Tuesday, 23 September 2008


Walked along the Strood seawall pictured above, on Monday 22nd and one or two things of interest as usual. A couple of chiffchaffs and a lesser whitethroat were the only small migrants of note in the bushes. However there was a small bird that flew into a hedge that looked as if it might've had an orange tail, suggesting a redstart, but it was just a very brief glimpse and despite lots of looking, the bird was not relocated.

Several flocks of siskin were seen flying westwards off the Island totalling about 50 birds. One group of 30 birds flew across the Strood Channel and headed towards Ray Island. One lesser redpoll was heard calling as it passed overhead and three swallows were seen.

Along the Channel there were plenty of waders scattered across the mud. The biggest concentrations were 1000 golden plover in two flocks, also 500+ redshank seemed a high number. Three greenshank, 5 knot, 25 ringed plover, 50 dunlin, 100 grey plover, 5 black-tailed godwits as well as curlew, turnstone and a few lapwing.
At least five little egrets on the mud and in the saltmarsh, while 10 teal were the start of the winter ducks in the channel. The yellow-legged gull was perched on its regular lump of concrete near the Strood causeway later in the afternoon.
Whilst scanning the waders on the mud, there was the distinctive loud whistle of a kingfisher that called nearby. The flash of blue was watched as it flew low and fast away along the water in the borrowdyke pictured above. It alighted on a small wooden post sticking out of the water and when I eventually walked along the seawall to get nearer, I was able to watch it close-by dive into the water a couple of times. The bird faced away, providing a nice view of its bright blue back. The bird soon took off and headed rapidly back along the dyke, disappearing out of sight amongst the stand of club-rushes.

In the recently cultivated arable fields, the regular flock of 30 corn buntings flew around, sometimes perching on some overhead wires and at other times feeding on the ground. Five skylarks were only noticed when they took to the air calling, while two reed buntings were seen along a ditchline. Two kestrels were the only birds of prey seen during the walk.

On one of the bramble bushes by the seawall were several fresh-looking clusters of dense silk. These are the protective"tents" which protect the very young caterpillars of the brown-tail moth. The caterpillars will hibernate through the winter and then start to feed on the bramble leaves next spring, emerging as adult moths in the summer.

The overcast conditions meant the insect tally for the walk was low with common darters over the dyke and small whites and large white butterflies along the seawall, the only things noted.


cyclopseven said...

Hi Dougal

Yyour blog speak wonders. You're posting wonderful pictures in your blog. I would like to know if I can use your pictures with some wordings in my blog. No profit ensues.Due acknowledgment will be given to your site. Hope to receive a positive reply from you. Tq

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Dougal Urquhart said...

By all means use the photos with due acknowledgements as you suggest. Happy reading. Dougal