On Tuesday a large group of members and non – members joined our walk along the south shore of the Medway at Riverside Country Park. A beautiful sunny morning but with a cold wind off the water. Although we missed our target species, nightingale and turtle dove, we saw and heard a number of other migrant species. Swallows were seen flying very fast in a westerly direction and a group of house martins were also seen – perhaps having arrived at their breeding sites. Blackcaps and chiffchaffs were singing well and a male whitethroat had dropped in amongst some bramble bushes by the path and was doing his best to attract a female. In contrast, we saw over 40 brent geese still waiting for the right moment to depart to their breeding sites much further north – and a pair of long tailed tits appeared to be feeding their young in a nest! We also saw a whimbrel on passage – having come from much further south and with a long northward flight still ahead of it! So many different life strategies, all happening around us.
We were very fortunate that Trevor had joined us and he located two adders, both trying to keep out of the cold wind and basking in the sun. For many of us this was the highlight of the morning – thanks Trevor!
Nightingales are a declining species but north Kent remains a stronghold for them. Nightingales are now singing at Cliffe and at other local sites. Sadly, the same cannot be said for turtle doves. Unless something is done very quickly the soft purr of turtle doves will become a thing of the past.
A really enjoyable walk – thanks to everyone that joined in and thanks again to Trevor. Also thanks to Terry and Sally for the photographs.