Sunday 6 February 2022

Capital Birding - January 2022

Back at Rainham Marshes RSPB, London in January 2022 where an unseasonable Spoonbill took up residence, the presence of 5 wary Barnacle Geese that arrived in December may suggest Category A origin, and the reserve was crowded with wintering Ducks and Waders. Pintail looked very smart feeding in the sunshine lighting up Purfleet Scrape where Shovelers, Wigeon and Teal also fed, and a handful of Curlews roosted at high tide. Nearby over the river wall about 40 Avocets combed Aveley Bay for food and 95 Black-tailed Godwits huddled together further to the west. A nice variety of birds on and near the reserve also included the wintering Dartford Warbler, many Stonechats, confiding Kestrels and patrolling Marsh Harriers. A Raven took a serious dislike to other Corvids (not forgetting to add the 'r' here) one Sunday morning and the following Saturday 2 Ravens flew low over the reserve. An adult Peregrine tormented allcomers along the shore late January before heading off over the landfill. All 5 expected Gull species present throughout with yellow colour-ringed Black-headed Gulls noted later in the month, the yellow and "2" first digit indicating they were ringed locally, details tbc. But, not to forget the star of the show a fantastic 3rd winter Caspian Gull present on the Target Pools during the afternoon of the 15th. At the same pool a lone Ruff was active amongst resting Lapwings and a couple of Water Pipits were airborne, calling in flight. They seem to give the 'Wist' call quickly as if embarrassed to call, wanting it over. This is in contrast to the wintering (Scandinavian) Rock Pipits present on the Thames shore who appear to want to be heard as they call a stronger 'Weest'. All subjective of course. Of note, a visitor from a collection in the form of a Black Swan looked great on the reserve and on landing on a misty Thames during one visit mid month. The local Mute Swans weren't happy!

Away from Rainham Marshes RSPB I twitched the Little Bunting present in South East London, it was very confiding and nice to see.