Thirteen of us met at the RSPB reserve on a very grey and windy day – the complete opposite to the weather the day before and day after!
On the feeders next to the car park were chaffinch, great tit and blue tit. From the visitor centre there was a lot to observe on Burrows Pit which came as a pleasant surprise. Cliff and I had visited a couple of week ago and it was very quiet, apparently due to the disturbance caused by building up the many islands that are now there. There were many shovelers, cormorants, great crested grebe, pochard, grey heron, gadwall, large numbers of greater and lesser black backed gulls, a few teal and pintail, and one curlew. Moving on to the hides along Burrows Pit we added golden plover, lapwing, common sandpiper, dunlin and a kestrel, plus another 3 herons and a great white egret. The weather was getting worse, so we missed out Christmas Dell hide and went straight to Denge Marsh where there were flocks of greylag and canada geese, starlings circling round and a few remaining swallows but, apart from lots of black headed gulls, not a great deal else to be seen. From the mound there was nothing stirring in the reedbeds or indeed over them, so as we were all hungry we made our way back to the car park and ate lunch in Denis’s hide. There we had fantastic views of great white egrets flying past the hide and counted 8 in all.
After lunch we drove over to the ARC hoping to see the red necked grebe, only stopping at the house to try and get a view of tree sparrow. The first to arrive there had a lovely view of a tree sparrow on the feeders, but sadly the rest of us missed out. From Hanson hide we had a lot more luck with waders, including ringed plover, golden plover, black tailed godwit and after some debate a grey plover. Having been told by a birder in the hide that we wouldn’t be able to see the red necked grebe from there, after he’d moved on, Malcolm spotted it amongst a couple of great crested grebes and we were all able to get a good look. The sun actually came out very briefly and with it appeared several migrant hawker dragonflies and our only butterfly of the day, a red admiral.
Where next? – the “patch” or the fishing boats? Having been told that arctic skua had been seen at the fishing boats we plumped for going there. By now the weather was closing in again and it was very windy. No arctic skua unfortunately but we did have a number of sandwich terns close in to the shore, and gannets further out.
Despite the weather a good day was had by all, and we managed to number around 50 species. Thanks to all who came and to Sally and Terry for the photographs.
Thanks to Sue and Cliff for leading and the trip report.