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Wednesday 9 November 2011

Barking Mad

Outfall and Bay

November 9th

With the grey skies I must admit I was not expecting much from the morning, there is nothing like a little bit of sunshine, the overcast weather and light drizzle I thought would put paid to any good birds, I was wrong again.

I started the morning off at dawn, on looking over the sea wall it was obvious the Redshank numbers had doubled, in total 61 were feeding on the mud. It did not stop there either, scanning revealed 3 Curlew and the ever present Common Sandpipers numbered 3 birds. The Curlew were the first seen of the 2nd winter period, I also managed to get some digi shots of a very confiding bird, not too bad considering the poor light.

Curlew(click on photos to enlarge)

I then latched onto a small wader flock heading up river, about 18 Dunlin, these were then seen to land on the Essex side, shortly after a flock of 23 Black Tailed Godwits came flying in and landed just in front of the Dunlin.


Black Tailed Godwit flock

A very good start to the morning and some good birds this early in the winter, hopefully a sign of things to come.

After Sundays Lapland Bunting found by Paul, I was hoping that it would still be around and hanging onto the Linnet flock numbering around 160 birds, a good flock. Still needed as a London tick, it did not materialise but how could I complain with the supporting cast seen, Avocet, Short Eared Owl and 2 Bramblings?
The Bramblings were located in with the Chaffinch flock that favours the northern section near Choats Road, one very posy bird and a very striking full male that refused to have his photo taken. A site tick and a welcome addition.


Goldfinch and Brambling

As I was watching these I heard the Crows going off, they had located another Short Eared Owl and were pushing it up higher and higher, there were a few little confrontations low down but then the Owl easily just stayed above them, eventually they gave up. So far it had been a cracking morning, sometimes you do seem to get lucky, and you can do no wrong, today looked like one of those days. Mind you I have had days over here when you would welcome a feral pigeon flying by but that’s local patching.

Short Eared Owl with the usual Crow attachment

Alone and peace at last
As I was walking back to the visitor centre I heard a bird calling, it took a little while to locate as it was flying, an Avocet, quite a rarity here this far up the Thames. It now looks like becoming an established winter visitor hopefully, especially after the 12 seen in the Bay earlier in the year, colder weather may well push more up the Thames.


With Crossness in the background



This bird was very flighty and was looking for somewhere to roost, the tide was nearly up and it was feeding like crazy before flying round, several times it tried to drop in with the Shelduck on the Jetty. In the end it flew off towards the roost at Crossness, I would imagine it either dropped in there or carried onto Rainham RSPB.
Strangest sighting of the morning – a Red Admiral flying by, crazy weather.

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