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Thursday, 10 February 2011

Rainham RSPB February 9th

I popped in after finishing a survey in Kent, first visit of 2011, not year listing Rainham, so just taking it easy trying to do some photography, weather permitting. Having said that, as soon as something rare turns up, I know I will probably go running to tick it. The exception was Dominic’s Slaty Backed Gull, an exceptional find and well done to him for having the patience to go through thousands of Gulls, I know I could not. Just cant get excited over Gulls, one of the reasons may be that I am crap at identifying them, Med Gulls I like.

Male Reed Bunting
Anyway back to Rainham, the new Hide is well under construction and all the electric fencing has been laid, hopefully it will keep the Foxes out and aid breeding Redshank and Lapwing.

I walked the foreshore first, a minimum of 9 Rock and one Water Pipit were on the rocks at low tide, looking at the Rocks, there always seems to be some variation, some are definitely paler and recall Water Pipit. Even looking at them every year, the differences can be minimal, you are looking for leg colour, a more prominent supercillium (Water ) and paler underside and flanks, again for Water. Rock Pipit tend to be darker plumage and darker legs.

To me a Water Pipit, pale flanks, browner above, more prominent wing bars.

To give an idea of how confusing Winter Rock/Water Pipits can be, last year I put out a photo to a number of mates, which I thought was a Water Pipit, and opinions came back divided, it is not always clear cut with them, especially in bad light.

Rock Pipit - overall a lot darker

Good numbers of Wigeon and Shelduck on the river and mud, I then made my way to the Reserve. A very enjoyable walk round, unfortunately despite studying every Bullrush, there was no sign of the Penduline Tits that had been seen recently.

Golden Plover

Marsh Harrier - showing the  'shallow V'
Birds of note seen were :

Marsh Harrier – an immature male seen briefly

Lapwing - a flock of around 600

Golden Plover – 17 in with the Lapwings

Little Egret – unusually only 1 seen

Pintail – pair on Target Pools

Cetti’s Warbler – 3 calling

Good to see some species showing the first signs of spring , towards the end of next month, we should start to see some migrants arriving.

Waxwings - caught up with these just about to go to roost

They are everywhere this winter, yet to get one in decent light, cant complain though.

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