Trip reports

Redbridge Lakes/ Roding Valley walk on 25th Mar 2018

Male greenfinch perched on rhododendron bush

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Thanks to Richard for this write up:-

With better weather than the previous weekend's freezing temperatures and snow, we set off for the short circular walk around the Redbridge fishing lakes and one of the first things that was obvious was that the local birds were definitely becoming more vocal as spring slowly replaces the winter season.
These man-made waters have mixed trees and scrubland areas to the side of them which are being used and further developed to attract all kinds of wildlife including several bee-hives that are producing honey!

The first birds we spotted were several Greenfinches perched in the various bushes, no doubt attracted by the hanging feeders put out by the staff of the fishing centre. With the splendid green plumages and yellow patches on the wings and tail of the males, and the more drab brown plumages of the females, it's always good to see these chunky finches in good numbers after their numbers have been hit in recent years with the garden bird disease Trichomonosis which seems to have especially affected Greenfinches.

A Cetti's Warbler betrayed its presence with its explosive short song and as more often than not we failed to actually see the bird as it remained well hidden within the bush.
A Black-headed Gull perched on top of a tall pole, a common bird but when viewing through the scope we appreciated its dark chocolate brown hood which is a welcome sight after seeing these birds for the long winter with their plainer whiter heads and a sure sign spring has arrived!
Moorhens chased each other in out of the reedbeds while handsome male Mallards cruised about on the lake with the females close by.

We left the fishing lakes and in the adjacent cricket field we spotted a lone medium sized gull. It was a Common Gull and when viewed closely was displaying the curious behaviour of stamping its feet one by one in the same spot to create vibrations that imitate rain falling to encourage worms to the surface for it to feed on.

Moving onto the river, a band of Long-tailed Tits moved through the trees calling and feeding tirelessly. A Chiffchaff sang at the top of a tree, another pleasant reminder the new season is here. Soon this bird will be joined by more species of warblers in the coming weeks and the local birdsong will grow in sound and variety.
We spotted a Redwing conveniently perching in clear view and after fixing the bird on the scope we appreciated the rusty red flanks and bold white stripe above the eye. Another thrush seen was the larger Mistle Thrush, we actually heard it singing first of all with its similar but more powerful song than the Blackbird's.

We briefly heard one of our target birds, the Kingfisher, where it gave a very short burst of its high pitched whistling call but the bird eluded us unfortunately, disappearing to another part of the river. Another bird that we heard only was the Grey Wagtail, which must have been feeding below us on the river edge, unfortunately the vegetation was too thick for us to peer far enough over to see it.
Heading back to the fisherman's café at Redbridge, a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over with its sharp 'tick, tick' call and as we enjoyed some refreshments, three Buzzards circled up above in the distance.

Total number of bird species seen was 33.