Alan, Angela T and Hazel H and myself for the last of the Bird Bash walks. A bright morning to start with a clear blue sky, but breezy and became more so as the morning progressed. Difficult to pick up sounds and movement in the rustling leaves.
A nice lot of water in the fields, sporting about 220 Canada Geese, 180 Greylags, with several Mallards and 1 smaller female duck which must have been a Teal. A few Black-headed Gills were on the water too. House Martins were flying around everywhere, must have been several hundred during the morning, with smaller numbers of Swallows. Herons and Cormorants noted. Crows were chasing a larger bird, which ought to have been a Buzzard but was also black, so turned out to be an interloping Raven.
A strange occurrence at Stretham. A group of 18 Mute Swans were heading downstream, with one at the rear having its wings slightly raised in an aggressive way. We realised that it was defending its territory, and once the 17 had been safely seen off to the other side of the bridge, it turned back and later we saw it with presumably its mate and single offspring!
Along the riverbank we heard a Cetti’s Warbler give a brief burst of song about a field’s distance away, and then we saw a smart bird sitting on a fence post. Whinchat or Wheatear – the juvs do look a bit similar. It flew and had no white rump, so the verdict was Whinchat. A mixed group of Goldfinches and Linnets flew into a small hawthorn before flying off, leaving just one Linnet behind for a while. Nothing in the overflow pit, but the riverside brambles held a couple of Stonechats (photo is of one of these).
Time was moving on so we came back along the bridleway rather than through Rye Farm, where we finally ticked off Great and Long-tailed Tits, but no Dunnocks!
Had missed a couple of species off my list, so the final total was 41, not 39 as my notes said.