Trip reports

John Muir Country Park

Oystercatcher wading in shallow water
Oystercatcher - RSPB Images

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Twelve of us met at the car park at JMCP on the Saturday morning, an excellent number considering the poor forecast. I must admit that I wouldn't have been one of them given that forecast but the others were clearly more optimistic than I was - and they turned out to be right!

We sheltered in our cars for half an hour while the rain battered down, but once it stopped, that was it! It turned out to be a fine day, mild, dry and with little wind.

We started by heading west, skirting the farm, along the edge of Hedderwick Plantation to the bridge . Plenty of birds to be seen and heard - five species of warbler - chiffchaff and willow, as expected - and common whitethroat, blackcap and sedge warbler. A very good start! We spent time watching a family of great-spotted woodpeckers feeding as they made their way through the trees. And behind them a jay flew past. Other passerines included goldcrest and yellowhammers.

At the bridge we spent time scanning the Sands. There was debate about the pipits, but the consensus was that there was one tree pipit singing and parachuting from a bush, as well as meadow pipits! The tide was still far out, with High Water not due until 1615, but nonetheless, several shelduck and some female eiders could be seen, as well as small numbers of ringed plovers, dunlin, a distant grey plover, two goosanders and numerous curlew and oystercatchers.

Having followed the edge of the sands, it was time for lunch and we made good use of several large washed-up tree trunks to sit on. While there we had good views of reed bunting and linnet.

Further north, the wardens have cordoned off a large area of the spit, to protect breeding (they hope) little terns. As we crossed the spit to the seaward side, we didn't see any terns, but had good views of diving gannets, and more distant views of sandwich tern, fulmar, a cluster of male eiders at the mouth of the river - and red breasted mergansers, and guillemots.

It didn't take us long to make our way along the beach and back across the marsh to the car park. Despite starting late, we were back at the car park by 2.00pm. A good day's outing, with a surprisingly good number of birds - 60 in total.

Lawrence Mitchell


Bird list:

fulmar
gannet
cormorant
shag
grey heron
mute swan
greylag goose
canada goose
shelduck
mallard
eider
red-breasted merganser
goosander
common buzzard
oystercatcher
ringed plover
grey plover
dunlin
curlew
black-headed gull
common gull
herring gull
lesser black-backed gull
greater black-backed gull
sandwich tern
guillemot
feral pigeon
wood pigeon
swift
great spotted woodpecker
skylark
sand martin
swallow
tree pipit
meadow pipit
pied wagtail
wren
robin
dunnock
blackbird
song thrush
sedge warbler
whitethroat
blackcap
chiffchaff
willow warbler
goldcrest
coal tit
blue tit
great tit
jay
magpie
jackdaw
carrion crow
starling
chaffinch
goldfinch
linnet
yellowhammer
reed bunting

total 60