Managed to grab the last hour of light at the stone barges this afternoon, having put in a few hours recently hoping for my first white-winger of the year.
With Jack in tow we headed in the drizzle east past the stone barges, and amongst the loafing gulls on the river I caught sight of a good candidate within the melee. Having to prize my bins off the little fella who was looking for non-existing aeroplanes in the gloom, the bird played ball and past by not too distantly allowing me to grab a few record shots.
comments welcome on age if disagree.
The bird was seen again just before dusk on the gantry, by the stone barges before flying east down river.
Last Weekend was pretty disappointing despite several hours in the field, on both Saturday & Sunday and only adding Green Woodpecker to my personal and team year list.
Today saw my low tide survey along East Tilbury which again was pretty sterile. A brief excitement of a white winger behind a ship up river was short lived after identifying it as the local albino GBB thats been doing the rounds locally!
50 Corn Buntings and the regular showy Stonechats were the only other noteworthy.
A quick pop into Rainham with Mo to pick up some seed reveals, at least 3 Blackcaps feeding on apples put out around the carpark, both Ravens flew low east over the carpark whilst we watched these.
one of todays blackcaps some pics from last weekend:
brown rat enjoying the free offerings
1st yr male stonechat from this morning at east tilbury.
Popped into the stone barges yesterday afternoon hoping for some gull action, couldn't find anything unusual amongst the regulars, but did get good views of both Ravens as they harassed the gulls coming off the tip towards the river thames.
The birds were about 100yds east of the stone barges carpark if your interested in seeing these.
Raven with Carrion crow
Raven & carrion crow with common gull in foreground
A single ruff a further 300yds east was the only other bird of note,
Had a high tide survey today and was expecting the river to be full of wildfowl, as temperatures overnight fell well below zero - freezing most of the water bodies.
The only noticeable increase though was of Teal, with many feeding close to the margins. Usual wader numbers were seen and not a single grebe or diver came up river!
Passerine wise, a single Yellowhammer over east and the usual 30 strong flock of Corn Bunting on the saltings of note. At least three pairs of Stonechat added with a particular showy pair halfway along the seawall, allowing very close views - often too close for the camera to focus on.
Spent the last couple of hours of light at the west end of Rainham on Saturday, which produced two patch year ticks in the shape of a Common Buzzard roosting on a hawthorn on the silts, and a Green Sandpiper flew onto Wennington marsh.
Today was the first Kent survey of the New year for me and Mo. Arriving just before light we stumbled upon no fewer than 5 Little Owls and two distant Tawny's calling.
On my transit one of the first birds I stumble across is an Iceland Gull on the new created flash, just west of egypt bay. No sooner had I set my scope up - the bird took off and departed over the seawall never to be seen again!! The bird seemed to be a 3rd winter type and could have possibly been the bird seen around Rainham landfill in the week by Dom.
Onwards it was nice to see Brents and several hundred curlew using the new habitat to roost, though the local Peregrine was always keeping the birds on their toes.
Several Marsh Harriers, Buzzards and a single Merlin were the other raptor highlights and the Skylark flock still peaking at around 200 birds.
The highlight of the morning was watching a very smart Kingfisher, which fished the small ditch along the site access track, giving great views for us both.
Late evening twitch to Rainham to score 3 adult White fronts which were found on wennington brings my score along nicely to 83, with thanks to H for getting news out.
Patch Update: Managed a couple of hours on both Saturday & Sunday, adding Little Egret (unusually low numbers on site) and a cracking Water Pipit on the target pools viewed from the butts hide, both Ravens showed well on purfleet scrape (sat).
Jack Snipe on the foreshore this morning but little else in breezy conditions, though good numbers of Dunlin on the reserve despite it being low tide.
Personal Year List stands at 80, with our group list of 87 i think.
Team Members - aka The Raptors