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Thursday 22 December 2011

Barking Bay December 22nd

I have finished work now for the Christmas period so a dawn visit called to see what’s about.
With a rising tide waders were being pushed up closer, the first initial scan produced a goodie in the shape of a Knot, a bit of a rarity this far up the river. Unfortunately it did not stay long and soon disappeared down river, a pity as I was hoping to get some photos.
Other waders present were 7 Curlew, 2 Black Tailed Godwits, 32 Redshank and 44 Dunlin. I also got onto a small flock of waders going over to Crossness, all Dunlin bar one, a bigger wader, chunky with a smallish bill, only a silhouette but possibly a Turnstone.                                                                Decided to walk the rest of the site in the hope that I can catch up with the ever elusive Stonechats, not surprisingly they did a bunk but I did see Green Woodpecker, 5 Fieldfare, 6 Common Snipe, Chiffchaff and a male Sparrowhawk.
The Linnet flock is now hovering around the 150 mark.

Large Dunlin flock (click on photos to enlarge)

Redshank foreground with Lapwing and Dunlin behind

Dunlin dropping in

By the time I returned to the river the tide was nearly in, the remaining mud now held 8 Black Tailed Godwits and a very good count of Curlew 16 in number. The Redshank had already gone to roost but the biggest flock by far were Dunlin, an estimated count of around 600 birds was reeling all over the river looking for somewhere to roost. In the end they split, at least 400 of them headed for the Riverside Jetty and eventually landed and waited out the tide. If I my memory serves me correctly this is the first time I have seen them using this particular jetty, good to see its use taken up by the waders, this is what it has been set aside for.

Dagenham Riverside

After Barking Bay I headed for Dagenham Riverside, on arrival a Peregrine had put every wader present up, quite a sight as the Black Tailed Godwit flock were feeding on the mud that was now starting to show. A count of 430 was reached with 39 Redshank, 86 Lapwing, 2 Snipe and a Curlew as a supporting cast. Obviously this is part of the flock from the Stone Barges roost, it would be good to know how many, or if they did roost on the Barges.

Black Tailed Godwit

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