Friday, 20 November 2009

Big day at Rainham

Rain, wind and gloom proved not to be as ominous as they seemed. The weather was uninviting at 5.30 am this morning and stayed poor until early afternoon, but I decided to stick to my plan to spend the whole day at Rainham.

I started birding in the half light along Ferry Lane at 6.50 am, and finished at 4.40 pm in the same area. In between times, I birded the stone barges, the tip borders, Wennington and the viewing mound, Aveley Bay, the saltings and the RSPB reserve. I'm knackered, but it was well worth it.

I bumped into Les Harrison near the viewing mound in the morning, and the highlight was when we picked up the Serin in a small elder just west of there at 9.15 am - a patch tick for the year. Otherwise, with much more water on the reserve this week and a bumper personal day list of 73 species, there was plenty else of interest:

* Pintail - 12 on Aveley Pools
* Marsh Harrier - ad male hunting intermittently over the Target Pools in the afternoon
* Peregrine - ad female over the same area and on pylons
* Water Rail - one seen and two more heard along the Aveley Pools boardwalk
* Golden Plover - 186 counted with 1,200+ Lapwings on the new scrape diggings next to Aveley Pools
* Curlew - two in Aveley Bay
* Black-tailed Godwit - 166 at high tide on the stone barges
* Green Sandpiper - one at the back of Purfleet Scrape
* Yellow-legged Gull - three ads (including one with a red colour ring on the left leg and a metal ring on the right), a fourth-winter, a third-winter and a first-winter along the Aveley foreshore
* Ring-necked Parakeet - total of c 10 flying back towards the Kent side of the Thames late afternoon
* Barn Owl - one at dusk
* Short-eared Owl - two at dusk
* Water Pipit - three on the saltings in Aveley Bay
* Rock Pipit - one in the same area
* Cetti's Warbler - five singing males on the reserve and another near the silt lagoons
* Chiffchaff - one in the Aveley Pools reedbed
* Starling - 1,500+ emerged from their reedbed roost along Coldharbour Lane at first light and headed straight for the tip
* Serin - a female type just west of the viewing mound at 9.15 am, and then I found the same or another 50 m inside the seawall near the Aveley Bay car park at 10.15 am

Good birding all,

Dominic Mitchell


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