Trip reports

Botolph's Bridge (Leader Robin Smith)

Botolph's Bridge (Leader Robin Smith)
Giraffe - San Diego Zoo [Robin Smith]

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Last year's visit to this site coincided with the arrival of Storm Aileen. This year it was Storm Ali that greeted us and it fundamentally had the same effect of keeping the bird list pretty minimal. The problem with windy weather is not only that the birds tend to keep a low profile but also it makes it difficult to hear bird calls above the noise of rustling leaves.

At the previous night's indoor meeting Warren told the group that this was one of the few walks that we could almost certainly expect to see giraffes which may have been a surprise to some of our members who are not aware that it skirts Port Lympne Animal Park! Anyhow thirteen of us set out along the northern side of the Royal Military Canal which runs through a wooded area with short grassland dotted with old trees on the escarpment leading up to Lympne Castle. This habitat rewarded us with jays, green woodpeckers, a kestrel and good views of a hobby. A flock of long tailed tits flitted by with a few other great and blue tits mixed in amongst them.

Upon reaching the Animal Park we did indeed find the giraffes that Warren had promised together with kudu and buffalo whilst in the air buzzard and raven were spotted. As we approached the other side of the canal we thought we had stumbled upon a distant crane, but it soon revealed itself as a mute swan doing a very passable impression of one.

At the end of the walk whilst we were talking and ready to depart a kingfisher appeared and performed admirably for the group by diving into the canal and coming up with a small fish. It then proceeded to perch on a wooden sign in the water just waiting to be photographed to feature on the front cover of a calendar. This was a first for one member of the group who to put it mildly was ecstatic!

Four of us decided to have a meal at the Botolph Bridge Pub and myself and a certain Linda O finished with a Rolo (remember them) cheesecake which was a creative work of art that should really have been hung on the wall instead of ending up inside our stomachs.

Unfortunately, the day was somewhat spoiled on the way home with a concrete mixer deciding to shed its load on the M20 causing a massive traffic gridlock and a three and a quarter hour trip meant that we didn't arrive home until 7.05pm!

Robin Smith