Sunday, April 13, 2008

Kentish shore

A weekend visit to family in Kent and an opportunity to have a walk somewhere completely different. Our hosts had chosen a walk on the shore near High Halstow. The weather, being April was mixed, mixed wind and rain that is :)

We did manage to dodge the rain bits on the walk, but not the fierce winds, and on reflection a clockwise walk would have been better to avoid the head-on winds we experienced for half the walk.

As you can see from this picture, the land is quite flat and open, and therefore the area has 'big skies' made more dramatic by the cloud formations:















We spotted a number of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits doing their distinctive song-flights along the walk but the wind was keeping most birds' heads down.

On the shoreline itself we spotted this flock of (mostly) breeding/summer plumage Black-tailed Godwits:








They took wing:












And settled within an even larger flock, including the odd Curlew, about three-quarters of a mile along the shore, in a relatively protected bay:








We've not seen this number of Godwits concentrated together before and it was a impressive sight. With the passing rain clouds, the light kept changing, I like the dark silvery light reflected from the wet mud in the bay:















Heading back to the car, and out of the wind, this Blackthorn tree was just starting to burst into flower, I imagine within a week it'll be covered in blossom:















During winter I expect this area could host large flocks of wintering geese and swans due to the large grass fields and in autumn I expect the mud flats could host some interesting migrant waders, returning from their breeding in the Arctic.

We tried out a local RSPB reserve but found, after quite a long walk, that it was closed, I expect the Heronry has been harmed in some way or interfered with so the pathways are blocked off, which was a shame as we'd have like to have seen the Herons and Egrets nesting there. We did enjoy the walk though and retired for wine and evening of darts!

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