Bird meeting on May 19th at Laundry Lane, St Helens/Brading Marshes

Seven people met in the unmade up road for a walk along the old railway track and along the causeway at Bexley Point and back along the fields to our cars. Although the Bittern was not calling they have been seen and heard on the RSPB Marshes this year but we did have good views on three Marsh Harriers flying over the reed beds.  The other bird of prey we saw was Buzzard – at least two early on but when we were by the pools on the ‘Great Marsh’ we were surprised to see eight soaring above our heads and one nearby. There were at least 30 Cormorants sitting/standing on the usual trees on the main marsh with a number of nests visible. Skylark were heard singing everywhere. A Sedge Warbler was singing and briefly flew up from bramble at the edge of the path and a number of Reed Warbler were singing in the reeds on both sides of the track as well as by the bridge in the pools area of ‘Great Marsh’ as were Cetti’s Warbler. Four Shelduck flew and a further two were seen on this marsh.  A Great White Egret was seen flying in the far distance and three Tufted Ducks were noted  as well as at least  five Lapwing. At least five Mute Swans were noted as were four Grey Heron. A male Pied Wagtail was feeding a youngster on the mud by the pools bridge. Many Chaffinches were heard and some seen in the oaks lining the track, plus we heard Whitethroat and Chiffchaff. In all a successful morning with 43 species of birds recorded. Quite often our walks turn into looking at general natural history and Jim Baldwin noted the following: Red-and black Froghopper, Cercopis vulnerata,, Miridae family – a plant or capsid bug, Rhabdomiris striatellus, a soldier beetle, Cantharis rustica, Red-headed or Common Cardinal Beetle, Pyrochroa serraticomis, Swollen-thighed, or Thick-kneed Beetle, Oedemera nobilis and 7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella setempunctata.  We also saw a Green Lacewing , a pair of Red Damselfly, a Blue tailed Dragonfly, Orange Tipped butterfly, Small Heath and a number of Wall Brown butterfly. Jackie Hart

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