In 2014, and also in 2013, we set ourselves the task of locating breeding pairs of grey wagtails along the River Darent. It’s a lovely stream and in the last few years has benefitted from conservation work. So last Wednesday we repeated the survey. I am very pleased to say that we found five sites with grey wagtails and at four of these the adult birds were feeding young (in 2014 we found 4 breeding pairs). We returned to the sites that we visited last year and we had positive sightings at all of them. This time, however, we met a young man out for walk who gave us some local information and, when we stopped at Lullingstone Country Park visitor centre for an ice cream break, we met group member Frank, who told us of another possible site for grey wagtails. And he was correct. The birds were there – giving us the total of five sites.
We all tend to think that this kind of information is already known but when I got home I checked through the Kent Bird Reports for 2009 and 2010 (that’s all I have). In 2009 only two breeding pairs and in 2010 only five pairs were reported from the whole of Kent! So it was worth doing our little survey.
Could there be more than five pairs breeding on the Darent? I think so. Some of the river is difficult to access so some pairs could easily be missed. Does anyone know? My guess would be less than ten pairs – eight perhaps? Thanks to Sally for the photograph.