December 27th 7.30am to 9.30am
Despite the winds being in the wrong direction, a south south westerly was forecast early morning with gusts up to 60mph, I thought I might be in with a chance of a goodie or 2.The trip was as much about getting out after the Christmas over indulging, my diet is totally buggered and out the window, have to start again on January 1st.
Arriving rather too early I tucked myself behind the sea wall round the corner out of the strong wind which was really gusting, looking at the sea showed the tide starting to drop with some mud showing looking towards the Marina.
|Definitely too early!
As the light got better large flocks of Dunlin started to show heading upriver and over to Kent all coming from the roosts at Two Tree Island, additionally small flocks of Dark Bellied Brent’s followed the same course.
As the morning progressed it became obvious that there was little movement with no Divers or Auks seen, 9 Common Scoter were noted and up until 8.30am an adult Mediterranean Gull was the pick of the Gulls. Shortly after this I picked up a group of 4 birds heading strongly upriver, 3 of these were adult Herring Gulls but the 4th appeared to be a white winger. The bird looked to be in 1st winter plumage, a light coffee colour all over contrasting with even paler wings, at distance, it was mid river, it stood out pretty well in the poor light. Going on size, it was of a similar size to the Herring’s, it looked pretty good for an Iceland. At that distance, it was way too far to id, it could just as well have been a small Glaucous or even a leucistic bird as Steve noted, I gather there are several at Mucking Tip.
I am not into my Gulls, but must admit this bird did look good for a 1st winter Iceland having seen a couple over the years at Rainham, too far out though unfortunately to identify.
In total for the remainder of the morning I ended up with 194 Dark Bellied Brent’s going up or across, other birds of note seen were a long flock of Knot which I would estimate at around 2400, a massive flock heading upriver I suspect for Egypt Bay.
|The dark line is part of a massive Knot Flock heading upriver.
Nothing earth shattering, all we seem to get these days are westerly/south westerly winds, easterlies or even north easterlies seem to be few and far between, I suspect it has something to do with climate change.
|Seen recently on a brief visit to Cliffe RSPB