Tuesday 9 May 2023

2023 - April Birding - From Ring-necked Duck to Osprey with a few scarcities in between

Rainham Marshes RSPB

Visits at the beginning and then from mid month to the wetlands on the edge of London on the north side of the Thames just inside the Dartford crossing.

Summer migrants were seen from the start of the month, including Willow and Sedge Warblers plus Swallows and a Wheatear from the 1st. Whitethroats in by mid month with a rattling Lesser Whitethroat the weekend after. The Thames shore held its seemingly ever present Avocets plus remnants of the wintering Black-tailed Godwit flock (80) Later in the month a couple of whistling passage Whimbrels rested on the muddy shore. Common Terns fed mid river on a mid-month visit and a walk down the river a week later produced many Mediterranean Gulls "meeowing", including an impressive flock of 6 adults flying low over Coldharbour Point on a day that saw at least 8 and possibly up to 14 flying over the area. Most summer migrants were in this month and the Marshes were awash with very vocal Cetti's Warblers, such that the trill of a Grasshopper Warbler was difficult to pick out at Rainham 'West'. Corn Buntings sang from the sides of the landfill and nearby Marsh Harriers patrolled the reserve. Calling flyover Yellow Wagtails noted. A couple of visits yielded one or two Ravens in the area and a few Buzzards were around throughout, with a returning Hobby practising its afterburners over the middle of the reserve on the 22nd. Nice to see, but this sighting was overshadowed on this date as out of nowhere just before 1pm a migrating Osprey flew past many observers positioned around the reserve, including at the car park. It was heading east at first but turned around drifting back towards the reserve then faded away in the sky heading north after being escorted from the area by a Red Kite.

Glad the drake Ring-necked Duck stayed for Easter at Old Moor RSPB near Barnsley, sure it was a first for the 'Wath Area' and if it behaves itself I think it will be 200 up for me for the area. From recent chatter I believe the area total is of the order of 260, it's a cracking birding area probably the best inland birding site in the country.

Yorkshire moorlands offered their magic with Ring Ouzels back on territory at Easter and Willow Warblers from a similar time.

Up in West Yorkshire one of the two Night Herons showed well on the edge of the River Calder at Easter, with Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail also present.

En Route
Heading back south the impressive Kentish Plover at Summer Leys LNR, Northamptonshire held on to a sandy island in the teeth of a gale where from the other side of the hide a couple of stately Common Cranes appeared to be more relaxed in the windy conditions.

More average photos uploaded at 'Latest UK Bird Photos'. Please enjoy.