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Monday, 21 February 2011

Avocets - Barking Bay February 20th

Another weekend, another dreary, misty, wet, grey typical English winter day, same weather pattern every weekend, no good for birds or so I thought……

Curlew - apologies for the photo's, good old english weather I'm afraid
Arrived on site mid morning in preparation for a high tide count later that day, a number of us were counting all the high tide roosts along the Thames but that’s another story. As I walked along the foreshore I did my usual scan and noted good numbers of waders on the mud, and a great surprise, amongst them was a small flock of 12 Avocets. Avocets very, very rarely come up the Thames this far, perhaps to Rainham RSPB but not Barking, 12 was also unprecedented.

The flock at waters edge

Slightly better photo


It is interesting to note that Dick Jefferies had a flock of 80 later at West Thurrock Marshes , and at least 19+ Oystercatchers came up the river also, so it looks as if the weather system created some movement.

After this I walked inland and had a Golden Plover calling overhead as they do, in bad light you can hear them but they are a sod to pick up in a grey dark sky, managed to get a couple of photo’s after tying myself up in knots locating it.

Golden Plover

Other highlights were

Common Snipe – 2 groups flushed 17 and 11, by far the highest total I have had on site.

Jack Snipe – 1 a real bonus and a great addition to the site, they are very hard to come across.

Dunlin – 260 foreshore

Redshank - 89 foreshore

Wigeon – 2 flying down river

Curlew – 12 on the mud with 4 of these display flying over the site

Oystercatcher – 4 on the mud.

Common Snipe
All in all a very good visit, just goes to show that when you think the birding is going to be crap due to the weather, it throws up some surprises, will not moan about the weather again……. until next weekend.

Black Tailed Godwits - seen later at Dagenham on the high tide count

With decent light it would have been a better photo, this was on F5.6 and ISO 1600

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