Sunday 25 August 2013

Its not all Doom & Gloom

With yesterdays persistent rain and work commitments I couldn't wait to get to the patch early this morning. This proved to be one of the best mornings birding for my patch.  Weather was foul, dull, low cloud and drizzle.

After scanning the river as the tide was dropping, a summer plumaged Grey Plover was searching for an area to feed as were two Ringed plover.  In the gloom I could see a number of terns feeding mid river, I then check the scrub where I pick up my first Garden Warbler in middle ditch feeding on blackberries, Tree Pipit calling over, single male Blackcap and lesser whitethroat.  With not much else happening I head back to the river.

The large group of terns mid river consisted of about 60 Commons, 20 Arctics and 2 Blacks.

At Rainham Andy Tweed put news out of an Arctic Skua, fifteen minutes after his sighting it passes me sending every gull and tern into panic mode, great start and a site tick for me.

dark-phase Arctic Skua

Five minutes later a group of waders wheel around and can make out four Turnstone and seven other waders which showed white rumps!!  Curlew sands were my initial thought but they landed further down the bay and even with the scope I couldn't make out any detail, so off I dashed of to get a closer look.

Curlew sands & Turnstone

Result - seven juv CURLEW SANDS (site tick no2) were feeding close to the shoreline, turnstones departed, I managed a couple of ropey phone-scope pics before a great black back spooks them and they fly high west.

dodgy phone-scoped pic (6 of the 7)

Andy then calls picking up a Sabs gull at rainham then whilst on the phone several more mid river.  I played it cool and instead of twitching the rainham bird I sat it out at Barking and pulled out a SABINES GULL mid river amongst the tern Melly, an adult bird but lacking much hood.

I grabbed the camera from the bag and typically couldn't re find the bird, by this time a further 10 Black Terns are now feeding, and another new wader in the bay comprising of a single Knot.

So a great morning on the patch and definitely worth getting soaked for..........


  1. Cracking stuff Paul and you deserve it :-)

  2. Have to agree, that's a great haul for the patch Paul!