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Friday, 9 December 2011

Rainham RSPB

Thursday December 8th

Against my better judgement due to the gale force winds and dark skies I decided on a visit to the Reserve, I was not expecting much but was pleasantly surprised in what I did see. As expected hardly any passerines, the few that I did see were trying to retain their feathers and were hiding from the wind.

Wigeon and Teal

Drake Wigeon

A Tiercel Peregrine was one of the first birds seen, seemingly enjoying the wind to the consternation of the Lapwing flock, probably totalling around a 1000 birds, these were doing there level best to stay above him. Also up was a flock of Golden Plover, a later count on the deck showed 84 birds.

A very distant Common Buzzard

Female Sparrowhawk - note size of crop

A single well marked Water Pipit was present and hiding in cover on the foreshore, no chance of a photo but a very pale individual, will hopefully get a photo over the weekend.

Black Tailed Godwit in front of Ken's Hide

Also seen were:

Rock Pipit – 4 on the foreshore
Dunlin – around 140
Curlew – 2
Sparrowhawk – female with a very full crop
Common Buzzard – 1
Pintail – 5 Pools
Black Tailed Godwit – 3 on the pools
Grey Plover – 2 mixed in with the hordes of Lapwing

Works now have also finished on the new Purfleet Scrape, it looks good, just needs the magic stuff, water.
While I was there I also photographed a small wader, it was coming at me fast in a flock of Lapwing,  (the Peregrine effect), I managed one half decent shot in the bad light before it disappeared towards the Thames. Initial thought was a Dunlin/ Snipe when first seen, and then as it went past, I thought it looks too small for a Snipe, the bill was too short and the shape/flight of the bird was wrong. I had a quick look at the camera and thought this is none of the above.
On later review of the photo and getting some opinions on it, it looks very good for a Pectoral Sandpiper; I understand Pete Merchant had one the day before on the Pools.
Photo below.

Not a good photo due to the bad light

Heavily cropped

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