Saturday, 5 January 2013

A Rainham gloom fest

It's only 5 days in to the new year and I've already got the "can't be arseds".  The alarm clock went dutifully off at my request, and was quickly dealt with. Two hours later I got up. Perhaps it was the thought of Rainham that did it. I hate going there, but quite enjoy it when I do. I may well have to visit the place more often this year if I want to achieve this year's pointless task of 200 birds for London.  I can't possibly see that many on the patch, though my god that would be great. So I have high expectations of the RSPB, they need to deliver at least 30 of my 200.

Today got off to a fair but modest start.  In the company of Mr Tanner and Mr Davis (smart see, latching on to experience) the day was very enjoyable but all too brief.  Yeagh should have got there earlier. Didn't even bother with the gull problem at the dump as we started down the Purfleet end and then only after a cup of the black stuff.

While we supped a cloud of geese flew around Avelely flash including 3 white-uns.  I confidently called one as the Ross's that has been appearing frequently over the last week or so.  It may be as plastic as a tupperware box, but still it's a smart looking bird, without the ugly sneer of it's Snow Goose brethren (see my Scotland adventures of last year for a cracking photo of probably a legitimate one).

Coffee supped we wandered down the path to the woodland area, where we met a Chiffchaff. I miss them! Not much else on show so it was around to get our dabs on the Rs. Not a great variety on the (very) wetlands: a dozen or so Snipe, 1 Dunlin, over 100 Golden Plover, and many more times that in Lapwing, a small number of Pintail and the usual ducks I can see down the park - OK slightly more Wigeon.

I left the other two in the Shooting Butts hide and headed off to the river wall for the pipit and Corn Bunting that frequent there. Got a small flock of Ringed Plover in the bay, but nothing else.  Where were all the Redshank and other waders. Certainly not over on Kev Jarvis's side of the river where a constant barrage of gunshots and the whiny sound of lads on their scramblers would have put off any bird with a small amount of common sense.

Didn't get my pipits till I left the centre again after another warming brew. Just outside the centre a couple of Corn Buntings perched up helpfully and became 3 as they flew off.  A Water Pipit called amongst the Rockit and Mipit. I even thought I'd got some decent pics of them, but then found I was on quite the wrong setting, and had got blackness instead. Even on the right settings it was getting quite dark, so spurred on I went to dip owls, and Stock dove and Rook and Water Rail and lots of other things.

Tomorrow the Lee Valley with perhaps a sneaky look for the Long-tailed Duck on Upper Maynard while I am at it.  That's if the motivation can be found from somewhere.

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