Tuesday 21 April 2020

Green Urban Birding: The Hoo Loop: 19th April 2020

I retraced my route of the 14th for the most part, heading through Strood and up and over All Saints at Frindsbury. There were a few more flowers in bloom with Red Valerian, White Campion, Ragwort and Salsify thriving in the dusty rubbish filled roadside margins and the House Martins and Swallows were still around the sewage works.



Red Valerian
Horse Chestnut
I deviated at this point and followed a footpath back inland through the wood of Tower Hill which seemed to be made up of ancient Ivy covered Hawthorn and little else.  There were Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests and I could hear Cetti’s Warblers in the channel out of sight on Hog Marsh.

A naturalised Currant - Not sure which one!

With the tide coming in I hastened back through Upnor and onto the Saxon Shore Way where there were more Blackcaps and Stock Doves singing in Hoo Woods than ten days ago along with my first Garden Warbler of the year. I wended my way back through the massive marina and boatyard and came out onto the river wall below Hoo and immediately heard a Cuckoo giving it large from the Willows.   

One of a pair of plaques on the back door to the castle

Wild Privet


Upnor towards Hoo

and the other way

Poor social distancing from these two Feral Pigeons although the left one is leaning away...

Meanwhile on the next boat over

Dunnock on a chalet roof

House Sparrows were at every stop I made

Whitethroats sang every twenty yards or so from the Brambles and Hawthorns clinging to the ditch sides and Reed Warblers were similarly spaced.  Two Cetti’s Warblers shouted and at least five Linnet territories were along this part of the walk.

With the tide being almost full in it had brought the last remaining wintering Dark-bellied Brent Geese in close and they were completely unphased by my presence and I counted 93 in a strung out grumbling flock.  Unfortunately there were no new waders to add to my walks tally.  I still find it worrying that I have not seen a single Lapwing in two weeks of walking the Kentish fields and coastal marshes.  

Dark-bellied Brent Geese

Skylarks were in fine form and as usual Med Gulls drifted over in gleaming groups of snow white against the blue.

Med Gulls
Down at the paddock I checked, as I have with every horsey area I have come across, for Wheatears.  The difference this time is that there were in fact three females hopping around the hooves of giants with a dapper Pied Wagtail for company.


Pied Wagtail

A Sedge Warbler sang from the reeds and Shelduck played chase and two pair of Mute Swans were already occupying large nests around the fishing lakes.

Little Egret

I came back past Hoo St Werburgh church again and up through the oilseed fields where a couple of scratchy Whitethroats were the only addition but I was pleased to find a Little Owl on the old poultry sheds at Cockham Farm but it saw me before I saw it and it quickly skedaddled.

I stayed out of the woods from here and came back on the road route through Wainscot to home.




  1. �� Great posts Howard- Keep it up! Some fantastic photos too.

  2. Thanks Emily - as you will have seen, I am still walking!