Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Farmland Bird Survey

Royal Military Canal - 0700-1130hrs - cool, damp, nw2 - Not ideal surveying weather, but then what morning has been of late; still, at least it wasn't windy. Walked both banks of the section between Appledore and Warehorne (6 miles) via Kenardington Bridge for an RSPB Farmland Bird Survey and also tacked on a couple of Nightingale tetrads. As expected most birds were on the shrubby northern bank where  singers included 8 Yellowhammers, 12 Linnets, 10 each of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, 2 Whitethroats, 3 Reed Buntings, 4 Nightingales, 2 Tree Sparrows, 2 Bullfinches, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed and Garden Warblers. Plenty of other bits and pieces noted along the way including 2 woodpeckers, Treecreeper, Long-tailed Tit, Jay and a Turtle Dove by Warehorne Bridge.
What was surprising however was the paucity of wetland birds such as Moorhens and Mallards, and I didn't see a single Coot. I can only think that the water quality in the cut, with all the agricultural run-off, is poor and largely bereft of life; it certainly appeared to be dull and lifeless. As always the Dowels looked superb for something unusual with plenty of soggy ground after the recent deluge, but only delivered a few corvids, woodies and gulls.
Anyhow, a pleasant enough stroll and Barney enjoyed it much more than seawatching on the point; especially when he nailed a grey squirrel that had strayed way too far from the bushes...

                                          Kenardington Bridge

                                          The Dowels

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