Saturday 25 April 2020

Green Urban Birding: The Wainscott Camp Loop 23rd April 2020

My day started off in fine fashion with rattling male Lesser Whitethroat in the garden. A most unexpected and welcome addition to my lockdown garden list and taking me to 63 since the 23rd March.  It was already warm when I headed out on my walk and up to Rede Common where a Lesser Whitethroat was also rattling away before heading north out of town along a newly discovered path that ran behind the houses and above the Grain road.

Rede Common - looking south

male Andrena sp

Blackcaps were singing along its length and I have not added up my figure from all my walks so far but it is by and large one of the commonest birds I encounter, even in built up areas.  My theme of finding tunnels, be they man made or natural continued with this particular path.


I passed some innovative chalk pavement games which had obviously been done by a parent trying to enthuse their kids to come out for a walk.  They went on with instructions for running, skipping, twisting and high fiving for about 200m!

My route took me to Wainscott Camp, another MoD operation that I never knew was here. The active part of their Plant Training facility with lots of big green JCBs but it would appear that most of the camp is now derelict and much of it has full access and will warrant further exploring.

A pond at the farm had the first Sheep I have seen on these perambulations as well as some noisy Marsh Frogs in the duck pond!  As I reached the top of Woodfield Way I could immediately hear two Nightingales belting out behind the big fence and as I turned onto Lochat Road which is now closed to traffic, I found two more from within the same huge MoD compound.  The road has gone wild and had butterflies and dog poo bags strewn along its margins attesting to the usual use for this quiet place.  Orange Tips and Peacocks predominated but a Comma posed for a snap.

I may go back and explore this bit... where's that Hoopoe?

Green Woodpecker


The surface deteriorated further and my map told me that I needed to hang a left onto another MoD path through the Bluebell woods. A totally out of proportion prefab bridge spanned a tiny trickle of the first stream I had seen.

I could hear another Nightingale up ahead and soon came upon a pocket of birds with five males giving it large. It was superb and took me back to my first birds at Hainault Forest with my Dad about 35 years ago.

The track led me back to the Haven Street with one more Nightingale bringing up the ten before starting to wend my way back homewards past the young orchards and raspberry tunnels of Common Road and then onto the northern end of Dillywood which I followed past huge Rhubarb fields before the familiar route back.

These Poplars were just about to start flowering

St Marks flies were dancing around every clump of Alexanders with their legs dangling in a sinister fashion as is their wont and a Green Veined White stopped briefly.

St Marks flies

St Marks Fly

Just look at those legs...

Green Veined White
The immaculately tilled fields that I snapped with the Woodpigeon back on the 8th are now coloured up with what I presume are tens of thousands of baby lettuces in a variety of forms. I am sure the local pigeons will now rise to the challenge.

8th April
23rd April

As I dropped down the Gravesend Road I discovered the most amazing hand painted front door that I have somehow walked by a few times in recent weeks.  There is always something new out there to discover.


  1. Enjoying all these walks, Howard, and looking forward to exploring them sometime.

  2. My pleasure... and all on my doorstep