Trip reports

Riverside Country Park Gillingham (Leader Marie Tilley)

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

It was a lovely bright, warm summer's evening, but even so it was a bit of a surprise when 19 people to turned up, but very pleasant that so many were new faces. It was decided that it would be best to divide the group in two. Marie led her party in the direction of Sharps Green whilst Warren was co-opted to lead the remaining people towards Bloors Wharf.

An earlier recce by some of the old hands in the latter direction had indicated that there was not a lot about. Unfortunately our stroll along the river bank confirmed this. The tide was well out, but a close inspection of the mudflats showed the presence of many black-headed gulls and smaller numbers of redshanks and oystercatchers, together with the occasional little egret, a great crested grebe and a great black-backed gull. A long line of distant birds out in the channel was found to be mainly Canada geese with smaller numbers of greylags. There was very little in the scrub but we did pick-up black birds, chaffinches and song thrushes.

As we neared the wharf we scanned an old wreck marooned on the mud and found it being used as a nesting site by both herring and lesser black-backed gulls. Glimpses of the quite well developed chicks caused some initial confusion, but try as we might we could not turn them into anything else. We did increase our species list with the sighting of shelducks, plus starlings and collared doves on the walk back. A visit to the pond gave us a brief sighting of a moorhen, and finally we located a singing dunnock.

Meanwhile Marie's group headed off in the direction of the pond and Eastcourt Meadows. Sadly there was not a lot of activity but it was nice to hear so many black-caps singing and song thrushes seemed to be in abundance.

As Marie's party contained the less experienced members we had a lovely amble around the meadows and not only spent time discussing the birds but looked out for any butterflies and dragonflies. We did see a female emperor dragonfly laying her eggs so there was plenty to chat about.

We ended up with a stroll round Horrid Hill and managed to get a house martin and two swallows fly over but apart from that not much else. Sadly the tide was too way out to get any good views of waders or waterfowl that might be out there.

Marie Tilley