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Period covered is September 2012 - October 2014 plus two earlier, undated records supplied by Kent Enterprise Trust for raven and night heron


*Birds with single asterisk only seen or heard near the reserve

**Birds with double asterisk only recorded flying over (excludes birds that hunt in flight)


bird intro


1-2 occasional at any time of the year, mainly on the river

1-6 flying over occasionally;  larger flocks up to 38 very rare

1-6 rather scarce flying over

Up to 3 present in summer and autumn 2013, and one brood seen.

One on neighbouring lake in winter 2012-3


In winter up to 80 may feed in wet meadows.  In summer they may disappear altogether from the fields, but there are always 10-20 on the river.  A few birds breed in damp, rank vegetation.

Single record in October 2014.

Up to 21 on neighbouring lake each winter.  Family group once on the river.

One on neighbouring lake in winter 2012-3

One on river upstream from reserve once in December 2012.

1-2 occasional in the fields in 2013, but not recorded in 2014.


Up to six on river in winter

One on neighbouring lake in winter

Small groups of 1-4, occasionally up to 10, fly up and down the valley.  Very rarely one lands on the river.

Single record provided by Kent Enterprise Trust.  Date, location and reliability of record all unknown.

One, occasionally two, birds present, mainly in winter, feeding in the fields.

Single birds occasionally present in field ditches or flying over;  rarely two.

Two flew over in April 2013.

Single birds hunting occasionally over the reserve at any time of the year.

One flew over in October 2014


Single bird very rarely

Single bird hunting over fields occasionally.

Single record in October 2014.

Single record in February 2013.

Only two records from the reserve itself, but present immediately to NE of reserve in winters of 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Regular on the river all through the year.  Additionally, in winter, small numbers are also seen in wet patches in any of the fields.  Several pairs nest alongside ditches and in damp areas of dense vegetation.

Up to 7 on neighbouring lake, mainly in winter;  single bird very rare on the river.

Rare visitor during severe weather, recorded on six dates in two years, with flocks of 10 and 25 nearby on two further occasions..  Maximum of 25 resting on reserve.

Single record

Regular winter visitor with flocks of 1-46 feeding in soft mud close to wet features.

Single record

Two spring records – one bird on riverbank and one on nearby lake.

Almost exclusively a winter visitor.  Often mainly flying over, when up to 300 may be seen.  The number actually spending time roosting or feeding on the reserve depends on the degree of flooding:  in the fairly dry winter of 2012-13 the peak was 34, but in the wet winter of 2013-14 the peak was 447.

Strictly a winter bird here.  Always scarce, with a peak of 23.

The scarcest of the three gulls recorded at Hambrook, and almost exclusively in summer.  1-5 overflying birds occasionally, and a few records of 1-2 birds resting on the marsh.

Present all year round, as there is a nesting colony on the nearby Wincheap industrial estate.  A few birds always flying over, but occasionally much bigger movements of up to 120.  Occasional birds land on the reserve, particularly in winter, and in the exceptional flooding in early 2014 there were as many as 196.

There is a small colony on the railway bridge that crosses over the Ashford line.  Up to 16 regularly present, and occasionally a few of them descend onto the reserve fields to feed.

Up to six present for most of 2013, mainly in the disused embankment trees, but occasionally feeding in the fields.  In 2014 mainly present in summer.  No evidence of breeding, and probably no suitable nest sites.

Present all year but numbers fluctuate markedly with occasionally up to 64, but more usually 5-20.  Occasional much larger autumn movements involving hundreds of birds.  One or two pairs may nest.

One or two occasionally fly over from the houses on SE side of river, and one or two sometimes feed in the fields.

Single bird occasional just off reserve in summer

Single bird occasional near reserve

Small groups very occasional overhead May-July.  Maximum count 23.

Usually one, occasionally two or three.  May be seen flying along river, perched beside a ditch, or flying low across a field.

1-2 occasional

One occasional

Very few records, all in autumn or winter, of 1-2 birds flying over

Single record

Very few recorded in 2014, up to 30 occasional in 2013, and a flock of 220 one evening in September 2012.

Rarely seen in summer months, flocks of up to 34 flying or feeding over the reserve.  As numbers nesting in Canterbury have declined, so this species is seen less frequently.

Up to 24 present in winter

1-2 recorded reasonably regularly, mainly along the river or flying over.  Not known to have nested on the reserve yet, but at least three pairs bred further downstream into Canterbury in 2014.

1-2 birds recorded fairly frequently, but usually flying over, and not believed to nest on the reserve.

A few present all year, mainly on the perimeter and the disused railway embankment.

Scarce resident.

A few present all year, mainly on the perimeter and the disused railway embankment.

One singing just off the reserve April-June 2013, but not in 2014.

1-2 overwinter in ungrazed central field

Numbers fluctuate – commoner in winter, but a few generally present through summer.


Winter visitor.  Occasional flocks of up to 60 feeding in fields in 2012-13 but not in 2013-14.

Scarce, mainly in winter.

Winter visitor.  Variable numbers, with up to 74 in 2012-13, but hardly any the following winter.

Mainly winter visitor, scarce, but more frequent in 2012-13 than in 2013-14.

Single male singing twice in late 2012 near Tonford level crossing.  In autumn 2014 one was heard several times just off the reserve, on the far side of the Canterbury East railway bridge.

One on territory in railway ditch in 2013

A scarce summer visitor.  A pair breeds on Bingley Island, just NE of the reserve, and an occasional pair may nest on boundary ditches.

A summer visitor, breeding in scrub on edges of the reserve.

Unmated male present in May and June 2014.

Single bird occasional just off reserve in summer 2013

Summer visitor, with several pairs breeding in small scrubby corners.

Essentially a summer visitor, but with a few records in November, December and February.  An occasional pair breed in scrub.

Occasionally recorded on spring or autumn migration.

Scarce winter visitor, plus two summer records.

Single record of migrating bird in April 2013.

4 on autumn migration in 2013

Fairly scarce resident, but with winter flocks of up to 17 passing through.


A few birds are resident, particularly on the disused railway embankment.

A scarce resident, mainly on the disused railway embankment.

A fairly scarce visitor at any time of the year.  More often recorded from the mature willows and poplars on the far bank of the river.

One or two birds can turn up occasionally at any time of year, but more frequently in autumn.

About 5-8 present all year around, but in winter numbers can increase to as much as 26.

Small flocks fly over in all months, but feed in Tonford Field mainly in winter, when up to 107 have been recorded.

Birds regularly overfly the reserve to reach the rookery in Thanington, and in winter flocks of up to 95 sometimes feed in Tonford Field.

Small number resident – highest count 8.

Single record provided by Kent Enterprise Trust.  No other details available, but single birds and pairs are now infrequently, recorded around Canterbury.

Up to 120 have been recorded flying over.  In winter flocks of up to 55 occasionally feed in Tonford Field, often in the company of rooks and jackdaws.  In May and June up to 74 juveniles and adults sometimes feed in Tonford Field.

A few birds often present in nettles and other tall vegetation fringing the river, particularly in early summer when they are feeding young.

Up to four birds fairly frequent all year round.

Up to five birds very scarce in winter.

Small groups of up to nine recorded in all months.  More frequently recorded flying over the reserve, with the largest flock in flight being 17.

Very scarce winter visitor, mainly overflying the reserve.  Very occasional 1-9 in alders near the Whitehall Lane level crossing.

1-3 very rare on spring or autumn passage.

Single birds very occasionally fly over in winter.

Single birds recorded very rarely at any time of year.

Apart from one November record, the reed bunting is only recorded at Hambrook during the spring and summer, when a pair may breed in wetter scrub.


Mute swan

Greylag goose

Canada goose







Tufted duck                





Little grebe

Great crested grebe*



Night heron


Little egret


Red kite**








Water rail








Jack snipe


Green sandpiper

Common sandpiper





Common gull

Lesser black-backed gull


Herring gull




Feral pigeon


Stock dove



Wood pigeon



Collared dove


Turtle dove*





Green woodpecker

Great spotted woodpecker


Sand martin*



House martin


Meadow pipit

Grey wagtail



Pied wagtail










Song thrush


Mistle thrush

Cetti’s warbler


Sedge warbler

Reed warbler



Garden warbler

Lesser whitethroat*




Willow warbler


Pied flycatcher

Spotted flycatcher

Long-tailed tit


Blue tit

Great tit

Tree creeper














House sparrow









Lesser redpoll*


Reed bunting




95 species