Monday, 25 July 2016

Guiding: summer special - east London to north Kent

High tide on the North Kent Marshes - jumping with shorebirds and plenty more.
There aren't too many days in the field in Britain when a Bonaparte's Gull doesn't top the list of species seen. But today was one of them, because the list belongs to Mark Davis - a birder visiting from Florida. Unsurprisingly, Mark is already familiar with this small Nearctic larid, but not so with many of the other species we logged on our excellent day out in London and Kent, as part of his first trip to the UK.

Grey Heron with prey - through the viewfinder I took this to be probably a Grass Snake, but on closer inspection perhaps it is a European Eel?
Spotted Flycatcher isn't always easy in the breeding season in the South-East, but two obliging birds showed well.
It was a great pleasure to be able to guide Mark around some of my favourite birding areas, and by the time we headed home a healthy total somewhere approaching 80 species had been amassed. As well as that Bonaparte's Gull at Oare Marshes, highlights included six Mandarin Duck, several Eurasian Marsh Harriers, two Common Buzzards, large numbers of shorebirds including an early European Golden Plover, several Yellow-legged Gulls, a day-roosting Barn Owl and a very respectable range of passerines, including two Spotted Flycatchers and a Western Yellow Wagtail, The day ended on the North Kent Marshes, where Mark is pictured here with (just visible) some of the 700+ Black-tailed Godwits present - a life bird for him, unlike the Bonaparte's!

Mark Davis with (in the background) many hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits and other wetland species in Kent.

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