The winter has been mild and fairly wet with few frosts and no significant spells of cold weather. The weather for this, the first ‘Our Patch’ outing this year, was calm, which was a relief after the strong winds during the weeks beforehand. It was fairly overcast with the sun breaking through on occasions and mostly dry with just a brief spell of drizzle.
On our usual route we have come to know which birds frequent certain areas. The wren still flits in the bushes beside the railway line and a few rosehips still hang on the bushes there. It was a surprise to see blackthorn already starting to burst into flower with some blossoms fully open.
The field on the left of the railway line had growing crops last year and we saw there almost a thousand Brent geese. This year the ground has been turned over and whilst looking through the binoculars at something quite different we saw on the ground a flock of 70 lapwings lazily feeding. These birds are said to be reducing in numbers but in our local area we often see them in large numbers.
The tide was ebbing and there was some exposed mud where a few waders were feeding: curlew, redshank, oystercatchers and more lapwings. On the saltings at Creeksea was the little egret we often see in this area and in the dyke, another. Beside the seawall on the landward side the moles had been busy and plenty of fresh molehills were visible. At the marina were the usual little grebes and today, 10 mallards. The reed beds in Riverside Park yielded nothing except the sound of a moorhen.
With the spring-like air many birds were singing, particularly in the area by the former caravan park and were a joy to hear. Wood pigeons and magpies were still abundant, particularly here, and the green woodpeckers normally seen on the field didn’t disappoint.
There were only few flowers, the blackthorn already mentioned, ivy, hazel catkins and the bushes of flowering gorse gave a bright splash of yellow.
Birds: (numbers in brackets indicate the highest number seen in one sighting) Wren (1), Blue-tit 7, (2), Great Tit 2, Sparrow (4), Robin 4, (2), Blackbirds 8, (2), Goldfinch (4), Greenfinch (2), Starlings 67, (35), Pied Wagtail (1), Green Woodpecker (2), Wood Pigeons 153, (45), Magpies 14, (2), Carrion Crows 10, (2), Egret 2, (2), Oystercatchers 22, (16), Redshanks 3, (2), Lapwings 86, (17), Little Grebe (3), Moorhen (1), Mallard (10), Cormorant (1), Curlew (1), Black-headed Gulls 9, (4), Herring Gull (1).
Flowers: Gorse, Daisy, Blackthorn, Hazel Catkins, Ivy.
The next ‘Our Patch’ outing will be on Saturday 20th February meeting in the marina car park at 14.00