|Juvenile Baillon's Crake at Rainham Marshes RSPB today. Wandering vagrant or British bird, born and bred?|
Well, in the end the honours fell to a former rather than current Birdwatch team member. Marianne Taylor was at Rainham last Friday afternoon (7th) when she located Porzana pusilla; her account of discovering London's bird of the year will be in the next issue of her old magazine. Only a handful of regulars saw it before dark, and then news was released widely that evening. Large numbers of birders were expected at dawn, so as a Volunteer Bird Recorder at the reserve I was on site by 05:30 and took up position in the Butts Hide with the first early-rising visitors and fellow VBR Ruth Barnes.
|Dawn mists rising at Rainham Marshes, with east London's industrial skyline behind.|
|The Tower Butts Hide at Rainham has been almost permanently occupied during opening hours since Saturday morning, with visitors from far and wide attempting to see the bird.|
|A record shot of the bird on the move as it breaks cover and heads into the water ...|
|... and then swims in the open for a short distance before sheltering once more among the rushes.|
|Watching the watchers from across the reserve.|