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Thursday, 7 January 2010

7/1/10: Lengthening bird list is pain in neck

Spent the afternoon wandering round Martens Grove and Barnehurst Golf Course in the snow, and am beginning to think I'm getting a grip on this birdwatching malarky.

It was all very pretty, but I hadn't expected to get so engrossed, so had no gloves which eventually made focussing the binoculars in a hurry and writing notes a bit difficult, as my fingers kept getting rather numb.

Also, standing in a wood and repeatedly tilting ones head back 45 degrees for extended periods of time, so as to try and see the bird you can hear is up in the tree above, but is somehow remaining out of sight despite the lack of leaves, gets a bit uncomfortable. As opposed, say, to staring at the ground looking for obscure plants .........

On the way, 10 (+?) Redwings had shot out of a Holly in a front garden on Barnehurst Rd as I approached. The plant was narrow and only about 12 feet tall. One bird had stayed behind and carried on eating the berries.

A number of 'usual suspect' species were seen at both sites - Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Ring-necked Parakeet, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Long-tailed Tit. Plus lots of Grey Squirrels.

The highlights in Martens Grove were:

A Treecreeper. This was spotted near the Stephen Rd. entrance, and good views of it were had working its way up the trunks of mature trees next to gardens on that road. If I've seen this species before it was a very long time ago, and I don't remember doing so. If I have, I doubt it was in the Barnehurst/Bexleyheath area.

Also a Nuthatch calling from the top of a big tree. Had a lot of trouble getting a clear view of this one - and I'm no good at identifying birds from their song yet. This is another species I've not seen in these parts before, at least since I picked up my wildlife recording baton again about 5 years ago - so making use of winter conditions to look out for birds properly is starting to pay dividends.

Martens Grove near the Stephen Rd. entrance

A couple of Oaks still had a lot of leaves attached

Footpath along the north side of Martens Grove

The uncommon Butcher's Broom near houses by the above-mentioned footpath. Possibly a garden escape, this is the only specimen I've found on this site, and the only other 'wild' one I know of in Bexley at present is in Lesnes Abbey Woods

The highlight of Barnehurst Golf Course was the Green Woodpecker that flew up from the rough 'wildlife area' on the north side of the site. A Wren was also feeding on the ground here.

The 'classic' view at the Barnehurst Golf Course site, looking north to the Cedar, Taunton Close and the railway line

Wildlife area looking east towards the Thames and Essex

There are two Gorse bushes here, one in a shady spot, and this superbly dome-shaped specimen out in the open and already in full flower

Gorse (one of my favourite native plants) in flower in the snow

Another indicator of the heathland 'heritage' / potential of the area: these are some of a handful of young Broom plants along the tree line at the foot of the bank to one side of the hole 3/12 fairway

Handsome specimen tree at Barnehurst Golf Course

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