Margaret’s Bay) as a rarities and visible migration hot-spot, illustrates the counties potential to produce more and more alternative birdwatching locations. Add to the above ingredients the continents proximity and sea-watching sites offering both north and south facing coastlines, and the picture is complete of one of the country’s top birding counties. (The ‘patch’ in the sea of Dungeness nuclear power station where they lose heat attracts birds and birders. Almost anywhere along the coast can be good and Reculver, Minnis Bay round to North Foreland have regular sea watches throughout the year.) Birding statistics at the end of the last century confirm this premier position: County List – 424; Top Year [1999] List – 263; Top Individual County List – 351 (and 66+ birders over 300); Big Day records – 153; Non-motorised – 121 [2003]; Big sit – 77 (all set in 1999).

This page is sponsored by Exploring the Wild with Simon Ginnaw

Top Sites
  • *RSPB Thanet Local Group

    Lots of pages on some of Kents best birding areas...
  • Ashford Area - Denge Wood

    WebpageSatellite View
    A brilliant site for orchids... bird interest with all three woodpeckers, Crossbills, Marsh Tit and Firecrest all possible
  • Ashford Area - Hothfield Common

    WebpageSatellite View
    In the wetter areas check for keeled skimmer dragonflies, the slimmest of the blue-bodied dragonflies, rare in northern Europe where is a denizen of bogs.
  • Canterbury Ring Woods - Church Woods

    InformationSatellite View
    An RSPB reserve on the northern outskirts of Canterbury. It still has Nightjar, Tree Pipit, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Nightingale and the occasional Crossbill, although sadly no more redstarts.
  • Canterbury Ring Woods - Clowes Wood

    InformationSatellite View
    A better bet for nightjar…
  • Canterbury Ring Woods - Larkey Valley Woods

    WebpageSatellite View
    Previously a good site for Hawfinch, now scarce. Many other woods (Lyminge forest, Hamstreet, Bedgebury, etc) in the county hold similar birds and a good look at an OS map will allow birders to make their own discoveries.
  • Dover Area - Bockhill

    WebpageSatellite View
    Between Deal and Dover this site and it's Bockhill Bird Group stalwarts have enjoyed numerous rarities including Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Red-flanked Bluetail, Nutcracker. Pallas's and Radde's Warbler, and Red-breasted Flycatcher. Yellow-browed Warbler and other scarcities are regular in Autumn. As a sea watching spot good numbers of divers, skuas, terns, auks, etc are seen from the beach.
  • Dover Area - Langdon Cliffs

    WebpageSatellite View
    Situated above Dover docks, the docks 24-hour lighting attracts migrants and contributes to making this spot well worth a visit during migration periods.
  • Dover Area - Samphire Ho

    WebsiteSatellite View
    To the west of Dover, created from the spoil of the channel tunnel this imaginative development is of growing interest. Spider Orchids are flourishing here.
  • Dungeness Area - Dengemarsh

    InformationSatellite View
    At the western extremity of the Dungeness reserve the road overlooks flooded fields that attract waders and a gully by the sea, which can hold migrants.
  • Dungeness Area - Dungeness Bird Observatory

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    The Observatory area is a classic migration hot spot with birds like Firecrest, Ring Ousel and regular rarities (Pallas's, Dusky, Melodious, Icterine, Blyth's Reed, Great-reed & Yellow-browed Warblers, Desert Wheatear, Ring-billed Gull, etc). The warm water patch created by the power station outflow is a draw for terns & gulls notably a Sabine's and a Bonaparte's Gull in 2001, whilst on shore winds in spring and autumn allow seabird passage to be monitored (esp. divers, terns, skuas, shearwaters). In 2001 a magnificent sighting of a Black Browed Albatross was enjoyed by a lucky few birders viewing from the Observatory sea-watch hide situated close-by the patch. Whist an Isabelline Shrike showed well in the area known as the desert.
  • Dungeness Area - Dungeness RSPB Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    The juxtaposition of the excellent RSPB reserve and the bird observatory makes Dunge one of the best sites in the county. The RSPB reserve regularly attracts wintering Penduline Tit and wildfowl (especially Smew). In summer it attracts nesting terns and regular Mediterranean Gulls. This Reserve is a must see when in Kent, not only is it building up overwintering and breeding bittern but had breeding purple herons too. Great for winter ducks and grebes, divers and rarities at any time.
  • Folkestone & Hythe Area - Capel-le-Ferne

    InformationSatellite View
    The cliff-top area here is good for visible migration and has produced a string of rarities (including Kent’s first Isabelline Wheatear despite being covered by only a handful of birders.
  • Folkestone & Hythe Area - Copt Point

    InformationSatellite View
    Near Folkestone has the largest congregation of Mediterranean Gulls in the country; winter is the best period, but birds can be found throughout the year (though very few in mid-summer).
  • North Kent Marshes - Allhallows Marshes

    InformationSatellite View
    Follow the seawall east from the village, to choose between sea-watching on the Thames, visible migration along the shoreline, wader watching at the large roost on the shingle beach at Yantlet and on the saltings dotting the creek, or scanning the fields for raptors or over-wintering buntings. The path ends at Stoke Lagoon, excellent for duck in winter, and waders on passage. To the southeast of the village, the footpath to Binney Farm overlooks another small but productive flooded marsh.
  • North Kent Marshes - Bedlams Bottom (Funton Creek)

    WebpageSatellite View
    Known to many simply as Funton, many waders and duck can be found close to the roadside lay-bys. The over-wintering avocet flock is usually a little more distant, but makes up for this in numbers. Raptors are often seen quartering the shorelines.
  • North Kent Marshes - Chattenden

    InformationSatellite View
    A series of woods on the Hoo ridge, with a mix of mature woodland, coppice, scrub and even semi-heath. Some of the more scarce species for the Peninsula can be found with patience, such as Nuthatch, Tawny Owl, and Hawfinch.
  • North Kent Marshes - Cliffe

    WebpageSatellite View
    Cliffe Pools is a mosaic of c.230 hectares of saline lagoons, fresh pools, grassland, salt marsh and scrub. These habitats have developed on old Blue Circle clay diggings and river dredgings. The RSPB is working in partnership with Westminster Dredging PLC to create a Flagship nature reserve and the centre point for visitors to the RSPBs NW Kent reserves. Resident - Great crested and little grebe, little egret, Pochard, Shelduck, redshank, lapwing, barn owl, stonechat, reed bunting. Spring/Summer - Breeding and migrant species including; hobby, avocet, black-tailed godwit, greenshank, ruff and rarities. turtle dove, nightingale, Autumn - Noteworthy for passage waders and other migrants; little stint, curlew, green and wood sandpipers, Garganey. Winter - Notable high tide roosts of waders including dunlin, grey plover and lapwing. Wintering duck such as pintail, Shoveler, teal and Pochard, and wintering raptors like hen and marsh harrier, peregrine and merlin. Other wildlife - Cliffe Pools are also home to a range of other wildlife including water vole and harvest mouse plus notable insects such as the scarce emerald damselfly, shrill carder bee and green hairstreak butterfly. Plant species include nationally notable species such as sea barley and annual beard grass.
  • North Kent Marshes - Grain

    InformationSatellite View
    The recently created Foreshore Country Park includes a mix of scrub and grassland attractive to migrants, but is under watched. The extensive mudflats hold many wading birds (best viewed some three/four hours before/after high tide). Visible migration is also rewarding here, and sea-watching can provide good, but distant, views of migrating and wintering seabirds. Another easily viewed area is Mosco Pool that can hold a good mix of duck.
  • North Kent Marshes - Hoo

    InformationSatellite View
    From the village a series of footpaths lead to the northern bank of the Medway. Inland, pools and floods near Abbott's Court are usually productive, as is scanning the old sewage farm beds there, which can hold Jack Snipe and Water Pipit in late winter.
  • North Kent Marshes - Horrid Hill

    InformationSatellite View
    Part of the Riverside Country Park, the Hill (actually a promontory) provides excellent views over the Medway islands, and large numbers of wildfowl and waders. Early birders who beat the dog-walkers might find resting night migrants. Just to the west lies a small sheltered pond attractive to small migrants, as is the scrubland of Eastcourt Meadows, the westernmost part of the park, where Yellow-browed Warbler has been found. To the east of Horrid Hill, the main footpath runs alongside more saltings and creeks that often hold many birds, often close inshore.
  • North Kent Marshes - Lower Halstow

    InformationSatellite View
    A little gem of a reserve, consisting of a mix of scrub and reed-bed. The seawall may be followed northwards along the edge of the paddocks and orchards of Ham Green, with good views over the mudflats and islands lying offshore.
  • North Kent Marshes - Motney

    InformationSatellite View
    Another promontory on the Medway, giving views over the estuary. Take the footpath along the western edge, to reach a small grassy viewpoint at the northernmost tip, near to a regular wader roost, and the deep channel of Bartlett Creek, often holding diving duck and scarcer grebes in season. Scrub and an extensive reedbed complex dominate the western half.
  • North Kent Marshes - Murston

    InformationSatellite View
    Located opposite Elmley at the mouth of the Swale and can also attract skuas and petrels. It offers good views over the Swale whilst the old clay pits regularly attract Scaup in winter.
  • North Kent Marshes - Northward Hill

    InformationSatellite View
    The site of Britain’s largest heronry. To the west there is a recently created small scrape which attracts a good range of waders although only long-range viewing is possible so smaller waders may be missed.
  • North Kent Marshes - Oare

    WebpageSatellite View
    The reserve at Oare attracts good numbers of waders and, since it is fairly small, these are often closer at hand than elsewhere. It has attracted Long-billed Dowitcher, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Semi-plamated Sandpiper and, in winter, Shorelark, Snow Bunting and Twite. Great at any time of year with a large percentage of the UKs Black-tailed godwits, regular curlew sandpipers, stints etc.
  • North Kent Marshes - Seasalter & Graveney Marshes

    InformationSatellite View
    The walk along the Swale from the Sportsman at Seasalter is often very good for waders and in season, passing skuas. In recent years the area has attracted its own share of rarities - Sociable Plover, White-tailed Eagle & Blyth's Pipit included. Graveney Marshes are now managed by RSPB.
  • North Kent Marshes - Stoke Saltings

    InformationSatellite View
    Although the area is extensively shot over, birding can still be rewarding here. It is probably the most regular site for Twite on the Hoo Peninsula. Walk the seawall from Lower Stoke village towards Grain to view marshland, reed-fringed pools and a myriad of creeks and islands.
  • Reculver - Bishopstone Glen

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The bushes at Chambers Wall and Shuart Lane provide useful shelter for migrants (rarities in this general area have included Booted, Yellow-browed, Greenish, Arctic & Pallas's Warbler, Woodchat Shrike & Desert Wheatear). In 2001, Dusky Warbler was recorded here. A popular spot for sea-watching, especially when North/North Easterlies prevail.
  • Reculver - Chambers Wall

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Excellent during migration periods with the long hedges full of warblers or thrushes and the reedy ditches good for waders and ducks.
  • Reculver - Reculver Towers

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Good numbers of skuas, regular Leach's Petrel, Sooty Shearwaters & Sabine's Gull. A popular spot for sea-watching, especially when North/North Easterlies prevail.
  • Reculver - Shuart Lane

    WebsiteSatellite View
    A regular trapping so well watched area turns up a lot of good birds on passage. A farm pull-in is a great place to scope across Reculver marshes for raptors.
  • Sandwich - Monk's Wall

    InformationSatellite View
    A shadow of its rarity attracting past as it barely floods but can turn up some interesting birds.
  • Sandwich - Pegwell Bay

    InformationSatellite View
    A little further north of Sandwich this is a site where a telescope is vital and knowledge of the tides is very useful. For optimum viewing try to arrive an hour either side of high tide. Rare and scarce waders are regularly found (e.g. Kentish Plover) along with good passing birds (Bluethroat, Osprey, Red Kite amongst others). A hide and a public car-park are amongst it's assets.
  • Sandwich - Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    As an accredited bird observatory and registered charity SBBOT is committed to the conservation and recording of the natural environment in the Sandwich Bay area, and in so doing offers opportunities for education, training and research.
  • Seaton Gravel Pits

    WebpageSatellite View
    Provides habitat for diving duck lacking elsewhere in the valley - regular species include wintering Smew, Goosander and Goldeneye. It also attracts Bittern. Recent rarities have included Ferruginous Duck, Ring-necked Duck & Iberian Chiffchaff. The stream holds Grey Wagtail and the surrounding trees Siskin, Redpoll etc.
  • Sevenoaks Area - Bough Beech

    WebpageSatellite View
    No longer managed by KWT
  • Sevenoaks Area - Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    Good for: Little Ringed Plover, Egyptian Geese, winter finches,
  • Sheppey - Capel Fleet & Raptor Watchpoint

    WebpageSatellite View
    At the eastern end of the island Capel Fleet is the best area for raptors - Marsh & Hen Harrier, Merlin, Peregrine, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk are regular with Red Kite & Rough-legged Buzzard recorded in recent years and increasing numbers of Common Buzzard. Short-eared and barn Owls are regular with Little Owl seen around Sayes Court Farm. There is now a raptor watchpoint (see map) so one can scan the fields and look along the fleet. It is also a good place to see wintering White-fronted Geese and the flock has included Pinkfeet, Bean, Barnacle and even Lesser White-fronted Geese.
  • Sheppey - Elmey

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The national nature reserve at Elmley attracts a wide variety of waders and wildfowl throughout the year, including a fair proportion of rarities. It is of national importance holding a significant percentage of breeding lapwing as well as an increasing number of waders. Winter is excellent for all 5 owls and raptors as well as wildfowl and waders. It is uniquely the only privately owned national nature reserve - fortunately for us all the owners are very committed to conservation and access.
  • Sheppey - Swale National Nature Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    At the eastern extremity of the island is hampered by hides, which are too distant from the wader pools. The wader roost on the nearby shingle beach can be good (though care needs to be exercised here) and the autumn sea watching from the beach at Shellness (GR 023663) in NW winds can be excellent. The walk from Church (GR 055679) to Shellness can be good, though retracing one’s steps is a chore.
  • Sheppey - Warden Point

    InformationSatellite View
    Has potential as a migration hot spot - Pallas's & Yellow-browed Warbler and Red-breasted Flycatcher have been noted.
  • Snodland - New Hythe

    InformationSatellite View
    With Dungeness the gravel pits at Snodland are excellent for wintering Smew and other ducks. Recent rarities have included Ferruginous Duck, Purple Heron & Penduline Tit. It is also a good wintering site for Long-eared Owl and Bittern
  • Stour Valley - Grove Ferry

    InformationSatellite View
    Here the conversion of the old turf fields on the eastern edge of the reserve has created a superb wetland habitat that has already attracted impressive numbers of Garganey, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Hobby and rarities including; Collared Pratincole, Long-billed Dowitcher, Slender-billed Gull, Baillon's Crake, Blue-winged Teal. Splendid species seen here in 2001 included Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Spotted Crake and Pectoral Sandpiper.
  • Stour Valley - Stodmarsh

    InformationSatellite View
    The traditional hot spot in the valley, but has recently been outshone by the new extension to the reserve at Grove Ferry. The Stodmarsh ‘end’ remains one of the best places in the county to witness winter roost of Hen Harriers, glimpse the odd wintering Bittern and catch up with Bearded Tit. On fine calm evenings in late March at (or just after sunset) can be a good time for picking up departing Bitterns (sometimes in double figures) as they rise out from the reedbeds and fly back to the continent grunting as they do so. It's also a good time to see Woodcock on the path. The elm trees can be good for Treecreeper, Redpolls & Siskin and occasionally has held wintering Firecrest and Yellow-browed Warblers.For sightings see:
  • Stour Valley - Westbere

    WebpageSatellite View
    Towards Canterbury has suffered from the proximity of Stodmarsh - it holds similar birds to Stodmarsh, but being much less well watched has produced fewer surprises. Odonata fans are well served with Norfolk Hawker now found here.
  • Thanet - Foreness Point

    WebpageSatellite View
    Sea watching off Foreness Point can also be productive. In winter this coast holds numbers of Purple Sandpiper and Rock Pipit which can be found at any of the bays with careful searching, as can black redstart and the less sure horned (shore) lark.
  • Thanet - Margate Cemetery

    WebpageSatellite View
    Turns up plenty of scarcities, the odd rarity and several megas!
  • Thanet - Minnis Bay

    InformationSatellite View
    The mudflats extending from here to reculver are always good for a variety of waders and the sea wall sometimes has Snow Buntings in winter but the real attraction here is seawatching. The handily placed shelter on the cliff keeps out the worst weather and anything can and does turn up, stormy weather in the right season can have anything from Leach's Petrel to Sabines Gulls and all the Skuas as well as auks, divers and shearwaters. Great place too for viz mig.
  • Thanet - North Foreland

    WebpageSatellite View
    Sea-watching here can produce skuas, alcids, divers, etc. in winter and waders between here and the beach at Joss Bay include purple sandpiper and rarities on passage. The area around the sewage pumping station (regular horned lark) and cabbage fields may turn up anything during migration and local patch birders see good numbers of ring-ousels, wryneck, etc.
  • Thanet - Northdown Park

    WebpageSatellite View
    Northdown Park whilst much busier than the cemetery has had some notable rarities which includes regular Pallas's and yellow-browed warbler, firecrest etc. It was one of the first places in the UK to have a population of ring-necked parakeets and a morning's visit will often produce 100 or more screaming overhead. Early mornings in passage times can produce good numbers of migrants or even a view of the Fatbirder in its nesting habitat.
  • John Cantelo


County Recorder
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 431

    County Bird - Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
    [Sandwich being in the county]

    The Kent List is composed of all of those species that have been reported in Kent, and accepted by both the Kent Ornithological Society Records Committee (KOSRC) and the British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC), and are included on the official British kept by the British Ornithological Union Records Committee (BOURC).

  • Official Kent List

    Annotated List
    The Kent List is composed of all of those species that have been reported in Kent, and accepted by both the Kent Ornithological Society Records Panel (KOSRP) and the British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC), and are included on the official British List kept by the British Ornithological Union Records Committee (BOURC).
  • eBird Field Checklist

    This checklist is generated with data from eBird (, a global database of bird sightings from birders
Useful Reading

  • Bird-Watching on the North Kent Marshes

    | By Peter Oliver | Peter Oliver | 1991 | Hardback | 180 pages, Colour frontispiece, 8 b/w photos, 6 figures, 29 tables | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780951839102 Buy this book from
  • Birding in Kent

    | By Don Taylor | Pica Press | 1996 | Paperback | 168 pages, Line illustrations, maps | Out of Print | ISBN: 9781873403532 Buy this book from
  • Kent Breeding Birds Atlas 2008-13

    | By Rob Clements, Murray Orchard, Norman McCanch & Stephen Wood | Kent Ornithological Society | 2015 | Hardback | 216 pages, colour photos, colour distribution maps, colour tables | ISBN: 9780956567055 Buy this book from
  • Kent: A Birdwatcher's Site Guide

    | By Chris Bradshaw and Simon Busuttil | Shoebill Books | 2007 | Spiralbound | 120 pages | 64 maps | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780952806523 Buy this book from
  • The Birds of Kent

    | By Don Taylor | Meresborough Books | 1984 | Paperback | 440 pages, 1 colour & 44 b/w plates, line illustrations | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780905270807 Buy this book from
  • Where to Watch Birds in Southeast England

    | Essex, London & Kent | By David Callahan | Helm | 2024 | Paperback | 352 pages, b/w illustrations, b/w maps | ISBN: 9781399403603 Buy this book from
Useful Information
  • OS Maps

    For the dedicated Kent birder the excellent new Explorer 1:25,000 maps are ideal (Sheets 18, 125, 136, 137, 138, 148, 149, 150 & 163) but the Landranger 1:50,000 are also very useful (Sheets 177, 178, 179, 188 & 189)
  • Dungeness Bird Observatory

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    Brilliant new site – launched 20th Feb 2002. Dungeness in Kent, is unique in both its habitat- a dry shingle beach, and also in its location- the most southeasterly point in the UK. Well known in birdwatching circles, it is a renowned hotspot for the unexpected, with rarities. It's also a great location to observe migration, both of land and seabirds, with an interesting breeding population of it's own. New records are now being relayed daily through the website. Rarities and unusual records are supported by photographs whenever possible. There are also full details on the accommodation and services of the Dungeness Bird Observatory including annual reports, contact details, how to find it.David Walker, Dungeness BO, 11 RNSSS Cottages, Dungeness, Kent TN29 9NA. 01797 321309
  • Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    As an accredited bird observatory and registered charity SBBOT is committed to the conservation and recording of the natural environment in the Sandwich Bay area, and in so doing offers opportunities for education, training and research.
  • Ashford Birdwatchers Club

    Ashford Birdwatchers Club is a small group of people with an interest in birdwatching in and around Kent. We hold indoor meetings through the winter and also arrange a variety of field meetings thoughout the year. All indoor meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month at Kennington WI Hall, Faversham Road, Ashford, Kent TN24 9AN at 7.30 pm. New members are very welcome. There is a £3.00 admission fee which includes tea/coffee and biscuits.
  • Dartford Ringing Group

    Empty as of Feb 2024
  • Harrison Institute

    The Harrison Institute seeks to promote wildlife conservation. It specialises in the study of mammals (recent and fossil) and birds and works alongside in-country scientists. It is currently running a series of projects in the Old World tropics, particularly in Southeast Asia. It welcomes participation in its field studies and expeditions. Volunteers have the opportunity to support and take part in a variety of projects and in doing so visit beautiful and often remote areas of the world
  • Kent Ornithological Society

    Kent is ornithologically one of the most exciting counties in Britain. Habitats as diverse as salt and grazing marshes, extensive reed beds, ancient Wealden woodland, open downland and fertile river valleys are reflected in an equally diverse bird population. In winter flocks of White-fronted Geese from Siberia are a familiar sight on the Isle of Sheppey, while the woodland and scrubland in Kent support Britain's densest population of Nightingales. Rarities such as Yellow-browed and Pallas's Warblers are recorded annually around the Kent coastline which hosts the counties two observatories; Sandwich and Dungeness. KOS contact details: KOS Committee
  • Kent Wildlife Trust

    Kent Wildlife Trust works to secure a better future for the native wildlife of Kent through, among other things, the management of reserves. 50+ nature reserves including woodland, wetland, grassland and coastal sites managed to protect and encourage the native plants and animals Advice available on management of wildlife habitats, from gardens and school grounds to ancient woodland and unimproved farmland
  • Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership

    Conserving the Stour Valley
  • RSPB Bromley Members Group

    The group exists to support the work of the RSPB and to promote conservation and understanding of wild birds, other wildlife and habitats. A wide range of activities is organised, including local walks, car and coach outings, slide shows and participation in local environmental events.
  • RSPB Canterbury Local Group

    Welcome to the RSPB Canterbury Local Group website. We are a local group with over 200 members, and some of us meet regularly for evening illustrated talks. The talks are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 8pm from September to April. There are field trips all through the year on a monthly basis…
  • RSPB Gravesend Local Group

    We run a programme of events throughout the year, including guided walks around the many of fantastic wildlife sites in Kent, illustrated talks on a variety of wildlife-based topics and once or twice a year a coach trip further afield often to a ‘flag-ship’ reserve. All our events are open to all. Click on the featured event or the button below for further information.
  • RSPB Maidstone Members Group

    Facts about joining the group, indoor & outdoor meetings - The Maidstone RSPB Members Group was formed in the early 1970s by a dedicated few and over the last 27 years membership has steadily grown to approximately 150 members. These include both novice and experienced bird watchers and those with a general wildlife and conservation interest. The aim of the Group is to actively support the work of the RSPB in the local community, our objectives to raise awareness of the Society, recruit new members and raise funds…
  • RSPB Medway Members Group

    If you are interested in birdwatching, or other environmental matters, in north Kent this is the place to see the latest news. The Medway RSPB group was founded in 1974, and has always endeavoured to produce an interesting programme of indoor and outdoor events, including various fund-raising activities. We are always happy to see new faces at our illustrated talks, and at our birdwatching walks, where help is always on hand with identifying the birds, plants, insects, etc…
  • RSPB Sevenoaks Local group

    This is the website of the Sevenoaks Local Group. RSPB local groups are a great way to meet friendly, like-minded people in your area while learning more about birds and wildlife…
  • RSPB Thanet Local Group

    Our indoor meetings are held at St Peters Church Hall, Hopeville Avenue, St Peters, Broadstairs, CT10 2TR. They start at 7.30pm unless otherwise stated. Some meetings are held on Zoom and can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Why not join your local group to benefit from meetings and events.
  • RSPB Tonbridge Group

    This is the website of the Tonbridge Local Group. RSPB local groups are a great way to meet friendly, like-minded people in your area while learning more about birds and wildlife…
  • Thames Estuary Partnership

    The Thames Estuary Partnership (TEP) is an independent charity that was established to enhance, conserve, protect and maintain the coastal, environmental and natural heritage of the Thames Estuary and the land and water areas adjoining the Thames and its tributaries from the mouth of the estuary at the North Sea up to Chelsea Bridge

Abbreviations Key

  • *Kent Wildlife Trust Reserves

    InformationSatellite View
    There are currently 55 wildlife reserves in Kent being managed by Natural England and the Kent Wildlife Trust. A-Z list of Trust reserves
  • Accessable Reserves

    BFA Assessed Reserves in KentSatellite View
    Each of the following links lead to a BFA assessment of the reserve by BFA members and others, using the BFA form. ALL types of mobility problem are assumed so there are details of path surfaces, gradients and distances as well as benches and hide details.
  • CP Betteshanger Country Park (formerly Fowlmead)

    Reserve WebsiteSatellite View
    Betteshanger Sustainable Parks is a unique and ambitious project, or rather a series of exemplary environmentally sustainable projects, which is being built on the 121 hectare site of the former Betteshanger colliery in East Kent.
  • CP Brockhill

    WebpageSatellite View
    Brockhill's lake, woods, meadows, picnic and play areas – along with the excellent Brockhill Café – make it a great spot for a family day out. The park is also rich in wildlife, including marbled white butterflies, green woodpeckers and carpets of snowdrops.
  • CP Leybourne Lakes

    InformationSatellite View
    New Hythe is an area of old gravel and sand workings sandwiched between Snodland and Larkfield in mid Kent. Bordered by the tidal River Medway to the east and a dual carriageway to the west, the area has an interesting mix of habitats including several large areas of open water. Surrounding the lakes is a variety of habitats including reed beds, grazing marsh, scrub and pockets of mixed woodland. To the north and south are Paper Mills, housing estates and a superstore.
  • CP Reculver

    InformationSatellite View
    Reculver Country Park consists of 37 hectares of coastal land stretching from Reculver to Bishopstone Glen. Part of the Country Park is a Local Nature Reserve and much of it is designated SSSI. It is site of geological, historical and wildlife interest.
  • FE Bedgebury Pinetum

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Not a reserves specifically for fauna but a collection of trees - the pines of the world. However, this is an excellent place in the winter for finding crossbills and hawfinches as well as more common birds such as finches, tits and woodpeckers.
  • LNR Buckland Lake Reserve

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Eternal Lake Nature Reserve is protected nature reserve in Cliffe, Kent. Open daily to the public, we provide a place where people can connect with nature and engage in healthy activities.
  • LNR Monkton Nature Reserve

    Facebook PageSatellite View
    Monkton Nature Reserve is a 16 acre wildlife oasis reclaimed from a former chalk quarry in East Kent, and it is now home to many protected and endangered species of fauna and flora.
  • LNR Oare Marshes

    WebpageSatellite View
    Of international importance for migratory, overwintering and breeding wetland birds, the reserve consists of grazing marsh (one of a few left in Kent) with freshwater dykes, open water scrapes, reedbed, saltmarsh and seawall.
  • LNR Romney Marsh Countryside Project

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The Romney Marsh Countryside Project was set up in June 1996, a sister project to the White Cliffs Countryside Project. The project aims to care for the special landscape and wildlife of the Romney Marsh and Dungeness. We aim to encourage people to enjoy and understand the countryside through guided walks, cycle rides, countryside events and children's activities…
  • LNR Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve and Jeffery Harrison Visitor Centre

    WebpageSatellite View
    A pioneering nature reserve which has a roughly equal proportions of water and land. It includes five lakes and a mixed habitat of ponds, seasonal flooded pools, reedbed and woodlands.
  • NNR Blean Woods National Nature Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    Blean Woods National Nature Reserve (NNR) is situated to the north of Canterbury on the London Clay in the North Kent Plain Natural Area. The reserve is part of an extensive block of woodland, including reserves owned by the RSPB and the Woodland Trust, which comprise part of the wider forest for which the area is famous. The reserve is an ancient woodland with a well documented history. The visitor can see many archaeological features, such as mediaeval ditch and bank systems and disused charcoal kilns.
  • NNR Dungeness

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Dungeness is unique – no boundaries, a desolate landscape with wooden houses, power stations, lighthouses and expansive gravel pits. Yet it possesses a rich and diverse wildlife within the National Nature Reserve in one of the largest shingle landscapes in the world.
  • NNR Elmley National Nature Reserve

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Elmley National Nature Reserve (NNR) is the only privately owned and run National Nature Reserve. It consists largely of flat, open grazing marsh at or below sea level but protected from the sea by clay walls. The grazing marsh is divided by brackish ditches and fleets which act as wet fences for stock control. In winter and spring there is extensive shallow surface flooding. Many scrapes have been created and a predator-proof fence helps to ensure increasing numbers of ground nesting birds.The wet grassland at Elmley Marshes attracts thousands of ducks, geese and wading birds in the winter. Hen harriers, merlins, peregrines and short-eared owls can also be seen during the winter. In the summer, many wading birds, including the elegant avocet, breed on the reserve.
  • NNR Ham Street Woods

    InformationSatellite View
    Ham Street Woods National Nature Reserve is a spectacular ancient woodland and the perfect place to take relaxing, tranquil woodland walks. Ham Street Woods is home to rare moths and butterflies, breeding birds, including rare ones such as the nightingale and hawfinch; and also to 2 protected species: the great crested newt and the dormouse. There are 3 way-marked trails (varying between 2.5 and 5 kilometres) through the reserve.
  • NNR Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    The reserve is composed of a mixture of natural, semi-natural and artificial habitats. The natural habitats include; eroding chalk cliffs and wave cut platforms to the north of Pegwell Bay, intertidal mudflats, developing beaches, sand dunes and saltmarsh. The semi-natural habitats include; ancient dune pasture and coastal scrubland. The re-created grassland of the Pegwell Bay Country Park, along with ponds, dykes and ditches make up the recent artificial habitats.
  • NNR Stodmarsh

    WebpageSatellite View
    Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve (NNR) is situated in the lower regions of the north Kent plain within the Stour valley. The reserve developed when coal mining subsidence formed marshland with large reedbeds, lakes, ditches, meadows and wet woodland.
  • NNR The Swale

    InformationSatellite View
    The Swale National Nature Reserve (NNR) is predominantly grazing marsh with significant wintering populations of waterfowl. It is also a Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar site. The saltings are of historical importance. The reserve has a nature trail with three bird hides, including a tower hide. An elaborate bunding scheme enables water to be retained in certain areas throughout the summer. (Now managed by Elmley)
  • NNR Wye

    PDF BrochureSatellite View
    Wye National Nature Reserve (NNR) comprises chalk grassland and woodland on steep coombes.
  • NT Knole Park

    WebpageSatellite View
    Deer park surrounding an historic mansion... beech woods are (were?) the last refuge of redstart in Kent, great for woodland birds, woodpeckers, nuthatch, treecreeeper etc.
  • RSPB Blean Woods

    WebpageSatellite View
    Blean Woods is one of the largest areas of ancient broadleaved woodland in southern Britain. Woodpeckers are plentiful, while in the summer there are about 30 pairs of nightingales and several nightjars. The reserve is one of the few places in Britain where you can find the heath fritillary butterfly…
  • RSPB Capel Fleet

    WebpageSatellite View
    Located in the heart of the Isle of Sheppey farmland, this small vantage point offers a commanding view from where, with optical equipment, a multitude of raptors may be seen depending on the time of year and the weather conditions. It is a place to learn your birds of prey and pick out rarities. During the winter it is an excellent place to watch or photograph short-eared owls.
  • RSPB Cliffe Pools

    WebpageSatellite View
    A wide variety of birds can be found at the reserve including 60 pairs of avocets. Great crested grebes, shelducks, lapwings and little egrets are all resident. During the autumn wading birds pass through on migration. Some remain in the winter and are joined by pintails, shovelers, teals and other ducks. In spring and summer look out for hobbies and nightingales…
  • RSPB Dungeness

    WebpageSatellite View
    Dungeness has one of south-east England`s most important breeding colonies of gulls and terns…
  • RSPB Northward Hill

    WebpageSatellite View
    As well as nightingales and turtle doves, the wood has the largest heronry in the UK, with over 150 pairs of grey herons nesting in the treetops. On the grazing marshes below the woods, wading birds such as lapwings and redshanks breed. In the winter, wading birds and wildfowl including wigeons and teals can be seen, along with buzzards, hen harriers and merlins…
  • RSPB Tudeley Woods

    WebpageSatellite View
    Get away from it all with a walk in the woods and through the newly restored heathland. In some areas there are grand old trees; in others the trees have been coppiced to open up the woodland floor and allow the woodland flowers and butterflies to flourish.
  • RSPB Upnor Reach and Motney Hill

    WebpageSatellite View
    Nor Marsh is a saltmarsh island in the Medway Estuary and Motney Hill is a narrow peninsula surrounded by mudflats that juts into the estuary from the southern shore. We provide safe areas for birds to feed and breed in an increasingly developed estuary.
  • Wildwood Discovery Park

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Wildwood’s mission is to protect, conserve, and rewild British wildlife.
Sightings, News & Forums
  • Folkestone & Hythe Birds

    Folkestone & Hythe birds, butterflies, moths and other natural history
  • Dungeness Birding Paul Trodd's BLOG

    Paul Trodd's BLOG from Romney Marsh is almost daily and mostly specific to the area around Dungeness
  • KOS Sightings

    Sightings from the most recent 7 days are not available to non-members. Please consider joining the KOS to see more recent records, or if you are a member, login here
  • Kent Birding

    Facebook Page
    Facebook page used as a forum and to post sightings including photos
  • Kent Going Birding?

    Umbrella for other sightings sites
    If you know of a "latest sightings" page for Kent please let us know and we'll add it to this page. If you would like a free bird news website for your county please get in touch.
  • Kent-Birders

    Mailing Group
    Sightings & discussion group for and about birding in Kent, UK. Members can post sightings of scarce birds or unusual behaviour or can invite other members to discus issues of concern to birders.
  • Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory Sightings

    The primary function of the Trust is that of an accredited Bird Observatory, monitoring migration and carrying out a scientific programme of bird ringing, in support of many national and international projects. We also have particular interests in the butterflies, dragonflies and unique flora of the area, which includes many rare species of orchid. This work is carried out by our warden Steffan Walton along with the help of a dedicated team of volunteers.
  • eBird Kent

  • eBird Kent County Rare Bird Alert

    The report below shows observations of rare birds in Kent County. Includes both unreviewed and reviewed/approved observations.
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Bargain Birding

    Value for money bird watching trips for birders on a budget”
  • Grove Ferry River Trips

    Birdwatching trips can be organised for groups up to 12
  • Heatherlea

    Tour Company
    West Sussex and Kent in Winter...
  • Oriole Birding

    Tour Company
    Our new tour to the Garden of England will explore the myriad habitats of Kent and Sussex during the peak of spring migration, a region perhaps neglected by birders living away from the London area but one which represents huge potential for some superb birding in classic English countryside.
  • Plovers -Dungeness & Romney Marsh Birdwatching Breaks

    This website is designed to allow you to see the services available at 'Plovers', Lydd-on-Sea. Pat & Paul Trodd, Plovers, 1 Toby Road, Lydd-on-Sea, Romney Marsh, Kent TN29 9PG Phone 01797 366935 & 07920 197535 Email:
  • Swallow Birding

    Tour Company
    e.g. Late Winter On on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent
Trip Reports
  • 2019 [04 April] - Oriole Birding - Kent & Sussex

    PDF Report
    Our inaugural Kent and Sussex tour met up today at Faversham around lunchtime, ready for our first afternoon of birding at the nearby Oare Marshes reserve. We kicked off well, with a Little Owl roosting in the car park of our hotel! Oare was only a ten minute drive away, and we were soon enjoying the sunshine on the seawall overlooking the Swale Estuary, and picking up four migrant Whimbrel along the muddy shore...
  • 2022 [04 April] - Oriole Birding - Kent & East Sussex

    PDF Report
    ...we were surrounded by Nightingales singing. With patience we managed partial views of these incredible songsters. Also singing was Wren, Dunnock, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Cetti’s, and Common and Lesser Whitethroats. Both Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers were heard, and there was a constant stream of Mediterranean Gulls from nearby breeding colonies...
  • 2023 [01 January] - Chris Roome

    KOS January 2023 Field Trip Report
Places to Stay
  • B&B etc Dungeness

  • Castaways B&B Dungeness

    Delphine, Simon, Jessica and Fleur (our extremely friendly spaniel) warmly welcome you to Castaways B&B and Guest House. Fully refurbished in 2012, we offer 6 en-suite guest bedrooms sleeping up to 11 guests. Relax in our comfortable guest lounge and enjoy magnificent sea views over the English Channel with the white cliffs of Dover to the east and the lighthouses of Dungeness to the west. France is visible on a clear day as are the lights of Calais and Boulogne at night.
  • Hallwood Farm Oast

    Hallwood Farm Oast is situated at the end of a long private lane on a fruit, arable and sheep farm, close to the Kent and Sussex border and just one mile from the small wealden town of Cranbrook.
  • Pigeonwood House B&B

    Pigeonwood House is set in rural tranquillity in the North Downs above Folkestone and is the original farmhouse of the local area. The house dates from 1769 and the surrounding landscape has barely changed since then. Being in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the views are spectacular, covering the surrounding countryside then across the sea to France. Although only seven minutes from the Channel Tunnel and fifteen minutes from Dover, we are able to show visitors a few aspects of the pervading beauty of East Kent. We are ideally situated for walkers, being only 300 yards from the North Downs Way and the Saxon Shore Way; visiting the Garden Coast, Canterbury (20 minutes) and all the gardens and castles in the vicinity.
  • The Ferry House Inn

    The Ferry House Inn is a beautiful 16th Century Country Public House situated at the edge of the Swale Estuary on the peaceful Isle of Sheppey. It is set in three acres of terraced lawns and offers a superb panoramic view over the water. The Inn also has three double bedrooms and one twin bedroom, all beautifully furnished with en-suite facilities and offering visitors all the comfort needed for a perfect nights sleep
Other Links
  • Birding the Royal Military Canal, Kent

    ...Slightly later than planned due to a couple of days under canvas sans technology in Pembrokeshire, it's time to head to Kent. As a little background this is not an area of the country I know well and thanks to a busy couple of days at work leading up to our trip I'd had scant time for any serious planning...
  • Alan & Brenda Fossey - Birding Paradigms

    BLOG & Photos from a Kent & a Norfolk birder
  • Derek Faulkner - Letters From Sheppey

    I have lived on and rambled around on Sheppey all of my life and I'm interested in anything to do with its wildlife and history. Retired in 2006,aged 59. Have been a Voluntary Warden on the Swale NNR at Harty, Sheppey since 1987. I first joined the Kent Ornithological Society in 1959 but I very rarely birdwatch anywhere other than on Sheppey…
  • Folkestone - Folkestone & Hythe Birds

    Follow @folkestonebirds on twitter or find us on facebook
  • Graham Barker - The Gravel Pits Whetstead

  • Kingsdowner

    An account of all things natural in Kingsdown, East kent
  • Martin Casemore - Plodding Birder - Dungeness

    Martin Casemore's great photoblog
  • Medway - Kevin Thornton - Birding the southern Medway

    This Blog is an attempt to piece together some random thoughts on the more common birds found about the Medway estuary, part of the North Kent marshes.
  • Mike Gould - Seasalter

    Photoblog and sightings
  • New Hythe - Phil Sharp - Sharp By Nature

    I have an interest in all wildlife, but especially birds. My local patch is New Hythe Lakes and this is where I spend most of my time, although I'm happy to be outside anywhere with my binoculars and walking boots…
  • Paul Trodd - Plovers - Dungeness

    Romney Marsh birder, blogger, writer and guide with lots on Dungeness
  • Phil Smith - Kearsney Birder

    Birdwatching began seriously in my late teens when Spud Taylor introduced me to the song of the willow warbler , terns at sandwich bay, redshanks and snipe at stodmarsh and shelduck at nagden and apart from when rugby became all consuming I have been a birder ever since. Since retiring I have spent most of my time wandering around East Kent watching and now photographing birds and butterflies. I am a volunteer ranger at Samphire Hoe on a tuesday where my claim to fame is finding a hoopoe in august 2009…
  • Reculver - Chris Hindle - Reculver Birding

    I have been birding Reculver Marshes regularly since 1963 and have seen 278 of the 300 species on the official Reculver list. Reculver Marshes lie on the coast between Herne Bay and Thanet in Kent. The recording area covers the land and sea between Bishopstone and Grenham Bay south to the Thanet Way.
  • Reculver - Marc Heath - Reculver Birder

    I have had an interest in birds and wildlife from an early age and having lived in Sturry for the best part of my life I spent many in an hour in the Stour Vallley as a youngster looking for birds and animals. About 12 years ago I started to watch the Stour Valley regularly and made weekly visits there to see what birds I could see…
  • Robs Birding Blog - Swale

    Kent birder’s BLOG with photos etc…
  • Ross Newham - The Bald Birder

    My natural history delights, now back in Kent, after lots of travels and a couple of years in Oxfordshire. The arrival of Junior Baldie and Junioress Baldie has meant a change to my natural history habits - gone, for the time being, is all-day ringing and in place? Moths...
  • Snodland - Alan Woodcock - Snodland & Surrounding Area

    My name is Alan Woodcock.I have been bird-watching in the area for nearly fifty years and (bird ringing) since 1980. I hope to keep up to date sightings of wildlife I have seen (mainly birds) with occasional diary entries of past times…
  • South Foreland - Jamie Partridge - Perdix Birding

    Birding from Langdon Hole to the Southforeland Valley, Jamie Partridge
  • St Margarets - Tony Morris - St Margarets at Cliffe

    Lots of birding info and photos as well as village life…
  • Thanet - Keith Ross - Ramsgate Birds

    Novice bird watcher making short wildlife videos in my local area. Visit my Youtube Channel for The Kingfisher Coast videos.
Photographers & Artists
  • Artist - Ian Bowles

    Ian Bowles has been a full-time professional artist for over 30 years, selling his watercolour paintings through exhibitions, galleries, commissioned work and by personal recommendation.
  • Artist - Norman McCanch

    Born in Wales in 1953, Norman McCanch originally trained as a taxidermist but then spent three years working for Trinity House as a lighthouse keeper around the coasts of England and Wales, before studying graphic design and illustration at Canterbury College of Art. A keen bird ringer, he has held a licence since 1973 and was formerly warden of the bird observatories at Sandwich Bay and the Calf of Man. He gained a PhD in Avian Ecology from the University of Liverpool, and is a Chartered Biologist. He now teaches Biology and Chemistry at a Grammar school in Kent…
  • Artist - Stephen Message

    STEPHEN MESSAGE lives in the village of Benenden, Kent, England. It is here around the country lanes, meadows, woods and nearby Romney Marsh, that many of his inspirations for paintings derive
  • Photographer

    I live in Kent in the south-east of England and have had an interest in wildlife, particularly birds, from a very young age. In 2002 I started digi-scoping while out birdwatching using a Nikon Coolpix 995 and Swarovski 80HD
  • Photographer - Jodie Randall

    Facebook Page
    My fascination with nature developed at an early age. As a young child, most of my weekends were spent climbing trees in the local woodlands and exploring the Kent countryside with my two elder sisters
  • Photographer - John Devries

    I have been passionate about wildlife since I was a child
  • Photographer - Robert Canis

    I'm a professional photographer living in Sittingbourne, Kent. Born in 1970, from the age of around 10 I have always had a keen interest in natural history and when introduced to a local well known naturalist and photographer called Ted Coleman his enthusiasm soon rubbed off on me and it wasn't long before I found myselfphotographing alongside him

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