Saturday, 17 March 2018

Avocets at Crossness and a London Shag

The predicted fall in overnight temperatures did indeed happen, and I was greeted this morning by some fairly persistent snow showers. A check of the Rotherhithe sites produced nothing of note, but not too surprising given that just over 12 hours previously it had been 15 degrees or so! These cold weather movements don't literally happen overnight...

And so to Crayford, where there were few gulls on Jolly Farmers and not lots of birds about at the recycling centre either - though it evidently did get better later in the day as Andy L had an Iceland Gull. But that was after I left, as I headed to Crossness while the tide was still out and mud was exposed. Remarkably there wasn't a Lapwing in sight, as this was the species severely displaced a couple of weeks ago with the cold snap, but there was a fair bit to look at. Most notably 4 Avocets (three together off the golf centre and another distantly in Barking Bay) along with 20 Black-tailed Godwits, half a dozen Dunlin and a third-winter Yellow-legged Gull.

Avocets at Crossness, London 17th March 2018
After checking Southmere and Thamesmere, I headed north through the Blackwall Tunnel and into the shadows of Canary Wharf. Yesterday, Sean H had found a 1st-winter European Shag on Millwall Outer Dock yesterday, and he'd messaged me earlier today to let me know if was still present. Rather embarrassingly it took me over an hour and half to find the thing! I walked around the dock, and then also around Millwall Inner Dock, only to find it where I'd first looked. I'll assume it flew back in again!
European Shag at Millwall Outer Dock, London 17th March 2018
This Shag was the first one I'd seen in London, or at least the first one I can recall. It is a species that I had been looking for fairly avidly here in Rotherhithe, so this sighting was a bit bitter sweet - Millwall Outer Dock is literally opposite Greenland Dock, on the other side of the Thames! So near yet so far...

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