Since our visit last month the weather has remained mild with just a brief spell of cold that included some overnight frosts. In spite of the mild weather there was little evidence of new growth on the vegetation with the exception of a honeysuckle near to Creeksea that had plenty of new leaf shoots. In fact we saw fewer flowers than last month spotting only daisies on the meadow and gorse at Creeksea.
We were fortunate with the weather having a bright and sunny day, no wind and a temperature of around 8°. It was immediately noticeable that the birds were preparing for their breeding season and in the car park alone Great Tits, Robins and Blackbirds could be seen and heard singing loudly. We also heard a Chaffinch and the shrill voice of a Green Woodpecker, both of which were sighted later, the Green Woodpecker close to the car park and the Chaffinch on the stretch near Creeksea. There were Wood Pigeons and Magpies and on a bush, first heard and then seen, a Wren.
We took exactly the same route as last month. On our right buds had formed on the saplings, a few hawthorn berries still remained and several fresh molehills were visible. We heard the explosive tchik of a Great-spotted Woodpecker and on this stretch heading west we glimpsed what we thought to be a Long-tailed tit – later we did see just one which was unusual as they are normally found in groups. Blue Tits and Robins sang here too and there were several Blackbirds, Magpies and Wood Pigeons. To our left, above the field of crops, we twice heard the continuous outpouring of a Skylark singing but were unable to see it possibly because we were looking straight into the sun.
Heading south we paused beside the new bungalow and a flock of ten birds flew across; at first we thought the could possibly be Rooks but when they landed in a bare tree we could clearly see their grey heads and identified them as Jackdaws. Several Crows flew overhead. Beyond the tree where the Jackdaws landed stands another bare tree and high in the branches we could see a squirrel’s drey. On the lawn in front of the bungalow two thrushes searched for food on the ground. After much deliberation we identified them as the largest of the ‘spotted’ thrushes, the Mistle Thrush. Later, in the Riverside Park, we saw the smaller Song Thrush.
There were plenty of what you might call garden birds on this stretch including a small flock of Goldfinches and a Chaffinch. Ahead, and flying over the river, were an untidy flock of around 30 Lapwings. The tide was high and just beginning to ebb so we saw no feeding waders except for one Redshank standing on a rock near to the marina. The dyke on our left had less water than last month and the only life we saw was one Moorhen. There were many well-used paths leading into and out of the water. In the marina were a pair of Mallards, two Little Grebes, a Black-headed Gull and the most exciting bird of the day, a Red-breasted Merganser. We had hoped to get closer to it but before we could do so it took off towards the river and we lost sight of it.
In Riverside Park a pair of Moorhens swam amongst the reeds. There were plenty of Wood Pigeons and we counted 20+ in one tree alone. Magpies too were ubiquitous, Robins sang loudly and a twittering flock of Goldfinches gathered in a tree. The former Caravan Park was filled with bird song. There was a Greenfinch, Starlings and three Robins together and a female Chaffinch. After two hours we returned to the car park and saw the last bird of the day, a Pied Wagtail.
Birds: (numbers in brackets indicate the highest number seen in one sighting) Great Tit 7, Long-tailed Tit 2, Chaffinch 2, Blue-Tit 3, Robin 20+ (3), Blackbird 15+, Goldfinch 10 (6), Mistle Thrush (2), Song Thrush 1, Magpie 22 (7), Wood Pigeons 45 (20+), Jackdaws (10), Crow, Green Woodpecker 1, Redshank 1. Red-breasted Merganser 1, Mallard 1 pair, Moorhen 3 (2), Little Grebe 1 pair, Black-headed gull.
Flowers: Gorse, Daisy.
The next ‘Our Patch’ outing will be on Monday 16th March meeting in the marina car park at 10.30