Sunday, 3 February 2013

Dartford Slav Grebe was a mechanical hoax, shock!

I am sitting here typing this and it's still light, something must have gone wrong, I don't usually creep home until well after dark. I am now warming up, and here lies the answer.  I got a bit cold. Colder than when it was snowy and icy last week, down to the bones cold.  Twice in 2 days and and although I should have prepared for that, I got pissed off with it.

With the Slav Grebe's reappearance yesterday, and plans I had needed to adapt.  I've seen many slavs, but this one apparently shows down to the side of your feet, and I like those kind of odds.  However it did impress on me the stupidity of this London listing thing.  Charging across the river for a bird I've seen a fair number of and that I might easily see in Walthamstan, although distantly. Very distantly.  Since I came back for Rainham with nothing to show but a few Rainham ticks - a Ring-necked Parakeet ffs - today I needed to be more pro-active.  The plan was to tick and run the grebe and then belt up the Lee Valley and end at Amwell for a certain large ugly gull, Caspian be thy name. On the other hand I thought to explore a bit of the Dartford Marshes, as I would not probably go there otherwise. Or I got lost coming out of the station.

The marshes here remind me of the Shorne Marshes further east rather than Rainham, and I quite like Shorne.  Since I had gone out of my way I fancied having a look at the barrier and creek that always looks so more interesting than things on the northern side.  The lie of the land didn't help that and I come away none the wiser and have a niggling feeling that you actually get better views of it from Rainham. Not a lot of bird action on the way up to the river wall (they have two on this side), at least I have found the source of the constant gun fire, which I assumed naively was some local gang war: it's a clay pigeon shoot, rather large and rather popular with drivers of 4x4s.

Tiring of not seeing anything I decided enough was enough and found my way to the lakes at Littlebrook.  No one else was there apart from dog walkers, who have guessed, so I wandered around find only the wrong type of grebe.  On my way back to the first lake the Slav showed as it moved away from the bus stop where it was obviously checking times for buses out of here.  It appeared slightly embarrassed not knowing what to do, so I sat and waited for it come and check out my boot straps.

seen checking the bus timetable 

As I waited Dave Darrell-Lambert appeared behind me and while we chatted the bird disappeared to the left of us. We picked it up again, which meant I had to get up from my prone position, in an even smaller bit of water, and yes it got pretty close.  The damage had been done though, and here is the photographic evidence: seen to wobble in the wake of overly large Coot the grebe gives its secret away - a propeller!

Mr DDL kindly offered me a lift north of the river and while we are at it a quick drop in for the Avocets on Grays river front, courtesy of Mr. Parus. Yay tick #, eeeuggh!

Oh go on then have another pic of the rather smart duck...

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