Despite the cold and dull weather 7 souls braved the elements to enjoy a most exhilarating mornings birding. It is always nice to see Alan and Terry make the effort all the way from Abbeywood, also the appropriately named Cliff along with stalwarts Sue, Steve and Warren.

Well protected off we set just after nine, Oystercatcher, Tufted Duck, Pochard and B.H.Gull were first onto the list, quickly followed by a Sparrowhawk and Bullfinch. We trekked high up onto the pinnacle to get an overview and could see the spectacular numbers of birds we were to have closer encounters with a little later. Over towards Alpha Pool Canada and Greylag Geese fed on the grass.

A Kestrel hung windward in the distance as we descended. Huge flocks of several thousand birds flew up from the high water roosts, mainly Blackwits and Lapwing with high counts of Dunlin. A Stock Dove was also seen

Back at ground level we added, off the  Radar islands, Med.Gull, Avocet, on the water were Shelduck, Pintail, Coot, Moorhen and Great Crested Grebe,  Little Grebe and Little Egret. Overhead were various Corvids etc.

 On a side pool off Conoco we spied Long tailed Tits and a Goldcrest. Shortly after a couple of huge flocks of Dunlin flew directly overhead by about 10 metres, giving us an audio as well as a visual display with their wing beats and whistling..

On Flamingo were Gadwall, Goldeneye, Teal and Shoveller.

Over toward the Thames was a female Marsh Harrier. In spite of the weather Skylark with Meadow Pipit took to the air.

Redshank, Grey Plover, Turnstone and Ringed Plover were at the top and beach end of Flamingo. Gulls were all around as usual in addition to those mentioned Lesser Black Backs and Herring.

Blue Tits, Great Tits and Song Thrush flew around us.

Other species seen were Mallard, Cormorant, Dunnock, Blackbird.

So all in all a brief, cold trip, but we managed to clock up 46 species in three hours and a good time was had by all.

                                                                          REGARDS DAVID SAUNDERS; RSPB WALK LEADER  


The North Kent Marshes are a very special area and worth preserving at all cost.