Big turnout at Crossness bird walk on good day for raptor sightings

Crossness Reserve Manager Karen Sutton writes:

32 attendees braved the cold and wind today (March 21st), to join the Bexley RSPB Crossness Nature Reserve bird trip. The trip was led by Stuart Banks and George Kalli.

Included among attendees were a few regulars, but the large majority were unfamiliar with Crossness. There were even a couple of young people attending, together with their own binoculars, which is always good to see.

Next Generation - Ralph Todd shows a young birdwatcher how to use a telescope. (Photo: Karen Sutton)

Next Generation – Ralph Todd shows a young birdwatcher how to use a telescope. (Photo: Karen Sutton)

The event started well, with Marsh Harrier, Kestrel and Peregrine Falcon being seen at the entrance gate before we’d formally begun the walk! In fact, it was a good day all round for viewing raptors. A Kestrel was seen roosting on the Thames Water Sludge Powered Incinerator, seemingly keeping out of the wind as it hugged tightly to the wall and it was soon joined by another Kestrel, before going off to hunt over the West Paddock. Several views of Peregrine could not be topped by the one that flew low, and immediately overhead while we were on the river wall.

Ducks seen included a pair of Wigeon on Island Field, along with Mallard; a pair of Tufted Ducks on the Great Breach Lagoon; Shelduck and Shoveler on the West Paddock.

Plenty of Teal and Gadwall were seen on the Thames, as well as 2 Great Crested Grebe. Three Little Grebe were seen on the Great Breach Dyke West. Coot and Moorhen were seen across the reserve.

Waders included a single Lapwing on the West Paddock, a Green Sandpiper by the Great Breach Lagoon dipping platform, a Common Sandpiper on the river along with 1 Greenshank, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Oystercatcher, Redshank, and 4 Common Snipe which was particularly well received.

Attendees line the river wall to watch ducks and waders. (Photo: Karen Sutton)

Attendees line the river wall to watch ducks and waders. (Photo: Karen Sutton)

Several Canada Geese were seen, alongside 2 Greylag Geese on Island Field and a Cormorant posed nicely on a rock at the river.

Other birds seen were Cetti’s Warbler along the ditch margins, 2 Skylark and 4 Goldfinch on Norman Road Field, 2 Meadow Pipits on Stable Paddock/East Paddock, Pied Wagtail, 2 Long-tailed Tits in the Protected Area of the reserve by the bird hide, Black-headed Gulls, a Lesser Black-backed gull, Crows, Magpies, Starlings, Robin, Wood Pigeon, Blackbird, Great Tit and Grey Heron.

Just as we were finishing up, a Little Grebe was seen eating a fish on Great Breach Dyke North, and 4 Mute Swans flew immediately overhead as we headed towards our cars; a nice fly-by with which to end a cold, but rather successful event.

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