Oare today …

The weather is broad grey brushstrokes with brief sparks of sunshine that light small flocks of lapwings and the many ducks on the open waters of the East Flood. A mobile mass of starlings forages in the recently cut marsh with a busy intensity; birds rise from the back and move to the front in short leaps like a peloton. Beyond the sea wall that protects the freshwater marshes, the tide is out and the mudflats stretch eastwards with hardly a break passed Seasalter to Whitstable; to the north, the moulded mud is broken by a thin strip of dirty turquoise that is the Swale estuary. Under an increasing blanket of cloud, the windless afternoon slides without effort into the long gloom of winter dusk.

The following week, there is a clear blue sky at Oare. The teal, shoveler, gadwall, mallard and a handful of pintail are in their magnificent, fresh plumage on the ice blue water. The reeds are golden and hills are enveloped in orange mists. Small flocks of teal and lapwing rise into the sky when a male marsh harrier floats through the flood.

The wide landscape of open water, reedbeds and grazing marsh with a backdrop of boats and boatyards on Oare creek backed by the distant distinctive spire and brewery of Faversham beyond would be one of the finest views in Kent, but for the disfiguring traverse of huge pylons and their connecting wires.

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