Sunday, 27 June 2010

Down by the river

Adult Yellow-legged Gull back on the Thames at Grays today.

With a morning to spare before England's crucial World Cup game against Germany, I headed down to the Thames at Grays, on the easternmost edge of the London recording area. The tide was down and a party of Sandwich Terns had been seen the day before a few miles upstream, but the best I could find on a hot and still morning was two Yellow-legged Gulls, including my first returning adult locally ('autumn' starts early for this southern breeder).

Onwards to Rainham and, for the second time in a week, I had a Marsh Harrier from the roadside. This time the views were longer, enabling better record shots.


The Rainham area has done well for Marsh Harriers this year.

Finally, I called in at Dagenham Dock to check the Crossness outfall across the river. This must be the birdiest place on the Thames at the moment, with hundreds of gulls around the outfall, 60+ Common Terns on their nesting jetty, 200+ Common Shelduck with one Ruddy Shelduck in tow (the long-remaining bird), and six Oystercatchers, including a half-grown chick.

Common and Ruddy Shelducks at Barking Bay today.

Not a bad haul for a few hours, and far more enjoyable a spectacle than England's abject performance against Germany proved to be.

MYSTERY BIRD ANSWER
The mystery finch in my last post was a Linnet, as correctly identified by David Callahan and Roger Taylor. Don't ask me how it got that dark face!

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