This is our first day back after being away for Christmas, and cold or no cold I just had to go out for a walk around. It was still bitterly cold but,so after a good late breakfast and dosing myself up with cold remedies off I went. I walked the usual route, down The Cam footpath, checking the bushes as I went, but nothing special was seen. I stopped on the A228 Bypass bridge to check out the roadside bushes just incase a Waxwing or 2 was about, but no luck. From here I made my way to the River Medway. The tide was at it's lowest, just on the turn so I hoped for maybe something different. The species seen between the bottom of Ferry Rd, and the 1st Stile was: L/B/B/Gull(1), Herring Gull(5), Common Gull(3), B/H/Gull(11), Grey Heron(2), Moorhen(5), Cormorant(6), Mute Swan(4), Mallard(7).
Once on Halling Common I found a spot out of the wind, so I took advantage of it and took a break here. After a whileI moved on towards the 2nd stile, checking all the berry bushes as I went, although it didn't help having dog walkers who let their dogs run about off the lead. I did get a short distance along the path, and as the water level was rising, on one small shingle bank I saw 2 waders fly in. The one that landed, and then flew off again down river was a Redshank of which I saw many, but the other one was a new bird for my Halling Life list. It was bigger than a Redshank, a slightly upturned bill, and very pale greenish/grey legs. I am talking about a Greenshank. It stayed for a few minutes, had a good wash, and brush up before heading back the way it came, towards Rochester. While following it in my bins I saw a flock of wildfowl on the river so keeping my eye on them I continued on my way to the 2nd stile.There is still plenty of Redwing on Halling Common, plus a few Fieldfare's here and there, apart from that I saw the usual species;Robin, L/T/Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, W/Pigeon, C/Dove, C/Crow, Magpie, Starling, Dunnock, Kestrel.
Once at the 2nd stile I turned my attentions to the birds on the river. I was now that much closer to them, and I could now make out what was out there. Straight away I could see that most of them was a bird I have never seen before in Halling, and that was a flock of 54 Wigeon. There may have been a few more only they was quite close in to Halling saltmarsh bank.There was also 14 Gadwall, 3 Teal, and about 20 Mallard. While taking a brake at number 2 stile I also saw 1 Curlew, 1 Snipe. Then 9 LBJ's (little brown jobs) flew passed me, circled around and landed in the grass by the sign near the river. I believe them to be Rock Pipit's.They was slightly olive in colour, there legs were dark, not a light colour, their chest was darkish, and pale cream tips to their tails, so I am going to rule out Water Pipit, and stick to my guns. Perhaps I will get to see them again next time. I saw Rock Pipits in this area last winter.
I saw a few more Redhanks, and Lapwings, before I left, so my final counts for them was Redshank 17, Lapwing 23.
I was now getting knackered so I made my way home. I just got through the kissing gate up Marsh Road when I saw a few birds flittering about in the bushes, I stopped and put the bins on them, and then the ol heart started to beat a bit faster, why? because I was only looking at 5 Waxwing's. I was hoping to see them somewhere else, probably on one of the many berry bushes about, but hey, I'l take them anywhere.One of them even flew down and took a drink from a puddle. But as quickly as I saw them they took off, I lost sight of them, but I am sure they will be around somewhere. .
Today's birding brought my Halling December total to exactly 50.
PS. Today my Blackcap number has increased to 3, Two males, and one female..