Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Happy Monday

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!

Mandarin Duck
Red-crested Pochard
Ruddy Duck
Great Northern Diver
Red Kite
Little Ringed Plover
Bar-tailed Godwit
Spotted Redshank
Wood Sandpiper
Little Gull
Caspian Gull
Black Tern
Common Tern
Turtle Dove
Long-eared Owl
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Sand Martin
House Martin
Tree Pipit
Yellow Wagtail
Ring Ouzel
Grasshopper Warbler
Sedge Warbler
Reed Warbler
Garden Warbler
Lesser Whitethroat
Willow Warbler
Spotted Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher
Marsh Tit
Tree Sparrow
Common Crossbill

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.

Bewick’s Swan
Whooper Swan
Bean Goose
Pink-footed Goose
White-fronted Goose
Barnacle Goose
Common Scoter
Velvet Scoter

Red-breasted Merganser
Grey Partridge
Red-throated Diver
Black-throated Diver

Red-necked Grebe
Manx Shearwater

Little Bittern
Cattle Egret
Great White Egret
White Stork

Glossy Ibis
Black Kite
Montagu’s Harrier
Red-footed Falcon

Spotted Crake
Baillon’s Crake
Black-winged Stilt

Little Stint
Temminck’s Stint
Pectoral Sandpiper

Curlew Sandpiper
Grey Phalarope
Pomarine Skua
Arctic Skua
Long-tailed Skua

Great Skua
Sabine’s Gull
Bonaparte’s Gull
Iceland Gull
Glaucous Gull
Little Tern
White-winged Black Tern
Sandwich Tern
Roseate Tern

Arctic Tern

Alpine Swift
Red-rumped Swallow
Richard’s Pipit

Savi’s Warbler

Marsh Warbler
Great Reed Warbler
Icterine Warbler

Melodious Warbler
Barred Warbler
Dartford Warbler
Yellow-browed Warbler
Penduline Tit
Red-backed Shrike
Woodchat Shrike

Mealy Redpoll
Lapland Bunting
Snow Bunting
Ortolan Bunting

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...

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