News of a Spoonbill popping up at Rainham came just too late for me today, then I thought sod it! I'll give it ago. It was, after all, a Spoonbill that had been the catalyst for all this serious birding nonsense, and on my first outing to Rainham some years back.
The last report from Hawky was not promising. Last seen disappearing into a blizzard towards the shooting butts hide, and no one was daring to go and find it. As I approached the centre I too was engulfed in a blizzard. Hmmm, not looking good. At the centre it brightened up, and the Spoony was asleep on Aveley Flash about a couple of hundred metres from it's observers tucked up in the warmth. Nothing for it I ventured out to get some shakey shots of the slumbering spooner. Then I quickly retired only to be told it had woken up. So out I went again for some more shaking. Job done and I am off to work. A quick chat with the guys on the balcony who procure a Little Gull hawking over the far side of the river, sweet!. The London List staggers on.
A couple of weeks back the Prof. had sent me the account of Steve Connor's record breaking year. From that I gather I am currently 23 birds off the pace. He, like me, had decided that 150 was the target to hit before the spring migrants hove into view. At least he got close to his target.
It's interesting to see how things have changed over the last 10 years. Communication certainly has improved, when Jono and Dom did their attempt a few year's back both had great back-up. At this point I should say thanks to Hawky for he heads-up today. I'll come back to the changes that have taken place in the London avian scene in more detail, when I get more fully into it or when I have failed miserably at the end of the year.
Here's my shopping list of birds I should get and a selection from the a la carte menu of ones I would be very happy to see anywhere in London, but hopefully on the home patch!
Great Northern Diver
Little Ringed Plover
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
49 there, most of which will be seen on the patch. I've included Wryneck on the basis that there's been a twitchable one in London for the last 3 years, 2 very much on the patch. I've got locations for the others so while not a cake walk, a walk in one park or other.
Great White Egret
White-winged Black Tern
Great Reed Warbler
Bold denotes birds that would happily fit nicely on my all time London list, thank you very much.
84 there, not all them have been seen in London for a good few years and the likelihood of some being seen again anytime soon is not high, but with more birders out there who knows. That just leaves the "left field", birds not even on anyones radar, at the moment.
Finally the list of birds I've missed: Ferruginous Duck, and Scaup. Both could return, but both act as a little reminder not to be too bloody lazy. I'll make no bones about it, I don't envisage beating Mr Connor's total, but as long as I enjoy it I don't much care about that, but I may just change my tune by the end of the year...