Monday, 22 November 2010

Where there's muck ...

... there's brass: second-winter Iceland Gull (upper bird) at Rainham tip.
Note also the adult argentatus Herring Gull, one of many present.

Saturday's vigil on the Thames didn't materialise in the intended way, with over-pessimistic weather forecasters emphasising conditions that simply didn't happen. But who would have thought that a London river watch would have been rewarded with Marsh Harriers - not one, but two? I picked up an adult or near-adult male very distantly over Crayford Marshes on the south side, but it later flew across the river to join a second bird (perhaps a second-calendar-year male) in terrorising the wildfowl on Aveley Pools. There was plenty else to enjoy as well, with a female Sparrowhawk also hunting over the reserve and foreshore counts of 400 Northern Lapwing, 800 Dunlin, 60 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Eurasian Curlew, 30 Redshank and 8 Yellow-legged Gulls

Doing the double: Saturday's two Marsh Harriers at Rainham.

By mid-morning, with still no action on the river, I decided to break cover and head for the tip rather than repeat yesterday's reserve loop. It proved to be a good move, as within 30 minutes of arriving I picked out at least eight more Yellow-legged Gulls, an apparent third-winter Caspian and, best of all, a second-winter Iceland - the first in London this winter and, from memory, the first back in the south of England. It bodes well for our special gull day at Rainham with Martin Garner on 4th December.

London year-list update:
204. Iceland Gull.

Rainham patchlist 2010:
156. Iceland Gull.

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