The first bird I saw today was a chiffchaff in the trees at Brooklands car park as I was putting my walking boots on. I took this as a good sign and decided that today I would keep a list of species seen, I usually only do this on the first visit of the month. By the time I had walked the length of the car park I had noted ten species including a small flock of seven greylags and one canada goose flying overhead in tight formation, maybe the canada goose was having an identity crisis!
The tide was low on the river and still falling, as I walked around the sunken marsh I paused for a while in the calm conditions in the hope of repeating the sighting of a bearded tit which I'd had here a couple of weeks ago, no luck this time, but I was able to watch a sparrowhawk hunting on the other side of the river and two redshank calling loudly as they zigzagged their way upstream.
Abbey mead lake was fairly busy with quite a few great crested grebes, shovelers, gadwall, tufties, pochard looking pristine in the morning sun and of course, as always, large numbers of coot.
Gadwall on Abbey Mead
I could hear bullfinches calling to each other in the vicinity so I stood quietly for a few minutes and was rewarded with no less than four flying low over my head, I don't think they even saw me tucked away in the hawthorns.
A traverse of the east and west scrub revealed little of note, a couple of jays, a single greenfinch, there seems to be very few of these present at the moment, and just the odd redwing.
I walked back over the railway line and back along the river in the company of Den and Doreen Capeling who were also taking advantage of the better weather today and who are off to the Maldives on sunday for some even better weather, lucky devils!
Little egret, kestrel, good numbers of teal, a lapwing and a single fieldfare over were some of the offerings on the last section of the walk plus a cormorant which had caught a very large flounder and was sitting on a mudbank on the river wondering how the heck it was going to swallow it, i'm sure that if the cormorant had fingers on the end of it's wings instead of feathers it would have been scratching it's head!
My tally for the morning was 47 species, not a huge amount for some places but a pretty respectable list for good old New Hythe I think.