Aug 122012

On Friday 10 August 15 members of the group met up just outside* the main Cliffe RSPB reserve car park for an evening walk around the reserve.  It was a lovely summer evening with a high tide around 7pm.  Before we had exited the car park we had seen a juvenille green woodpecker and shortly afterwards a great spotted as well.  From the vantage point of “the Pinnacle” we could see that there were large numbers of waders roosting on the far side of Radar Pool, as well as terns, gulls and other water fowl, so we soon sent off down the central causeway to get a closer view.

View from Pinnacle at Cliffe Pools reserve

(If you are not familiar with the layout of the reserve here is a PDF map of the site).

The following were seen on Radar pool:

Great crested grebe(~20), little grebe(~20), tufted duck(~10), shelduck(~10) grey heron(singles), little egret(~10), avocet(~10), black-tailed godwit(~100s), redshank (~50), greenshank, dunlin (~10), grey plover (single in summer plumage), lapwing(~50), common sandpiper(1-2), common tern (with young), black-headed gull, great black-backed gull(~30), herring gull.  Lesser numbers seen in the far corner of Flamingo Pool.

At the Thames viewpoint, with the tide just turning from its high point, we saw a small ‘creche’ of shelduck,a  solitary whimbrel and a yellow-legged gull (well identified by Malcolm).  Finally we were treated to a lovely sunset over the creek.  Plus, in the distance on the Essex side, were all the other waders (which we guessed included the reported 1000 avocets…)

Sunset over cliffe creek

Other birds seen included cormorant, pheasant, swallow, house martin, swift, blackbird, linnet, goldfinch, woodpigeon, collared doved, crow and magpie.  No raptors or owls were spotted.  And now, at home, we can count the number of mozzie bites we each got!  Can anyone beat my 20?

Report by Paul Yetman

* Be warned that the car park at Cliffe is locked after 5pm, so if you wish to be on the reserve after this time, be sure to park on the Salt Lane side of the main entrance gate!

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