Thursday 8 April 2021

Kentish Nature Walks #4 Abbots Pool and Bromhey Farm 8th April 2021

Late yesterday evening I discovered that some friends had found two Red-rumped Swallows earlier in the day at Abbots Pool which is at the far end of my Hoo Loop. I decided that I would head out there this morning to have a look but the idea of a bitterly cold six and a half mile walk to get there did not exactly fill me with any enthusiasm so 15 minutes driving later I was there.  It was freezing and a scan of the two lakes initially produced no hirundines whatsoever.  Two Swallows suddenly appeared and hunted lazy circuits.  Three other locals had had similar joy and soon left so I pressed on towards the river wall passing singing Sedge Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler and Blackcap while the ubiquitous Med Gulls called overhead while Little Ringed Plover called from the sand workings where I had them breeding last year.

The field opposite the paddocks had been part deep ploughed and about a hundred Black-headed Gulls were loafing around but strangely there were only four Meds amongst them along with two Common Gulls.

Med Gulls

Just for a change the tide was almost full in and I had my big scope with me for its first 2021 outing.  The wind was still gusting and the river wall was uncomfortable but I persevered and scanned around and counted 216 Dark-bellied Brent Geese and a few bobbing Great Crested Grebes.  There were almost no waders at all with just a few Oystercatchers, Redshanks and Curlews.

Dark-bellied Brent Geese

Dark-bellied Brent Geese

Frustrated by the weather I turned back, and as I reached the marshy area before the lakes five Swallows landed on the wires shortly to be followed by number six which was quite clearly a magnificent Red-rump!


I stayed on site for the best part of the next two hours and a suitably distanced gathering of Kentish birders came and went as this most graceful of Swallows floated around us and landed occasionally on the wires.  This was my first in the UK since May 1992 at South Landing in North Yorkshire.  They have been such a part of my spring for the best part of the last ten years from my Lesvos visits so it was a delight to refind this beauty not far from home with 12 Barn Swallow companions.  It was also good to put some names to ornithological faces.


Red Rumped Swallow - I suspect a male given the tail streamer length

While I was there I sent some pictures to a very happy Steve Cullum as they failed to get any when they found two here yesterday.


Med Gulls


Pochard and Tufted Ducks were on the pools and two Snipe zigzagged over but I was getting cold and so moved off and headed for Bromhey Farm at Northward Hill. The sun was trying to come through as I headed for the Sweeney Viewpoint.  The marsh is the best I have ever seen it looking with water everywhere and plenty of birds using it.  The island in the main lagoon was covered in Med Gulls with at least 150 present and groups were moving inland to feed in the sheepfields, surrounding me with those haunting calls. You are never far from them down here.

Yet more Med Gulls

All the usual dabblers were present and I searched for Garganey but did not find any but the Cattle Egret was discovered feeding around a small herd of cows in the distance while Little Egrets hunted around the margins.
Another atmospheric Cattle Egret in a landscape image...

Wigeon and Shoveler

Rooks and Jackdaws passed to and from and the Rooks were coming down to bathe in one of the flashes like a flock of giant splashing Starlings. They make such a wonderful around of calls with guttural ‘caws’ and weird squeaks, shrieks and bubbles.

Rooks (and one Jackdaw in top pic) Flapping In A Puddle


A female Marsh Harrier spooked the wildfowl and a large group of the Meds got up and flew over my head as I wandered off towards the Eric H viewpoint at the other end.   

Sorry, but how can I not take more shots of them?


Please ignore the fact that I failed to focus the video but just listen as the Med Gulls drift over

Recently deceased Wood Mouse

The cloud was thickening again and the breeze picking up but I still found a few insects along the way. Most were at ground level with Dark-edged Bee Flies and Yellow Dung Flies on the prowl but I did find two female and four male Tawny Mining bee – Andrena fulva and what I believe to be Large Gorse Mining Bee – Andrena bimaculata.

Dark-edged Bee Fly

Honey Bee

male Large Gorse Mining Bee – Andrena bimaculata

male Large Gorse Mining Bee – Andrena bimaculata - I will correct later if i have got them wrong!
female Tawny Mining bee – Andrena fulva

male Tawny Mining bee – Andrena fulva

There were a few Bumbles around and I snapped a fine Calliphora in the Gorse and discovered when I got home that it had a phoretic Pseudoscorpion hitching a lift! How cool is that!

A terrestrial Bombus terrestris

Calliphora with friend

Pseudoscorpion off for a ride

I had had enough of the cold and headed home after a spot of lunch after a most satisfying little excursion on my doorstep. Now if only I had checked the bird news and had seen that the Mockingbird was now at Pulborough Brooks... Hey ho, mustn’t complain.


Even more of a ROOOMMMEEOOO than the Higham one last week!

No comments:

Post a Comment