Saturday, 4 February 2012

A bit of colour

I spent the day locally again, and in the bitter cold had a few bits and bobs along The Thames. The early morning highlight were 8 obliging Grey Plovers, the most I'd ever seen at Crossness.
Grey Plover on a grey day
There were a handful of Yellow-legged Gulls hanging around too, and given their individual distinctiveness, at least a 1st-winter and two 2nd-winters were some of the usual suspects. It was decent to see 20 or so Tufted Ducks over the river - evidence of a freeze up elsewhere - but John A and I were in the paddocks (where the highlight was a Stonechat!) when 3 Smew may have flown downriver, as they passed Rainham mid-morning. I also had one colour-ringed Herring Gull (probably a Suffolk bird) before I sacked it off as the tide was high and not much was moving.

A check of the local water bodies revealed a fair bit of ice, but there were 30 or so Pochard on Southmere, a 2nd-winter Yellow-legged Gull as well as a couple of larids with rings - one predictable NTGG bird and then a blue-ringed LBB Gull. It'll be interesting to find out where this bird came from as I've not had one of these before: -
Blue-ringed 2nd-winter LBBG
John A and I then headed to Crayford, and checked the area around Viridor recycling centre. There was at least one nice adult Mediterranean Gull and three ringed Herring Gulls (one NTGG bird and two from Sussex): -

Sussex-ringed Herring Gulls (white rings with black writing) are quite regular in the London area during the winter

Retarded 2cy Common Gull... an interesting bird
We headed back to Crossness, where we met up with Ian M, and saw a nice Bar-tailed Godwit in amongst a good count of 266 Blackwits on the foreshore. It appeared diminutive amongst the Blackwits, but didn't lack agression - perhaps it had a complex, just like many small men do?
A pretty unusual midwinter Barwit at Crossness

colour-ringed Blackwit - think it's from a Suffolk ringing project...
With not much else moving at Crossness, I spent the last hour or so at Rotherhithe in the hope of some cold weather something or other. Not to be, although the Tufted Duck flock has built up to a winter high with 134 counted (84 on Greenland Dock) as well as 2 drake Pochard; loads of gulls on the Thames and a couple of Egyptian Geese looking as stupid as ever on Canada Water.

Frustratingly, probably the best birds of the day eluded me - as I was heading to Crossness early on, I had a skein of grey geese (presumably Pinks) north over Woolwich. But by the time I'd stopped and grabbed my bins, they were too far off to be sure.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rich,

    the LBBG could well be a Belgian one, mail to eric(dot)stienen(at)inbo(dot)be