Saturday, April 16, 2016

Rainham Marshes

It was cold today, a fresh northerly wind tempered the flow of migrants that saw many common and slightly more uncommon birds hit London during the working week.  Of course this was Saturday, and it couldn't last but there was plenty out there if you put the effort in.

Six Common Whitethroat were scattered widely around the reserve, the first two seen in the cold of the morning by the Stone Barges where two Oystercatcher rested.  A Common Sandpiper was flushed from the shore.


It was a slow start until a 1st summer Little Gull complete with it's rosy underparts flew upriver and was seen pretty much all day.  There were at least 80 Common Tern grouped together by the sailing club, with at least one Arctic Tern there, a difficult task to clinch at distance.


Then the Grasshopper Warbler showed, reeling intermittently, but ignoring the unfavourable conditions by clambering to the top of the brambles not far from the visitor centre.

A Whimbrel was seen flying erratically out across the river.  Three Avocet flew out towards Aveley Bay where they would remain for the rest of the day.

A Marsh Harrier circled high, the only large raptor to be seen all day.  The Short-eared Owl was particularly active, seen for much of the day towards the west end of the reserve and then over the landfill.  A truly spectacular bird.

The Barn Owl was in it's usual nest box.  A Greenshank was present at the back of Aveley Pools.

Despite the weather, Warblers were notably conspicuous with two singing Willow Warbler, eight Sedge Warbler, one Reed Warbler, a bounty of Cetti's Warbler, half a dozen Blackcap, and a chattering Lesser Whitethroat in the Woodland.

A Northern Wheatear was seen early up on the old landfill, but then four more dropped onto the 'Ouzel' field with another three seen later towards the Coldharbour Lane car park.

Four House Martin were present around the Shooting Butts hide, where around 25 Swallow were seen during the course of the day and a single Sand Martin.



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