22 met on this bright sunny day for a half-term walk with Malcolm and Sally at this ever-popular country park near Rainham. A hot and sunny day was forecast and enabled everyone to get great views of several migrants during the morning. The first excitement was the sound of a pair of meditteranean gulls mixed in with a host of black-headed gulls. With the sun it was relatively easy to spot the two whiter birds which showed up really well, their wings almost transluscent. As we moved away from the car park Alan heard a willow warbler, but we were unable to track it down for a sighting.
As we walked alongside the Medway marshes we were able to get great views of black-tailed godwit in full breeding plumage, redshank, curlew, oystercatcher, and Sally spotted a red kite overhead which stayed long enough for all to get good views before moving off west. We have heard since that a pair may have bred in North Kent.
Under the orchard trees there were a couple of mistle thrushes busily eating, and green woodpecker were calling throughout the morning, with several sightings across the group. Blackcap were in evidence in the brambles along the path, and on the waters edge were shelduck, brent geese, mallard, great crested grebe.
Soon we were into whitethroat and lesser whitethroat territory with both singing well, although we were only able to get views of the more gregarious whitethroat. Chiffchaff accompanied us all day with their distinctive call. Swallows flew overhead reminding us of the huge journeys our migrants make every year.
From Motney Hill we heard cuckoo and at the Berengrave end of the walk we heard nightingale, with Steve being lucky (or diligent) enough to see the bird. Cettis and sedge warblers also sang well on our way back.
We also had good butterfly sightings with orange tip, comma, peacock, speckled wood and green veined white amongst those noted by members of the group.
Thanks to Malcolm and Sally for leading this excellent walk.
Total of bird species seen today – 36
Toal of birds species seen YTD – 114