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Sunday 31 October 2010

Ingrebourne Valley October 29th

A day of from work, was due up London later so decided to pop over the Valley to see if I could not only catch up with the Bittern leaving roost, but was hopeful also of Bearded Tit, a major bogey bird for me on the site. Given the number of birds that had been seen recently at Rainham RSPB, I thought I was in with a shout.
Headed over in near darkness, was rewarded with a Woodcock over the viewing area, perfectly silhouetted in the sky, a good start. As the light got better as I walked through Berwick Ponds I also had a calling Tawny Owl, pretty close, but try as I might I could not see it in the gloom.
Reached the lake and walked round to the green sward on the houses side, gave it an hour but no luck with the Bittern or Beardies but did get a high Marsh Harrier east, 2 calling Water Rail, 19 Redwing,2 Chiffies, a calling Redpoll sp and 2 Fieldfares.
An excellent morning so far so headed for the farm trail, again hopeful of a Merlin, in years gone by they were pretty regular on the Trail but are now a rare sight in the Valley. I then got very lucky and picked up a distant largish raptor being mobbed, by what I thought was a Crow. The light was atrocious but was able to id a Ringtail Hen Harrier being mobbed by a female Sparrowhawk. The Hen Harrier is now a very rare bird and this was only my second ever for the site. Les Harrison had a cracking male a few years back, this bird put me on 124 for the year.

Very distant Hen Harrier being mobbed by Sparrowhawk
 The shoot game crop was alive with Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers, the latter easily reaching 30 birds, will have to keep an eye out for the recent influx of Lapland Buntings amongst them.
Additional birds seen were
Lapwing – 80 Farm Trail, no Golden Plovers in with them as yet.
Stock Dove – 50 ,single flock feeding on fields
Skylark – 22 adjacent field to top paddock
Cetti’s Warbler – 8 heard calling
Teal – 36 viewing area
Gadwall – 9
Wigeon – 7
Pochard – 20
Jackdaw – 19 top paddock
Rook – 13 top paddock

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