Monday, 27 January 2014
It's a Small World.
I suppose our luck with the weather in regard to rain had to go one day, since October we have not had rain on any of the weekend days we surveyed Hoo Peninsula on, well that certainly changed on Sunday.
With strong south westerly’s driving the rain it was not pleasant, quite cold in fact, with the site even more flooded there was very little activity, especially on the Passerine front, Lapwing were also strangely absent. Other than this the ever reliable Marsh Harriers were not that active with only a single seen on the Transect, additionally a Tiercel Peregrine and a Common Buzzard completed the Raptors, given the weather they were pretty brave to be out in it.
When I eventually reached the river, it was low tide, it did produce some high numbers, in particular Black Tailed Godwit, after going through them a few times, there were 3 large flocks, I arrived at a figure of 1300.They seem to have left the Inner Thames, of late over the last 2 or 3 weeks I can’t seem to find any, previous to this around Christmas, there was a roosting flock of 400+ on the Stone Barges.Rainham RSPB has not seen them either, odd, I suspect much is down to the milder winter weather, not that it felt like it today.
As you could imagine, the camera stayed in the bag, I tucked myself away out of the wind and rain and for a couple of hours monitored the river.
During the course of the survey I spotted a Range Rover coming over the field towards the sea wall, parking up near it, 6 occupants emerged. We know the Farmer, Paul was about a mile away towards Egypt Bay, my first thoughts were bloody shooters, what they doing out here but I was wrong as they disembarked and walked towards me.
As they reached me I could see it was a mixture of people both young and old, a family, it looked like they had just come out for a visit to see the Thames, I naturally introduced myself as they enquired what I was doing out in the middle of nowhere in this god forsaken weather.
They were getting quite wet as we chatted and one chap in particular asked had I seen much, as I replied, I thought I know you as you do, the memory is not what it used to be, and the thought ping ponged around my brain before the light bulb came on in the shape of New Years Eve and a Piano.
“ Your Jools Holland aren’t you” he confirmed and said that they had just come out to look at the river, I told him about Peregrines, Wild Geese and Swans and shortly after they went, the weather or more likely my speech driving them back to the sanctuary of the Range Rover.
It brightened a wet survey as it’s not every day you get to meet a celebrity, especially out in the middle of nowhere, hopefully I converted him into becoming a Raptor nut like myself.