Sunday, 17 May 2015

A quiet May weekend

Spring birding is always hit and miss, particularly if like me you're largely confined to weekends. Most people look outside and smile when it's sunny, but what that sun usually means in the context of my local birding is no birds. And that was the case at Crossness yesterday, where it felt like mid-June as opposed to mid-May with swifts buzzing about and the Common Terns well and truly settled in to nesting at Barking Bay. The annual build up of non-breeding gulls in Rotherhithe continued apace with about 200 Herring Gulls present yesterday, and with 3 NTGG rings there was at least something to get me going...
Two ringed Herring Gulls Greenland Dock, Rotherhithe 16th May 2015 - the 2nd-summer (left) K9HT was last here on 22nd June 2014 (having been ringed at Rainham in November 2013) while the 1st-summer (right) was ringed at Pitsea in September 2014 and has been about in Rotherhithe since 4th May 2015.
Today, I mixed it up a little and Karen and I headed out of London for the day. We walked around Rye Harbour, East Sussex which is always nice - not many birds but plenty of birders rather surprisingly. There were a couple of first-summer Spoonbills present on the flood north of Ternery Pool, with one of them ringed, while other highlights included a Cuckoo sallying from fence posts, a couple of Wheatears and a small flock of Bar-tailed Godwits. Little Terns were about in small numbers, and there were a fair few Common and Sandwich Terns, but I was left a bit cold by the lack of Mediterranean Gulls compared to a handful of years ago - just a handful seen today.

We then went to Dungeness, as much to satisfy Karen's request for a Dover Sole sandwich from The Fish Shack as my gull fix. Mid May's not exactly the best time for huge numbers, so three ringed birds (two Danish Great Black-backed and a Sussex ringed Herring) had to suffice.
1st-summer Great Black-backed Gull JZ042 Dungeness 17th May 2015 - ringed as a chick at Nordre Rønner, Læsø, Nordjylland, Denmark on 1st July 2014 then seen at Boulogne-sur-Mer, Pas-de-Calais, France from 2nd January to 9th February 2015, then Outreau, Pas-de-Calais, France 14th February and 14th March 2015 before being first seen at Dungeness, Kent on 25th April 2015.
Returning to Rotherhithe early evening, a couple of Swifts were about along with two NTGG Herring Gulls on the barges on the River Thames. If only the birding this weekend could have been more exciting...

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