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Wednesday 23 July 2014

Rainham RSPB

July 20th

After drawing a blank at Parliament at dawn in regard to the Peregrines, unusual as they are pretty reliable as a rule, I headed back east checking a few sites on the way.

With a good morning forecast, and it was, I eventually arrived at Rainham and was lucky to coincide the visit with high tide.
A nice assortment of waders were present roosting up on Purfleet Scrape so I went through these for 45 minutes along with keeping an eye on the Thames.

At roost on the scrape were 2 Whimbrel, 5 Greenshank initially before I had a 6th doing a bunk to Kent, 22 Lapwing, 4 Snipe, 5 Redshank and 3 Green Sandpipers working the margins. A good variety of waders before I headed off down the Sea Wall, as I did I got onto a bird being chased by a Greenfinch.

Greenshank, Lapwing and Whimbrel on view at roost

Very first thought was that’s a small Skylark, undulating flight and definitely smaller, I continued to watch as it broke off and then suddenly dropped like a stone into some vegetation, unusual bird.

Tail was wrong for Woodlark and flight was not right for one, Howard had also seen it and I had another distant view when it flushed, it appeared quite pale up against the greenery as it flew.
In truth I didn't have a clue what it was, smaller than a Skylark but it went out as a Short Toed Lark, having only ever seen one on the deck in Spain, I could not identify it, especially in flight not being familiar with the species.
One that got away I’m afraid.

After this I checked the Kent side of the river, no less than 11 Common Sandpipers on the dwindling mud near the Darent with a single Oystercatcher a little further along.


Common Terns were working the high tide and a rough count of birds over near the Yacht Club came to about 30 birds.
Walking back along the sea wall gave up a Seal in mid river, only a glimpse so not sure which one.

Goldeneye - likely a juv seen on July 12th in the Ingrebourne Valley - very early locally bred?