On a very bright and clear Saturday morning 14 of us met at the Old Lighthouse. Instead of our usual trip straight to the beach, we took a slight detour on the path round the Lighthouse as there had been a report of firecrest and goldcrest being seen in the bushes. Unfortunately, it was not to be, but on the way round we did see a common darter dragonfly and a painted lady butterfly, wings open catching some sun. Along the way to the beach were flocks of starlings, house sparrows and a robin. Deciding not to go as far as the “patch” this time we stopped by the first hide. A great crested grebe was spotted quite close in to the shore.
Herring gulls, black headed gulls, a gannet and cormorants were seen out to sea. On the horizon a group of dark birds were seen flying fast and low over the sea. It was thought these may have been common scoter, but the jury’s still out on that one. From the beach we walked back to the car park via the Observatory where we added chaffinch, a wren caught in the trap, a kestrel flying overhead, and a goldcrest spotted by Sue.
Following reports of a shorelark which had been seen over several days near the fishing boats in the ever-growing number of puddles we stopped to take a look. It was not to be, a skylark was heard but the only bird we saw in a puddle was a pied wagtail.
Returning to the cars we went straight to the reserve for lunch. Great tit, blue tit, chaffinch and sparrows were making the most of the feeders in the car park. From the hides along Burrows pit we saw large numbers of lapwing on the islands, along with herring and great black backed gulls. The ducks numbered coot, gadwall, teal, shoveler, tufted, mallard, pochard and pintail.
There were also greylag and Egyptian geese, great crested grebes, as well as large numbers (1000+) of cormorants in the trees and on the islands towards the end of the pit. The only wader spotted was a ringed plover. A cettis warbler was heard a couple of times outside one of the hides but did not show itself. The highlight, however, was the red throated diver which came quite close to the hide giving us all really good views.
By now time was getting on, the sun had disappeared and the sky was looking threatening, so we made a brief visit to Denge Marsh hide where we were lucky enough to see three cattle egrets before they were spooked by a marsh harrier, one of a number seen during the day. By the time we got back to the car park the light was beginning to fade, but there was just enough time to pay a visit to the ARC pit where we added wigeon, goldeneye, little grebe, a great white egret and moorhen to our tally for the day.
Thanks to everyone who came and for making it a really good day.
Sue and Cliff
Thanks to Sue and Cliff for leading and for the trip report. Thanks to Steve, Sally and Terry for the photographs.