Sunday, 28 December 2008


Managed two walks along the Strood seawall on Saturday 27th and then again on Sunday 28th. There was no mud on show on either walk, although the tide was just starting to turn on the Saturday, whilst the next day the walk coincided with the approaching high tide.

Dotted along the edge of the saltings were groups of mixed waders especially redshank, grey plover, knot and dunlin. As the tide began to drop, several small flocks of knot totalling about 150 birds flew up from the south-west towards the Strood causeway. Three black-tailed godwits were noted on the first walk but strangely 3 bar-tailed bar-tailed godwits were seen on the following walk.

The most eyecatching flock was a big brent goose flock of about 2500 birds feeding on the Peldon fields opposite Ray Island. On both days geese were arriving from surrounding areas, especially Salcott Channel direction, to join this main gathering in the area. On several occasions the geese were disturbed and the huge black mass rose up in the air calling loudly. A female marsh harrier on one occasion and then a small yacht sailing up Ray Channel sent all the birds flying off in different directions.

Amongst the mass melee were 6 pintail flying about, as well as 700+ wigeon, 200 teal, 100 shelduck and 1000 golden plover. To add to the confusion and the need for the birds to stay alert, a peregrine was seen flying over the saltings at the north-east end of the Ray Channel on the Saturday. A male marsh harrier was also seen on this walk flying high above the Channel towards Old Hall to the south-west.

Most bird interest inside the seawall was on the Saturday walk with a kingfisher briefly glimpsed dipping into the reedbed in the dyke the main highlight. The pair of stonechats were seen along the side of the seawall while in the big grass field pictured above, 25 linnets were feeding with a small group of starlings and lapwing. Six reed buntings were noted and also 3 meadow pipits.
A female marsh harrier was seen hunting over these fields at the start of the first walk which was nice to see. A little egret stood briefly in the field, later seen feeding along the Channel side. On Sunday a pair of stock doves flew onto the Island from the Feldy direction to the west.

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