Sunday, 7 September 2008

Isle Of Grain

For the last two days I have been visiting Grain and looking for any migrants that might come my way. When I used to live in Hoo St. Werburgh, this site was only 6 miles up the road but at the time I was birding with a crew who were concentrating on the north Kent coast at Reculver and generally having a good time of it. Now Grain is 20 miles away from Longfield and the closest bit of good coastal scrub within easy reach so I may end up going there a few more times during the autumn. Wandering around I reminded myself just how good the remaining habitat looks and with it so close to the estuary it is with little wonder that a few good birds have been seen in the past. One thing that did occur to me as I wandered about was that I didn't meet any other birders. Surely if this had been the north Norfolk coast as opposed to the north Kent coast I would have bumped into maybe half a dozen other people out looking for birds. So it got me thinking (and not for the first time), does Kent just have less birders than Norfolk? If not where are they and what are they doing, with habitat this good there must be something to see and find? When myself and crew birded the Reculver area we were so competitive that 'ridiculously' we matched our patch against anywhere else in the country, including the Scillies and Fair Isle, whilst being a laugh it kept us going and kept us out in the field longer as we always felt that there might be just something to look at if we took anther last scan or just stayed that extra 5 minutes.
Anyway, over the two days, just what did I see. Well to be honest not that many birds. A smattering of migrants including 2 wheaters and a couple lesser whitethroats also a couple of small groups of whitethroats which were probably local birds. Over the past two days though a hobby has been flying around the more mature scrub area feeding on the abundance of dragonflies, both migrant hawkers and common darters.

This is the moat area, a heavily overgrown ditch just oozing with migrant potential. Look how close it is to the shore. In past years I believe that both dusky and bonellis warblers have been seen here.

Behind the moat you have this area of scrub.

Then looking south into the Medway you start to get some more mature trees and more scrub. This was the area that the hobby was feeding in and in the past has been good for yellow-browed and pallas's warblers.

Well, i'll be trying to visit Grain during September and October. I cannot really call it a patch but definitely a good place to wander about in at this time of year as you never know just what might turn up.


Steve Gale said...

If I remember rightly John, didn't your crew include a certain Mr. Hanby? Keep at it, Grain WILL produce you a good bird this autumn with effort and a fair crack of the whip weather wise. Good luck.

Warren Baker said...

Yea, keep bashing the scrud John!

Greenie said...

A good read as ever , shame it wasn't more rewarding for your effort .

Steve said...

I know that area a little John. I have wandered there a few times and pre-kids had Ring Ouzel and Firecrest in that moat area....good luck for the autumn