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.

Ringing sessions

Friday 2nd August 2019

High tide on Saturday morning was at 0245 so the team of ringers knew they would be in for a long night. A moonless sky and little wind were near perfect conditions and we caught 90 birds of ten species: Redshank 48, Black-tailed Godwit 15, Bar-tailed Godwit 4, Whimbrel 5, Dunlin 12 and singles of Avocet, Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Curlew and Common Sandpiper.

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Thursday 22nd November 2018

A team of eight ringers caught 48 birds on the night of 22 November comprising 34 Dunlin, 10 Redshank, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and 1 Grey Plover.

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Monday 22nd October 2018

One of the delights of wader ringing and why so many of us stay up on cold saltmarsh for half the night is the unexpected. The first bird we caught on Monday was a Curlew with a ring.

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Other news

January 2019 WeBS counts

Over 40,000 birds were counted on the Swale on the midwinter WeBS count on January 21st by our team of 15 observers. Wigeon were by far the most numerous species with more than 15,000 birds.

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