It was a misty start at Grain on Saturday. The incoming tide had already covered the mud flats, and so we set off along one of many paths of the Grain Coastal Park. Chiffchaff and chaffinch were singing from the trees and some of us had a nice view of a male blackcap. The melodic sound of a song thrush drifted through the trees but was hard to see. A raven was heard calling and we were lucky enough to have a quick glimpse before it disappeared while being mobbed by a crow. The sun was now shining and many butterflies were on the wing. The first Speckled Wood of the year for most of us, but also Orange-Tip, Peacock, Green-veined White and Small Tortoiseshell. There were 18 of us that had entered the maze of paths that make up the site of the now mainly demolished Grain Fort (1861-1956) but when we came out onto the shore path there were only 16. A quick search in the woods and we were all back together again as we walked along the shore path. A solitary turnstone on the edge of the beach seemed unperturbed by our attention. The sky was now blue and cloudless and we had lunch at the picnic tables in the warm spring sunshine, as a Holly Blue butterfly passed through.
After lunch, we moved onto Northward Hill RSPB reserve and were greeted by a flock of goldfinches on the approach road and pied wagtail in the car park. We made our way to the viewpoint overlooking the pools where we saw avocet, gadwall, teal and lapwing with buzzard and marsh harrier over the marshes. We passed the cherry orchard, looking splendid in full blossom, as we made our way to the viewpoint on the hill. Whitethroat and lesser whitethroat had been seen from here the day before but not today, but some of us had our first swallow of the year. Brimstone and Peacock were among the butterflies on show as we descended the hill, and a great spotted woodpecker flew by.
A lovely day out in the sunshine with over 50 different birds.
Thank you to all those that attended.
Norman and Sandra
Thanks to Norman and Sandra for leading and for the trip report. Thanks to Norman and Terry for the photographs.