On Sunday, Hazel and I spent a couple of hours down at Allhallows. We parked by the Pilot pub and were greeted to the sights and sounds of House Sparrows, Starlings, Black headed gulls, Blue and Great Tits. Wandering along the footpath towards the river, a lone Grey Heron was gliding along with the strong breeze and landed to our right. Hundreds of Starlings filled the air and bushes to our left, then suddenly, right beside us, two Skylarks rose in the air, singing their majestic songs. Further down the track, two Little Egrets made haste as we approached them.
The tide was now rapidly coming in, so we set off beside the creek, hoping for that something special – alas not. We arrived at a point just opposite Yantlet beach and found another nine Little Egrets. In and around them were Shelduck, Oystercatchers, Cormorant, Redshank, Mallard and Brent geese. More Skylarks flew over and three Pied Wagtails foraged on the shoreline.
The weather was closing in, so we decided to make our way back. Another couple were there, and they had set off way before us. They said that there is a circular route around the area which comes back across a farm. That’s for another day.
All in all, not a bad couple of hours, with sixteen species spotted.
Yantlet Creek is indeed a good place for birds. We were there a few days before Steve and Hazel! We got the tide completely wrong and most of the birds were out feeding on the mud. We could add bar tailed godwit, curlew, grey plover and rock pipit to Steve’s list but the best birds for us were stonechats – about six in total. Yantlet Creek’s position in the Thames Estuary gives it “ambience” with a big open sky and long views over the river – the beach Steve mentioned is a good high tide roost for birds (he should have stayed a bit longer), snow buntings can be found in winter, and wheatears are often there on migration. The circular walk is a bit of a trek though – and in winter only for the hardy!
Thanks to Steve for telling us about their trip.
P.S. If you visit and see a “mature” birder sitting on the seawall at Yantlet, say “hello!” to Paul for me.