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Thursday, 17 October 2019

First surveys of the Winter


First up was Cooling Marshes on the Kent side, we weren’t expecting big wader numbers as its still relatively early in the winter but it was good to get out on the Marshes again, if I recall correctly this will be our 7th winter.

Nice to see the pair of Little Owls again straight off, many of the Pools have dried up not surprisingly but with the amount of rain we have had this month, it’s only a matter of time before they start filling up and becoming wader/wildfowl magnets again.

The regular winter Raptors were seen on both the surveys with Marsh Harrier and Common Buzzard present, 2 Peregrines were sentinels on the posts ever watchful and Paul picked up a Merlin trying to pick off passing Chaffinches.

On the recent Sunday survey Chaffinches were flooding in going west, with a strong westerly wind blowing, around 6, it was extremely hard work for them fighting the wind but none it seemed stopped, the migration movement urge to be somewhere outweighing the need to rest it seemed.

I recorded over 600 and I know Paul probably had around a 1000 moving through further inland, both of us also picked up Tree Sparrows tagging on to the Chaffinch flocks.

Enjoyable surveys and good to be back again.

Recorded 9 Bearded Tits on the last survey

Big boys - 2 Ravens out on the Marshes

On the Essex side I visited Coryton for the first time this winter, decent weather with a light wind as I started the survey.

The Kestrel was holding station by its nest box and a distant flock of birds sitting on a telegraph cable turned out to be Corn Buntings, hopefully I will keep seeing them here for years to come, another bird declining.

Kestrel keeping an eye on the box

Being October I had in mind one bird that I had seen here before, Ring Ouzel, there had been a few around lately in Essex so quite pleased when I stumbled onto 2 feeding with a flock of Starlings in Hawthorne’s.

They were off transect so photos are distant but likely 1st year birds, both went to ground when a Peregrine appeared.

Ring Ouzels - distant but likely 1st year birds


Moving on as it was high tide after a long walk I eventually arrived at the wader roost, much the same as Kent numbers were low but to be expected until the real colder stuff arrives.

Black Tailed Godwit, Redshank, Grey Plover, Dunlin were all present in low numbers along with a couple of Rock Pipits on the Saltings.

To cap off a good day a flock of Avocet came in, again low numbers but good to see this elegant wader again and as with Kent, good to be back treading the turf.

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