Our Wednesday walk this week took us to Cliffe pools and the Black Barn end where there had been sightings of several species of wader, including greenshank, green sandpiper, wood sandpiper and little stint among others.
Parking in the village we took a steady stroll down past the church and towards the marshes. On the first pool we saw great crested grebe, little egret, lapwing, redshank and ruff and a male widgeon in eclipse. Along the side of the pool were the usual collared dove, wood pigeon, house sparrow and jay.
As we walked towards the Black Barn a kingfisher flew straight towards us only veering off to the fields at the last minute but as it passed us there was a brilliant flash of blue, red and white – superb.
The first pool gave us avocet galore, several green sandpiper, common sandpiper, ringed plover, greenshank, and some black-tailed godwit. In the reeds sedge warbler flitted about giving their contact call, to young. As the heat built (Gravesend once again the hottest place in the UK at 30 degrees) we slowed our pace and decided to move to the track between the fields in an attempt to find some shade for lunch. A family of yellow wagtail entertained us for some time, and as we watched linnet, whitethroat and magpie a redstart came into view, sat on a branch wagging is red tail for a while and then disappeared off towards a dense hawthorn bush not to be seen again.
As we lunched kestrel hunted above, and a creche of meadow pipits were feeding between the bushes and the sorrel in the fields around us. Some of the juveniles were still fluffy and looked as if they barely had enough flight feathers to fly – but they managed to evade us with aplomb.
By the sea wall, we spotted another kestrel, then two birds of prey came into view and after giving us good views we decided on hobby and peregrine.
On our return walk (backpacks lighter, but throats somewhat drier) we added green woodpecker, common tern and more grey heron. Another scan of the Black Barn pools gave no new sightings, but all in all a great day out.
Back in Cliffe village, we felt duty bound to try out the local brew – well we were thirsty!