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New Hythe area
More than a dozen lakes and disused gravel-pits form this excellent birding area of inland north Kent. To the east of the River Medway, this area is close to extensive housing and industrial development but regular watching has shown there to be much of interest for the birder, particularly during passage periods and winter.
As well as the lakes there are reedbeds, willow and hawthorn scrub and small patches of mixed woodland. Regular watching has led to a good species list for the site and this is becoming an increasingly popular inland site for Kent's birders.
 Notable Species
Breeding species include Great Crested Grebe and Common Kingfisher with Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting in the reedbeds. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is resident but rarely seen when the trees are in leaf and Common Cuckoo is present in summer, more often heard than seen. This is a stronghold of Nightingale and there are warblers including Common Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat and Blackcap.
Hirundines can be extremely numerous on passage over the lakes and a small numbers of migrant terns and waders occurs. Greylag Goose and Canada Goose form moulting flocks on these lakes and sometimes the overland passage of Dark-bellied Brent Goose can be seen overhead. Passerine migrants include Whinchat and Northern Wheatear, sometimes also Black Redstart.
Wintering waterfowl such as Gadwall, Common Teal, Northern Shoveler and Common Pochard are joined by Common Goldeneye, Smew and Goosander in colder winters as well as Red-necked Grebe and occasional divers. Water Rail is a regular winter visitor in good numbers and there is usually Bearded Tit and 1-3 Great Bittern present.
There is a regular Corn Bunting roost here and one or two Stonechat winter, in recent years Cetti's Warbler has become a regular winter feature. The hawthorns attract large numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing to feed on the berries. Common Chiffchaff and Blackcap often winter in the area and Firecrest appears most years in late autumn.
Rarities are sometimes seen in the New Hythe area and have included Ferruginous Duck, Red-rumped Swallow, Marsh Warbler, and Penduline Tit but the area became nationally famous in January 1989 with the appearance of a Golden-winged Warbler, not only Britain's first but the first to be recorded in the entire Western Palearctic. The bird was first seen in the Tesco car-park and stayed in the area until April.
Birds you can see here include:
Red-throated Diver, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Great Cormorant, Great Bittern, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye, Smew, Goosander, Ruddy Duck, Hen Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Little Ringed Plover, Northern Lapwing, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Feral Pigeon, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Common Wren, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, Common Nightingale, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Black Redstart, Northern Wheatear, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Bearded Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Magpie, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Eurasian Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Common Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting
 Other Wildlife
 Site Information
 History and Use
 Areas of Interest
One productive walk in the north of the area can be reached from Snodland. Head north on the A228 to Snodland and turn left, then immediately right going over the A228, left over the bridge into the car-park. Walk under the railway and follow the footpath, first past a lake heavily used by windsurfers and then on to Abbey Mead, one of the best lakes in the complex with reedbeds, marshland and dense scrub around its edges.
This area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Continuing on this path leads to the river and eventually back to the car-park
Just across the river from here is Burham Marsh Local Nature Reserve where there are more reedbeds and hawthorn scrub where Barn Owl can often be seen hunting in late afternoon.
 Access and Facilities
To explore the New Hythe area take the M20 and turn off onto the A228 from where there are several points of access.
 Other Sites Nearby
Further south are the New Hythe and Leybourne lakes which can be reached by parking in Leybourne Way or the New Hythe Lane Business Park.
There is also a lake close to the Tesco Superstore which is worth viewing and Castle Lake on the opposite side of the M20.
 Contact Details
 External Links
Content and images originally posted by Steve