Welcome to my birdwatching blog. This blog will contain stories about my bird watching trips, interesting bird news and other tales that may or may not be bird related. I want to make it useful to the avid birder as well as those who may only have a passing interest in bird watching. I enjoy photographing bird life, common and rare through a spotting scope, not that they always sit still long enough for me. Being on the outskirts of North East London, my reports will not only cover my local patch of Redbridge/Waltham Forest, but also dip into deepest Essex, Suffolk, Kent and Norfolk.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Fog and Iceland Gull at Rainham

Remarkably, the only place I haven’t been to is the pub.
Saturday’s weather had been glorious and now it was Sunday morning and BST and I was greeted by thick fog. As you can imagine, fog isn’t that clever when you want to watch birds. But I knew the veil of pea soup would lift and burn away as the morning sun warmed the air. In the meantime, I thought it would be better to walk along the river path towards the Concrete Barges – something I hadn’t done for a few years.

Concrete Barges
There wasn’t much to see on the 2.5 mile walk to the Barges. Aveley Bay was dotted with Shelduck, Redshank and Black-headed Gulls. On the river, Teal and a few Cormorants could be seen. On the path itself, a couple of Linnets and some singing Dunnocks and Skylarks kept me company.

Iceland Gull
Now I don’t know if you know this but in the past 3-4 months, there has been a higher than usual influx of white-winged gulls. Usually it’s the very large Glaucous Gull that is seen most regularly but at the moment, the numbers of the smaller, more elegant Iceland Gull have exceeded them.

A couple of these Iceland Gulls had been seen at Rainham RSPB reserve and Rainham landfill site. My little walk to the Concrete barges wasn’t just for the exercise.Although there is no public access onto the landfill site (why would there be?) you can view small mounds of rubbish from the footpath by the Barges. Luckily this patch of trash is also favoured by gulls who absolutely love our rubbish.

When I arrived, there were already two other birders there watching an Iceland Gull. It was like shooting fish in a barrel not that I have ever tried that or indeed am likely to. Mind you, there were old barrels on the tip and the smell from it did possibly resemble dead fish so maybe someone else had.

Iceland Gull
Don’t you dare fly off!

Having got my fill (get it?) I turned heel and set off back towards the RSPB reserves a couple of miles away. By now the sky was beginning to show small pools of blue and the temperature was going up. There was a large number of Common Redshank on the foreshore as well as a few Oystercatchers and Curlew.
Common Redshank
The RSPB reserve was now bathed in sunshine. Chiffchaffs were singing in the woods and there were two Little Ringed Plovers on the Flash, the first proper summer migrants I had seen this year.
Little Ringed Plover
All the other usual species were about. Shoveler, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Lapwings and Snipe all frequented the pools while Reed Buntings were everywhere almost getting under my feet a few times.
Common Snipe

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