|Common Seal at Rainham: a rare species in the capital.|
Seeing marine mammals of any description in London is a rare event, so I was delighted to come across this Common Seal hauled out on the mud in Aveley Bay, Rainham, today. It is presumably the same animal I saw at some range recently on the tideline on the Kent side of the river, but this was by far the best view. Any seal is notable on the inner Thames, but Grey is more likely than Common.
The river has a magnetic appeal for creatures of all kinds. At the other end of the size scale, yesterday's oddity was a female Common Redstart which, bizarrely, chose to ignore copious amounts of hawthorn scrub to feed almost on the tideline. It was actually a site tick for me (number 187 for my Rainham life list).
|Eurasian Curlews are back on the river for the winter ...|
|... as are Common Teal. This drake is moulting out of eclipse plumage.|
|Yellow-legged Gull (note this adult is still growing new outer primaries).|
|Tree Sparrow through the reserve centre window - another local rarity.|
Rainham patch-list 2010 update:
152. Common Redstart.
153. Tree Sparrow.