Monday, 4 October 2010


This mute swan family with two cygnets were seen during a walk near the Strood seawall on a murky Monday 4th. Back in early June there were 4 cygnets to start with in this family but now just the two youngsters remain.

There were lots of small birds feeding in this weedy field by the seawall with 100 linnets and 50 corn buntings being the main flocks with small numbers of skylarks, reed buntings, greenfinches and meadow pipits also noted. A stock dove was feeding with a small group of wood pigeons and 30 swallows passed overhead. A whinchat was noted under a tree whilst a rock pipit flying over the saltings, was the first of the autumn.

On a distant hedgeline a brown falcon was noticed perched up for several minutes. It was only after all the small birds were sent scattering out of the field in different directions by this hurtling falcon, that I realised the bird was a female merlin. The merlin swooped a couple of times after some of the linnets but soon gave up and continued on its way over towards Ray Island.

In the channel there was plenty of mud on show although the tide was just starting to come back in. The main birds noted were 10 brent geese, 50 wigeon, 20 teal, 12 little egrets, 4 greenshank, 2 knot, 2 bar-tailed godwit, 10 ringed plover along with many of the other usual waders.

Also seen was a female marsh harrier quartering the Ray saltings, 11 little grebes, 2 common terns and a female red-breasted merganser flying rapidly over the boats by the Hard.

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