Saturday 29 November 2014

Gulls with bling

Back at Rainham RSPB on Saturday 29 November 2014 birding on the way via the Stone Barges, which held 70 Black-tailed Godwits on the shore alongside Redshank and a flighty group of 15 Dunlin. Lots of colour-ringed Gulls here and at nearby Coldharbour Point - 4 Black-headed Gulls, 3 LBB Gulls and 2 Herring Gulls. All were wearing either orange or yellow rings and from previous experience this suggests birds ringed locally. A couple of examples shown here - imm. Herring Gull (U1GT) and adult Black-headed Gull (2CPK) plus an unringed adult Yellow-legged Gull amongst the roosting commoner gulls.

A walk around the reserve produced sightings of Marsh Harrier, Buzzard and the pair of Peregrines. A Brent Goose was dwarfed in flight by its Greylag friends over Wennington Marsh and a couple of Raven sightings both on the reserve and over the tip on the way back added to the mix. Stonechats and loud Cetti's Warblers were a good supporting cast. Again, no sign of SE Owls over/around the Silts at sunset, but 5 RN Parakeets flew east to roost.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Rainham long walk x2

I try to do the long walk (3.5miles or so) from Rainham railway station to the RSPB Rainham Marshes visitor centre when birding Rainham at the weekend, and normally take the much shorter route to Purfleet railway station on leaving. Today (Saturday 22 November) I did it both getting there and coming back, and birding was not too bad at all.

On the journey in connected with several colour-ringed Herring Gulls at the Stone Barges with the imm. in the photo the only one discernible with confidence - U0JT. Perhaps locally ringed. Wintering Ruff at Coldharbour Point, a now regular Raven overhead onto the tip and a male Peregrine over Wennington. A smart winter plumage Grey Plover called in flight at Aveley Bay where it added to the variety of waders present that included Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshank and Lapwing.

We watched the river for most of the day from the centre's balcony. Not much movement despite or perhaps due to the dreary conditions. A Marsh Harrier crossed the river from Kent to Essex but was eclipsed by a distant Harrier on the Kent side that headed down river mid-afternoon in the mist. From what we could see we were leaning to it being a 'ringtail' Hen Harrier but it got away and out of view before we could give a positive id.

The long walk back ca. 3:30pm to catch the train just before 5pm at Rainham. A Raven was on the marsh near the MDZ and a Green Sandpiper called from out of sight on the landfill. Two imm. Marsh Harrier's frequented Wennington and a Kingfisher belted past at Rainham 'West' (no pun intended). Main reason for doing this route back was to look for SE Owls just before dark from the public footpath. None showed over the Silts or nearby. Bad timing or is it simply that they are either not in, or have they been lost as a 'winterer' in this area?

Thursday 20 November 2014

Marsh Harriers and the Wandering sentinels

How many Marsh Harriers at Rainham Marshes RSPB? Three 'cream crowns' on Saturday 15 November 2014 comprised 2 immatures and an orange/red wing tagged adult female type. The latter probably from the Stour Valley, Kent was not appreciated by one of the imms. and the local nagging Corvids. A 'cream crown' present a week before distinguished by missing inner primaries/secondaries was not on show, and the same goes for the adult male with the wonky leg.

A pair of Peregrines peered down on Rainham Marshes RSPB during Saturday, and on Sunday 16 November 2014 two of these white-breasted sentinels looked down on the hordes of tourists oblivious to their presence on London's South Bank. A male swooped on pigeons at Blackfriars station at dusk but was unsuccessful, heading back to its lofty perch in disgust.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Cyprus Sep/Oct 2014

Cyprus trip report added to 'Birding Trip Reports - Other'. Enjoy. It was a nice trip with lots of good birding, and the Eleonora's Falcons were simply superb!

Saturday 1 November 2014

Rainham Kronker

Back at Rainham on Saturday 01 November 2014. Highlights being what I thought was a 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull at the Stone Barges, but feedback suggests Caspian or Caspian influence. A photo below, and more at the 'Latest UK Bird Photos' page, Also, of note was a resting Fox on the landfill, several Stonechats, double figures of Cetti's Warblers and not to forget my first London Raven which appeared flying over the centre then made a beeline for us on the riverwall as it flew upriver towards the landfill.