Monday, 30 April 2012

Bad weather decent birds

When those weather warnings came up on the news on Friday, warning about strong north-easterly winds and heavy rain, I just knew that I needed to be out and about. Excellent light and balmy weather, that’s just for pussy birders and pure photographers. You’ve got to get soaked sometimes if you want to be in the game. Only problem I had this weekend was with BT, where a fault on the line meant no internet (or landline) until today so hence the late posting.

So Saturday (28th) comes, and it’s relatively drizzly with a bit of northerly wind. I was at Crossness from 7am, by which time the Barking boys (Paul H and Dave Mo) were producing with a couple of Turnstone and a Whinchat early on. John A and I felt like there should be something around on the south side of the river, and then at 8.40am an adult Kittiwake flew upriver past the outfall – nice. Another call from the Barking boys, while we were heading to the paddocks, as the 2 Turnstones had reappeared and a couple of Barwits had dropped in on the foreshore. We had a Whimbrel head northwest at 9.50am, and there were 3 Wheatears and 2 LRPs around too, before John and I headed back to the shore where the Turnstones and Bar-tailed Godwits had remained for us. Things slowed up after that, and late morning I headed back to Rotherhithe where, despite a decent flog of the place, I only managed 1 Common Tern...
Bonxie, Crossness, London 29th April 2012

Sunday (29th)came, and after oversleeping having watched all the footy til gone 1 in the morning, I finally rolled up at Crossness at 9ish. Weather was proper grim, and you could easily have thought it was November bar all the Common Terns calling around the outfall. First up, a lone duck I picked up in the ming quickly turned into a Red-breasted Merg as it headed west quickly upriver at 10am – bizarrely my first at Crossness to Ian M’s surprise. Aware of a couple of skuas just downriver at Rainham, Ian M and I were primed although news from Dom suggested that the Bonxie was lingering at the stone barges. Then, at 10.25am with optics completely screwed up because of the weather, pandemonium broke out amongst the gulls and terns at the outfall which meant just one thing – the Bonxie was upon us. My first skua this far upriver, and a fantastic sight, it gave some show as it flew almost over our heads – lingering for 10 minutes or so – before it headed back downriver. Half a dozen Barwits in Barking Bay late morning were the last birds of note, before I had to head back if only to dry off.

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