Having had to suspend all meetings with Society members since the Covid 19 crisis commenced on 23rd March 2020 we have experimented with an outdoor meeting held under the current restrictions. This meant we had to form groups of a maximum of six people each. To help keep the two groups apart we staggered our start times with the first one leaving at 9.15 am and the other at 9.30 am. (Our next meeting will have the option of three groups).
Inevitably the total species seen between the two groups varied with Jim Baldwin’s group seeing 42 species and Jackie’s group 35. Having compared the two lists we clocked up 45 species between us.
A group of six Grey Heron was noteworthy in that it is many years since I have seen so many together at this site – we now see Little Egret more regularly, as we did today. The first group saw more waders with Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Snipe and Greenshank in addition to Black-tailed Godwit, Golden Plover, Curlew and Lapwing. The second group spent some time looking at the ‘water’ birds for a member new to birding to see and get to know the wonderful variety in plumages. Fortunately, on our return the sun had appeared so we could see the Golden Plover in a better light as they were at rest on a far bank. Kingfisher is always a target bird here the first group was luck but not the second. We saw Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Shelduck and Little Grebe. One of the Cormorant was already showing its breeding patch and, of course, we saw Canada Goose and Brent. Cetti’s Warbler was heard calling from three locations and a Water Rail heard near the converted railway station. We now hope to hold regular monthly meetings; a programme will be sent out with our February mailing and in the meantime please check the IWNHAS website. Jackie Hart