We met for this outing at the later time of 17.00; it was a perfect warm and calm summer’s evening. In the car park we could see a whitethroat singing in a tree and close by, but hidden in the bushes, another returning the song. Along the section beside the railway line we heard our first skylark and later, above the field on our left nearer to the river, heard and saw several more. Another whitethroat sang in this area and also several blackbirds and a song thrush; we also heard a pheasant that was concealed amongst the crops. At Creeksea swallows flew to and from the barns, travelling low over the crops and returning presumably to feed their young. A grey heron flew over and also a raptor of some kind which we couldn’t identify. Along the western edge of the field of crops was a delightful display of common poppies, bladder campion, scentless mayweed, small-flowered crane’s bill, field forget-me-not and a white flower, possibly corn camomile or scented mayweed.
The saltings yielded a surprise with a group of five little egrets, four standing in a row and the fifth, a short distance from them, pecking on the ground. Earlier in the year we had seen a nesting pair in this area so perhaps the four standing apart are the resulting young. Sea lavender gave a splash of colour to the saltings and beyond that a great-crested grebe dived frequently near the water’s edge. In the dyke swam two pairs of mallard duck and in the marina a moorhen, poked around at the margin and further on a pied wagtail did likewise. Four noisy herring gulls circled overhead and seemed to be attracted to something near the marina restaurant.
Down at the reed beds in the Riverside Park we heard a coot and a reed warbler; the latter flew from the reeds into a tree and we got a clear view of it. There were many magpies in this area and plenty of bird song. We found the white frothy liquid of cuckoo spit, which I read is secreted by the nymphs of a sap-sucking insect known as a froghopper.
We had to rush this last section as we had a table reserved at a local Indian restaurant – excellent food but a long wait for service.
Birds: Blackbird 3, Starlings 5 (5), Great Tits 3(3), Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Whitethroat, Skylark 2 (2), Swallows 7 (7), Pied Wagtail, Reed Warbler, Wood Pigeon 17 (9), Magpie 10 (2), Mallard 4 (2), Moorhen, Grey Heron, Little Egrets 6 (5), Great-crested Grebe, Black-headed Gull 6, Herring Gull 4 (4), Common Tern.
Heard – Pheasant 3, Song thrush, Wren, Green Woodpecker, Coot
Flowers: Oxeye Daisy, Red & White Clover, Dog Rose, Bristly Ox-tongue, Ragwort, Common Mallow, Bramble, Meadow & Creeping Buttercup, Greater & Ribwort Plantain, Sow Thistle, Black Horehound, Hedge Mustard, Common Poppy, Bladder Campion, Scentless Mayweed, Marsh Thistle, Small-flowered Crane’s-bill, Curled Dock, Field forget-me-not, Elder, Hoary Cress, Sea Lavender, Bush Vetch, Yarrow, Honeysuckle, Bindweed, Large Bitter-cress.
Other: White-tailed Bumble Bee, Seven-spot Ladybird, Meadow Brown Butterfly, Damselfly, Rabbit, Cuckoo Spit.