Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Early autumn migration on The Thames

I awoke to a nice bit of drizzle early this morning. I'd checked Rotherhithe yesterday, with the only real bird of note being a smart juvenile Yellow-legged Gull. Nothing to write home about when a few miles further east there'd been Razorbill and Guillemot amongst other goodies. So I decided to head out to Cross Ness, arriving just shy of 8am.

The drizzle had slightly abated, but almost as soon as I'd got out of my car and onto The Thames Path by Thamesmead golf centre, I heard the squawking of Sandwich Terns - 4 of them, all heading upriver and past the outfall. Nice start! 10 minutes later a group of 5 juveniles Black Terns came through too, in amongst a rain shower as you'd expect with this species. Then, to my surprise, a short while later a Goldeneye flew in and landed in amongst a small group of Teal; knowing that this wasn't exactly usual for the site I texted John Archer, and he was able to alert Ian Millar and Steve Carter who arrived and got some decent views before the bird flew off west in the direction of Barking Bay.
juvenile Black Tern - nice blodge on the foreflanks

Dark leading edge to the upperwing and obvious dark secondaries on underwing

concolourous rump and tail

quite advanced moult of mantle feathers
A showy juvenile Black Tern - easily the most confiding one I've ever seen at Cross Ness - gave me something to photograph despite the gloomy light. There was also a lone Little Egret, a couple of Common Sandpipers and during the course of the morning, I saw 5 Yellow-legged Gulls (3 adults and 2 juveniles). A quick walk to the paddocks produced a fresh juvenile Wheatear and 100s of Goldfinch. A nice morning's work!
Goldeneye - heading off towards Barking Bay

Cross Ness Seal - increasingly regular in The Thames

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