I hadn't planned a patch visit today, but a call at lunchtime from Jono Lethbridge (to whom thanks) saw me head rapidly down to the stone barges at Rainham, from where three Common Scoters were viewable distantly on the river in the direction of Crossness - patch tick number 93 for the year. I also had 118 Redshank and 24 Dunlin on the mud and as many as 110 Common Gulls on the jetty, while nearby at Aveley Bay were adult and third-winter Yellow-legged Gulls and a single Eurasian Curlew out on the mud.
Driving back near Chingford but running out of time, I calling in briefly at Mansfield Park - not for long enough to nail the Black-throated Diver distantly on William Girling Reservoir, but at least the Great Northern was on view, as were four Black-necked and 57 Great Crested Grebes, a single Common Goldeneye and both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers in the park itself.
STOP PRESS: Having reconciled this year's totals this evening, I realise I have inadvertently left European Stonechat (of which there have been regular sightings) from my Rainham patchlist. Today's Common Scoters are therefore species number 94 for the year.