Sunday, 11 January 2009


The walk alongside the Strood seawall during late morning on Saturday 10th coincided with high tide. This group of brent geese pictured above, were feeding amongst the saltmarsh close to the path. No mud was on show although some waders continued to feed in the saltings like the redshank, curlew and grey plover. A few of the other waders like ringed plover, black-tailed godwit, turnstone, oystercatcher and dunlin were seen in small numbers.

The Strood Channel was rather devoid of birds with only a dozen little grebes seen in the open water. A mixture of wildfowl and waders were gathered on Ray Island during the high tide with the numbers only obvious when a marsh harrier passed overhead , scattering all the birds.

The most notable wader seen on the walk was a woodcock flushed from a ditch beside a field adjacent to the seawall. This thick-set and rich-brown coloured bird rose rapidly from the ditch and flew quickly away for about 300 metres before dropping down beside the only tree for some distance around.

It was still very cold and frozen in many places so not many other birds seen. Three meadow pipits, 3 reed buntings kestrel and a stonechat were present along the hedgerows, while 4 golden plover dropped onto one of the grass fields.

The combination of fog and freezing temperatures had left many bushes and plants coated with thick frost such as this frozen reed-head. Likewise the old seed-head of the Alexanders plant pictured below was similiarly coated with hoar frost.

Andy Field visited the Strood fields in the afternoon but saw no woodcock although a snipe flew from the same ditch instead. Three corn buntings were also noted in the area while along the channel there were quite a few knot.

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