Saturday, April 9, 2016

Rainham Marshes - Razorbill

It was another slow start to my visit, walking along the river wall where 13 Common Tern were seen feeding out towards the shores of Crayford, the only real sighting of note as I headed to the reserve centre.

A Willow Warbler sang from scrub close to the visitor centre as a shower passed through where a Common Buzzard soared high over.  There was no sign of the Serin seen earlier in the day.  A Kingfisher dashed past en route to another feeding sortie, five Sand Martin flew over Purfleet, and a lone Swallow headed north over the Woodland.

Two Curlew flew onto the Purfleet Scrape, and there were still small numbers of Wigeon and Pintail out on the marshes.  Another two Common Buzzard soared distantly out towards Wennington as did a Marsh Harrier.

The Barn Owl was present in it's box and a Short-eared Owl was active mid-afternoon that would have afforded great views from the otherside of the reserve.

Moving onto the Aveley Pools, scanning through produced nothing more than the usual scattering of wildfowl.  Scanning a second time, a RAZORBILL came into view, flapped it's wings a few times before settling on the water.  Of course this felt extremely surreal, but I immediately raced up to the second viewpoint for a closer view where there was no sign at all of the bird.

Incredibly, a few moments later, it walked in from the right, straight past the platform and then settled down before Howard and other staff members arrived to see this unfortunate vagrant.  It was of course an extremely scarce London bird.

My initial thoughts was that having been way off-course, the bird must have been exhausted after it's wayward journey this far inland.  It was later suggested that it could have hit overhead power lines as the bird began to re-animate as the evening progressed.  This was very good news and I hope the bird does survive to continue it's journey to far more suitable surroundings.

No skill involved, just luck, but a great way to bring up my 200th London species.

Walking back to the car park, a Water Pipit flew over calling and disappeared behind the shoreline, and my first Corn Bunting in London for a very long time was singing on the fenceline by Ferry Lane.

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