Archive for July 21, 2015

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A lovely day to go sailing!

Keith and I take the opportunity to take an afternoons leisurely birdwatching on the River Medway aboard Skipper Ray Wade’s boat Julie-Sue.

 

Julie-Sue

Julie-Sue (Photo by Keith)

Birdwatching from a boat on a large river or an estuary is a different experince to viewing the same areas from the land. The boat can often get to places where you couldn’t get to on foot and the views of the mud-flats and water edges are not obstructed by vegetation.

On our way to Otterham to pick up the boat, we make a brief stop at Eastcote meadows to try and find an elusive Turtle Dove, but we are not in luck. We do get some nice views of a variety of butterflies in the meadows.

Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper

Leaving from Otterham Quay we make our way out into the river and begin to search around the pieces of salt-marsh still visible above the rising tide.

Entering the river from Otterham Creek

Entering the river from Otterham Creek

We see large parties of Sandwich Terns, Curlew and Black-Tailed Godwits on the marshes and flying to new feeding places as the tide pushes them on. Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier and a number of Kestrels are all seen hunting over the marshes.

Unexpected findings included a Brent Goose and a Common Gull – both normally winter visitors to these marshes, but which have been around all summer according to Ray. As we make our way back into Otterham Creek a Common Sandpiper flies alongside the boat.

Otterham Creek

Otterham Creek

One other sighting was of a sea-plane as it practised its take off and landings on one of the river’s creeks.

photo by Keith

photo by Keith

photo by Keith

photo by Keith

 

 

 

After leaving the boat we made a quick stop at Upchurch churchyard, this time in hope of seeing a Spotted Flycatcher. Initially we are unsuccessful, but on the way back to the car we see one sitting atop a grave-stone. We watch it for a few minutes and it flies from perch to perch looking for food before disappearing into the foliage of a tree – presumably the site of its nest.

Upchurch church

Upchurch church

 

Upchurch churchyard

Upchurch churchyard

Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

Spotted Flycatcher

Photo by Ron Knight (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sussexbirder/)

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mediterranean Gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Spotted Flycatcher [sp] (Muscicapa striata)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)
Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)