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Sunday 30 August 2015

Olympic Stadium

My first visit to the stadium having missed out on the Olympics, I was here to watch the Samoa - Barbarians match, the Ba Ba's came out on top narrowly winning 27-24.The first game of rugby played at the venue before the world cup next month.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Rainham RSPB

August 25th

After the heavy rain the previous day I had high hopes that the woodland cordite area might produce some migrants, alas other than plenty of Blackcaps, Common Whitethroats and Finches, there was nothing rarer. Pied Flycatcher for one is way overdue for me at Rainham.

4 distant Harbour Seals - 2 on the mud and 2 with there heads just showing

However the rest of the Reserve produced some good birding with some winter species already arriving in the shape of 2 Pintail and 2 Wigeon seen.

A circuit of the Reserve taking in the river produced the following


Yellow Wagtail – 10

Common Sandpiper – 8 roosting at high tide

Dunlin – river wall

Harbour Seal – 5 on the other side

Wheatear – river wall

Marsh Harrier – 2 juveniles

Ruff – 6 – 5 of these were very confiding

Peregrine – Tiercel

Black Tailed Godwit – 26 – Aveley Pools

Golden Plover – 4 Aveley Pools

Barn Owl – usual place
Missed the Wood Sandpiper although it was later seen.

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Red Backed Shrike

Bowers Marsh
August 19th

It’s been a while since I undertook a visit to Bowers Marsh so armed with yesterday’s news of the Shrike still being present a visit was in order.

On arrival I was told that the Shrike had been seen that morning which was good news so headed out there, viewing various water bodies on the way. Black Tailed Godwit, Green Sandpiper, Bearded Tit and 2 Marsh Harriers were seen en route.

After a good distance I came across another birder who told me the area, it’s a bit of a walk out from the car park, around a mile.

Eventually arriving, the bird showed very well on the Landfill fence and I managed to get a few photos from the path, it also disappeared for 20-30 minute periods. However it always returned to the same section of fence line.

Having not seen one since the Canvey bird –2- 3 years ago? It was very welcome and well worth the walk for my little old legs.

A good visit and I also added juvenile Peregrine, 3 Greenshank, another Green Sandpiper and a Common Buzzard whilst out there.

Monday 10 August 2015

Barking Outfall

August 9th

My original intention as I headed into London at dawn on Sunday was to visit Battersea Power Station to catch up with the peregrines, however I had not reckoned on the road closures for the Triathlon so aborted and headed for Barking Outfall.

Although it’s still early in the Autumn, wildlife is slowly returning to the Outfall after the major works on the Thames Water site and out on the mud flats. It is still ongoing but thankfully the works on the mud flats have now finished.

On arrival, virtually the first thing seen when I looked over was a Grey Seal on the rising tide. On top of this it was a Bull and I suspect the same one I had a few years back with the cow.

He stayed most of the morning giving the Thick Lipped Mullet a torrid time, although I didn’t see him catch one. He is a big animal and I got some good views of his size when he was fishing close in the froth.

All the Geese, Cormorants and Ducks all vacated the water when he came in close in alarm, there not in any danger I suspect, but I should imagine it’s pretty stressful when he pops up underneath or next to you.

Another new edition was in the shape of a Ruddy Shelduck, I suspect it is the same bird that winters in the area, pretty soon I suspect it will join up with the Shelduck in Barking Bay. It looks like a Hybrid and I understand there are a few of them dotted around Essex and Kent.

No wintering Redshank or Teal have arrived as yet, shouldn’t be long, hopefully we will now get back to the numbers of past undisturbed winters.

The now resident pair of Egyptian Geese at the Outfall have managed to rear 2 Goslings, not known for their parenting skills it will be good to see them succeed. They are now big enough to avoid predation from anything other than a Fox.

From this visit I also added a few additions to the patch year list, namely Sandwich Tern (2), Sparrowhawk and a Green Woodpecker, the list now stands at 74. Not far off last year’s total of 79 so hopefully I can bump it up with a few Autumn migrants, Black Tern at the Outfall is way overdue.

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Two Tree Island

August 4th

A quick visit to catch the high tide gathering produced some good birds with the most notable being a Curlew Sandpiper. Only seen briefly amongst the hordes of Black Tailed Godwits it was still retaining some summer plumage.
The numbers of Black Tailed Godwits have really increased, I would say they are already up above the 800 mark, many were still out on the Creek.

Good numbers of Redshank were also seen along with 7 Greenshank.

Star performer goes to a juvenile peregrine trying to flush all into flight with several passes; it is a tactic they use quite a lot.

Juvenile Peregrine - several passes trying to flush birds