I was pleased to see a low tide as I approached the now almost impenetrable path to the small wood, and by this time my meagre list consisted of just Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Herring Gull, Coot, Great Tit and BH Gull. This didn't bode well for the rest of the morning but I hoped that the river would change things. But it didn't, despite it looking really good, my reward for battling through the towering nettles was Grey Heron (lots), Cormorant, Mallard, Moorhen and Lesser Black-backed Gull.
The sunken marsh area also looked great so I made my way along to Hoopoe corner, hearing a Cetti's Warbler calling half heartedly on the way, the first for a while, and stayed there for 15 minutes or so. I thought I might see a stop over Sedge Warbler here but again it didn't happen, I think this will be one of the species that stays off the New Hythe year list for 2011 for the first time since I started keeping one. Whitethroat, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Robin, who seem to be singing more now, Jay and Little Egret were all seen though and a Water Rail was also heard, which is another species I haven't seen down here this year, but i'm confident that I will before the end of December.
At the far end of the sunken marsh where the pylon rears it's ugly head, there's a good viewing spot for the river. The tide had receded further by the time I got there and I was surprised to see a Swan snoozing on one leg right by the water's edge. I was even more surprised when something disturbed it (probably me) and I saw that it was a Whooper Swan, probably the feral one that's been around for some time, i've never seen it on the river before though. Also on the far bank I noticed a Kingfisher perched on the end of a piece of driftwood some way back from the river's edge and there were some small ducks in the distance which looked like Teal by their size. As I took all of this in I noticed a small flock of pigeons rise up from behind the tree line, I scanned around them for a possible raptor and was surprised to see that they were in fact Stock Doves, about fifteen of them in all, they circled over me and disappeared over the area of Burham reservoir.
Unsurprisingly there were very few butterflies and Dragonflies on the wing, Speckled Woods and Gatekeepers were the most plentiful butterflies but I did see a couple of Commas (above) and a single Red Admiral. Common Darter, Migrant Hawker and a single Brown Hawker, which perched too high in a tree at Abbey Meads lake for a decent photo represented the dragonflies. As I watched the almost undisturbed surface of the lake about half a dozen Sand Martins suddenly appeared, they spent a few minutes skimming the surface for insects before disappearing as quickly as they had arrived.
A Gt Crested Grebe with three quite young stripey chicks was fishing on Johnson's lake and on Streamside two more Kingfishers suddenly appeared. One of them flew past me not more than six feet away and landed on a branch about fifty feet away to my left, I crept as close as I dared to it and just about managed a fuzzy, through the leaves shot before it was off again, calling loudly as it flew close to the surface and in front of me once again.