Eleven members met at RSPB Cliffe Pools car park which included three new people. The weather was bright and sunny and the forecast was looking good. As we gathered, Mediterranean gulls could be heard and seen overhead with greenfinch and dunnock in the bushes.
There was a good view of a buzzard passing overhead. As we set off towards the Crystal Pool viewpoint a Cetti’s warbler was heard and a number of small birds were seen along the path. At the viewpoint we were joined by two more members. Initially the pool seemed a bit lacking in birds but a good look around found pintails, wigeon and shoveler as well as a good number of Mediterranean gulls on the islands. We walked back and ascended the pinnacle to allow some members a new view of Cliffe Pools. A cormorant was spotted from here down in one of the pools outside the reserve.
From there we ambled along the centre path in the direction of the sea wall seeing goldfinch, long-tailed tits and chaffinch. From the viewpoints looking over the pools we had some great views of goldeneye keeping people on their toes as they dived and resurfaced almost in the blink of an eye. A small flock of birds was seen, twisting and turning, in the distance. After some discussion, the possibilities seemed to be knot, golden plover or dunlin. The jury is still out. The Flamingo Pool produced a greenshank that completely disappeared after being seen by only three members.
We reached the sea wall and looked over at a low tide in the creek and saw a few redshank and teal and a small flock of linnets on the wall. A quick look was had at the river end of the Flamingo Pool where Hazel spotted some ringed plover on the far bank. Lunch was taken in a sheltered spot nearby. We then carried on following the river, seeing more linnets along the sea wall and stonechats on the right. At the river bend four common seals were seen on the opposite shore and avocets on the near shore.
Skylarks were heard and seen as well as a kestrel and pied wagtails amongst others. In a field to the left were a large number of meadow ant hills which suggests that it hasn’t be cultivated for many years. The ‘highlight’ for some on this stretch was a pair of Egyptian geese spotted in the distance by Andy.
By the time we arrived back at the car park more than 55 species of bird had been seen. We were hoping that a few butterflies might appear enjoying the warmth of the day. Sadly, only one peacock was noted, by Trevor, flying along a ditch edged by reeds in which it may well have been hibernating. However, a good number of bumble bees were seen over the course of the day.
Thanks to Peter and Karrie for leading and for the report. Thanks to Steve for the photographs.