Thursday, 14 October 2010

Creatures great and small

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 ...
Other fare along the river in the last couple of days included two Rock Pipits (presumably Scandinavian littoralis birds), six Swallows still, increasing numbers of Eurasian Wigeon and Common Teal, several Common Snipe, single Eurasian Curlew and Green Sandpiper, 30+ Redshanks and a scattering of Yellow-legged Gulls (with seven more of these on the tip today). The biggest surprise, however, was on the feeders outside the reserve centre - a smart Tree Sparrow found by Phil, and my first at the site since 2006.

... 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.

1 comment:

  1. The little seal, what a precious creature, what a wonderful image, must have been a delight to behold this viewing and special moment in time~



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