We encountered a problem straight away when we realised that we needed a pound to park in the car park and we only had 47 pence between us. But Alan, being the silver tongued beast that he is, charmed a lady in the car alongside us into giving him a pound coin in exchange for our 47 pence. I reckon he's done that a few times before!
There had been a Black Redstart on the rocks by the car park before we arrived but we didn't find it. We did see some Brent Geese drifting by on the calm sea though and a bit further along was this Grey Plover, one of two seen this morning.
The walk along to Coldharbour where the path turns inland was bathed in warm winter sunhine and produced a good variety of birds including Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Goldfinches, Pied Wagtails and Skylarks. A few Bearded Tits were heard in the reeds, we never did see one but good numbers of Little Egrets, Redshanks and Oystercatchers which all fed in and around the lagoons to the right of the sea wall more than made up for it.
We also kept our eyes on the shingle, hoping to find Snow Buntings or the Lapland Bunting which has been reported lately. And all of a sudden they were there, two Snow Buntings feeding on the shingle, almost invisible until they flew. Then there were four and finally six of these superb little birds, appearing and disappearing as they moved inconspicuously among the pebbles. The last time I saw some of these was about 12 years ago on the top of Ben Nevis in the snow, thankfully Reculver is a lot easier to get to!
Also in the area were several Turnstones, pictured below. I like these birds, they always seem friendly and quite tolerant of human presence and they do exactly what it says on the tin...turn over stones. You can't ask for more than that.
The inland path runs alongside the narrow River Wantsum. It's a very pleasant walk and the habitat looks as if it could turn up a surprise or two and probably does for those who watch this area regularly. No surprises for us though but we were more than happy to watch a Marsh Harrier quartering the fields near the railway line and to see a Kestrel doing it's usual impression of a spy in the sky. In a water filled ditch we watched a Kingfisher zip away from us, unusually in silent mode on this occasion, and the air was filled with the excited, high pitched cries of Redshanks, pictured below, of which there were dozens in and around the lagoons.
A single Stonechat was seen as we scanned the fields hoping to find the Hooded Crow which has been around for a while now, but to no avail. There were plenty of Carrion Crows about though all needing to be checked out in case the 'Hoodie' was among them. Back in the car park we spoke to a friend of Alan's who had seen it earlier so we decided on one more short walk along the sea wall in the hope of finding it. We didn't, but we found a couple of Curlews and a Little Grebe and then Alan spotted what he thought was a pigeon in a distant field which turned out to be a Peregrine Falcon, excellent.
So we found our Buntings and another 47 species to boot, a fine and very enjoyable autumn mornings birding I reckon. And to cap it off nicely here's a quick walk down memory lane. Both photo's taken today, 3rd November.