From the car park I looked out across the lake and saw a pair of Great Crested Grebe swimming in unison in the distance, on the island nesting gulls were being as noisy as only Black Headed Gulls can be.
Continuing on I went onto have a look at the main lake to see what was about. Plenty of gulls on the islands and Common Terns, Heron and Little Egret. A few butterflies were on the wing. First emerging female Holly Blues flitted and alighted on the hedgerow flowers as well as Small Whites , always sounds like a loaf of bread .
There were a lot of snails and slugs on the emerging greenery. As I walked back to the car my attention was drawn to a huge caterpillar in the pathway. It was a caterpillar of the Oak Eggar Moth and at least 85mm long, once known as the Banded Monk. I gently picked him up and moved him to a safer refuge in the undergrowth. I image one of the local Cuckoos would relish him as a tasty meal.
A foraging party of 5 Long Tailed Tits see-see’d across the way. Higher up on the Elder a Song Thrush sang, then another a few yards away joined in and a Nightingale started to sing, it was like an episode of The Voice, but as much as I love Song Thrushes I would have turned round my chair to the Nightingale.
And so onto to the other side to have a look at the Black Barn Pools. There were a lot of Avocet as well as Redshank, Shelduck and some Oystercatcher. What was a real thrill for me was at least two mothers with almost fully fledged youngsters charging around with their little baby upturned bills sweeping the water surface.
On my way back to the village a Cuckoo male alighted onto a telegraph pole and sat next to a pair of Collared doves clearly besotted with each other as they took no notice at all of him. He then flew off and landed in a hawthorn bush, after a moment or two a Whitethroat came and sat on a twig less than a metre away.
I met up with a man who had just returned from the sea wall and he said he’d seen another cuckoo and this one had obviously been watching TOWIE as it flew across the Thames to Tilbury.
I then went onto Northward Hill and after popping in to speak with Elliott set off to the hill view point. Looking out over the flood and marsh my scope found the following species :- Oystercatcher, Avocet ( at least 3 sitting ) Tufted Duck, Mallard, Grey Lag and Canadian Geese, Heron, Grey Wagtail and Ringed Plover. By now the temperature was beginning to drop and it was spitting rain again.
By the old Walnut tree I saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker. I was particularly pleased to see in a small bush a Lesser White Throat. Cuckoos seemed to abound or was it one moving around a lot it was difficult to tell.
Spread over the 2 sites I also saw Linnets, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Lapwing, Sedge, Reed and Cetti’s Warbler , Crow, Rook, Jackdaw and Jay.
A very successful 4 hours spent in one of the North Kent Marsh premier locations
thanks to David Saunders for this report