Monday 16 March 2015

Late Winter Birding, Rasher-gate and Beach Football

Slow changes in the birding at Rainham RSPB late February to mid March. The weather remaining dull, windy with rain in the air on several visits, but one weekend offered a glimmer of Spring. Gull numbers dropped during the period did the wintering ducks. Marsh Harriers put on a nice show with at least 4 different birds present on any visit. Peregrines continued and the local Buzzards took to the skies. Cetti's Warblers became very noisy and Chiffchaff's more obvious. Noteworthy was a single flock of 110 Fieldfare on Rainham 'West' with 33 more flying east early morning on a cold Saturday 28 February. Spring was around the corner as a Sand Martin flew over the same site on a 'balmy' Sunday 08 March. Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral butterflies were in flight the first weekend in March. Oystercatchers came in during this period with at least 3 pairs along the Thames during the March WeBS count. More sign of Spring with the reserve's first 'Lurp' (Little Ringed Plover) of the year occurring over the weekend of 14/15 March. A Raven 'cronked' its way onto the reserve in the morning of 15 March and a smart looking 'Scandinavian' Rock Pipit was seen all too briefly from the Butts hide. Would have loved to have got a photo of this bird.

Last month saw 'double yolkers' cooked on the stove for breakfast, this month has seen 'Rasher-gate'. Was I lucky enough to be presented with 2 rashers, or is it just an optical illusion?

Beach football in Sheffield on Saturday 14 March. Owls drew 1-1 at home to Fulham. It felt like a loss, given the way Fulham were allowed to equalise... must play to the whistle! The pitch was bare, very bare! En route saw 5 Red Kites over the A1 near Peterborough and half a dozen or so Kestrels throughout the journey.