Birdwalk News October 17th

A rather grey autumnal day with a nippy north-easterly breeze which brought some Scandinavian winter visitors our way. Newly arrived Meadow and Rock Pipits flitted around the saltmarsh, a flock of Fieldfares flew over calling “chack-chack-chack”, and three flocks of Redwings flew steadily west, pushing on with a tail wind behind them. Overhead a single Siskin called and kept on going, while in the bushes Goldcrests gave their thin high pitched calls, but proved difficult to see. It has been a particularly good autumn for Goldcrests with hundreds of this diminutive bird arriving on the east coast. Its amazing to think of a bird the size of a man’s thumb and weighing less than a 10p piece flying across the North Sea at night. In fact they use to be call the “woodcocks pilot” as people believed they crossed the sea on the back of Woodcocks which often arrived on the coast at the same time.

On the river the waders were jumpy, an unseen predator putting them all to flight and providing us with a spectacular aerial display. A large flock of Dunlin flashed white, then grey, while Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings joined in with the show.

We also had very good views of two “pairs” of Grey Herons on the near shore, along with numerous Little Egrets. Further along towards the point Avocets, Ringed Plover and Curlews showed well, and some exceptionally close Grey Plovers allowed us to admire their delicate grey plumage and large dark eyes.

At Alresford Creek there were a few recently arrived Wigeon and Teal, and a scattering of Brent Geese, and out in mid-channel a single Great-crested Grebe dived for sprats along side several Dabchicks. All in all a good mornings walk.

Recent sightings:Goldcrests have continued to arrive in force, listen for their thin “zree-zree-zree” call almost anywhere there are bushes. A Peregrine soared over the Sailing Club with a pair of Stonechats on the nearby marsh, Glyn has also seen Black Redstart here.

Also most unusually two Ravens flew high over my garden uttering their distinctive croaking call. A bird long extinct in Essex, but starting to make a come back.

Next Birdwalk Sat 14th November 10am £8 email or call 01206 826753 to book