Thursday, 8 June 2017

May 2017: A few good terns

Definitely a month of small gulls and smaller terns.

138 species in the London Recording Area for the month and as with April a few I could have got if I'd the inclination.  It will be interesting to see if I can get anywhere near 100 for June–if only to me!

The month started well with my first Little Stint for London and Rainham.  A few days later Marco's hunch of some tern action on the KGV paid dividends with the best views I think we've both had of a marsh tern.  The Kittiwake, soon to be a very moribund Kittiwake, was still looking unhappy on the reservoir's apron.  Another Marco hunch bagged us both a London tick of Little Tern mid river at Rainham, just as we set up and the product of a set of consequences which added up to a huge slice of luck.

Great info from Howard V got us (with Marco again) Turtle Dove on a chilly day–more Theresa May than late spring.  Took us well over an hour wandering around the site, before one popped up after chasing a rival across the trees.

The 9th brought a bird that couldn't have been on too many people's radar for London.  First put out as a Franklin's Gull, then subsequently an either or bird with Laughing Gull as the other option.  To me it looked like the latter, to which more knowledgeable folk than I concurred with. A quick scamper back to get my optics and back to Rainham more in hope than expectation.  No sign of the bird when I arrived, but as I sauntered out on to the reserve Hawky twittered he'd got it again mid river from the top of the tip.  Picking Howard from the centre we rushed up the river wall scanning the gulls as we went. Apparently Hawky and Dave S had lost the bird as they scampered down the path from the tip, but with Andy T now checking the river I chose the Serin Mound to check the target pools. Not a lot there so after a while I went up the tack to check the working tip edge where a host of gulls were loitering.  Scoping the gulls I noticed one that was either an Iceland or a leucistic Herring Gull, but lost it soon after, I scanned the closer birds and there amongst them was a diminutive gull with a very dark mantle–very much our bird.  I called H who could see exactly where I was  and tweeted out to Andy down by the river, unfortunately the birds were flushed by an approaching car before the guys could get there and sadly the bird was not seen again.

Fast forward another couple of days and I am chasing a first summer Bonaparte's, around east London on both sides of the river, which is giving me the right arse.  Thanks to the bloody minded persistence of James Heal, we managed to catch up with it off Cross Ness.

Another day another tern.  Trolling round the patch I get news of a White-winged Black Tern. Fantastic. At Staines.  Not so fantastic. It wont be there long.  Then there were 3.  I stumble slowly towards the station.  They are still there, so there's nothing left for me to do but to go.  Urged on by my colleagues on Twitter I take the plunge bolstered by a few cans of strong cider.

Glad I went, so a large thanks to those who pushed me.

Rainham 1st May

Rainham/Wanstead 2nd May

Rainham 3rd May

KGV Reservoir/Epping Forest 4th May

Rainham 5th May

South Weald, 8th May

Rainham 9th May

A really poor record shot of what most are saying was a Laughing Gull, the 3rd record for London

Rainham 10th May

The reserve's good run continues with my first Black-winged Stilt for London,, having missed the last birds here due to having to work–proof if any were needed that work is indeed bad for you!

Rainham 11th May

Rainham at 4:00 for a dawn chorus walk (could have waited till a reasonable hour for all the bird song we heard)/Barking Creek Mouth/Wanstead/Barking Creek Mouth/Crossness.

The day of the run around gull.  Great find by Hawky.

Rainham (again) 15th May

 Staines Reservoir 22nd May

Rainham 23rd May

Somewhere in Surrey 30th May

Spent a hideous night dipping Nightjar only to find out they were seen here two days later, so I will have to go back.  On the plus side a very vocal Woodlark kicked off the dawn chorus.

Ooh a Belted Galloway!