Coast and marshes
Riverside Country Park is very popular and the foreshore at Grain village is a lovely walk as well. Out on the North Kent Marshes the overwintering birds are at their best. Dunlin, golden plover and greenshank are types of wading birds that visit in the winter and the best time to see them is at as the tide is going out when they are hungry and waiting to feed on the mudflats. Shelduck, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Marsh Harrier, Lapwing, Black-headed gull, cormorant and coot can be spotted all year round. This month you can still spy on black tailed godwit, Brent goose, Curlew, Magpie, Pintail, Teal, Turnstone, Long-tailed tit and Wigeon.
Hills and woodland
The woodland and meadows of the North Downs are mostly quiet in the winter but times are changing and we are having much warmer and wetter weather in the winter. Many birds are very active, such as blackbirds, robins, jays and wrens. We can often see grey squirrels and foxes, as unlike some mammals they do not hibernate. If you are very quiet on your walk you can hear small mammals such as wood mice and voles in the undergrowth. At Capstone Farm Country Park you can walk around the lake and see many birds, such as Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard and Black-headed gull.
Gardens and greenspaces
At the end of this month there will be a definite feeling of Spring, but food is still relatively scarce for birds and mammals, especially with snow or a sudden frost. It is always possible to spot many of our commonest birds including blackbirds, starling and sparrows, blue tits and great tits. The robin is also easily seen and you can attract a lot of species by providing food for them in your garden. Various winter flowering plants such as jasmine and honeysuckle will attract invertebrates such as the buff tailed bee which emerges to feed in the winter and the first crocuses are starting to emerge.
Click on an image below to open a full size slide show:
If you are able to visit the coastline as part of your local exercise, please check out the Bird Wise North Kent website for more information on our coastal birds.