Last Wednesday Sally and I were left on our own to go birding – other team members declined to attend. Something about too wet, too windy – too wild. Wimps! Sally and I decided to walk across Filborough Marshes opposite our house to see whether the “floods” had attracted any birds. The fields are supposed to be drained but the ditches are completely full and overflowing and our neighbours opposite must be wondering how long will it be before the “lake” reaches them. Personally I think the culverts underneath the Gravesend – Strood railway must be blocked because the RSPB reserve on the other side of the railway is comparatively dry. The Environment Agency sent me a Christmas card this year, thanking me for all of my efforts and wishing me a Happy New Year. Are they trying to tell me something? The floods will have destroyed the farmer’s crops (as it did last year) but they have attracted lots of gulls. We saw hundreds of black headed gulls with fewer common and herring gulls just loafing around. They seem to enjoy standing by the water’s edge doing nothing. We counted 12 mute swans and 7 mallard but, as yet, the wildfowl numbers are nothing like last year. 500+ starlings were attracted to the drier parts of the fields, as were the crows. A couple of redwings brightened up the view and we were pleased to find 2 song thrush in the old orchard. When we got to the RSPB Shorne reserve we saw 2 marsh harriers but at this point it started to rain heavily. We turned around and made our way back as quickly as possible. The wind drove the rain into our faces and we arrived home thoroughly cold and wet. Taken all together though we had made a good start to our 2014 birding list and all of the records were added to the BTO BirdTrack.
But was it all worth it? Er, no. Should have listened to the others.