Sunday, 6 May 2012

Stunning site tick

One of the two Black-necked Grebes at Rainham on Friday 4 May. They didn't linger over the weekend.
Although Friday's trip to Rainham Marshes came to a premature end following the appearance of Dotterel elsewhere in the London Area (see previous post), it was shaping up to be an excellent day on the reserve. Aside from a wealth of waders which included 36 Bar-tailed Godwits, six Eurasian Whimbrel, Common Redshank, Greenshank, Oystercatcher, four Common Sandpipers, a Red Knot, two each of Dunlin and Sanderling, Northern Lapwing and 18 Ringed and four Grey Plovers, I had a rare site tick in the form of Black-necked Grebe - and not just one, but two stunning summer-plumaged birds. I can only recall two previous Rainham records, so this duo on Aveley Pools were apparently unprecedented. The species is a mainly scarce passage migrant and winter visitor in London and a rare breeder; high-magnification scope views across a windy reservoir tend to be the norm, but not so on this occasion.

The species is a passage migrant and winter visitor to London, with rare breeding records mainly from one site.
Unmistakable in breeding plumage, the American name of Eared Grebe seems inappropriate at other times of year.

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