Saturday, January 31, 2015

Serin - From the Marshes to the Park

Today was about the kids.  Not my kids, I haven't yet taken ownership of those yet.  These kids were the ones that shrugged off the winter blues and joined us at Rainham Marshes for the session on 'Bonkers for Birds'.  They were indeed bonkers as were the leaders, because birds are amazing creatures and it is a palpable joy having the privilege of being a part of such events.  From Mute Swan collages to sinking elbow deep in Trex in our valient attempts in forming circular fat balls for bird feeders.  It was a messy business.

There were plenty of birds out on the reserve too which we were happy to point out.  Golden Plover and Dunlin were numerous on the Purfleet Scrape where two drake Pintail sat with the Wigeon.  A Marsh Harrier was seen distantly quartering the area around Wennington, two Common Snipe flew past the hide at Purfleet Scrape, and Gadwall and Shoveler were present.

There were Lapwing in good numbers, a Skylark flew over the seawall as did a Reed Bunting and two Meadow Pipit.  A male Blackcap was seen in bushes from the visitor centre and a smart male Greenfinch sat by the feeders.  But I was working and not really birding.

There was interest further afield.  Gunners Park in Shoeburyness which was accessible by train I discovered.  Spontaneity created by train connections.  Even better though was the offer of a lift.

It was cold, brass monkies cold, and it was raining, sleeting, snowing, and anything else that the elements could throw at us.  There were also two SERIN in the area.  Absent on arrival, but present five minutes later having flown in before the weather got the better of us - horizontal sleet turned into a flurry of snow, albeit for a couple of minutes.  A bright male and a fem/1st winter bird, their luminous yellow rumps flashed through the gloom as they settled within the bushes.  Seemed incongruous considering the conditions, a welcome tick though as Serin can be notoriously difficult to pin down.

A great birding day - for so many reasons.

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