Sunday, 26 October 2014

Cliffe Pools, RSPB Reserve, North Kent

I had a couple of hours on Friday afternoon and decided to visit an old haunt of mine at RSPB at Cliffe Pools, in Kent, on the south side of the Thames Estuary.  I like this site as its a little rougher and basic than many of the more manicured reserves, plus it is located along the Thames so you can watch the ships go by heading for Tilbury or further up river. I have visited the site on several occasions in the past and spent may long days there, this was going to be a relatively short but exciting visit.

Almost immediately I was met in the first of the pools by a single Coot who, on noticing me, swam off slowly, constantly looking back to see if I was still there.

During spring and summer these guys are pretty aggressive towards each other and I have witnessed a good number of fights in these very pools.  However at other times of the year they are quite gregarious and in one of the other pools I noticed these;

Coots all, I lost count at 143 but there was not a single fight for the entire time I watched them.

A little further into the area I spotted two adult Mute Swans

These are among the largest, if not the largest, bird found in the UK and are pretty common, although, I must admit it was the first time I had seen them here.  In an adjoining pool there was another, but juvenile;

Probably not speaking with its parents as teenagers are wont to do from time to time :).

Another common species in the waterways of England is the Great Crested Grebe which are almost always found here.  The conditions suit them perfectly here as while the pools are fed by the tides they are not tidal so it can feed and swim to its hearts content.  I have yet to see one of their mating rituals in real life, one of the joys for the future.

A close relative of this the Little Grebe was also fairly abundant around the pools;

On a little island in the middle of the centre pools I spotted another of our fairly common species, the Mallard, preening and resting in the cool afternoon.

The seem to be on every available body of water there is n the UK.  I have even seen a pair swimming in a pool that was generated by a heavy rain shower in the middle of a field.  Completely surrounded by sheep, they were not in the slightest bit bothered.  Another bird which was in evidence at the pools was the Lapwing, or Northern Lapwing as we call them in Saudi (mainly because we often get several different types).

These guys will soon be heading south for the winter I expect.  There is a nice little line of them in the next picture behind the Little Egret.

A lone Moorhen was spotted in one of the smaller pools, probably feeling a little left out of the collection of Coots which were all over.

Finally for the photographs a little shot of the ubiquitous Robin Redbreast.  There were a good number of these around the area all singing their hearts out.  As far as I know they protect their territory all year round and outside of breeding season the females also protect a territory, so probably just informing everyone he is still there and to keep off!!

During the visit I also saw a good number of Black Headed gulls and a few larger ones in the distance but too far for ID.  A lone Kestrel was flushed from one of the walkways too, so close that both him and I were startled and he was long gone by the time I gathered my wits and grabbed the camera!  What can I say the trials of birding.

As every a brilliant few hours.  Oh well back to Saudi and birding in the heat :)



No comments:

Post a Comment