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Saturday 26 March 2011

Just like Buses....Ingrebourne March 24th

The Ingrebourne Valley sometimes benefits from being a neighbor to Rainham Marshes as it is only 2 miles away, today was one of those days. Many species travel to the reserve along the Valley and vice versa, the habitat in the valley, although smaller is much more diverse, especially for breeding species.

Great Crested Grebe
For a number of years now I have been trying to catch up with a Mediterranean Gull from the overspill off the Tip at Rainham, what happens, 2 come along at the same time, both adults and most likely a pair. I would have very likely missed them if it wasn’t for them calling, a very distinctive call learnt from countless winter visits to the Pier at Southend. Last seen heading directly for Rainham Tip.

Mediterranean Gull above

All though I am not a Gull lover, must admit to Med Gull being on top of the list when it comes to seeing Gulls. Caspian is the next one I would like for the Valley, Berwick Reservoir would be a possible venue, identifying it is another matter, adult I think I will be ok with, this comes from countless cock ups involving Yellow Legged Gull. Immatures, no chance, just have not got the patience to learn all the plumages and features.

Supporting cast included a singing Blackcap, suspect it was a wintering bird as it couldn’t make its mind up to sing strongly or just sub- sing.

Nothing like a bit of sunshine to make you feel good

Grey Herons fishing in the viewing area
4 Common Buzzards up in the sunshine, they are now getting as common as Sparrowhawks, a very welcome sight, up high also were 33 Golden Plover. These were distant but it was clear to see that some are starting to coming into summer plumage, hopefully will be able to get some photo’s in the next few weeks.

Also seen or heard-

Yellowhammer - 4 singers

Sparrowhawks – pair displaying

Fieldfare – 80 flushed from an adjacent field by the Goodyear Blip

Siskin – 11 Berwick Glades

Small Tortoiseshell – 3 seen, have now seen more of these in the last week,than I did in all of last year. Hopefully it will be a good year for them.                                                                                                 

The adjoining airstrip housed the Goodyear Balloon from a couple of years ago, it looked like they were testing it, for such a large Balloon it was surprising to see how well it could manoeuvre as you can see from the photo below.

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