Towards the end of our outing we were cold and had seen very little, when down by the reed beds in Riverside Park we heard the explosive metallic burst of the song of a Cetti’s Warbler; then a short while later another loud ‘phitt!’, as it called again. This small brown warbler often breeds in dry tall reeds with scattered bushes around, preferably near water. A short while beforehand we had spotted a small brown bird in the reeds – probably a Cetti’s Warbler – but it flew into the trees before we could sight it with our binoculars. This was not the first we have come across; the other being at Two Tree Island, Leigh-on-Sea, but it is the first in this area for our group.
The trees do not yet have leaves so the birds are much easier to find, especially as with the approach of spring they have now started singing. The Dunnocks have returned and although resident all year we haven’t seen any since last April. The Black-headed Gulls now have their breeding plumage and sport their identifying dark brown heads.
Our previous route took us from the railway line directly down to the seawall but we now have permission to detour to the newly formed lake at Creeksea. On the way there we saw 20 Jackdaws feeding in the ploughed ground and a flock of 31 Wood Pigeons flying over. The track brings us above the lake so that we looked down across rough grass scattered with newly planted trees, to the lake and beyond; there was not much to see on the lake but in time when water plants grow we hope to see more. Today there were 7 Black-headed Gulls but later we saw a pair of Canada Geese fly over it, have a good look, and fly away.
The low tide was on the turn and with a large expanse of exposed mud we had hoped to see more than Brent Geese and Oystercatchers, but this was not to be. A lone Great-crested Grebe swam in the water and in the dyke was the resident Little Egret. There were many recently created molehills on the sea wall.
Flowers have started to make more of a showing including several escapees such as snowdrop and daffodil but others we saw included dog violet, red deadnettle and gorse and in the reed beds clusters both of marsh marigold and lesser celandine.
The next ‘Our Patch’ outing will be on Wednesday 27th April meeting in the marina car park at 14.00
Birds: (numbers in brackets indicate the highest number seen in one sighting) Robin 5 (1), Dunnock 7 (2), Wren 4 (1), Chaffinch 1, Blue Tit 3 (1), Great Tit 5 (1), Sparrow 1, Goldfinch 1, Blackbird 13 (3), Song Thrush 1, Starling 1, Cetti’s Warbler 1, Pied Wagtails 6 (5), Skylark 2 (1), Wood Pigeon 54 (31), Crow 3 (1), Jackdaw 20 (20), Magpie 6 (4), Green Woodpecker 1, Pheasant 1, Moorhen, 2 (2), Black-headed Gull 18 (6), Herring Gull 1, Mallard 2 (1), Oystercatcher 6 (4), Redshank 2 (1), Great-Crested Grebe 1, Little Egret 1, Brent Geese 6 (6), Canada Geese 2 (2),
Flowers: Blackthorn, Pussy Willow, Gorse, Daisy, Red Deadnettle, Hazel Catkins, Ivy, Ornamental Cherry, Oak Gall, Cow Parsley, Dandelion, Dog Violet, Buttercup, Chickweed, Snowdrop, Daffodil, Marsh Marigold, Lesser Celandine, Yarrow, Pussy Willow.