On a fresh, cloudy day, fourteen of us gathered in the car park at Dagenham Chase, ready to explore this new venue.
Having crossed the road, we first looked at the Eastbrook Pond. There were Egyptian geese, mute swans, mallards, common terns and coots with their chicks. Our walk took us between the lakes, where various species were seen, including Canada geese, greylag, cormorant, grey heron and swift etc. At the top of Chase Water, a sedge warbler sang its jazzy song and a chiffchaff serenaded us along the path. As we turned left towards the river path, we all stopped and gazed in amazement. A flock of at least fifty birds were darting from bush to bush, right in front of us. These included long tailed tits, great and blue tits and some of the group even spotted juvenile blackcaps. Then just off to the right a dead tree yielded great spotted and green woodpeckers – what a fantastic sight.
Song thrush, blackcap, wren and robin sang their songs as we walked beside the River Rom and juvenile robins were spotted amongst the bushes, foraging for their next meal. Coming out of the woods we crossed the road to a different habitat where a lone linnet ambled across the fields while a buzzard flew high in the sky above us. Arriving at the Slack, some grey herons and a little egret sat in a tree, as if guarding the lake. This lovely expanse of water gave us some good views of little ringed plover, swallow, sand and house martin, lapwing, pied wagtail, teal etc. Several species of gull were seen as we walked around the lake and we then decided to head back for lunch, via the west side of the Bardag, with it lovely lily pads and moorhen chicks.
During lunch a friend, Steve Drake, arrived and gave us a further insight to the Chase. A kestrel hovered, looking for its lunch, as we ate ours. The sun was shining as we ventured out again. Our route took us through the woodlands and on to Wheelers Pond. Blackcaps, goldfinches and a whitethroat welcomed us with their songs. We reached Tom Thumb and searched the lake banks for the kingfisher. We were not disappointed as a male was spotted on the far side perched on a tree branch between the reeds. We watched as he dived for us and then after quickly dispensing his prey he dived again. What a brilliant display from this colourful, master of fishing.
Our last leg of the journey, took us around Eastbrook Pond and in between the two lakes. A female tufted duck and her young brood were gliding serenely on the lake. Sue, Malcolm and myself were the stragglers. The pair of them found some insects (how, I don’t know) and gave an explanation as to what they were and their normal habitat. We do have some really clever people in our group.
The Chase is an amazing place, with an abundance of flora and fauna. Many of our group identified various plants, insects etc and it was good to see Peter disappear into the distance (again) chasing butterflies and moths. All in all, a total of 51 species of bird for the day. Many thanks to all that attended.
Steve and Hazel
Steve took this wonderful photograph of a robin perched on a fisherman’s rod just above the electronic sensor that sounds an alarm when a fish has been hooked. The owner of the rod had fallen asleep in his chair and did not have a clue as to what was happening. What do you think the robin might have been saying?
Thanks to Steve and Hazel for leading, the report and the photographs. Malcolm