Friday, 6 August 2010

Back on the patch

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull on Aveley Pools: drab but smart!
Roy Beddard collected me at 7 am for another visit to Rainham - a refreshing change to be chaffeur-driven instead of making the two-bus, four-train, 12-km walk trip to my not-so-local patch (definitely looking forward to being able to drive again if all goes well at hospital next week).

The site is looking good for waders at present and we timed our arrival for the rising tide. However, the promised showers did not materialise and in these fair conditions shorebird passage on the inner Thames continues to be light. For my fifth successive visit the wader total was 13 species, of which a fly-over Eurasian Curlew was the biggest plus - the first I've seen here since June. What sounded like a calling Wood Sandpiper would have been even better but we couldn't track it down. Other notable stats for today's visit were five raptor spp and seven gull spp, as well as at least one, probably two, Garden Warblers - a patch year-tick.

Highlights in full: male Eurasian Wigeon (the oversummering individual), Great Crested Grebe (on the river), 15+ Little Egrets, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Peregrine, juv Avocet, juv Little Ringed Plover, 50+ Northern Lapwing, Eurasian Curlew, 5 Whimbrel, 2 Ruff, 6 Dunlin, 3 Green Sandpipers, 9 Common Sandpipers, Greenshank, 2/3 Redshank, 10 Oystercatcher, Common Snipe, juv Mediterranean Gull, 10+ Yellow-legged Gulls, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat.

Also seen was this juvenile rodent - it was tiny in life and looked like a shrew at first, but a closer look shows it to be a vole, presumably Short-tailed Field Vole. Makes a change to see one not in the talons of a Kestrel.
This juvenile vole is presumably a Short-tailed Field Vole, a rare sight in the open.

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