On Tuesday the group visited Grain Coastal Park. Back home the temperature reached 31.5 C but a beautiful cooling sea breeze made the conditions for us very pleasant. The tide was out (a long way out!) and with the sea and mudflats shimmering in the sunlight, viewing distant birds with telescope and binoculars was difficult. I don’t usually give a list of birds seen in my reports but on this occasion I can – because it’s a very short list. We saw oystercatchers (some juveniles), black tailed godwits, curlews, a cormorant, a shelduck and a little egret. And also, as someone else said, some “seagulls”.
The coastal grassland, now managed by Kent Wildlife Trust, was a picture and full of interest. Gatekeeper butterflies were very common and we carried out two counts for the Big Butterfly Count. Steve was happily taking pictures of gatekeepers with his new “macro” lens but this Brown Argus was a real cracker. Consequently, the butterfly list was longer than that of the birds! Peter did a great job finding wall butterflies – a scarce species, but one that can still be found along the coast in north Kent. It was good to find a small copper and the peacock butterflies were in pristine condition – they had probably just emerged from the chrysalis.
We even turned our attention to the SS Richard Montgomery – sometimes called the “ticking time bomb of the Thames”. This American ship sank 75 years ago this August, with about 1500 tonnes of bombs on board. Our telescopes were useful in viewing the finer details of the superstructure that are revealed at low tide.
For Sally, not being over interested in military matters, this Strawberry Clover was a better find.
Thanks to Steve and Sally for the photographs.