Trip reports

Mote Park Maidstone (Leader Warren Mann)

Mote Park Maidstone (Leader Warren Mann)
Grey Wagtail (Richard Hanman)

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

After struggling through the Maidstone traffic my two passengers and I arrived at the car park only five minutes before our starting time of 9.30, and were surprised to find no other bird watchers present. We got ready and on the dot of 9.30 our numbers were increased by the arrival of a fourth member of our group.

We first inspected the mature trees near the car park but could find nothing there. As we made our way to the lake we saw a crow, woodpigeon and a cormorant, the first of a number of seen on and around the lake. At the lake there were coots, Canada geese, great crested grebes and a lot of black headed gulls. In addition there was a larger gull perched on a buoy which caused some puzzlement, but after looking at some photos taken at the time, I have plumped for an immature lesser black-backed gull. We then saw a jay flying over, which eventually proved to be not the bird of the day, but the species of the day. During our walk we had at least 12 different sightings of one or more jays, including a loose flock of five birds. It is difficult to say, but we may have seen more than 20 individuals.

As we stood at the end of the lake by the little stream a kingfisher flashed by. We spent some time trying to find it but were unsuccessful; however we were rewarded for our efforts by a couple of sightings of a grey wagtail. We did not know it at the time, but these two sightings were probably the birding highlights of our walk.

Back at the lake we had good views of a perching 1st-winter common gull, but as we made our way along the northern edge of the lake we could only add a robin, blackbird, mallard and moorhen to our list. We decided not to list the pedaloes disguised as giant swans and sea monsters. Away from the lake we saw dunnocks, jackdaws, magpies and, at the top of a small tree, three mistle thrushes. We made our way to the old stone bridge over the River Len at the eastern end of the lake, but we searched in vain for another sighting of kingfisher. We saw a flock of a dozen or so long-tailed tits fly into a bush and then make their way erratically down the stream. In the same area we also saw a wren, blue tits and a green woodpecker. We had heard woodpeckers earlier and one of our group had had a fleeting glimpse of one.

As we made our way back to the car park we did not add to our list of 24 species. Indeed, we saw very few birds at all, and we had to content ourselves with admiring the early autumn colours in the pleasant sunshine.

Warren Mann