|Adult Cattle Egret (below) with two Little Egrets at Aveley Pools.|
With the pressure off for a couple of days, I took some time out on the patch this morning. While I’d be the first to admit that the Rainham foreshore is not a straight swap for the Italian Riviera, on days like today it has its plus points. I decided on a dawn raid to try and see the Cattle Egret which had taken up temporary residence while I was out of town. Duly nabbed soon after dawn in wet and murky conditions at Aveley Pools, I also managed to dig out a Garganey – a decent start to proceedings.
|At last: a Garganey (right) sails into view at Rainham.|
|Find of the day was this hooligan - a fine moulting adult Great Skua.|
|An extraordinary 19 Sandwich Terns were on the move on the river.|
I sped round to the visitor centre to join the others for a London-style ‘seawatch’, during which brief interlude Dave Smith did well with three Little Terns heading upriver. From the balcony, Common Terns were still moving west at a steady pace, and in total over the next few hours the list included eight gull species, five terns (including Dave’s Littles) and one special skua. Jono Lethbridge was with me from mid-morning until 4 pm, and at various times so were Dave Smith, Ruth Barnes, David Campbell, Phil, Pat, Mike Dent, Joan Thompson and several others, with Andy Tweed watching from further west at Aveley Bay.
Highlights as follows:
- Great Skua: moulting adult from 08:55-09:33.
- Kittiwake: juvenile west at 12:03.
- Little Gull: juveniles west at 13:38 and 15:35.
- Yellow-legged Gull: several individuals along the river.
- Common Tern: 300+ west from c 09:00-16:00, very few east.
- Arctic Tern: total of nine (including high-flying flock of seven) west, none east.
- Sandwich Tern: total of 19, including three groups of four, mainly west, but at least two east.
- Black Tern: four west with Common Terns at 11:00.
- Common Scoter: drake on the river from c 08:50-09:40 at least.
|A Spotted Flycatcher foraging at ground level at Rainham today.|
Rainham patch-list update (my previous all-time annual site record is – was – 142 species):
142. Cattle Egret.
144. Little Gull.
145. Spotted Flycatcher.
London year-list update: