A brilliant bird walk on Saturday morning. The undisturbed wild areas of The Hook are great for birds now. Lots of insects bringing in Swifts, Sand Martins and lots more – 30 species in a stroll round the reserve, making 49 species this year. Here’s a full report from Keith Rainford.
“What a contrast with last week and what a superb morning. The weather forecast had changed dramatically over 48 hours. What was supposed to have been a very wet morning turned warm and slightly overcast with barely no wind and that brought out the insects which in turn brought out the hirundines and Swifts. The morning started with lots of activity on the eastern fringes with lots of family parties of Goldfinches. While the Tit families seemed to be very low in numbers, it soon became evident that they weren’t the only birds active, At least two Song Thrushes going full pelt interspersed with a couple of Blackcap, lots of Greenfinch, Dunnock, Wren and the odd Blackbird. Chaffinches were noisy as were a few Robins. Black-headed Gulls were again making their lazy way up and down river followed by one or two Cormorants.
It was as we approached the central part of The Hook where it became obvious things were getting a little bit special; a comment of ‘there seems to be a lot of birds above our heads’ turned everyone’s attention skywards and indeed the insects were out and so were the Swifts and Sand Martins – absolutely loads of them – everywhere – never seen so many on The Hook. It was just fantastic to watch; strangely there were no House Martins seen with the throng. A few Black-headed Gulls joined in, two Swallows skimmed past (rare for The Hook) and then a Sparrowhawk flew very slowly overhead giving great views. Smiles all around. It didn’t stop there though. Further into The Hook, approaching the orchard area, we were just lamenting the loss of warblers this year, when another comment of ‘Is that the Sedge Warbler?’ just capped the morning. But, it didn’t stop there….while watching the Sedge Warbler, two Oystercatchers called overhead flying towards the Lady Bay Bridge area followed by Chiffchaff and Common Whitethroat adding to the chorus.
Where to look next? We finished off with a few House Sparrows which seem to have crossed the path to set up home in a different patch – well done to them. For once, the Corvids and Pigeons didn’t dominate. A great advantage on this walk was the opportunity for listening to birdsong and getting real close comparisons in size and shape of the Swifts and Martins. The Hook has never looked so good. What a morning!! The Song Thrushes were still singing.”
49 species this year for The Hook.”