Saturday 24 January 2015

Caspian Gull on the yearlist - Rainham Marshes RSPB

Back birding at Rainham RSPB walking the long route from Rainham railway station to the reserve taking in the Stone Barges and Wennington Marsh. On the way to the Stone Barges a Great Spotted Woodpecker was noteworthy flying into a tree on the marsh by the railway station known as Rainham 'north'. The marsh known as Rainham 'west', south of the A13 and west of the Silt Lagoons, was quiet with a couple of calling Cetti's Warblers noted. The 5 'common' gull species present at low tide at the Stone Barges and several with 'bling', but the keen westerly wind made noting the details of the colour-rings impossible. A Rock Pipit was present and 4 Black-tailed Godwits flew upriver. 19 'Blackwits' were roosting west of Aveley Bay and Coldharbour Point held the wintering Ruff. Moving on and the highlight of the day for me was the 1st winter Caspian Gull present with 50 or so large gulls roosting on Wennington Marsh. This distinctive bird stood out and views allowed for comparison with similarly aged Herring Gulls as they swam together and also walked side by side. Marsh Harriers flew over the marsh/silts and Buzzards were over the A13.

On the reserve the Dunlin flock swirled around at high tide and at least 11 Curlews roosted. An Avocet moved from Aveley Bay to Purfleet Scrape on the rising tide. Loads of duck present on the reserve and the fine weather saw Teal displaying. 2 Ravens frequented the reserve mid afternoon and the Brown Rat shown opposite made the Reed Buntings visiting the woodland feeders feel a bit nervy. Stonechats present and a couple of Rock Pipits flew towards the MDZ in the afternoon. The Cordite store was very quiet.