Some of you will be aware that it was Sally’s birthday earlier this week and being the devoted husband he is Malcolm arranged for her to go out birdwatching with a few friends – it was that or the ballet.
We originally intended to go to Conyer, but as the weather was rather grey, wet and windy we went to Oare instead where we could use the hides for shelter. On a quickly rising tide we browsed along the mud by the sea wall, this was providing good feeding for black-tailed godwit, redshank, curlew and dunlin. Further along, near the hide there were large numbers of avocets. As we walked along, with the tide coming in large numbers of birds were flying over us and on to the pool on the reserve. A cetti’s warbler was calling from bushes near the path – only just audible over the noise of the wind.
A swift flew over our heads, soon followed by kestrel and
cormorant. From the hide Sally saw a fin breaking the surface, she and Malcolm followed it as it continued up-river, but the rest of us didn’t see it. On the creek more avocet were gathering, with bar-tailed godwit on the far side. Several others flew over so we knew that we needed to check the large raft of waders when we got to the second hide. Knot and oystercatchers worked their way along the mud. Black-headed and herring gull were also using the incoming tide to feed. A sandwich tern flew over our heads and disappeared into the throng of gulls where the pool nears the road.
The “ping” of bearded tit drew us to a small bundle of feathers with a long tail skimming over the reeds in an attempt to land despite the strong wind – it wasn’t the most elegant of landings. Yellow wagtail, ringed plover, coot and teal were on the pool, and on one of the islands a strange coppery yellow bird which needed closer inspection. It turned out to be a “blonde” starling, one of those abberations of pigment that crops up every so often. When the group of starlings took flight it stood out well against it’s more usual companions.
A small group of goldfinch flew around, little grebe were diving, and two small waders arrived at speed. They were golden plover, near where they had landed the sandwich tern was spotted – well camoflagued in with the black-headed gulls.
It was time for lunch and the Shipwright’s Arms called us. After a fine lunch and a toast to the birthday girl we decided that a short walk along the creek wall would be in order. Sea aster was in flower, and a pollen laden bee was taking full advantage of these few flowers. As we moved further along the creek we saw several yellow wagtail and three wheatear, standing up on tussocks giving them a good vantage point to check the surrounding area.
As we had no chance of seeing as many birds as Sally’s years – due to our expertise I might add, not the number of Sally’s years – we decided that it was now time to wend our way home.
Shame about the ballet, but I think Sally enjoyed herself.