May 292015

142_crIn 2014, and also in 2013, we set ourselves the task of locating breeding pairs of grey wagtails along the River Darent. It’s a lovely stream and in the last few years has benefitted from conservation work. So last Wednesday we repeated the survey. I am very pleased to say that we found five sites with grey wagtails and at four of these the adult birds were feeding young (in 2014 we found 4 breeding pairs). We returned to the sites that we visited last year and we had positive sightings at all of them. This time, however, we met a young man out for walk who gave us some local information and, when we stopped at Lullingstone Country Park visitor centre for an ice cream break, we met group member Frank, who told us of another possible site for grey wagtails. And he was correct. The birds were there – giving us the total of five sites.

We all tend to think that this kind of information is already known but when I got home I checked through the Kent Bird Reports for 2009 and 2010 (that’s all I have). In 2009 only two breeding pairs and in 2010 only five pairs were reported from the whole of Kent! So it was worth doing our little survey.

Could there be more than five pairs breeding on the Darent? I think so. Some of the river is difficult to access so some pairs could easily be missed. Does anyone know? My guess would be less than ten pairs – eight perhaps? Thanks to Sally for the photograph.



 Posted by on 29 May 2015 at 8:03 pm

  4 Responses to “Grey wagtails on the Darent”

Comments (4)
  1. How did I guess that’s where you’d end up this week??

  2. Sorry Malcolm, this does not directly answer your question – there is a breeding pair in Swanley Park. Saw an adult and juvenile yesterday.

  3. Hiya,

    On your survey did you come across the wagtails that live along the walk from Dartford County Court and the wooden bridge at Dartford station?

  4. Dave
    We did not look there! During winter grey wagtails will spread out along the river all the way (and beyond) to the Thames. Since posting our survey I have now been given two extra sites (including yours) to search next year. What we need is evidence of breeding and preferably evidence of successful fledging. So at the moment it seems there could be about 7/8 pairs along the river – which is a significant and important population!

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