Sunday, 28 June 2009


It was a hot walk around the busy country park in the early afternoon of Sunday 28th. The main area of interest is still on the pools in the grazing fields, as it has been all through the spring. On this occasion two very colourful ruff, still with a fair amount of their breeding plumage on show. These males had very similar colour markings with a general black body and wings but with a ginger ruff still very visible around the neck.

Both birds waded through the shallow waters, picking at insects on the surface as they walked across. These ruff are returning from their breeding grounds probably in Scandinavia, stopping off here to refuel before continuing south for the winter.

The other bit of bird interest focussed on the oak tree in the hedgeline behind the pools, as in the picture above, where the young kestrel chicks were perched on a branch outside their nestbox. It's satisfying to see the specially designed box being used by them having been put up in the tree about 4 years ago with barn owls or kestrels in mind. The adult male arrived back with some food with the chicks calling out loudly as the prey was quickly passed over to one of the youngsters.

There were good numbers of sand martins flying around many of the surrounding fields and beach with at least 100 birds seen. Many of them perched on wires to the north of the park.

The first small skippers were skipping low over the grass with this one pictured above stopping briefly enough for a closer view. Several large skippers were also seen as were lots of meadow browns along hedges and amongst the long grass.

Along some of the bushier paths there were several speckled wood butterflies, one pictured above, defending their section of path from rivals. Any other speckled woods that got too close were quickly chased away.

Adrian Kettle saw 2 yellow-legged gulls by the Strood early on the Sunday morning, one of the birds an adult, the other bird a younger bird.

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