Naturelog: 17th December

A trip to the Kent coast with Bexley RSPB Group on a misty and cold morning. As we approached the reserve, a party of around 12 Swans were visible in a field. From the coach and in the early morning light identification was impossible, but I was later told by one of the volunteer wardens that they were a flock of Bewick Swans, which winter in this area. Arriving at the reserve the first stop was to try and find the roosting Long-Eared Owl which frequents the scrub at the back of the dipping pool. A long scan by many people drew a blank and as others headed off for the hides, I retreated to the visitor’s centre for a hot drink. Suitably refreshed I made my way back for another look for the owl. I was fortunate in that a group of birders from our group haa already located it and soon people were gathering to see the bird which was in vegetation but once found could clearly be seen. A Common Kingfisher paid a visit to the scrub whilst we were watching the Owl giving excellent views.

Spot the Owl

With the days primary objective completed a circuit of the hides reveals the usual wintering waterfowl, although sadly there are no Smew, Goldeneye or Goosander to be seen. With the milder winters, these once regular winter visitors may become more of a rarity in future. Highlights include a number of good views of Common Kingfisher along with more common ducks and Geese including a single Brent Goose.

                 Common Kingfisher, Northern Shoveller and a Western Marsh Harrier


                                   Great Cormorants and Flight of Geese (Canada and Greylag Geese)

At the end of the afternoon, a small group of us walk out to the ARC hide at the farthest extent of the accessible part of the reserve. We were well rewarded for this trek as on the way we found some Tree Sparrows on a feeder and on the ARC pit we got good views of a Great White Egret and on the return walk to the visitor centre saw a Western Cattle Egret fly into one of the small pools by the reserve entrance.

Great White Egret


An excellent day.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Brant Goose [sp] (Branta bernicla)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Bewick’s Swan (Cygnus columbianus bewickii)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Egret [sp] (Ardea alba)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Long-eared Owl [sp] (Asio otus)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow [sp] (Passer montanus)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

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