Trip reports

Samphire Hoe (Leader Karen Snow)

Samphire Hoe (Leader Karen Snow)
Rock Pipit [Karen Snow]

Sunday, 9 April 2017

A huge group of us turned up for this walk, 18 in total with one new member, always nice to see new faces and the usual suspects.

We set off to walk east along the sea wall toward the usual spot for black redstart and peregrine. Unfortunately, the peregrine, although seen earlier in the day, was only spotted by a couple of the group drifting by high up the cliff. The black redstarts were there with good views of about three birds. There were also a couple of nice views of rock pipit. All the way along we were serenaded by a stonechat and meadow pipit. Good views of both were had by all. There was also a lovely wren perched on the fence along with a robin and a blackbird. Fulmars were drifting by overhead, along with herring gulls and great black backed gull.

There was a lot of activity from the ravens, with one adult seen on the nest with two chicks. Carrion crows and rooks were also flying about on the cliff. A kestrel was seen hovering by the cliff face several times and a cormorant was sitting on the rocks. A small group of brent geese was seen out to sea.

We eventually made our way back to the café for late elevenses and joined the long queue for coffee. Some of the group managed to get blue tits, chaffinches and great tits whilst waiting for the rest of us to finish our coffee.

Having been refreshed and lost one or two members, we set off once again along the side of the railway line. Usually we undertake this walk later in the year and there would be orchids out as well as plenty of butterflies on the buddleia. Having said that, there were one or two butterflies but, unfortunately, no early orchids. Butterflies included speckled wood, peacock, small white, small copper, dingy skipper and holly blue.

As we walked along the gravel path, it was very quiet aside from the occasional wren, stonechat and meadow pipit. There was however a small flock of linnets halfway up the cliff. A moorhen was on the only pond, it being a very dry winter, and magpies and pigeons were on the cliff.

At the beach end of the cliff, it was very busy with people and little chance of getting much, not helped by the tide also being in, so there were no rocks showing. We scanned the cliff for a short while, but only ravens, kestrels and herring gulls were to be seen.

Heading back across the top, there were still plenty of stonechats. A skylark could be heard singing but we couldn't spot it and a couple of meadow pipits sat on the bushes. At one point we could hear a bird on the cliff which could have been a yellow-hammer or maybe a lesser whitethroat, but we couldn't see it.

Unfortunately, the bird list for the day was quite short, but a few more were added to the year list and it is always worth a visit.

Karen Snow