With our commitment at Millbrook and Jeff on holiday, Irene and Sue arrived at Cliffe expecting to jointly lead the walk. However those attending were more than capable of leading themselves, and a leisurely stroll was agreed on along the path leading to Cliffe creek. From the car park we saw jackdaw, crow, black-headed gull, magpie, pochard, tufted duck, little grebe (with over 30 seen during the day), mallard, herring gull. On one of the wires above the car park Roy spotted a kestrel and grey wagtail in the same telescope view.
In the shrubs along the side of the path we saw long-tailed tit, goldfinch, blue tit, great tit, starling, robin, blackbird, wren and a couple of jays. On flamingo pool we added little egret, many great crested grebe, redshank, grey heron, lapwing, pheasant, curlew and black-tailed godwit. Beyond the reserve, and in the distance we noticed a marsh harrier. A sparrowhawk swooped low over the nearby hedge and followed the line of the bank towards the middle of the pool disturbing ducks and waders as it went. Golden plover were mixed with redshank, shelduck, coot, moorhen and cormorant were all added to our day’s list, before we got to Cliff Creek. Here the waders were most numerous with dunlin, grey plover, ruff, avocet and to aid identification there were great and lesser black-backed gulls side by side. Howard spotted three greenshank just before we took lunch near the mouth of the creek, and we were entertained by the arrival of a dredger which disgorged its contents onto the reserve.
As we continued the circuit towards the Black Barn, large flocks of starling were creating their great patterns in the sky, whilst a pair of greenfinch watched us from the seawall.
On the inland track we found a large group of goldfinch with a few linnet mixed in fed on the ground and as we approached they flew onto the fence then back to the ground again. A pair of stonechat zig-zagged from the fence to the tall grass at the side of the track and back again. From the viewing mound we added ringed-plover, and as we passed the barn Alan spotted four snipe preening in the grass at the back of the pool. As we walked back to the car park, we took a few minutes at the viewpoint where a kingsfisher was heard as it flew below us.
The return back to the car park was uneventful, and we all went home tired but pleased with the day’s sightings.