On a warmer than expected Saturday morning sixteen members met in the car park for what was the last group walk of the year. Some of the group talked about a beautiful sunrise seen earlier that day. We set off along the track towards the pinnacle. The track was very short on birds with a few goldfinches and blackbirds flying around. We turned up the path with The Radar Pool to our right and picked up some redwing in the trees.
At the second viewpoint looking over the pool there were coots and dab chicks in good numbers along with pochard, tufted duck and great crested grebes. A marsh harrier put up a large group of lapwings. Carrying on along the path we saw some chaffinch. From a couple of vantage points the group saw the hoped for goldeneye out on the pool. Sally noted a pintail near to the distant shore along with shelduck and shovelers.
We carried on to Flamingo Pools with some of the group reminiscing over the fact that many years ago flamingos were seen here. There was a buzzard perched in a tree and one on a post on the other side. A huge number of golden plovers were on the far bank (the estimates ranged from 500 to 1000) – whatever the number it was terrific to see. Some time was spent discussing a hard to see wader partly hidden among the golden plovers. The question was, could it be a curlew sandpiper? Sadly, this could not be confirmed and the final thoughts were that in all likelihood it was a dunlin. At the end of the path we turned right and, opposite on the mud in Cliffe Creek, there were a few redshanks to be seen.
We walked along the sea wall up to the bend and looking over the river we saw our first avocets of the day, the lack of which up to then had been commented on. Some mallard and a great black backed gull in the water were noted. We walked a little further and went into the reserve for lunch. We returned back the way we came and half a dozen or so corn buntings were seen in a tree to our left. I hope everyone got as good a look as me through a ‘scope as that was one of my birds of the day.
A bit further on we were treated to all sorts of thrushes coming down to drink, or bath, in some puddles on the path. These were a mix of blackbird, redwing, fieldfare and at least one song thrush, together with some chaffinches and starlings. A kestrel posed nicely in a bush to our right.
We turned on to the path with the Cristal Pool to our right. In the water we saw dab chicks with one seemingly much more pale than normal together with a hint of ginger. This could well have been an example of leucistic aberration. Continuing along the path we saw a group of long tailed tits flitting around together some other tit species mixed in. A greater spotted woodpecker was also seen. As we neared the end of the path it started to drizzle and the leader, thinking it a good plan, sped up in order to get back to the cars before any real deluge. Apologies to those who also hastened along as they were denied a view of a kingfisher by those tougher (or just plain slower) group members. Perhaps the group should be allowed a vote as to whether this person should be allowed to lead a group ever again. I for one would vote “never again”.
A big thanks to Julie, Sally and Steve for the photographs. Each picture saved me a thousand words. So it just remains for us to wish you a Happy Christmas and New Year.
See you all soon
Karrie & Pete